Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?

It seems somewhat lame to just recount the events of my weekend, but I had an unexpectedly great weekend. Seriously, I was expecting it to be lame, and kinda boring, but this was one of my most enjoyable weekends spent in BCS in recent memory.

Friday, I worked, then went to this web conference with the project directors behind the revision of the WAIS-IV. This was probably the nerdiest thing I've done yet in graduate school, but I really enjoyed hearing how this test was developed! I saw some clients at a nursing home, then went to a church where some evacuees from a nursing home are living right now. Friday evening, I ate some chili, met some folks from Taiwan, and sang Bohemian Rhapsody karaoke at an event for international students at my friend's church, then watched the presidential debate with said friend, my roommates, and their boyfriends. I must be the man in that relationship, because only me and the guys actually stayed awake through the entire debate.

Saturday, I slept in a little, saw some more clients at the nursing home, and administered two of the three WAIS-IVs that I gave over the course of the weekend. These were administered to teenagers, so in between testing, we talked about Metallica, Pillar, and colleges. I haven't been around many teenagers lately, so I guess it was fun to learn that teenagers talk about . . . music. And school. Hmm, how far have I really come in 6 years? After I got done with that, I headed to the hippest bar/venue in BCS called Revolution with Neeta and her boyfriend. We drank sangria and watched a folky kinda chic with a guitar, cowboy boots, and a sleeve of tattoos on one arm sing Neutral Milk Hotel songs and songs I think she wrote about leaving Georgia to go find her baby in Texas with the sun setting in her rear view mirror. Unless that's another Neutral Milk Hotel song.

Sunday I administered my final WAIS-IV, ate some corndogs, went to church, and did some laundry. The weekend was productive, but also randomly fun. Even when I was "working" (administering tests, seeing clients), I still had a fun time. I feel especially blessed to receive things that I wasn't expecting. I often get down about things that I don't have, and wishing that God would bless me with other things and often feeling like he's holding back on giving me what I need. But the truth is, he's blessing me with what he's blessing me with, and he's not giving me what he's not. I want to live fully in the present and enjoy the life that I have, instead of wishing that my life looked different or that I was living in the future. I want to be fully engaged on not miss out on what is now and what opportunities are already present for me.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

youth and the illusion of maturity

I spent some time this evening chatting with a 17 year old high school senior, or rather, being questioned curiously by her. She's applying to colleges, wants to go to a small private school, wants to study psychology or maybe education, but isn't sure if she wants to stay in state or go back to the east coast where she lived the first 16 years of her life.

She asked me all sorts of things about TCU, A&M, psychology, professors, Fort Worth, my decision of where to go to college. The most interesting was her asking if college was harder than high school, and me explaining how college and high school are different. Then she wanted to know how grad school was different from college, and is it hard. She was an engaging young woman, and I enjoyed our conversation. It really doesn't feel like it was that long ago when I was in her shoes, making the same decision of where to spend four (but wound up being 3 1/2) years of my life.

After the conversation wrapped up, I was struck by how in spite of her eloquence and intelligence, how young she seemed. How inexperienced, how unexposed, how naive. Talking about college with her almost seemed ridiculous - how can a seventeen year old make a decision like that? How does a seventeen year old know whether she wants to stay in state or move away, when she doesn't even know much about the field of psychology which she claims she wants to study, when she didn't even know that the fields of school psychology or organizational psychology existed? And then it hit me - this was exactly where I was six years ago when I was trying to make that decision. How the hell did I make a decision like that at that age? I didn't even know what organizational psychology was at the age of 17 either!

In six years when I'm 29, a licensed psychologist (cross my fingers), will I look back at the current me and wonder, "How the hell did a 23 year old make those decisions? How did she know what she was doing?" My mom always has lots to say about people in their mid-twenties, how we don't mean to be, but we're very stuck on ourselves. I really don't know whether to believe it or not, and won't know for a few more years. Sometimes I feel so young, but most of the time, I feel like I'm just where I need to be. But that scares me, because I don't remember feeling young when I was 17.

