Thursday, June 28, 2007


I feel like I've been rather detached from the things that I've been posting lately. Poems written months ago, stories of my past, a fictional tale of a girl across the world - all were written with emotion at one point, but right now they (with the exception of my college station posts) hardly reflect the things I have been feeling or doing.

I've had lots of worries and fears lately. I'm excited about Europe and A&M, but I feel anxious because time seems to be going by too fast for my liking. And when it comes to moving to College Station and starting graduate school, there have been so many unknowns that I've been starting to feel fearful. I think it's just natural (I hope) to worry when things are unknown. Will I like the place I'm living? Will I make friends? Will I find a good church? Will I do well in my classes? Will I like my assistantship? Will the professors like me? Will I have time for myself, or will I constantly be busy? Will I be able to keep up with my friends and family here? Will I get lonely? Because to be honest, I sometimes already find myself feeling lonely. That's probably one of my biggest fears. Being lonely in a new place. Wishing I was somewhere else, with other people, not being able to connect with the new place and people. Not feeling at home. I also fear getting in over my head, the doctoral program being too hard, and me getting burnt out. I pray and I try to trust, but the worry is still there.

Still, the unknowns are starting to slowly become known and God is starting to spare a few dollops of peace. I have decided to live in C's house, at least for the first year. I have my reservations, but I'm starting to get more excited about it. It's likely it'll just be the two of us, which means I'll have a big bathroom to myself, we have a two car garage, and she invited me over to her house for dinner. I imagine that her parents wanted to meet the girl who will be living in the home they just bought, but nonetheless, I take an invitation to someone's home as a very welcoming gesture. We had a good time tonight, her parents are really nice, and I stayed over there for three hours, drinking coffee, discussing decorating (we like the same colors!), who's going to bring what, playing with her golden retriever puppy who will be living with us, and looking at the floorplan. I had told her before about wanting to adopt a cat and she said that it'd be fine, but her dad told me about one caveat - he's allergic to cats but long-haired cats like Maine Coons actually don't bother him that much and he'd like to be able to visit his daughter without feeling miserable. Something about the dandruff that people are allergic to is worse on short-haired cats than long-haired ones (for him at least). I haven't started looking at cats right now, and he could have said, "Do you absolutely have to get a cat?" but instead he said, "Could you try to find a long-haired cat?" which I think is doable. The idea of a big cuddly Maine Coon type cat sounds really wonderful :) As I type that, my precious Russian Blue is rubbing his head under my foot, asking for attention. I wish I could take him, but he is now my mom's cat and she won't part with him. That's ok, I'm sure there is another wonderful cat out there who needs a home and hopefully Rouble will understand and forgive me :)

Ok, I went off on an unexpected cat tangent. Another unknown that has been made known is my graduate assistantship assignment. I've been assigned to assist with the test library in the on campus Counseling and Assessment Center. It doesn't sound terribly exciting, but I think it is an answer to prayers and will be something that I'll enjoy. As much as I'd like a position that I can learn from, I worried about finding myself in an extremely challenging and tiring position, and I regretted that my current job might be the last one that I'm overqualified for. Thinking about it a couple of weeks ago, I remember hoping that I'd find something working with people, since good customer service is my greatest strength in my current job. Reading my supervisor's description of my duties, it sounds like this position has the qualities that I desire -

"The job has several functions. First, you should check out, maintain, and secure psychological tests that are required by our training programs. Students will come to you to check out the tests during your posted hours in the clinic. Second,
you are to inventory the tests and order any tests that we need to order. Finally, the last function is to serve as a receptionist for the CAC-Heaton if clients are being seen. (This duty requires greeting clients, letting the graduate student know they are there, and collecting payment for their testing when they leave.)"

It doesn't sound mentally or physically exhausting (knock on wood), I should be interacting with a variety of people, and I might even learn a thing or two about psychological testing which I could use in the future :)

God is using the external to bring me more peace, and he's also using the internal.

