My writing prompt for today says, “ Tell us about the best movie to bring on a cleansing cry.” Sometimes you just need to cry because the stress of regular life has built up inside you to the point where it has to come out one way or another. For a situation like that, I think I’d go with Up. The first ten minutes will get all the feels out, and then you can enjoy a delightful movie with a happy ending.

You should definitely not watch the first ten minutes of Up, though, if you are grieving after a miscarriage. If you do, you won’t have a cleansing cry and feel all better. You’ll have an ugly cry and regret your choice to watch any Pixar film ever.

Here’s the thing: Losing a baby is not regular life stress building up. You can’t just have a cry, get it all out, and be done with it. I wish you could. I can’t tell you how sick of crying we are, but no matter how much I cry, it feels like I will never run out of tears. They take a break for a day or two maybe, but they’re always there waiting. Being sad is the worst, especially if you’re normally pretty happy and optimistic like I am. I can’t wait for the day when I wake up and realize it’s been a month since I cried over the loss of my daughter. I can’t wait for the day when I wake up and realize it’s been six months. I can’t wait for the day I think of her with joy and gratitude, not with sorrow and pain.

But this process of cleansing (or changing or healing or grieving or accepting) is not a “one and done” kind of thing. It takes time and a lot more than a movie to get there. I am determined to get there, though.

5 Things to Heal the Soul

Everybody has their own remedies for a hurting soul. I’ve already talked about time and God and how you have to participate in the process, but here are my favorite ways to pass the time, connect with God, and receive the good to dilute the bad.

  1. Music – I’m working on a post for next week with the mix I’ve made. I’ve been listening to it over the past week or so as I’ve made and tweaked it, and it’s really good. Music is just good for the soul no matter how you’re feeling.
  2. Rest – Y’all know I love my sleep, and when I say rest is good soul-healing, that includes sleep, but it also includes waking rest. Lie quietly for ten minutes (or five if you’re antsy), and just breathe. Just breathe in and out and let everything go. Rest in bed, rest in a bubble bath, rest while lying in the grass with the sun on your skin. Just give yourself a break. Ordinary life is hectic enough. When you’re recovering from a trauma, you need this even more.
  3. Food – By this, I don’t mean eating your feelings or whipping your appetite into shape. I’m not talking about using food or your control over it to momentarily feel better. Enjoy your food. Appreciate it. Use delicious ingredients in your cooking, and really savor the flavor as you eat. Take your time chewing and really tasting each bite. And be grateful for it.
  4. Hugs – Hugs are awesome.
  5. Laughter – We watched a lot of comedies in the weeks immediately following our miscarriage, and sometimes we felt guilty about laughing so much, but boy did we need it. I’m sure there’s some sort of chemical process that happens in your body to make you feel good when you laugh. I won’t pretend to understand it, but I know it works.

What about you? What heals your soul?


I don’t get sick often. Not really. I get a cold once or twice a year, but that’s about it. Nothing to even keep me from going to work. The thing is I am very good at knowing when I need to take a break and rest, and I’m very good at saying so and getting the rest I need. But the pace and rigor of this semester have been such that all the rest I get on the weekends simply isn’t enough. And it’s honestly easier to go to work than to get a sub and make lesson plans for them. That is, it’s easier when I’m well. But this week, I’ve been forced to slow down, and I’m very grateful for it.

Last Wednesday, I felt tired. But whatever, I feel tired on Wednesdays. Don’t we all? But I also felt a sort of pain in my ears, like someone was pushing a Q-Tip out from the inside. It passed, and I didn’t think about it again. Thursday, I felt way off. I texted Will in the morning and said I just didn’t feel right, and that I needed to go to bed early that night. By the time I got home Thursday evening, I was really starting to feel bad. I felt feverish and weak, and my throat felt disgusting. I thought it was post-nasal drip, so I took some cold medicine and went to bed.

I stayed in bed until 12:30 Friday afternoon. I tried to get up a few times. I considered it every time I got up to go to the bathroom. But I just couldn’t do it. When Will left for work that morning, we thought I had the flu. But as the day wore on and I didn’t have a runny nose or anything, I started to suspect strep throat.

