Category Archives: Some Thoughts

Today, We Remember.

I could say so many things today. There are so many emotions and memories associated with the September 11th attacks that I am tearing up as I type these words.

But all I will say is this. I am deeply thankful for the men and women who sacrificed themselves to rescue others, who volunteered their time and money to help our country recover, and that I get to live out this mysterious, beautiful gift called life in a nation that protects the life and liberty of her people.

I am so proud to be an American. May we never forget, and may we never forget to be thankful.

 

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Filed under Some Thoughts, Things I'm Thankful For

Memories of Death, and Life, and Everything I Hope They’ll Be

I have a recurring dream where I sit on a porch over-looking a bay. I am very old with a quilt tucked around my legs, an old cat purring in my lap, sea salt breeze clinging to my lips. This is not one of those exciting adventure dreams, because here only a thin film of life lies between me and bodily death. I am frail. In a few moments, I will die. My parents and grandparents, who have all sat here before me, are all hovering all around, but they are not ghosts or figments of my imagination, I am simply half in their world already, and here on this porch with one foot in and one foot out of death, we’re discussing how death is really just the closing curtain of the first act of a magnificent play. My mother is quoting the last chapter of C.S Lewis’ book The Last Battle to me, “But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”

I do not know how old I am, only that I don’t mind the thought of death. I’m a mere shadow of the woman peering out of my wedding portrait that hangs in the house behind me. My husband, my parents, my brother, and one of my children have all gone before me, and I long for the eternity to hold them again that death affords. I don’t mind leaving behind the children and grandchildren and great-grand children who are left because, after living it, I realize how absurdly short life is, and I know that in the space of a blink they will be the old, quilt-ladden body here on the porch, discussing with me how one departs this life in peace. I know I will tell them what my father is now telling me. I will tell them it is easy, because you do nothing. You breathe your last breath as you breathed your first: involuntarily, because this is the way you were created to do it. God does the rest. From the first inflating to the last deflating of your lungs, from your introduction to the world as a pink, wriggling baby, to the carrying of your soul from this wrinkled, spent shell, He has always done all the real work.

And then they are all around me, all of them solid, tangible, real, the people I love most. My dear, beloved husband, the only man I ever loved; my father whom I have always loved best; my mother whom I have missed with a deep ache every day for the last thirty years; my darling grandparents; and all my children, the living and the dead, to whom I have given every shred of myself until all that was left was this slight slip of humanity, drawing shallow breaths and singing, as involuntarily as I breath, an old spiritual my daddy used to sing in the shower. “Swing low, sweet chariot, commin’ for to carry me home. I looked over Jordan, and what did I see, commin’ for to carry me home. A band of angels, commin’ after me, commin’ for to carry me home.” I draw a breath, and I know it is my last. My grandmother, the one I am named after, pushes a few strands of hair off my cheek, just as she did when I was a child, and tells me, “Your life has been beautiful, it will be beautiful still.” I begin to exhale, and then…

Then I always wake up. Usually, I wake up sweaty, with a warm kitty curled around my feet, and the arm or leg of a sleeping husband thrown haphazardly over my torso. I’ve had this dream several times over the years, but lately it’s been on repeate, as though my mind is trying to cipher something out of it but can’t ever quite figure out what, and so it rewinds the scene, over and over, endlessly trying to find the missing piece.

Or maybe I’m overthinking it, as I have a tendency to do. My grandfather died three years ago today, and the memories have been with me heavily these last few weeks.

I remember my father’s call a few weeks before, telling me just how bad it was getting, and I sat in my office and cried, because letting go of those you love, even those who have had long, full, blessed lives, is painful.

Like in my dream, I don’t think Grandpa minded dying so much. My grandmother had died suddenly a few years before, and he was lonely without his wife of more than fifty years. Most of his children and grandchildren lived far away, and I know that I, for my part, wasn’t as good at keeping in touch with him as I should have been. I comforted myself by mentally repeating that he had thirty-some-odd grandkids, so my inconsistent correspondence was surely not so noticeable. But the truth is, I never got to say goodbye to my grandmother,  and talking to Grandpa was a painful reminder of a chapter I was struggling to close. It was hard to call knowing her soothing voice would not even out his rough, but loving, questions. I regret this all now, but I always wonder if I’ll regret it more when I’m old and understand what a call from a grandchild really means.

