Friday, December 24, 2010

Silent Night

This is by far the simplest Christmas I have yet to experience. This year, it’s just me—me and millions of stars. As I was walking back from church tonight, it seemed as though the entire glistening world was holding its breath. Each snowflake was just waiting for the glistening heavens to burst into song. The very creation was waiting expectantly for… Christmas!

Tonight, I could hear nothing except the crunch of snow and ice under my shoes. Even now, the only sound is from the keys as I type. The whole world has gone quiet as it waits. For me, this Christmas isn’t about December 25, 2010, or even the first Christmas, over 2000 years ago: it’s about the future Christmas.

The first Christmas fulfilled an age-old promise. Every Christmas since has been a reminder that there's still one more promise left. The angels reminded the shepherds of that God was keeping His covenant when they split open the night sky with a glimpse of eternity, proclaiming the birth of a Savior. Not just any savior, but one who would fulfill every impossible provision ever made for a world who refused to welcome him.

One of the problems of Christmas is that we have tried to make it what we want, what we think it should be. We buy and decorate and bake and plan and give in an effort to have everything more perfect. What we fail to realize in our human stupidity is that Christmas is perfect as it is. The essence of pure love contained in the ancient story doesn’t need any help from tinsel or Bing Crosby.

Christmas and its Christ give hope for the future. Because there was a baby Jesus, we know that there will one day be a king Jesus. Once again, the sky will be a blaze of glory at His return. When that day comes, everyone will finally fully comprehend the truths they have been mindlessly singing in the old, familiar carols. We’ll join the angelic choir which first heralded his arrival and it will be a song to put the Hallelujah Chorus to shame!

I can’t wait for that day! For tonight, however, everything is quiet. Tomorrow is Christmas day. Small children will be squealing over their new toys and families will be gathering to feast. I will be trying to forget about what’s not under the tree and who’s not here. No need to hang a stocking tonight, because I don’t even have a chimney. This silent night that harkens back through history is enough of a miracle for me.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Grateful Month

In my experience, November is a dreary month. The days become shorter, workloads become heavier and the impending holidays begin to build stress before they even arrive. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who feels this way in November. This year, I decided to tackle the problem via Twitter: each day I had to post one thing for which I was grateful.

If you follow my Twitter (and occasionally, my Facebook) profile, you probably noticed what I was doing. Some days, it was hard to choose only one thing to appreciate—from my salvation to a sunset, the whole world can seem to be a personal gift just for me sometimes. Other days, of course, it was very difficult to find anything that I enjoyed.

Thankfully, November is almost over and we’re hurtling toward Christmas. My holiday decorations are up and my thankfulness exercise is over. Maybe I’ll do it again next year; maybe you’ll want to try it, too. So here (largely intact) is the complete list of my tweets. I hope you get as much encouragement out of reading them as I did writing them!

This month I was grateful for…
  1. a great orthopedic specialist
  2. the right to vote... something I wouldn't have been allowed to do 100 years ago!
  3. Mountain Dew's caffeinated goodness
  4. my iPod. It makes cleaning so much more enjoyable!
  5. PowerPoint
  6. Fernando!
  7. sunshine
  8. psalms, hymns and spiritual songs (Eph. 5:19)
  9. whoever invented the caramel macchiato
  10. my awesome girl friends who are totally there for me when I need them <3 you ladies!
  11. our veterans and all my friends who are protecting our country--thanks for doing what I could not!
  12. the Pittsburgh Penguins
  13. my awesome, Gospel-preaching church!
  14. Christmas music
  15. fire drills
  16. a hair stylist who actually knows what she's doing for a change!
  17. my boss's sense of humor ;)
  18. Burn Notice with the boys
  19. online shopping... getting everything set for Christmas!
  20. Saturday mornings when I can sleep in
  21. books--I would be lost without them!
  22. my new winter coat
  23. beautiful sunsets, especially that particularly gorgeous shade of pink
  24. the bagpipes in my soul, even if they do occasionally bring tears to my eyes
  25. my crazy messed up family... it's how I know I belong ;)
  26. endless salad and breadsticks at Olive Garden
  27. SNOW
  28. being able to sleep in my own bed tonight
  29. jazzzzzz
  30. all you wonderful readers of my blog! Especially those of you who give me feedback :)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Gentle Drooling

This morning at work, I was chatting with a coworker out by the front desk when something terrible happened. A little boy came crawling over to me, then climbed up into my arms. He gave me the cutest baby smile ever and leaned his head on my shoulder, grabbing a fistful of my hair. I didn’t want to ever put him down, but another part of me wanted to drop him and run.

Obviously, I eventually had to put him down. I left the room very quickly after that. I hate it when kids do that to me. They can drool all over me and break my heart at the same time. There’s just something about a happy child that makes me actually hope. Maybe it’s because I remember being as blissfully unaware of the world as they are, or maybe it’s because they may in fact see a better world.

Their innocent trust and joy turns children into warm beacons when I hold them. They make me want children of my own. Not now, of course, but maybe eventually. Still, the moment little Gentle reached up to for help, biology took over and for that instant the mother in me would have done anything to take care of him. His big brown eyes stared right into my soul, devastating me.

Babies remind me of the childlike faith I should have. Growing up can rob us of that precious simplicity, teaching us instead how cruel the world can be so that we build walls to keep it all out. Holding that little boy for a few minutes allowed me glimpse of unspoiled humanity: how we should be, rather than how we are. So, thanks Gentle—for both the encouragement and the drool you left on my sweater.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Epic Idiocy

It’s raining and it’s a Tuesday. According to Taylor Swift, that means something romantic is about to happen! So… yeah, still waiting (although the technically the day isn’t over yet). Taking tragic love advice from Taylor probably isn’t a good idea—possibly fabulous hair advice, but only if you don’t mind being perceived as a dumb blonde.

In honor of all their epically fatal ideas, I’ve compiled a short list of people whose advice you should never take…

Just so the idiots don’t get all the attention today, here are some people who give surprisingly enlightened advice:

Where do you find inspiration in everyday life? It’s important to cultivate relationships with wise friends who know what they’re talking about. Books are great, but a lot of times it takes a person to help us work through their concepts until they’re applicable to the mess of real life. So many times, my friends’ advice has kept me from ending up on the idiot list—thank you!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

This Ain't A Fairytale

For quite some time, I have been in denial about a certain trend in my life, namely, my lack of any romantic success. For every disappointment, I’ve managed to come up with an excuse. It has seemed as though a justification of the failure would preclude it being scored as a Loss—maybe even a Win, or at least a Tie. This excuse-making has reached ridiculous proportions and it is time to end it.

Looking around, I see so many amazing women who are in their 30s, 40s, and up, and are still single. I’m certainly no better than any of them. If these awesome women are still unmarried, what chance do I have? I’m not a princess and this is most definitely not a fairytale. I’m just me. I’m okay with that, even if that means I’ll just be alone. I don’t want to be, but maybe I’m meant to be on my own anyway.

It’s exhausting to always end up overlooked, forgotten and outright rejected. A girl can only take so much failure before she feels like she should just go ahead and remove herself from the gene pool entirely. My self-confidence has been consistently trashed for the past several weeks, months, even years. No more. I am officially quitting. I will not be bitter or cynical (or dabble in lesbianism); I will simply stop dreaming and accept reality.

