from what is said to when it's read

short and unfiltered, i hope.

the week is good. mom visited over the weekend and for once, the first time that i can remember - we spent almost four days together having fun! we shopped and visited every art gallery in town, we drank coffee together. i showed her the ceramics room and all my work. we made the apartment more like a home with plants she brought and touches only a mom can impart.

scott and i made love last night, unprotected. if i'm approximating correctly, there's no chance that i'm pregnant. still, it most decidedly was not a wise choice.
only this - why is it so hard to feel pleasure anymore?
sometimes, when he's touching me and it's building up to the act, i feel a struggle taking place deep inside me. confusion about whether it's what i want, resistance to pleasure. it's almost as if something inside me won't let it be pleasant - the something inside me makes it out to be boring and even tells me that his touch is not pleasurable, and sometimes not welcome.
then the struggle surfaces to the conscious mind, coming up for air, and then i make the conscious decision to open up, let down, let in, welcome, enjoy, love. and it's wonderful and immensely pleasurable and i come into the moment and am aware and awake and there - as if i had just only woken up in the moment - and had before been struggling with shadows of nightmares.
it's a strange thing to try to describe, this struggle beneath the surface. sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn't. usually, i just don't feel sexually inclined. not the jessica i knew once upon a time.
am i just accustomed to his body? though sometimes i'm watching him have a conversation with someone, or with me, or anything - and i find myself strongly attracted to him all over again, surprised that he's mine, admiring the cut of his shoulder and the flat surface on the back of his neck.
the miracles we take for granted.

i should pray for sexual passion to return.
i hate feeling like i'm depriving him - though he says he doesn't want to do anything if it disagrees with how i feel. he's honorable.

autumn continues to seep in.
ev sent me a cd, and as per usual, i'm not sure how to reciprocate the favor. her taste in music continues to surprise me, and the moody, windy album she's picked out to send me fits this weather and this life perfectly. she has a keen sense of how music moves a soul.

the highlight of the day, perhaps - realizing that life is new when you begin to love a dog. rufus has infused my days with joy. kissing his muzzle, smelling his air and water smell is good for my spirit. his playfulness and expressiveness is a constant joy to me. i never knew loving a dog could feel so wonderful.


one for sorrow, two for joy

The weather is changing, the season has begun to spin.

Scott read my story, and we talked about it, and somehow it was completely resolved. A lover with a cut fit especially for me - he understood that my story was not an attack, it was an outlet. He said if anything, he liked me so much more for writing what I did. He likes my writing! I feel giddy, girlish that he delighted in my story, despite it's somewhat unclear properties on his and my relationship. He knew from speaking to me that what I represented of us in the story was the most fictional part, the rest of it being considerably true to life. He encouraged me to continue writing.
I explained the week I had been going through - the thing that had occurred, and how I had been psychologically spinning out, but how I had retrieved myself and resolved to trust God in marriage and in my decisions.

Candidly, I'm not sure what I think about God. No, I do have some concrete ideas about God. I know for sure God lives, and God creates, and what God breathes is beauty and truth. The thing I'm not sure about - the hang up - is Christianity, specifically, the church. As Scott said yesterday, the church and it's history are as much about politics as they are about religion. I don't know where I'm going with this. As soon as I start to ponder, I immediately feel a peace come over me. The questions about the reliability of the books of the Bible is not the point. The message is the point - and the message is about LOVE. The greatest two commandments are to love the Lord you God and to love your neighbor as yourself. This I believe.

What's eating me alive is the church we've been attending. They want so much from us! I suppose that churches have the right to ask for accountability - participation, attendance, etc. - from their members, but we are not even members. We were planning on taking that step, but I think we're both having a case of cold feet concerning the church. We are very participatory without membership - why join? We do not agree with the church on a few (important) issues. We simply love the people we've met there, and we love the community the church has created with those wonderful people. Is this a lack of commitment? Is this having your cake and eating it too? Is this shirking the responsibilities of a God-breathed life?

Also, I must remember that all is temporary.
In the short and long run.

