Monday, November 29, 2010

Dispatch 2011

I don't know how many of you have heard of the band Dispatch but they are AMAZING!!
I went to their website today for old time sake and all I found was a gigantic count down clock to 2011. Apparently they won't say what is happening in 2011 but the rumors are flying that they might be getting back together. True or not, I have never been so excited about the new year!

I started listening to them in high school right after they broke up for good. It was tragic to hear I could never see them in concert. Then they did a reunion show in New York in 2007 to support their work in Zimbabwe. The funny thing was I was actually IN Africa when they played that show. sigh..

Anyways... Look them up they are awesome. They sings songs like "The General" "Two Coins" "Open Up" "Lightening" and a whole lot of other awesome stuff. I have everything they have ever released and then repeated versions of it all. I know, I'm obsessed. And I don't care!

maybe one day....

Monday, November 22, 2010

Headed West! ...again

In about 14 hours I will be boarding a plane in Asheville, NC to begin what promises to be a highly eventful journey to Pagosa Springs, Colorado to join my family for Thanksgiving.

But first things first!

The original plan was for Mary, Ryan, and I to fly into Albuquerque, NM where my parents and sister Anne would arrive at the airport in our luxurious mini-van to whisk us away to Santa Fe where we will be spending the night before heading to Pagosa.

That WAS the plan.

Unfortunately (or fortunately) my dad has a business meeting at 10AM in San Antonio so the family will not get on the road from TX until about 12 noon to begin the just about 12 hour drive to Santa Fe. Which means Ryan, Mary, and I will be meeting up at the airport, finding a random shuttle my amazing father booked for us and then get dropped off in the middle of Santa Fe to hang out for about 3-4 hours until my parents and Anne arrive. This could be quite the adventure since none of the three of us have spent any lengthy time in Santa Fe and just found out we were doing this about 5 hours ago. I guess we will converse with each other, the locals, and then go and find some Turquoise we like. Oh, and maybe eat dinner. That too.

It could be a crazy fun adventure. Hopefully.

Wednesday morning we will all rise bright and early from our stay in the Casino Hotel that we will all be staying in (don't be jealous) and drive the 3ish hours to Pagosa Springs to meet up with other family. I am foreseeing lots of hot tubbing, skiing, eating, and relaxing in my future.

As much as this trip will be amazing, it will most likely be seasoned in sadness. Pagosa was one of John's favorite spots and we all have many many memories with him there. And throw in the fact that it is the holiday season AND still November and you have a recipe for a few tears along the way, ok maybe lots. But hopefully we will be able to celebrate his life and laugh at the many stories we have of John Noll.

So I guess now that I'm done blogging and studying I should probably go finish my laundry, pack, and maybe just maybe get a little shut eye

Sunday, November 21, 2010

All Things John

This blog post is basically dedicated to all things John Noll:

Dear John,

Remember when you were little and you hated mash potatoes so much that you would literally throw them up on your plate while eating them?

Remember when you and I would play spies and spaceship all day during those long Texas summer months. And you would dress up with us girls and have tea parties and play library?

You had the most rosy red cheeks I've ever seen on a human being. Santa ain't got nothin' on you.

All those days we used to throw the baseball in the yard and even though it was supposed to be so you could practice I would inevitably make you be catcher while I practiced my pitching skills that I would never use.

Your smile. I don't think our family owns a single picture without you smiling or making some kind of goofy face. Oh, except that one at Mom and Dad's wedding when you were so ticked off at something. Even then, cutest face ever! And your laugh, there is no forgetting that one. I wish I had a sound track of it. You would laugh so hard sometimes no sounds would come out. You even laughed when Dad broke your nose while playing baseball with you. I can't help but laugh at that picture of you in the ER with your nose all taped up just smiling away...

As you grew older you wanted to do EVERYTHING I was doing. You even made me teach you how to dribble and shoot lay ups so you could try out for the 7th grade basketball team. They loved you so much they made you manager.

You hated pillows and even sleeping in your bed...who are you??

You loved practical jokes. Your pocket buzzer was always a big hit at Young Life camps and even after you were gone and we were cleaning out the 10 things you owned in your room you still got me with that stupid shocking pen you bought in Boone, NC.

I miss buying M rated video games for you. I will never forget when I turned 17 and you were so excited and I couldn't figure out why until you made me take you to Wal-Mart so you could buy the computer game versions of all the M rated video games you weren't allowed to buy.

I miss yelling at you because you were such a pyro. I'll never forget one day coming home from school and seeing a flaming coffee can on the driveway and you were bent over it with a can of hairspray. I asked you what you were doing and you said "I'm making a Goblet of Fire!!" I will always love Harry Potter because of that.

Your reading habits and how you have probably read as many books as the Library of Congress has on record. Seriously, I would like to see any kid break your Accelerated Reading points records. Seriously, I don't even think their point system went high enough.

I have a home video of you and Anne dancing to 'Crank That' by Soulja Boy Tell Em that I was secretly saving to show at your wedding. I think I might have to show that one at Thanksgiving. You had no rhythm but would dance anyway and I always loved that. What the heck! enjoy this video...Anne Noll is going to hate me :)

Harmonicas always make me think of you. The same with whistling. Remember when I used to get so mad at you for singing my favorite songs? Oh Lord, I was crazy. I hope that you didn't actually get a singing voice in heaven because I seriously miss your off key singing.

