A Short Rant.

The words we use are very important.

I don't buy into the idea that you can talk one way with one group of people, and another, and still another depending on who you're with AND STILL BE considered "genuine".

It seems evil that people adopt different attitudes, morals, and behaviors just because they're around certain people.

Where are you? Where is your soul? Who are you really??!?!
Well decide, and stick with it.

Dreams vs Ideas

Dreams are ideas you haven't yet put your faith in.

Press through the Pain.

"I'll tell you the thing that is both joyful to me... but also frightening. First of all, to think about the opportunity that I could have missed had I not pressed through that pain to the joy that I have now. And then also wondering about how many people have such a call on their life, but they stop where the pains at, rather than pressing through that to be all God wants them to be."
-Joyce Meyer

When my friends find out I became a Christian...

2008... It was one thing to share the good news that I'd accepted Jesus Christ with my Christian friends. But it was something altogether different to let my Agnostic, Atheist, Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, and Secular Humanist buddies know. I recall the day I was forced to "come out" as a Christian, I was on a nice walk with Clark and Josh. I remember exactly the twinge I felt when I was asked about my facebook status change to Christianity.

 1 Peter 3:15-18
15: But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
 16: Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.
 17: For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing. 

As best as I could in that moment, I described my reasons for turning to God. Then I was asked how I could possibly "narrow it down" from all other religions, declaring the God of the Bible to be the one true God and all others false. I said God exists, and that I knew I needed forgiveness, and that the only way to get that was through Jesus Christ. Did I do a good job explaining the "reason for the hope that was within me"? No, I don't think so. But I wonder if I were asked the same question now, would I do much better?

I remember Josh telling me that he's Atheist but he'd love to be convinced of the existence God. I think back on that and wish I could've been used by God to provide that answer he needed for why Faith is essential. 

Ephesians 6:12-16
"12: For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13: Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14: Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15: And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16: Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked."

It was Clark that said to me, "I see faith  in God as being a cop-out and a sign of weakness." I remember that I wasn't offended when I heard that... because after all, I'd said it so many times myself. Only a half-year before that walk with Josh and Clark, I had written about my disbelief in God and was boldly declaring that God could not possibly exist. In a short time, I'd experienced a massive shift in my understanding of the world and reality, and it was a shocker, even to me!

So if Faith in God is a cop-out, what exactly are we Christians coping-out from? I wish I had been as well-read in the Bible and understood myself then so that I could answer Clark with these important points:

Faith is indeed a covering, and a form of protection. Here a few things I can think of right now that I need to be protected from.

Negative, detrimental thoughts that seemingly come out of nowhere. In the Bible, these are described as "fiery darts."
-I'll pass on that one, thanks.
A life without true love. Separation from God.
-Sounds awful! I'm gonna cop-out on that.
A life lived in vain following after things that are a dead end.
- If copping out of this one means that I'm accepting Christ, then that's cool with me!

For so many years of my life, I looked down at the "shield of Faith" leaned up against the wall beside me and looked away thinking, I don't need that... I have fists, and a mind, and good intentions.

...But what happens when things come at you that you can't control and you begin to behave in ways that don't line up with your secular-humanist morals? When I felt myself slipping, I'd keep on living the lie! The lie was the belief that I was fighting as best I can to be the person I wanted to be.

But now I know from Ephesians 6:13 that I haven't done ALL I CAN unless I use what God has given me, placed next to me, if only I'll pick it up and put it on.

I got my Faith from continuously exposing myself to the word of God even though I didn't believe it. I wasn't stuck up living with a closed mind. I wanted truth! And I just wanted to learn, specifically so that I could better argue against it. Oh, the irony!

Romans 10:17 "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."

So now that I do have my Faith, I need to work hard with God's help to make sure that it expresses itself in healthy, biblical ways... instead of yelling on street corners and causing more people to permanently count God out of the equation. I found this:

Galatians 5:6 "For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love."

If I were to say this in my own words, it'd go like this: Screw the details, they mean nothing... all that matters in this life after accepting Jesus Christ is DEMONSTRATING YOUR FAITH FOR HIM IN SHARING TRUE CHRISTIAN LOVE WITH OTHERS. Anything less can't be a true faith in Christ.

Faith is incredible. It's power given to us by God. But I know it has no influence if  I'm not walking in love. Joyce Meyer says it better than I could,  "I don't jump out of bed saying wwoooooo!!!! Who can I serve? What can I give away?! No, you have to do it on purpose."

I know that whether it's trying to powerfully witness to my siblings who unfortunately haven't yet placed their faith in Jesus Christ, or taking a leisurely stroll with my friends, I know that it's going to take God's grace and not my own power to make a lasting impact. All this talk only plants seeds and I know that what happens after that isn't in my hands. I do pray that I can demonstrate my faith by walking in love instead of just talking, and that I can increase my faith by continually receiving the word of God and successfully planting it in my heart.

Because, I don't want to be one of those self-declared Christians that does MASSIVE damage to the name of Jesus Christ.

Thanks for reading! :) 

Mark 4:12-20

" 12: That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.
13: And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?
14: The sower soweth the word.
15: And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts.
16: And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness;
17: And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word's sake, immediately they are offended.
18: And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word,
19: And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.
20: And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred."

