Tuesday, August 4, 2009

putting the pieces together

The other day at church, my small group spent a few minutes making fun (very righteously, of course) of people who say things like "Praise the Lord" about almost anything, especially when meeting new people.  You wrote a paper today? Praise the Lord! You study turtles? Thanks be to God! You work at Krispy Creme? Hallelujah!  It can be a bit much. 

But this is different. My terrible, horrible, no good, very bad summer semester is OVER! 

Truly, I am thankful to have survived. And despite the fact that there were too few hours in the day for the amount of work I was supposed to do, I am convinced that the non-school things I did this summer are what got me through it (mostly) unscathed. Surprisingly enough, helping Alexander with his remodeling efforts is at the top of the list. Since most of my time is spent reading and writing about abstractions all just to get some theoretical and largely meaningless "grade," there's something incredibly satisfying about using my hands to do something concrete, that I can see and touch when it's finished. My favorite is the mosaic we made for the laundry room counter a couple of weekends ago, so I thought I'd share.

The people who lived in the house before did a mosaic in the floor of the sun room, and they left behind tons of tiles and marbles and rocks and such.  After making a huge (but oh-so-fun) mess by spreading them out all over the floor, we started playing came up with this:

After a trip to Lowe's (I don't even want to try to count how many times I've been to Lowe's with this boy) and very strategic planning and measuring, we starting laying it out in its proper location in the laundry room.  This was the most fun part.

Here's what it looked like when I left Ocean Springs.  Alex spent quite some time getting the border just right in my absence. 

And now, the finished product, complete with grout and accompanied by our mutually-agreed-upon paint color!

I think I'm more proud of this than of my GPA.

Friday, July 31, 2009

disillusioned haiku

one thing that I've learned:
"doctor of philsophy"
doesn't mean you're smart

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Sometimes I have these bursts of creative energy that just have to come out somehow.  I get really inspired by God's creation and by artists, and despite my perceived lack of actual talent (and the fact that I have other things that I should be doing), I just have to create something. Today, I decided to become a painter.  

Monday, July 13, 2009

featuring... me!

I've gotten a lot of etsy love lately! Most recently, Danielle featured my shop (and a few others) in this video!  I've been in a lot of treasuries (a lot for me, anyway) lately too, so while I'm at it, I'm going to share some of those, too. :)  Thanks to everyone who has featured my stuff! I'm up to 20 sales now!

By the way, if any of these photos tickle your fancy, you should check out this "secret" coupon for my shop! :)

rocket [wo]man

"...and all this science, I don't understand. It's just my job five days a week..."
-Elton John

I really do love psychology, but sometimes I feel very disconnected from the world of academia. I want to understand people and to know how to help people, but some days it feels like the stuff I spend my time doing has very little to do with any of that. Sometimes grad school feels like some sort of silly obstacle course, and instead of teaching us what we need to know, it tests to see how badly we want to know, then releases us out into the world with a degree that qualifies us to figure it out on our own.

I was thinking the other day about my first day at Pathways, when I didn't even realize what I had been hired to do. I was passively observing a group therapy session, and Vicki, my boss, abruptly asked me to take the uncooperative kid next to me into the other room for an individual session. I was shocked and terrified, and I felt like I was mostly making stuff up as I went along. It turned out to be one of my best sessions, actually, but the whole time, I just kept thinking about how unqualified I was to do what I was doing. And yet... after a year (almost) of grad school, I can't think of anything that I know now that would've made me any more prepared or less freaked out about that situation. That's not to say I haven't learned anything; I've learned some research things and some theories and such, but hardly anything that really translates into how to be a therapist.

Maybe next year.

Friday, July 10, 2009

elegy for the king of pop

Billy Jean isn't my lover either,
And I don't know if Annie's okay,
And I realize that I didn't know him,
But I really miss MJ today.

In dance class, my goal was to be just like him,
And I did learn "Remember the Time,"
But I never could do isolations (or moonwalks)
The way Michael did in his prime.