If the fairytale has come true for you, wonderful! Cherish it, protect it! For myself, I have to stop expecting dreams to come true. I have to stop waking up every day, hoping that day might be the day I’m finally swept off my feet. I need to stop looking out my window for Prince Charming and just go right on being fabulous all by myself. If someone wants me, he’ll have to come find me because I am done waiting for something that might never happen.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Giants in the Land

One of my friends and I were recently talking about the story in Numbers 13-14 when God’s people refused to enter the Promised Land because there were giants there. That conversation has stuck with me and has seemed particularly applicable to my own life lately. “Overwhelmed” doesn’t even begin to describe how I’ve been feeling. In the book of Numbers, only two of the twelve spies said, “come on, we can take these guys!” Everyone else was so scared that they wanted to go back to slavery in Egypt!

Something that has really helped me face the giants in my life has been naming them: Finances, Insecurity, Synovial Chondromatosis, the Detroit Red Wings, etc. Having identified the obstacles, it’s easier for me to deal with them. We all know the name of the most famous giant ever, Goliath. When David had to deal with him, he did so in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel…. For the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give you into our hand.

Having been thoroughly convicted of what I should do with my giants, I have been trying very hard to do it. What I’m discovering is that sometimes, even when you’re trying to do the right thing, things don’t always work out the way you think they should. Elijah definitely experienced this when he went and did according to the word of the LORD… and lived by the brook Cherith… the ravens brought him bread and meat… and he drank from the brook… and THE BROOK DRIED UP!

Both Elijah and I are probably thinking something very similar as we watch our brooks dry up, something along the lines of “SERIOUSLY?!” Now, I realize that I’m mixing my biblical metaphors here, but let me just say that when you’ve determined to fight those giants (come hell or high water!) and your brook dries up, it’s beyond discouraging. I’m not trying to equate myself with Joshua and Caleb, or David, or Elijah, but then again, weren't they just ordinary people with extraordinary faith?

Who says I can’t have awesome faith like theirs, the kind that can move giant mountains? All I am trying to say is that it’s not as easy as it looks on paper. You expect adversity in such a venture, but what you don’t expect is a lack of support. It’s nice to know that I’m not the only person who has ever had the rug pulled out from under them: Elijah’s brook dried up, David’s brothers didn’t believe in him, and the whole nation told Joshua and Caleb they were crazy—it looks like I’m in good company!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Just Do It

Tomorrow is Election Day.

“No, it’s not,” you may say. “It’s only 2010. The next elections aren’t until 2012, assuming the world doesn’t end that year.”

Wrong! The next elections are tomorrow. Would I lie to you?

Tomorrow’s elections are generally referred to as “mid-term,” because they take place about halfway through the current president’s term of office. It’s basically our chance to give him a performance evaluation. Personally, I didn’t think it could get worse than his campaign—I was wrong. I actually liked him better when all I ever heard was “hope” and “change.” In case you hadn’t noticed, there’s a lot of that optimism going around these days.

Hopefully, tomorrow will let Obama and his cohorts know exactly what we think. There are several important races here in Pennsylvania, including a senate seat and the governor’s job. I’m just excited to finally be rid of Fast Eddie! If all goes well, the balance of power in both the House and the Senate will change hands and pave the way for even greater change in 2012.

Maybe you haven’t seen them, but the campaign commercials Obama has been producing about Republicans trying to ruin the country really got me worked up. He wants us to get out and vote for progress? My pleasure! I think it’s horribly inappropriate for a sitting president to publicly slander the opposition party, anyway. A little decorum, please, Mr. President.

Make sure you remember to get to the polls tomorrow! I’ll go on my lunch break, but you can go before work, after work, or whenever… just do it! Maybe you think your vote doesn’t really matter—and it sure won’t if you don’t cast it! Staying home just lets everyone else decide for you. If you don’t vote, you're not allowed to complain about the government. So go vote already!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Centipede III: The Chilling Terror

Just in time for Halloween, we have the next installment in our story of the centipede. This tale of terror has continued to spawn sequels to such a degree that I now suspect George Lucas and Steven Spielberg of being involved. Although beginning in June, our last installation was in August when we caught a glimpse of the icy tip of the invasion.

In the past weeks, the demons have been seen far beyond the boundaries of their usual territory in the kitchen. One was spotted in the A/V area. Another attempted to take refuge under the copier before being executed for espionage. One even made it so far as my boss’s office (which, by the way, is adjacent to my own!). Today, we learned that another sanctuary has fallen into their hundreds of hands and feet.

Like most terrorists, “they are easily scared but will return in greater numbers.” Perhaps our initial encounters only provoked them to an enraged onslaught. Whatever the cause, the forays have become so frequent and serious that we are forced to consider our options. Discussion of introducing chemical and biological weapons to our arsenal has begun and is very popular—especially with this secretary!

These are indeed dark and desperate days, and not just because Daylight Savings is a week away. Escalation seems an inevitability for both sides. Everyone walks their rounds on heightened alert for the slightest shadow of a scurrying creature. Today… I dropped my guard. For a moment in the afternoon, I allowed myself a slight respite for which I paid dearly.

It was my own fault for, buried in contemplation, I neglected my customary caution. As I opened the refrigerator door, I was more concerned with the meaning of life than my own perilous actions. There, lurking within, awaited one of the monsters. His beady, black eyes stared into my soul with such cool audacity that I could not respond until it was too late.

By the time I had recovered presence of mind and lung capacity, he was gone. The crafty beast took advantage of my frozen shock to make his escape out along the carpet and back under the condenser. When I finally made my way back to the front desk, my coworkers were chilled as the realization swept over us all that this Battle for the Library may have only just begun.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

What Up, Oprah?

Once again, that stupid Billionaire song is stuck in my head. I’m being very good and resisting the urge to text some of its random lyrics to James—he hates it when I do that, which really only makes me want to do it more (I firmly believe that little brothers must be tormented at every available opportunity). The song, however, has gotten me thinking: what would I do if I were suddenly a billionaire?

I’ll probably never be anywhere close to a millionaire, let alone a billionaire. I can’t even imagine what I would do with just a million dollars. First, I’d pay off my college loans. Then, I’d pay for my brothers’ schooling. Next, I’d buy a car… but, then what? Then you get into those nightmare stories you hear from lottery winners about random people pestering them for money.

A lot of billionaires make professions out of philanthropy, devoting most of their time and efforts to getting rid of their money. I wish some of them would give some of it to me! Oprah, if you’re reading this, just let me know and I can tell you where to send the check. Seriously, though, I don’t think it matters how much money you have (or don't have): you’re only responsible for what you do have.

Money is not something which I have in excess. I would like to think, however, that I do as much (if not more) good as anyone else. I have time, creativity and good intentions to use in helping others. Sometimes the most help in the world comes from a prayer or a listening ear, more than any size check. So until the money rolls in, I’ll keep doing what I can with what I have—a whole lot of love!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Dealing with Disappointment

Remember when you were a little kid and you used to look forward to Christmas all year long? The day seemed positively magical and as it drew closer you could practically see visions of sugarplums dancing—and you didn’t even know what sugarplums were! The anticipation was so sweet and strong that you could almost taste it. Then that morning finally arrived and you rushed downstairs to see the beautiful tree and brightly wrapped gifts.

For a moment, all you could do was stand there in awe of the sight before you, maybe pausing to wonder if that’s how those shepherds had felt when they found the nativity. When you were at last allowed to open that first, mouthwatering package, you chose it with great care. Of course, we all know that within that brightly papered box was… a sweater.

We all tried not to show our disappointment. After all, maybe the next gift would be the special one. That one particular toy that you saw months ago and have been dropping hints about ever since. Your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, Sunday school teachers, and everyone else with whom you’ve had contact know it’s what you really want. However, the next package contained a scarf.