Notes on Pastor Rick Wilder (First Baptist Church, Henderson N.V.)

Pastor Rick and I in the water, a few movements before my baptism on October 13th, 2008. I was so happy and emotional that it was hard to smile, and no, I can't really explain why that is.

December 3, 2009

"my Pastor Rick passed away today. In the single year I was blessed to know him, he demonstrated to me what it means to be a good leader, a good husband to his wife, and a loving man devoted to God. He was the one who baptized me, the only spiritual leader I've felt really connected to. While we say goodbye, I know that... on the other side, he's being greeted with the warmest welcome anyone could hope for."

The passing of Rick Wilder signifies the first time anyone I'm bonded with and have a deep respect for died. Pastor Rick's full-hearted, bold and unashamed preaching was the respite I needed from the big church blues (Central Christian). He kept me coming back to First Baptist Church to worship our God and hear His word. Eventually I felt comfortable enough to ask him to baptize me as a practical declaration of my faith and a step of obedience to God. I also attended his Bible College study classes when I could before work and school, mostly just to spend time around Pastor Rick and hear what he had to teach about life from the Bible and his personal experience.

So, when my dear friend Irene dropped me a line to let me know he was gone from this Earth, I did cry a bit, and just reflected on the things he had told me. The few conversations I shared with my Pastor are suddenly cast in gold and shine brilliantly, forever.

His time on Earth is gone and I think about what a difference he's made in so many people's lives by preaching the Gospel and serving the Lord. His passing makes me feel that I'm absolutely headed in the right direction by getting involved with Humanitarian work, whether through the Peace Corps or otherwise. There's no question in my mind that there is a "right" and "wrong" way to live. The right way is to dedicate our lives to God and follow His leading. The wrong way is... doing anything else.

Pastor Rick, THANK YOU.

Calculus Textbook

My textbook got cute with me today.

"An old saying goes, 'The first step in making rabbit stew is to catch a rabbit.' Likewise, the first step in integrating by substitution is to find a suitable change of variable u=u(x) that simplifies the integrand of the given integral ~f(x)dx without adding undesired complexity when dx is replaced by du=u'(x) dx."

Ouch. I think I just got kicked in the brain.
My initial reaction was: At least they tried. They're no storybook writers, they're mathematicians trying to write a somewhat interesting textbook.

But upon further reflection, I know that this was actually meant as a jab to all the writers and artists and poets who read this textbook, whose eyes glaze over and hearts sink as they realize they're denying themselves and enduring the crucifixion of all humanity that is Calculus. They've caught us by the leg. The broth is boiling.

The House

Lighting incense I welcome myself back to my little home, an airy, light blue room in the corner of this aching house.

The house wants a family. It needs a fire lit in its fireplace down in its belly and up in its heart by the wide and wooden staircase. I hear it creak in places it probably shouldn't, the noise is the house asking for photographs to be hung in its blank hallways.

The house sees Christmas being strung on every other doorway and bush, the wreaths and the bows. But inside this house the women brush by each other just as brooms to webs.

In my room there is a Christmas. My heart glows for love coming my way. So... my hopeful eyes will light a warm inviting fire in this house and even as I leave I'll hum, mmmm, mmmmmm... and my song will fix a golden wreath on the door, and my smile will spin itself around porch posts, burst white like fireworks into tiny flickering lights reflecting on the icicles dripping lazily off the gutter's edges.

Christmas will come to this house. It will have a family. I live in this house, and my family lives in me.

Rich, Rich, Rich

My wealth is beyond measure. I am rich in relationships! Good hearts, gathered round a table generously laden, I got an eyefull of joy, love, and peace.

I've always enjoyed talking with my family members and it's hard to get time with them alone, but I recently discovered a hack into their routine busy-ness.

Spa treatments.

I've actually been doing this for several years now, taking the ladies of the family away individually for anywhere between 15 min to an hour for nail painting, eyebrow plucking, etc. But now I've realized why I enjoy it so much.

I love it because I get time alone with people I love while having valuable, unique conversations.

When was the last time I was able to hear about my Grandmother (Enriquez) and her rise out of poverty in Naguabo, Puerto Rico? Never actually. I've never been able to hear about it in her own words until today, her softened feet propped up under the desklamp while I meditated over each stroke of WetNWild #426.

I also like serving my family and knowing I'm helping with the general mood in the household. Any woman feels better when she has freshly manicured nails and arms and back that have just been massaged. I'm glad I can be the go-to-girl in the house for fun and free beauty treatments. I always want to do it.

And let's not forget the guys. Well there's not much strategy to it because this one's easy. I find the best way to enter down new paths of conversation with a man in my family is to literally walk down a new path together. It's good to get outside for a walk and this loosens things up. But generally just plopping down on the sofa next to my Grandpa, or my Dad, my Uncle, or my Brother is all it takes to really get talking and connect. I love my family so much!

Rich, Rich, Rich.

More About the Fall Leaves

On this morning, the rain is less audible because there are fewer leaves. What few leaves do exist are yellow-brown and their stems are stubborn. They hang on and the rain, bow-tied, tap dances all over them trying to wake them up, Sun trying to feed them but they won't take. The leaves are wise, wrinkled, and quiet- they've seen it all before.