Back then, when he asked, "Will you be there?"
I felt strongly compelled to say, "Yes,"
For it seemed that the world didn't get it
And instead caused this great man distress.

Even so, he told us that we are the world,
And also that we can heal it,
And now that he's gone it seems silly to say,
But his spirit's still here. I can feel it.

Monday, July 6, 2009

frustrated grad student haiku

is the epitome of

sums up how I feel right now:
this is meaningless!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

juxtaposed haiku

of stripes and rusty faces
is funny looking

Friday, July 3, 2009

flatland haiku

there are no hills here
mountains used to protect me
I feel so exposed

Monday, June 8, 2009

yoga haiku

I exhale all the stress
focus on a new drishti
and say namaste

Monday, June 1, 2009

live oak haiku

in mississippi
lying down and looking up
this is what you see

Saturday, May 30, 2009

in bloom

Somehow, the world appears more beautiful to me when I'm alone with my camera. So after a rough day at work, I wandered around campus and took pictures, and it really gave my mental health a boost! Who knew Hattiesburg could be so pretty?!

All these photos (and some other new ones, too) are in my etsy shop, so go have a look, if you wish. :)

Friday, May 29, 2009

how-to haiku

five syllables here
another line with seven
and then back to five

avolition haiku

I should do something useful
instead, I do this

5, 7, 5

NPR inspired
me to jot down some haiku*
so here is the first

*Yes, the plural of haiku is haiku. Maybe that'll make up for my egregious misspelling of barrage the other day. (Thanks, Mom.)

white with foam

Another sale! A lovely fellow etsian just purchased this photo, which I took on my recent (spontaneous, Alex-instigated) adventure to Destin, FL! I was kind of in awe of the water there. The Mississippi part of the Gulf looks nothing like this. I guess the ocean is always greener on the other side?

I love the color fade and the calm, even pattern of the foam in the shot, and I'm glad to know that someone else does, too. :)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

rhyme time

My dear friend Natalie has been writing children's poetry lately, and it has really inspired me to get my creative juices flowing. It really is an important outlet in the midst of the scientific, textbook-laden barrage of school work that's about to be in full force. So far, my best (ok, only) effort has been this silly little ditty for my beloved.

You're very unpredictable;
it's really quite alarming.
But I must admit your crazy quirks
are mostly very charming.

I hate it when you say you're dumb,
because you're very smart.
I love the way you use your brain
but also wear your heart

upon your sleeve so I can see
the things that you are feeling.
After all this time, I'm still intrigued
but what it's been revealing.

It's so much fun to share ideas
about therapy and fish.
To keep on sharing with you
is, I think, my biggest wish.

I hope you can forgive me, though,
for using all this filler
when all I want to say is that
I love you, Alex Miller.


Sunday, May 24, 2009

better in black and white

I just stumbled upon the "vault" feature on the craftcult website and found that this treasury I made was on the front page! I'm on etsy so much that you'd think I'd know these things, but I've yet to actually see this happen. Maybe next time.

14 and counting

How about an update about my etsy shop? I have so much fun with it, and I'm up to 14 sales! Here's what I've sold...

Two prints of this photo of a Live Oak on USM's campus. It's definitely my favorite Mississippi picture. I really, really miss the hills, but trees like this are one of the things that I love about this place.

Two prints of this funny photo from Costa Rica. Maybe my favorite picture I've ever taken.

Two prints of this photo of beautiful Autumn Leaves in Emory, VA (where I went to college.)

Two prints of these crazy male nuns in Prague. (I wish I had an explanation for this.)

One of these. This photo was actually taken just a few yards form those yellow leaves (but months later.)

One of these, which was a surprise! It's a picture of the inside of my windshield while I was driving through a car wash.

One of these redbuds. This one was taken at Central Park in Ashland, KY (my hometown.)

One of these from a shrimp boat tour in Biloxi.

One of these from my trip to Walden Pond.

