Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sometimes it is overwhelming to love so much.

If I were crazy about just one thing, I could pour myself into that and that alone. I could hone my skills and dedicate my time to it.

But I like so many things. I feel a little spread thin.

There's the book to think about ... think about, work on, discuss with Anna, write another scene. I wish that I could spend more time with it, to be honest. If you were to ask me what I've been up to, THIS is what I have been up to. I have random moments where I'll suddenly think, "Toast. This scene needs to have toast in it." Then I will have to go find that scene and somehow manuever some peanut butter toast into the mix. It's kind of strange, I know. I talk about my characters and their struggles with my roommate, and I keep my ears tuned for anything funny that my co-workers say at work that could somehow wriggle itself into the text.

I haven't even been a very good friend lately. I've been so focused on the book. But I know and love so many people, and I feel like I need to keep those plates spinning.

I love my small group. LOVE. Those girls are such a blessing to me. Still, I always need to be thinking about our next meeting. Thank goodness I've had so much help this semester with wonderful guest speakers (Kristin, Jessica, Dora, Tracy, and--tomorrow--Eir)!!

Always something going on with work. And often, it's not just a little something, but a biggish something -- like preparing a message to share with a youth group or school chapel. Right now I get a little break from those things, but I'm taking on some new responsibilities too, so ... busy busy.

I am attempting to prepare a class worthy of the senior highers who will sit through it. I have seven pages of curriculum and eleven books checked out about Luke 15 and Jesus' parables. This is probably my most stressful thing currently.

There's so much I want to read! I am in the middle of Order of the Phoenix, Devil in the Details (about OCD), Irresistible Revolution (getting put on the backburner since it stirs me up), and Run with Horses. I have nine things requested at the library right now.

I am driving four hours down to Sioux City, IA, for Danae's wedding on Saturday--and four hours back the same day! I decided just to hammer it out. I've also just purchased tickets to fly to PA to see Megs and Jordan for a few days. I had imagined that this visit would take place after camp--and thus, my class would be over with--but instead it's right before, so I have the added stress of needed to prepare for camp and my class while I'm on vacation.

I'm a part a community group with some other members of Trinity City Church's launch team. This doesn't take too much time or effort, but it's just another thing added to the stew. A terrific thing, and I am LOVING it. Plus we meet at the Lairs, so ... sweet babies too!! :-)

Blah, you all probably just thinking I'm a whiner. Maybe I am. It's wonderful, though, loving so many things. I just feel very stretched. I would love to take a month and just read-read-read all the wonderful things that I am interested in. But then I would miss my book. I want to write-write-write and focus on nothing else for awhile, but then I would miss my friends. I want to be a good friend, but if I don't have any alone time I will go mad. So, you see, it just kind of needs to be a balancing act.

But I do feel grateful. God, what a life You've blessed me with!

Friday, May 21, 2010

right now

I am sitting in my living room, on my couch, and in the room are two other people:

Des, a high school math teacher,


Matt, a high school math teacher.

So ... yeah. I will give you snippets of the conversation:

"Geometry ... Algebra Two ... double dose ... Trig ... Pre-Calc ... 'Alex, don't choke another student' ... failing miserably ... getting A's ... normal ed kids in a special ed classroom ... grade easy ... I am sexually attracted to numbers."

Ok, so not the last thing. Made that one up. But math teachers, I tell ya. I kind of want to ask a question like, "So what do you think of Goldbach's Conjecture?" or "What is a factorial exactly?" just to see where the conversation goes. I wonder if they'd like to watch an episode of NUM3RS with me.

I love the way Des' mind works. She was listening to Supertones lyrics: "My thoughts are like a circle with Jesus in the middle." She started to think about it geometrically, like with concentric planes or something like that. Now that is funny.

Matt just said, "Ooooh ... trig identities! I LOVE trig identities!"

I want to roll around on the floor laughing.

They would probably feel the same way if they listened to me with my writing friends. "Similes ... metaphors!! Imagery!!" We are big nerds too. I just want to clarify that I know that, so don't anyone get mad at me for teasing math nerds. I am an English geeks. It's all good.

***this is much later*** Now they are having a math argument ... something about elimination and combining like terms, and there is laughter resting right on top of my stomach, threatening to escape, and I think I'm just going to let it out. Kay, that's all.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

picky typing

I starting writing seriously in high school, and even though all my poems were terrible and immature and image-less and revolved entirely around my future romance with Zac Hanson, no one else around me was writing anything better. When I was in tenth grade, the high school got internet access, and every student was given an email address. Since email was an entirely new concept to all of us (and to the rest of the world), we emailed each other. That is, other students in the high school. While they were sitting in the same computer lab. “Hey Terri!” I would yell to the back of the lab until she looked up. “Go check your email! I just wrote to you!” “Okay!” she’d holler back. We were too fascinated with this new way of passing notes to recognize the irony.

