Best of All

“And Max the king of all wild things was lonely and wanted to be where someone loved him best of all.” -Maurice Sendak

Sometimes I remember this part of the story, Where the Wild Things Are, and it makes me kind of sad. I can go in-depth about why I hate it for Max and we can analyze the book from front to back and probably arrive at Max’s need for a child therapist and the problems his mom will inevitably face during his teenage years from the mixed signals she gives by sending him off without dinner then eventually leaving him some without explanation or discussion, but let’s not. Let’s talk about how it makes me hate it for us.

I really feel like this is such a profound insightful sentence, a deep well of insight. This is what we all want— to be where someone loves us best of all. This is the first time I’ve ever talked about this with anyone (and the irony of me typing this to an unknown and un-guaranteed audience is not lost on me) so, I don’t know if we all go through a period of feeling like we lack that, or if it’s just me, but I know that it never leaves you.

I understand that everyone’s family has some dysfunction in it; I’m well aware that normalcy and dysfunction are completely subjective entities, and I’m going to assume that I can speak freely without harping on that. My family growing up was very disjointed. Drawing a picture might help you, but instead I’m going to type it all out and confuse you, Wuthering Heights style (I totally drew a family tree before I could make it through the first chapter of that book). Growing up I had a mom, step-dad, dad, and step-mom and each of them excepting my mom had a child from a previous marriage. (My sister came along after my mom and step-dad got together) This is why I awkwardly giggle when people ask about my standing in birth order; mostly I was oldest, but sometimes I have been the youngest, and for the longest I was the middle.

The second thing we’re just going to have to all agree that we know and then move past is that a child’s perception is just that, the perception of a child. (No one bothers to point that out when the opinions belong to Scout Jean Louise Finch, but I guess to be fair, things told from my elementary perspective have yet to win me a Pulitzer Prize) There was a time when it seemed logical for me to match everyone up. Each child got a grown-up, and that grown-up was their defender, their supporter, theirs— they loved them best of all. It wasn’t a totally CRAZY thing to do, but seeing as it left me odd-kid-out, it wasn’t the most healthy or accurate thing to do either. What’s done is done; now we’re just stating facts. I remember feeling like Max. I felt like I was Queen of all wild things. I was the one who saw all the sides. I understood all the opinions. I ruled over communications. But I was lonely. And all I wanted was to be where someone loved me best of all. Not second of all, not equal of all, not most of all every now and then. BEST OF ALL.

It wasn’t healthy. It wasn’t rational. But it was real. And it doesn’t go away. That want, it still plagues me. And as uncomfortable as I am making generalizations, I don’t think it’s just me. I think you’ve felt it too. I think quite regularly, daily, hourly even, people are using all their resources to prove me right.

Sometimes I catch myself feeling like Max. Not lonely, because now I’m older and a little wiser and can maintain perspective enough to see what that really is, to then see past “loneliness”. But if I’m not careful, I’ll find myself mentally pairing people off with who they love best of all. I’ll catch myself lying, telling my heart that it’s not enough for people to simply love you, you need them to love you best of all. The trick is living there. I’m not fully convinced that it’s a bad thing to want; I am fully convinced it’s a bad thing to only want.

Life is full of dichotomies. Things that seem to contradict, but actually sustain each other. These paradoxes that keep things moving, keep us growing and stretching. Wanting to be loved most of all is both the most heartbreaking and most optimistic desire I can ever imagine having. I never want to be consumed by it, but I hope that I can be strong enough to  contend with the pain in lack in order to perceive the blessing in abundance. I hope that I can gracefully sustain a season of living in that tension.


2011, the recap.

I was reflecting the other day (before 2012 actually began) about 2011, and I thought that since it’s time for a new one, it might be fun to share some of my favorite moments of the year. I learned an awful lot in 2011, and the Lord was very gracious to teach me some very important things about Himself. I think I can say with confidence that I experienced lifechange, and I’m really just not sure what more I could ever ask for. So here they are, [A FEW OF] my most favorite moments of last year (in chronological order).

  • Meeting these people. This trip is another story in itself (eg a, b, c, d), but these people were such a blessing and this video still makes me tear up.
  • Seeing my mom at the airport after what felt like a forever’s worth of traveling back from Brazil. The older I get, the more I realize how unusual a mom like mine is. For someone to love you no matter what you say, and point you to Christ no matter when or where they or you are is unbelievable. She believes in me, and yes, 17 year old Jenna, she trusts you.
  • Being a part of this girl’s wedding. Holy cow, what an amazing time. It’s always joyful when a best friend gets married, but this wedding was a complete reflection of this couple and the legacy they’re already creating. These two have really taught me a lot, and being a part of their wedding really changed my life.
we love a good game of signs.
  • Meeting these people. I’ve never met such a large group of people so wholly devoted to God and loving people. They do life well, and I could call anyone of them at this moment and pick up where we left off with a hug and laughter. (also my site babies: here, here, here, etc.)
  • Creating my first Google Doc. It might sound trite, but it was one of the first things I got to create during my internship here at RHCC, and it was fun. I love learning new things, and in that moment when I got to learn something new and create something meaningful, it was affirmation. Plus, there are like a million bajillion cools things you can do with a Google Doc!

