Monday, April 18, 2011

like cake.

Listening To: Homeward, These Shoes by Iron & WineI like: the sound leaves make when they rustle together. I miss that in Winter. I'm glad I don't realize how much I miss it until the leaves are back.

I just tried to re-heat some Starbucks in the microwave ... and ended up melting the cup.

Necessary tangent: a few years ago my bffMelanie and I took a trip to Kentucky to see a Broadway tour (was it Millie? How do I not remember which play we saw?!). We stayed overnight. We stayed on the top floor of a hotel. While we were there, the hotel caught on fire.

Normal people would scream. Or freak out. Or, ya know.

My reaction? I woke up to the blaring fire alarm and said, quite calmly, "Rats." (... that's the essence of what I said.) (Then we ran.)
And yet! When I found my Starbucks melted, gone, nearly-ruined? I shrieked.

At that point, I did what any caffeine-addict would have done:

I found a spoon and scraped my bubbling, boiling Starbucks spew into a new mug.
Then I wiped up the rest with a paper towel and wrung that out into the new mug as well. Good thing my head wouldn't fit in the microwave or I probably would have licked up the rest.

I'm kidding about those last two sentences. Sort of.

But I am not kidding about this: my coffee now tastes faintly of buttered popcorn. And as my drink was a caramel macchiato to start, I would compare this experience to drinking a carnival. A little pink cotton-candy foam on top and I'd be good to go. (Dear Starbucks, you are welcome to steal that idea. I do not ask for recognition, or payment ... but I would like free coffee for life. So there's that.)

How you been? :)

I have a mini-micro-giveaway coming up on Wednesday. I hope you like it. Just don't get your hopes up because it is most definitely on the teeny-tiny side. (I find it quite adorable. But I'm weird that way.)

Today, I mostly just wanted to pop in and say hey. Let's talk about weekendings, shall we?

My weekend contained all of the following:
* Champagne and Blueberry Pancakes. My parents took me out for brunch at my favorite brunchy place. My parental units are super sweet like that. Also, they are very funny and fun to hang out with. Also, the blueberry pancakes were the size of the super moon.* Storms. Love how the skies are three shades of grey but the grass is bright, Spring-green.

* Sunlight. Days flip back and forth this time of year; rage and roar. Calm and steady. Steady on, I go.

I got a little windblown.

(Do not worry. I wasn't driving when I snapped this ego-shot.) (And in an unrelated note, I adore those sunglasses.)
* Wishes.

* Stories. I didn't write much this weekend. I hadn't planned to. I wanted to get lost in somebody else's story. So I read some of Clare Vanderpool's Moon Over Manifest: Never being in Kansas before, I wouldn't know for sure, but I imagined they said things like y'all and up the road a piece and weather's coming on. "Are you hungry?" Shady asked. "My place is just up the road a piece." There it was. Funny how people who know exactly where they are can talk so much about directions. I guess those who don't, just keep moving straight ahead. You don't need much direction for that. (From Moon Over Manifest, p. 12-13, Delacorte, 2010)

And I
wholly recommend it. That book is packed full of gorgeous writing. Abilene Tucker is entirely lovable; so sweet and tough. I like how she goes at the world.

I also read some of Francis Chan's Forgotten God. I'd actually planned to just read a bit before I fell asleep and ended up reading, like, half the book. Francis Chan is a wonderful communicator: there's a great momentum to his writing but also (and this is important to me) such clarity. This book is about the Holy Spirit. If you're looking for a new read, give this a try. Plan to get roped in quick.
* Cake and Prince Edward Island. First, cake.

My Dad is an ardent supporter of Bluebell ice cream. He's a homemade vanilla kind of guy, but he sometimes picks up other (FUN) flavors for me. I like ice cream with lots of stuff in it. Because I figure, if I'm eating ice cream anyway, why not put as much unhealthy chocolate stuffs in there as possible? The "cake and ice cream" flavor of Bluebell contains vanilla and a fudge swirl and, and this is the kicker,
little pieces of chocolate covered cake. It's a long process, getting my two scoops out of the bucket. I spend lots of time mining for the cake chunks. (That's perhaps the most unintentional metaphor about my life that I've ever written. ;)

This weekend, I ate ice cream while I watched
Avonlea. Judge me if you must, but it is still one of my favorite shows ever. I remember watching it when I was a kid. I watched it with my mom, my granny, and my granny's dog, Little Bit. The show is still beautiful. The setting and the story and the characters are all so easy to love. There's a character - Hetty King - that I've always been particularly fond of. Hetty King was played by an actress named Jackie Burroughs who embodied the character so completely: every mannerism, every elegant and proper enunciation of a word. So tough on the outside but such a big heart. Wonderful character. Must be a wonderful actress to absorb the character so completely.

