Category Archives: Seasonal

Because of Christmas

Let me tell you a story about this day, last year…

Christmas day, last year, I sat crying in a corner of my aunt’s bathroom. I smashed myself up against the corner of her armoire, where the furniture met my body and the hard wall.  After balling on the toilet, I managed to walk a few spaces, slink onto the carpet, and collapse into sobs. The audible sounds of my cousins’ and family’s mirth and joy playing games outside only served to mock and heighten my own sorrow and dejection. I refused to take part, I refused to go outside the room, I refused to be consoled. I accepted the offer of a blanket, and a nap on my aunt’s bed.

I was bitterly lonely, tirelessly hopeless, beaten down, despairing of the future, and heartbroken beyond words. I was sure many more Christmases awaited me as the awkward single member of the family, always awaiting the many questions about my (non)existent, or painful, dating life, one that seemed to birth only trouble and heartache, if it birthed anything beyond barren dreams.

Somewhere, though, in the midst of those tears, a tweet vibrated on my phone. A young man saw my sorrow on twitter, and sent out a white flag of friendly concern. A mere acknowledgement of my pain, and a simple wish for me to have a Merry Christmas.

Now, let me tell you a story about Christmas today, this year…

I sit on my bed, a little sick from the appetizers, and meals, and desserts of 4 Christmases enjoyed in the last 24 hours, and double the gifts, memories, and love than I’ve ever experienced in a Christmas before. The reflections of last night’s Christmas Eve with my fiancé’s family are still as warm and peaceful as the night itself. This morning’s fire and coffee and wrapping paper frenzy with him and my family is as clear as last minute. And this afternoon and evening shared with old and new aunts, uncles, cousins, parents, and grandparents provides sounds and voices still ringing jubilantly in my ears. I played games, and I watched the light dance in and out of the diamonds on my left hand, and I rooted for the Applegates, of whom I now count myself one, and I kissed a man I will call husband in 3 months and 5 days.

I am blissfully content, dreamily hopeful, refreshed, expectant of good years to come, and thankfully happy beyond measure. There are no more single Christmases for me. No more silent prayers in the night that it be my last holiday season alone. I answer questions now about my wedding on March 30, and, to be honest, on most days, it still feels unreal.

And that certain young man who tweeted at me last year? Well, he’s sitting beside me. And, I’m whispering to him, “You fell in love with a broken girl.” And he’s whispering back, “We’re all broken. It’s just that, together, we’re less broken now.”

And I catch my breath, and I thank God for him. And I thank Him for hearing my anguished cries last Christmas, and for answering the prayers I’d knocked down heaven’s doors with for years. And I know this is His best earthly gift to me, the man I will love and cherish for the rest of this life, til death do us part.

And so now, let me tell you just one more story about this day, many, many, some two thousand years ago.

Christmas Day, some millennium ago, a woman cried, writhing in pain, and a baby howled, drawing it’s first breath, and a first time father heaved a prayerful sigh of relief, and also overwhelming exhaustion, and Messiah was born. And the prayers of an entire people since the dawn of time were answered in that night. The world was broken, spattered in war and smothered in evil, sickly, twisted, and with nothing but silent promises from old tablets to measure any kind of hope by. And God gave them a Man, the Man that is Him. And He came down to join us in the filth, and to walk beside us in the weeping, and to love us in the grimness of the dying, and decaying. And to rise victoriously not just from a women’s womb, but from a rich man’s tomb, and to give us wholeness, and healing, hope and joy, peace and shalom.

You see, this year for Christmas, God gave me a man to love me and protect me and hold me these next (I hope) 50+ years. But God already gave me, and the world, a Man, so many Christmases ago. A Man to teach my man to love me and protect me and hold me.  A Man who will not leave me, even after death. A Man who will take me beyond the four walls of this home, or this earth, but into glory. A Man who doesn’t just make me less broken together with Him, but who makes me Whole entirely because of Him.

Last Christmas, and this Christmas, and for all the Christmases to come, and to the ones when I am sitting by His new throne, on the new earth, God gave me Himself.