In my utopia, we'd all throw on our coats and gloves and run outside, grab the closest leaves and one by one resuscitate them, because we love Summer and Fall so much, and because (of course) we all have neat magical powers... :)

But in this world, the dying leaf looks around and seeing we're all helpless and content with Winter, lets itself go, to join a pile, to be crunched underfoot, or to simply surrender itself beneath a bed-blanket of white.

My eyes survey the scene. I am like rain, the leaves ignore my plea. The leaves know more than me.

Knowledge vs Intelligence

Now, we are all human beings. We were made with FEELINGS for a reason. There are things we're SUPPOSED to get upset about. This, I know, is one of them.

This morning, I made up my mind.
I'm not going to play dumb anymore.
I'm not going to go on living my life without using my knowledge for intelligent decision-making.

I once read somewhere that knowledge is just life lessons you accumulate through reading, experience, advice, etc. But intelligence is actually to show that knowledge in your life by making better, wiser decisions.

I'm going to start applying my KNOWLEDGE to life in the area of plastic and plastic bags. And I want to take all my friends and family with me on this journey. I wrote this on my facebook wall:

"[Laura Simpson] is pretty sure we're all SMART enough and CARE enough about the environment to remember our reusable bags next time we go to the grocery store."

No excuses.
Last time I forgot my reusable bag, the last thing I wanted to do was buy yet another re-usable bag to make myself feel better... Especially when I had exactly what I needed (my backpack) staring me in the face in the passenger seat.

I emptied out my backpack and used that, (I know, this prob looked a little shady, but who cares?) then I just had to go back for my books after emptying my pack in the kitchen. Logically speaking, I would've had to make 3 or four trips anyway if my groceries had been in those silly good for nothing plastic bags.

There have been other times where I simply refuse a bag because I can carry everything I purchased (maybe 3 or four items 4) along in my purse, or even in my arm, these things really take ZERO effort.

Other steps I'd like to take are:
-resisting the purchase of plastic containers of all kinds.
-re-using what plastic bags I do have.

PS. For a minute there I thought,oh! I should save this for a New Year's Resolution! haha so funny the way I always jump my mind to saving important things for later, like waiting to express my thankfulness to my family until Thanksgiving. I really have grown a distaste for holidays. Hey holidays! Quit BOXING UP my good intentions. I'm living life outside of holidays from now on.

If you need to get angrier to actually change your lifestyle here's a few other sources of knowledge:


I first viewed this video on my favorite website, www.TED.com
as many as 2 years ago.


Today I spoke on the phone with the following people who love me:
-Grandma & Grandpa Simpson
-Tio Eric

I know some day I'll write exactly how I feel.

But for now, since I haven't got much time, I'll say this: I am blessed beyond belief on a daily basis by my family who loves me. I have it better than good, and I know it. I love you all right back so much. Thank you for believing in me, nurturing me, caring, encouraging, and sharing your wisdom. I can hear your smiles through the phone. I miss you! I'm glad Thanksgiving is coming up because I'm about to overflow and you will think it's weird if I don't save it for the appropriate holiday. hehe

Taking Back the Morning

For the past two days, my cellphone "no funciona", causing me to wonder... what alarm will wake me? Since I didn't think I could train my shadow to get me up at the proper time (a friend's suggestion) I dug through my box of old electronics. Cords, dead and cumbersome digital cameras, more cords, and there it was, my saving grace. A 3 -year-old LG Fusic cellphone that had seen its share of scrapes. But I found the charger and plugged it in. Now my old cellphone wakes me to old ringtones that remind of early college days. HA! I sound old.

Well to say the least, I'm glad to have combined my blogs. It was apparently "meant to be" since my full name was available for the url. ;) I thought it was important that my Christian Walk be included in the rest of my life musings, however much or little I discuss it. 

So now that the morning is mine again, I've been using it to blog, but plan to do other things too which I'll be sure to blog about. hehe, Better run to work. Plenty to accomplish! :)

If I Get an A

If I get an A, I'll slice it in half, scoop out the center and add brown sugar. I'll put it in the oven and watch the juice bubble and caramelize, smiling all the while, whistling in the kitchen. It'll come out hot and I'll have to let it cool for a time, so I'll buckle it into the passenger seat while I drive home fast, I'd like for the steam to still be rising when she first sees it. I'll weave between cars like I weave between people on my longboard. I'll apply the breaks when and only when I see the driveway and round the corner to this house that was built for the blue mountain sunrise. I'll wake you with my loud knocking, you thunder back, you'll let me in like I've a mortal thing in my arms, we'll rush it to the table. Your eyes delight at the steam, just as I'd hoped they would. As we slice this into equal portions, lift it to our mouths and thank God for being so good to us, together we'll learn just HOW sweet is the flavor of an A in Calculus.

Is it irrelavent?