My mom and Michael are coming to stay for the weekend. It shall be interesting. I've taken the whole weekend off of work, so at least I'll have some days off. I should make a list of things to do while they're here.
. go to breakfast somewhere - Ernie's or Cafe Berlin
. take mom to my ceramics classroom to show her my work and let her play with clay
. if they're up for it, go to shooting star trailhead and have a hike
. go out for dinner somewhere local - Addison's or Booche's
. consider painting the living room

I wonder if we'll go to church this weekend. Would they feel uncomfortable at our church? Could we get away with skipping another week? (we didn't go last week)

Other questions.
Is Jessie uncomfortable as my accountability partner? Is her marriage okay?
When will I see Ann again?
Am I gaining weight?
Will I ever complete my degree?

No. Yes. Soon. Probably. Hang in there.


i don't think you're what you seem

it was a hard week.
why do i drop into darkness for days at a time?
doubt is contagious - i start doubting one little thing, one decision, and it spreads, a virus, to everything else. mutating just enough to refuse vaccination. i should know by now - i'm 23! - that when i start feeling that doubt, to ignore it. to stick with my good decisions and block out that "what if" voice.
as i understand it - it's our sinful nature to doubt God and his works in our life. my marriage is a product of trusting God, and it is the best thing to occur in my life.

right now i feel full of grief. i feel some guilt but guilt is useless, except to humble, and i feel humbled right now. scott read my short story, which causes me to catch my breath. stories are exaggerations, and while i was writing about things happening in my life, it wasn't all truth. i feel embarrassed at the story, because it suggests that i don't have sexual feelings for him. truthfully, i've struggled with having a sex drive at all in the past year, but it's a pretty personal topic to be writing so carelessly about. i pray that scott will forgive me for my flippant, unfaithful and dishonest story. it's fiction, but does he know that? i should have told him about it before he stumbled upon it. i am careless and unfaithful. i have dishonored him and myself and God.

one good thing to come from my short story (can i even call it that? it's so short) is that when i wrote the last lines, i made a conscious decision to not feed my friend's longing. i decided that my marriage is worth more than a second guess, and i consciously stopped thinking about the friend's statement, that he loves me. i have realized that he can feel what he wants to, but it doesn't have to affect me unless i allow it - and i don't want to. it's about setting boundaries. also, the more i think about it, the more i believe that it is his state of being - lonely, prone to depression and self-hatred - that prompted him to claim such outlandish things - that he has and will always love me. he cannot love me like scott can, that is a truth i can feel in the depths of my soul.
how quickly a mind can reel when flattered. he fed my pride and i responded accordingly, letting the doubt and pride spread until my whole belief system - in everything - was up in the air.
i must pray to be protected from situations like this in the future.

it's true. we're all broken. we all sin. we do things we know we shouldn't. we write and say and think things that are obviously harmful to others and to ourselves, and we know it and do it anyway.
forgive me, Father. i am a sinner.


never met a german

seen written on bathroom stalls in the fine arts building on campus:

Art is learning to love a man.

Art is what you can get away with. -Andy Warhol

Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life.

Art is the audacity to make mistakes.


you could have waited

some dreams you sell. or barter with, maybe.
i'll give up this if you give me that.
i'll relinquish my dreams of unhindered travel if you provide a steady income, a stable future.
a chance for the charmed family life i've never had.

"took a walk alone last night
stopped inside your head
it was raining hard again
crawled back into bed"

but so what. i don't have to worry about rent. ever. i can "consider it taken care of" or something like that. i have hot water, which is an everday miracle.
i guess i'm irritated today for a few reasons.
one - i'm married at an arguably too-young age for marriage.
two - i still haven't travelled to europe . i would love to study abroad, but it's probably a bad idea for a marriage.
three - i have an accountability partner and i just don't feel like being an accountable person. i still want to smoke pot if i feel inclined, and live in secret with my fantasies. i don't want to talk about what's keeping me from God. sometimes i'm not even sure if i buy what i believe. do i really believe it? when i'm sitting in church, am i nodding in agreement or gazing with curious wonder? some of both.
four- today would be a good day to see justin and have a dirnk, which can't happen because we live hundreds of miles apart. it's just that we commisserate more than any other two people i know. we GROK. and that's the only word there is for us.

