Oh, Book 5 Harry, How Similar We Are!?!

I have been re-reading the Harry Potter series, because I am cool and I have chosen fictitious friends over real people ;)! This weekend I completed book 5 . If you remember, book 5 is the one where Harry is in a bad mood the WHOLE time. You want to yell at him to "SNAP OUT OF IT!", but you know he can't hear you because you have tried before and, well, it didn't work.

Ok, ok, so Harry's in a bad mood the whole time, but more than just being cranky, he is angry.  Sometimes his anger turns to uncharacteristic rage.  In fact, throughout the book Harry is resentful towards Dumbledore who he presumes no longer cares for him. The few times he is with Dumbledore, Harry has an overwhelming desire to hurt him (he also thinks he is a snake).  Harry is weird, but is, usually, one of the good guys. He shouldn't be filled with rage or a desire to kill people. It is crazy. Again, yelling at him, won't change how this tragic tale goes down. Harry is mad. Harry is filled with impulses to hate and kill.

Oh, book 5 Harry, how similar we are!  I don't want to kill people, well not usually, but over the past few weeks I have been annoyed and critical of EVERYONE.  Seriously, none of you (my loyal readers) have measured up to my standards. I hate to be the one to tell you, but someone had to. You have failed me, because you didn't call when I needed to talk, or because you did call when I didn't want to talk. You were cranky when I was happy, and then happy when I was cranky. You were too picky, too flirty, too prudish, too holy, too sinful, and just didn't measure up to me, book 5 Brittany. I know, you want to yell, "Snap out of it!" You actually probably should because I am a real person and can hear you, although not over the blog.

Anyway... at the end of book 5, Dumbledore reveals his reasons for avoiding Harry, loving protection.  Dumbledore knew that Harry could feel the thoughts and desires of his arch nemesis, Voldemort. Voldemort was flooding Harry's mind with desires to hurt Dumbledore. Since Harry did not take seriously the warning to protect himself against the infiltration of Voldemort's lies, he was unable to distinguish between his thoughts and Voldemort's.

If you have been tracking with my extremely dorky analogy, you probably know where this is going. Sometimes we are jerks, because life has hurt us and we don't feel like being positive anymore. In those times we are most susceptible to the lies of the enemy whose desire is to divide and conquer.  He tells us every awful thing about everyone around us. We begin to lift ourselves above every other person, leaving only feelings of isolation and pride. It's a miserable place.

I am choosing to live in the truth of the last 10 pages of Harry Potter 5, where the problem is revealed and Harry finally "SNAPS OUT OF IT!"

For those of you who are dorkier than myself and are actually angry that these aren't images from Harry Potter: The Order of Phoenix, I need you to Let it Go!

When I Growl Why Do You Still Try to Pet Me?

When I was 12 I was sort of a self proclaimed puppy whisperer.  I had never met a dog that didn't love me. I knew God wanted me to be a vet, despite the fact that He had made me brutally allergic. One day I biked over to a boy's house. I was standing awkwardly in his foyer when I saw his sweet little puppy, Brandy.  Since I was the puppy whisperer, Brandy made me feel safe. I didn't even notice her growls as I approached, or her teeth chomping as my hand reached in to pet her head.

I bled for 7 hours.

I now notice when a puppy is growling.

I thought about this story the other morning. I have never exactly been what people would call a "morning person."  My college roommates used to avoid me until hmm about lunch time. When I started drinking coffee in 2007, they made me pledge I would never quit. My best friend used to spy and check out how much coffee I had consumed before trying to speak with me in the morning.  My morning face exudes hatred and hostility.

Ok so I don't know what is happening lately.  I still hate mornings. I am still unbelievably scary, and although I can't see my face, I am pretty sure it still says "leave me the heck alone" (I almost said something harsher, but edited for my classier readers ;)!  People keep trying to talk to me- pre-coffee/pre-Jesus.  Unbelievable!  The other day someone actually made a phone call in my bedroom as I was getting ready.  She literally paced around my room talking excitedly to someone else's grandma.  I didn't bite her, but I wanted to. Eventually we got in my car and she tried to make pleasant small talk which I hate equally as much as mornings.

Yesterday I was in an exceptionally bad mood.  I had my usual don't mess with me the coffee is not working face on, but people kept talking to me!  They kept asking me what was wrong or what they did.  I kept kindly saying with clinched fists "I'm just really tired and annoyed right now." They weren't getting it. They just kept talking to me.

