Another Overheard Conversation

As I was sitting on the coffeehouse where I work both for the deli and on freelancing, wondering what to blog about, I overheard a customer ask for a metal fork rather than a plastic one. As it happens, there are a couple in the back. As one worker went to get her the fork, the customer asked, “Is that weird?”

“A little,” my friend answered honestly.

“Well, if you want to fill up a landfill with plastic, I guess that’s what you do…” the clearly morally superior customer answered, then took her metal fork and walked away, having fulfilled her duty to the environment and the irresponsible deli workers.

This overheard exchange angers me for several reasons. First, we’re pretty much the only coffeehouse that offers ceramic mugs for hot (or cold, if you really don’t like paper) beverages. We use Corelle plates for most things, though we can’t afford enough to get us through busy times and sometimes fall back on styrofoam. We use plastic utensils, which we recycle when customers don’t throw them away. As far as businesses go, we’re pretty environmentally responsible.

But the main reason this angers me is because people seem to feel they can’t be passionate about a subject without being inflammatory. Clearly, you don’t care about the environment unless you’re wearing hemp and carrying a carved wooden sign (no paper here!) denouncing anything and everything that everyone but you is doing wrong. Clearly, this carries over to other issues as well, like those who think you can’t be pro-life unless you attend hateful rallies and carry signs about God hating the doctors and women who kill unborn children.

Somehow, I think you’ll do your cause more justice if you act like a rational human being. But I guess that’s my inflammatory no-one-but-me-is-right side showing…


Thoughts on Weddings

As you’ve probably gathered by now, I’m not really one to stand on ceremony. I had no real plans to attend my high school or college graduations, my birthday “parties” usually involve eating out instead of cooking, and I think I would have been just as happy to elope as I was getting married in a church with witnesses.

But I came to realize something by the time I started sending invitations to my college graduation. The reason these celebrations are so important is because they’re not just about you. I invited all of my friends and family to my college graduation because, in some way, they all helped me through it. I did the work and acquired the knowledge, but they supported me throughout, whether financially, or by writing me letters, or sending me the occasional encouraging email or phone call.

When it comes to marriage, it’s about SO MUCH MORE than the couple getting hitched. Yes, you’re making your own new seed family, but in doing so, you’re also joining two previously separate families, two groups of friends, neighbors, pets, what have you. The wedding ceremony is important because you’re saying to all the people you’re going to be living with for the rest of your lives, “We’re making this promise, staring a new life, and every single one of you will be part of it somehow. Ah yes… and you’re also to keep us accountable.” And nobody likes that last part, and we don’t really think of it during the ceremony, but it’s true all the same.

When I got married, I would have been happy to get married in a courthouse as long as I could’ve worn my awesome dress. But it wasn’t just about me. Or about me and Steve. It was about our parents who raised each of us and will one day help us raise our kids. It was about our grandparents and the wisdom and support they can share. It was about family–not just the one we’re starting, just the two of us–but the one we were starting by joining two clans, the Cardens and the Shallahamers.

At the end of the day, we’d have been married either way, true. But having our friends and family there has made all the difference. And I imagine that difference will only be more pronounced as the years progress.

New Year, New You

I’ve always been a tad confused about celebrating the turning of a calendar page, as though one particular turn is more important than another and this new year is actually anything more than a convenient way to keep track of time. I’ve always watched the ball drop, and often prayed in the new year with my family, but January 1 always looks an awful lot like December 31 to me.

But now I think I’ve got it. It’s the concept of newness, the idea of starting over and molding yourself into whatever you want to be. Because the calendar starts over, so can you. And if you revert back to the old you, well, you’ll have another year next year to give it another shot.

So maybe the reason I’ve never gotten so excited about the new year is because I have a God who can make things new whenever I let Him. And sometimes, perhaps that’s been to my detriment. People look forward to the New Year and set that as the time when they will attempt to change. Maybe, knowing that God can change me whenever I work with Him on it lets me say indefinitely to myself, “There’s always tomorrow.”

Well. This is a new minute. And in 30 minutes, it’ll be a new hour. Maybe it’s time to work on the new me, minute by minute, hour by hour and, yes, year by year.


I’m Back!

Hello. My name is Tanya Carden, and I’m a yarn-a-holic.

During the furor of Christmas, I decided to make everyone’s Christmas presents. Cheaper, much more fun, and each person I gave presents to got something no one else will ever have. And then… I got a little addicted. And every spare moment I  had went into crocheting. Then, during Christmas, Granny Harwell taught me to knit, furthering my crafting addiction.

Now, a month later, I realize how much I’ve been neglecting everything else. Like my blog.

In my defense, everyone LOVED the gifts I made. And the people who didn’t get my homemade slipper socks wanted them.

Mom's slipper socks

But now… I’m back! Happy New Year to all!