Recently, my life has been full of disappointment. I’ll be the first to say that I have no idea why I keep finding socks after scarf after sweater. I constantly struggle to turn my theology (the Lord gives and the Lord takes away) into doxology (blessed be the name of the Lord). Despite numerous momentary distractions, life continues its depressing assault. My question has become how long, O Lord? There must be a point and purpose. Wish I knew what it was!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Expect the Unexpected

Life never turns out the way I expect. Except, of course, for when it does. Take for instance, my wonderful knee. I was not expecting my doctor to give me another steroid injection, but as soon as I knew that was happening, I expected it not to work. As excepted, I was right. It didn’t work last time, so why should it work now? Pretty sure I told my doctor that, but no surprise, he still tried it.

A few days ago, another unexpected event took me quite by surprise. I was invited to have lunch with the trustees, but that’s not the shocking part. I found myself seated next to one of the truest gentlemen I have ever met. He’s 90-something years old, a millionaire… and he pulled my chair out for me! Who would have thought that the first time any man ever did that for me, it would be such an important, little old man?

Sometimes, I know what to expect, but hope to be surprised by the outcome anyway. Other times, I have no idea what to expect, but then I’m not really surprised by an outcome. Part of me knows that it’s useless to try and plan ahead, but another part of me can’t help preparing for contingencies. Part of me just doesn’t care at all!

I suppose that what I’m trying to say (rather convolutedly) is that life is confusing. People especially constantly confound me. God must find all of this terribly amusing, and my role in particular. I often find myself laughing at my own stupidity and the hilarious display of humanity all around me. I don’t think you should ever take life too seriously. If you can’t laugh at yourself, you might as well just stay in bed every morning.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Can't Get Up

Last Friday, I had the most stupid and painful accident of my life (so far): I tripped on a crack in the sidewalk. If you know me at all, you know that clumsiness is nothing new for me. This time, however, I landed squarely on my bad knee and could not get back up afterwards. I felt like one of those old ladies from the Life Alert commercials, but I was incredibly grateful that I could call for help.

All I was doing was taking a latte to one of my friends who was having a bad day. Next thing I knew, it felt like my knee had exploded. For almost a minute, I couldn’t stop screaming, but there was nobody around. When I could catch my breath again, I found my phone amidst of the spilled coffee and called Security to say that I had fallen and couldn’t get up.

Ken came running out immediately, followed by Hal, Carol, and Steph. All I really wanted was someone to give me a hand up, but they all insisted that I go to the emergency room to get checked. So, off we went. I got right in at CMC and we figured out that nothing was broken. The ER doctor didn’t know what else to do with me though, as the fall had obviously aggravated my preexisting synovial chondromatosis.

A quick trip to the orthopedic specialist I’ve been seeing for the past couple years resulted in the diagnosis of a partially ruptured tendon. Since then, I’ve been on pain meds and anti-inflammatories. I’m off the crutches but still wearing a very serious looking brace. My follow-up appointment next week will hopefully determine whether there was any permanent damage.

The good news is that so far, worker’s comp has been covering everything. Everyone has been very caring and concerned, which has been a huge blessing. Stephanie especially was practically an angel to help me out and drive me around on Friday. Even the timing of the whole incident was miraculous, since I was able to get right in to the see the doctors. It might be quite a while before everything’s all better… but it could certainly be a lot worse, so thank you!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Reconciling Perception

Over the past few years, I have come to think of BBC as my home and the people here as my family. I came here as a student four years ago, and began my employment here three years ago. While I’ve been here, my definitions of “home” and “family” have become rather convoluted, as I have watched those institutions disintegrate in my personal life. Outside of this campus, I don’t have much in this world.

Sometimes in life, lines blur. I often forget that while my coworkers and I are a social and spiritual family, we are still first and foremost coworkers, complete with hierarchies and responsibilities. Occasionally, I even find it difficult to keep the frustration from one aspect of my life from pouring into another—even from one aspect of my job into another.

Just like any other family or institution, we aren’t perfect. I don’t always agree with everyone around here and they don’t always agree with me. That’s okay. What’s not okay is when I fail to convey how much I love them. It breaks my heart to think that I may inadvertently communicate otherwise, because I do love my job and coworkers.

Working within a Christian institution has been my lifelong dream. I consider it an incredible blessing to work here at BBC specifically. What needs to happen, though, is that I need to find a way to reconcile perception with reality. The reality of my life is indeed complicated. A correct perception of that reality is essential if progress is to be made. Progress must be made because life goes on, with or without me.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Braveheart Girls

Last night was Girls Night at my apartment. The evening did not turn out to be a typical girls’ night, of course… because we’re no ordinary girls. We did begin with the obligatory snackage, including cupcakes, chips and Nippy Dip, apple cider, a veggie platter, and Oreos with peanut butter (courtesy of Naomi). As you could have predicted, we did sit around just talking for about an hour.

That’s when the evening turn an unexpected turn. At that point in the evening, I had planned a rousing round of Apples to Apples. However, since we’d already spent considerable time socializing, it was suggested that we skip the game and go straight to the movie. With a bunch of girls, I had expected to watch a chick flick.

All day yesterday, I had been dreading the evening’s inevitable romantic comedy. I was in more of an epic war movie mood. After a week of illness, work, and general monotony, I was itching for some adventure. I laughingly mentioned to the girls that I was planning to put on Leap Year—even though I’d been craving some Braveheart action.

You can imagine my delighted surprise when a unanimous chorus of votes in favor of Braveheart responded to my joke. I shouldn’t have been too surprised, considering we’d been talking about theology and not boys. So, we watched Braveheart. It was the most fun I’ve had with a bunch of girls in a long time. We all agreed that the cavalry charges were more dramatic in surround sound.

Carol, Michelle, April, Sara, Naomi, and Brittany: next time, Gladiator!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Book Burning

Throughout history, one of the surest signs of weakness has been censorship. Knowledge is power; therefore, those who have wrongfully obtained and tenuously retain control fear the spread of information which might challenge them. I’m sure that by now you’ve all heard about the man who wants to burn a copy of the Koran and I am mortified by his misrepresentation of my God.

My God does not need anyone’s pathetic help to prove His own case. If He truly wanted the holy books of other religions to be burned, He could send fire from heaven. His Word has withstood thousands of years of the fires of intellectual purges. That same text tells us to love our enemies. My God imbedded curiosity and the desire to learn in every soul. Of all people, a pastor should welcome a challenge and chance to display the power of the Scripture.

As an American, I respect an individual’s right to believe as he or she chooses. As a Christian, I know that conversion cannot be forced on an individual who does not choose it. Do I want a mosque to be built at Ground Zero in New York? Heck no! But you don’t see me grabbing my lighter, either. Perhaps goose-stepping morons should try reading books instead of burning them.

People all over the world are laughing at Pastor Jones. His idiotic protest has only proven the Muslims’ point. He has lumped Christians in with the Nazis, the Communists, and every other insecure regime that maintains the ignorance of its people. The truth is never threatened by lies. If your faith feels threatened, that’s probably because it’s misplaced.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Slowly But Surely

I hate being sick. I hate all the physical symptoms and social disruptions. Generally speaking, I have to be half-way to dead to admit that there might be anything wrong. With my schedule, I can’t afford to take a few days off from life. Convalescence simply does not fit in with my two jobs and a multitude of other obligations.

This week I was SICK. Without going into all the gory details, I’ll just say that became infected with some vicious bacteria which made me just want to shoot myself to end the misery. Of course, our wonderful health care system insisted on testing every conceivable bodily fluid I have—I was waiting for them to ask for a sample of juice from my eyeball!