I remember vividly, though,  the last time he talked to me. I choose to visit him and say goodbye before he died rather than attend his funeral. Even if he was changed from the robust man I’d known for the last 22 years, I wanted to remember him alive, not cold and drained of blood and smeared with that vile paste the funeral home insists is make-up. I wanted to remember what his hand felt like in mine, with his pulse thrumming. I wanted to see him for myself, to hear his voice, even if it was just a faint echo of its former strength, one more time.

He wasn’t very responsive, and hadn’t been for some time, when I first entered his room at the nursing home. I’d been to the house already, where my parents and aunts and uncles were all staying, and also preparing it to be sold. I could not imagine this house without my grandparents in it, without their collections of bird figurines and bells, without its funny mis-mash of old and new, without the crush of our family, much too large for this space yet all somehow arranged within these walls, without my grandpa’s gruff morning chatter and bird feeders and homemade chicken noodle soup, or my grandmother’s strawberry patch and sky-high sunflowers and rhubarb pie, but the evidence of their departure was all around me. I hadn’t been here since my grandmother’s death, and now it seemed my family had managed to dispatch with 95% of my grandparent’s belongings in record time. With so many kids (7), and grandkids (nearly thirty, I think), and great grand-kids (putting us well within the 40’s range total), we all wanted a piece of them, something to remember them by. I took a quilt of my grandmother’s that I had always loved, several birds, and a few bells, and in this way we magpied away a good portion of stuff. Whatever was left my aunts sold at a garage sale. Still, this draining away of assets did not prepare me for the draining away of life.

My grandfather was bloated, his hair was wispy, and he had that peculiar smell that always seems to hover around those who are closest to death. His skin was yellowed and his breaths came at uneven intervals, often leaving whoever was in the room to listen with their heart in their throat, wondering if this was the end. But no- there was another ragged breath, another slow heart thump. The wait continued.

My grandfather’s last wish was that he not die alone. So his seven children, their spouses, and assorted grandkids all rallied around him, each of us staying as long as we could. My father and several of his siblings, as I mentioned, had battened down the hatches in my grandfather’s home, determined to wait it out for the long-haul, however long that might be. He would not, we all silently determined together, die alone. Instead, he would die knowing that he was the opposite of alone, he was surrounded by love. We would do what family is supposed to do, we would carry each other, and him, through this last parade of his long life.

I remember walking the short five steps it took to get from the doorway to his bed, and being hyper aware of my own father’s presence, as though it was the weight that was holding me down. He took my grandfather’s hand. “Dad, are you awake? Dad, Amanda, your granddaughter, is here to see you.”

I think he said something else, but I don’t remember what. I remember wondering if Grandpa would get confused and think I was my grandmother, whose middle name was Amanda, but he didn’t. Instead he gave me the most beautiful gift. This man, inches from death, took my hand, and mumbled as best he could, “Amanda. I love you.”

Though I saw him several more times over then next few days, those were the last words he ever spoke directly to me. They were enough.

I do not know when or how I will die. I do not know what my future days hold, or the way my own children will remember me, but this is my hope: I hope they remember me as a woman who loved fiercely and would not stop, whose faith in her mighty God anchored her in every storm without fail, whose hope never ran out. I hope someday when my grandchild sits down to write out her memories of me she will be inspired to live with intention, to live with her eyes open to the beauty that can always be found in the world, even in the nastiest of times, because that is what I learned from my grandmother. I hope he finds strength when he opens my worn Bible and reads the years of underlined verses and scribbled margin notes, because that is what I found when I opened my grandpa’s good book, sitting in his livingroom so many years ago. I hope they remember me as the woman who never stopped running after God, even in the midst of her own mess, because that is who my mother is, a modern-day Mary pouring her perfume on Jesus’ feet no matter what else is going on around her. And I hope they remember me as a light tower, always pointing them to Jesus, to truth, to wisdom, and to love, because that is who my father has always been to me.

This morning, sitting on my twelfth story patio, slightly salty wind whipping my hair, a sleeping kitty curled up in the window behind me, I do not know for certain if I can be all these things. I am a fragile vessel, but perhaps, like all my parents before me, these treasures can be found in my jars of clay. Perhaps my mind can finally put to rest these dreams of death, because I know that it will come, and the details do not matter so much. Death will come to me involuntarily, as did life. I did not pick my birthday, I will not choose my death day, but whatever day it is will be a good day because my life is already beautiful, and it will continue to be beautiful no matter what storms pass over me. I can’t tell you why I know this, I just do. I will not be a perfect wife or daughter or mother, but I do not believe I will look over my life in the end and regret its sum. I will look over life and be thankful for the marriage I built, the children I raised, the lessons God taught me, the hope He imparted.