And this one, which I took on my trip to St. Francisville with my friend Natalie in December. This was my most exciting sale, because the buyer contacted me and wanted an enlargement because she was so in love with it. She ended up ordering a 16x20, and it looked wonderful!

It was rather ironic too, because this is not one of my personal favorites at all. Since someone loved a photo that I think is just ok, I've started adding new photos to my shop more often, thinking something similar might happen again. Go check them out!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

the pros of prose

I just logged on to poetry.com and was planning on composing a little PIM to post here (surprise, surprise), but I was very troubled to find that the website has completely changed, and the Poetry in Motion feature (the only good part of poetry.com) is nowhere to be found! I am very sad about this.

BUT. Maybe that means it's time to write something else in here. I really do miss the days when I wrote my experiences and thoughts in here. Somehow, when pieces of my life are recorded, they feel more real...like I have not fully experienced something until I have adequately reflected on it. And, clearly, reflection has been lacking, at least in any sort of concrete way.

I certainly can't make up for the whole academic year of stuff that has happened, but maybe if I do a quick re-cap, I will be able to get back into the groove.

So. I'm in graduate school in counseling psychology, so that's what constitutes the largest portion of my time. I'm doing well, but it's not the sort of challenging, exhilarating experience that school used to be. I didn't realize just how much I love learning until last semester. I was so excited to be a student again, but I didn't feel like I was learning anything new, and it was very frustrating. I've had moments of actually wishing that I were less intelligent or that I had not been so well prepared by my undergrad experiences. I'm regularly jealous of people who are struggling to grasp new stuff. It sounds weird, but it's kind of sad, really. The weirdest thing about is it that I really have never felt this way before. I've always been smart and a good student, but I was always happy with what I was learning and felt like my teachers/professors had something great to offer me--that I would benefit from their guidance and wisdom. Now, it's more like "I just have to get through this so I can do what I want to do," and I don't like that at all. Maybe I'm just disillusioned with academic nonsense, or maybe I've just become a self-righteous and arrogant snob. Probably both.

And my snobbery comes into play at my assistantship too, because I have to deal with being disrespected and demeaned on a regular basis (not by my boss, just to clarify--she loves me). I can deal with it a lot better now than I did at first, but there are still rough days.

It's not all bad, really. I like the people in my program very much, and I don't know what I would do without my "best Mississippi friend," Natalie. And my weeks are bearable because I spend them looking forward to weekends, which I spend with my beloved Alexander, usually at his house on the coast. It's funny how we rarely saw each other before we moved here but miss each other MORE now. The more time I spend with him, the more sure I am that I want to spend more and more of my time with him. His house, and our relationship there, feels much more like home to me than my apartment in Hattiesburg or my role as a grad student. The disconnect between the two is hard, but the one makes the other all worth it.

I've also gotten involved in a small group at the church I go to when I'm in Hattiesburg, and while I haven't been particuarly stimulated by the books we've read, I really enjoy the fellowship. Even though I tend to be a loner, I've always found it essential to be part of a community of believers, and I'm grateful to have found that.

Despite the list of complaints here, I really am happy. It's just that I feel such a strong conviction that I will be happier. The best is yet to come.

Friday, April 3, 2009

simple songs

to the one we see above
we give simple songs of love

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Monday, March 30, 2009


in my dreams I know exactly what is inside us

Thursday, March 26, 2009

singular endeavor

I came to know
that in the end
my singular endeavor
is to love

Friday, February 27, 2009


love is labor
so I just softly sigh

Thursday, February 26, 2009

beauty in ruins

my beloved found
beauty in my ruins
and we danced

"You have turned my mourning into dancing..."
Psalm 30:11

Monday, February 2, 2009

25 things

1. I don't really love Mississippi, and I'm not particularly happy with my program, but I continue to be very glad that I made the crazy decision to move here. This realization kind of freaked me out for a while, but I'm beginning to feel more comfortable with it.