Out of all the gifts I got this last Christmas, and in probably all the years past, Zachary will always be the best. But, you see, he is just an earthly reminder, that Christmas has always been about God, giving us, a Man.


The Old Gray Mare

The old gray mare,
She ain’t what she used to be
Ain’t what she used to be,
Ain’t what she used to be
The old gray mare,
She ain’t what she used to be
Many long years ago.

This old folk song/spiritual played over and over in my aching head today, coinciding with the echoing though of “Man, I’m getting old.”

After chaperoning grad night on Thursday, June 2nd, I stayed awake all the way through Friday, June 3rd to finish giving my last final, clean out my classroom, and check out of D202 until August 24th or so. All total: 40 hours of wakefulness before sleep found me sometime around 9:30 last night. Boy, did I pay for that today! I really thought that after getting 14 hours of sleep (albeit interrupted thanks to Hermione the tireless puppy) that I would rock my day today.

Nope, sure didn’t. I woke up feeling like I’d been bulldozed, somehow made it through a 45 minute gym routine, and then just flat out tanked tonight. I managed to get coffee (thinking that would cure the headache pounding since I woke up) grab some Chipotle for dinner, and a red box rental. Since then, I’ve been posted up on the couch with my flick, my cheetah print blanket, and my puppy. Still not out of the woods, even post-caffeine.

I really didn’t think it would take me this long to recover from one sleepless night, but apparently this old girl just ain’t as resilient as in bygone days. Two years ago when I chaperoned grad night, I don’t remember the rehabilitation time being this long or painful. Signs of age apparently, signs of age. :/

Jazz June

Part of me has been mourning the loss of everyday may since today dawned June 1st. The other part of me, the sane part of me, is relieved. But the sad part of me must continue writing because it’s healing. And so, today, I alighted on this idea: Jazz June. I can’t everyday may, but I can Jazz June.

The thought behind Jazz June is to only write blog entries for the month of June that somehow connect to music. It doesn’t have to be jazzy per se, but it has to have “jazz” or “soul” or pathos in it! I want to explore the connections that notes and rhythm and lyrics have to our “everyday” lives. Friends call me the walking ipod, students yell at me constantly begging me not to sing, so this whole “Jazz June” thing is really a sort of an outpouring of my already “jazzy” self. In fact, now that summer starts in two days, part of my summer bucket list is to find my “jazz fingers” again, my spirit, my soul that I have lost in these last 6 months or so.

So, here’s to Jazz June. And for today’s Jazzy song, in honor of my hopes to “find myself” again this summer, I will invoke the spirit of the jazzy Miss Corinne Bailey Rae.

“Three little birds, sat on my window.
And they told me I don’t need to worry.
Summer came like cinnamon
So sweet,

Little girls double-dutch on the concrete.

Maybe sometimes, we’ve got it wrong, but it’s alright
The more things seem to change, the more they stay the same

Oh, don’t you hesitate.

Girl, put your records on, tell me your favourite song
You go ahead, let your hair down
Sapphire and faded jeans, I hope you get your dreams,
Just go ahead, let your hair down.

You’re gonna find yourself somewhere, somehow.”

I hope I do find myself somewhere, somehow, Corinne. I hope I do…

Let Your Love

I’ll just admit it. I’m in a spiritual funk, a dark place, a deep rut, maybe deeper than any I’ve experienced before. I sat through today’s sermon on forgiveness, and the irony of it all is that I have no one I need to forgive more than God. I know that sounds blasphemous, but let me clarify. I’ve sort of been angry with him, frustrated, feeling like He’s asked me to do what I cannot, or just simply given everyone else what I want. And so, I’ve sort of been going through my own time of questioning and hurt and loneliness, a lot like David’s psalms.

Which is why Matt Cash’s song “Let Your Love” spoke to me today in the midst of my hard-heartedness and rebellion. I know it’s true, I just desperately need to believe it.

“Let your love be stronger than my rebellion
Let your love be faster than my fleeting heart.
Let your love be deeper than all my shallow words
Let your love be the place from where I start.