I've been reading Gilead, a wonderful Pulitzer Prize winning novel written as a memoir of a small town preacher diagnosed with a terminal illness, trying to tell his family history to his young son, and reflecting on his impending death and current personal dilemmas. Listening to this book, I've been impressed with this fictional character's knowledge of scripture, and I realized that it's probably been over a year since I've attempted to memorize any scripture. I've chosen Luke's Sermon on the Plain to try to memorize.

I've also been reading Richard Foster's Celebration of Discipline, a great book with a chapter devoted to twelve Christian practices that should cultivate spiritual depth - Meditation, Prayer, Fasting, Simplicity, Service, Confession, Worship, etc. I wasn't sure if I should just read it straight through and then select a discipline here and there to further develop or read it slowly and attempt to incorporate what I'm reading into my daily life, but halfway through the first chapter, I'm realizing that this will be a slow read. Which is ok, I want time to put things into practice and really soak in what I'm learning. So now, in addition to just memorizing the Sermon on the Plain, I'm trying to meditate on it to better receive the gift of my Savior's words. The other night, I let my imagination run, and imagined Christ speaking those words to me and his other disciples, picturing his facial expression - a big smile, but with compassionate and understanding eyes that speak to us, "I know what you're going to go through because of me, but someday you'll see that this suffering is a blessing."

"20Looking at his disciples, he said:
"Blessed are you who are poor,
for yours is the kingdom of God.
21Blessed are you who hunger now,
for you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who weep now,
for you will laugh.
22Blessed are you when men hate you,
when they exclude you and insult you
and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man."
Luke 6

I imagined experiencing each of those emotions as best I could. I don't really know what it is to be poor, but I know hunger, satisfaction, weeping, laugher, and being hated. And I knew - not just head knowledge, but really knew deep inside - that the Son of Man knows all those feelings too and cares about what we experience. And just for that "knowledge," I feel blessed.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

We sing our strengths

I found this in my Yahoo notepad, last updated 9/17/06. I was really encouraged by reading this and thought that it was worth sharing.

I come from an incredible family.

I am a strong woman. My mother is a strong woman. My aunts are strong women. My grandmother is a strong woman. My great-grandmother was a strong woman. They all have faced incredible hardships - deaths of sons, husbands, fathers, divorce, mental illness, betrayals, financial problems. They are success stories. By God's grace and their faith in Him and in themselves, they have overcome these things to survive and thrive. They are raising children who will be lawyers and doctors and psychologists and museum curators and businessmen. Every Christmas, we come together and all sing hymns. We sing because we are free, and joyful, and loved, and thriving. We sing because we have overcome. We sing because God is good and He gives us strength. We sing because no matter what happens, we have love to give. We sing our strengths.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Just Another Typical Love Story

Five years ago, Boy meets Girl. Boy likes Girl. Boy makes mix tape and asks Girl out. Girl says yes. Three weeks later, Girl breaks up with Boy. Boy and Girl stay friends. Boy wants to get back together with Girl, but Girl says no. Girl is friends with Girl 2. Girl 2 asks out Boy. Boy says yes. Girl says, "Rebound." Boy really likes Girl 2. Boy and Girl 2 fall in love. Girl, Boy, and Girl 2 all stay friends. Four years later, Boy buys ring and asks Girl 2 to marry him. Girl 2 says yes.

Today, Girl receives card -

"Thank you for being part of our special day and thank you for the Battle of the Sexes. We remember how it was really all your fault that we're together! Of course it's a fault in a good way :)

[Man and Wife]"

Girl smiles. A lot.