2. My obsession with grammar plays a more significant role in my life than most people think. I think that people think I'm just trying to be funny or show off that I know more than they do, but I REALLY do get very anxious about errors. If I can take a picture of it and put it in my photo album, it makes me feel better, but it's the errors in books--especially textbooks--that really get me. Sometimes, I have to put the book down and take some deep breaths before I can focus again.

3. One of the coolest things I did in college was reading the Old Testament with my friend, Pete. I still miss S.P.O.T. time sometimes.

4. I have very little confidence in my cooking ability, and I get really nervous when I'm cooking for other people (especially if they're watching me), but I'm actually not so bad at it.

5. I don't like it when people misspell my first name. Today, the woman working at Starbucks asked for my name to write on my cup, and she actually asked, "H or no H?" I was embarrassingly appreciative of this gesture.

6. I've become really bad at keeping in touch with my friends, and I feel terrible about it. There are several people I really want to reconnect with, but I feel uncomfortable about picking up the phone and saying, "Hey...I haven't talked to you in a year. How's life?"

7. On a related note, I miss Emory, Virginia terribly and constantly. I'm afraid that I won't ever be in a community that I love as much as that one.

8. My two favorite boys...I mean men...in the whole world are Alex M. and Alex M. In that order. ;)

9. I feel silly about it, and I haven't actually made any money, but having an etsy shop has been a very rewarding, affirming experience.

10. I know most people think it's "personal" or "touchy," but I actually enjoy talking to people about Graves' Disease. I try not to bring it up, because people seem to think I shouldn't want to talk about it, but when people express curiosity and ask questions, I am incredibly happy to educate them.

11. My favorite Christmas present this year was a United Methodist hymnal with my name engraved on it.

12 I REALLY love my last name. I used to plan never to change it, but for some reason, I've begun to rethink this lately, and it kind of stresses me out.

13. I love books, and I am very possessive of them. I will not borrow books from other people, because I need to do my own highlighting and writing, and I need to have each book on my (color-coded) shelf for future reference (and for decoration.) For the same reason, I hesitate to loan books to other people, which I know is really lame. I loaned a book to someone over a year ago, and I'm pretty sure he never read it. I'm afraid he may have lost it, but I'm afraid to ask.

14. I don't value the idea of having a Ph.D. as much as I used to, but there ARE things I'd like to do that pretty much require it. We'll see.

15. I'm not really sure why I quit blogging. I want to start again, but I get overwhelmed trying to figure out where to start. So much has happened.

16. I grew up in the best neighborhood in the whole world with the best possible people, and I am convinced that no one had a better childhood that we did. When I think of paradise, it looks a lot like Hunter Court, dusk, summer, circa 1992.

17. My Gryffindor tie is one of my favorite articles of clothing, and I'm sad that I'll have very few more (appropriate) opportunities to wear it.

18. Every time I play that "2 truths and a lie" game, I say, "I'm related to (a) Bill Clinton's college roommate, (b) Katie Couric's makeup artist, and the (c) guy who invented the sandwich."

19. Sometimes it makes me sad that I don't have one, single, "best friend," but really, I'm lucky, because I have about 5 of them.

20. Sometimes, when I really connect with an author's writings, I start to feel so intimately connected with the person that I refer to them as if we're on a first name basis. Examples include Emily (Dickinson) and Augusten (Burroughs.)

21. Speaking of writers, I credit C.S. Lewis with completely revolutionizing the way I understand God.

22. I will never, ever be able to adequately thank Dr. Qualls for everything he has done for me. His teaching, guidance, insight, and encouragement continue to impact my life in very real ways.

23. During my senior year of college, I made a vow that I would never be the president of anything ever again.

24. Lately, I've been thinking a lot about working with adolescents. During my time working at Pathways, I found that I connected with them particularly well, especially with group art therapy. Right now, I'm teaching gifted middle/high school students about psychology in a 7-week program, and it has reminded me how much I love this age group.

25. I really haven't learned that much about psychology since I've been here, but I've learned a lot about love.