Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Portrait photography!

So this Sunday the whole photography kit-and-caboodle traversed downtown
to visit Garrett Nudd. Mr. Nudd does some high end wedding photography and
(also) happens to be an SAU alum, so therefore we're in with the in-crowd, if
you know what I'm sayin'.

Here are some of my shots of Aimee. More to come!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

*clickety clickety*

COLLEGEDALE, Tenn. Rosemary Smith pauses to contemplate the death of a friend, while her husband, Paul, takes a cat nap in their Morning Pointe residence, September 10, 2009.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Things that make me feel special

I have this pervasive fear. It is a fear which rattles me to the very core; it is a fear I have battled for seven years. This fear can find me in blithe conversations--this fear can break into my intrinsic behavioral patterns and dissuade me from normalcy--leaving paranoid, awkward actions in its place. This fear and I have gone head-to-head through long rounds of tears and prayers, yet sometimes it still sticks like to me, like silly putty to my brain. Sometimes I CAN'T SHAKE IT.

I fear that I am bothering people just by being me.

Blame it on a two-year period when I felt, and was told, on a regular basis, that I WAS bothering people by being me. That I was weird. That I was crazy. That something was wrong with me because I was different, unconventional, or colored outside of the lines--however you want to put it, it stuck. Sticks and stones disproved.

So the other day, as I was having a conversation over dinner with one of my best friends--I was asked why certain people hold a place of adoration in my social circle. I gave an answer which surprised me.

"They each do something very different that comforts and speaks to an inner fear or vulnerability; something that stops it, dead in its tracks, and it is no more."

What were these things? My subconscious rose to consciousness and lucidity occurred. I was particularly excited to listen as I categorized each action before my very ears.

1) A consistent "you're not bothering me."

I was told, once, bluntly (in an intuitive stroke of inspiration) "I don't want you to ever feel as though you're bothering me by talking to me or sharing your thoughts. You're not." BAM! Before this was uttered I didn't realize how very much I needed to hear it.

2) An, "I love you just the way you are."

I am very insecure about my epidermis. I'll just say it. My skin isn't the seamless porcelain vibrance that you see in magazines. It is battered and worn, and hides under layers of makeup, which I cling to like a comfort blanket, shield, or buckler. I am terrified of waking up some future morning with an unsuspecting husband, who consequently look overs, and goes "aaaahhhh!" in response to the above. Also, my hair does not behave as it should in the a.m.

Perhaps this sounds neurotic, but I can promise you it causes grief. I worry about this due to the aforementioned deeper worry--I suppose I fear that I will disappoint someone, just the way I am. And once, while a dear friend was visiting, he woke up to visit with me before leaving to hit the road. I woke up straight from a sleeping bag and visited with him before he took his leave. I adored his presence and conversation, but felt that my visage must be giving him horrible inconvenience, paining him in at least some little way. So I apologized.

"I'm really sorry. Look at me. I'm a terrible frump."

And whatever it was, however he knew, he stopped me. He looked me straight in the eye and said, "Don't even worry about it. That's not even what this is about. It's about this: us talking and having nice conversation. I like this."

I felt sheepish, silly, apologetic for letting my inner fear show--but I glowed appreciatively. I couldn't keep it inside. He had instantaneously not only identified, but quieted, one of my fears. I felt so happy...just the way I was.

3) A check-in.

I have a dear friend who writes to check in on me. We don't communicate as often as I'd like, due to the haphazard busy-onslaught of life, but this friend makes it a point to write every few months to check up on me. To give me an update, to send words of encouragement, to check in; to seek and inquire about my life. I feel cared for beyond compare.

4) A question. Or two, or three.

I think the recipe for a decent love potion is as follows: Ask questions, and patiently wait for the answers. Think about the answers, respond, and ask more questions. Make it a point to do this one on one, in all genuine-ness, in a calm and quiet manner. Take 'love' potion however you wish, but it is a dead on filial and agape elixir; perhaps eros, too. I have a dear friend who practices this trait, and it never fails to make me feel valued.

I sat there, out at dinner with a friend, subconscious fully satisfied after having found lucid words in a concrete sentence, and I realized that each of these actions, in their own way, either directly or indirectly addressed a very important part of who I am. The part which I attempt to hide, the part which is in such desperate need of repair.

And when we stop to fill another's need, well, others will probably write blogs entitled "things that make me feel special" in grateful appreciation and accolade.

Or not.

But in the chaos theory of our multi-faceted, baggage ridden personalities, little things can mean the world. I think filling a need is the epitome of Christ-like-ness.

So thank you.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


I read the Franny half of Franny and Zooey this morning. Nothing like J.D. Salinger when you're trapped in bed and need something good to read--so I picked it up. For the first time. I seem to pick up literary soul mates a dime a dozen--characters with whom I relate, decently, if not entirely--but Franny is one of them.