We went to Urgent Care on Saturday morning, and he confirmed the strep and told me I was not to go to work at least until Wednesday. He also wanted to take some blood to test for mono and said I should stay quarantined until that test came back. So after a quick trip to Target for some penicillin, I’ve been at home since then.

All of that was fine. It was miserable, but it was fine because I wasn’t scheduled to work at all on Friday or Saturday. I was to be a woman of leisure regardless of my health. But then Monday came, and with it, the guilt. I knew I couldn’t go to work, and I had made arrangements and lesson plans for subs, but I felt like I should have been doing something with my WHOLE DAY OFF. Right? Shouldn’t I have been planning lessons or making up tests or doing something productive that I could do from the comfort and rest of my sofa? My husband said no. He said my only job was to get better, and that I shouldn’t do any school work at all. He told me to read, to sleep, to start and finish an entire TV series on Netflix. And for the first time in my life, rest was really, really hard for me.

I realize now that my life had worked up to such a frenzy that coming down so suddenly felt like jumping off the Scrambler while the ride was still in motion. It was scary and not at all safe. But you can’t live your life on the Scrambler even if you do occasionally close your eyes and breathe deeply. So I took the leap.

This week, I have watched all available-on-Netflix episodes of Call the Midwife. I’ve also watched several episodes of New Girl and Doctor Who and no less than four movies. And sure, I did some laundry and some dishes, and I made the necessary arrangements and plans for substitutes for extra days, but I didn’t do any of the work that could wait. I’ll get back to that next week.

One of the hardest parts about being a grown up is finding the right balance between work, play, and rest. It’s hard because it’s different for everyone, so you can’t use others’ lives and needs to prescribe your own. It will only make you feel guilty or crazy or weak. I have coworkers who teach insane hours while also taking care of kids and chronic health problems and who knows what else. They do it, and they’re fine. But their bodies are different from mine, their support systems are different from mine, and their passions are different from mine. Their struggles are also different from mine, and I don’t know what their struggles are, but I know they exist. Nobody has it all together. So all I can do is listen to my own body and give it what it needs. This week, rest has been very, very good.

How Did This Happen?

Well, I opened up my trusty MacBook this morning, logged in to my WordPress account, deleted about 300 spam comments, went to “Posts,” and clicked on “Add New.” And that’s how we got here. Does that answer the question?

Oh, that’s not what you meant? Well let me try again.

Friends, if you haven’t already heard, I’M ENGAGED!!


And this question – How did this happen? – gets asked a lot. I think Will and I both just feel like the whole thing is so surreal. We’ve been asking this question since we started dating, and every time, we answer it as though it had been asked about something totally unrelated, usually wherever we’re sitting. “Well, somebody designed a sofa, and somebody else built it, and then your parents bought it…”

But here’s what really happened:

Will and I met and became friends in the summer of 2006, we think. We’ve always liked each other a lot, just not in that way (well, sometimes I liked him in that way, but other times I didn’t). In November of 2011, The Muppets came out in theaters. We both love the Muppets and decided to go see it together. This was not a date, and it started a looooooooooooooong string of non-dates that would continue for almost a year. We saw every movie released, it seems, and we went to the park and swung in the dark, and we went star-gazing, and we ate dinner in and dinner out, and we talked about life and relationships and men and women, and we played card games, and he dazzled me with magic tricks. And we were not dating.

And all of this was fine because until late March of 2012, I thought I would be living in Europe by the end of the year. And when I knew I would not be moving to Europe, my world felt like had been turned upside-down, but looking back, I can see two things:

  1. What felt like the world being flipped over was really just things falling into place.
  2. Will was there with me through the whole thing, asking me questions, letting me process, not trying to sway my decision one way or another, but really hoping I’d stay because we’d gotten to be very close friends.

On March 24, 2012, I had started to get confused and asked Will if we were just friends. I thought we were, but I needed to make sure because I felt my heart starting to open up to him more, and I needed to know how much of it to give and how much to guard. I told him that I was fine with whatever we were; I just needed to know what that was. He said we were just friends, and then we watched Pirate Radio. And I really was fine with that.