The Avonlea series, as you Lucy Maude fans know, is based mostly on the novels
The Story Girl and The Golden Road. I haven't read The Story Girl in years, but I remember a paragraph about the main character; an imaginative little fireball named Sarah Stanley. The narrator of the book talks about how Sarah Stanley wasn't really any prettier than any other girl. She was normal looking. Didn't stand out. Until she told a story. He said when she told a story, she became the most beautiful girl in the world. People couldn't help but lean in and listen and try to hold onto her words. They all became bewitched by her.

I loved reading that when I was a little girl. I still do.

Blooming roses.

Shadows. Love how spring makes all the shadows look like lace.


Stained glass.

Pretty books.

Pink + White.

On Sunday morning, I wore a dress that looks like spilled paint. I listened to my pastor talk about what it means to endure - how we all want BIG moments and we want to do BIG things for God (insert exclamation points) ... which is fine. Finer than fine. But he talked about how so much of the Bible talks about enduring. Just being faithful. When you try and don't succeed. When you do your best work, hard work, but you get no accolades for it. When God's promises don't come to pass overnight.

He said sometimes the whole "I gotta be more! Do more! Be the best!" attitude keeps us dissatisfied. Or convinces us God isn't working in the now-part - the little snapshots and smiles. Glimpses and glimmers and hellos and good-byes. (He didn't say that last bit. He's not the type to say "glimmers." :) Be faithful, was his point. I liked remembering God isn't just waiting at the finish line, checking His stop watch because I keep getting off course. I like knowing He's in this moment too. Faithful even when I'm not. Closer than my pounding heart.

On Sunday night, I drove. I drove with the windows down and I listened to Glen Hansard. I like how he screams over some of the lyrics and barely whispers the others. I watched the sun slip low and the moon creep higher; high up to the place where it could stare at its lonely-old reflection shimmering on the water. (I wonder if the moon worries about its wrinkles?)

I thought about a line in a Rilke poem. He writes: "I'd like to walk out of my heart." Or something like that. I probably messed it up.

But I feel that way sometimes - when the world presses hard on my shoulders and I can't sleep and my mind won't stop spinning. When the fear of failing is a little bit more intense than the rush of the jump. I think about how I'd like to walk out of my heart for a while. No worries. No regrets. No fear of the future. None of that. But I don't think I could ever do it, completely. I'd probably keep my heart on a string and drag it along behind me. I can't seem to disconnect, no matter how hard I try. That's a good thing, I think.

That's what I thought about last night while I drove; the moon and the stars and my heart on a string. Today, I thought about how to scrape coffee out of the microwave and back into the coffee cup. : )

Would love to hear about the moments that made up your weekend. I'll be back Wednesday(ish) with a mini-micro-giveaway. Till then, keep mining for cake chunks ;)

{Post Script: This is my favorite Cake song. When I first heard it, I hoped maybe he was saying, "I want to love you Natalie." Alas ;) When Biscuit hears the first pump of the trumpets on this song, she cranks her head around ever so cutely.}


  1. Oh my goodness, I loved the Avonlea show...I wish some cable channel would re-air it. I was SO addicted to it growing up. I need to read some L.M. Montgomery again sometime's been FAR too long.

  2. They're all on Netflix! (I think ... or lots of them are.) I have a few seasons but I'm hoping to get the rest on Netflix. I think it probably has to do with the time in my life I watched it (and who I watched it with) but I feel so happy when I turn on an episode. Like I'm with family. You should start watching them soon so we can geek over them together ;)

  3. My weekend was wonderful. I drove up to France with some of our staff women and two girls my age. We had a blast! It was so refreshing to just have fun and forget about life, to spend time with friends who know how to laugh hard and listen well. I needed that mini vacation a lot.

    That bluebell sounds so good! My grandpa always keeps vanilla in the freezer and my dad always comes home with chocolate chip whenever he gets sent to the store alone ;) I'll have to branch out and try some new flavors this summer while in the States.

    Hope you're having a great week! Loved reading and seeing about your weekend!

    PS I definitely heard "Natalie" instead of "madly" :)

  4. Natalie, my weekend consisted of attending a wonderful conference called the Revolve Tour with my beautiful cousin whom I call my friend.

    After the conference,I drove to the beach with my mom. It was a long HOT 3 hours because our AC in the car went out! A long car ride + no AC + 90 degree weather = one sleepy girl! I blasted Group 1 Crew and Britt Nicole to keep myself awake! was all worth it when we reached the coastline and I rolled down the window to breathe in the sweet ocean air!

  5. MMMmm.. I love Avonlea. And Hattie King. She makes a cameo performance in Anne of Green Gables doesn't she? Reciting at the White Sands Hotel?

