A Happy Ending...

I know how the book ends. Trust me. So turn back to that page where your bookmark sits, waiting for you to live the way you were meant to live, savoring every moment.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

The New and Improved Trishy, fo' shizzle!

I've got mad street cred now...

Yes that's right, folks. I am now the proud owner of the Urban Dictionary: Fularious Street Slang Defined.

After verbal slip-ups too numerous to count, my boss made the inevitable purchase, hoping to nip the next few in the bud. He had simply had enough of my lip. You see, he eats baked chicken every day, so one day I called him a "chicken head" and apparently that has some dirty meaning that chicks like me don't know. So, he sent me to urbandictionary.com to check it our for myself. I urge you to go there my friends before you make such a slip of the tongue. Wow, did I just say "slip of the tongue" in reference to "chicken head?" I'm dirty and I didn't even know it.

Anyway, this book is great for a girl like me. Allow me to educate you on a few of the things I've been learning. PS - this is a great bathroom read. The entries are short and to the point and you learn some "mad street cred, fo' shizzle." Damn, I'm white.

do the math To give someone your telephone number, or to ask someone for their telephone number.
Ho, you be fine. Do the math for me.

(In my day, do the math meant "figure it out for yourself." Apparently, I'm light-years behind.)

chirp 1. To emit a short squeal from the tires when launching a car of changing gears. Yo, bro, I just chirped third gear in my Civiv. 2. To call someone on the phone, usually when you want a booty call or just to chill with them. Yo, I'm 'bout to chirp my slideoff, son. I'll holla at you. 3. to puke, vomit, throw up. After a long night of drinking I gotta chirp so I don't feel all hung over the next day.

bend a corner To provide transportation for; to drive by and pick up. Yo, Dave, can ya bend that corner for me, dawg?

blacklight Barbie A woman who appears much prettier in the blacklight at a party or club than she really is. Seeing Whitney in the daylight, I realized she was a total blacklight Barbie.

purse out For males only: to not do something because of a girly reason, to wuss out. Tim was going to go to the bar with us tonight, but he pursed out because he had to get up early tomorrow.

farting terms A milestone in a new relationship when both parties feel at ease when breaking wind in front of each other. You've been with that bird for a long time and you're not even on farting terms yet? Do you have to go to the bathroom every time you need to rasp?

wigger A pejorative term for a Caucasian kid who mimics the language, dress, and mannerisms of ghetto kids.
Wigger: Yo, bizzle, you best step off mah bread!
Suburban white girl: Didn't you get that do-rag at Hot Topic? And why are you wearing a FUBU shirt?
Wigger: Yeah, well...you know that's how we do...

I'm starting to feel like a bit of a wigger myself, so I think I'll end my first mad street cred lesson there. That, and I'm feeling Randy Jackson-isms creeping into my vocabulary more and more and that's just not right. Check it out dawg. Yo dawg, check it out. That man bugs the crap out of me. Seriously, I'd like to put him on mute.

So, I'm educated now. At least I know never to use the term chicken head again. Well, not to my boss anyway, although he pretty much just laughed till he hit the floor with no hard feelings. All in a day's work, my friends.

Trishy, OUT...

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Tail-Pinching, Head-sucking, and more on Traditions

It seems that my entire life is centered around traditions. I don't know if we're normal or the experiential equivalent of "pack-rats" and simply can't let anything go. But we have traditions that happen every year and I look forward to them all. Tomorrow, is perhaps my favorite of all: The Crawfish Boil. It's the best damn party this side of Louisiana.

And this year is special, because it marks our 20th Annual Crawfish Boil. We've done this thing for 20 years, in good times and bad, so this year is truly a cause for celebration. And what have we done to mark this momentous occasion? Why, we made t-shirts of course! READ: I made t-shirts. It seems that writing bubble letters and making t-shirts are my lot in life, but you don't hear me complaining. Yes, tomorrow the entire clan (13 and counting), both young and old, will be decked out in these babies. Even the new baby has a teeny-tiny one AND I made Dad an apron (he's the cook) because he's got the messiest job of all.
Our day starts early. Actually, preparations begin weeks in advance. But the big stuff happens that day. Chopping, chopping, and more chopping of vegetables for the best gumbo you'll ever taste, setting up chairs and tables, making cocktail sauce. And then, the crawfish arrive. Straight from the Crawfish Farm in Lake Charles, LA that very day, they cruise in the back of Mr. Al's truck, "big red. OK, big red as retired and it's not "big blue" the suburban, but whatever.