Over the summer, I started seeing someone else a little bit. We had hung out a few times over coffee and gone on one legit date when I told Will about it. It was the 4th of July, and I wanted to hang out with someone, but I didn’t want to go to the fairgrounds and hang out with ALL OF RALEIGH, so I texted Will and asked if he wanted to go to the movies. We saw The Amazing Spider-Man, and afterward, in the parking lot, I told him about the other guy. We were just friends, right? So it was no big deal. But when I told him I was sort of dating someone, he got a little uneasy feeling. I don’t know for sure when he really knew he was interested in me, but I think that moment was a turning point of sorts for him.

He didn’t do anything disrespectful, though. He didn’t try to break us up, he didn’t declare his love for me in a grand gesture to sweep me off my feet, he didn’t even act weird. He decided that if I was going to be with this other guy, then he would be friends with the guy because friends make friends with their friends’ significant others. Or maybe he thought that was the best way to get over me. I don’t know.

But things with the other guy didn’t work out. No hard feelings. It just fizzled.

From there, it didn’t take long. Will went away with his family for a week and found while he was gone that he was really looking forward to seeing me when he got back. I found myself looking for more and more ways to get him to come over and hang out. And by this time, I think Whitney was starting to get suspicious. We hadn’t been living together for most of this time, but it only took a couple of months back under the same roof for her to see that something was going on.

Well one night, for no good reason at all, we decided we’d make each other CDs. And the joke the whole time was that these CDs were going to be filled with all kinds of hidden messages. I’d say, “So far, your mix consists of Something to Talk About, I Can’t Fight This Feeling, aaaaaaand Secret Lovers.” Then he’d say he didn’t know any of those songs, and the joke was ruined. But really, I was being VERY careful not to send him any messages I wasn’t absolutely sure I wanted to send. And I wasn’t absolutely sure about anything, so my criteria for the songs I put on his mix were:

  1. really good song
  2. not a love song

Which meant I ended up giving him a CD full of really good break-up songs. He was confused, and a bit dismayed, at my hidden messages.

Meanwhile, he was making me the following mix:

  1. Home – Phillip Phillips
  2. Feel the Tide – Mumford & Sons
  3. Ballad of San Francisco – Caedmon’s Call
  4. All I Want Is You – Barry Louis Polisar
  5. Three is a Magic Number – Blind Melon
  6. Just Like Heaven – The Cure
  7. I Melt With You – MEST
  8. I Want More – Suburban Legends
  9. Eep Opp Ork Ah-Ah (That means I love you) – Violent Femmes
  10. Start Wearing Purple – Gogol Bordello
  11. Talk Dirty to Me – Reel Big Fish
  12. Why Don’t We Do It in the Road – The Beatles
  13. Bicycle Race – Queen
  14. Seaside Rendezvous – Queen
  15. Songs of Love – Ben Folds
  16. Rainbow Connection – Weezer
  17. Man or Muppet – Jason Segel, Amy Adams and the Muppets
  18. Home – Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes

It was a mix that basically said, “I love you, and I don’t ever want you to leave.” He gave it to me on a Saturday, and when Whitney saw the play list, any question or doubt she might have had about what was going on vanished. She had plans that night and left to go out. We left too, to go out to dinner and play putt-putt (still not a date).

When we both got home that night and I told her we’d gone to play putt-putt, she said, “Buddy, are you dating him?” I said no, and she asked if I wanted to. I said I wasn’t sure I was willing to risk the friendship, and she basically said that was hogwash. She explained that if we went out a few times and it didn’t work out, it would be super awkward for awhile, but we could go back to being just friends. But also, if we didn’t date, we’d eventually meet other people, and then we wouldn’t be close anymore anyway. So we could try it and risk awkwardness and the loss of friendship, or we could not try it and almost definitely lose the friendship in time.

That was Saturday night. On Sunday morning, I listened to the CD and tried to fight my hopes back down because I didn’t want to assume that the hidden message was what it seemed to be. If he was interested, he was going to have to tell me. But I REALLY hoped he would tell me.

We didn’t talk much until Tuesday, when I texted him something about one of the songs on the mix. It was a very brief conversation, at the end of which, he said, “You know, I’ve been wanting to text you all day, but I couldn’t think of anything to say.”

