A small update.

I am sitting in a cafe where the walls are garage doors that roll open in the spring time. And despite the fact that it’s March in Montana, they are being rolled open by a girl in a flour covered apron as we speak.

It’s been such a long time since I’ve written. Coming back to a blog after such a long vacancy always feels near impossible. So much has gone on since you last posted. You feel the pressure of recounting a short novel of activity, but for some reason everything that’s happened to you over the last three months is nowhere to be found in your brain.

So instead of a big long recap (snore) I’ll just start fresh.

Which would mean starting with the fact that the Saints are going to give me a damn aneurism. Grubbs is gone and I’m happy for that, but so is Jimmy Graham (R.I.P..-seriously, we won’t even go there) and now Kenny Stills. I think this is one of the stupidest things they could have done. We are talking about a rookie with a great record, low salary, and gargantuan potential. AI’ve ll this to say, UGH.

On the other hand, Spring seems to have come early in Montana and I’m getting a small glimpse into what summers will be like here. If it’s anything remotely close to today, it will be paradise. I never fully understood the reference of hearing birds chirping as the turning point of winter until last Sunday. As I woke early to sun slipping through the shades, I heard them. Little chirps of complete delight. Suddenly it hit me that I hadn’t heard a bird (that’s fun to say) in almost three months. It was such an indicator that life had come back to town, and I can’t explain what happiness it was to hear them.

I’m also realizing that we are only slightly acquainted with our little town. We’ve only seen the winter side of Bozeman. Apparently she has split personalities. The one we haven’t met involves families biking everywhere and streets shutting down every Thursday for live music and dancing and outdoor festivals.

(Next two me are two ladies who are whispering nasty things about someone’s cousin under their breathe. It makes me incredibly glad for good friends, and for friends who encourage goodness.)

Other news:

Garrett and Mindi’s wedding is AROUND the corner. I get to be home for over a week, watch two of the best people in the world get married, and dance and laugh with family for a while.

I’m trying indoor rock climbing soon, and am determined to get over being scared of heights.

I’ve accepted that buying coffee from coffee shops is something I enjoy, part of my budget, and not a flaw. It’s been incredibly freeing.

Our friend Ben is coming to visit in a few weeks and I am pumped! Familiarity is a lost concept these days.

Our company is hosting an arts and crafts fair this upcoming wednesday and I’m going to try to sell some calligraphy for the first time. YOWZA.

I cut off all my hair.

That’s it for now people. What a scattered, plotless blog. But I had to get something on virtual paper, or I’d just never post. Go have a great weekend, and follow the call of the disco ball.

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A feeling of settling

There are still so many things about this place that don’t feel like home. My room is essentially an 10×8 warehouse full of cardboard boxes. No bed has arrived, no pictures coordinated on the wall, no twinkle lights around the window.

Its freezing in the morning, and you have to go out fifteen minutes early to start your car up. These mornings are slow and frozen and pitch black. The drive to work is long, down a road that is still unfamiliar. The weight of my hands don’t pull the steering wheel around in a second nature sort of way yet. Every turn is a little unsure.

Their accents are strange and nasaly here. Their voice always seems to settle back in their sinus cavity somewhere before making it’s way out into the air.

There are still so many things about this place that don’t feel like home. And yet, for all of them, there are a hundred things that do.

Where there is a room with no bed in it yet, theres also a roommate who is willing to share her bed with you the first night you move in so you don’t have to sleep on the couch. The kind who puts on lavender scented humidifiers for you to fall asleep, and an extra blanket on your side.

For every freezing morning there is the sunrise over the mountains down an old mountain pass. And while the sun may rise with different colors and cloud shapes and hues, it is ever consistently the start of another day here.

And those nasaly accents? They are peppered with gut busting laughter, always asking my story, or giving me the MT survival tips a southerner could use.

So as I lay here on this couch, all wrapped in flannel quilts, a thousand miles from home, I can’t help but feel familiarity. There is so much more to a home than location. It’s like the difference in a home and a house. One is a building with doors and a roof and blueprints. The other is a living breathing thing, with warmth and a story and life lines.