on the bright side - i always find the bright side, which is almost a character flaw at this severity - it was a beautiful day. windy and sunny. now subsiding to blustery dark clouds and the threat of a storm. i wouldn't mind a storm this evening.
also wonderful - i'm listening to the knife, which is synthy and the female vocalist has a voice nearing the creativity and seductivity of bjork's.

i've been reading short stories almost with repose. my favorite short story writers - alice munro, julie orringer, joyce carol oates, miranda july, and the fabulous lorrie moore. i'm keeping track of my very favorite stories, so i can make a list. i enjoy lists. one time i made a list of the alphabet - then for each letter listed things that are cold that begin with that letter. it consumed a great amount of time, and i stopped caring by the time i was working on letter M.
one short story i read is called "places to look for your mind", which i particularly love. both the story and the title. especially the title, which encourages the reader to create her own list.
at first i didn't like miranda july. her writing voice too closely resembled my own, just with a more diverse vocabulary and fully developed plots. so i got over that, and just enjoyed the quirky, sometimes creepy stories. maybe one day i'll write my own short stories. a woman can dream, eh?


you reel me out and you cut the string

if you had long hair, i'd french braid it.

no wonder i'm the only one who could take a great photo of you. i'm the only one you'd open your face for.

life is constantly changing, indeed.
for the first time, marriage feels oppressive. i wonder if he knows me. i wonder if he really sees me. i know he loves me, of course, of course. we seem to never spend real time together. the hum drum drone of days has taken over our former rhythym of life together. where's the beat? the movement? the melody?

and now this surprise. coming from left field, yet ever so close. had always been so close that it looked far away. like a spider dangling from a silk thread in a window.

"so don't get any big ideas
they're not going to happen"

but if i weren't married, i would just be single. what would be better? i'm lonely enough as it is. what would i do differently, besides sleep alone?
i wonder if he thinks these things, too. how do you ask your husband if he wishes he weren't married? that's not a question i'd dare to whisper in the dark, even. unless he was already asleep. then i could unleash that whisper thought, and let it settle into his subconscious mind, sifting through like sunlight through barn wood beams. falling softly, in particles, mingling with dust and hay.

instead, i'm cooking spinach lasagna.

"i'd get eaten by the waters
and weird fishes"


you are all i need

married. who would have predicted?
still with desires i cannot control. with memories that will not die. with emotions i can hardly claim as mine.
the human psyche is tangled without resolve. when disentangled only gives way to more complicated knots.

am i who i think i am?

no idea what you're talking about

we made love but love felt like pain. it didn't last that long, so why stop it?
passive, at best.

afterwards i simultanously pined for an old lover and hated myself for pining. useless, and disrespectful. fruitless and painful to remember a perfect chemistry and feel. besides, that's all we had, so why mourn.

tonight i'm with the neighbors. he's working. i'm teaching sean how to cook rice. i'm drinking two beers. high alcohol content. sometimes, do you feel like deconstructing?
i miss kissing women.
i miss kissing other men.
not a healthy lifestyle, i'm sure. drunk and drugged, charmed.

one time justin and i stole christmas lights from an unsuspecting suburban manicured lawn. we took them back to his room. i took my clothes off. he wound me up in lights. he plugged them in. we marvelled at the glow, the beauty, the female form wrapped in a light giving source.

tonight we're listening to the new radiohead. even though the album is new, the sounds bring back memories of justin, who i'm realizing is one of my best friends ever. i miss our long talks. sitting across from one another in a hammock on his apartment porch. swinging high on the second story. passing the red wine. time for another bottle. wrapped up to stave off the cold.


the light and the sound

today i felt like an obligation.
he says he spends all his time with me. i didn't realize he felt like that. i feel like i never see him. am i too demanding?
welcome to married life.
sometimes i feel like i do everything - meaning i plan meals, cook, grocery shop, do the laundry, keep the house clean. on top of school and nearly a full time job. he studies, has school and two jobs. i guess that makes us about equally busy. so when we do have a miraculous hour or two free at the same time, i love spending it with him. i love him! and therefore love spending time together. apparently that's more one sided than i realized.
at the same time, i by no means want to stifle him. again, i love him! i want him to be happy, spending his time in a way that makes him feel productive and content. if that means away from me, so be it. but he has to find a way to effectively communicate that to me. and in response, i have to respect his needs as i learn them through our communication.
it sounds so simple and dry when i lay it out like this.
earlier it was a constant tumble and tangle of emotions, with one of us walking off and the other left behind, both needing comfort and understanding.
i pray for resolve.


