Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Writing Exercise: Sensory Experience

As some of you might already know, I'm taking a novel-writing correspondence course through Writer's Digest School.  One of my recent homework assignments was a writing exercise in which I had to describe a sensory experience related to a scent.  I was rather pleased with the results, so I decided to share them below.  Feedback is, of course, always welcome.

Sensory Experience:  Night-Blooming Jasmine Body Cream from Bath & Body Works (my always and forever favorite scent!)

This scent lunges into my nostrils, and suddenly it’s summer. 
And all I know is heat.

A deep plum and wine velvet caressing the back of my mind, while my eyes see greens in shades from fresh jade to lime sunlight trying to penetrate shy new foliage.  And, where heavy, low-hanging branches droop to sweep their tendrils across ticklish tips of grass: a deep green of near-black tinges the shadows.  And still, all I know is this heat, heavy with maroon moisture, clinging to my body, dripping deep into crevices and sliding slowly across curves.  The cloying spice of my own sweat swathing my arms and chest.

I smell jasmine, and my heart rushes faster, and a heat of another kind coils itself in the center of my body, ready to burst from my fingertips.  I smell jasmine, and my breath quickens.  Tingle of anticipation fingering my lower back and along my hairline at the nape of my neck. 

I smell jasmine, and suddenly it’s summer, and anything can happen.

Monday, July 26, 2004

blogare humanum est

Just seemed like a fun thing to say.  ;o)

joyful thoughts

Really and truly, I must learn to trust God to take my worries and bring them to an end when he knows it's the right time.

When I made my last post, I was spiritually miserable, worried that I would never have the opportunity to make things right again.  Only rarely do I fool myself about the reality of death--I know that it can come unexpectedly, and I should live my life as if every passing moment were the only moment I have.  I think that if I were genuinely aware of the immediacy of death, that awareness would keep me from some of my more foolish words and rash mistakes.

I'm laughing at myself as I write this.  I even wrote an article on this subject: theorizing that humans are the only creatures in the created world--both spiritual and physical--who can both think about death as well as die.  Angels can think about death, but they can't die.  Animals can die, but they can't contemplate their own mortality.

When a human forgets to consider the reality of death, that human makes himself into nothing more than an animal. 

Evolution, if such a concept exists, has nothing to do with it.
Thinking has everything to do with it. 

So when I forget to think about death, I make myself into an animal.

That hurts.

At any rate, I believe that was one reason I was in such spiritual misery when I made that last post.  I remembered the reality of death--and worried that one way or another, death could prevent my ever making that wrong right again.

Single mistakes have a way of creating harmful ripples that spread and become wider and more destructive as they move ever outward, spreading from person to person.  A single harsh word today could turn into a terrible act of hatred many years from now, far away, by someone I've never even met.

If I sin against someone in this life, I want the opportunity to ask forgiveness and heal the relationship.  I don't want to live the rest of my life with an unforgiven sin.  And I don't want the other person to have to live with it, either.

I haven't been able to atone completely, yet.  That will only happen over time, as I earn back the trust that I destroyed.  But at least I received the chance to ask for forgiveness and received that forgiveness, as well.  At this point, I can't ask any more than that, and I am satisfied.

Here's the irony:  My opportunity to apologize came just minutes after I posted my last entry in this blog.  I've no idea if there was a connection between the two events....But still, this proves to me once again that God is in control over every situation.  He has a handle on things that I will never have.  Here I was, making myself sick with worry, wondering if it were going to be weeks or months or longer before the healing could start in this relationship.....And all the while, God knew that the start of the healing process was just around the corner.

Patience and faith.  I have so much more maturing to do in order to learn both.  I'm thankful God is giving me the opportunity.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

painful thoughts

Pain immobilizes.  Whether the pain is physical, emotional, or spiritual makes no difference.  When we hurt, we don’t want to move, for fear of jarring the wound and causing agony to flare up.  Emotional and spiritual pain can cause even greater physical immobility than physical pain can.  And when we hurt, we lie motionless in the dark, hoping and sometimes crying for the pain to stop.  The only movement we can make is to wipe ineffectually at a tear.