    I had a magical weekend. My sister and I are on spring break (her from school, me from work). We decided to drive the Natchez Trace all the way up to Nashville where my big sister lives. The first day of our travels we got caught in a huge storm system and it started hailing, then we pulled into a tiiiiiiny town (pop. 345) just as the tornado sirens started wailing to seek shelter. Got protected my car, and we ended up meeting two amazing twenty-something girls who help run a Christian camp/boarding school in this little MS nowhere town. We helped them clean cabins the rest of the afternoon and they gave us dinner and a place to stay for the night. God put us there. It was unbelievable. The weather was amazing the rest of our trip which included a night of camping in the foothills of the Appalachians. Simply magical.

    Now we are hanging out with my decidedly amazing big sister making homemade ice cream and watching movies and essentially having a week-long slumber party. Bliss.

  6. Hey Courtney! When you wrote: "we drove to France.." ... that pretty much trumped my weekend ;) You are too cool for your own good! Also love hearing from a fellow Bluebell lover. That seems like such a sweet thing for grandparents to keep around. My grandparents used to keep boxes of oatmeal cakes - those Little Debbie things with creme in the middle. I'm glad you had a wonderful weekend!

    Tay, how fab that you went to the Revolve tour! AND the beach. In the same weekend. Gracious :) That stinks about the AC, but I'm happy you had some good times with your mama! (I like to rock out to Britt Nicole too :)

    Rebekah, YES! She did the reading on Anne! I didn't realize how many Avonlea characters (from the show) pop up in the Anne movies. I absolutely LOVED reading your comment. That's the coolest roadtrip story. I love that you and your sister were open to a "detour" like that. I probably would have been bummed out because I had to stop and wait out the storm. Love that you two made the best of it. Thanks for sharing that.

  7. My weekend was all kinds of wonderful and God-filled.

    It was Disciple Now at church, which is, basically, an intense weekend with, a) general sessions at the church, b) small group sessions at our hosts home, c) a digital scavenger hunt, which ends up being very intense and competitive, and oh, my group won.

    I've been to DNow four years, and this was the best, most God-filled weekend yet. On Saturday night, the speaker said that he felt like God was saying that we just needed to pray for each other, as opposed to the open mike sharing time that was originally planned.

    We went an entire hour over the schedule. All across the room, there were students and leaders just praying for each other an worshiping. I've never felt closer to any of my friends than I did when we were praying together.

    After that, we went back to our host home. We were all emotionally drained, which led to a very open and real small group.

    It was, shortly put, amazing.

  8. awesome and beautiful post. got to keep it short, i raced through this quickly so i could have your happy, pleasant words running through my head as i danced to the sound of music and metallica tonight...

  9. Natalie, I know that you probably get this a lot, but I just wanted to let you know that you have a way of writing that inspires me to grow in my relationship with Christ. Thank you so much. You're in my prayers.

  10. This weekend my youth group volunteered to babysit for our church retreat. We had to get up at 6 on a Saturday, try to entertain wailing toddlers, and brave the cold, wet weather. Although it sounds less than fun, we had a blast! I think the fact that we were facing these challenges together, and with a serving attitude, made it enjoyable. And as a bonus, our youth leaders took us out afterwards to this place called "Small Cakes" and bought us all one, gourmet cupcake of our choice! Cake truly makes everything better! :)

    - Jerica

    P.S. What kind of dog is Biscuit?

  11. What a great weekend you had! Love how you so perfectly described Glen Hansard.

    I had a Nashville adventure with a friend- the first two places we tried to go to for lunch were complete fails but the third time was the charm. Yesterday I checked out a small church with a friend that recently moved to town. I usually don't like small churches- and I'm not even in the market for a new church- but I ended up loving it! Then last night I went to the William Fitzsimmons show and was blown away. Slow Runner opened for him and they were fantastic as well. Do you listen to either of them? If not, you should start now!

  12. We celebrated my grandma's birthday on Saturday. So there was cake and ice cream. :) And watching old movies on TCM while a crazy storm raged outside.

    Sunday was church and then catching up on homework. Because it's that time of the semester and I am a champion procrastinator. :)


  13. I cracked up when I read that you were mining for cake chunks. :) Hilarious!

    I always love your posts, and your pastor sounds like an amazing preacher. I loved that! :)

  14. I was wondering,Where do you find your pictures? My weekends have consisted of homework and occasionally an hour or two of fun with friends. Lately we've been doing homework together, which is great then my friend pulls out angry birds on his ipad and it's all downhill for me ^_^ Anyway, thanks so much for sharing your thoughts! It's finals week here and my brain is going crazy. What you said about getting no praise and God doesn't give promises right away-really helped me at this time. Keep writing!

  15. okay now my realy comment:
    I don't look at dandelions without thinking of peeta. i love that picture. that ice cream sounds awesome but i prefer haagen dazs because it's all natural and super yummy. we used in live in a neighborhood with a guy that worked for them. free ice cream! sadly strawberry cheesecake doesn't exsist anymore...