Monday, September 22, 2008

summer movies 2008

Summer Movie Season 2008, I really expected more from you. There were plenty of films you offered that I had been awaiting: Prince Caspian, the latest Indiana Jones film, the newest M. Night Shymalan picture, a new installment of the X-Files, and of course, the Dark Knight. Out of those much anticipated films, only the Dark Knight lived up to my expectations. I didn't even see The Happening or the new X-Files film because of bad reviews of lack of interest among my friends. I saw 7 movies this summer season, well, 8 if you count the movie that I saw twice. This is really pretty low, especially considering that movies here in BCS only cost $4, and most of those films I saw in the much more expensive DFW. Out of the films that I did see, here are my thoughts:

Prince Caspian - 2.5/5 I was really, really excited about this one! Such a let down :( It was entertaining enough, but this film tried too hard to be entertaining and action-packed and really downplayed the themes of the book. There was no real sense of wonder about Narnia and Aslan that I felt was present in the first film. Instead, there were lots of battle scenes with mythical creatures (that LOTR already did and much better), a whiny Prince Caspian with an awful accent, and a pointless "love" story that never belonged in this film. There were some highlights, such as Eddie Izzard voicing Reepicheep and a Regina Spektor song at the end. Were I to rewatch it, it would be for the Reepicheep scenes, but I'd be cringing through much of it.

Sex & The City - 4/5 I loved this film! Saw it opening night, and had such a blast! I highly recommend it to all my female readers, but warn my male readers to stay far away. The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars was because of the unnecessary drama that constituted the main plot. I mean really, why can't you people just talk to one another? Ugh, it frustrates me.

Indiana Jones & the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull - 4/5 Pure popcorn entertainment, but I enjoyed every minute of it! Was it cheesy at times? Yes. Was it over the top? Absolutely. But I didn't care, because it was Indiana Jones back in action, and I feel what whatever situation his character is in, he's entertaining. It could be Indiana Jones and the Broken Toaster and I'd still watch it and be entertained. Among the 4 Indiana Jones films, this one probably ranks 3rd, but a 3rd-rate Indiana Jones film is still an Indiana Jones film.

Kung Fu Panda - 4.5/5 Pure, hilarious entertainment. I really love Jack Black. I really really love Jack Black when he plays silly fanboy, which he certainly did in this film. I also loved Dustin Hoffman, and some of my favorite scenes were when their characters were playing off of one another. This was a great silly film that actually made you feel a little for the characters. Nothing Oscar worthy or particularly memorable, but I'd watch it again, and I'll buy it for my kids someday.

Wanted - 3.5/5 Saw it on a whim on a rainy Monday evening, and enjoyed it much more than I anticipated. I found myself really enjoying the first half of it, watching James McAvoy play an anxious loser trying to become an assassin was just hilarious. However, the second half of the film became less interesting and more cliche, just still entertaining. Overall, it was a good summer action flick, and much more fun than I expected.

The Dark Knight - 5/5 Do I really have to say why I liked it? Heath Ledger was amazing and I hope he gets nominated for Best Supporting Actor this year. I also enjoyed how Batman became the "Dark Knight," the good scapegoat who allows himself to be seen as evil for the betterment of Gotham City. My only complaint is that it was sooooo long. I really thought that the film was almost over when they were still an hour left. Did anyone else feel like there were two climatic endings in this film? Still, it's not really a complaint, because I would have been satisfied with the "first" ending, but I was happy to receive more :)

Mama Mia - 5/5 Loved it! I'm really a sucker for musicals, and I loved the ABBA music, and the dancing, the excitement, and Meryl Streep, and Colin Firth (adorable), and Pierce Brosnon, even though he can't sing. I actually saw it twice in the same weekend. The second time was for my friend's birthday, stepbrothers was sold out, so she wanted to see this, and while I didn't enjoy shelling out the money, I still really enjoyed it the second time around! It's not for everyone, and it's ridiculously cheesy in some parts, but I really loved it, cheese and all. If you haven't seen it yet, take a chance on mama mia!