I dance, draw, paint, sing, write, design
I PLAY: guitar, flute, piano
THINGS I LIKE: port cities, jazz clubs, avenues, street lamps, historic districts, antique stores, floral design, tea, exploring abandoned buildings, block parties, travel, science, business, stamps, smooth-writing pens, stationery, the big moon, sunrise
classical guitar, flamenco, jazz, funk, fusion
FAVORITE PLACES I'VE BEEN (in no particular order):
Tampa, Florida
Oil City, PA
Saugerties, NY
Saratoga, NY
Washington, DC
Buffalo, NY
Lake Las Vegas
Cartagena, Colombia
Santa Marta, Colombia
Tayrona, Colombia
Philadelphia, PA
Barbados, British Virgin Islands
San Juan, Puerto Rico
San Diego, California


I've been having a lot of self-defeating thoughts about school, especially Calculus. I won't write about those here. What I'm here to say is that I created this little mantra-photo collage piece to put on the front of my calculus binder and post on my wall. I want to see it every time I go to study because I want to be reminded that I CAN do well in all my classes.
We have such incredible minds that are so intricate. I can't keep limiting myself like I have, saying I can't do well- when I'm perfectly capable of it.  I may not necessarily EXCEL or stand out in class as a calculus student, but I'm certainly able to internalize this information. I have to. And I will. But not without this handy attitude/reality check, a constant reminder that my mind is perhaps more powerful than I need OR want for it to be. Whyyyy must I study calculus. Wwwwwwwwwwhhhhhhhhhhhhhyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy.....

AS A SIDE NOTE: This inspiration comes to me as an answered prayer, as I've prayed for God's guidance to get focused and stay motivated in school. <3

Can a Hot Drink Soothe The Soul Back into Submission to This Inhuman Reality?

What do you think it means to be human
When I consider this question,

I think immediately of the things I enjoy most. My family, being number one. Laughing. A little adventure. A BOATLOAD of adventure. Running, leaping, handclap games, skipping down the hall, singing LOUDLY, whistling, ropeswings, making love, stirring hot soup, breathing deeply, shadow puppets, collecting fallen moonleaves...Tranquil moments spent with smiling eyes reflecting inwardly at still water, the soul at peace.

So last weekend I sat across from good friend Kyle and pounding my fist on the table asked evenly, with desperate, frustrated clenched hand, "Kyle, what is the meaning of life?!" He half smiled, still looking down at his laptop. We both chuckled slightly. It was funny.

Can this be it? This book, this EMPTY book?" I lifted my binder of Accounting/Econ notes between two fingers to give the illusion of lightness, then let it fall, like a dead bug, down back to the table. Me not wanting to make a scene, disturbing only HIS concentration, because after all, I'm only half crazy.This one last thud did NOT echo, God didn't pick it up and repeat it, it was in fact deserted, only a single moment between me, Kyle, and the eyes and ears of our unsipped coffee and uneaten sandwiches. "This is life right now, Laura, and you just have to accept it for what it is. We are college students, and this is what college students do."
"So we do this, because everyone else says that's the way, and we just want to be like them and be 'successful' and have no life, and not think for ourselves and live life the way we want to? What if I died tomorrow, Kyle. What then? This day would have been wasted. I guarantee you, no matter how you look at it, this constant studying which is driving me insane, is a waste of time."
"You can't live like you're going to die tomorrow. That would be irresponsible."
"I'm sorry Kyle. I'll just suck it up because I want a degree I guess because that's what smart people do. They get degrees and then they get jobs to make money. And I guess that's all I really want out of life.
"Sigh- Yeah, I guess Laura. I guess."

I went to the cashier and ordered a bigger, fancier hot beverage. I sipped this one more casually. I thought no more of my true interests and things my soul longs for, and with a mind once again wrung dry, and a certain special lightness that leaving only lint in your pockets brings, started my studying anew. I considered my mental breakdown complete.

Some things I've learned about myself quite recently.

When I write, paint, draw, take photos, or sing (even when no one hears or sees or compliments me) I feel better about myself. I feel like an artist. I think that if more people took time to make something with their own hands they would also get a taste of that sweet joy.

One of the things that sets me apart from the vast majority of human beings is my distaste for television and movies. Viewing a television screen is something I rarely do and seldom enjoy. Afterwards I feel lethargic, like the screen has been draining my creativity and lifeforce in general. This is not a new thing for me, it developed when I first went without T.V. for an extended period of time- College. Up till then, T.V. was a regular, seemingly essential part of my daily life.

What IS new is that I'm starting to realize how unusual this aversion to T.V. is. I will continue to cling stubbornly to the theory that "unusual" is not always "bad".  Still, the time I DON'T spend watching T.V. seems to have been reallocated to use of the internet. I'm not sure yet whether I will regret that. At least this is interactive. More of an outlet than a drain.

I handwrite at least twice as many letters as I recieve. I think maybe if I got more back, I would write less. I learned in microeconomics that the more valuable something seems, the more someone will do or pay to get it. The less available something seems, the more valuable it becomes. Like diamonds. Your letters are diamonds to me. :) And judging from that description, I'm afraid I've become more of a dork than I'm comfortable with. ;)

Ever since I got my hair cut very short (crazy idea, Freshman year of college) I've never been able to grow it back past the sides of my chin. I become unhappy with it, self concious thinking that my hair is too "big" for my small frame, then the scissors come out again. snip snip, back to square one. I think this reveals an issue with my self image that originated back around that time. If I'd ever like to have hair that passes my shoulders again then I'm gonna have to get over it, and I'm not sure how!!