Hundreds of dollars in medical bills later, I forced myself to choke down nasty horse pills of antibiotics. I probably shouldn't be so surprised that my immune system failed me, since I have been proverbially burning the candle at all three ends. Thankfully, I had Monday off for Labor Day anyway, but I did take off on Tuesday also. The good news is that I am recuperating, slowly but surely.

I have some awesome friends who helped me out with some stuff while I was sick, for which I am incredibly grateful. Ya’ll know who you are! Sorry that I’m such a bad invalid. Things are starting to get back to normal, though. My routine is being recovered from its confused jumble… and girls, we are definitely still on for Ladies Night tomorrow at my place!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Moralistic Therapeutic Deism

A recent study shows that Christians, especially teens and young adults, are only “almost Christian.” When I first came across the article on Mark Driscoll’s Twitter, it definitely disturbed me. The more I thought about it, however, I came to realize that this trend is nothing new. A brief history of religion (Christianity in particular) reveals that fervor is cyclical, like so many other movements.

One of the great American myths is that the founding fathers were Christians. False! Most of them were actually deists. Deism is a religious philosophy that was popular during the Enlightenment and is comparable to modern agnosticism. It separates faith and science, relying largely on reason: Thomas Jefferson even took a pair of scissors to his Bible and cut out anything that defied natural laws.

Fast-forward a hundred years to the Victorian era and the predominant religious fad was moralism. Clergymen, especially Anglicans, emphasized the loving aspects of God’s character. Christians were encouraged merely to be good and charitable. The lack of true morality, one founded in justice, provided the perfect incubator for Darwin’s evolutionism and Marx’s atheism.

Researchers are beginning to notice religious apathy in my generation and have termed it “moralistic therapeutic deism.” In the age of heightened self-esteem awareness, it makes sense that we would want our faith to make us feel better. Our parents’ religion seems disconnected to us. Thankfully, it isn’t time to give up on my generation as a lost cause—we’ve still got another 50 years to work on a revival!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Gift of a Pineapple

This morning, I had the most wonderful gift waiting for me at work: a pineapple! To many of you, who do not watch Psych, the significance of this gift may be lost. To the rest of us, who love that show as any who have seen it must do, we understand its full glory. The pineapple symbolizes all that is both random and awesome in life.

Said pineapple was a gift from my friend and coworker, Laura, who is leaving. She got promoted at the local public library, so now she will be working there full time. I’m really going to miss seeing her practically every day. She’s always left me the best notes on my desk and this morning’s was no exception.

When Laura first told me yesterday that she was leaving, I admit that I had some difficulty fulfilling the biblical mandate to rejoice with those who rejoice. I am very happy for her, of course. It was just hard for me not to rain on her parade with my own selfish dejection. Her life is moving forward while mine seems to have stalled.

Other people’s success lately seems to be reminding me only of my own failure: Laura got a new job, Tim and Marie got engaged, etc., while I’m still stuck here. Life continues to go on. Some days, awesome randomness like pineapples from friends make it a little bit better. I’m determined to gratefully enjoy the little things until the big things improve.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A Supportive Patriot: Good Luck, Iraq!

Patriotism is one thing that has always flowed thickly through my veins. Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country, has been almost as key in my philosophy as do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Last night, the very President of my United States delivered one of the most self-centered speeches I have ever heard.

Politicians are slippery and their well-written addresses are no different. I generally prefer to read the transcripts instead of watch the actual speech. Charismatic delivery can often obscure the true essence of the words being spoken. Our current president is an excellent public speaker, which had a lot to do with him being elected in the first place. What he says never seems to matter as much as it should because he says it so well.

President Clinton's speeches always made me feel greasy and oily, like I'd just shook hands with a used car salesman after he'd run his fingers through his hair. President Obama's speeches always seem too sweet to me. It's like getting a drink from a soda fountain that was broken and put too much syrup in the soda. You know immediately that it's so sickly sweet that something must be wrong and it can't be good for you.

Last night’s speech was no exception. It was very well-written and flawlessly delivered. However, upon examination, the basic content boils down to crap. Personally, I’m sick of Obama’s there-were-patriots-on-both-sides-of-the-issue shtick. He blatant pandering to veterans, applauding individual courage, is merely a straw man attempt to disguise his own impotency.

The President seems disproportionately concerned with the “strain” on our nation’s relationships with other countries, i.e., our lack of popularity. My guess would be that he suffers from low self-esteem. His entire election campaign was simply a massive effort to get people to like him, not to inform them of his policies on important issues.

Obama’s policies have always been home-focused and with good reason: he has no idea what he’s doing in the international forum. Obviously, military action is expensive. Naturally, localized economic trouble is one of the foremost concerns in the average citizen’s mind—moreso than what we have already invested overseas.

When he says this decision will help us financially, he’s really just trying to distract from the fact that he’s clueless and inexperienced in international politics. By the way, that was a nice casual reference to your veteran grandfather, Mr. Obama. Just because he was a citizen, doesn’t mean you are. I’d still like to see that birth certificate!

It’s called war and anyone with half a brain would expect it to be difficult. Of course, we encountered “rough waters!” President Bush fully expected this to be a long, hard fight and tried to prepare the country for it. Too bad he was dealing with the microwave generation who wants everything to be easy and done NOW. Sometimes, life isn’t easy. The same goes for international politics. As General Patton simply said war is hell. Deal with it.

Thank God this generation wasn't around during WWII. Japan attacked a Hawaiian military base, but we spent 4 years, about 2100 billion dollars, and over 400,000 lives in that war. When thousands of civilians were killed in New York City, what was our response? We complain about expenses and quit when we don't win immediately.

American troops are now officially out of Iraq. Obama declared the war to be complete. Translation: good freaking luck, Iraq, you’re on your own now because this is just too hard for us! I sure hope they’ll be okay. I’ve had several friends who have served over there (one of whom didn’t come home) and I sure hope they didn’t fight for no reason. This patriot supports you. Thank you!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Life Unplugged

My office computer has always been a source of frustration. The term “dinosaur” comes to mind as best describing it. Whether it’s the glacial startups, or the possessed printer, there’s always something irksome. Yesterday, it took over an HOUR to turn on. That did it. I called IT. Matt couldn’t figure out what was wrong with it, but offered to run some diagnostics and at least defrag it.

Of course, none of those basic procedures could be implemented on my user profile, but only by an administrator. Since the defragmentation process would probably take several hours, that meant that it had to be done overnight. Obviously, they couldn’t leave an admin login unattended in my office overnight. So. They. Took. My. Computer.

The original assumption was that the programs would run overnight and my tower would be back in its place first thing in the morning. Around nine o’ clock, I finally called up to check on my poor hard drive. Turns out, one of the cleaners had gotten stuck at some point in the night and since nobody had been around to click “OK,” nothing had really gotten done—but they promised I’d have it back in an hour or so.

When I got back from lunch, my monitor still sat there all alone, wires dangling in disarray. 95% of my job involves my computer: all my files are on it, as are several specialized programs which are unique to my position. I spent most of the day wandering aimlessly, roaming from menial task to insignificant chore in an attempt to at least appear busy.

At last, my computer was returned! It now runs much faster… let’s see how it is tomorrow morning. I’m excited to get back to work for real and make some progress on that horrid list of faulty account numbers. I also learned the valuable lesson that while my computer may be a piece of junk, I do actually need it and therefore, should probably stop calling it nasty names.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Nonconformity ≠ Rebellion

Several people have recently labeled me a “rebel,” which in their eyes is an unacceptable character flaw, particularly in a young woman. Coming from certain people, I take it as a compliment. Their disapproval of my personal decisions only incites my so-called rebelliousness. I would like to, however, point out that there is a difference between rebellion and nonconformity.