And anyway, today, this day which is all I truly have, is beautiful. I have the only man I have ever loved sitting next to me, I have the memory of my grandparents resting warmly in the scoop of my soul, and I have the early morning sun shining warmly on my face, a gift from the Heavenly Father who has orchestrated all the details of my days, and knows what their total will be. Today, though I have dreamed of death, will be filled with life, and I could not ask for more.

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Filed under Faith, Some Thoughts, writing

Pilgrimage

I come in the night
Asking for my lack, as pilgrims do-
Straight spine,
Clever pen,
Love.

I have nothing for payment, but gifts are supposed to be free.

In the dark you chuckle.
I can see nothing, but you smell thick in the air-
A secret garden only the dead may know.

“You already have all, child. Next.”

I leave with the exact things in my hand
I have had since the start, but I
Smell better now.

I begin my journey home.

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Filed under Faith, Poetry, Some Thoughts, writing

Zoophilia: Three Great Animal Books

I love animals. From elephants and panda bears to manatees and gorillas, you name an animal and the chances are high that I’m completely fascinated. (As long as they have legs. I don’t deal well with reptiles of the no-leg variety.)

So it’s logical that I am completely obsessed with zoos. I want to see them all! One of the few things I love with the same intensity as a good book is a leisurely afternoon at my local zoological garden. There is nothing more peaceful than sitting inside a darkened aquarium, watching the myriad of tropical fish and sea turtles mosey around their coral home, nothing more fascinating than observing a family of bonobos playfully harass one another, nothing as awe-inspiring as watching a tigress stalk around, waiting for her lunch, or as fun as seeing a troop of otters gleefully dive and run and chatter.

So, naturally, when my husband presented me with Betty White’s newest book, Betty and Friends: My Life at the Zoo, I promptly lost my mind.

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Betty has been deeply involved with the Los Angeles Zoo and the cause of animal conservation for over 30 years. This book is a collection of antidotes and stunning photographs of the animal friends she has made over the years. It’s “her personal love letter to zoo’s and the animals in them.” The photographs are beautiful, and her stories are touching though brief. This reads more like a coffee table book, and is really best for the hardcore animal lover who won’t care that the photo-to-word ratio is rather high.

Of course if you’re looking for a more story-intensive offering (and most people spending upwards of $26 on a new hardback are), there are a few surprisingly good zoological tales out there.

Zoo Story: Life In the Garden of Captives, by Thomas French, gives a rare glimpse into the nehind-the-scenae workings of a zoo.

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French spent six years researching in and reporting on Tampa Bay’s Lowry Park Zoo, and what resulted is an absolutely fascinating and touching account of the life of a zoo and it’s animal and human inhabitants. From the quirky (an alpha chimp with a fetish for blond women) to the painful (should we keep animals captive? Do zoos help accomplish or ultimately defeat their own conservation goals?), French, true to his journalistic heritage, does not shy away from any issue, nor does he seek to answer the questions or ease the tensions. What is left is a raw but beautiful account of the interdependent relationship of man and the lesser animals, and the stickier questions of our responsibility towards them. Both animal lovers and lovers of masterfully crafted nonfiction will be delighted by this fantastic book.

For a more warm, homespun tale, Benjamin Mee’s memoir, We Bought A Zoo, is just the ticket.

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This is literally my dream. If I am ever independently wealthy, I plan to purchase two things: a book store and a zoo. (Side note: the chances of a housewife from San Diego who has problems saving money because she buys too many books and also really likes shoes becoming independently wealthy are slim. I know this. But even a housewife is allowed her dreams. What else am I supposed to do while scrubbing out the bathtub?)

Mee and his family- mother, Amelia, wife, Katherine, and a smattering of siblings- decide to use the inheritance left to them by their late father and husband to purchase the small, rundown Dartmoor Wildlife Park. They hope to renovate the dilapidated park and reopen it as not just a tourist attraction but a viable zoo that aids in the conservation and breeding of endangered animals.