  • Seeing this girl graduate. It was the end of an age. We’ve been together since 5th grade, thick and oh so very thin, and yet there we both stood, done with a defining chapter in life. To see where the Lord has brought us and how He’s honored our obedience is just awe inspiring.

Sister, sista

Today my sister is seventeen years old. That’s for real super old. I remember being seventeen; it wasn’t all that long ago, but it feels like an eternity. I have to say I’m significantly more proud of who my sister is at this point in her life than I am of who I was. She’s so strong and grounded; I just love her so much! So in honor of her birth, here are some photos full of sisterly love.

ok, so maybe it’s not as much sisterly love as it is ridiculousness, but what can we say? We crazy. Seriously, in pretty much every picture we have together one of us looks weird. Maybe we’ll take one today and attempt to make up for years bad photography. If we do, I’ll share, but in the meantime these will do because it’s her birthday, and she’s the coolest!

El Fin

It’s over. It’s over. It’s finally over. I love my family, I promise I do, but I’ve met my family vacation quota for the next 14 months at least. Those with acute perception will note that there was no blog for the entire second half of the trip. There is a reason for such. IT WAS HORRID! People in my family are very independent, we like to do our own thing go our own way, and be in control of everything. Now add our severe sarcasm to the mix, and well…it wasn’t pretty. I cried more than once, and on one of the days I can promise you I didn’t say more than 10 sentences all day. I believe now more than ever in my previously stated laws of vacations. Fortunately for you though we’re back, and things are back to normal, all in separate rooms, not talking to each other. It’s pleasant. Oh and speaking of unpleasant let me give a word to the wise, never ever ever stop at Taco Bell for dinner on a roadtrip. Especially not if you’re in my family. I’m ever so thankful I got a working window seat. So yeah sorry there aren’t many details and humorous anecdotes in this post, but just be thankful I still have mind enough left to write anything! I love you all, and remember Jesus is the source of a Merry Christmas.

P.S. I think I changed the comment thing so more people can comment even without that stupidgoogle account thing, so try if you like. Sorry!

Seriously? Day 3? That’s all?

Today I decided to make an exectutive decision. It should be established that family vacations may not last for more than 24 hours. No sane person could possibly take any more. They just can’t. Don’t worry just yet, I have also declared a few exceptions and they might just make you happy. If you have an above-average I.Q. then the vacation time limit drops to 12 hours, it’s just not beneficial to your health to attempt endurance of more time than that. Also those of you whose family contains either of the following: a baby, who cannot speak to you; or a toddler, who is cute beyond all belief and will do whatever you tell it to do, your time limit is extended to at least 48 hours. (Yes I am fully aware I got a little punctuation happy with that sentence.) That being said, I’m sure I don’t have to tell you just how the day went. It wasn’t bad I didn’t try to bring bodily harm to anyone, but I am exhausted. Seriously I’m all funned out. I will say seeing the Grinchmas made my year (Jenna loves musicals), but finding a hour long detour on the way back to condo was not so pleasant. The last thing I saw as I dozed off in the front seat was the clock which read 5:03. hello! I’m so old. But I will say I rode the Dueling Dragons twice not 15 minutes after eating a cheeseburger the size of my head, and I didn’t even puke a little. Yay Jenna. Anyways, today is practically over for me and for this I am greatful. Hope your week is going well and remember that Jesus and I love you!

Parade Day. whoo hoo.

Day numero dos. Let me just start by saying a picture’s worth a thousand words. However, since I am a slight over-achiever I feel it essential to make it at least 1,200- ish. As you may or may not be able to tell from the picture, Dad drove today. 9 hours ago I might have been able to comment on this and it be found humorous, but now I will only say, we have seen almost 80% of Orlando. And it’s a big city. I was so thankful to see the hotel again I did a mini happy dance. Marty began the day by refusing to wear his seatbelt longer than 2 minutes at a time, and he only increased in stubborn-ness as the day progressed. I’m pretty sure we only came into contact with around 10 english speaking people all day, and not one of those knows what Southern Hospitality is. My mom is paranoid and when there are 8 million people everywhere, that’s not a good thing. I had to remind her several times that no one was going to get lost while standing in line. We most definately had our ups and downs accompanied by quite a few ins and outs, but obviously I survived and in good enough humor to record a Christmas medley. It’s quite entertaining. I’m excited that tomorrow I get to see the Grinch (my Favorite!) and I get to ride the Hulk. Ohh ohh, we ate dinner at this weird place, and this old lady played the piano and sang, and she sang us the Alabama fight song. Quite the amusement. Actually I’m going to give the music from today the most amusing award. ( Suggestions for a better award name will be accepted) I’m tired and not feeling too creative so I’ll leave you with the moral of the story… Never chase your family down a conveyor belt full of people and small children, you will run out of breath and they will not appreciate it.