A Small Wonder

While raking the leaves from the lawn this afternoon, I saw from the corner of my eye a little boy carrying empty garbage bags, headed towards me. "Hello, I'd like to help you rake your lawn!" He bubbled and glowed like nothing I've seen before. "Grandpa lives a few houses down, and I'm collecting leaves to fill in a hole," he explained. Of course I accepted his help, because after all, he had a hole to fill. He held the black bags open as I tossed in the piles of leaves I collected. As a bonus, I learned all about the adventures and misadventures of the nieghborhood children. Who's hanging out with who, and why so and so isn't his friend anymore, and which street has the best hill for biking, and his plans to become a "Tech Nerd" and DEFINATELY not an illustrator because he really doesn't like drawing.

Here's a picture of little Malcom showing his strength!

He'll probably never understand how he warmed my heart today.

Thank heaven for little boys :)
Think he'll be this much of a gentleman when he's grown a bit? ;)


Dear Calculus Teacher of Asian descent,

When you said the "quotients rule" and scrawled long on the board,
I thought you had said the "coffin rule" and, mildly amused, had listened a little more intently.
Thank you for making Calculus interesting.
If even for a fleeting moment.

Your student,

Something About September

September came to me when...
That CIDER crossed the border from the land of theirs to mine
as the scanner beeped like a tiny trumpet of welcome victory!!!!!!!!!

Last weekend, I saw my Aunt stretching down to collect some leaves
To save them for her grandchildren who forget what colors look like when we're all knee deep in the white-washed snow lows of Winter.
When she picked it up and exclaimed at its beauty,  that was the precise moment when September smacked my eye with Red, Yellow, Orange, Brown and left Green behind!!!

September hid behind the big concrete wall of the college library and spooked me out of reading the book I'd just borrowed. September made me put it back!

September's the bully that forces me into becoming another year older, whether I want to or not.

September is where you land after the August rush is over, and just like my boyfriend Robin's flying dream, find that you more often than not land on your FACE and need to learn to fall more gracefully.You need to take a lesson from the leaves.

Someone pass the cider.
Because I love it.

With August Almost Gone...

So I guess I rushed to August and I was scooped up by the energy that colliding with time and intention creates- I tightroped on my dream string connecting me to balance on a narrow wall in Cartagena where my heart and mind stepped in time to the rhythm of his questions. My lips met something greater than a man there, my eyes were steadied on a face, and reckless though it may seem I lept there and drempt there wide awake. More awake and more asleep than a woman ever could be at once.

Maybe I was uneased by the power I feel by his side, I walked ahead or behind, even when hand in hand, just one step apart. Then to get swept in it again I let my foot fall naturally and once more the world is ours. The energy coming from his hand magnetizes mine and spins me and I am suddenly dancing. The world rizes up and presses up against our feet and the Earth is a great trampoline propelling us to the nearest rooftop, so we are compelled to learn to harness this energy, and there is no doubt we will be the first to really fly. He carries his dreams in every pocket, they paint the walls of my heart in the color of roadtrips and Vail and Thailand, my ears hear names sweetly spoken, and songs that don't exist yet, I feel smiles that must have started from inside because I look around and it's only him there and he's just sleeping.

There are other things I could never tell anyone simply for my lack of the ability to explain, because when he came to Buffalo on Tuesday, my life has been that way- beyond explaination. I could explain Colombia, but not Buffalo. With August almost gone I will tell you that I have lived the best two weeks, my life experience during this time has been in the top 5 best life experiences of all living creatures in existence. Your believing me is entirely unneccessary and bears no influence on the fact that this in fact true.

Things Grandmas say.

I wrote down a few things my Grandma told me over the weekend when I went to visit her and Grandpa. Best weekend stay of my life. We just stayed home and chatted, I played guitar and sang a bit for them, but other than that- just talking. My Grandma shared her whole life with me. She told me whatever she could and answered every question.

She showed me things- like, the button from her brother's naval jacket. He never returned from that submarine.

She gave me two necklaces. One had belonged to her mother, the other belonged to her grandmother. She showed me pictures of them and told me about them. She told me about the Faulks and... mmn I can't remember the other family name I'll have to call her about it, but she told me about their journey from Ireland to America. I need to see Ireland someday.

She gave me general wisdom about men and life. It's funny how simple things are, isn't it? I thought a lot about my time spent with her and I know I will continue to recycle what she said through my brain until every bit of it gets stored and categorized and committed to permanent memory. I can't wait to tell my Grandchildren about her. I hope they listen. I told my Grandma I often think that I will love to be a Grandma someday. :)

She cried quite a few times. About her loss of health, her friends lost to whatever's on the other side. She looked at me plainly and surely and said "I'm not afraid of death. I know where I'm going." then smiled.
Oh man thinking about it is spooky, you know why?
Because she's right. She's going to heaven, I hope to see her when I go eventually- not soon, but eventually. She told me things.... oh my gosh it's so spooky! Her eyes- so intensly telling me these things, she has so much to say to me and I'm only now able to really internalize what she's trying to impart. You know, she never had a daughter??
Grandma Simpson.
hmm. I'll be thinking.

