Monday, May 31, 2010

a once-in-a-lifetime thing.

God works in the coolest ways.

While there are so many exciting things racing through my mind right now, I feel compelled to share one that I will never forget.

I had the honor of attending special training for CentriKid this past weekend-- the camp I will be working for this summer. While that is an entire blog entry (or several blog entries) itself, it sets the stage for my experience. I flew from Memphis to Nashville and back to attend training, and my flight from Nashville to Memphis was nothing less than awesome.

Attending training, meeting some of my amazing team, and the excitement of the summer before me had left me with a happy buzz; this and God's sovereign peace is what kept me from freaking out.

My flight was delayed three times, so I was stuck in the Nashville airport for a long time. While I was sitting at my gate, the guy behind the Delta counter asked if I was Mary Breedlove. I said yes, and he said "Well you're one of four people on this flight, and it's been delayed again." So I sat at the gate for another hour, but this time in the company of the guy behind the desk, the three other passengers, the pilot and co-pilot, and the flight attendant.

I might write a book about this. Some of you may think this is the lamest thing you've ever heard, but this is the kind of thing that I have seen in movies but never experienced. During the wait and on the flight, we had some of the best conversation I've ever had with anyone. We were total strangers before, but when we landed, we all hugged each other like family--including the crew. We laughed, shared stories, we drank coke, we joked with the pilot, we talked about pop culture--it was great. We were each from different places all over the United States, and the flight attendant was from the Dominican Republic. I even had the opportunity to have a feeble conversation with her in Spanish.

I will most likely never see those people again. I will also most likely never have a flight like that one again. We were from all different walks of life, and I left Memphis International Airport feeling so thankful for the delayed flight from Nashville.

God's plans are bigger for me than mine are for myself. I say that a lot. But something like my Nashville flight is just one of the many things He can use to show that He is in control. I like that. Actually, I LOVE that.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Jesus loves nerds. Thank goodness.

I have peacefully come to terms with the fact that I am a perpetual nerd. And if anyone were to place me in a stereotype, I want it to be that one.

Again, for those of you who know me, this will not come as a surprise. I love LOST. And if you have been a part of American pop culture over the past weekend, you know that the six-season masterpiece came to an epic end on Sunday.

Before I express any of my thoughts on it (I loved it...well, that's probably all I will say), I want to share a quote that I heard that greatly sums up two things that I have grown to love.

If reading Harry Potter was about learning how to live, then watching LOST was about learning how to die.” - Stephen King

The more I think about the ending of LOST (and I won't spoil it for anyone who has not seen it and wants to), the more I love it. And there is so much truth to that statement: Harry Potter was about learning to live, LOST was about learning to die.

I grew up reading the Harry Potter books. In fact, I've read the series twice, some books more than others. I love how those books, like so many others, have the ability to completely captivate the reader. Harry Potter influenced me in so many ways. The books matured my love of reading. The story was drenched with mystery, action, humor, tragedy, and most importantly, love. All seven books hold the same theme: Good always conquers evil, and the power of love is the most powerful of all.

I won't even bother to take time defending why I love Harry Potter and why it isn't devil-raising witchcraft. To anyone who feels that way, I am so sorry that you didn't give it a chance and completely missed the message it offers. The entire story is about defeating evil, not encouraging young people to try to be wizards. My entire childhood I grew up with the magic of Disney movies. My parents read fairytales and fantasies to my sister and me, and not once in my life have I decided to take up sorcery.

My mom was hesistant about me reading the Harry Potter series at first. She heard the uproar and the controversy and was not too keen on me reading them, but she let me decide for myself. After I fell in love with them, I tried my hardest to get her to read them. And six years and a "I'm going to college, we'll be far away and this can be something we have in common" guilt trip, she read them and loved them as well.

While LOST is a completely different animal than Harry Potter, they share common grounds. LOST had the ability to captivate an audience and keep them on their toes week after week for six seasons. I have said so many times that I wish was clever enough to be a LOST writer. I could go on and on about why I love LOST, but it would be so hard for me to do that without completely spoiling the ending.

In my opinion, perhaps the most important thing about these two phenomenons is sacrifice. Both stories did not have a rainbows-and-butterflies happy ending. There was sadness, death, and loss. In the midst of me sobbing inbetween book chapters or getting choked up on Tuesday nights at 8:00, I realized that a great story must have sacrifice. The people in both stories in died for something.