The End

PS - Girl still has mix tape somewhere.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

My Mr. Blue

I wrote this poem on January 24th of this year. I can't believe that it's been that long and I still haven't posted it. I wrote this shortly after meeting Martha. She gave us all a mix cd, and one of the songs on it was "Mr. Blue" by Catherine Feeny, which inspired this poem. (It's not plaguerism if you acknowledge where the inspiration came from). I made a revised version in an attempt to make it more organized. I read both versions to a friend, and she enjoyed the original version better. What I'm posting is pretty close to the original, with just a couple of minor revisions. I'm reluctant to post it because I don't think it's very creative, but it's mine, and at the time I needed to write it, and a couple of you have urged me to share it.

I promise the next poem I post won't need such a long preface.

My Mr. Blue

I’m sorry, Mr. Blue,
But today I’m leaving you.
No matter that you left first
In my mind, I can still leave you
Like you left me
Those years ago,
Madame Blue.

Don’t cry, Mr. Blue,
Not this time.
(If you really did before)
Take the hand of grace
And break free
To become Mr. New.
Then you will love again.

Mr. New, where are your tears?
Still behind your eyes.
So, it’s still you, Mr. Blue
Sitting in prison to your fears
Not yet ready
To become someone new.

I’m sorry, Mr. Blue
I truly am,
That I had to leave you
But I needed something new.
Don’t you know?
You need it too.

Monday, June 11, 2007

The Toyota Sleep-o-Matic

I often have trouble falling asleep. Even in elementary school, I'd lay in bed for what seemed like hours (probably not), tossing and turning, trying to grasp that elusive unconscious state. I've tried many things, and some work some nights (relaxation techniques, cool rag on my eyes, warm milk, forcing my mind into dreamlike hallucinations, counting backwards from 100, making myself cry, listening to soothing music or a soothing voice of a book on tape, just staying up so late that I completely crash, etc), but there's one thing that works without fail - riding in a car. As long as it's somewhat quiet, any time of day, I can easily fall asleep in the backseat of a car. Now, someone please invent a bed that makes the same motions and sounds as a car!

The rest of the College Station visit went well. The stress did come, but I'm feeling better about things. There are lots of silly stories from it that I want to share, but I'm rather tired right now. And hopefully next time I post I'll have made a decision and I'll have some news about where I'll be living soon! In the meantime, please pray that things will all work out. I've found some places closer to campus that I really like, but it all depends on if roommates pan out. So far, all my roommate leads are becoming dead ends. Living in the friend of a friend's house has become my second choice, but still a really good option. Pray that if I've meant to live in one of these places that are more of a first choice for me right now, that roommates will work out. If I'm meant to live in C's house, please pray that I'll feel more at peace about it. I know that whatever happens, it's in God's hands and He'll work things out better than I could. And even if things don't work out perfectly, I can always find something else for next year.

Also, my friend Anton is currently filming in London (lucky) and has just posted a pitch video for his series, "The Great Commission." Check it, yo!

I promise, it's up there. Just click the box!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

a couple of days in my (almost) new home

I've spent the past 8-9 hours in College Station looking for a place to live - it's exciting, but exhausting! I've seen a lot, and more to see tomorrow. I've seen two really good options today - 1) a brand new home being built by a friend of a friend whom I met last week and we discussed rooming together, and 2) a two bedroom two-bath almost brand new townhouse that's just gorgeous. I really like them both, but have to way the pros and cons. The home is roomier, has a two-car garage, is a HOME (without sharing walls with anyone), the roommate is already there, has a fireplace, a real backyard, and is a HOME, but is kinda farther from campus and I would share a bathroom if we got a third roommate. The town house is much closer to campus, has absolutely beautiful appliances, cheaper utilities, and I might feel more at home and equal to the roommate (who wouldn't also be a landlord), but I'd need to find that roommate first (kinda know some people I could ask), and shares walls with other townhomes and doesn't have a fully fenced backyard. I'm seeing some more places tomorrow, weighing the pros and cons, and praying about it all. If you are a pray-er and read this and think about me, I'd appreciate some prayers tomorrow (Friday).