Purple Planner

On July 27th, my life moves on to the purple planner. I've been preparing it for entry for the past 2 months. I've indexed all the months. I've filled in all the birthdays. I'm on the last page of my free CSN planner that helped me through so many crazy days, and moving on is bitter-sweet.

I keep such a detailed planner that it is my most accurate diary. I can tell by my writing whether it was a good or bad day. Most doodles are secret code. Notes in the corner say things like "<3 Can we please get focused, amiga? <3" And together with short poems here and there inspiried by something someone said, or a look I got... how can I throw this away?

At the same time I know what it means to move on to August 2009. Do you realize this blog is about moving on to August 2009? It's huge for me. And this purple planner is the physical representation of that.

The Beauty & Power of Dance / What is your escape?

What is your escape?

Lately I’ve been dancing. I put all my heart and soul and body into it, every night, every morning. Because everything on the surface of my life is practically perfect. But on a personal, private level there is major upheaval.

This is some kind of irony. No one reaches out to someone who seemingly has it all together. Why would they?

I’ve been given a new way to express myself. This job working for Fred Astaire Dance Co. couldn’t have come at a better time. Guitar, singing, painting, prayer… these things alone just weren’t cutting it anymore. Over the past two or three weeks, I noticed myself falling back into behaviors that strongly resembled those anxiety issues from my past… issues that I thought were gone for good. But this time I'm not going under. This time I'm going to dance straight through it.

When I dance, I take everything inside that is wrong-wrong-wrong, and force it up to the surface in the most beautiful, expressive way that I possibly can. Thank God for music. Thank God for our incredible bodies that were made for so much more than sitting and hunching, walking, talking, ingesting and digesting.

Now, instead of locking myself away from the world and becoming introverted and afraid, I am adding yet another way to be even more of a participant in the amazing world, and taking all my frustration, anxiety, strain, sadness, guilt, lonliness, fear, all of it- firing it down and hammering it into a gem and snapping it onto the charm bracelet of life!! :)

Life is hard. But we were built for this. We can handle it.

Now you know my escape. What’s yours? Because everyone needs one.

Self Reliance

This quote was included in Emerson's famous essay, Self Reliance. I was reading it last Friday as I was preparing a mailing for work. Lots of folding. I love that I can read while doing this.

Does this sound familiar to you??? :

"Thy lot or portion of life is seeking after thee; therefore be at rest from seeking after it." -Caliph Ali

Wow. That is what this blog is ALL ABOUT.

Hello, World! A short entry about my dog!

Would you believe it if I told you I've been praying for my dog? Yes, it's true. His behavior has been upsetting me so much that I don't think I could help but include Scooter the dog in my nightly prayer. I have faith in a loving God who wants me to bring all of my concerns to Him first.

First- the good.
Scooter's a great dog. When I bring him out to festivals, places with lots of people and dogs to boot, he is extremely well behaved. He lets anyone with hands rub his head, lets little kids squeeze and kiss his face, pick up his paws, all with no problem.
He even models love, patience, and kindness to me on a daily basis.

When I take Scooter for a walk, I often reflect on my relationship with him. This dog of mine is attached to a leash, but he doesn't live like that. He doesn't live life on the end of the leash. He greets me, he walks close by my side and rubs his head against my hand while we walk, he watches for me... By his own free will he has decided to accept his place and embrace it, despite his many frustrations.

Now, The bad-
Dogs can't articulate what it is they want and need and it's our duty to sit with them and figure it out. I realized this week, as I witnessed him angrily barking at one of my roommates, that I didn't understand this dog. I like him, I'd even go as far to say as love him, but at the time I didn't understand him.

So I've been praying that God helps me to understand my dog's needs so that he's not so deeply upset all the time.

I mean, this guy is an inspiration to me. Now I'm seeing this irritable, unhappy dog tugging at the other end of the leash, and barking full force and bearing his teeth right in the face of a girl on bended knee saying hello to him.

Well the good news is that today there was a breakthrough. I knew I'd have to pay a little more attention to him, and probably be a little more patient, courteous, and gentle.

I brought him in the bathroom because I thought he could use a bath. But I didn't want to force him into one. I patted the side of my tub and asked him if he wanted a bath. He stood there a little, then hopped in and licked my hand. He enjoyed the shower. Instead of having to hold him under the shower, he stood there on his own and even made sure his body got completely wet. He bent back his head and took a few drinks. It was wonderful to watch! He let me scrub him down, he turned to help me get to the places I hadn't reached yet.

I don't need to force my dog into things that he wants for himself anyway. He wants to be walked, he wants to be bathed, he wants to be taken care of and to get attention. But he doesn't want to be treated like just another responsibility. He is a companion, not a liability. And after all of this, I can say... I've learned yet another lesson from this amazing animal, and I have God to thank. :)

I am Woman

I look in my life for signs that I've officially turned from a girl or a teenager into a woman. It's an incredible difference, because there are so many aspects of who I am that have changed so subtlely and gradually, in combination they form one almost entirely different person. The recognition of this fact is sudden, and almost disturbing, because I didn't notice it happening, and the mirror holds nothing in the way of evidence to help explain or solve this particular mystery.