I must have stopped while I was ahead, because I didn't see any other Summer 2008 films. I would still like to see Wall-E and Ironman. And maybe Pineapple Express or Tropic Thunder. Or maybe I'll just rent all of those. I've seen a couple of films since the summer season ended, the Rocker, which don't go see, I don't care how much you think you love Rainn Wilson on the Office, it's not worth your time. I also saw Burn After Reading this past weekend, and rather enjoyed it. It was really, really funny, especially Brad Pitt's character. But I will warn you, it's dark and twisted and a lot of things happen that are just like, "WTF?" But it's the Cohen Brothers, and I think that most of my blog readers would enjoy it.

Monday, September 15, 2008

here's my heart

Let thy goodness, like a fetter,
bind my wandering heart to thee.

Come Thou Fount is one of my favorite hymns, and we've been singing it pretty often in church lately. Last night, when singing the verse that I can relate to the most, the word goodness just leapt off the screen and into my conscious. Goodness. I need so desperately to believe that God is good, that He is goodness, that goodness is Him. Instead, I believe that I am good, and I kick and scream and cry against what God appears to be doing, when I need to discern what is from God and what is good and I need to rest in that goodness and be accepting of it.

What reminds you that God is good? How has that goodness been a fetter to keep your heart close to His?

Goodness knows, I need these reminders beyond feelings, beyond reason.

Between the lost and the found
We're all hanging empty
Empty and upside down
But I'm hanging on
Though the fall may tempt me
And I believe in the dawn
Though I tremble in the night
Amidst these ins and these outs
There's a fine line of purpose
I follow even now
Through the haze of despair
That confuses and hurts us
I look to see that You're there
And I run toward Your light
Beyond these reasons and feelings
Beyond the passion and fatigue
I know You're there
And that Your Spirit is leading me

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

surprised by grace . . . in human form

Recently, I've gotten to know the fiance of one of my ex-boyfriends. The story of the ex is not one that I'm proud to tell, and I dread thinking of what he most have told her about though. Though he handled the break-up harshly, he emerged months later with a surprisingly sincere apology. That apology, along with the encouragement of others, has helped me to forgive him and respond gracefully. Another surprise arrived when his fiance proved herself to be very kind and friendly toward me, and genuinely interested in knowing a little about me and my current life. Given my history with this ex, I was a little cynical about her actions. She was acting too casual and comfortable with me, surely she does not know about my history with her fiance! It didn't seem humanly possible for her to not display any awkwardness or bitterness, so I quickly assumed her ignorance. This concerned me, because this meant that he wasn't being upfront with her, the women he's going to marry! I wrote him an email telling him that I liked her and asked if she knew about us. He responded and told me that yes, he had told her about our history.

This meant that I had to rethink my impression of this woman. She wasn't just kind and friendly toward me because she thought I was any other girl, she acted in kindness toward me knowing my history with her soon to be husband, knowing the details of that relationship. In spite of this knowledge, that in me would have easily bred jealousy or worse emotions, she overcame this and extended grace, and in my kindness to her, I have extended her and him grace. I find these sorts of experiences somewhat remarkable, something that doesn't seem humanly natural, something that must be the work of the Spirit. I also see that this is one of those experiences that displays my natural tendency to often believe the worst about people, to have trouble believing their goodness for goodness sake. It's a humbling experience, but I feel blessed by it. I have a hard time grasping the idea of God's grace and what it really means, so these little human experiences of it can give me a glimpse of what the supernatural grace might be like. And these examples encourage me to continue to forgive and extend grace towards those who have wronged me, following a path that is both freeing for me and the one forgiven.