The life and words of Ashley, Erin, and Michelle

Headphones October 26, 2009

Back in April, Jars of Clay released their newest CD called “Long Fall Back to Earth.” Instantly, I was a fan. (In fact, I think it’s been out of my car for maybe a week total since then. I listen to it all the time.) The song called “Headphones”, however, reminded me of my one true addiction in high school (besides chasing the boys, of course).

I couldn’t go anywhere without them. I had them at school (so that I could listen on the trip to and from, of course), while I cleaned our church, on quiz trips. You name the place, and I probably had my headphones with me. Back then we didn’t have mp3 players, so I had to settle for lugging around my tote of CDs as well. I wasn’t even deterred when my CDs were stolen at a church camp, it just proved that I needed to keep them with me rather than leave them with my stuff.

One of the times I was at work cleaning the church, the pastor of my church said something to me in passing, something I took personally and was offended by at the time, but now I look back and realize that he was right. He said something to me about  how maybe I spent too much time listening to music, that it was an idol to me.

Looking back, I realize that I used them to block out everything going on around me. I claimed that I just connected with the music and used it as an “outlet” to “express my feelings.” In reality, I was expressing nothing. I was listening to others express while I only empathized with what was being said, as if I knew the lives of the artists or something.

Since then, I’ve learned of other ways to actually think for myself and express my own thoughts. (Crazy, I know!) Writing has become one of those outlets. I wrote minimally in high school, but college is when I realized quite how much I could use them to my benefit. Now, let’s just hope that I don’t become quite as dependent on my pen as I was on my headphones back then.

I’ve included the lyrics (and a link to a YouTube clip) to the song I mentioned at the beginning in case you want to know the exact lyrics.

by Jars of Clay

I don’t have to hear it, if I don’t want to.
I can drown this out, pull the curtains down on you.
it’s a heavy world, it’s too much for me to care.
If I close my eyes, it’s not there.

With my headphones on, with my headphones on
With my headphones on, with my headphones on

We watch television, but the sound is something else,
Just a song played against the drama, so the hurt is never felt
I take in the war-fires, and I’m chilled by the current events
It’s so hopeless, but there’s a pop song in my

Headphones on, in my headphones on
With my headphones on, with my headphones on
With my headphones on, with my headphones on
With my headphones on, with my headphones on

At the Tube Stop, you sit down across from me.
(I can see you looking back at me)
I think I know you
By the sad eyes that I see.
I want to tell you
(It’s a heavy world)
Everything will be okay —
You wouldn’t hear it,
(I don’t want to have to hear it)
So we go our separate ways

With our headphones on, with our headphones on
With our headphones on, with our headphones on

I don’t wanna be the one who tries to figure it out,
I don’t need another reason I should care about you,
You don’t want to know my story,
You don’t want to own my pain,
Living in a heavy, heavy world,
And there’s a pop song in my head,
I don’t want to have to hear it.


Too Busy to Get Anything Done September 5, 2009

Filed under: Life in General — Erin Joy @ 12:04 am
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I’m embarrassed to say this, but I’ve barely been home all month. It feels like I haven’t slept in my own bed more than two nights in a row in ages. From church camp to pet sitting, from weddings to movie shoots, I’ve managed to pack my schedule so tightly that I have barely had a chance to catch my breath.

It’s my own fault, really. I’m the one who tends to try to do too much, and I binge on people. It’s only when I start to see certain signs that I realize that I am overwhelming myself with activities and people.

Take, for instance, the fact that I have been in and out of my house so often that my laundry has exploded across my room and I still haven’t fully unpacked from camping, which was at the beginning of August. I spent a good hour last weekend trying to find a shirt before giving up on it. I found it while cleaning tonight. It was still in that bag from camp.

The same thing happens with my purse. I’m running so often over a significant amount of time that I start to cram everything and anything into my purse. (People who were at the last secret sister revealing at Evergreen can attest to that.) I have receipts spilling out of every pocket, and I can’t ever find anything, especially a pen or the change floating at the bottom. It becomes so weighed down that, when I take my camera out like I did yesterday, I begin to think I’m not carrying a purse because of the noticeable difference in pressure it puts on my arm.

Then there’s is the whole forgetfulness cue. I know that I have certain things to get done, but I always get distracted with what is at hand. I have several people to see, but I start being late for appointments. That’s never a good thing. To attempt to get on this, I’ve created “to-do” lists, but they just stare back at me, overwhelming me with the number of projects I’ve started and have yet to finish. (And, yes, I have read Ashley’s post on that.)

Worst of all, I have to deal with the fact that I don’t make time to work on my job search. I’ll confess: this last month has been far less than stellar in respect to the number of jobs I have been applying for. When I have a significant amount of free time, I tend to send out a half dozen to a dozen applications or resumes a week, whether by email or by walking into a store. This month, I’ve probably done a week’s worth in the entire month.

You would think that I would learn after having done this to myself on a regular basis. But I haven’t. I still go on people binges, hiding away in my room to edit photos for days at a time whenever I get the opportunity until the itch to replace Adobe Photoshop with humans reaches me again.

Maybe it’ll ease up a little bit again once I find a job that has more consistent hours. But, until then, I need to find myself some free time to fill out more applications and hopefully cram in an interview or two.


