Last night, 18 girls (ages 15-39) occupied the Techau household. My dad always gets teased for being the only male in a house of 5 women, daughters ranging from age 16 to 21. So, I guess it's fair to pity the man who must succumb to 24/7 estrogen, PMS, and the occasional sleepover extravaganza. During such events, you will find Neal either playing guitar on his bed or walking his only male companion, Zeus. (Sorry, Dad...but then again...I guess it is your fault...)
Anyway, my original intent was to describe, maybe brag on, and share some memories of the girls with whom I've grown up. Just thinking about them, as Ashlyn and Lahni finished their first week of senior and sophomore year, respectively. Taylor left this morning, marking the beginning of her sophomore year at Asbury. And while their school years have started up again, I am at home for a couple more weeks until I leave for a semester in Colorado! Ergo, the following tribute.
Taylor. Taylor and I are 16 months apart. Two very different personalities who wound up being the best of friends. When we were younger, Taylor was the funny one, the social butterfly, much more easygoing than me. Girly, as evidenced by the fact that she never passed up an opportunity to check herself out in a mirror, and always wore a t-shirt twisted on the back of her head in an attempt at having long hair. But a bit tomboyish at the same time. I, in contrast, was girly, perfectionistic, competitive, reserved, proper, yet desired to be the center of attention. (I suppose little has changed for those who really know us).
I love this girl so much. She still loves me even though I've pulled a chair, and come to think of it, her pants out from underneath her, knocking the breath out of her when she hit the floor...and I still love her even though she's chucked a brush at me. Boy did she know how to push my buttons. See, when I was upset, I would mostly cry and yell. But when she was upset, she would become SO hateful and yell. Thus, she was much better at winning verbal wars. I remember wanting to knock the crap out of her but never having the guts to do so. (Good thing, too). Anywho, I'm glad we can look back and laugh.
Now, I find her hilarious. We have similar humor, though she's much funnier than I. Admittedly, I have adopted some of her quirks, which we now share as inside jokes. (Please God, always remind us of when we're in public). She's just enjoyable to be around. I know that no matter what I disclose to her, she will never judge me, which is a haven for someone with my personality. Taylor is generally light-hearted, fun-spirited, and nonchalant comparatively. She is compassionate and great with kids...All things I am not as much, and admire in her.
Ashlyn. Ashlyn was always the quiet one. No one ever knew exactly what Ashlyn was thinking. She is the most even-keeled girl I think I've ever known, and I appreciate her consistency. I began noticing her wisdom and insight when she entered junior high. She didn't say much, but when she did, it made you think. If only we all could keep our mouths shut until we have something profound or insightful to contribute... Then just a few years ago, Ashlyn really came into her own when she was chosen among applicants to be on the leadership team for International Youth Convention. It was a 2 year planning process, including trips alone to Florida to plan for the 5,000 people event. These past few years, it has blessed me to watch her grow spiritually and as a leader to those around her.
And I've yet to mention her art. I forget when she began, but I guess my parents noticed her talent for it, and started her in art lessons with a local painter. She began drawing and painting, and now there is little she doesn't use as a medium. Her photographs are probably my favorite pieces, as seen alongside my posts. So proud of her, and can't wait to see how the Lord uses her.
Lahni. Those of you who know Lahni, you know that there are not quite words. In the best way. When Lahni was little, she looked adorable in her glasses and bowl-cut, but we all knew not to let her innocent look deceive. Mischief sums up Lahni's childhood. Love, love, love her heart. As she has gotten older, her personality has grown more dynamic. I remember my mom saying, "if she could just divert all the drive, determination, and energy into work for the Lord..." and I believe she is. She has overcome so much in the span of 16 years. She is strong-willed and ambitious. A born leader. I cannot wait to see how the Lord uses her, either. Three years of high school left, and she's ready...to make a difference in the world. I love this about my little Lahni. In some ways, I still think of her this way, though I know she'd rather me not. I remember coming in her room to hug her each night and make sure she was tucked in; she was my baby sister. But she should know I am well aware that she is no longer in need of babying. I aspire to have her sense of responsibility to society and His kingdom, and to endure with the same drive as she will.
Johnna. Okay, so Johnna does not share my blood, but she might as well. Taylor's best friends since preschool. She lived behind us for a while, so we played together on occasion and shared all of our first, best concerts. Her dad drove us to school in the mornings and I will forever remember him singing Jimmy Buffet's "Cheeseburger in Paradise." I will also forever remember the tens of clips Johnna would style in her hair at one time. She is embarrassed at this now, but I say she should embrace it. Just like she should embrace the box hair color I just applied to her head. Johnna has always been uniquely Johnna. Her own person. Even when people look at her and expect something different. I absolutely love this about her. Lately I have never laughed so hard as I have when spending time with her.