One study hall, with a pass to the lab, I was emailing Terri, who sat beside me, probably emailing me. I wrote:

Hey Terri,
We should probably look into the cost of renting an RV for our big roadtrrip.

I caught the extra r right away, but as I moved my pinkie to backspace to the offending letter, something struck me. I was going to delete the i and the p as well—and they hadn’t done anything wrong. They didn’t deserve to be deleted in such a quick, thoughtless manner—I mean, just because there was an extra, useless r in the word didn’t mean that I had to get rid of the original i and p as well. They were serving their purposes just fine, and there was no need to—in a sense—fire and replace them when they were in the right spots, doing the right things.
Instead of backspacing, I reached for my mouse, moved the cursor to highlight the second r (the first one had the most right to be there as it had gotten there first) and then deleted just that letter.

Sure, it had taken five or six seconds instead of one or two, but wasn’t it worth the extra time to see justice done?

This is the life of an obsessive-compulsive. Thankfully, this is one of the quirky, funny things and not one of the painful, hurtful things.

Monday, May 17, 2010



“When things start going better, they continue to go better.”
Dr. Kim Je Lee

“When things go wrong, you'll find they usually go on getting worse for some time;
but when things once start going right they often go on getting better and better.”
C.S. Lewis

If the doctor and the scholar are correct, then I am in for a good ride.
Today OCD is less than a pin-prick in my flesh.
Tomorrow I do not even think its name.
Next week I am liberated of all medication.
A month from now I begin my national tour of public speaking:
“My Life as a Free Woman: Living OCD-Free.”

Within a year, I am married to a man in ministry/part-time model,
editors plead for my poems, and my size two blue jeans are loose.
In the evening, after I set aside my notebook of brilliance,
I turn to my charming husband, and I say, tentatively,
“There was a time in my life when I used to have troubles.”

Then we laugh—because what does that even mean?
Tomorrow we are throwing a party for all our closest friends,
and we cannot be bothered with memories
of by-gone days that did not love us
as we are loved now.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

a letter to my alone time

Dear, dear alone time ...

How I have missed you this weekend! While I thoroughly enjoyed the company I kept this weekend in a large northern Minnesota cabin, I definitely missed you. I missed our times together, spent reading or writing or just chilling out max, relaxing all cool. That said, I'm very excited for our time together this week! See you SOON!


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

hello facebook?

I am wondering if my blog will now be imported to Facebook. Watch out, world.

it's nice to be sure of something

When I realized that my favorite color was red, I wanted to make it a national holiday. You see, so many things in my life are so often unclear, so when something certain occurs in my life, I want to throw a parade. I wanted to hire a big band that would play the blues, only in a sassy, feverish way, and we would call them “the reds.” I wanted to break out my old high school trumpet and play a fanfare, calling all attention to myself for my big announcement: “Red. It’s my favorite.” I wanted to buy red dresses, make red art, take color crayons and find the perfect shade of scarlet and then carry it around in my purse. Whenever I could fill out an “about me” section online, I would write, “I am Jackie Lea, and my favorite color is red.” I wanted to have a “Red is My Favorite Color” party. I was absolutely thrilled to know something with certainty, to have no doubt. Blue had once won me over, and yellow was still important to me, but somewhere along the way, red stepped to the front of the line. When I looked up and noticed that it was on the winner’s podium, I stood to my feet with raging applause. “Let’s go around the room and say something interesting about ourselves.” “Okay, me first. I’m Jackie, and my favorite color is RED-RED-RED!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

posty posterson

Just trying to get back into the swing of things, into the habit of posting.

My friend Tracy is at 40 weeks in her pregnancy, and I'm the on-call babysitter for their 2-year-old Emma if Trace goes into labor ... I'm so excited! I can't wait for Lair Baby to come join us.

It's really so strange how I'm at such a different stage of life right now than many of my friends. Many are married, having children, living a very different life than I lead. And I like mine. I do. And I love that I get to love their sweet babies.

I don't know. It's just weird. My friends have been married for years and years, and I'm nowhere near it. (Or am I ... Lord? :-) ) Oh well. I'm writing a book. They are popping out babies and I have a baby of my own. They measure in inches, and I measure in pages. :-)

I'll be done now.

Monday, May 10, 2010

there once was a boy

whom i loved.

but he did not love me back, only a little bit.

just the tiniest bit to make me keep hoping.

one day i got sick of it.

i told him that i would always care about him, but i couldn't chase the friendship anymore.

the end of our friendship was very civil.

here is the saddest part of that story:

i still miss him.