Thus, time passes until we can move again—until we can move forward again—and then, we discover that the pain has changed us…sometimes for the better, and sometimes for the worse.

Pain immobilizes.  And pain changes us.  Irrevocably.

I have made a mistake, and, as of this moment, I can’t do anything to make it right.  I have made a serious mistake—I have sinned against a friend—and because of circumstances and the severity of my mistake, I can’t make it right.  Considering what I’ve done, it feels selfish even to mention that *I* am in pain over this…But how can I discuss another person’s pain when I can’t even talk to that person?

So the only thing left for me is to express my own pain—and this feels like an appropriate place to do that, since nothing in my head or in my heart makes sense to me until I’ve put it in writing.  It’s a new experience for me, not being able to make something right after I’ve done something wrong.  Seems that when I’ve hurt someone in the past, I’ve always been in a position to ask their forgiveness and show them that I’m truly sorry.  Perhaps it took some time for me to win back that person’s trust…but at least, in those past situations, I had the opportunity to do so.

Now, I don’t have that opportunity.  I’m not even in a position to try.  I can’t make it right, and I feel completely helpless.  I’ve asked the person’s forgiveness, and I’ve asked God’s forgiveness.  Intellectually, I know that I’ve done what I need to do…  But I also know that it’s not necessarily enough.  Building up the trust in the relationship is the priority now, but I don’t have the chance to do that.  I can’t fence myself in and comfort myself with the knowledge that I’ve done what I need to do by asking forgiveness.  Yes, by the letter of the law, I’ve done the right thing in being repentant and asking forgiveness, both of God and of my friend.  However, I’m not a Pharisee.  And I know that the letter of the law is not nearly enough.

In spite of the fact that I’ve asked forgiveness, this sin is still on my conscience because I can’t start building the relationship up again.  It’s causing me pain because I know I’ve caused my friend pain, and I can’t do anything to alleviate that pain.  My own pain is immobilizing me.  This is still on my conscience, and it is ever before me.  It is affecting every aspect of my life.  I understand now why Jesus told his followers to “leave their gifts at the altar and be reconciled to their brother” if their brother had something against them.

My friend has something against me, and I cannot worship God in good faith until I’ve made it right again.  Unless I can make it right, the pain will continue to immobilize me, and I won’t be able to move forward.  I want to lie in the dark and wait for it to go away.  Though I know that ignoring it and hoping it will disappear is never the answer.

Maybe you think that I only want to heal the relationship because it will make *me* feel better.  I won't deny it--I do want to rid myself of this pain.  But will you believe me when I say that without this friendship, my world is a lesser place?  And that I want to heal the friendship for the sake of helping my friend stop hurting?  I hope you can believe that.

I am truly, deeply sorry for my harsh words, my selfish attitude, my pride, and my attempt to heal the breach in a frivolous manner.  I am truly, deeply sorry that I have not been the kind of friend that I expect others to be for me.  I am truly, deeply sorry that I have been the kind of hypocrite I have always disdained.  I honestly don’t know what else to do other than to say I’m sorry.  I’m sorry.  Please forgive me.

Friday, July 16, 2004

Dream #63

Sinkholes and Psychopaths  
recorded January 16, 2004

Last night I dreamed that I was just starting college somewhere.  I was living off-campus with several other students in a huge, ancient villa or mansion.  Daddy was at the house with me, and we were just leaving to go to my freshman orientation.  We were at the car, together with (real-life friends from OC) Dave and Caryn and their daughter.  I realized that I hadn’t locked up my cat, Ripley, so I went back into the house to look for her.

When I got inside the house, I looked back outside and saw that Dave and Caryn’s babysitter had arrived.  She was very tall and had her hair done up in a very fancy hairstyle.  She was also one of my housemates.

I couldn’t catch Ripley, so Daddy came back inside to help me.  First we couldn’t catch her, because she kept running away from us; then, we couldn’t even find her.  Finally, I caught a glimpse of her outside in the wheat field that stood next to the house.