Your love is calling my heart to be open,
to be broken, to be complete
I guess that’s why it’s all about your love
And it’s not about me at all.

Let your love be stronger than my rebellion…”

THE Question

So, since my graduation last Friday, and a little before that day and a little after that day, people have been asking me this one overwhelming, almost borderline obnoxious, question.

So, how does it feel (to be done that is)?

It’s a lot like asking how does it feel to get a tattoo? Well, it’s gratifying, but painful.

It’s liberating but suffocating.

It’s defining but blurring.

It’s releasing but imprisoning.

It’s the definite end, but an unclear beginning.

It’s achievement but limitation.

It’s this paradox of emotions because it’s the end of one book, implying the reader ought to now stare in front of the limitless number of possible reads at Barnes and Noble, and pick the next one.

But how?

How do I pick the next book?

And do I even have to?

I used to long for the day when I would have this thing called down time, to do things like read for pleasure. But, in life’s greatest, and usually bitter irony, what I thought would be the most exquisite liberty has turned out to be my greatest entrapment. Down time means thinking time, pondering time, caught in the prison of my mind, and not the scholastic mind. The mind that must plot new choices, paths, and journeys. That’s not a task that can be achieved simply by writing a thesis.

And so you ask, how does it feel? Mind-blowing.

Found Poetry: Master Lohman

So, this blog would have gone out yesterday, in appropriate accordance with the daily nature of #everydaymay, except blogger was down.

That said, my sophomores are currently studying poetry. Their project is to create an anthology of their poetry in these last three weeks of school. The catch is this, I do it with them. So, for the last two years, I’ve been creating “Loh’s Lyrics and Lines: One Teachers Book O’ Poetry.” This year is volume three.

The first poem we always do is a found poem. Students are asked to “find” poetry in an already existing text. They can only use the words in their selected text to create their own poem. The text essentially functions as a word bank through which they can create new meaning in their poem.

This year, my selected text was the invitation to my graduation party.
Here’s the poem. Cheesy, but fun!

Master Lohman

Guess after three grueling years,
Let yourself get down,
Master Lohman.
Get down with your M.A. self.

Let the celebration begin,
Get down, Swag Master,
Get down and holla.

Holla that you’re hooded,
Holla that you’re back, Lohman;
Back a Master,

This Is How We Do It…

It’s Friday night and we feel alright,
The party is here on the Kat side.
So we reach for our lipstick and put it on,
Designated master, take the caps to our heads.

Hit the tunes cuz we’re cleanin’,
Roomies in the house say, “Master, yo we made it!”
It feels so good to be in our hoods tonight.
Preparation going down for tomorrow’s partay.

All us grad students forgot about the hard work,
We gonna get’ our clean on befo Divers gets her lei.
So tip up your broom and throw your gloves on
And let me hear the cleaners say,

I’m kinda buzzed and it’s all becuz
(This is how we clean it)
Kat ladies do it like nobody does
(This is how we party prep)
To all my homies who had our backs
(This is how we bring it)
Let’s flip the track, never bring the school back
(That’s because we’re hooded).

The "F" word, AKA Normalcy

Its effects are almost immediate. It’s like a drug.

Prisoners have poeticized it, martyrs have prayed for it, peasants have plead for it, soldiers have bled for it, politicians have promised it.


Today, I felt it, truly felt it. In the goosebumps on my legs as I waited for my car to finish getting washed. In the breeze on my face as I ran. In the bitterness of my coffee beans after waiting in the drive thru. In the simplicity of another voice over the phone. In the sun kissing my skin. In the texture of the last page of my novel. In all the things I normally clock and structure down to the minute because I have to, because time is both a luxury and a death knell.

Today, approximately 36 hours after my Master’s graduation, I enjoyed a Sabbath bathed in the dewy freshness of newly found freedom. I woke up when my alarm clock went off (at 11am, admittedly) and arose cheerfully. I even managed a few kind words to my roommate within seconds of wakefulness.