My life has never been (and I hope it never will be) normal. My childhood was such that I had to grow up much faster than most of my peers. “Why?” has always been my favorite question. I like to think for myself and tend to challenge the status quo. If I find that a certain tradition has legitimate basis, I won’t rock the boat—but I will not abide by tradition simply for tradition’s sake alone.

Certainly perfection is still far off for me, but ya’ll don’t seem to be getting much closer either. I am tired of being criticized for my preferences merely because they differ from somebody else’s. Some in fundamental circles have gone so far as to criticize me as a liberal or a feminist. While I would never even consider radical feminism, I would have made a great suffragette back in the day.

Just because someone is different doesn’t make them any better or worse than anyone else. Sometimes a difference is good or bad, but sometimes it’s just plain different. I may not be normal, but please remember that unusual circumstances foster atypical results. I am what I am. If that offends you, I’m sorry, but get over it. Instead, how about joining me and my questioning nonconformity?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Can't Buy Me Love

Am I the only person who ever feels the need to justify their shopping to the cashier? Because this happens to me regularly, and it gets worse when it’s someone I know. Last night, I was at Wal-Mart and bought an inordinate amount of candy. When I realized that my friend Mea was working that particular register, I immediately had to explain to her that it wasn’t for me.

It was the truth: I’m putting together a care package to send to my little brother at college. I had to tell Mea the whole story, because I don’t want her thinking I’m a pig who eats that much junk food. Of course, this wasn’t nearly as awkward as the time I was purchasing unmentionables at Old Navy and the only line open was run by a male friend of mine.

Spending money is not something that comes easily to me, particularly when I don’t have a lot of it (which is most of the time). Even when I am more solvent, I'm reluctant to indulge. Tracking my expenses, I’ve noticed that I am much more likely to splurge on something for someone else. I'll buy you a diamond ring, my friend, if it makes you feel alright. My true motivation behind buying even DVDs is so that I can spend time enjoying them with other people.

My primary love language is quality time. I have no trouble picking up the tab at Friendly’s, because that means I just spent time with Amanda—even though I know that money could have bought four or five times as much food at the supermarket. Money doesn't mean a lot to me, but the stuff it buys does to some people. When I get a ridiculous amount of candy for my little brother, I hope he remembers me when he eats it and then it’s almost like we’re hanging out.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Secret Secrets

I have a secret. Actually, it’s not mine. It’s someone else’s, so that makes it a secret secret. It’s a really good one, too. Not being able to share it is killing me! I usually don’t have so much trouble keeping secrets, but this is such good news! The world has way too much bad news in it. Everyone could really use something good happening.

You secret instigators know who you are. I say, if you have good news, please, shout it from the rooftops—or at least facebook! Why keep it a secret? I’m so tired of reading about everyone’s bad days and how they can’t sleep. I propose a moratorium on depressing statuses, even if that means I won’t have anything to say.

Having been entrusted with a secret, I take my responsibility very seriously. Wild horses couldn’t drag someone else’s secret from me. Therefore, I shall remain silent concerning this particular secret until the restriction is lifted. At that point, I fully expect there to be dancing. I was literally jumping up and down and screaming when I heard the news the first time.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Busy Nothings

Summer is officially over. I used to dread the end of summer, but now I embrace the arrival of autumn. It’s starting to get cooler during the day, and especially at night. New seasons always remind me of life’s constant cycle of change. Any day now, the leaves will all start turning vibrant colors and all the bugs will die off. That means that it’s almost hockey season!

My little brother, James, just started college this weekend. That makes me feel strangely old. My other brother, Andrew will be arriving here tomorrow for the new semester. I’m very excited to have family nearby; it’s been five years since they’ve been around. The addition of a second job, plus a brother on campus, plus ramping up my workouts, means that I will have less and less time.

With the end of summer comes the official end of my blog project. My goal was to devote myself to an exercise in creativity and writing every day, but only for a couple of months. I considered ditching this blog entirely, since I won’t have much time for it from now on. However, due to the amount of traffic this site has been getting, I have decided to continue on—just not every day.

I’ll probably only post two or three times a week from here on out. I expect that increased activity will provide me with more material, so that will definitely be good, as I was starting to run out. My life at times seems to be a quick succession of busy nothings, with which I do not need to bore you. So, don’t worry, things may change, but they’ll always stay the same.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Battle of the Burger

Few things are more typically American than the hamburger. Like any other true, red-blooded American, I love a good burger! Tonight, I just had to have one—with fries and a shake, of course. Everyone knows there’s only one place in town to get good cheeseburgers, French fries, and milkshakes: Red Robin. Even Shawn Spencer loves that place.

There are so many good things about Red Robin that I don’t know what I love best. Maybe it’s the TV in the floor, or maybe it’s the awesome wall art, or possibly the fact that I’ve never had bad service there. I do not like the nights when the Robin is there. I’m sorry, but I find grown people walking around in giant stuffed animal costumes to be rather disturbing.

As I perused the colorful menu, I knew that I had a difficult decision ahead of me. There were so many mouthwatering options! I did decide to try the new mint chocolate chip milkshake… it had brownie chunks in it, and who can resist that? The burger options seemed endless, but I finally settled on one with the word “guacamole” in the name, because it sounded slightly healthier.

The moment the burger arrived, I knew that we were going to have a problem. Red Robin’s burgers tend to be quite large, but this was one of the biggest I had yet to encounter. I was slightly concerned that fitting the mammoth sandwich into my mouth might require unhinging my jaw. When I was certain that my feet were securely planted on the floor, I made my move.

To say that the ensuing altercation was epic would be a cliché understatement. This particular source of nutrition refused to go quietly. Each of my moans of delight at the succulent flavor was countered by a drip of grease on my chin. For every bite I took, a chunk managed to escape through the back, as my hands were too small to fortify the perimeter of the bun.

Reinforced by my trusty milkshake and an unending supply of steak fries, I continued to absorb each wave of delicious attack. In those brief moments, I could nearly hear the patriotic fife and drums as I did battle with this mighty burger. 30,000 calories later, I gazed upon the remnants of a once mighty meal, as they lay scattered upon the table.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

All Hands on Deck

“The students are coming! The students are coming!” echoes the call throughout the halls. The tile floors shine with anticipation. The arches smile even wider. There’s nothing a school loves more than students. The sleepy hard drives whir and rouse themselves in preparation for the coming onslaught of education.

There are few days which require all hands on deck with such desperation as these. A 91-year-old building, a dozen dormitories, a massive construction site, and a sludgy pond all require a great deal of attention to make them presentable. Presentable they must be, for the influx of freshmen and their very concerned parents is only three days away.

It’s not very often that you see a GED giving orders to a PhD, but on days like today it happens. Dean or fry cook, it makes no difference—grab a rake or a rag and get going! Personally, I enjoy a break from my computer and the chance to do some manual labor. A screen becomes quite tiresome after eight hours.

Dealing with the literal nuts and bolts of academia proved to be quite refreshing. The exercise relieved a lot of the stress and tension that tends to build this time of year. Everything you’ve been putting off all summer can induce a heart attack when you realize summer’s over. The school now sparkles like the staff’s eyes… thanks to the double-shot lattés we’ve downed since being up all night last night.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Too Wise To Woo Peaceably

My love for Shakespeare has recently been reawakened, thanks in part to my friend Brittany. One summer, I transcribed both Hamlet and Romeo & Juliet in their entireties for the pure enjoyment of it. I have a shameful tendency of becoming easily engulfed in the language and allowing it to creep into my everyday conversation.