NOTE: environmentalists, beware. You might not want to read the next paragraph. In fact, you might not want to read my blog.

At that point, the journey toward the light begins for the crawfish. They're carried in big mesh bags and put in the grass where they get hosed down periodically. Then they take a final swim in the big aluminum tub before they're tossed into the boil. Oh, come on folks, it's what the day is all about. The kids always play with them while they are in the big tub. You've got to know just how to pick them up though - those suckers hurt! There's typically always an unfortunate pinch. Boil by boil, we cook up about 350lbs of the critters, as well as pot of gumbo big enough for me to sit in, and a vat of corn and potatoes.

The crowd begins to arrive about 4pm. Over the years, the crowd hasn't changed much. Generally speaking, once you're invited to the Crawfish Boil, you're kind of always invited. I take that back. We've made some cuts over the years - you know how friendships go. But for the most part, the guest list hasn't changed. And it's cool to see children's children now coming. Three Generations. Like I said, once invited, always invited.

Ah, the party begins. It'll go on for hours and end sometime before the next morning. Every sits down with a beer flat full of crawfish, a steaming bowl of gumbo and a tasty cold one. (I'm tipping my hat to the mayor there) Pinch the tails, suck the heads, toss them into the heep. NOTE: my dad always told me that the yellow stuff was mustard. I'll just go with that, thank you very much.

Usually by 10pm or so, my Mom is talking really loud and repeating herself. My dad looks pooped and happier than he is all year. Our eyes are all glazed over and our fingers are stained red. There's usually some dancing in the garage, (Mom says she likes to "get down.") a poker game, a floated keg and multiple beer runs following that, and few crawfish who braved the escape into the backyard, only to find out that it is enemy zone. We've had a few romances develop over the years, a broken bone, a visit from the police, spilled urine during a game of truth-or-dare (don't ask) the best damn game of hide and seek ever amidst all the cars, and much much more.

So that, my friends, is the Crawfish Boil. But the tradition doesn't end there. Nope. We wake up Saturday morning and chase a Tylenol with a coke to ward off the hangover, then gather to get the house and yard cleaned up. A little siesta, then it's time for more festivities. We all head over to Don'Keys in Pasa-get-down-dena for some awesome Mexican food and margaritas and some good laughs. I'm sure we break some commandment with all the festivities, but hey...we're a devout people and we're honest about our indulgences.

It's probably weird to have so many family traditions (and to add to the list EVERY year). I know it's weird this day and age to like your family enough to want to see them at all the events. But we genuinely like each other and love to be together for all the traditions. There are many more, but I'll tell you about those another day. They all have their own story. Our traditions make us who we are. Our traditions are sacred to us, and frankly, they are sacred to those around us.

I don't know what you're doing this weekend, but I plan to pinch a tail, suck a head, and drink a toast to YOU!

Monday, April 03, 2006

If you can get through this entire post, you're a saint (READ: a very lengthy blog)

Alas, the 2006 Youth Ministry Conference is over. After a year of prayer and meetings and phone calls and sleepless nights and excitement and victories, it happened with only a few small hitches and I simply couldn't be more pleased. For those who have no idea what I am talking about, the Youth Ministry Conference is kind of my big project of the year (along with a number of other things of course) and something I stress over but totally look forward to. Our Keynote Speaker, Holly Rankin Zaher was truly fantastic - the sessions were engaging and really built community, which is something the youth ministers in this diocese really need. I didn't know much about the Emerging Church. Honestly, it's a term that's been tossed around in every youth ministry circle I belong to, but for some reason, it scared me, and I never really explored it. I realize now that the fundamentals of it are elements of my own personal theology that have been there for years, many of which I was never able to put into words.

So yeah, my weekend was incredible. Professionally, it was a great event for this Diocese. Personally, it was a weekend of ah-has, oh yeahs, and oh crap, I have to really think about the future now. Allow me to disect...

Lex Orandi/Lex Credendi
Or, prayer shapes belief. Some of my more faithful readers might remember a story I told about going to Good News Club as a child and what a detriment, in the end, it was to my faith. When presented with the opportunity to "ask Jesus into my heart" I developed the "magic word" complex. Maybe my prayers are all wrong, maybe I didn't have the magic words, maybe Jesus wasn't in my heart. Years later, I still struggled thinking I might be doing it all wrong.

Prayer shapes our beliefs. Then our beliefs shape our prayers. It's a never-ending cycle. We have great power in our words when we pray with or for someone, when we teach a child a prayer, and when we join in the chorus of contemporary Christian music, to name a few. When we pray aloud, we speak into being a Theology that may or may not be sound. This was a real "ah-ha" moment for me.