I stepped outside through some folding glass doors and walked into the wheat field.  Someone had set a trap to catch snow leopard kittens, and I found one of them caught in the trap.  It was pleading with me to set it free, but then a man in a clown costume drove up in a rickety old car that looked like something a dogcatcher would drive.  The clown threw the snow leopard kitten into the back of his car and drove away.

I kept walking through the field until I’d circled around toward the front of the house.  Several people were moving down a wooden walkway that lead from the house out into the field.  I joined them on the walkway.  I knew that sections of it were prone to disappearing, and if a section disappeared while we were on it, we would fall into a deep pit.  Together with several others, I left the walkway and stepped back into the field.  There was a tiny path leading through the wheat, and we followed it for awhile.  We had to be careful where we stepped, because there were sinkholes that would suddenly appear beneath us.  Most of the sinkholes were shallow, only several feet deep.  But at one point, I turned around just in time to see the lady behind me fall into a hole that was twenty or thirty feet deep.

Several of my companions gathered around the hole and looked in, but I stayed away because I knew something terrible was about to happen.  The woman who’d fallen in was shouting up at us that she was okay.  But then we started hearing sounds like a huge animal growling and shrieking down inside the hole.  I think the woman screamed once, and then there was silence, and I knew that something had eaten her.  I got back up onto the wooden walkway and started helping several people who were trying to build another walkway on top of the other one.  This new walkway would hold us up if a section of the old walkway just disappeared. 
I began to realize that these people and the clown from earlier were all completely crazy, and they were trying to drag me down into their insane reality.  It seemed like the dream tried to shift backward into the scene when I was looking for Ripley, but everything was too hazy for me to see what was really happening.  Then the dream ended.

Dream #51

Lyme Disease Has Turned Me Into a Paranoiac…..I HATE TICKS!!!!!
recorded July 31, 2003
Last night I dreamed that Ed and I were spending the night at someone else’s house.  We were lying in bed, and the light in the room was very dim.  I was looking up at the ceiling…except that it wasn’t really a ceiling.  There were about ten or twelve screen doors that had been laid across the rafters, and they formed a ceiling of sorts.  Then I realized that there was at least one cat sleeping on each screen door.

In the dream, I started worrying that the cat had ticks that might fall off onto us as we slept.  This thought woke me up, and the dream ended.

However, I spent the rest of the night half-awake/half-asleep, worrying that since Grandpa Weger works outside a lot, he might bring ticks into the house and they might get on me.  (We’re in Lawton right now.)  I never really went back to sleep the rest of the night, because every time I dropped off, I started dreaming about ticks again.



Dreams shmeams

Well, since it seems that a blog post may be about anything, I’m going to plod on in my developing theme of Extreme Randomness and post two excerpts from my dream journal. 
I have always had extraordinarily vivid dreams—even when I was three or five years old, I was already having dreams of such detail that I can still remember them today.  I always dream in color.  Often, I am someone else in my dreams, experiencing the dream events from another person’s point of view.  Since I speak English and German fluently, I dream in both languages (English more than German, though.  Once, I even dreamed in French, though after waking, I had no comprehension of what I’d dreamed about.)  Sleepwalks have occurred, but only rarely—as far as I know!  ;o)  However, I talk, cry, laugh, and flail about on a regular basis while I’m asleep.
My husband Ed says that I have a big IMAX movie theater in my head at night, while all he has is a big, empty warehouse.  ;o)  But I think he gets the more restful sleep!
Almost three years ago, I began writing down my dreams as I remember them.  I give them a date, a number, and a title.  To date, I’ve recorded almost 70 distinct dreams. Of course, I’ve had many more than that during the last three years….but I record only the ones I remember well.  (The Duke claims this is a waste of time, but I say it’s an amusing, entertaining, and personally illuminating pastime.)  ;o) 
 The following two posts are excerpts from my dream journal.  Please don’t think I’m completely crazy.  (Only judgments of partial insanity, please.)  ;o)  Feedback is more than welcome.