You wanna know what's on my mind? Read Franny. Cause she's got it; you know, it. That essence of something that's been on my frustrated, melancholy mind for the past two weeks (and maybe more). Eating away at me. Causing lament. Tears. Read it. Do it. You will see.

The descriptors of collegiates:

"The rest were standing around in hatless, smokey little groups of twos and threes and fours...talking in voices that, almost without exception, sounded collegiately dogmatic, as though each young man, in his strident,conversational turn, was clearing up, once and for all, some highly controversial issue, one that the outside, non-matriculating world had been bungling, provocatively or not, for centuries."

"A section man's a person that takes over a class when the professor isn't there or is busy having a nervous breakdown or is at the dentist or something. He's usually a graduate student or something. Anyway, if it's a course in Russian Literature, say, he comes in, in his little button-down-collar shirt and striped tie, and starts knocking Turgenev for about half an hour. Then, when he's finished, when he's completely ruined Turgenev for you, he starts talking about Stendhal or somebody he wrote his thesis for his M.A. on. Where I go, the English Department has about ten little section men running around ruining things for people, and they're all so brilliant they can hardly open their mouths--pardon the contradiction. I mean, if you get into an argument with them, all they do is get this terribly benign expression..."

"I know this much, is all," Franny said. "If you're a poet, you do something beautiful. I mean you're supposed to leave something beautiful after you get off the page and everything. The ones you're talking about don't leave a single, solitary thing beautiful. All that maybe the slightly better ones do is sort of get inside your head and leave something there, but just because they do, just because they know how to leave something, it doesn't have to be a poem, for heaven's sake. It may just be some kind of terribly fascinating, syntaxy droppings--excuse the expression. Like Manlius and Esposito and all those poor men."
Lane took time to light a cigarette for himself before he said anything. Then: "I thought you liked Manlius. As a matter of fact, about a month ago, if I remember correctly, you said he was darling, and that you--"
"I do like him. I'm just sick of liking people. I wish to God I could meet somebody I could respect."

"...just so tiny and meaningless and--sad-making. And the worst part is, if you go bohemian or something crazy like that, you're conforming just as much as everybody else, only in a different way."

"I'm just sick of ego, ego, ego. My own and everybody else's. I'm sick of everybody that wants to get somewhere, do something distinguished and all, be somebody interesting. It's disgusting--it is, it is. I don't care what anybody says."

And here's why the Salinger means something to me:

I'm so sick of bats. I'm sick of *fwack* smacking *fwack* people around with my words in order to *fwack* prove something. I'm sick of that context! I'm sick of opening my mouth to defend myself, justify myself, run down some godless resume of 'why you should be my friend, or stop to consider anything I say,' before I can say anything. I'm sick of having to run others down in order to be able to run at all. I'm sick of proving. I'm sick of labels. I'm sick of classifications. I'm sick of nearly everything and I just want GOD.

I guess that's why I relate well to Franny. She passes out from all of these things pressing in on her and her desire to 'see God.' She wakes up and tries again.

And though I don't think you'll find me in a bathroom stall chanting the words "Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me," and thinking that in and of their repetition, I will be able to see God--I know that it's more than that--I AM sick of everything else and I just want to see God. I resound with that.

And it shouldn't be this way, you know? I don't want to chase people down. I don't want to judge. I don't want to typecast or pigeonhole. I'm sick of showing off for attention, I'm sick of name dropping, so I've STOPPED PLAYING when I think about it. I've made a conscious effort to just STOP.

But when you stop playing that game, when you stop it, (whatever this whole game of Survivor-laden battle-field Earth is) other people still play it on YOU. Defense mechanisms state that you flinch back with your bat again... BUT NO!!!!

I just want to be SEEN. I want to be sought out, and I don't want to have to hand out fliers to pump up my attributes and sell myself in order to garnish attention. I want someone to have a genuine interest in me as I do in them, and that will be enough. No more: "Do you like the same music as I do? If you do, you're cool." No more: "Have you read the same books as I have? Cause if you haven't, you're inferior." God knows I have no problem conversing or sharing--but uniting VALUE and WORTH and PLACEMENT and RANK to these things? Bull(youfinishitout).

It's so easy to play the game. It's SO easy to play the game. I have been and am guilty as anyone you please.

But there IS NO GAME. It's all crap. It's all nothingness. Sounding brass, clanging symbols. Filthy rags. An endless striving after the wind.

And it's nice to compare and share interests and figure out how well you fit with someone else--it's fine to be close to others or to feel understood--but in the heinous, haughty, arrogant way we can play it out?! At what cost are we deciding our in-crowd?!