The bard’s combination of wit and situation is irresistible to me, so I purposefully avoided it for quite some time. If you’re looking for a good romantic comedy, put away that tired copy of The Wedding Planner and reach for Much Ado about Nothing instead. Certainly, a story in which a character can begin saying “I would my horse had the speed of your tongue” and conclude by admitting “thou and I are too wise to woo peaceably” is better entertainment.

What I want to know is who decided that Hamlet and Romeo & Juliet were Shakespeare’s best and therefore they are the ones to be studied. Hamlet never stops whining; Romeo and Juliet were both idiots and all subsequent productions of the play have been even more irresponsible. Give me The Taming of the Shrew or Henry V any day!

Recent audiences seem more enthralled with the mystery surrounding Shakespeare’s personal life than his actual works. Finding a professor who affords the sonnets more than a cursory reference is quite the challenge. I thoroughly intend to continually revisit these great works of language and diversion. Please, feel free to join Kenneth Branagh and me.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Two To Tango

Stopping to smell the roses is an essential part of life. At least, I think so. Most mornings, I’m too rushed on my way to work to notice the quirky squirrels that I pass on the sidewalk. I’m already mentally in my office, planning my day and organizing my to-do list. I tend to miss their little antics as they scurry up a nearby tree.

Sometimes, you have to ignore the guy in the van who’s pestering you about national security and tango with your hot spy. Life’s too short to pass up such an opportunity. So what if it starts raining? It’s just another precipitous chance to dance!

Each day should be celebrated. I try to do something fun every day—no matter how little. I don’t know about you, but I work better after a good laugh. You know what they say about all work and no play. All play and no work isn’t good either, so finding a balance is definitely important. Now that I’m working upwards of 60 hours a week, I can’t afford to miss a chance to have fun.

Don’t be surprised if the next time I hear those opening strains of a good song, I grab the nearest guy and start dancing. You’ve officially been warned. Life won’t get better on its own. You can’t sit idly by and just wait for something to happen. It takes two to tango, so you have to be ready to dance your part, regardless of the day's weather.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Concept of Reality

Inception is being hailed as the greatest film of the year, decade, century… possibly of all time! Having now seen it, I wouldn’t go so far as to say all that—maybe best of the year. I give it an A- rating. I greatly appreciated the originality of the plot, the quality of the cast, and the profound lack of profanity and sexuality.

Watching movies in the theater is always an experience in and of itself. Even getting there was a bit of an adventure this time, thanks to a Rascall Flatts concert. Listening to the other members of the audience trying to keep up with the action is sometimes frustrating to me. This particular movie was quite complex and it was painfully obvious that some people in the room were unused to thinking.

Especially the end of the movie drew a reaction from the crowd. I won’t spoil it for you, but suffice to say, the movie does not have a definite conclusion. One woman sitting nearby yelled “that’s not fair!” as the screen turned black. The ending, however, was designed to cause one to question reality. The entire point of the movie was the concept of reality’s fragility.

Absolute truth exists, however I do not believe that we humans can ever fully know it. We can only ever see part of the whole of reality. Therefore, reality can seem relative. As we continue to learn more, our prior assumptions are challenged and paradigms can shift. This is understandably frustrating and confusing!

Throughout history, people have attempted to manipulate the world around them, both physical and metaphysical. Inception addressed the immense power of even a single thought. It questions the extent to which reality should be tampered. Sometimes, life isn’t fair, as that woman so loudly protested. I for one am thankful that life is unfair. Otherwise, I should already be dead and in Hell.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Soundtrack For A Thursday

If you’re a complete nerd like me, you may sometimes watch the bonus features on DVDs. One thing that I have always noticed is the difference in emotional impact between the raw footage of a scene and the final version included in the film. The difference can be so marked that they almost seem like entirely different scenes.

Usually, the single element which emphasizes the acting the most is the music. A tense beat intensifies the viewer’s interaction with an adrenaline-charged chase scene. A simple, minor melody conveys the tragedy of character’s heartbreak to the audience. Music interacts with the human soul on a cultural and subconscious level. Certain themes evoke certain common reactions and emotions in listeners.

One of the biggest differences between the movies and real life (besides everyone always having perfect hair) is the music. I don’t know about your life, but mine doesn’t come with a soundtrack. This used to bug me, but now, I add music. Whether I’m humming to myself or listening to the Movie Scores station at work, it’s much more exciting—John Williams makes even expense reports dramatic!

The best part of providing my own background music is that I’m not locked into any certain format or genre. Some days, I play Mozart; others, I listen to tobyMac. My taste in music ranges so far the it’s been called schizophrenic, so the soundtrack for the movie of my life mostly depends on the individual day’s mood. So, here is today’s soundtrack…

Boston - Augustana
I Never Told You - Colbie Caillat
Violet Hill - Coldplay
Iris - Goo Goo Dolls
Because of You - Kelly Clarkson
Need You Now - Lady Antebellum
Leave out All the Rest - Linkin Park
Kandi - One Eskimo
Secrets - OneRepublic
Glitter in the Air - P!nk *
Eet - Regina Spektor
Hey, Soul Sister - Train



*I rate this video as PG13. I love the song itself, but the artist chose to illustrate her point with this video in ways which may not be appropriate for all audiences.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Is Chivalry Dead?

There’s lots of discussion recently about chivalry’s survival of post-modernity and feminism. Personally, I am very concerned. Maybe chivalry isn’t quite dead yet, but it is certainly on the endangered list. There are multiple examples of success and failure all around us. At the moment, it would be very easy to argue either side of the issue.

My own personal experiences with chivalry have ranged the entire spectrum. Just today, a little boy held a door open for me (kudos to his parents!). Of course, a couple of my guy friends once slammed me into a wall in what should have been a boarding call—in order to get ahead of me to open the door. I’ve even had doors slammed in my face while I had my arms full.

At least I haven’t been as unfortunate as the girl who got nailed by a foul ball when her boyfriend lost it in the lights. I’ve had a man catch me when I slipped on the ice; I’ve also had a man not catch me when I slipped on ice. Perhaps I should simply move to a warmer climate, even though there’s no guarantee of gallant gentlemen anywhere.

You can quote contributing factors of the decline all day: feminism would be at the top of the list. I would like to set the record straight here. Yes, I am fully capable of taking care of myself, but that does not mean men can be jerks to me. I admit that in general, my sex is weaker, both physically and emotionally. While I may question your intentions, I will seldom refuse an offer of help.

Please, gentlemen, get proactive and prove yourselves! Be the men you were made to be. I would love to see a study on the correlation between the success of feminism and the rise of homosexuality. Most men seem unable to find a spot between being gay and being jerks. Macho doesn’t have to mean rude. We women tend to dig your trucks anyway, so be nice and help us in.



UPDATE: someone sent me this story of UFC's Roger Huerta beating up a guy who had hit a girl.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Centipede II: Revenge of the Twins

Everyone knows that every successful horror film is bound to spawn a franchise of sequels, each promising to be more gruesome and terrifying than the last. I should have expected the Centipede of Death to not go quietly into the abyss. Somehow I had assumed that its unpleasant death would serve as a warning to other monsters.

Revenge is a dish best served cold on a hot summer’s day in a dark stairwell. One would think that having seen the founder of their colony executed by drowning, the centipedes would flee in terror. Instead, they continued to lurk in the shadows, biding their time before implementing their demonic plot.