On Wednesday, something happens
I was sitting in a workshop entitled "Hymns for the 21st Century" which was fantastic. We covered much more ground than critical analysis of music. We talked about life. The woman leading the workshop was sharing with us her experiences in running camps which focus on using the arts with kids who are severly at-risk, kids who have witnessed horrendous things in their lives, and still others who have become trapped in their own lives full of unhealthy behaviors. The concept was great. They allow the kids to express themselves through many different forms of art and music and painful truths are revealed in these works. Sounds amazing, but I posed the question of how things really go down in this idealistic picture she painted. She laughed and said, "for the first two days, it's hell. You want to give up. You think of giving up. And then on Wednesday, something happens...

This was my "oh yeah" moment. It can't always be Wednesday, when everything seems to come together and that whole idea of "everything working together for good" is much more than a nice camp slogan. Sometimes it's Monday. Sometimes life is hell and all our efforts seem useless. Sometimes it's Tuesday, and we continue to do what we did on Monday and it seems even more pointless and even more difficult. But Wednesday happens in every season of our life, just as sure as the sun rises and sets each day. Life is a cycle and happy endings often need painful and difficult beginnings. I am encouraged to press on, not just now, but in every season of my life. On Wednesday, something happens.

One more for the team
Have you ever been around those people who always have an unsought answer, debate, or opinion? Just because they talk more than the rest of us combined, doesn't mean they are any wiser. In fact, their need to always offer their own thoughts quite possibly shows some ignorance. (Ok, so this one was random, but can definitely be considered an "oh yeah" or else a "well ain't that the truth" moment.

A mountain awaits me
Literally. Sewanee rests atop a mountain. I'm getting closer to it every day and "oh crap, I really have to think about my future now." I know I've already posted on my uncertainties regarding this, but they haunt me even more now that this conference is over. I was able to medicate my worries with the details and logistics of this past weekend, but now they are resurfacing. I think I've concluded that part of the difficulty rests in the fact that I am leaving something I've really grown to love for something that really has nothing to do with. (I know it does, but work with me.) I know I am very much a part of Rich's seminary journey and this next chapter is as much mine as it is his, but this move we will make in 7 months is about his calling and his passion, not mine.

I had a moment this weekend when I looked back on the last few years of my life. I remember when I graduated from TLU, I truly mourned the loss of the "cocoon" that I knew there. I moved back to Houston and weeped at the thought that I might never be a part of something so amazing. I am a person who craves spiritual community and soul-food, beyond that which the church offers. I am a student of life. I found myself feeling so alone when I moved back here, even though I was surrounded by people I loved. I wanted to be a part of a community again that I was passionate about. At this particular moment in the conference, I finally felt like I was in that type of community again. I found kindred spirits in the most unlikely of people. For a few moments, I savored the feeling of once again being in a cocoon, and quickly, reality brought me to the realization that in 7 months, it will all be over. Once again, I'll be searching.

The beauty of the cocoon analogy (which either God gave me in that moment or my random mind came up with in its effort to make my heart feel better) is that it proves the importance of leaving it. When I'm in the cocoon, yes I'm growing and I'm being nurtured by relationships, but what good am I doing and what am I offering the world. I can't give much back when I'm in the cocoon, and I am one for action, so this is not a good place for me to stay all the time. My current job comes with it's ups and downs, that's for sure. But I realized this weekend that I am part of an amazing community...just in time to leave it. Ah, the cycle of life again. Wednesday, again.

So, I've got a mountain to look forward to. What an ironic (or not at all ironic) metaphor for my life right now. So many things to figure out. So many things to let go of and trust God instead. So many things...

and finally...
I'm so glad we aren't made from cookie cutters
I'm not sure where this realization came from, but it has given me such peace. I am referring to Rich and I. One of the most beautiful and frustrating things about us is that we fight just as passionately as we love. I'm not talking about silly fights. I'm talking about deep ones like world issues, faith, morality. I get so frustrated sometimes because we discuss these topics with such passion, but we sit at such different points on the spectrum. There had been moments when I thought that this might get the better of me. But for some reason, I had a peace come over me this weekend and I'm glad we're different. We truly challenge each other and sharpen each other "as iron sharpens iron." I can't change the fact that we are both such passionate people, and I don't want to! We may disagree sometimes, but that same passion that moves us to argue, moves us to love each other in a way that is so amazing. I often wonder if other people love each other as much as we do. Passion baby. I wouldn't trade it for the even keel any day.