And I'm not just railing on some sect: Not just jocks or freaks or geeks or the churchy-churched or richie riched or elitists or future farmers of america--I mean EVERYBODY who proports to state who's in and who's out.

I want to love people the way Christ loves other people, no strings attached.

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.

Monday, March 9, 2009


Here's the deal, friends, here's the deal:


Next Saturday night a friend is taking me to see BILLY JOEL and Elton John in concert. Most musical buffs will nod in acquiescence to the epic-ness of such an event--but here's the nitty-gritty: When music is important to me, it is VERY important to me. It becomes a sountrack to my memories--happiest moments glisten to choruses, mundane tasks are brought up by backbeats, times of sadness are punctuated by poignant lyrical compositions. The artists and their passions live as vibrant characters in my mental vernacular--John Lennon and Jim Croce are close friends, available at all hours of the day to soothe, comfort, empathize and energize.

But Billy Joel? Billy Joel is #2 on my all time MUST SEE concert list--he is surpassed only by Sir Paul McCartney--due the the fact that if I had to give up a finger or a toe to grab a seat at his concert--I'd at least THINK about it. Paul is top of the tops on my must see.

So back to Billy--knowing that certain songs will forever evoke mental flashes of chinese-food runs, sobbing whole heartedly over lost pseudo-love, trips to Texas for the summer--windows down, Billy up--it'll be like going home. Seeing a friend. Reveling in sounds which transcend time, gender, careers, castes, age--sounds with which I identify--I find small pieces of myself reflected in words and melodies--songs which form an anthem to a life: I am thrilled.

Not to mention Elton John, with Your Song and Tiny Dancer--both songs have meant a great deal to me spiritually--I'm STOKED, friends. Stoked and blessed and grateful.


P.s. And for fun, see the following. Tag yourself if you wish!

"Once you have been tagged, write the top 12 songs you cannot live without. Yes, we know this list will change every day. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged, including the person who tagged you. To do this, go to "notes" under tabs on your profile page, paste these instructions in the body of the note, type your 12 songs, tag 25 people, then click publish."

**Note: Angela McPherson says: This is nearly impossible without blood, sweat, and copious tears. I will not take the hours and hours it would require to measure each of my beloved songs against one another in matters of musical/lyrical composition, personal/ memory value, or historical/pop cultural significance. It would be a frustrating and heart-wrenching endeavor. If you know me you know I ain't lyin'. ;)

Therefore! Here is a list of 12 songs I cannot live without...TODAY. This is not all encompassing, nor does it account for "all time favorites." Disclaimer stated.

1) “Jesus Jesus,” Noah Gundersen
2) “Furr,” Blitzen Trapper
3) “Holland,” Sufjan Stevens
4) “Dig a pony” The Beatles
5) “There’s always someone cooler than you,” Ben Folds
6) “Society,” Eddie Vedder
7) “Full Moon,” The Black Ghosts
8) “The Trapeze Swinger,” Iron & Wine
9) “Tune Out,” The Format
10) “Hoppipolla,” Sigur Ros
11) “You are the best thing,” Ray Lamontagne
12) “Me and Julio Down by the School Yard,” Paul Simon

Honorable mention) "Beautiful Child," Rufus Wainwright.

The end!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Excitement mounts and exceeds boundaries!

Just one look. That's all it took.

Let Us Reconcile from patrick toney on Vimeo.

These are my dear friends Tommy, Patrick, and Bruce, of Garage voice. This music is so good that I could backflip with internal exuberance over it's quality, spirituality, and message. This music is taking the gospel to all nations, genres, ages, highways and byways. This music is cool, friends, in the truest way that cool can be--it is a reflection of the face of Jesus Christ.

I love them with all of my heart. Tomorrow--tomorrow. THE ALBUM TOMORROW!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Eros Error

"Wow. This is the first Valentine's day, in a few years, that I have not spent disgruntledly biting the heads off of chocolate bunnies and crying."

I shared this weighty thought with a friend last afternoon while passing out carnations at the Morning Pointe retirement center. She laughed at the satire--I laughed that she thought it was satire--and happily went about the business of socializing with my "buddies."

I had a day full of love yesterday--and nearly forgot, entirely, about the eros variety of such a sentiment.

I woke up with a phone call to my Daddy. I call him at frightfully early hours every Saturday to inquire about the location of bible texts for use in my Sabbath School class. I could use Google; but that would require more contact with my computer (and with my feet on the floor outside of my bed!) than with my father--and he doubles as a right proper concordance, anyway.

I wasn't on the phone for two minutes before my mother could be heard from the background, yelling, "Happy Valentine's Day, Angela!"