Just as we had begun to think that it was safe to use the back stairs again, they struck. The violent assault on my coworkers confirmed our worst fear: there were two of them! One beast had been dangerous enough, but battling two seemed a suicide mission. Nevertheless, Karen attacked with nothing more than a newspaper.

The screams could be heard in the halls the monastery, carried on the still air through the Romanesque arches by fear itself. When the newsprint settled, the brutes were pronounced dead. Life has gone back to normal in the library, except for the wary glances cast toward the staircase. After all, if there were two survivors, who’s to say that there aren’t any more?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Playing Ketchup

It seems as though I’m always playing catch-up with life lately. It just keeps getting away from me! I’ll spend hours cleaning my apartment on a Saturday; then I’ll hardly be home all week and have to repeat the process. Whereas, if I were home a few evenings during the week, the task wouldn't be so daunting by the weekend.

Unfortunately, when life gets crazy, this blog is usually the first thing that suffers. Other things have to be done NOW and this gets pushed off till I have time “later.” I generally remember that I neglected to post in that moment just before I actually fall asleep late at night. Then I get that awful feeling deep in my stomach that comes with the realization of epic failure.

You know the feeling to which I refer. It’s the same reaction I had a couple years ago when I threw ketchup at one of my friends. (If you’re reading this, I’m still sorry.) For the record, I didn’t entirely realize that the napkin was dirty when I chucked it, but that nauseous feeling hit as immediately as the ketchup splattered.

What I am trying to convey—rather scatteredly—is the sense of guilt when I am forced to catch-up with life in general and this blog in particular. However, I determined to write everyday this summer so, I shall continue to strive towards that end. If there isn’t a new post that day, it’s probably because I’m busy metaphorically trying to remove ketchup stains.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Prepositional Misdemeanor

The English language is a peculiar creature. I say creature, because it is most definitely alive and evolving. For well over a thousand years, it has demonstrated its resilience and ability to adapt to the needs of its users. Formed largely through a union of German and French dialects, it has also absorbed elements of Scot, Spanish, Italian, Frisian, and of course, classical Greek and Latin.

People who learn English as their second language often complain of its irregularity, particularly in its verb forms. Having studied French, Spanish and Latin, I definitely agree—compared to most languages, ours is incredibly unstructured. Considering how few standards there are, I wouldn’t expect them to be so difficult to follow. I am referring specifically to the prepositional phrase.

Prepositions are essential elements of language since they provide a relationship of action between verbs and nouns. An easy way to identify a preposition is to insert it into the phrase “the cow jumped ____ the moon.” Over, under, by, through, towards, and at are all prime examples of English participles. Unfortunately, these important terms are often casually disregarded and tossed anywhere in a sentence.

Proper placement of a preposition is where it provides the most impact, i.e. immediately in between the verb and its object. Prepositions should never be left hanging at the end of a phrase as a mere afterthought. Forgetting to attach the rest of the thought to a preposition is also inexcusable. The disintegration of everyday language is yet another example of modern indolence.

Perosnally, I blame a large portion of our linguistic deterioration on social networking. Facebook statuses and Tweets routinely make me cringe in horror. One would assume that official legal documents would be safe, but even permanent records have fallen victim to grammatical slaughter. Apparently, over 20 years of education is still insufficient for some people grasp that English is flexible only to a certain point.

While reading some legal correspondence yesterday, I discovered a single, little “to” left all by itself at the end of a sentence. To whit, not only was it at the end of a sentence, but it was how this particular lawyer chose to finish an entire paragraph! Even allowing for the severe content of the paragraph, it was impossible to take anything he said seriously. I couldn’t help but laugh at all his bluster.

The strength of a concept lies largely in its communication. You can have a plan to end world hunger, but nobody’s going to care if your presentation is criminally sloppy. So please, take your own thoughts seriously enough to put some effort into properly conveying them. It’s difficult to respect your dangling participles and I might not always be able to resist splitting your infinitive… if you know what I mean.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Awesome Illumination

Helping people learn is one of my greatest joys in life. When someone first grasps a concept through my explanation or example, I can’t help but smile. Illumination of the human mind should be at the top of the world’s priorities. However, modern culture has lapsed into a celebration of ignorance which is nothing short of shameful.

Today, I got to help someone improve her basic computer skills. It was an awesome experience. I could almost hear the clicking in her mind as she grasped the intricacies of the operating system. I love watching people as they begin to understand a new concept—and each discovery has the possibility to lead to another!

If you’ve never helped a small child sound their way through a book, you’ve missed out. You should grab a Berenstain Bears book and go find a child immediately. Watching the world expand before a simple mind for the first time is priceless to me… almost as good as when I learn something new myself.

This is something I hope to continue doing for the rest of my life: reading, listening, watching, experimenting. As I learn new truths, I automatically want to share it with other. The impartation of knowledge is not only a privilege but a responsibility which I feel most keenly. Obviously, I hope that you agree.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Writer's Block

Today has not been terribly conducive to writing. I spent most of my day staring at my computer, trying to fix a software glitch and enable printing from catalog records. Yes, riveting. Most of my creativity for the day was spent designing new informational material for the upcoming semester.

Even though it’s still relatively early (especially for a Friday night), I hope to get to bed within the next hour or so. Working two jobs has really started to catch up with me the past couple weeks. Not that I’m complaining about the supplemental income—I just need to get going on my 8 hours of sleep so I can work all day tomorrow.

All of the above mentioned factors have contributed to a rather severe mental blockage for which I sincerely apologize. I wanted so much to come up with an entertaining, upbeat topic to write about today. However, today is almost over for me and I’ve got nothing.

That being said, I anticipate this occurring more regularly in the future. Therefore, I am opening up this blog to your suggestions. If there is ever anything you want me to write about, please just tell me. My inspirations often result from my interactions with others anyway. So, feel free to comment, facebook, whatever… and have a good night!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Bright Copper Kettles

In my search for beauty in life, I’ve begun to compile a list of my favorite things. These are just the little, everyday things that make me smile. Of course, my compunction in writing this down may have something to do with the song being stuck in my head for 24 hours straight. So, here they are, in no particular order: My Favorite Things.

Black and white movies
Burn Notice
Calvin and Hobbes
Daisies
Dark chocolate
Facebook notifications
Garlic in food
Hockey
Hockey fights
Laughter
Manning’s ice cream
Michael Bublé
Mountain Dew
People saying thank you
Russian accents
Snowball fights
Sunglasses
Sunset pink

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

When Dreams Come True

Several years ago, a well-intentioned couple wrote the book When Dreams Come True, as part of the early 2000's I Kissed Dating Goodbye fad. When I read this book as a starry-eyed 16-year-old, I was overjoyed. It practically guaranteed that if I was a good girl and followed the rules, all my dreams would come true. I am now considering writing a book called When Dreams Don’t Come True.

Another one of my dreams died today. It wasn’t a big one, but it was still special to me, and the loss hurts. I remember that when Glinda sings happy is what happens when all your dreams come true, you can almost hear her add “right?” to the end. She doesn’t seem to believe it, but I wouldn’t know either way.

This may sound rather melodramatic, but sometimes it’s hard for me to remember how it feels to be happy. When I was younger, just being outside with a good book made me perfectly happy. I may very well be painting pictures of Egypt and leaving out what it lacked, but I could swear that there was a time when I was a more blissful dreamer.

Not that my life has ever been perfect, but where I am now is definitely not what I’d imagined for myself. After reading Ivanhoe, it’s hard to be content while eating my canned soup alone every night. One by one, my dreams have died over the years. Some I murdered myself; others were just the collateral damage of life.