Thursday, July 15, 2004


Well, I tried to figure out how to post a picture in one of these things......  I went through (I thought) all the necessary steps, then hit "upload."  The nice little window told me, "Loading now, please wait," or something like that, and then the nice little window turned a lovely shade of white,and nothing else transpired.  This, of course, leads me to believe that I did something wrong somewhere.  No clue what.  Oh well, maybe I'll get lucky and April (chemnitzchronicles.blogspot.com) will solve the mystery tomorrow and let me in on this most important secret in the elusive world of blogging.
"Blog" is one of the new words I've learned recently.  It's not a particularly new word, but I, personally, haven't used it very much, so it's still somewhat new to me.  I'm delighted that it functions as both a verb and a noun.  Now, I'll be looking for opportunities to use it as an adjective and an adverb.  For instance:
I feel the urge to write in my blog today.  =  I feel bloggy today.  (bloggy = adjective)
The adverbial variant of "blog" would, of couse, be "bloggily," which demands somewhat more creative thinking when one is considering actual use of said adverbial variant.  Hmm........the wheels are turning....
I received an email from Fran yesterday, and it was more like a blog than a letter.  =  In Fran's email yesterday, she wrote rather bloggily.  (bloggily = adverb)
Ahh, I feel better now.  ;o)
Another new word is the curious term "metrosexual," which I find highly amusing.
And, my third recent favorite, "janky."  My introduction to this multi-functional word I owe to Mandy, who used it pretty much on her very first day here in Chemnitz.  I love this word!  It can mean anything, and flexibility is one of the top qualities I look for in an adjective.
I'm going to scare you now by stating that I am absolutely serious about the aforementioned statements.  ;o)
In other news, I recently found out that Alice Cooper lives.  This surprised me, because I hadn't heard anyone mention Alice Cooper in years.  What surprised me even more was the realization that I really like his song "Poison."  I guess that makes me a heathen, but oh well.  Such is life.  ;o)
And now, I am going to bed so that I can (a) be conscious for the daily morning meeting with Ed, Clint, and April in about 9 hours and (b) have energy for the aerobic workout that I hope will take place sometime tomorrow.  I want to make "Buns of Steel" my friend, but it is a relationship that moves forward only very slowly and is often trying.  ;oP

Something new to do....

Well, hm. This is interesting. I've never had an online journal--or blog, whatever--before, so this is a new experience. But I'm always up for new experiences (within reason, that is.....you perverts get your minds out of the gutter!) ;o) so that's a good thing. I guess one could say this is an experiment. I can't seem to manage to write in my private journal on a regular basis, so let's see if I can keep an online journal frequently updated for all my voyeur friends and family. ;o) (Sorry, I've had a lot of coffee today, hence the rambling and silly nature of this particular post. I promise, you'll get to see me on pedantic off-days as well.)

So.....what does a girl talk about on/in (What's the correct preposition? Do I write in a blog or on a blog? What are the correct parts of sentence structure to go with this relatively new term "blog"? [If nothing else, you now know that I'm a nerd. {And that I like parentheses.}]) one of these blog things? I hate to talk about just the weather and health-related issues....

....However, the weather has weighed heavily on my mind of late. It's cold here in the lovely green land of Deutsch. Currently, yes, it is July. And currently, yes indeed, we are having weather of the October variety. This is a great source of frustration for me. I.e., IT'S DRIVING ME BATTY! I WANT SUNSHINE!!! I DON'T WANT TO WEAR SWEATERS IN JULY ANYMORE!!!!!!! There, I feel better. I'm trying not to think about the lovely 100°F temeratures in Oklahoma.....it makes me homesick. Actually, I'm trying not to think of OK/TX much at all...I'm missing too many friends and family, and dwelling on that kind of homesickness just makes me sad. Not that I'm bottling it up...but I'm not allowing myself any pity parties.

...Related to that, I've started reading "Cross-Cultural Reentry: A Book of Readings" by Clyde Austin. I can't decide if what I'm experiencing is culture shock or cultural reentry shock...or both. I don't much want to go into that right now...I want to let it circle around in my head for awhile before I put thoughts into words. But I'll probably talk about it again at some point in the future.

Well, I think that's enough for a first entry. Or too much, you're probably thinking. ;oP But I'm gonna post this and see what it looks like and see what I think about the whole thing and so forth.