Then came church at Connect--with my new Sabbath School class about finding identity in Christ. We talked about fish and Peter and "do you love Me more than these?" God's proposed this question, I've answered yes, and I've had a sticky-glue peace inside of my soul all semester. Church, then, is a wild celebration of this peace--the song-service was so moving I wept.
"Your love is extravagant, your friendship is intimate."

Upon coming home from church, I looked on my laptop to see that a valentine had been delivered. Not just any Valentine, mind you, this was a Happy Feet valentine--with one of Robin Williams' macaroni penguin cronies pontificating that I must "let it out!" this February 14th. X's and O's were scrawled all over the card, in meticulous yet shaky penmanship, and it was signed "Andrew Hicks." I should have known. Andrew and I had a lunch date earlier this week in the cafeteria. I think he might like me. In fact, I know he likes me. I purchased his ice cream. Andrew is four years old. :)

(I think I should also mention that this valentine doubled as a tattoo, thus setting the standard very high for any future valentine applicants.)

Then came Morning Pointe and The Great Carnation Debut. I have a secret: I hate carnations. I think they are the ugliest and least aesthetically pleasing flower on the planet, bearing a striking resemblance to withered cabbages on stems. However, most people seem to harbor no such ill will against these flowers, and I had been racking my brain for a good long time as to what I could do to say "I love you!" to retirement home residents. Make cards? For 60 people? Time consuming. Bake cookies? I'll be honest--I can't bake worth a flip. Nothin', nothin', nothin'--and then God gave it to me: Buy a bunch of carnations and say "I love you." So we did. Me and whoever felt like joining--"whoever" ended up being quite the crowd. The copoius hugs, kisses, and good conversation we received from the residents made my heart run over. Plus, I picked up Valentine #2--Mr. Burns. Not from The Simpson's, friends, from Morning Pointe; and he's just as much of a character. We flirt shamelessly. ;)

I stayed so long at Morning Pointe that I drove back to the dorm at a quicker pace than most Collegedale Police would appreciate--but I had to round off my Valentine's mission. This mission was to "Celebrate single-ness with my Dolphin," who is consequently and sometimes known as Alyssa Foll. Dolphin is Valenine #3.

Our great and mighty plan was to go to the Macaroni Grill (Pengin throwback, anyone?) with two other dear girlfriends--each "couple"matching, with Alyssa and I sporting semi-scandalous red dresses. (I only say this because it is fun to say "semi-scandalous" in regard to one's self. They weren't scandalous at all, really.) So we went out. We ate. We took in a wildly-blatant chick-flick (Confessions of a Shop-a-holic: a stark allegory about the evils of credit-card debt. And a gorgeous British man. I digress.) We thoroughly enjoyed each other's company.

I stumbled into the dorm room at 11:55. I looked in the mirror to take one last glance at the bright red dress, the curled hair, and the precice makeup. "Someday someone will appreciate all of this," I heard my thought-process say. No! No! Don't go there! What was this? I had experienced a "high" day--a lofty day of Valentine's goodness. How could my thoughts then turn so...girly? I shuddered. "Ah, wretched (wo)man that I am! Who shall deliver me from this body of death?"

Then God butted in on my thought-process. I appreciate it when He does this sort of thing.
"Aren't you happier now than you have been in a long time?" He asked.
"Yes," I said.
"Haven't I filled you up today?"He asked again.
"Yes," I said.

He then reminded me of my three valentines: Andrew. Mr. Burns. Dolphin. Then came the rememberence of my parents on the phone. Of church. Of Jesus Christ. I had all kinds of love.

"Do you believe this?" He asked, a third time. (Congruent with the Peter/fish reference, incidentally)
"Yes!" I said again, for the third time.

"Then get up and dance," He said.

Now, I don't know if God has ever told you to dance, but I said "ok!"

I kicked off my shoes and frolicked around my dorm room--red dress, curled hair, precice makeup, and bare feet. I tried every style I could think of: Ballet, Jazz, Chalston-esque-swing, African tribal, theater company chorus line--anything, completely letting go of myself and every incumbent inhibition. It was glorious.

I ended up exhausted, smiling, and thankful. I ended the day dancing with Jesus.

We have a God who has given us all kinds of love--and I'll be honest. Sometimes the eros error makes me decapatate chocolate bunnies and expend some of my saline reserve. But I am happier now than I have been since my reconversion. I have re-discovered my first love "with a vengence," I say. With passion, with spark, with fire, with dance, and with three Valentines to boot.

I have a life filled with Storge, Philia and Agape love--and I am content to be in love with the love which Christ has given to me.

So until those good-looking British men make the scene with penguin tattoos, Eros, I say, can wait. I'll be dancing around my room with God.