Everyday I thank God for comedy writers and my friends who make me laugh. They all get me through each day. At the end of the day, however, those moments of lightheartedness can’t replace all my decomposed dreams. Maybe someday, some of them could still come true—but I’m not going to hold my breath for that. Life can’t be lived in the “someday,” because it’s right now.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Little Yogurt in Life

Ever notice that you tend to promote that which you enjoy? We’re always telling each other about the pizza at that new place that just opened up or the great sale going on at our favorite store. They say that a satisfied customer is the best advertisement. Well, I love yogurt. I’ve been trying to live more healthily lately and yogurt has certainly helped.

I have practically become addicted to Yoplait Yogurt recently. Every time I go to the store, I pick up a few more so that I always have a good supply on hand. Their light/fat free yogurt only has 100 calories, but I seriously can’t taste the difference. What I can taste is the dozens of delightful flavors, such as Orange Créme and Strawberry Shortcake.

Good luck convincing me to get over this addiction for three very important reasons: 1) it’s healthy, 2) it’s pretty cheap, and 3) Michael Westen loves it. You would have to disprove at least two of those facts for me to even consider giving up my yogurt habit. That’s, of course, besides it being so illegally delicious!

They say “it’s the little things in life,” and I’m inclined to agree. When I get home from a long day at work, I do two things: kick off my shoes and grab a yogurt. I know it’ll be sitting there in my refrigerator, just waiting to make my day a little bit better. I love my yogurt and hope that you have such a rewarding relationship in your life too.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Never Hurts to Try

In true American spirit, I’ve always been a big proponent of adventure and endeavor. I’ll pretty much try anything once. “Sky diving next weekend? Okay, let’s go!” Although if something does look particularly dangerous, maybe I’ll let someone else do it and see how that goes before I try it myself.

One of my mottoes is: it never hurts to try. This is technically true, since trying only becomes painful if you fail. Failure hurts. Too often, my fear of failure keeps me from making an attempt in the first place. My cautious nature does not like taking unnecessarily high risks on uncertain outcomes.

Recently, however, I’ve concluded that a refusal to even initially try constitutes a failure. Choosing to forego an opportunity based on a questionable likelihood of success could easily be termed cowardice. I am no coward. At least, I sure hope not.

Maybe I’ll keep losing, being humiliated again and again, but I know that I’ll accomplish more than the nay-sayer who never gave it a shot. We all know that you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. Life's worth at least a try. So, go ahead and laugh—when the trying and failing stops hurting, I might just join you.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Imprecatory Psalms

Fire and brimstone have always been some of my favorite parts of history. I love seeing the bad guy get what was coming to him. Nowadays, judgment can even be delivered via the USAF, which is also awesome. I used to feel slightly unspiritual for these sentiments, but not anymore.

If you want justice, the Bible is the right place to find it. Yes, it tells us to love your enemies, and do good to those who hate you. It also, however, contains thousands of words describing horrific judgments upon humanity. There is no greater advocate of righteousness than the LORD himself.

Forget the Justice League—they’ve got nothing on the Trinity. Defense of the helpless is constantly reiterated in Scripture. We are told that true religion is to look after orphans and widows and if we don’t, God will. I know that when I get mad over the things people do to each other, He gets even madder.

Christ himself used to get so mad that he’d start tossing furniture and chasing people out with a whip. I am not saying that we should seek revenge, especially for offenses against ourselves… but I don’t have a problem asking God to handle the situation. King David wrote some fantastic imprecatory psalms for just such an occassion.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Right Place, Wrong Time

Something I’ve been learning is that sometimes what we want isn’t actually what’s best for us, or at least not right then. Of course, we always assume that we know what’s best for ourselves—but so often we’re wrong. At least, I know I am. Pretty sure it’s called being human.

We want what we want and we want it now. Modern culture especially has encouraged a demanding, impatient approach to life. The Age of the Microwave has only encouraged our unhealthy penchant for exasperation. We’ve developed a habit of foregoing quality in exchange for speed.

It may not necessarily be that what we want is wrong, but maybe it’s just the timing that’s wrong. We have to have faith that when it is meant to be, it will be. I need to just stop getting in the way of my own happiness and learn to appreciate where I am at this moment… and trust that the future will be better.

Therefore, I end tonight with Aslan’s words from The Magician’s Nephew: "Oh Adam's sons, how cleverly you defend yourselves against all that might do you good! But I will give him the only gift he is still able to receive… Sleep. Sleep and be separated for some few hours from all the torments you have devised for yourself."

Friday, July 30, 2010

Satisfying Contentment

There’s a fine line between satisfaction and passiveness. You’re always told to be content with what you have—be grateful because there’s always someone worse off than you. While I’m not saying that you shouldn’t be grateful, I don’t think you should just settle for what you’ve got.

This is America. It’s the 21st century. You can literally reach for the stars and get ahold of them if you want. You’ve got to at least try! It always surprises me what can be accomplished by simply working hard. Brains, ability, and talent are all great, but they do nothing if you just sit there.

So maybe everybody can’t be a super spy or win the Superbowl… but you definitely won’t succeed if you don’t even try. Sometimes, the fear of failure nearly paralyzes me. Self-confidence is certainly not one of my personal strengths. That doesn’t mean that I quit trying.

Last week was one of the most intense I’ve experienced in at least a year, mostly because I am discontent with where I am in life. I refuse to be satisfied with mediocrity. I may not accomplish everything I try, but any action is better than none. I'm happy to know that I didn't miss an opportunity.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Technical Difficulties

Being a member of the Millennial Generation, I have no problem with new technology. My daily life overflows with gadgets: cell phone, iPod, multiple computers, all the cords and converters and controllers. Even my air conditioner has a remote control! I blog, tweet, facebook, google, email, and update constantly.

What I’m really still waiting for is a teleportation device, or at least a car that drives itself. I know they’re coming, but until they get here, I’ll survive somehow. Unless, of course, one of my current devices succeeds in killing me. Oh, it’s very possible.

These past couple days have been filled with technological events which could barely be termed “difficulties.” “Catastrophes,” might be more appropriate. Suffice to say, I had to buy a new personal computer, was sorely tempted to throw my work computer out the window, and sure hope that my cell phone’s next upgrade is soon—and by soon, I mean tomorrow.

Technology can be a beautiful thing. Its advancement provides increased ease and capability to our lives. It can also be so impossible to manipulate that one may consider joining an Amish community in order to preserve any sanity that may remain after such an encounter. I’ve always wanted a buggy…

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Good, Better, Best

Today has been one of those days that history tells us should just be spent in bed. I’m honestly having a very hard time coming up with anything positive to write. Someone once said “good, better, best—don’t stop going till you’re good gets better and your better gets best.” So I got going, but straight from the get-go, things kept getting worse.

Maybe that’s how today was supposed to be. Ever think that we’re sometimes supposed to epically fail? I sure hope that today was one of those instances. If it was, I definitely succeeded. Failure probably builds character, or something stupid like that.

Usually, we all seem to think that we know how life is supposed to be. We assume the veracity of the typical Disney formula of a few obstacles leading to happily ever after. Don’t worry: everything always works out in the end. What if what was a good outcome, could have been better?

Someone else once said something about everything being okay at the end and if it’s not all okay, then it’s not the end. I don’t know about you, but I want more than just “okay.” I want the absolute best possible. Who knows what that looks like, but I plan to continue looking anyway.

At the very least, I'm going to look for whoever keeps saying things like "good, better, best" so that I can tell them just how stupid I think they are.