Sitting around my kitchen table tonight, painting watercolor while my roommates drank tea and did homework, I realized that home is something you can take with you, anywhere. Because if it really is warmth and a story and a life line, aren’t those all things you can put in your pocket anywhere you go? Aren’t we, as Christians, almost obligated to? Whether it’s a mile from “home” or a thousand? I think the answer to that is an infinite and resounding yes.

So I slip home in my pockets. And when I’m standing in a group, as people chatter away with their Midwestern twang, I’ll cram my hands into my pockets and wrap my fingers around that familiar place. And when they’re not looking, I’ll sprinkle it around like gold, until everything i see is bright and familiar.

New Years No Fears

It’s 7:30 in the Morning. I sit in a little coffee shop that is the only light on this dark mountain road. A cup of New Years resolution, black coffee, sits at my side. It is one hour until the new job begins. Around me baristas are steaming milk and people are ordering their regulars and Stevie Nicks voice is sauntering out of the speakers. The rest of the world is oblivious to The Big Change.

So very quietly and discreetly, I’ll raise my cup to bravery, and hard work, and new starts, and how good it is to be in over your head over once in a while.

See you on the other side of day one, friends.

Things I have learned after one day in Montana

it’s been less than 24 hours yall, and already I have learned quite a bit about my buzzing new city, Bozeman.

The Beginning:

1. People here are not real humans. At least they can’t be. No one has real skin and can wear t shirts when its 3º out.

2. They are INCREDIBLY nice. They are always smiling and holding doors and giving directions and making small talk. I haven’t encountered a mean one yet (more proof that they might not be human.)

3. I actually have a pretty decent head o’ hair on me. Take that, Southern humidity

4. Hand lotion exists for a reason. Use it.

5. Don’t scrape snow off the top of your car with the doors open. #No,really?

6. Insurance is half the price in Montana than it was in Louisiana. Win.

7. There is no underlying, unspoken pressure to be tan. We are all pasty and we all deal.

8.  There is almost no crime in Bozeman. No seriously, look up how cute the crime map is.

9. On that note, most people don’t lock their doors.

10. Don’t worry mom, I’ll still be locking my doors.

11. Jewelry cleaner freezes when left in the car. As does mascara. As does a computer. As does just about anything.

12. I’m going to love it here.

That’s all for now kiddos! More about the actual adventures of the cross country trip later.

-CK

The Moving Process

With the move to Bozeman at my heels, I have been searching for whatever resources I can on how to do this whole thing. I keep finding all these sites where an outline of the moving process is broken down to give you some tips, keep you on track and provide you with a step by step process. They make everything seems so simple, laid out, and poised. Even Martha Stewart has a packet for moving, all color coded and beautiful and composed. These lists and sites gave me great confidence.

Then the real fun began when I actually rolled up my sleeves and got into it. Now that I am in the nitty gritty, I thought I’d provide an actual list of the step by step process, in all its ugly, beautiful honesty.

3 MONTHS OUT:

We could possibly be moving. Start adjusting brain to possibility of major world shift.

2 MONTHS OUT:

Still no word. Don’t get disappointed, but watch it! Don’t get excited. Either could lead to vast disappointment. Continue juggling act of daydreaming about whizzing down mountain slopes towards a trendy coffee bar, and convincing yourself you still love your old city, despite her wrinkles.

1 MONTH OUT:

MOVE AFFIRMATIVE. PACK ALL THE THINGS. FEEL ALL THE FEELS.

3 WEEKS OUT: 

I am so excited. This is the coolest. How do you hire a moving company? What’s being a broker mean? Does anyone actually know the definition of freight? Is masking tape an acceptable packing mechanism? Probably not, but it’s pink, and I really want to use it. How do you post to craigslist? Shit, do we still have time do give a 30 day notice? I need to find a roommate. If I find someone on craigslist housing, will they be a serial killer?

1 WEEK OUT:

This is exhausting. Where’s my list? Didn’t I make a list about that list? Where’s THAT list? Am I a grownup? Whose idea was this? I don’t even like to ski! How is a moving truck going to fit back here? I wonder if that girl I signed a lease with is going to murder me with a toothpick. Maybe she’s the Zodiac. They never found that guy, right? Wait, he’d be like 100 by now. STOP PROCRASTINATING. Pack all the things. Call in mom support. Since when did I accumulate so much shit?? I don’t even remember buying a bread maker. Should I keep all 8 tubes of toothpaste in the bathroom?

NIGHT BEFORE MOVE:

These boxes aint got nothin on me. I AM SPARTACUS. When did my arms get so strong? It must be all those curls I’ve been doing with Andy’s work boots. Is it time for a 9th cup of coffee? There are more boxes than we estimated, but we. will. deal. I can’t wait for a road trip. I’ll get to eat Chic-O-Sticks and bond with my man. And drink more coffee. And pee a lot. And see the seemingly ever expanding countryside that is America. And appreciate how small I am. And start my own story. And make new friends who have a completely different flavored pasts than me. And force Yankees to eat gumbo. And sprinkle love around that town like snow fall.

In the end, it’s all sort of like a boxing match. You start by staring fear down from your corner of the ring, watching it’s every move as it preps from its stool on the ropes to pummel you. Just looking at it gives you a stomach jolting rush of excitement and terror, all at once. The bell rings and the dance starts. At first, your sizing it up, learning its movements, all the while remembering to move your feet, keep light on your toes. Then the battle begins. They take one swing at you, and you might take it on the chin, but you fire back, a quick with your left and a solid with your right. And you just keep that up, follow through after follow through. By the end, you’re bear hugging each other in sheer exhaustion while the audience looks on. Your loved ones are all watching, some screaming their heads off, others watching through laced fingers. “I told her I didn’t want her fighting anymore.” 

Who knows what the verdict will be when the bell rings its final toll, and that microphone glides down from the ceiling like a spider on silk web. But that’s the whole point. It doesn’t matter. Through a broken nose and a bleeding brow, you look at fear, wheezing in its own corner, surrounded by a million coaches trying to reassure it with a spit bucket and a sweat towel. Win lose or draw, you have fought the good fight. You refused fear, that tyrant, that autocrat, in all its dictation. You have fought the good fight.

sb

The job seeker and the gods.

In all my Greek mythology classes, I never heard mention of what was one of the most powerful gods of all. How was this? How did they miss this giant, this breathing force, with all his power? He terminates with the point of a finger, his very breath blows acidic doubt, and his tongue is a quick, flashing sword right to the heart.

He is Applicus, god of the job applications. And he rules many, friend.

His mountain is not Olympus. Instead, it is the rumination of discarded resumes, with all the life crumpled out of them. He sits atop this with his legs spread wide, an elbow resting casually on his knee, his wrist at rest. He chews on his cigar until the leaves begin to sog and sit around the corners of his laughing mouth.

When Applicus is bored, which is rare (there is always fresh meat to be dealt with), he turns to his mountain for entertainment. He leans down, his power suit pulling across his broad shoulders as he plucks a discarded resume from the throne. “Ohhhhh yes.” Today it is a good one. A rare gem of not bullet points, but color, true beauty, design, wit, and professionalism. The kind of resume the seeker poured their beating heart into, held the work of art up to the gods with weary arms and said, “This is the sum of me!” with the only energy they had left.

With one bellowing laugh, Applicus sends the paper flying from their tired fingers, leans down off his mountain, and snatches it between his gnarled claws. “It is your sacrifice,” he replies.

Unlike some gods, Applicus requires sleep. His is the work of constant attention, and therefore he requires rest. This is when the few survive, pushing through the front lines, with hot ink still dripping down their swords.

When Applicus wakes in the morning to see the successes of his enemies, he thunders in a colossal rage. This is when the rest of us suffer most. His bellow is the wind that blows a resume from your hands to the mud two steps before the office door. When your computer crashes in the middle of the most brilliant cover letter you’d ever written, it is Applicus beating on his chest. The pressure on your heart as you skim through an empty inbox is the clenching of his massive jaws.

And yet, in spite of all this, a sword can still be found in the job seeker’s hand every dawn. He is the most resilient soldier of them all. Each morning he says, “This is who I am,” and every evening, someone replies, “It is not enough.”

He doesn’t loosen his grip on the hilt. He lifts his chin and presses his nose hard against the iron bridge of his helmet. He drives his feet into the ground, ankles bracing and toes gripping. All his muscles fire, and he takes off in a blazing sprint for the front lines. He will do this again, and again, and again, and again.

Until it is done.