What happened to me that people are no longer scared of me? Has my face changed? Am I just hanging out with young people who don't know the universal face of, "Leave me the H-E-double-hockey-sticks alone!"  Is this a blessing or a curse? I don't know. Endless questions are running through my head.  I don't know what face you see, or why you aren't scared, but you should be, so for your safety, please stop talking to me in the morning. NO I am not having a good day, no I don't care about what you dreamed last night, and no its nothing you did.

Ridiculous Mad Rant Because I Need Coffee & Jesus

Today I am mad. I am mad that other people's decisions change the course of my life. I am not a feminist (well maybe a little, but currently a lazy apathetic one).  I did not hold picket signs or ask for the right to vote. I was fine with being barefoot and pregnant making your dinner. Being pregnant (post first trimester) means I can eat for two without feeling guilty. Being barefoot means I never have to worry about the difficult decision of picking out shoes. Plus I actually do love to cook. (Before anyone gets offended- I am actually kidding).

I never chose to be 30 and single. Personally I think I should deflect all the unwanted insults I receive onto all the men who have rejected me. (Yes, I know I have rejected lots of men, but that doesn't help my desire to be annoyed today). So when a 20-year-old compassionately asks me why I am single, I'll give them a list of all the men they can ask instead. Or when another sweet 20-year-old tells me she is considering being a housewife, I'll ask for an application. "How do you get that job?"  Again, barefoot and pregnant is my life goal.  I am such a failure, a fact that my sweet young friends point out all the time. They love to explain to me how they are going to have children before they are 30 and no longer have enough eggs or energy to raise a family.

So today, I am mad, but still kind of a feminist. The beauty of being a woman is in the ability to have two conflicting views at the exact same time. It's like right now where I simultaneously want to eat an entire bag of Easter chocolate and do crunches. I would also like to say that I don't think any of these thoughts are real. Honestly I think I just need more coffee and a beach vacation.

He Has a Dream- I Have a Crayon

Following God in this season has been difficult to say the least. It is difficult because I have this faint image of the picture He is painting. Every day He hands me a new beautiful color to paint with,  and then He puts my brush to the canvas and tells me which number to paint.  I can not see the entire painting, only the portion that He has given me to work.

He has given so many different colors to paint with, each color making the others more vibrant. Every color represents a story, a family and life that I am so thankful to join.  I stand in awe as God continues to give me favor with a diverse world.  A part of me is confused each time a random person trusts me with their past hurts, sins, heartaches.  I am overwhelmed with the weight and love that I am privileged to carry, and I want more. I want to know every color, every story, every life. I want my painting to be filled with different shades and hues.

The church is messy, but what a beautiful mess!  Don't give me easy. Don't give me the same.  A painting with one color is no better than a single crayon. I'm going to need the box. I want to be a part of a multi-ethnic church, mentoring women of diverse backgrounds and equipping them to love their Savior for a lifetime.  This is my dream, a dream, I believe, God has given, because it is His dream, a dream that reflects His image.

First the Rain & then the Drought

I have gotten less (openly) bitter as the popularity of the blog has grown, but now that numbers are down I think it is ok to let it all out.  There was a year of my life that we nostalgically refer to as the YEAR OF MEN! Yes people, it was literally raining men.  Ok well not literally but figuratively with the force of literally.  For some reason, in that particular year, my bluntness and overall lack of feelings was deemed mysterious and endearing. The mystery was likely due to not knowing anyone else like me, since I have no secrets and am therefore the opposite of mysterious. Anyway, the year of men ended, well more like fizzled, leaving me in the year of drought.

In the year of drought my bluntness is seen as rude, and my mystery is more correctly called weird.  It has become quite normal for people to tell me that I am either weird or awkward.  Actually I find the normalcy of being called weird quite ironic, but I let people feel like they have given me some epiphany.  "Oh I am weird! I had no idea, that totally explains why I don't understand you!"  There was brief season of rain in midst of the drought that came after my 3rd cousin gave me a prayer to Saint Raphael the patron saint for the single and dejected, but for the most part... drought.

I have not decided which is better, the rain or the drought. The rain brought men, but none I wanted to keep. The drought brought nothing but that also includes no drama (no no drama, no no drama!).  I have this fishy feeling that God is sovereign over both the rain and the drought, you know like a modern Elijah.  So I sit in the drought, NOT praying for rain, but praying maybe for a rain drop, one beautifully tanned rain drop or perhaps for a job and a place to live. All 3 might be pushing my luck.

Happy Birthday Brittany!