I got coffee and lounged in my backyard, finishing the novel I began some months ago when I hoped to find snippets of free moments here and there between thesis edits, grading, and the usual topsy-turvyness of life.

I bounded down to Petsmart and bought my puppy all the necessities after getting my poor dirty car a much needed wash. The smell of pina colada air freshener seemed to match my mood; a mood in which the only mildly stressful or overwhelming factor was the sheer number of dog crates to choose from. And, do I buy my baby the pink collar with the rhinestones, or the pink collar with the zebra stripes? I opted for the rhinestones. Animal print can come with maturity. Don’t want to start them too young with those kinda things.

Then, my sparkling Corolla and I traipsed home where I enjoyed a 3 1/2 mile May run and some ab routines. I’m pondering heating up my Cheesecake Factory left overs and slipping on over to the couch and catching up on Tivo before hopping in the shower for church tonight.

So this, I’m told, is normalcy.And probably, in this normalcy, the only thing that will even come close to stressing me out today is the fact that at some point I have to make a lunch, pick out an outfit, and set my alarm clock for 5:15 am tomorrow. But that too, I’m told, is normal. 😉

Happy Cinco De Mango!!

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I could bathe in a vat of mangos.

Mango-papaya salsa, mango-salsa candle, Bali Mango shower gel, mango sorbet, mango gelato, mango popsicles, mango smoothies, mango margaritas, mango mojitos, dried mangos, chili-covered dried mangos, and mango fruit salad. It doesn’t really matter what form they come in, I’m a sucker for mangos. A mango maniac.

I’m not really sure where or when the addiction to this tropical fruit began, but by last summer 2010, it was in full swing. Maybe it was the delicious mango salad I ate at the resort I stayed at on the coast of the Indian Ocean. The breeze, the food, the water, it all tasted and smelled of paradise. When I came home, I tried to lock away as much of that oasis as I could and so consumed mangos by the bushel! The rest of our love affair, is well, history.

But, mangos, are a labor of love. One has to be committed to a mango. They’re not a simple peel and eat kind of fruit. They must ripen at just the right time, be cut in just the right way, and then be eaten in just the proper slices. All this takes work, but its worth it because mangos are divine.

And they’re back in season. I may not be going to Africa again this summer, but I will drink in all the mango I can find, and maybe even indulge in a chili covered mango in Mexico this June.

HAPPY CINCO DE MANGO, everyone!!!!!

Oh, You Fancy, Huh?

And I’m not just talking about Kate Middleton. But did you see the bishop in the gold coat? And the crazy hat lady, I mean THE crazy hat lady!

Yes, so, 5 days later, I watched the Royal Wedding today. And I have to confess, I DO see what all the fuss is about. I mean, at what point do you think the now current Duchess of Cambridge (and one day Queen, hopefully) woke up and said to herself, “I’m going to marry the Prince”? The Prince is having a ball, the Prince is having a ball, and I’m the bride!

If that’s not fancy, I don’t know what is.

I know some people hemmed and hawed about how they’re just people who put their pants on one leg at a time like you and I, and at one point, over 350 years ago, England was our greatest enemy with whom we declared independence, and that yes, more important things may be occurring around the world that would merit the 2 billion people viewership (like the concurrent pre-op apprehension and execution of Osama bin Laden), but still, how often do real live fairy tales come true? How often does the commoner marry the future King? Only in Disney movies. And now, only on Channel 7.

Suffice it to say, there are many exquisite elements of this wedding. One could write novels on the Alexander McQueen dress, the royal processional, the Queen’s canary yellow couture, the hats, did I mention the hats?, the liturgy inside the historic Westminster Abbe, the groom’s regal military costume, the whispers at the altar, and of course, the double kiss.

Call me a silly girl, but this, alongside the fact that we DID fight in the trenches alongside the British in WWI AND WWII, more than merited the historian and hopeless romantic in me to devote a few hours on my Tuesday night to watch this wedding of the century with two girlfriends, cucumber sandwiches, and crumpets and tea.