But you know what's nice? I'm not really stressed out about making this decision. Today has been physically and mentally exhausting, but I feel like I'm making progress and it's been exciting to walk into a couple of places and immediately know that I could be at home. It's fun being down here, knowing that this is where I'm going to make myself at home in just about 2 1/2 months. The only other time I was here, almost four months ago for the interview, I spent a lot of time thinking, "Could I be at home here?" Now, there's no question. I may have my doubts, but my decision is made - this is my home and I'm enjoying this little preview :)

On another note, I've been thinking lately about how different colors affect me and how I interact with those colors. For example, I while I love wearing bright, fiery colors like orange and red, I prefer living in rooms with cooler colors - especially blue. I also noticed that I love drinking coffee from black mugs. My mom thought this was strange, and said that she preferred white mugs because she can see her black coffee better. I realized that since I drink my coffee with a little cream, the black mugs provide a beautiful contrast to my caramel colored drink. A couple of days ago, I summarized these musings into this little poem/ditty/whatever.

The Colors of My World

Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, black, white.

I notice red.
I carry orange.
I admire yellow.
I wear green.
I relax in blue.
I bleed purple.
I drink from black.
I drive white.

Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, black, white.

I notice redheads.
I carry orange bags.
I admire yellow flowers.
I wear green to work.
I relax in my blue room.
I bleed my alma mater purple.
I drink coffee from black mugs.
I drive white cars.

Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, black, white.

These are the colors of my world.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The Pink Coat

It was a knee-length, weather-resistant coat in a shade of bright pink that would make Barbie proud. Beautifully gaudy, outrageously American, she hadn’t planned on packing it without her friend’s encouragement. She buttoned it higher, protecting herself from the crisp June winter winds. While it made her stand out as she walked the suburban streets, tonight this outrageous coat carried a treasure.

She felt her right pocket. Was it still there? She thought she felt a small lump, but what if it was just a fold in the fabric? She didn’t dare reach into her pocket, fearing that the wind would tear the gift away from her. It would be lost into the night, breaking the spell.

She walked more briskly, arms at her sides. She tried to imagine him, remembering every detail. Her family and friends had warned her not to fall in love in New Zealand. She laughed to herself – perhaps fate didn’t care for warnings? But who knew if it would be love. It could be a fling, a friendship, or nothing at all. Still, she pictured him, his smile, his strong arms, the way his hair fell on his forehead, and most importantly – his eyes. She remembered the way his eyes squinted and wrinkled when he laughed, the glint in them as he suggested wild deeds, and the way those playful eyes turned soft as he listened to her. She saw so much in those eyes – compassion, adventure, wisdom.

She couldn’t take it anymore. She had to know if it was safe. She reached her right hand into the pocket. There it was, that tiny slip of paper. It felt so thin and fragile, as if too much handling would cause it to fall apart and disintegrate.

Safe in her room, she dared to remove the treasure from its keep. There it was, on the back of a receipt - a number scribbled next to a name that would become dear to her lips in the coming months.

Martha's Prompt: Imagine a coat. Imagine the pocket of the coat. Imagine what's in the pocket.

Friday, June 01, 2007


I'm frustrated. I wrote 90% of a post last Saturday, but then posted something else the next day. In the past, I've figured out that if I publish a post that I've previously written, I need to go down to post options and edit the time and date when I want it to appear so that it'll come out on top. But I've done that - and it's not showing up at all! I'm very confused. Can you guys see a post entitled, "Around the World in 8 Events?" If so, where does it appear? If not, how do I fix this?



around the world in 8 events

So, my mom and I booked a trip to Chicago! On July the 2nd, we'll board an overnight train, relax and enjoy the scenery from our window, read some books, and arrive July the 3rd. It'll be a whirlwind couple of days, seeing the main sights of Downtown - The Art Institute, some Frank Lloyd Wright architecture, eating pizza and hotdogs, hopefully go to a blues club, and I'll check and see if my friends up there will be performing any improv. We'll be there on the 4th of July, so perhaps there will be a big parade or celebration and fireworks and fanfare. We'll leave the afternoon of July the 5th, and return home on the 6th. It'll be a leisurely, yet quick trip, but I'm sure it'll be memorable. I was born on the outskirts of Chicago, and haven't returned home since I was 9. I think I'll enjoy the city much more these days :)