Sunday, May 09, 2010


“Have you ever been to a tenebrae service?”
“Like around Good Friday? Yeah, I went to one at my church last year.”
“Tenebrae is Latin for ‘shadows’ or ‘darkness.’ What was your service like?”
“Well, seven votives were lit on the stage, and after each one of the seven last statements of Christ on the cross was read, one light was extinguished until we all stood in the dark there in the sanctuary and sang a hymn.”
“Imagine the darkness of that original Good Friday,” she said. “Think about it. Imagine being a Christ-follower standing there beneath the cross on the very day He died. This Man who had made such mighty promises is nailed to a tree and is dead. If I were there, I think I would weep at the base of that cross until my tears dried up and I simply sat in shock, staring at a dead body, hanging limp. Should I go home? Should I stay? What is the use of anything now? How will I readjust to life without purpose?”
“You’d feel like you lived a day too long, and now there is nothing for you,” I said.
“Exactly,” said Judy. “I bet those early Christians—in the interim darkness between the cross and the resurrection—could understand your misery.”
I waited. I was missing the point.
“On Sunday morning, Christ rose from the dead and conquered death!” she said. “Victory was just around the corner.”
“The cross—that looked like the end of all hope that Good Friday—is now the symbol of hope for Christians today. We rejoice over the cross.”

Saturday, May 08, 2010


Over the past several months, some of the craziest/worst/stressful times have -- looking back -- been such lovely opportunities to trust Christ. I, of course, try to trust Him at all times, but as Scripture says, His strength is made perfect in my WEAKNESS. I am grateful that with Jesus, hard times can still be sweet.

Every August, I used to go to the Valleyfair amusement park in Shakopee and spend the day with camp friends. I remember one year (right before college, maybe?) when I finally decided to go on the Power Tower.

The Power Tower is a vertical thrill ride where riders are raised 250 feet into the air and then are plunged into a freefall at about 50 mph. You experience at least three seconds of weightlessness.

I was absolutely terrified and -- to be honest -- not quite sure how my friends had suckered me into this. Now, I'm not a coward, but I don't do always do so well with anticipation. I am scared of giant roller coasters not because of the tremendous drop but because of the long, slow, clicking climb to the top. There is too much anticipation. (Why can't roller coasters just start at the top? I seem to remember the Six Flags roller coasters doing this -- what a smart idea!) So the idea of getting strapped into a ride that would slowly raise you VERTICALLY up 250 feet into the air with the ONLY "reward" being that I could leave my stomach far behind ... well, it wasn't my favorite part of the day.

So, you take off your shoes and sit on this black plastic slat jutting out from the machine and get harnessed in, and then you're off. The slow, killer ride to the top.

I remember sitting at the top of the Power Tower, looking out over Valleyfair as the sun was setting, and the best way to describe how I was feeling at that moment was


But it was up there at the ride paused for what seemed like MINUTES, with the "fatal" drop looming ahead (or beneath!) me, I realized, God, I need You to get me through this. I need YOU to sustain me. I was surrounded by friends, but I felt it was just me and God up there on the top of the Power Tower. Me, glutted with anticipation and fear, and God -- and the knowledge that I had nothing to lean on but Him.

Meh, it probably sounds like a silly experience to you. I'm not sure how to describe it in a way that really captures how I felt at that moment, but I have never forgotten those stolen moments with my Savior up in the Shakopee sky. I guess that my point is that hard times can make us lean into God in ways that we just naturally DON'T when life is peachy. Hard times can really be so sweet.

These past few months have given me some hard-but-sweet opportunities to rely on Christ. They're incredibly uncomfortable, but it is such a lovely thing to be held by my Savior.

Monday, May 03, 2010

i am a terrible blogger.

maybe if I knew that people were following my blog, i would blog with more consistency.

so's you knows ... i've been working on the novel a lot lately. every day, actually. it feels good to be consistent. i'm reminded often of how much work is left on the book. i go from feeling wildly excited ("I wrote a BOOK!") to very overwhelmed ("...and it is not accomplishing all I want"), but it drives me to prayer ("Lord, make it all that YOU want!"), so that is a good thing. The entire process over the last two years has been intertwined with my relationship with Christ. my hope is that the final product (someday in the far away future) will honor Him-- that it will be something that He and I have written together, something that makes Him happy.

it has a long way to go.

currently reading: Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne (thoughts, anyone?) and Running with Horses by Eugene Peterson and The Last Unicorn by Peter Beagle.

just finished: Goblet of Fire (relax, it's only my second time through the series!) and Imperfect Birds by Anne Lamott.

next up: Crazy Love by Francis Chan. It's been pretty hyped up to me, so we'll see how it goes!

i miss people. i miss camp people. i miss the shadow of a boy.

i wish i had more time. Jesus, make me productive in the 24 hours You grant me each day.