Sometimes it’s good to be picky August 10, 2009

Filed under: Life in General — ashleybarrett @ 8:25 pm
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On a recent shopping trip, I stood in front of the fitting room mirror examining how a shirt looked on me. It covered me and I didn’t look like a circus tent, but I decided not to buy it because I didn’t love it. I’m tired of wearing clothes that are just ok; I want to start wearing clothes that I think look good and maybe give me a little boost.


This principle applies to time also.  Money and time are both limited resources  and if I spend them on things that are just ok, I can’t spend them on things I love.

Now do I love cleaning the sink or folding laundry? No, but they need to be done so they have a category of their own.

But why spend time reading books that are so-so when there are so many great books? Just so I can say, “I’ve read it but have no recollection of it because even though my eyes were reading I was actually counting the tiles in the ceiling.”

And why spend time applying for freelance jobs that I don’t really want just so I can say, “I did something?” Does my half-hearted attempt at an e-mail response even count for “something?”

So I’m cutting back. I’d rather apply well to a few jobs that excite me (and let my cover e-mail show that) then send a generic message to five posts a day because I’m desperate.

Here are things I’m getting rid of, to make more room for what I need/love

1.Finishing articles, magazines, movies, blogs, books and songs that I’m not really interested in.

2. Watching TV shows I don’t enjoy just because I’m in front of a TV.  (This changes a little if Joel or another family member is enjoying it.)

3. Mindlessly playing computer games or surfing the internet.

5. Cooking food I don’t look forward to eating.

6. Applying to jobs I don’t want.

7. Taking on commitments that feel like a burden and aren’t a need.

After making this list it’s amazing how much I do that I don’t enjoy. And I don’t even have some moral obligation telling me to.

How about you? What could you get rid of to make more room for what you love?


The Follow-Through June 25, 2009

Filed under: Life in General — Erin Joy @ 8:43 am
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One of my biggest pet peeves is when someone says that they’re going to do something, and then there is no follow-through. I take people at their word, and I expect them to take me at mine.

The worst part of this, I think, is when I find myself doing exactly what I hate most. (Romans 7, anyone?) It’s an awful cycle. I’ll give you an example:

Sunday nights I generally reserve for watching the children at my parents’ small group. There are usually two kids I spend time with, occasionally three. We have a lot of fun playing in the backyard on the swings or in the basement with blocks.

But early last month, I had a Sunday afternoon bridal shower to attend. I had figured in the length of time that the shower would take, but I had forgotten that there would be about an hour drive in each direction, not to mention time I’d spend after the shower talking with friends from high school. By the time that we were on our way back home, I was already late, so I canceled on them.

The kids were devastated, and the small group didn’t accomplish near what they normally do due to my absence.

My guilt drove me nuts that next week. At first, I felt awful that I’d told the parents (and the kids) that I would be there later that evening and wasn’t. Then, after realizing that I complain most when people do this to me, a new wave of guilt washed over me as I began to see myself as this horrible hypocrite.

I’ve found that I guilt others in the same horrible way. If someone promises me something, I expect it. I take people at their word. If it doesn’t happen, if there’s no follow-through, I become angry and unforgiving. I don’t leave room to consider for miscalculations like the one I had or for confusion or a just plain change of the mind. You would think I would be more understanding, but that’s not usually the case.

This recently happened with a friend of mine. I’m trying to decide if I should just let it go or if I should stop trusting this person. I watch as just about everything this person says to me falls through, and then this friend wants to shrug it off as if nothing happened.

So, the question is, is it time to no longer believe anything this person says anymore? Or do I forgive and pretend as if nothing happened?


The Guilt Cycle June 5, 2009

Filed under: Writing — michellehuegel @ 12:25 pm
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I am feeling so convicted right now I ought to be a pillar of fire. Or was that salt? I’m pretty sure that if I hadn’t started writing RIGHT NOW my fingers would shrivel and fall off in holy retribution.

Let me back up and explain something I’ve only recently (and somewhat unfortunately) discovered about my personality. I share this trait with my genious of a father, a Renaissance man who is skilled in so many areas. He is an “idea man,” a problem-fixer, someone who comes up with brilliant plans, schemes, and solutions. What he needs is a personal secretary (or five) to follow him around and ensure that these schemes actually get completed. For example, I still have a half-completed bedroom in their basement (I moved out over a year ago). He has the personal charisma to motivate people, to help them see his vision. He just isn’t a “finisher,” and neither am I.

Can I blame genetics?? I get so psyched about a project, and I’m great at starting things – and usually I manage to start them well. I have great ideas. But it’s like my energy fizzles after a few days or weeks. Have you guessed what I’m talking about yet?

Yeah, you’re reading it. And it’s a cycle – I don’t feel like writing one time, then I feel guilty, so I avoid thinking about it, and don’t write the next time. Then I feel even more guilty so I avoid even more. Soon my head is spinning in guilty avoidance circles and getting absolutely nothing written. Because if I sit down to write, I first have to come face to face with all that built-up guilt and avoidance. This is why psychologists were invented – to deal with people’s issues so they could get stuff done. Since I can’t afford a psychologist, I’ll just have to work through them myself, and lucky you, you get to come along for the ride.

Join me here every week (or as often as the guilt beats the avoidance) as I simultaneously work through my writing “issues” and try to create something engaging, interesting, and informative for you to read!

Michelle Huegel