Christmas “Vacation” Day One

Since thinking is something I enjoy, I decided maybe I should share my thoughts with others and share the joy. Well that and a whole lot of boredom. If you don’t get joy from reading this, well sorry I can only do what I can do. (Profound I know. :P &ilu.

So this is it. Those 2 words that more often than not strike fear into the hearts of people everywhere: “Family Vacation”. Separately they’re fine. Family, Oh sure we love ‘em.. Vacation, we’re on it, but together? Now that’s trouble. Last night I was very dismayed to find out we would be Leaving at 5:00 AM. Not getting up, not loading up, but leaving. Holy Cow. So I set my trusty phone alarm (which to my professors’ joys has never failed me) It went off as planned at 4:30 (although I woke up just fine on my own at 3:15) and to my surprise I was the only one awake. Are you kidding me?! I have never seen my family get ready in such short an amount of time. Usually I spend Sunday mornings trying to hurry Katie and Jacob along so that I can be on time for church, (may I add not once has it ever worked). So here we are all SEVEN of us in our rental Bus (ok ok it’s actually a van, but seriously nerdy. I’m thankful I promise :P) And the time is 5:03. whoa. The sun isn’t even up! Amazingly enough, no one is in a foul mood. Not even me! I know right? We’re ready to roll, only.. the seatbelts are gay. They’re behind and over and backwards and cross-ways from the seat they go with. Not even kidding we used like 4 of us and almost 30 minutes to figure them out, and mine is still hooked into the middle seat. It was almost hysterical. The time is now 5:30, and we’re leaving. YAY! I’m going to sleep now. Wait a minute, why aren’t we moving? *open my eyes* we’re at the house?! Mom forgot her phone charger. This my friends is a sign of things to come. It’s 9:35 our time and we’ve already hit 2 convenient stores, McDonald’s, and had 2 bathroom breaks. I’m going to scream. Cock Pit: Dad, yeah let’s just say I’m glad I took Dramamine. Mom, if you know her, I need not say anything else on the subject. Back row: Marty, he’s got a headset turned up so loud I’m surprised you haven’t heard it yet. (Side note, mom’s yelling now.. and she’s done) and he’s sharing the seat with Jacob: he’s actually been quiet so far, except when he borrowed Katie’s Ipod and she wanted back but “no I’ve only had it an hour and a half” “ We’ve been driving two hours” “Katie no we haven’t we’re in Ozark “Jacob give it to me” ..You get the picture. Middle Row: Katie and Katie. Yeah that’s right a whole row to herself, well if you don’t count her luggage next to her. Other than the fact that’s she’s reading over my shoulder, she’s not doing too bad. Then there’s the front row (now you see why I said Bus) Myself, and Aunt Debbie. I’m not sure if you know me or not but my legs are long and the space in front of my seat is not. I’m squished but surviving. Aunt Debbie like myself has a love for music so when conserving our Ipods’ batteries, she would like the radio to be on something enjoyable, since Mom controls that, music we could have a problem later. I have only heard “are we almost there” 3 times, and “Where are we” maybe 4, so 3 coloring pages, 2 -30 minute naps, half a Collected Works of Edgar Allen Poe book, and one-fourth an Ipod battery considered, I’d say I’m not doing too bad. Just Pray. That’s all I can say. ;)
Time has elapsed. We are here, well technically. But still not to our timeshare. It is 2:13 our time. 3:13 theirs or maybe ours for the week, whatever. You haven’t really missed much. Lunch : Taco Bell and let me tell you I didn’t know it was possible to ruin chicken quesadillas, but my chicken was burnt, and I think the girl tried to spell her name with the slicer. I watched 2 movies, the second of which just ended and I’m wishing it had lasted a little longer. Dad: Playing a mixture of Mariachi band music and Spanish Talk Radio. Mom: DRIVING!! And alternating between hitting the gas as if she’s qualifying for the Indy 500 and swerving from side to side of the lane as if trying to miss the invisible squirrels in the road. CAN I PLEASE HAVE MORE DRAMAMINE AND A SPRITE?! Katie still trying to look over my shoulder, I’m getting paranoid. Aunt Debbie listening to my ipod and doing dances that died a long time ago. And every now and then a random “Jacob shut-up” and “MARTY.. MARTY.. quit singing so loud!!!” “ Put your seatbelt back on!”. “Tim just read what Mapquest wrote, no that is not a slight right, that’s a sharp right”. Someone please let me out now. I’m telling you I can walk. OHH MY GOODNESS, we’re here. I just want to get out of the car before I barf or scream or do something crazy. If you know my family, you feel my pain. Breaking news: : : Someone just broke something, and it wasn’t anything tangible, we have 2 more people than we’re supposed to have for our room occupancy, and my brother is laying in the floor, hiding in case “they want to count” while mom looks out all the windows in case someone comes to verify our number of people and Aunt Debbie is trying to create her own gas mask. Ohh My.