boy with a coin

yesterday with student group Sustain Mizzou, i helped harvest sweet potatoes. we went out to sunny acres, a huge farm with rows of sweet potatoes, cabbage, peppers, tons of tomatoes, and more. the food we harvested was donated to the missouri food bank, so it's pretty cool. farmer bob (i'm not kidding) showed us what to do, to pull back the plastic, cut the vines, pull up the irrigation cord, and use the potato fork to unearth the precious tubers.
there were seven of us, one of us whose name was garrett. a farm boy. he was wearing jeans and boots (worn in), a plaid farmer's shirt, a green hat. he had strong, wide hands. a wide open face. he was very attractive, and reminded me of my father in a deep sense. i stayed close to him when he dug up potatoes, and i grabbed them and rubbed the soil off, put them into boxes. we talked about gardening - his family has a big garden with blackberries, tomatoes, peppers, carrots. he says that carrots are hard to grow, which made me feel better at my lousy attempt this summer to grow carrots in a pot that gave all its nutrients to the pepper plant instead. unfaithfully, i held back the fact that i was married, until asked a question by another student that i couldn't honestly answer without mentioning my husband. then i felt that i had betrayed the guy! oh, silly emotions. the drama of the day.
it was raw and real, unearthing potatoes and talking about out west. he was impressed that i was from wyoming, and we talked about what grows out there and what grows in south carolina, too. all my gardening experience was from my dad who planted huge gardens every year of our precious years together. i remember him standing outside at the edge of the garden while the sun made its way through the mountains, and he'd set the sprinklers and watch them run. he'd have one hand on his hip, surveying the garden. i'd hide behind his leg when the water threatened to come too close to us. he'd adjust his hat and squint out at the horizon. he'd move a sprinkler here or there, then we'd head inside for dinner.
meeting this guy yesterday was weird. i felt sexually attracted but also historically interested in this young farmer boy.
almost everything about him reminded me of my dad. the way he handled the sweet potatoes - tossing them to me to let me rub the soil off. he looked out at the sun, adjusting his hat. i imagined a life where scott was a farmer - if he'd wear a hat like that, lifting and resettling it as he measured the sun's trek through the evening.

besides all the silly emotional drama of my memories and of strangers, yesterday at the farm did something more for me. it reminded me of my raising - growing food, working with the plants. i saw three friendly snakes. i felt so good out there, brisk air and the calls of crickets and katydids chorusing in the dusk. i wore a hole through the right knee of my jeans, leaning there in the ground for a couple of hours. i left with my hands caked in soil. i smelled them, breathing in what i knew to be true and right. i recommitted myself to the west. big sky, endless mountains. open land, rich soil. i have to get back to the west.



orange sun listless, kneeling
my knees spread apart
sinking into soil
clay and sand, silt
slipping a sip of a glance
eyelashes, lids lifting
landing on a patch of sun
sifting through your worn shirt
spot of light on collarbone
you adjust your hat
boots digging into the shovel
digging into the soil
my knees spread apart
rubbing soil from sweet potatoes
inhaling earth, sweat
you measure the horizon
the light's in your eyes
we speak of blackberries
wild, they grow well
you dig
i rub
knees spread apart
from the soil


good morning scarecrow

One exam down, one to go.
A million years down, a million more to go.
Sometimes I feel I've been in school forever. But I'm finding peace in it. I have two more years, so even though by credit I'm almost a senior, by years I'm only a sophomore. I have almost all my pre-requisites done for my program (Early Childhood Edu) so it's time to get involved. Beef up the resume. Show dedication.
My advisor advised that I join a few clubs - academic and otherwise. So that's what I'm up to. I'll join Pi Lambda Theta - a national honors organization, SMSTA - a student teacher association, MNEA - a national education association, Sustain Mizzou - a sustainability student group, and STAND Mizzou - an anti-genocide student group. I'll volunteer as much as possible. It's not just for the resume that I'm doing all these things. I'm honestly quite bored with my school workload right now. I desire to be involved, meet people, do things for others.
As we talk about sometimes in CG (community group), we are all here in Columbia right now for a reason. God has a purpose for us, He has us right here right now for a reason - and we should make the most of it.