Well, friends, sirens went off in my head. I knew what that meant and had felt for a couple of weeks like he’d been working up the nerve to ask me out. This was it. I asked if we needed to have another awkward conversation (like the one back in March), and he said yes. The next chance we would have to see each other wouldn’t be until Friday, so I asked if he could just call me because I knew I wouldn’t sleep for the rest of the week if we didn’t have that conversation immediately.

He called. We were both SUPER nervous. He asked me out. I said yes. He was surprised and relieved (after that break-up mix I’d made him). And we had our first date that Friday, September 28, 2012. When he came to pick me up, I gave him a new CD – one with all the songs I was too careful/scared to put on the first mix, including Something to Talk About and I Can’t Fight This Feeling.

And that’s how it happened. Well, that’s how we got together. I’ll tell you the proposal story next time.

A Wee Update

Although my goal-setting to goal-achievement ratio is…quite bad, I am not discouraged. If you could have seen my room before Sunday and then see it now, you’d give me bonus points for the transformation. I found a bag in there of things from my Christmas stocking. No joke. And I chucked a whole big trash bag of stuff. I’m wondering now if I could do that every weekend. That would definitely be one way to simplify. Hmmm…

Here’s how the list stands now:

  1. Sidewalk chalk a driveway.
  2. Salsa dance party in my living room.
  3. Swing! (aka play on a playground)
  4. Story telling night.
  5. Four square tournament.
  6. Random dress-up night.
  7. Photo scavenger hunt.
  8. Iron Chef: Cookies (bake cookies using ingredients found in the kitchen).
  9. Beach trip! (complete with sand castle contest).
  10. People watch – make up stories about the people.
  11. Public craft night (invite passers-by to join in).
  12. Picnic.
  13. Make a friendship bracelet/mail it to a friend.
  14. Stargaze.
  15. Kickball game.
  16. Field Day!
  17. Segway tour.
  18. Rock/Wall climbing.
  19. Progressive dinner.
  20. Offer to do people’s caricatures in the park.
  21. Send a silly package.
  22. Spend a day in a podunk town just looking around.
  23. Finger paint.
  24. Bake cupcakes and give them to my neighbors.
  25. Let a child pick out an outfit for me at Goodwill. Wear it to work.
  26. Buy a plate from Goodwill, paint it to commemorate my Awesome April Adventures, and display it on my mantle.
  27. Set up a free face painting table downtown.
  28. Ride a horse.
  29. Go somewhere after hours.
  30. Ride the carousel at Pullen Park.

I’ve still got the plate ready to go. I just need to come up with a design. And I have a plan in place to go horseback riding this Friday! Plus, there’s sidewalk chalk in my car, so that can happen at any moment. And let me just tell you about the swinging. I went on Saturday night after seeing Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, which is really good despite the fact that it sounds really weird  and stars Emily Blunt, whom I’d like to hate (because she’s married to John Krasinski and I’m not) but just can’t. And furthermore, who knew it was the Yemen? That was new for me.

Ok so as it turns out, I didn’t want to tell you about the swinging at all, but about the movie, which I’ve done now. Go see it if it’s playing near you. It was delightful.

In unrelated news, I’m sort of on a diet. It’s not terribly strict or anything. I’m just watching how many calories I eat with a goal of losing a goodly amount of weight by this time next year. I’ve been doing it for a couple of weeks, which means theoretically, I should have lost a couple of pounds by now, but since I don’t own a scale, there’s really no way to know, and that’s ok. It’s not about the number, just about paying attention to how much I’m eating and hopefully fitting into smaller clothes in a year. I’m using a Nook app called “Lose It,” which I’m told works sort of the same way Weight Watchers does: You’re allowed a certain amount of calories each day depending on how much you weigh, how tall you are, how much weight you want to lose, how quickly you want to lose it, etc. If you exercise, you’re allowed as many more calories as what you burn doing the exercise. Pretty simple, really. I’ll let you know how the smaller clothes thing is coming along in a few months, but it might help me stay motivated if you tell me I look thinner the next time you see me. I will have forgotten by then that I wrote this, so it doesn’t even have to be true. Thanks, friends!