A good friend of mine and I were talking about this very subject a few months ago. Both of us are avid Losties and Harry Potter fans. The reason this came up is because we were discussing the Twilight Saga. I read the Twilight Saga before it was popular. (I feel like "popular" is not a strong enough word to describe how it has taken over the lives of women of all ages). I'm one of those people who read it and liked it, the end. In fact, my mother introduced me to it by saying "hey Mary I think you'll like this book." That's all. It is a good story, and I think Stephenie Meyer is a great writer, but the more I think about it, the more I don't like it. Breaking Dawn was pretty far out there. Twilight was the hook, New Moon and Eclipse was the line, and Breaking Dawn was the....."wait a minute, what"?

The main problem I have with the books is the lack of sacrifice. I realize it is a love story, not an epic-battle-like story. But the only sacrifice that was really made was Bella giving up her human life---but she wanted to give it up. She wanted to be a vampire. There was no battle, no struggle, no death or loss from important characters--it just had the happy ending everyone was hoping for.

I believe that God can use anything to bring glory to His name. (You're probably thinking, wait a minute, where are you going with this...) But it is evident to see, things like Harry Potter and LOST and the Twilight Saga captures the imagination of people all over the world. I am certinally not trying to connect Harry Potter and Lost and Twilight to the Gospel, but they have potential to provide an illustration to someone who loves those stories but knows nothing of Christ. And on the subject of sacrifice and love stories, I have to say, the greatest one I ever heard is the reason for my existance. And the best part is, it is so much more than a story. It is a non-fiction event that took place in history. I have Someone that died for me, and Who loves me more than Bella ever dreamed of loving Edward.

If I have offended anyone, I apologize. But that's the great thing about freedom of speech. You don't have to agree with me. I am simply enjoying my geeky quirks and rejoicing in the fact that God's love and sacrifice is the greatest of all.

Friday, May 21, 2010

this has been a brief "REALLY!?" with MC Breedlove

Disclaimer: everything below is entirely my opinion.

Really!? Are we really going to even consider the option of performing an operation to take away a dogs bark? How is that okay? If your dog barks a lot, deal with it! Don't take the easy way out and simply take away its voice! Throw him a bone! Every wonder why your dog is barking? Dogs bark for a reason! They protect you! If your dog barks all the time for apparently no reason, take him to the vet! Investigate the problem, there could be something wrong! Barking is a dog's way of communication. But for goodness sake, don't silence him forever! It's inhumane. Severing a dog's vocal I the only one who thinks this is wrong? This breaks my heart.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

music: a glimpse of heaven on earth

To anyone who knows me personally, this will not come as a surprise.

I love music.

I believe Hans Christian Andersen said it best: "Where words fail, music speaks."

I could probably write thousands of blog entries in an attempt to describe my love for music. In high school, I was a member of the marching and concert bands. I was the field commander for my junior and senior years of high school. I was (and still am) a mezzo-soprano in the All-West and All-State choirs. I was a part of theater company in my community that did a little musical called Grease. (Four sold-out performances, I was Rizzo.) Now I'm a member of a college marching band and concert band. Music is not simply a hobby for me; it is a passion.

It is so difficult for me to imagine my life without music. This summer, I will be teaching sign language at camp. Learning the song and learning about deaf culture has been eye-opening. I should never take for granted the fact that I am able to hear. However, I think sign language is absolutely beautiful. It just goes to show you what a wonderful Maker we have. We can praise him with our voices and our hands.

I'm always amused when I put my iPod on shuffle. It will pull up anything: from scared harp hymns to the Glee soundtrack to Dave Matthews Band to bluegrass to Lady GaGa to classical choral music to Metallica and back again.

But on this late night of listening to music, there is one song I want to talk about.

Defying Gravity.

I hope all of you have the chance to experience the musical masterpiece that is Wicked. I love musical theatre; I let myself get carried away in the music and lyrics and emotions that pour from musicals. I was raised on Meet Me in St. Louis. I could watch The Phantom of the Opera and RENT like it's my job.

I had the chance to see Wicked on stage last year with my sister. The last song of the first act, Defying Gravity, was one of the most powerful things I've ever seen. I had chill bumps from the top of my head to the tips of my toes, and I was crying. Is it sad? Not really. It's just that moving.