It's like this: I'm young. I'm able. I'm privileged (white, middle class). I'm blessed beyond reason, and therefore I have absolutely every reason to give back. As much as possible, in as many ways as possible. I've already volunteered an hour a week at the Peace Nook - a Missouri Peaceworks organization. I think that Columbia is growing at lightning speed and it's a great time to get involved and see what can happen.
I pray for guidance, and for clarity. Where there is darkness and need, I want to give. Not just silly student organizations, that are great for resumes but (let's be honest) may not make much change in peoples' lives. I especially have a heart for children. So I'll need to find ways to help children in need.
As suburban as Columbia sometimes feels, I know there are people in need. There are always people in need. It's difficult without a car, because some of the after school programs and big sister/brother programs require a distance that a car is needed for - but there's got to be something within reach that I can find.

Work is another story. Sometimes I am overwhelmed by the strength of emotions, and the contagion. People get into a frenzy at work, and then it spreads. And before you know it, everyone is stressed out and snappy towards one another. How do I neutralize this? How do I stay positive and not get dragged down, but instead lift everyone else up?
How do I bring positive change?

On another note - I'm getting back into massage therapy. I miss it so much and have decided to just work on people by request, friends only. I'm not charging much, and I'll be doing it in my house, so I won't have to lug that table around. If I'm lucky, rather, if God wills it - then I'll continue and maybe gain a weekly client or two. If I totally fall back in love with it, well, we'll just see what happens. No reason to jump the gun.
Also I just have this thing to say, because there's no one I want to tell, but I'd like to document it. The other day I had this evil urge to post something on Mike's myspace, just so that he'd see my picture and maybe feel a twinge of emotion. Why did I want to do this? I don't know. It's twisted to play with his emotions. So I went to his myspace, and I read his aboutme. It was his prose/poetry that he sometimes writes, and it was (as usual) deep and touching. It was all about how he feels peace with Heather. And it hit me then - I love Mike, I always will, but my love for him has to grow. It can't be possessive or perverse, I can't want to make him feel things, I can only love him in the way one loves a friend or child - without motive, just because they are a lovely individual. I was overcome with a new sort of love, a love that felt so elated for him - so happy that he is happy. So encouraged by the peace he's found. So relieved that he is no longer tormented by a love failed and disfigured, the failed love that brought him so much darkness and strife (our failed love). It was as if I lost my evil motivation - my perverse desire to make him stumble - and instead filled with an honest desire for his happiness and peace. So I left his myspace, left no message, left no trace of my moral struggle. I felt peace with our failed relationship, felt peace that he's no longer troubled by hauntings of me and us. I felt FREE. Free from the desire to entangle him in new ways. Free from the clutching need to keep some part of him, no matter the cost. Free to let him go. Finally.
Thank you, Lord, for this freedom. In seeking God I have found a way to let go of unhealthy and harmful desires. It wasn't me, I know that, it was God. I couldn't make that change or decision, it was God that won, and not my sinful desires. I am beginning to understand the freedom that God's love entails.


footloose and fancy free

Today I'm vegan. Just today. Just tryin' it out.
So far so good - for breakfast I had coffee and a vegan muffin that I made yesterday.
For a snack I had a soy latte and roasted almonds.
For lunch I had "the meal that the refrigerator gave us" (as my stepdad calls something like this). That means bascially any leftovers, all thrown together. Thanks, fridge. Mine consisted of: lettuce, leftover black beans and homemade salsa, vegan sour cream, a grilled, sliced vegan "chicken" patty, and sprouts. So tasty! And a vegan cookie.
Despite all this healthy eating I do need to be drinking more water.
For whatever reason, I've never listened to Camera Obscura much before, but I really like them, I'm discovering.
Naturally (as an intensely serious Radiohead lover) I am excited about the new Radiohead album, especially the fact that they are taking things into their own hands and releasing it without a record label! AND without a price!!! They are radical. Literally.