Must. Get Off. The Couch.

So I’m sick. This is like the 5th cold I’ve had this year, which is ridiculous. I generally get one cold in November and maybe one in April or May and that’s it. This is just out of control. But I don’t want to let it get me down. There comes a point when you feel like another episode of How I Met Your Mother would just be a waste of a perfectly good Saturday. For the record, that point comes after eight episodes (plus one episode each of The Office, Up All Night and 30 Rock). So eleven. Eleven episodes. A dozen is one too many.

And also, I feel like today is already a success on the adventures because Donald E. Miller (E for Effing) CALLED ME ON THE PHONE. Rang me right up. Said, “Hey, is this Beth?”

And I said, “Why yes, yes it is, and who might you be, Mr. Sultry Voice?”

And he said, “This is Don Miller,” to which I laughed, “Oh Don, how lovely of you to call! I got the peonies you sent, and they are simply breathtaking.”

“I’m glad you liked them,” he demured, and I could hear the blush in his voice, but he cleared his throat at that point, and I sensed him manning up for the real purpose of the call.

“The reason I called,” continued Don, “was to ask you a question.”

“I’m all yours. I mean, I’m all ears, Don. Go ahead.”

Deep breath. Pause. Muffled encouragement from his buddies in the background. “Would you like to have dinner with me tonight?”

“Why Don, what a surprise. I thought you were in Tennessee.”

“I am. But I thought maybe we could Skype it?”

And that’s why I have to get off the couch now. I have a Skype date with Don in five hours, and I don’t have a thing to wear.


He called to thank me for going to see Blue Like Jazz last night, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Both the movie and the phone call, I mean. That is the true story.

But since “Talk to long-time quasi-celebrity crush on the phone” isn’t on the list of Awesome April Adventures, I feel like I should at least make a friendship bracelet or find a park and swing. But both of those would require me to get off the couch. So off the couch I must get.

The truth is I don’t know what to do with myself. I thought my life was going in a particular direction, and I was all geared up to do what needed to be done for that, but now it seems that I’m headed a different way – a way I didn’t make a plan for – so I don’t know what my next steps are. And in the absence of a plan, my default is to sit on the couch and watch TV. But that doesn’t help things. What I really need is to just start moving, like when you get into a cab and say, “GO!” and figure out your destination a few blocks later. Ok, so I’ve never done that. You know who does that? The people on How I Met Your Mother. Apparently, for all my talk of hating to plan, it turns out I need at least a rough outline. But in the absence of a rough outline or even a next stop, I still need to get off the couch.

I don’t know where I’m going, but I should probably start by changing out of my jabambas.

Haywire: A Movie Review

I had never heard of Haywire until going to see it was suggested as a possible activity for last night, so I watched the trailer. And while skeptical because it starred Channing Tatum, I thought it had potential. I thought it would be like the girl version of a Bourne movie. Rock on! Girls kicking ass! Feminism!

But y’all. It sucked. It was so bad. I like action movies in general, but this was the most boring action movie I’ve ever seen. In trying to be positive, Will described it as being “matter of fact.” Hello, bad guy. We fight now. I win. You die. But I just thought it was terrible. The dialogue was dry and flatly delivered, none of the characters were likable or interesting, and the way the story was told was confusing, but not compelling enough to make you want to figure it out. And in the end, the story really wasn’t that complicated or unpredictable. It was just told in a very odd way. It was like they were trying REALLY hard to make it thrilling and twisty and intellectual, but I was just distracted the whole time by how hard they’d worked to make the main girl look pretty.

And it’s not that she wasn’t pretty. She definitely was. But she was unrealistically put-together at all times. The whole story is supposed to have taken place in just over a week, and in that time, while traveling to at least four cities in three different countries, killing bad guys, fighting for her life and trying to clear her name, she finds time to get a stylish new haircut and then have that haircut braided in cornrows? Please. What, did she have somebody do it on the plane?

Save your money on this one, y’all. Go see The Muppets again if you must go to the movies. It’s totally worth it. Or come over to my place, and we’ll watch an old Bond movie. They’re cheesy, but they’re entertaining.