We both shared an extreme love for anything Colorado including that stupid Taylor Park t-shirt that we used to fight over all the time..every time I go there I will think about all of the adventures we had and fighting over the top bunk in the trailer and the day I got demoted to the front seat in the excursion so you and Ryan could have 'brother bonding time.' I sure did (do) have a hot head about me and you certainly used to know how to make me the most angry. No joke, I do not know anyone that could make me as angry as you did at times.

All those rainy afternoons that you and I played with your lego sets. My favorite was the Harry Potter set you got. No joke. Especially all those time we would combine the legos, Star Wars figures, and GI-joes together and set up crazy scenes. You were the only one who would do that with me.

As you were well into middle school you had one life goal, to be better than me at EVERYTHING including being taller than me. Well, I think you definitely achieved it. You were better at running than me, better at hunting, better at fishing, and better at showing you loved people than me. And I am glad for it.

I always enjoyed all of the notes you would write me for my birthday. But my favorite was the one you wrote me for graduation. I found it the other day and smiled because I realized how much you actually did look up to me. Makes me pretty darn proud.

All those times were at Young Life camp's together. Those were good times.I'll never forget being at Sharp Top and being 16 and an angry staff kid and you were 13 and basically on work crew in the pits washing dishes everyday. Don't think I need to tell you how dumb I felt that month.

And all of that World War II reenactment you did at the Nimitz Museum in Fredericksburg. Didn't even get paid but you did it anyways. I'll never forget that day you called me to ask me how to send an email so that you could send me a picture of yourself using the only operational flame thrower in the entire state of Texas. I know you weren't ever really in the military but I'll remember you on Veteran's Day anyways.

Even though you are gone, you will live on forever. The people who's lives you touched have too many awesome stories and crazy memories for that. I wanted to say that I truly feel blessed to be your sister and to have shared 16 years with you. Much love to you brother!

Death Is Not The End

As most of you may know Friday, November 19 marked the 1 year anniversary of my brother John passing away. This whole week and month have been unbelievably difficult for me and the rest of my family. Difficult but not impossible (even if it did feel like it at times).
I will warn you this could be a rather long blog post so hang in there!

November 1 sucked. As did each following day in the month. It wasn't all bad but each day was one day closer to a huge and horrible milestone. Then Saturday November 13th hit. This is the day I lost internet in my apartment because we had been using an unsecured network that we figured out was our neighbor's. She had put a password on her internet and rightly so in order that people like me don't use it! haha. So from Saturday to Wednesday night I did not have internet. At first I was angry. Then I realized that it was no accident that this happened to be the week when the internet went out. So I decided to take full advantage of that time. I started spending lots of silent time in my room with Jesus. Weird sounding I know but it was much needed. I also started reading this book on grief my parents had sent me sometime in the last year but had never bothered to pick it up. It's called A Grace Disguised by Jerry Sittser. O my gosh.

I should probably preface all of this with the fact that I have not read many books on grief, which I should have been doing all along. So I started reading this one and couldn't put it down. I was crying my face off. It's not that it is even the best book on grief ever but I just really connected with it. Connected with a lot of normal things associated to grief that I have been either unaware of or just plain refusing to listen to. I started realizing how much grieving was left to do in my life and how as much as my brother dying sucks, it is not the end of life and ultimately that is my decision and no one else's. Lot's of God's truths were echoed to me within the book. And my extreme need to find hope in the world became like a flashing neon sign in my face. For the first time in the past year, I felt like I was engaged in life. I feel like this whole past year I have walked around with my hands in the air shouting "Woe is me!!" everywhere I go. No more.

I also had a good conversation with a friend who has experienced loss of a sibling as well. That was when I saw my first legitimate glimpse of real hope with my own eyes. It was like the seeds of truth and hope and love that others have been tirelessly planting in my life started budding. While they are not full grown flowers, they are there and I am going to tend to these new shoots with everything I have.

In that book was also a chapter titled "Why NOT me?" I was very confused by this title at first and a little confused when I began reading it but as I kept turning the pages I began to realize just how relavent that phrase is.

"No one is safe, because the universe is hardly a safe place.
It is often mean, unpredictable, and unjust.....
Loss deprives us of control. Cancer ravages, violence erupts,
divorce devastates, unemployment frustrates, and death strikes-
often with little warning."

That passage along with the rest of the chapter really started giving me a new perspective. And by new perspective I think I just lost a lot of my childhood innocence as stupid as that sounds. I would have thought that would have been gone a long time ago. I have finally come to understand that death in my life is far from over. But death doesn't always have to be the end. And I don't have to be afraid of the next person dying or getting sick or whatever life may bring. It is going to happen whether I worry about it or not. There is no secret recipe for avoiding it.
Friday my good friend Leslie Sloan was telling about how she was reading "The Essential Henri Nouwen" and there was one section talking about how all good things in life come from the death of something else. So true. Even looking back on my life I can see an unending list of examples. Even within my own family. My mom died when I was five but I was given a new mother and with her, an entire new family of awesomeness! It doesn't make it ok with me that my brother is dead but I think I can look up at what may come of it. Already there has been so much. My family dynamic has changed so so much in the best way possible. We all enjoy each other so much more than we used to. And this probably would have come with time but I genuinely think it would not be to this degree that it is.

All of that being said. When I woke up yesterday, November 20th I felt the biggest feeling of accomplishment I've felt in a very long time. I was literally saying to myself "I did it. I did it." That's not to say this journey is far from over. It will be a life long journey. The sorrow will never go away. I will think about my brother and my sadness that he is gone every single day of my life. But I will also smile because of the Hope I have in Christ and knowing that life is life and somehow we all get to make the best of it.