I forgot to mention this yesterday - I'm working on getting an accountability partner. I realize that "getting" is poor word choice, but "obtaining" doesn't quite work when you're talking about people. I've asked Jessie to be my partner, because we are new friends and we can grow together. I'm hoping to grow in my faith, and I'd like some company.
I'm not sure what happened to my literary voice. I used to write differently, more poetic and ambiguous. I haven't excercised that voice in so long that I'm not sure if it's still there. I can't quite slip into it as I once did.
This post feels to me like: blah, blah blah. All surface no content.
Here's content - I am joyful today.


with anchors in hand

I realize that three posts in one day is a bit excessive, but baking excites me.
Here's the photos from the aforementioned recipe adventures.

Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins (vegan)

My beloved Rufus taking care of the beaters. Don't worry, this is only in the peanut butter stage of the next recipe - no chocolate yet.

Banana Peanut Butter Cocoa Cookies (vegan)

Check out the texture on the cookies! They are delicious, a bit too sweet for my tastes but I know Scott will love them. I'm a huge fan of the muffins, which are slightly sweet and surprisingly tangy every time I come across a cranberry. Zing!
I'm feeling warm and homey. I'll probably clean the house a bit, then figure out some dinners to prepare and store for the week.
I think I could really do this Vegan thing. I might even coerce the husband. I'll just win him over with fabulous vegan recipes and he'll realize that cheese and eggs aren't that hard to give up, after all.

wonder what it is

So I've got these pumpkin cranberry muffins in the oven. I'm trembling with excitement. They're vegan, so I did some taste testing with the batter (like raw eggs would deter me, anyhow) and the batter is incredible! I can't wait to taste the finished product.
Now onto the vegan banana peanut butter cocoa cookies I've been dying to try.
Part of trying to live in a sustainable way is to reduce waste - which means buying as little as possible packaged, processed foods. So instead of granola bars and rice cakes for snacks I'm making muffins and cookies. Maybe not quite as healthy, but homemade treats are always more satisfying. And they'll be filled with love! :D
It's my day off, so I'll probably be cooking some other things so that Scott and I have food for the week. Our schedules are somewhat opposite, and the time we do have together is usually limited and/or filled with chores. So I find it's best to make some large dishes - curries and rice dishes and whatnot, that way whoever is hungry can just heat it up and enjoy.
Will post pictures and credit recipes.

i'll see you next fall

ah, the feel of a new blog.

it's fall, which is always a time of new beginnings for me. so i'm back to cooking, it's cooling off outside. listening to john vanderslice, a sound of autumn nostalgia.
i'm not sure what i'll do with this blog. perhaps just chart my life. my cooking, my dreams, my faith.
just to start off - for me, because i don't yet think i'll tell anyone i know of this blog - i'll place myself in the time-space continuum. (sp?)
i'm a vegetarian - maybe an aspiring vegan. if i do become vegan, i'll go it alone - scott refuses to give up eggs, cheese and yogurt.
i'm married, happily, to scott. we've been married for a year and a month. the first six months were extremely hard - he was depressed with his work, i was depressed in missouri. but we made it, and we're getting used to this town now, even liking it!
i aspire to live sustainably. that is, to reduce waste, to buy organic and eco-friendly items, from food to clothing to house supplies. to recycle and compost. to ride a bike or walk instead of driving. to be energy efficient, and support companies that use alternative energy sources such as solar or wind.
at the same time, i realize i'm incredibly lucky to even have these choices. and the education that powered these choices. i have a heart for poverty stricken people. i especially have a heart for people in africa - as i've been reading so much about their struggles lately. the rape and poverty are so rampant it's unbelievable.
on a lighter note - and the note that does indeed keep me light - is my faith. i've been a believer for a year and a half or so. i've had the honeymoon, the following doubting period, and am only now coming to understand what everyday faith can look and feel like for me.
i'm reading "the ragamuffin gospel" which is wonderful, and "mere christianity", which wows me every time i open it. i want to live in a way that i am a vessel for God's light, but never in a way that pushes people away from God's love. i'd like to learn how to be the hands and feet of Jesus.
so that's me. here in columbia, missouri.
constantly living, loving, learning.

p.s. i'm off to bake some pumpkin cranberry muffins. will post pictures!
p.p.s. i've had plenty of blogs before, and i think i'll continue my tradition of making titles of each post from song lyrics. makes things interesting.