I have a bad habit of wearing shoes that pinch and rub and leave angry red welts scattered across my tender feet.

When I was younger, as my blistered toes screamed in agony, my mother would scold, "Sara! You can't keep treating your poor feet this way! You won't get a second pair!"

And my fashion-unconscious father would just shake his head.

It's puzzling, really, that a girl who spent most of college in flip-flops and prefers being barefoot above all will periodically force her toes into sharply pointed heels or shiny, strappy wedges or sleek, buckled flats for the sheer fact that they make me feel pretty.


Lately, suddenly, and quite without precedent I assure you, I have been hit with a need to simplify and rearrange and organize, organize, organize!

Unable to sleep last Saturday morning, I began frantically digging through dresser drawers--discarding, re-folding, paper-clipping and labeling my way through stacks of life's clutter.

Uncharacteristically, I told myself--quite sternly--to forgo all inner nostalgic predisposition and systematically toss various mementos that at least at one time, I would have kept for no better reason than to remember.

It was imperative, somehow, that everything have a place. A purpose. A useful reason for being.

But even still, on occasion, I would linger on a particular item--a silly note, a random birthday card, a journal from three years ago--and I would stop and think despite all my rationale, I can't let go of everything...


And now I sit, with a mounting to-do list and a wandering mind, and as I restlessly tap my foot, I catch a glimpse of my reflection.

Poised on the edge of my seat, eyes wide, fingers tapping...


And with a shrug, I force a smile and tell myself, You, my dear, are too dramatic.



Friday, July 10, 2009

I am in Nicaragua.

Sitting atop my bunk bed in the early evening, listening to shrieking children play soccer and occasionally, amidst shouts and giggles, practice their English. It makes me smile.

It's unreal to be here--unlike anywhere I've ever been.

Makes me yearn to speak Spanish--ache to communicate with these beautiful, brown-eyed little ones.

This morning we went to a clinic Sarah directs--a sort of VBS-type atmosphere. It was wild and chaotic and dramatic and awesome.

I stood and watched the children--dark-eyes, thick lashes, quick smiles, beautiful--just watched and smiled and thought, "You will know much more happiness than most of my own neighbors."


Mid-year goals:

1. Train for one of these (Lord, have mercy!).
2. Replace my afternoon beverage of choice with this liquid health-booster.
3. Throw one of these (with my fellow member of the PPC).
4. Set aside daily time to be still.
5. Be thankful (especially in 10 days).


Lifestyles of the rich and the famous

A post like this deserves a follow-up, I suppose, so it is without further ado that I would like to publicly state that while my mullet-sporting, taxi-driving, likely-inappropriately-commenting uncle recently got duped by this guy, he did not make it to the big screen.


If you're my brother, this news is heart-wrenching.

If you are me, you can now banish all horrifying images of watching the whole movie next to Grandma.

...And, hey, look, I made it here!* Which is almost as cool, right?

*I would like to point out that the banner above the linked photo is an ADVERTISEMENT. So no, I am not part of KC Speed Dating nor did I attend Manicures and Martinis. In case you were wondering.


The Day I Learned to Justify

Tend your sick ones, O Lord Christ.
Rest your weary ones.
Bless your dying ones.
Soothe your suffering ones.
Pity your afflicted ones.
Shield your joyous ones.
And all for your love's sake. Amen.
A prayer attributed to St. Augustine of Hippo

* * * * * * *

"REDUCE! REUSE! RECYCLE!" Ms. Scheel scrawled across my first-grade classroom chalkboard then proceeded to show dreadful pictures of mangled fish caught in plastic pop rings, overflowing landfills stretching for miles and oceans rapidly depleting as selfish little girls brushed their teeth for too long.

It was the usual Save-the-Earth bit, and most of my classmates were too busy picking their nose or nibbling erasers to care.

But I sat wide-eyed, slowly twirling the end of my ponytail as Ms. Scheel explained we were all responsible for this earth--this one earth--that it was all we had, that it was sick and that we could make it better.

"We all have a part to play," Ms. Scheel gravely concluded. "Each and every one of us. No matter how big or how small. We can all do something. And we must."

I rushed home that afternoon, headed straight for my room and began scribbling.

I stenciled and colored and shaded and outlined until my hand throbbed. And then, after a quick shake of my wrist, I kept going.

"Honey, are you okay?" my mom asked, concerned. "Why aren't you outside playing?"

"Can't play today, Mom!" I yelled. "I've got a job to do."

She crossed the room and began flipping through the brightly colored posters featuring my version of the dismal earth images and my own crooked "REDUCE! REUSE! RECYCLE!" battle cry.

"Well, you have been busy! And what are these for?" she asked.

"For all the telephone poles," I said matter-of-factly.

"Telephone poles?"

"Yes, Mom," I said, dropping my crayon in frustration. "All the telephone poles. In town. If people see dying fish on every corner, they will stop ignoring them and start saving them. And soon the earth will smile again."

"Of course," she said with a quiet smile. "Well, then I'd better leave you to it."

Each day for two weeks I remained dedicated to the cause. I forfeited freeze tag, soccer matches, sandbox dates and schoolyard fun for hours upon hours of fixated poster-making.

I was motivated. I was energized. I was ready to change the world.

One day, delighted by the ever-growing pile of handmade posters littering my room, I decided to give my cramped fingers a much-needed break and set off on an investigative bike ride to count the number of neighborhood telephone poles and assess how many more posters were needed.

As I pedaled around the neighborhood, I started counting each telephone that I passed.


Slowly, my smile began to fade.


I stopped counting.

"Impossible," I thought to myself.

And after a long ride home, I shuffled to my room, wordlessly stuffed the entire stack of my week's passion into the back of my dusty desk drawer and slammed it shut.

It was too hard. I was so small. And it was just so much easier to forget all about it.

I hoped the fish would understand.

It was nothing personal.