The lyrics are enough to bring a tear to your eye.
" someone told me lately, everyone deserves a chance to fly, and if I'm flying solo, at least I'm flying free, for those who'd ground me, take a message back from me...tell them how I am defying gravity...I'm flying high, defying gravity, and soon I'll match them in renown..."

The first time I heard this song was the Original Broadway soundtrack with Idina Menzel singing lead. I have always been a huge fan of Idina Menzel, but her singing Defying Gravity is enough to make me a little bit obsessed with her voice. Marcie Dodd did the song justice during the stage performance I saw.

I encourage you to let the power of music drench your soul. Get captivated; get lost; drown in the majesty of music. God created it. Can you possibly begin to imagine how amazing heaven will be/sound?

confirmed: the world is crazy.

It's times like this when I want to sick my fingers in my ears, close my eyes, and go "LALALALALALALALA".

Of course this all plays into the fact that I am a "grown-up" and I'm not in Kansas anymore, but I am honestly baffled at the world. I have grown up in the Memphis metro area and hearing of heinous crimes on the news is not something new. But in the past week, someone beat a precious 2 year old girl to death for using the bathroom on herself while potty training, and two West Memphis officers were shot in cold blood on the interstate.

There are plenty of things in this world that I simply do not understand. People are one of them. I just can't fathom why someone would think it is okay to murder a baby, or anyone for that matter. I don't understand how, if we are up to our eyeballs in national debt, people can afford (and are willing to purchase) million dollar clothes or purses or shoes. I don't understand why the world is more passionate about the Twilight saga than it is about ending world hunger, animal abuse, or something that matters.

Maybe I'm just too old fashioned, but when I think about how much money is in the world and who all holds it, and who needs's infuriating to me.

If the world would try a little harder to get their priorities in order--high class, low class, famous people, everyone...the world would look a bit brighter than it does now.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

the untold want

The day I moved into my dorm and began my first year of college miles and miles from home, my mom put a note on my cork board. It says this.


'Sail thou forth to seek and find!'

ye you,


Walt Whitman is one of my favorite poets. I have read most of Leaves of Grass and one specific poem has become one of the mottos of my life.

The Untold Want

The untold want by life and land ne're granted
Now voyager sail thou forth to seek and find

I was first introduced to this short poem by the Betty Davis movie "Now Voyager". If you ever have the chance to watch it, you should. It is a masterpiece in my opinion. The story is of a woman who was once a nervous wreck that transformed into a confident, beautiful woman, and she started a new life that she never dreamed of having.

This poem is the inspiration for my blog. I honestly don't know what in the world I'm trying to accomplish with this. But I know that I am on a journey that will shape and mold me into the person I was made to be, and I am blessed beyond what I deserve.

I'm on the path to a career that I will love. I am about to embark on a summer that will change my life forever. I now have the things I need to grow and learn and change; I am no longer confined to the same world I was in for the past 19 years. I am so grateful for that world, and for how it prepared me, but now I'm moving on. I'm growing up, and I like it.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

i get by with a little help from Dave Matthews and Madonna...

Have I ever mentioned that I want to be a more conservative version of Carrie Bradshaw?


Sometimes I feel like I have all these rambled, crazy thoughts and situations scrambling around in my head, but at the same time, they can all somehow connect. Two things that seem completely unrelated can somehow find common ground through something.

I have always felt like I communicate the best through words. I like to sit down, let my thoughts flow, and then put them on paper, or in this case, a computer. I like writing a sweet hand-written note almost as much as I like receiving them.

Two things are buzzing in my head right now. And though they may seem unrelated, it's easy for me to see how they can connect.

First of all, maybe it is just because I'm growing up, but does the world seem completely crazy?

I can't help but quote one of my favorite Dave songs... "the world is blowing up/the world is caving in/the world has lost its way again..." (that's "Oh" by Dave Matthews by the it.) Those lyrics cross my mind when I see things like having 19 children, oil spills, dirty politics, the economy, hoarding shows, and at least a thousand different ways to lose weight. It's like our world is searching to fill a void.

No offense to anyone who wants to have 19 children, but isn't that just a bit excessive? Can two parents honestly provide adequate love and attention to 19 children without relying on the work of the older siblings? If they can...that's wonderful, but it seems unlikely. Maybe I'm just an old fashioned narrow minded woman.

