Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Midnight Eclipse

It’s true: I went to the midnight, premiere showing of the new Twilight movie last night. Still not exactly sure why I went, but that may have something to do with getting less than four hours of sleep. That was one of the things I always swore I would never do, yet there I was with all the screaming fan girls in their full vampire costumes—even in Scranton.

Good thing today was already Dew Day, so I didn’t feel guilty for adding a caramel macchiato to my morning routine. The experience was totally worth it, though, and it was a good exercise in spontaneity for me. I had a lot of fun with my friends, even if Megan was hissing Team Edward sentiments in my ear the entire time. Now, I just have to stay awake…

I was quite satisfied with the movie itself. I won’t give anything away here (don’t want to spoil it for anyone who plans to see it). They stayed accurate to the book with the plotline, which is always a good idea—no real surprises. They also really stepped up the quality of the CGI, especially in the action sequences. The major battle scene was excellent.

So yes, I did go to see Eclipse last night. And yes, I did have fun. But no, if you saw the news on WNEP 16, that was not me. I was not the short blonde in the white shirt. Although, that was Thomas who was jumping up and down, waving at the camera. Nothing unusual about it, we were just a group of college and seminary staff and students at a movie about teenage vampires and werewolves.

And by the way, go Team Jacob! We still love you!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Centipede: Spiders in Stilettos

These are dark days in my office, filled with a nameless terror. A monster roams about, scaring the beejeezus out of unsuspecting passersby. It especially likes to lurk in a certain, dimly lit stairwell, which makes those stairs even more dangerous. I didn’t think that was even possible, considering how many times I’ve fallen down them already.

Of course, each time a champion rises to challenge the beast, it craftily retreats to its secret lair. This disappearing act has caused several people to question its existence and declare it a mythical creature. I can assure you, however, that it is very real and horrifying.

Warning signs have been posted and a reward is being offered for its destruction. However, I must caution any who may consider the challenge, since this monster could give Shelob a run for her money. Though it skulks in shadows, once seen, its enormous body and hundred legs caution all comers that they risk life and limb if they dare antagonize the fiend.

I myself have seen and testify to its existence, as do Janis and Laura. Dubbed the Centipede of Death, it has caused me to avoid that staircase altogether and trek all the way around to the front stairs in the rotunda if necessary. The odious being nearly gave me a heart attack first thing this morning, menacingly advancing upon my precarious position.

Janis swears that she once had what sounded like an army of spiders in stilettos run through her house and even that fear does not compare to this terror. I said that Spiders in Stilettos would be a great name for a band. Stephen said we should make t-shirts. After we slay this beast, of course.

Bugs usually don’t scare me, but this is no mere insect. It may very well be one of the newest instruments of terror to be employed by such people as Al Qaeda and the Hamas. Genetically engineered to reach its full terror-inducing potential, it could pose a serious threat to national security. I should probably warn Washington… as soon as I can get down off this table.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Isn't It Romantic

I like to think of myself as a realist. Certain people like to call me a cynic, and it’s true that I’m not much of an optimist. I am, however, somewhat of a closeted romantic. I do believe that temporal happiness can be achieved. My romantic side tends to creep out in one area most specifically: music.

Chick flicks, romance novels and Valentine’s Day usually make me nauseous. They’re selling an unattainable fairy tale of mush which I just cannot buy. A good love song, however, captures a single, blissful moment between two people. Three or four minutes of music and happiness… now that I can accept.

True, sometimes my music choices make me wonder whether I’m truly a romantic or just a masochist. However, the list of my favorite love songs is quite lengthy. In fact, the one part of my wedding that I have ever allowed myself to plan is the music. I have a list, to which I’m constantly adding, as I hear and fall in love with new songs.

Of course, as of now, nobody will ever hear that list. The song always inevitably ends and reality sets back in. Maybe someday the world will get to hear how much of a romantic I really am, but not this day. Today, I am a realist who asks will you have the band play Isn’t It Romantic?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Living Sacrifices

My dad always used to say that the problem with living sacrifices is that they’re always crawling off the altar. I was reminded of this today in church, and Megan and I had a good discussion about it afterwards. Of course, our discussion took place at Friendly’s, over sundaes.

Sometimes, like when I’m eating ice cream, it’s not so hard to be holy. Other times, like when it’s 95˚ and humid, it’s very difficult. I tend to get grumpy when it gets that hot. I like the 70’s. Any higher than that and I become irritable—especially when I don’t have air-conditioning.

Today, I’m having trouble being a good living sacrifice. I would much rather be a dead sacrifice. It’s so much easier to just make a one-time commitment and be done with it. Instead, I have to constantly keep reminding myself who I am. I may be tempted to complain, but instead must choose to meditate on whatever is good and true.

I spent the afternoon cleaning: washing the dishes, doing the laundry, etc. I need to finish this post, then I need to work out. I would much rather have just taken a nap or watched TV. It’s hard work being a living sacrifice, but it’s totally worth it. Life is better without regrets over wasted time.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Best Supporting Actress

In case you didn’t know, I’m addicted to Burn Notice. I’ve watched it since the very first episode and own all the DVDs. Recently, I’ve gotten my friend Laura hooked on it as well. Yesterday, she was telling me that she has gotten a little too attached to the characters. You know it’s a good show when you can connect with the characters.

Then Laura said “I wish Michael knew the show was about him, then he would know that everything was going to be okay.” That reminded me of a line from The Holiday, about how you should stop acting like the Best Friend and be the Leading Lady of your own life. So many times I just play background scenery while someone else gets the spotlight.

I wonder, if my life were made into a movie or TV show, how would it turn out? Would it be a comedy or a drama? I would love for it to be a musical! I do know that it would have a happy ending, when it turns out that it wasn’t about me at all. I get to play an easy supporting role while someone else commands the audience’s attention.

If all the world is a stage, and all of us are merely actors, then what’s the point? We may each have our own little scene, but there can only be on true Star of the show. I don’t know exactly how my storyline is going to develop, but in the meantime, I’m going to be the best supporting actress ever.

Can I pick out the theme song?

Friday, June 25, 2010

iPod iTunes iPhone iPad iWant

I bought a brand new iPod 8GB Nano today. Why? Because the iPod that I currently have is 5 years old, has only a gig of capacity, and barely holds a charge anymore. My new one is bright, sunshine yellow and says “snippiddydoda” on it, just in case there was any question as to its ownership.

When I get home tonight, I’m going to start downloading new music for my new iPod. The next time I’m in the store, I’m going to look for new headphones, which will not be dorky, but will stay in my ears. Then, I’ll need to get a dock for my iPod, so that I can play music out loud in any room. Then…. I may be addicted to my music, but that's no excuse.

It seems to me that the more I have, the more I have to have to take care of the things I have. The greatest capability of modern American consumerism is its propensity to accessorize ad infinitum. There are even accessories for the accessories! Everything's always getting bigger, smaller, faster, smoother: better.

I am just as guilty of materialism as the next person. I use the word “need” for things that in reality, I only want. I want my music so much that I had to buy a new iPod. I justify the expense by saying that music helps me focus, work harder, work out more, etc. Really, I need to stop using “I” so much. But at least I didn’t use a credit card!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Fat Lady

You know what they say, it ain’t over till the fat lady sings. I don’t know about you, but I haven’t heard any fat lady singing. I’m a big fan of never give up, never surrender, and all those never-say-die sentiments.

Okay, so sometimes I may be the fat lady who sings, but as previously stated, I don’t believe in no-win scenarios. Unless you’re dead, there’s always something else you can do. Good thing the U.S. soccer team feels the same way, or we wouldn’t be advancing to the next round.

Apparently, John Isner also hates to give up—11 hours for a tennis match is ridiculous. Winners can’t quit half-way through. Sometimes, nothing but pure stubbornness keeps me going through a day. Sure, I may want to leave early and go home to put my feet up, but do I? Never! Okay, almost never.

Some people call it tenacity. Others simply refer to it as stick-to-it-ivity. I prefer “determination.” Whatever you call it, what matters is that you do it. Keep fighting! It’s not over till it’s over, and even then sometimes, you’re not done yet. I’m not dead yet, so I’ve gotta keep going.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Spontaneity

Until just a few minutes ago, my big plan for this evening was to go home and go to bed early. Maybe watch some Burn Notice. Then Michelle called. Now my plan is to spend the evening with a friend, cooking chicken fettuccine and watching chick flicks. I like this plan much better.

Generally, I like to know what to expect and plan ahead. One of the greatest lessons I learned in college was flexibility. Sometimes, I actually schedule unscheduled time on my calendar, for which I am not allowed to have an agenda. Life needs a little spontaneity every once in a while.

Very seldom can adventure be planned—with the exception of rollercoasters, of course. Pretty sure that “unexpected” is somewhere in the definition of adventure. I know that I can be a bit of a control freak sometimes (hey, I’m working on it). It actually takes a lot for me to accept a last-minute invitation, but it’s usually much more fun that way!

It’s pretty hard to surprise me, so kudos if you manage to. If you do catch me unawares and I get defensive, just give me a minute. Once I figure out what’s going on, I love a good random escapade. My life could use more excitement… or at least some chicken fettuccine and chick flicks.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Venus de Milo

One of my favorite art-centric films, The Agony and the Ecstasy, tells the story of Michelangelo painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. As the fresco progresses, many people are disturbed by the nudity portrayed and insist on bowdlerization. The artist vehemently defends his work, saying that he would “paint man as God made him—in the glory of his nakedness!”

If we can remove the stigma of lust and embrace the beauty of a body as God made it, admiring His handiwork, then the body becomes a person. Too often, we fail to recognize the respect demanded by creation, choosing instead to project our own selfish desires onto a work of art which is already perfect in its entity. Creation was pronounced “good” and was only later corrupted by mankind.

It breaks my heart how often what was created in purity and perfection becomes spoiled. People should appreciate each other as people, not as objects. The celebration of humanity is often denounced by censors as merely a carnal pollutant. Movies, sculptures, songs, dances… all the muses of art are in danger of repression from well-intentioned, but narrow-minded people who can’t see past their own temptation.

The Venus de Milo shouldn’t be excluded from art books because she’s enticingly naked, but should be included because she’s beautifully nude. There is no better inoculation for a sinful temptation than a healthy respect for its object. What better way to honor an artist than to rejoice in his masterpiece? A love of art flows from an admiration for the creative genius from which all mankind continues to benefit.

Monday, June 21, 2010

I’m the Plumber

This morning smelled like summer camp. Maybe it was because I got so badly sunburned yesterday. Maybe it was because I found my old quiz team shirt (amazingly, it still fits). The fresh air on my way to work today reminded me of all those mornings of being herded out of the cabin by a grumpy counselor.

I wish I was an awkward fifteen-year-old again, complete with braces, acne, and glasses. Back then, I at least had a good excuse for being weird—everyone’s weird at that age, even the cool ones. Nevertheless, summer camp was a sacred realm within childhood.

When you were at camp, nothing else mattered. You could forget about the outside world and focus on the important things in life: flip-flops, sunshine, cabin competitions, kamikaze mosquitoes … even fried food night! Whether it was a polar bear swim at dawn or a bonfire in the evening, even when your throat ached from cheering and you hated your best friend because she talked to that cute boy, everything was perfect.

I’m tempted to pull out my sleeping bag and sleep outside tonight. Guess I’ll just have to settle for wearing flip-flops. Unless, of course, somebody walks through the door and says “I’m not the doctor. I’m the plumber!” In that case, I’d have to head off on a trail ride. Although, I would settle for tubing.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy _______ Day!

The invention of the printing press in 1440 has been hailed as one of the single most influential innovations of mankind. This progressive machine, like any other, can be used either for good or for evil—it all depends on who’s operating it. One of its better uses is the production of millions of copies of important books, such as the Bible, the works of Shakespeare, and Twilight.

Today, however, I must mention one of its more sinister uses: the greeting card industry. Its products allow a person to use someone else’s words to express sincere congratulations to another on the occasion of his/her step-daughter’s cousin’s surrogate baby’s Bris. This commercial leviathan was conceived of evil and continues to propagate its malevolence through the constant formulation of new holidays.

This day, the third Sunday of June, has been designated as Father’s Day. President Woodrow Wilson, in 1914, declared that the second Sunday of May would be Mother’s Day. This was probably his mother’s idea. Mothers like it because it allows them to demand breakfast in bed. After that, it only seemed fair to create a Father’s Day. Fathers like it because it allows them to receive a fresh supply of ties for the year.

The calendar is stuffed with these nonsensical holidays for parents, grandparents, bosses, secretaries, et cetera ad nauseum. In my opinion, if you truly do appreciate someone, you shouldn’t need a designated day to express your gratitude. If you want to tell someone how you feel, just go ahead and say it when it’s most appropriate: “thanks for bailing me out of jail, Dad.”

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Perchance to Dream

Usually, I would not be writing at this late hour. Usually, I would be asleep. Lately, however, I have not been sleeping well. I know exactly why, but I am not going to tell you—at least, not exactly. Some hopes and dreams are so insane, that I'd best keep them to myself for fear of being institutionalized.

Falling asleep is a funny thing. Lying there, all alone in the dark and quiet, you can no longer hide. All of the thoughts you’ve been keeping at bay with work and conversation and television suddenly assault you. You become vulnerable to all your fears and, even worse, your hopes. Those hopes that your mind fends off such dangerous mirages when you're awake.

As you finally drift through your thoughts to your dreams, sleep becomes a welcome relief. Sometimes I remember my dreams, but other times, I have only a vague sense of a feeling. This is probably a good thing. Night terrors, I can handle. Waking up and realizing that a beautiful moment was only a dream… that’s a real nightmare.

Lately, I wish I knew that my life would be okay eventually. Maybe then, I could sleep peacefully. Not even my Malkin shirt has been working (even if it is probably as close as I'll ever get to sleeping with a hockey player). I’m tired. Life will not cease its relentless march of malevolence merely because I didn’t get a good night’s sleep. Now, to sleep, perchance to dream, I must go.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Georg Friedrich Crowder*Band

Why can’t we all just get along… musically? I refuse to take part in the generational music style debate. I just want good music. I happen to enjoy a variety of styles. One of the most beautiful parts of the Church is the rich history of effort put into its worship. I love Handel’s oratorios, traditional Wesleyan hymns, old Southern spirituals, and David Crowder’s new stuff that doesn’t really have a designation.

What I do not love is the vast majority of contemporary choruses. I find them shallow both theologically and technically. I miss the blessed assurance of a tune everyone knows and the Gospel truth that though Satan should buffet, