Monday, September 3, 2012

The Last Things I'll Remember

The partly open hay barn door, white frame around the darkness,
the broken board, small enough for a child
to slip through.

Walking in the cornfields in late July, green tassels overhead,
the slap of flat leaves as we pass, silent
and invisible from any road.

Hollyhocks leaning against the stucco house, peonies heavy
as fruit, drooping their deep heads
on the dog house roof.

Lilac bushes between the lawn and the woods,
a tractor shifting from one gear into
the next, the throttle opened,

the smell of cut hay, rain coming across the river,
the drone of the hammer mill,
milk machines at dawn.

-Joyce Sutphen

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday to the most amazing woman I know! I love you, Mom!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

I'll Be Your Emmylou

 My brother, Casey, and I have always seemed to butt heads. As children, almost every interaction involved fighting and crying. We spent one year of high school together-- his senior year, my freshman. There was little interaction between us that year, but it was nice knowing he was there considering my tendency towards homesickness. That being said, there were still times during our childhood when Casey could seriously be the sweetest big brother. I remember once he even bought me a Barney purse for my birthday. I found out about it and he got really mad at me, but still. As we have gotten older we get along much better-- that is, except for one area: those I deem worthy of his time and affection. In the past, there have been precious few (if any) girls whom I have considered to be good enough. Until now. 
Last Saturday family and friends gathered to celebrate the wedding of my brother Casey and his beautiful bride Kate. Their country style ceremony and reception took place in a field next to an old, wore down barn. Everything about it was beautiful, fun, and quirky, just like the happy couple. To say that I am happy for my brother would be a complete understatement. Knowing Casey, it is obvious that Kate was the one he was looking for far before he knew it himself. Seeing him so happy makes me happy,especially having witnessed the long search for him to find her. Kate fits in so well with our family and she fits so well with Casey.
Here's to Casey and Kate and a lifetime of happiness full of babies.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Young adulthood. It is said to be the time of life when one discovers one's identity. Apparently we go through childhood and, especially, adolescence in a constant search and struggle for who we are. However, I am finding my own experience to be rather different. I knew who I was when I was a child. Even into early adolescence, I knew who I was and where I stood; I was significantly more convicted in my values and beliefs. And then I left home for boarding academy, later to college. While I in no way fell off the deep end, I lost my grounding in many ways.  As I went through high school and college I began to see a world with blurred lines and complicated problems. I met people and had experiences that were faith shaking, to say the least. It seems to me, that the time in our lives when we are supposed to be "finding ourselves" is precisely the time when we lose who we truly are.

Society would have us believe that our late teens and early twenties are for self-discovery-- a time to try new things and make mistakes. Throw caution to the wind rather than proceeding with caution. But this is what I have found: all the "self-discovery" that I have experienced has actually been re-discovery. It seems to me that early adulthood is vital in the shaping of one's character for the rest of life.

Somewhere between the age of 15 and 20 I lost big pieces of myself. Now, as I concentrate on shaping my own character, it is those qualities that I strive to get back. Passion for whatever it is I may be doing. Excitement over everyday things. Genuineness. But the more I long to get back sincerity of my childhood the more challenging it proves to be and I want to go back in time and tell my 15-year-old self "don't lose this part of you. Hang out to it with all you have. That friendship, it's not worth losing your depth and sincerity. And that boyfriend, he in no way deserves to steal your innocence." The fact is, we all make mistakes when we're young. But I would suggest that when we reach this so-called point of "self-discovery" that we don't go searching for someone new. Because maybe what we need to journey back to the simplicity of our younger years. Take the sincerity of your childhood and combine it with the perspective from your adult experiences.Be genuine. Be passionate. Be bold. Be sincere.

"And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, 'Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become as little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.'"
Matthew 18:3-5

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Home Is Where Your Mom Is.

I couldn't have been more than five years old. I was feeling sad, burdened by the trials and tribulations a little girl of such as age is challenged with. I do not recall the reason for my distress, but I do remember feeling lonely. I approached my mom and as she recognized my distraught countenance she bent done and asked me the simple question: "do you need your love-cup filled?" In that instant she swooped me up, sat me on her lap, and held me tight. I laid my head on her chest taken in by the scent of her skin. She held me close and stroked my hair until when she asked if my love cup was filled I answered "overflowing." My mom has never failed to make me feel loved.

She has been the epitome of class, confidence, beauty, and self-respect. Her conviction is outstanding considering the things she has gone through and the challenges she has faced. She has faith unlike anyone I have ever known. And I know that any degree to which I possess these qualities is owed to her. She has been my sounding board throughout my whole life. All-nighters were never out of the question when, as a child, I was too scared to sleep, or now when there is so much weighing on my mind and I need someone to talk to. Her example has helped my mature in my own spirituality and relationship with God. And that is probably the best gift she has given me.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom! I love you so much; thank you for all that you do for me. I hope that someday I am as good of a mother to my kids.

"Strength and honor are her clothing;
She shall rejoice in time to come.
She opens he mouth with wisdom,
And on her tongue is the law of kindness.
She watches over the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her blessed;
Her husband also, and he praises her...
Charm is decietful and beauty is passing,
But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised."

Proverbs 31:25-28, 30

Saturday, May 5, 2012

You Aren't Like Them

Admit it. You aren't like them.

You're not even close.

You may occasionally dress yourself up as one of them,

watch the same mindless television shows as they do,

maybe even eat the same fast food sometimes.

But it seems that the more you try to fit in,

the more you feel like an outsider,

watching the normal people as they go about their automatic existences.

For every time you say club passwords like

'Have a nice day' and 'Weather's awful today, eh?',

you yearn inside to say forbidden things like,

'Tell me something that makes you cry'


'What do you think deja vu is for?'

--Timothy Leary

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Summer To-do List

1. Color Run in Racine, WI.
2. Chicago Art Museum.
3. Blueberry picking.
4. Canoe Trip.
5. Brother's wedding.
6. Read books that aren't written well. And some that are. (book list to follow)
7. Fly a kite.
8. Go to the beach.
9. Hike at the Dunes.
10. Try figure out what I should do with my life.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Ever come across a song that speaks perfectly to your present situation? It's cliche, but it happens. It happened. Also, this is lyric video is very well put together and pleasant to watch. That is all.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

If You're Interested...

in some pretty useless info about yours truly, read on. The truth is, I'm at work and going crazy with the amount of nothing that goes on from 6:25 to 12:25 every day. So I stole this questionnaire from another blog.

1. Why did you start your blog?
Honestly, I'm not really sure. My friend Mariel is the one who suggested it. Sometimes I feel like I have important things to say... you can be the judge of that.
2. What is your name? (Or what do you wish you were named?)
Lisa Mae. I really like my name, actually. Although, when I was little I wanted my name go be Jasmine, go figure.

3. When is your birthday?
February 27th.

4. Name 3 jobs you’ve had in your life.
One of my first jobs was at a frozen dough factory called Bake-n-Serve. It was truly horrible. Fridays were the worst because those were the days everyone had to clean the machines. Basically, everything was hosed down it water and by the end of the day you were covered in soggy dough. The most enjoyable job I have ever had is working at a summer camp called Camp Wakonda. I worked there for two summers that consisted of campfires, marshmallows, sleeping under the stars, lullabies, amazing friends, amazing kids, covered wagons, indian costumes, and so much more. I could go on and on. Currently I work as a receptionist at the girl's dorm at my University. Obviously it's a pretty easy gig considering I can sit here and blog without interruption.
5. If you could have ANY job, what would you do?
This is where I get myself in trouble. I can't say that I have a dream job. There are jobs that I would like more than others, but I am really not very passionate about my career path. To be completely honest, the job I want the most is to be a mom. Plain and simple. I don't think there is anything I could be more passionate about.

6. What are you most afraid of?
Considering I am not passionate in my career choice I would have to say that my biggest fear is paying off my school loans. I try not to let it stress me out too much. I know that God will provide as long as I am faithful to Him first. I do as much as I can.
7. What was your favorite item as a child?
I used to have an Ernie doll (from Sesame Street) that I loved. Apparently I would suck on his nose. Until I bit it off. Which as I am writing sounds very strange...

8. What are 3 movies you could watch over and over?
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
Gone with the Wind
Pride and Prejudice
(A&E mini-series)

9. Your dream vacation would be…
Somewhere like Norway or northern France or Italy. I have never been out of the U.S. but if I did get the chance to travel I would want to visit Europe-- all the little villages and the countryside and not so much the big cities.
10. Must have snacks?
Pretty much, yes. Lately I am obsessed with almonds and dried pineapple.

11. Go-to outfit and hair?
I'm not the most fashionable girl. Sometimes I can be but it takes a lot of work and time... and resources that are unavailable to me as a student working through college. Jeans and a hoodie are probably my go-to outfit. I can say with certainty, however, that my go-to hair style is a french braid and that was long before Katniss Everdeen, mind you.

12. Do you eat the stems of broccoli?
Obviously it's the tops we all want, but yes, I do eat the stems. The real bummer is when the whole bag of broccoli is stems, like the Walmart's Great Value brand. Shocker.

13. Favorite ice-cream?
Impossible to decide. Well, not impossible. My longest standing favorite is Ben & Jerry's Dublin Mudslide.

Favorite day of the week?
Probably Saturday. It's the one day each week that I can completely put all my worries aside and focus on friends and family. It's also the day I go to church and take a break from things like T.V. and homework.

15. What do you do most often when you are bored?
When I am bored I most often go on Facebook and I hate myself for it. However, I am on Spring Break this week and have been watching Downton Abbey. I am on the second season and am loving it.

16. What is your favorite board game?
I'm not sure that I have a favorite board game. I like card games better. Pit, Skip-bo, Fill or Bust, those types of games are the best.

17. Favorite smell?
Charcoal grill, fresh linen, hay.

18. What’s under your bed?
Suitcase and shoe boxes.

19. Which useless superhero power do you wish you possessed?
Teleportation, for sure. To be able to see anyone I wanted at a moment's notice would be amazing. I am always missing people.

21. If you could meet one person dead or alive, who would it be?
Maybe C.S. Lewis. But I would also really like to meet my grandfather. He was a cowboy and I just know that he had great taste in Literature.
William Wisniewski. Chester, Montana circa 1959.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

My pot of coffee was perfect this morning. I woke up at 5:35, ate my bowl of oatmeal, and filled up my travel mug to take to work. "My whole world begins and ends with you" were the words that filled my little car as I got in and started the engine with a rumble. And then I got to work. One of the student deans had been working the shift prior to mine and shared one of the most moving stories I have ever heard-- the kind of story that makes one realize what really matters in life and that maybe a real relationship with God isn't quite as unattainable as one would have thought.

I'm finding myself caught up in a bit of an existential dilemma and if you have ever heard of a man named Soren Kierkegaard you might know why. I have been raised in the church my entire life. I go through the motions; I even like the motions. I am part of a great community of people who are capable of showing an awesome love. And I have been a part of this "ethical sphere", as Kierkegaard would say, not fully realizing the meaning of my existence. The happiness and fulfillment I find in life cannot have its roots people because people fail. I cannot put my faith in my closest relationships because relationships fail. Faith is not something that I can obtain from anyone. To have faith is to be at a point where one stands in front of God, held accountable, holding on to the beautifully absurd notion that He cares for one's single existence. One on one. Me and God. Not me, God, and my church. Not me, God, and my mother's faith. Just me and God. And I think I am finding it to be a terrifying place to be, in a really awesome way. And suddenly everything is put into perspective. This idea is so freeing, in that one doesn't have to rely on anything in this world to bring fulfillment.

To put it simply, faith and my existence are beginning to hold deeper implications for me.

Circumstance can be good or bad. When they are good I can be happy and if they are sad I can mourn, but either way there is the possibility to have stability in my life. Stability in faith. Stability in God. A stability that isn't necessarily comfortable and doesn't always seem stable, ironically enough. And therein lies the paradox that Kierkegaard has presented to me. Maybe by the time I finish this "Formative Christian Thinkers" class I will have a better grasp on all of this.

Today, I am feeling very blessed, very happy. There is a freedom that comes with searching for oneself, as terrifying as the process may be.

Monday, January 2, 2012


Well, it's a new year and I am finding myself at a loss for words. It has been a good year, a great year even. I have done many fun and exciting things and spent many hours with the people I love. But every year seems to be full of those things, and I am finding myself at a point where each year seems the same. Each comes and goes; just another year gone by. I am realizing that I don't want to simply let the years pass without intention. I don't want to sit back and take life as it comes; I want to make life. I don't want to go another year without improving my character. I do not want December 31, 2012 to come around and find that I am no closer to God than I am now. Time keeps speeding up on me and to be honest I'm having a hard time with it. I constantly find myself reminiscing; getting caught in the memories while letting the present slip right on by. So I guess my New Year Resolution is to live with more intention and to regain just on ounce of the ambition I had as a child. THAT being said, here are some highlights from a truly blessed year:
I became an Aunt for the second time on November 19 to Oliver Daniel Cunningham. He is absolutely perfect and such a handsome little guy.
My parents finally caved and got a kitten! We named her Hermione :)
Brewers game, bike rides, photoshoots, Josh Groban concert, cousin Abby's graduation, strawberries & summer, corn maze, and weekend in Milwaukee with the girls.
Twenty-first birthday, trip to Florida with the brother, Six Flags theme park, Christmas number four with my favorite guy, Thanksgiving with my adorable niece.
Sister, cousin, friends.
Here's to 2012.