Moving on from that side thought, I can't watch TV for more than 10 minutes without seeing a commercial about a diet plan, diet pill, or new exercise machine. The world is obsessed weight. From TV shows about being morbidly obese to aneorexic and everything in between, it seems to completely consume our culture.

It is so easy to let it consume us, too. I've never been accused of being too skinny, but I try not to let the world influence my self image. I take care of myself and I put effort into doing so, but aside from that, I need not forget that I am beautifully and wonderfully made because the One who made me created me in His image. I need to remember that. If only the rest of the world could see it and take it to heart.

All this brings me to the second thing that has been buzzing around in my head.

This is something that I have thought about for..oh, I don't know, the past ten years of my life. It's always on my mind because it (or "he", rather) is very important to me, and that is my future husband.

So how does my future husband and the world being crazy have anything to do with each other?

I don't want to settle for anything, but I especially don't want to settle for whom I will spend the rest of my life with. And you will probably laugh when I say this, but I can't help but think of a Madonna song. "Don't go for second best baby/Put your love to the test.../What you need is a big strong hand / To lift you to your higher ground/ Make you feel like a queen on a throne/ Make him love you till you can't come down.." (that's "Express Yourself")

I want my future husband to love me for the most important reasons. Regardless of my outward appearance, though it is important, it is not the most important thing. I want him to love me for my soul. I don't want to let myself get caught up in the worldy standards of beauty, but rather for the Godly standards. And I want him to feel the same. I want him to love me for my passion, my quirks, my goofy sense of humor, my love of music and books, and above all, my love for God. I daresay those standards are "second best", and I will not settle for anything less.

do you need a good song to listen to?

Sara Bareilles, thank you.

Why must I wait until September for your album?

Sunday, May 9, 2010

love part one

It's hard for me to believe that I just finished my first year of college. I could write pages and pages and pages of my wonderful first year college experience--and I probably will, just at another time. To say that I am blessed beyond what I deserve would be true. My friends, my family, and everything else in my life are abundant blessings from God.

It goes without saying that life is never going to go the way that you plan for it to go. I'm a "plan person". I make lists. I like to have a plan, be in control, know what's going on, etc. I do not like not knowing what is going on or not having a plan of action in certian situations. But this is something that God has really been working on with me. He is teaching me patience and flexibility, and after I finally realized that His plan is the best one for me, which honestly took a very long time, I was able to start to let go of my need to have a firm grasp of a situation. For both the good and bad, I need to rely on the fact that I am not in control.

I also need to rely on the fact that YOU CANNOT LOVE OTHERS WITHOUT THE LOVE OF GOD.

I feel like I should have those words tatooed on the inside of my eyelids and branded on my forehead.

I believe that God is love and love comes from God...though many people I know may disagree with me.

I'm the type of person who will want to love someone as much as they will let me. I will love until it hurts; I want to make people happy and make them feel loved. And through this, God has been able to bring some pretty amazing people into my life. However, it has also broken my heart. When you love someone who does not understand God's love, how can they possibly truly love you back? God is love. No matter how much you convince yourself that they really do love you, it is not the deep, unconditional, everlasting, sacrifical, sacred, perfect, and beautiful love from God. It is fleeting instead of forever. I'm talking about romantic love--falling in love. I'm not sure if I have truly "fallen in love" yet. Well, I probably haven't, seeing as how I am not married or anywhere near being married. But I do know that God can use hearbreak- in fact, I think the worst kind of heartbreak is when you love someone and they do not want it -- and make it into something beautiful.

This "heartbreak" is something that we are called to experience. In a different context, of course. We can still love people who do not know God's love. We are supposed to. We need to. We must. We have to care for the lost; help rescue the to be an example of God's love.

This entire first year of college has been about me finding the balance between loving someone lost without trying to convince myself of their non-existant love in return.

I hate to call this "wasted love", because regardless of the fact that nothing was returned, I know that God uses open hearts for the hearts of stone.

I firmly believe that everything that has happened in my life and will happen is for a purpose; a reason. I believe that God's plans for me are much bigger than the ones that I have for myself. This is one of the most comforting, yet frustrating truths that I know. I may not yet understand the reason why certian people and relationships have been placed in my life, but I know it is part of the ultimate plan; the best plan for me... I should take comfort in that.

I hate how the English language only has one word for "love". I love my family. I love my dog. I love nutella and mystery novels.

But to fall in be in love....that's a totally different animal.