Y’all, I have one more week in this long, long, long, long, long semester. Not bad-long, just long-long. And I’m ready for a break, but what I’m really excited about is organizing all the boxes of class materials under my bed into spiffy binders. And these spiffy binders will all fit into one box, making it possible for me to get rid of all the others. Then, I’m going to adjust my prices and re-list my books on in the hopes that they all sell so I can get rid of that book case. And after that, I’m going to go through all my clothes and sort them honestly based on what I wear and what I don’t. I’m going to get rid of the ones I don’t wear, and then I’m going for a run.

When I get back from the run, I’m going to shave my legs. Both of them. All at once. Then I’m going to catch up on all my stories and take a nap. When I wake up from the nap, I’m going to go to the movies. I don’t know what I’m going to see, but it’s going to be good, and then I’m going to do my Christmas shopping.

After that, I’m going to read. I don’t care what. I’m going to go to the ‘Bou, get the free drink they promised me after making me the wrong drink last time, and read until I’m over it. Then I’m going to look at Etsy and Pinterest while I watch Bones and, let’s be honest, probably Elf for the fourth time in a month. I’m going to lie on the floor and watch the lights on my Christmas tree twinkle while I listen to all my favorite music. And I’m going to talk to people on Skype at all hours of the day and night when I would normally be asleep or at work.

If you would like to join me in any of these activities (except the napping and leg-shaving), you are welcome to do so. It would please me very much. We can make gingerbread houses and eat cookie dough and go ice skating and maybe even hold hands.

Numbers Hate Me

So I just took a Bible test, which I’m pretty sure I failed miserably. It’s not that I don’t know what it says, it’s just that I don’t know where it says it. There were all these questions about where one might find certain verses or passages on certain topics, and I sat here staring at the screen going, “Uhhhhhh…,” and then just laughing out loud because I had NO. Earthly. Idea. At least one of them was even a verse that we studied IN DEPTH in Community Group like two weeks ago. Not a clue.

Yes, I have problems memorizing things that are not set to music or quoted in films, but the words are not as problematic as the verse references. I remember some verses verbatim, but I could not tell you where to find them. I just don’t think in numbers. I think in stories and voices and experiences. I remember movie quotes because all of those things come together as I put the quote in the context of the story, remember the inflection of the actor’s voice and think about where I was and how I felt as I watched the movie. I remember song lyrics because songs tell stories, recordings invite me to add my own voice to the story, and music always evokes feelings that come back every time you hear that song. I remember Malachi 3:10 because I said it every flippin’ Sunday of my life for about ten years.

I don’t have ten years to spend on each verse in the Bible.

So if you have a nifty trick for me, a recording of Scripture set to music, or a movie that quotes the Bible and isn’t boring or super-cheesy, please let me know because these numbers are killing me.

For Exciting Times, Make It Moving Times

I seem to have gotten this move off to an odd start by doing things in the wrong order. Just to refresh your memory, here are what I have determined to be the 7 stages of moving (for a more thorough break-down of each stage, go here):

  1. Dread
  2. Action Plan
  3. Paying a Butt-Load of Money
  4. Purging
  5. Packing
  6. Adrenaline Rush (aka Moving Day)
  7. Unpacking

I’m not really sure I did the Dread phase this time around. Maybe a little bit, but I started the Purging phase so long ago that I wasn’t too worried about all the stuff I had left. Don’t get me wrong, I have PLENTY of stuff left (and plenty left to get rid of), but I really have gotten rid of a lot. So I started with Stage 4, skipped Stage 1 entirely, then went to Stage 2, and today we did Stage 3, which turned out not to be so bad after all. AND we got our new keys, so it’s official!!

That all sounds good, right? Sounds like I’m moving right along? Well, yes and no. That puts me at the beginning of Stage 5, which, as we all know, is the most dreaded of them all (including Dread itself). I have not begun to pack at all, which wouldn’t be so bad except that we’re moving in a week and a half.


And I still have a semester to finish. And a Sound of Music Sing-Along to attend. And a Harry Potter movie to watch. Oh it’s going to be a fun couple of weeks, friends! If you feel like coming to help me pack (even simply by way of company and/or motivation), let me know.