Along the way, they run into their fair share of troubles: lack of funds, their own amateur naivety about the needs of a zoo, escaped jaguars and wolves, contentions between new and old employees, and Katherine’s reoccurring brain tumor all threaten to derail the dream. But the crux of the story is that through grief, overwhelming odds, and a steep learning curve, sometimes zoo dreams do come true. The Dartmoor Zoological Park, as it is now known, is a thriving, accredited zoo, and this little memoir is now a Matt Damon blockbuster movie that opened last week, just before Christmas. I haven’t seen it yet, but if it has as much gumption as the book it’s based on, I’m sure I’ll love it.

What about you, friends? Have you read any of these books, or any other good animal books that a zoophile such as myself shod check out? Or do you prefer your animals to be of the domesticated variety? If so, I have that too! Cambria has recently started working on her own memoir. The working title is: “The Story of Cambria: How A Stray Ally Cat Came to Rule the World.” Or something like that.

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Filed under Book Reviews, Books, Odds and Ends, Some Thoughts, Wednesday Book Review

What I’ve Learned in the Last Twenty Months.

I am a good Christian girl, I suppose.

I’m a pastors daughter, I got saved when I was four. I went to a Christian college, and twenty months ago I moved from one coast to the other to help start a church. Also I was homeschooled, which I think gives me 10,000 good Christian bonus points automatically. I own at least three study Bibles, I’ve read Augustine and Piper and I Kissed Dating Goodbye. I can explain and defend my thoughts on all five points of Calvinism, and I know what “Christian worldview” means. (Also, I know all about “lifeworld,” or “lebenswelt,” worldview’s sister concept. Thank you Dr. Bruce, for making me waaaaay too into philosophy.) If you can think of something else that would make me more of a quintessential “good Christian kid,” e-mail me post-haste, but I’d bet you my Awana’s vest I’ve got that base covered too.

I’d never thought much about my inherent Christian-ness until college. Growing up in the Midwest, Christian’s weren’t the majority, but we weren’t uncommon either and no one judged you. If you wanted to you went to church, or if you didn’t then you didn’t, and only the church-goers themselves made a fuss either way.

Then, I got the bright idea to go to college in the Bible Belt. I am convinced that even the Devil himself goes to church on Sunday morning when he’s staying in South Carolina. And everyone is watching everyone else closely in an effort to gauge their neighbors over-all spirituality. How much does she dress up? How big is his Bible and what translation is it? Does she get into the music too much or not enough? Does he eat enough fried chicken at the luncheon afterwards? All these components are then calibrated to determine the exact percentage that one really loves Jesus, and if you are found wanting beware of the evangelizing that will ensue!

I may be exaggerating some, but honestly, Southern Christianity is a tough game to play, especially for an unsuspecting Midwestern college student who just wants to get her degree and read a few books in the quietness of her dorm room in peace. Instead of peace I discovered that I was one of the ones found wanting. All sorts of things counted against me. I read books by un-Christian authors and had the audacity to like them. I enjoy white wine; I do yoga sometimes; I still don’t understand why martial arts are apparently evil; and I am passionately devoted to a college football team that is not in the SEC (O-H! I-O!)

For a little while these things had me in a tizzy. Had I missed something?! Was I interpreting scripture wrongly? How could I have miscalculated so drastically for so long?

And then I figured it out, the key to my confusion. In Ohio, and I suspect in much of the Midwest as well, Christianity is an element in the culture but not a dominant driving force behind it as it is in the South. And when a religion, or anything else for that matter, becomes a cultural zeitgeist, it has a tendency to become a competition. I woke up one morning and realized that I had stumbled upon a religious community where even the most sincere believers often found themselves scrambling to keep up- to make sure that they too had read the latest theological best seller, and had downloaded the newest worship album, to make sure they remained relevant.

Relevant. I haven’t decided for certain yet, but I’m fairly sure I hate that word. (But I love the magazine. Thus my uncertainty.) It has come to mean so many things in this generation, in the South and outside. It’s that illusive catch-phrase for the modern church that everyone seems to throw around, but no one can ever concretely define. Everyone is abuzz, trying to make their services and programs “culturally relevant,” but what does that even mean? Does it mean we update our music and have neat, modern graphics and our own i-phone app? Does it mean that we curse and start evangelizing in bars, buying a pint for anyone who will hear our case? Do we hire a hipster band and start selling coffee in the back, our deacons doubling as baristas?

I’m not necessarily down on any of those suggestions, but I am questioning the meaning behind it all. If you can’t define it (“it” being relevancy), is it worth striving for? Why not just pray about it and do church the best way we know how? If relevancy is something to be sought after and obtained wouldn’t it happen organically as we lived in our culture and Christian community simultaneously?