A List Of Almost 31 Things For My Non Twin Birthday Girl

1. You are very open with your blog password. Thanks. It made it easy.
2. You're a sharer. You can't help it. I turned up on your doorstep in 2008, covered in vomit and with all my luggage stolen. You clothed me, Brittany. (That may have been painted slightly more dramatically than it happened but it's true, you can't help but sharing - your clothes, your food, your time, your life. On behalf of all those you've shared with, thank you.)
3. You're a fan of NKOTB and don't think it's strange to dress up in 80s gear and spend a night away from Bible College lining up to see them in action. Even when the rest of Chicago arrived dressed up in all their non-80s Sunday Best (though if I wore what they wore to church, I'd probably be excommunicated on the spot).
4. You hospitalitize like a pro (note the extra syllable, thankfully you dont hospitalize people like a pro,) Your door is always open, sometimes when it should be firmly shut, but still... your house is my house is their house. You taught me a lot about having a welcoming home.
5. You understand girls and women, and you have a unique gift is doing life alongside them, encouraging them in their journey with Jesus.
6. I quote you at least once a month, "Vulnerability breeds vulnerability!" I try and live like that.
7. Your hair is as wild as your personality.
8. You have the best flattest stomach I've seen and now that I am pregnant I think of it often. Hopefully that's not weird.
9. You got me through the my first few months of I-Hate-America-What's-With-All-These-American-Christians-I-Want-To-Go-Back-Home. Partly thought translating the culture for me, and partly through bonding over the oddness of it all. I'm glad we didn't ditch. God Bless The School That DL Moody Founded... and God Bless America.
10. You embrace all types of people. Fully and without question.
11. Your before and after transformation of when you meet with Jesus (and drink coffee) each morning is a daily reminder of his transforming power (and grace in giving us caffeine).
12. Your love for your family is immense. They are very blessed to call you sister/daughter/cousin/aunt/niece.
13. You love Jesus. So much. It's contagious.

... okay, sadly I'm going to have to stop there. I had a ton more to write but I spent the morning throwing up (pregnancy is hard work) and I now have to get ready for my shift. But 13 is 31 in reverse so you know the thought is there. Or something. Happy Birthday Brittany Jo. May all your dreams come true!

Your secret vomitting birthday admirer.

It's My Twin's Birthday

Yes, that is right, it is my twin's birthday.  She is turning 31.  This year I didn't forget. I tend to forget her birthday on most years. It's just that well its my birthday too, and life gets kinda crazy on your birthday. Everyone is running around saying "Happy Birthday!" or trying to eat a meal with you. Some years, the bad years, it seems like no one remembers and you spend the whole day feeling sorry for yourself. So, although I always get judgement for this,  I tend to overshadow my twin's birthday with thoughts of my own birthday, making it hard to remember her.  But... not this year.

An Ode to the Birthday Girl, 31 reasons why I prefer you over most people:

1. You are funny
2. You make me funnier
3. You love the nations, especially India
4. You love Jesus (this is actually number one but just further on the list)
5. You love old country music
6. You actually know about sports unlike all the lame wanna be girls
7. Your affinity to coffee and dark chocolate make you the girl I want to become when I grow up
8. You only open up when you are trapped (sharing a bed or car seems to do the trick ;)!
9. You are confident even if you have no idea what you are doing
10. You are super dramatic, but would never admit it
11. You are really really smart or just really self confident (see #9)
12. You are really competitive, that's why you are the better twin, you just want it more
13. One time you pretended to be an animal cracker by biting his head off and then substituting your head
14. You are weird, but not as weird as me (sorry I win there)
15. You are really good at making people feel special
16. On our first birthday apart you drove to my college and chalked "Happy Birthday" outside of my dorm room
17. You can be a jerk, on our first bday apart you did a chalk n run! I never even saw you, rude.
18. You got a great guy. He's a keeper.
19. You always held my hand during soccer when Couch P. would say if you quit you are off the team. You never let me quit, until that time I actually quit
20.  You cried when Whitney died.  America took it bad, but it couldn't compare to your grieving from India.
21. You lived in India, thus cooler than most people
22. You know sign language, sort of, at least enough to fake it
23. You read my blog, lets be honest... this is a list of 31 things... that is a big commitment
24. You hate our fat baby pics!
25. You are the only person who fights with me about dying first
26. You stuck with me through my pre-emo garbage loving curse saying morbid stage
27. You are definitely the pretty twin (despite that trick who said you had bigger thighs)
28. You cut off your hair to switch colleges with me
29.  You were the brat this year at Christmas, which means I wasn't... thanks.
30. You moved to Kansas hahaha that is always funny
31. It's your birthday and you are awesome!

For the record I postponed my birthday, but I understand if you feel you must buy me something.