Everybody’s doing it.

When I asked her what I should blog about tonight, Maria told me I should write about the holidays because “all the bloggers seem to be doing it.” So with that advice in mind, I’m going to talk a little bit about home.

I’m home, right now. On a trundle-bed, which is different. It’s tilted on one side, so I always wake up just about to fall off the bed. Lydia is going to move in Friday night when she gets home (happy birthday, by the way!), which means that the already messy roomy is going to be a pit. Seriously there is so much crap in here. But there’s so much good, too. There’s stacks of books and notebooks and piles of pens and pencils and empty mugs with little tea bag tags dangling out of them. It feels like there are ideas and thoughts just floating around, barely out of reach, and if you stretched far enough, you’d be able to grab one and run with it.

There’s something peaceful about routine. “Okay, yeah duh,” I hear you say. Fine. I think of when change happens, when I’m put in a new situation, in a new environment where I don’t have my bearings yet. My solution? Make my bed. Camp, school, a friend’s house, staff retreats, hotels; For me, there’s something grounding about putting a sheet on, laying down a pillow, and spreading a blanket, that helps me feel at peace. It’s the first step to setting down roots, I guess. It gives my hands something to do while my brain freaks out.

At Camp, my true home, I have to make my bed. It’s a natural motion that gets me moving and thinking and remembering that “yes, I want to be here. No, I’m not going to back out.” Those crazy little butterflies in my stomach take a break for a minute and then by the time I’ve finished, someone new has joined or an old friend has come in whooping and screaming (no exaggeration.)

I guess… I don’t know. Home looks different at different points of our lives. Even the same building grows memories and develops quality as time goes by. I feel sometimes like I have to make my bed over and over again, and it gets kind of tiresome. But at the same time, it’s an adventure. And not just in the blanket fort and pillow fights way.

Cookies

Ever wanted to try to give a fresh perspective on something that has been beaten to death already? Like, chocolate chip cookies. Everything that can be said about chocolate chip cookies has already been said. Seriously. NPR did an article on the science behind the perfect chocolate chip cookie. There’s really nothing left to be said.

But sometimes you have an experience with a chocolate chip cookie that just blows your mind. Like “dang. that was the best chocolate chip cookie ever and i have to tell someone about it. but they’ll just be like ‘oh yeah i’ve had one of those too’ and they won’t understand how deeply that cookie impacted me. how do i describe my experience with the most amazing chocolate chip cookie ever to them?”

It takes you a while to find the perfect words to describe that dang cookie. And you really can’t even capture what that cookie meant to you in that sentence. You just kind of scratch the surface. This sentence didn’t accurately describe how you really felt about the cookie, while that sentence has been written a hundred times before. So usually you settle for an okay sentence, or sometimes you give up entirely. And you know, that’s okay. The struggle is real, my friends. Life is really just a rough draft, after all.

Lately, my “chocolate chip cookie” has been the goodbye. People wander in and out of our lives often. Some matter and some don’t as much. Today while we were cleaning for break, my housemate’s boyfriend wondered aloud what life would be like if every time we said goodbye, we said it like this was really our last time seeing each other. Pretty melodramatic.

Growing up at Camp taught me a lot about saying goodbye, about the tenuous nature of life. You make a best friend by Thursday and then on Saturday, they’re gone. We never knew if the counselors that befriended us would be back the next summer. We had a really fast turnover rate, but we learned how to remember and move on. It doesn’t make saying goodbye any easier, but I cope better after. Some days.

Some days I don’t do so well. Some days, life just isn’t fair and the good ones are taken from us too soon and the universe throws fun little surprises at us and we’re left silent, our cheers and excitement echoing away into the walls. Some how, we have to learn how to move on. We have to laugh at our own jokes and beatbox to our own music.

My goal in life is to write that sentence. That sentence that captures that chocolate chip, perfectly, in its entirety.

When I do, I’ll let you know.

For Andy.

After all, you’re my Wonderwall

I’ve decided that I’m never going to turn down the chance for a road trip (you know, as long as I don’t have any prior commitments…) again. In the past few years at school, mostly with the team, I’ve spent hours and hours staring out the windows of a car. Usually right side up, sometimes upside down, rarely through the front window.

We never really used to go on trips as a family; its hard to get 7 kids in the van, let alone 7 happy kids in the van. The furthest that we ever traveled was up to Minnesota, in a twelve passenger van. Somehow we survived and lived to tell the tale. Maybe it was the fact that we already knew everything about each other already, or that we knew how to push each others buttons. Than again, maybe it was the screaming 4 year old in the back seat. Traveling with the family just wasn’t the greatest. It was fun, but nothing to write home about.

Manchester University isn’t that far from IWU; less than an hour drive, in fact. That’s the first car trip I remember with the Ultimate team. It was the day after our tournament in Marion, and we only had 6 people going. We were all exhausted. We rolled up and down a small hill into some town on the way there, and on the way back, we talked about how many kids we wanted and what we would name them.

Over the next 3 years, 55 minutes has turned into 3 hours, and into 6 and 8 and even 12. Every single hour has been worth it. Even driving back to IWU at 6 in the morning after staying up all night was so fun (Matt yelled about football ALL THE WAY BACK TO SCHOOL.) The 24 hour jaunt to Georgia and back has made every trip since seem like child’s play.

Driving at night is probably my favorite part. By that  time, everyone has settled in and gotten comfortable. People’s impedimenta is everywhere, as is the conversation. It’s like time travel, or something. Its dark, and we can’t see where we are or where we’re going, and as the seatbelts come off and the van becomes less like van and more like a living room, we lose track of time. And when we wake up the next day, we’re in a completely different place. It’s the best kind of magic.

Once, on the way to Pittsburgh (my favorite trip) we started talking about God and what we believe about the Holy Spirit and His gifts and how the world came to be and how God is invested in our lives and, you know, those things that people get really fired up about. These experiences make me so thankful for where I am in life and who is around me because of the perspective they give me. If I didn’t know these guys, I would look at them and see jocks. But they talk about God and how they understand the world and I am so humbled and blessed.

And then a truck came by, pulling a Delorean, and it took us 10 minutes to get back on topic.

Why do I love road trips?

On the way back from Georgia, every radio station that we drove through played this song. As the Tennessee rain fell, drumming on the windows, Matt drowsed off on one side of me and Andy crooned softly along with the music.

There’s something peaceful about just existing, just being, in your own little world, as the rest of the world rolls by.

Find a car, find a friend. Turn on some music. Talk, or don’t talk. Whatever. Hit the road and make a memory.

All the roads we have to walk are winding.