I don’t really have answers to these questions, but I do know what’s working for me. I quit.

The tenants of my faith: read the Bible, study it, practice it, and always bring the cat along.

I quit trying to be a good Christian kid. It was exhausting, and I’m far too free-spirited and messy to get it right for very long, so these days I just try to focus on following the tenants of my faith instead. I’m not naturally very cool (Remember the homeschool thing? Plus, I grew up Baptist.), and I can never seem to keep up with the cutting edge. I’m always a few trends behind. But I can read those three study Bibles and try to live out what I’m learning with sincerity. It’s not pretty, but I’m giving it my best.

I, along with my husband, Tyler, and several friends, recently left the South. I didn’t get my dearest wish, to go back to the comfortable Midwest to live out my life among the corn fields, but God did grant me something pretty cool. After uprooting ourselves and moving to the desert region of Southern California, we’re getting to help start a church. Here again is a whole new spiritual atmosphere.  Most people here don’t go to church, at least not regularly. Some think we’re crazy. Many are interested in the same way you’re politely interested in your neighbor’s tomato garden and grand baby pictures, which is to say you’re happy for them, but you really don’t care that much. Some are completely apathetic without the pretence of being happy for us at all. And a few are very interested, which is why we’re here.

Unbeknownst to us, we’re also here to learn a few lessons. This new spiritual climate has really taught us a lot about sincerity, or maybe it was the sudden onset of near-poverty that did the trick. We’ve struggled to make ends meet our whole marriage, mostly because we’re young twenty-somethings just starting out in a dreadful economy and not from lack of trying. But our first year out here was by far the worst. We got jobs that helped us scrape by, and the Tyler lost his job, and my book store clerking paid the rent, sort of. But food and gas came from an unemployment check, and most of the time it was food or gas, not both together. I know there are people around the world who have it much worse than we ever have, but you don’t realize just how brave those people are until you realize that unless someone takes pity on you, you won’t eat until Friday and today is Wednesday.  We’re not the type of people to beg for food, but I had to get over that in my prayer life. God was teaching me sincerity, and it started with the most sincere versions of, “Give us this day our daily bread,” that I knew how to pray. We had to learn Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego  prayers. They promised not to deny God even if He let them burn, and I was learning that God was still good even if I went hungry. He was still good when I was tired, when I had to walk to work, and when the skin of our teeth was all used up last month and we didn’t know what we were going to make it by now. God is good. Period.

Once I began to ingest the truth of His goodness funny things started happening. Friends we hadn’t spoken to in years would send money. Families from church would ask us over for dinner on the exact day that our supply of ramen noodles, rice, and beans ran out.  I found money in our medicine cabinet once. Our parents became a safety net around us, even from 3,000 miles away, and even though we didn’t ask.

If you look back in the Old Testament, it was in the desert that God rained down manna and brought forth water from a rock. It was in the wilderness that ravens brought meat to God’s prophet by His command. And it was in a desert just north of LA that we learned God really is our provider, the author of our lives. Before we were asking God to shine a light on the path so we could see, but now we were clinging to Him, like a koala on His back, and letting Him do the walking. Like being in the back seat when your dad is driving you in a storm, it was comforting. We were able to rest, and we passed through the season unscathed.

Unscathed, but not unchanged. My faith flows from a deeper place these days. Though life is more predictable, and neither my tummy nor my gas tank have been empty in a while, my faith is a little tougher, a little weather-beaten, and a lot more sincere. It’s couched these days, not in memorized idioms and regurgitated catch phrases, but in the terms of the deep thankfulness of someone who had the rug pulled out from beneath her feet unexpectedly.  Now when I give the man on the street corner money it’s not because I feel an obligation, or because that’s what good Christian girls do, but because someone once gave me money for lunch when I would have otherwise had none, so now I understand a little bit better what Jesus meant when He said that to feed and clothe the destitute is to feed and clothe Him. Grace and love feed and clothe us all. To be truly Christ-like, I must also feed and clothe out of a place of grace and love. His hands and feet saved me both by the nails they took and by the tender care they gave in my darkest hour, and to be a Christian who’s faith is relevant to the world around me I must in turn be His hands and feet to others who are in darker hours.