I don't do everything right, nobody does- but most things are in really good order. My room, for example. It stays clean, and I'm not sure how that seems to be happening, I must sleep clean... or maybe it's just that I always put things back in their proper place now??!!? Holy cow, what a concept. Also, I know how to do my makeup correctly. I pay my bills. I am taking care of 3 pets right now and juggle that with my 7hr/day job, remaining sociable, calm, and collected. When I stress, I recognize that stress for what it is, and allieviate its symptoms through dance, guitar, prayer, and meditiation. I also have a very tight budget, which I'm adhering to with more discipline than I thought I had to work with in the first place. Ladies and Gentleman, I have spontaenously generated disicipline from thin air! I only wish I knew my secret.

In retrospect, there was another major change in the past year or so. But you couldn't see most of it on the outside. There were major improvements in my level of independence, my handle of personal finances, attitude, self-image, and all those good things.

I know I don't really have much on my plate when compared to some other people my age, and I'm glad for that. I think I'm in a really good place right now, emotionally, spiritually, hey- even physically.

I'm actually quite happy with things as they are. I don't really want any more major changes anytime soon, I'd like to rest in how it is now! That's funny isn't it? I've always been a real Pocahontas, singing "Just around the river bend" at the top of my lungs, recklessly venturing far far away from home and pushing and riding on the edge of my destiny, well now I feel like I've arrived somewhere. Like a lake or something. Yes!! My life is a LAKE. A calm, still, reflective lake.

hahaha, not!

This is definitely still a river, an exciting one! With rapids, and river otters jumping all over the place, leaping out of the water and over my head splashing water crazily and squealing like they do... oookay I think you at last have enough comic imagery to understand what I'm saying. One thing I know for sure: I've got to stay on my toes or this little boat will flip right the heck over!!!

I've entitled my blog "August Rush" and think I ought to make one important distinction: I used to chase my destiny but not anymore. I no longer feel that I'm chasing anything. Why would I chase something which inevitably bounds towards me? For a long time I've been under the illusion that destiny is something to be pursued. Actually, I'm meeting with it, because it's not just waiting, it's excited for me, it's headed towards me too. This "something" is the difference between my dreams and my capabilites, an equasion whose final answer leaves me with a reality that is somewhat supernaturally awesome. My extraordinary change of perspective has CHANGED EVERTHING. I'm riding the wave, my future has the same thing in mind, to be in and of itself, mind-blowing. I smile impulsively whenever I think about tomorrow. My future wants me too, and if you'll please allow, we've decided to conssumate some dreams of mine.

The Millenial Christian: Holding on to Letting Go

This blog post was originally written about 7 years ago but I've updated it some to address a generational perspective on faith.

Here's something that really got my attention as a 21 year old:
Did you know that there are some people that go through their lives and make no impact while on this Earth? They come and go as if they never existed!

Here are two of my greatest fears, these are fears probably shared by most Millenials. I'll spell them out for you.
#1: Not experiencing, sharing, or demonstrating real love on a daily basis.
#2: Making little to no positive impact on the world and the people around me.

The August Rush

As August barrels towards us, some become paralyzed with the fear that life is slipping away. Others run in the opposite direction. My latest experiment: to run smack into the face of time with the same force and determination with which it has been pursuing me… and see if all my dreams don’t come true.

This is my blog, re-vamped. RE-named to: AUGUST RUSH

On Waking

I lay awake in bed, just feeling the sun on my skin, opening and closing my eyes, again and again. Sometimes I kept my eyes closed a little longer and just focused on how I felt, because lately I keep waking up in heaven, and I want to enjoy it accordingly. It was easy to want to stay there. During the sunrise, the blue of the sky had made quiet, secret, passionate love to the deep red of my curtain and so this morning revealed the most pristine and royal purple I have ever seen. I heard, playing in my mind, Mercy Me, “I can only imagine, when that day comes and I find myself standing in the sun… surrounded by your glory, what will my heart feel, will I dance for you, Jesus, or in awe of you be still,” and so I listened quite contentedly.

Usually, I snap myself out of this place between sleeping and awake, uproot the music in my mind, then in its stead firmly pack in a thought process of my choosing but this time, I sang along with this lonely, pure voice. I harmonized with it. Beginning the day in this way, I supposed that this would be one of the greatest mornings of my life.

As the music faded and my regular thoughts prevailed, I slowly raised myself onto my forearms with my shoulders rolled back, looking up, my hair grazing my shoulders and my back, feeling somewhat glamorous, like sleeping beauty, awakened by the everlasting kiss of sweet true love.


Fittingly, I gathered from within a most charming sing-song voice with which to rouse Scooter the dog, a voice I am sincerely certain could enchant and lure all the nearby forest creatures to parade joyfully into my door, later helping me wring the soapy sponge in the shower and slip my silken blouse over my delicate feminine figure. The birds would hoist my otherwise-forgotten purse upon my gracefully outstreched arm, all whilst wistling cheerfully, of course.