In conclusion, Dad, I'd say you have it pretty good after all. And girls, I will miss you this semester.
- Two things have I heard.
- I always seem to have a plan. And after a brief moment--when measured against the timeline of one's life--He gracefully and graciously ruins my plan of the hour, whatever it may be, in lieu of a greater one. This has occurred in my life without fail. In light of recent circumstances, a reverberation of His love, strength, and faithfulness has echoed in my spirit. As David said, "one thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: that you, O God, are strong, and that you, O Lord, are loving." Psalm 62:11-12
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
I have become very tired of the scenario in which I find myself. I am still at home, while my friends are at school. I have three weeks left and much to do, and waning energy with which to do it. And unfortunately, I have carried this as a heavy burden over the past few weeks. And then, yet again, the Lord was merciful, pointing out that I suck and He does not. Thus, a list of things not to complain or be pessimistic about; rather, a list of every good thing He has given me this summer:
- Wonderful Sisters.
- Free Rent.
- Wonderful conversations with my best friend who was living in North Carolina this summer.
- Four wonderful women of God whom I met with (or tried to) weekly at Coffee Times!
- Shared experiences...amongst several of my good friends.
- Weddings and engagements to be excited about!
- Late nights on the Mallory's patio.
- Pillsbury cookies.
- Church Family...
- Great conversation with a woman in my church.
- A desire to see His ministry be effective!
- A chance to work in the church in which I grew up.
- New relationships.
- Much learned.
- A heart for His kingdom.
- A chance to save money for school.
- Opportunities to give.
- Opportunities to serve.
- Opportunities to love.
Need I go on? So, when you begin to feel discontent...don't. God is SO good.
Count your blessings.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
I love you so much. I would have told you so had not my desire to be perceived as refined kept my true feelings unexposed. Of course, I hope you could sense my devotion by my mere presence at your concert last night, accompanied by my screaming after each and every song.
My affection for you began in 2nd grade when my dad brought home an album of long-haired boys not much older than me. It was love at first listen to your album, "Three Car Garage." That began the explosion of Hanson posters covering my bedroom wall, listening to your album so many times I thought it would scratch, learning every lyric, and buying every TeenBop or TigerBeat magazine I could that included either posters or interviews of you.
Zac, you were always my favorite.
Until I saw Taylor in person 5 years ago.
Nonetheless, I had sea monkeys as pets once...
I named all of them Zac.
You know, I have my dad to thank for introducing us. I was proud to have heard about you before many others had. He first invested in your music-and my happiness-when he bought the albums "Three Car Garage" and "Middle of Nowhere" for me and my sister, Taylor. During Christmas 1997, you came out with "Snowed In," the only Hanson Christmas album out there. Still my favorite. By the way, your logo? Brilliant. Additionally, I will forever associate the sensation of a warm car during snowy weather with your music.
I met a girl last night who was in grad school at Spalding. She had come to see you for the twelfth time. Having only seen you three times, I hope you hold true to your promise to continue producing more albums. I also met a girl with your logo and your signatures (somehow) tattooed on her ankle. See, there's sort of this side-stream mania of Hanson fanatics, like myself, whom have stayed true to their first love for the past 13 to 15 years. While you can rest assured I will never brand myself in honor of you, we all have the same stories: Sure, our commitment has strayed from time to time but as soon as another Hanson album comes out or a concert opportunity presents itself, warm feelings and memories of you like an old friendship flood in.
Lastly, thank you for all your wonderful music. You all are so very talented! Taylor, you play nearly half a dozen instruments at your concerts and Zac, you're ability to sing lead and keep rhythm amazes me. Your combination of rhythms in the song "Crazy Beautiful" last night...very impressive. And as always, quality harmonies. Thank you for sounding the same as you do on your records, for performing with God-given talent, combined with skill and charisma. And for giving a Christian artist, trying to make it, a chance to get his name out by opening for you. Unrelated, I appreciate that you each have a wife and children to whom you are faithful. Way to be solid in a ridiculous industry.
It would be ideal that one day, by some fate, you would stumble across this post on my blog. And that you would then think, we should personally invite her to a show to meet us...even better, to rehearse a song with us! And that you would be encouraged and affirmed not only in your music, but in yourselves as influential individuals.