I'm also really excited about being such an awesome city on July the 4th. It's probably my least favorite holiday, not that I'm unpatriotic, but most of my 4th of Julys have either been bad or just uneventful. I'm sure I had some better ones in my childhood - I remember Laura being in town once and us going to watch fireworks all together. The best 4th of July by far was celebrated two years ago in Mexico. Yes, I know, they don't celebrate on that day, but we were a bunch of American kids studying abroad so we had an "American" party/birthday party for our professor. So, until we planned this trip, I was hoping to work on July the 4th and get time and a half pay, but someone said we get time and a half for Memorial Day this Monday - hurrah!

All of this got me thinking - where, what, and when are the events/holidays that I dream about celebrating? Here's my list, in approximate chronilogical order -

1. Kite Flying Festival in India. Modi told me about this once, though I'm not sure which city he attended this. Everyone flies kites from their rooftops, and the sky is filled with color. But, these are fighting kites - their lines are made with glass and sharp for cutting down other kites. Sign me up! I'd also love to go to an Indian wedding here or there. Modi tells me that it's traditional (at least in his family) for all of the guests to smash food and cake into each other's faces and always ends with a big food fight :)

2. Chinese New Year in (duh) China. The Chinese invented fireworks, and that's reason enough. I've seen pictures of Chinese New Year's parades and they look incredible. Maybe if I don't make it to China, I can settle for celebrating New Year's in Chinatown in San Francisco.

3. St. Patrick's Day in Chicago. I'm sure that whatever Chicagans do on the 4th of July doesn't even compare to how they celebrate St. Patrick's Day. I want to see the river dyed green (which my mom says is naturally slightly green already), watch the big parade, and drink some green beer with friends and strangers.

4. Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Crowds of drunken revelers partying and exposing themselves has never appealed to me, so I'm surprised this makes my list. Having survived and enjoyed Bourbon street a month ago during Jazz Fest weekend, I'm feeling brave enough to tackle this city during its craziest. The floats will be spectacular and I'm sure this will be a memorable event to experience once - if never again.

5. Semana Santa (Holy Week) in Mexico. I witnessed one religious procession while in Mexico two years ago, and would love to be a part of another, bigger one. I want to go to mass and pray with everyone, witness the processions, see a passion play, and crack confetti eggs over the heads of my friends :)

6. The Festival of San Fermin in Pamplona, Spain, aka The Running of the Bulls. I think almost every Spanish class I've taken has mentioned this festival. While I would not be running, I'd love to witness this event and take part in the dangerous excitement. I'll bring some Hemingway to read on the plane.

7. Austin City Limits. The lineup is always incredible. There are almost always at least a few performers that I've been wanting to see in concert by themselves, and then several more that I know I would enjoy immensely, making a list of at least 10 performances. This year was no different, and a couple of friends and I started talking about going. Unfortunately, another close friend scheduled her wedding for that weekend - which isn't terribly unfortunate, as I'm excited for her and eager to be a part of their special weekend :) But someday, hopefully sooner rather than later, I neeeeeeeeeed to make it to ACL or a similar music festival.

8. New Year's Eve Down Under. Heather's been telling me what she's heard about the kickass New Year's Eve party that occurs in New Zealand. Forget Time Square, Australians and Kiwis are among some of the first to reach the new year and they go all out to celebrate. I'm not entirely sure what goes on, but it's BIG.

I left out some significant holidays. To be honest, I have no idea where to spend the Fourth of July - Washington, DC? Or Halloween - Mexico? New Orleans? But for Thanksgiving and Christmas, I'm sure there are many enchanting places (New York City comes to mind), but Dorothy was right, there's really no place like home.