I hate to disturb in any way his incredible cuteness. His soft, cloud-like body, gently rising and falling from breathing is something I could stare at in wonder, the way a baby does a mobile, and drift dreamily back to dreaming dreams, but no…

I’m no sleeping beauty, I'm a nighttime sleep-position-shifter, a drowzy mumbler with disheveled hair. And I’m certainly not a baby, I’m 21, and that’s not a mobile, it’s a dog. And I think I felt my wide, black pupils shrink to match the light just then. My warm feet on the chilly wood floor, I stood.

Something would have to be done with my hair. I wanted the dog to join me in the bathroom, so I took him by the collar with me to the door. Bent over so as to keep him from running on down the stairs, I turned the knob. "Ting, ting, ting" his collar charms chimed as if to express their anticipation of the warm Summer air, and of the sun, and of the dew. In his excitement, Scooter decided to help me open the door, and in doing so, yanked so hard that it drove my face directly into the doorframe. And now, I was finally awake. And with a big red bump to prove it.

More major life changes and accomplishments

A quick inventory of the top 10 changes in my life since my last top 10 changes in my life post (November 2nd, 2008)

1) I continued working with student government and put on three major events: “Back to School With Club Ride”, “Women’s Self Defense Class” and “Pie Your Professor in the Face Day”

2) I volunteered with Habitat For Humanity on an alternative Spring Break

3) I moved to a new house near the water street district, living with only women now.
4) I went on the First Baptist Church Ladies Retreat to Flagstaff, Arizona

5) I formed closer bonds with women in my church, particularly Amanda and Irene

6) I hiked two mountains and spent time hiking in the Valley of Fire

7) I graduated from the College of Southern Nevada with my Associates Degree, and after updating my transcript realized that I graduated with honors.

8) I was accepted to the State University of New York, Buffalo

9) I moved back to Saugerties, N.Y.

10) I traveled to Buffalo for two days and was given a job as a Marketing Intern for an oil company, and a waitressing job at TGI Fridays, and scouted a new place to live.

I couldn't have said it any better myself so I did.

I am leaving Vegas one person at a time.

For the past two or three weeks I’ve watched several of my closest held relationships go up in smoke, others smolder, some dry out like so much desert grass, and I’ve found a lighted match in my hand.

First Friday, Sept 2006

What was the point of living here in Nevada? The mountains echo emptiness, even hopelessness; what kind of person am I that I should leave more disconnected than when I first arrived? And what kind of ghost, come and gone, once entertaining, whispering, haunting, but unable to hold or be held for very long, just moving on and again on, to new people, on new weekends…

Lake Las Vegas, Oct 2009

What’s gotten into me? Is it New York? It’s not the countryside or the fact that there’s actual air and actual water, although those are the enduring qualities of my beloved home state which I trumpet like an infatuated lover. Knowing its geography, you’d probably ask me, was it the memory of the Adirondacks or the Catskills, the Hudson or the Mohawk, the forests or the hills? Considering my romantic nature you’d surely ask what man. What flame has lured me, bid me climb again across the jagged Rockies, fly between rows of endless corn on endless roads, drive alone if I must, nothing but wild-wind-hair and sounds of a pitifully lacking cd collection or static? You wouldn’t believe how much static one must endure between coasts; it’s entirely part of the challenge.

95 S to Boulder City, March 2009

Reader, it’s not New York, it’s not a someone or something or someplace special.

Disengaging is a matter of seeing Nevada as it really is. I look at the strip as I drive down Boulder Highway, home from school, I frown, like I do at pictures of prom 2006, pictures posed with a young man who I’ll never speak to again, I frown like I do passing Mountain Vista Drive knowing that I needn’t turn right or left, both ways I’m unwanted, and I frown like I do looking at the ash blue mountains thinking of what happens when good friends decide to be honest about things you’d really rather them not. So many good memories turned utterly forgettable.

Grand Canyon, Oct 2009

Vegas is brutally honest about the human condition. If there’s anything I’ve learned while I was here, it’s that people are far more messed up than I’d like to believe. Vegas is a man who got the best of me. Vegas tried to pay me for my time, saying it was worth it, but I don’t accept hush money. Do you want to know why I’m leaving Vegas? Vegas doesn’t have any plans for me, and makes me feel trapped- I really am that mouse in a jar that I always talk about. I remember when Vegas didn’t grab the defibrillator when I was on the ground convulsing from heartbreak, yes and he also forgot our anniversary, he didn’t even look on horrified, he walked away not sure what would happen to me, never knowing how the situation would “resolve itself”. And now as my heart wages war on my mind, I carefully divide what’s mine and what’s his, draw the line in the sand, and no one is stepping over to my side because I also happened to have released dogs onto the crowd and strung barbed wire, thick on the high black link fence so I don’t have to watch, still I feel it.

I have my “Associate of Arts Degree with no emphasis” and my car, and I’m leaving. Ask anyone who knew me and they’ll tell you I’m already gone. Ask anyone in New York and they’ll say I’ve not yet arrived. Mentally, I’m somewhere in between here and there. I blow out this match in the dark, this last light, and as the grey smoke tail drifts on air and wraps around where my body used to stand you’ll suddenly notice I’ve left you also, without saying goodbye. But just in case the lingering smoke doesn’t speak for itself, I’ll say what you’ve been half expecting from me this whole time.

I’ll miss you.

Content by Laura Gabriele