Well, there’s that tricky little word again. Maybe in the midst of life I did find a few answers. At the least, I’ve figured out how to translate my long-held beliefs into something truthsome and organic and mine; something with wheels that can carry me over smooth roads and rough patches alike; something that I know deep in my soul like the sound of my own name or the feel of my own skin. My faith has become relevant to me, and that, I believe, is the first step, the first shovel full of dirt as I dig for my answers in this garden of questions.

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Filed under Christianity, Some Thoughts

9/11/11

9/11/2001.

I was 14 years old.

I was at church babysitting for my mom’s Bible study. I had just turned on the TV to pop in a Veggie Tales, and when I looked up there it was- the first plane crashing into the first tower.

I sat back on my knees, my mouth agape. Something of this magnitude is hard to process anyway, but at the tender age of 14 I didn’t know what to do. So I did what any normal, freaked out 14-year-old does: I cried.

I cried, and then I made the kids play with play-dough on the other side of the room while I watched the continuing coverage. I watched the second plane. I watched until the moms came to get their kids. I watched when we got home and all afternoon. I watched the next day too. And the next. I wasn’t very long in this world, but I knew mine had changed forever.

9/11/11

It’s been ten years now, but I am still changed. I think we all are, even if it’s in a tacit way that we can’t quiet put our fingers on.

When I woke up this morning and looked at the date on my phone I had a vivid flashback to that day, as I do every year on this date. I could still see the images moving across the television in my mind. I’m better equipped to handle emotional situations now, but pictures of the towers burning and the people caught unawares covered in ash still bring tears to my eyes. Coming to terms with mortality, realizing that there are people who hate you, who would kill you in an instant, just because of where you were born, is a hard pill to swallow. If anyone ever needed proof that man is inherently evil, this is it.

Today as I reflect, I’m praying for all the families who lost loved ones on that fateful day. I’m praying for our country and our leaders, that they can lead us well in these uncertain times. I’m praying fort us all, that we never forget, and that in the face of evil we will choose love.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?.” Matthew 5:43-47

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Pros and Cons

Since moving to California, one of the things I’m asked most often is which place I like better, the town we moved from, Greenville, SC, or our new home here in Bakersfield.

My answer?

Columbus, Ohio.

You just can’t beat the Midwest. It has all four seasons in perfect balance, and it really snows during the winter. It has culture, like symphonies and ballets. I can be in the middle of a big city or out in the country in half an hour, and the Amish live close by, so there’s always good cheese. People are nice, but not too noesy. There are no poisonous snakes anywhere, and ants don’t bite. There huge libraries and lots of museums, but not a lot of tourism. Columbus will always be home home, if you know what I mean.

But Columbus isn’t one of the options.Ooops. 🙂

I’ve lived in Bakersfield for almost as long as I lived in Greenville now. (My first two years in South Carolina I lived at college, which was technically in Tigerville. So I went to Greenville, but I didn’t really live there. If you care.) It pans out like this…

Greenville Pros:

– Real seasons

– Nice mountains

– Accessable Krispy Kreme donuts

– Shrimp sauce at hibachi restaurants

– Real BBQ

– Nice downtown area

– Know more people

– Good air quality

– Family with-in a days drive

– Good southern food (Meat and three, anyone?)

– Sweet tea everywhere

– Fake Mexican food/liberal use of queso. Mmmmmmm.

Greenville Cons:

– Red Necks

– Humidity

– No Hingepoint Church

– Far-ish away from family

– Rains too much

Bakersfield Pros:

– Hingepoint Church

– Moo Creamery/Rosemary’s/etc. (Basically, better ice cream.)

– Pretty mountains

– Quick drive to the beach

– Real Mexican food (Do half of these really have to do with food? Am I really that pathetic? Yes. Yes, I am.)

– Fewer but closer friends

– No rain

Bakersfield Cons:

– Smog

– No sweet tea (except Jeri’s. Which is always great:)

– We’re in the desert

– Bros

– Hot hot heat

– Not-real seasons

– Farther away from family

Total Score: Greenville: 7, Bakersfield: an even 0.

And as a city as a whole goes, I really do like Greenville better. But I’m happier and more peaceful in Bakersfield than I ever was in Greenville, or than I would be in my beloved Ohio, or anywhere, because this is where God has called me to be. And I’m content. Also, it’s nice to be warm when everyone else is cold in April, and also in October. See. Win- win. 🙂

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Filed under California Dreamin', Some Thoughts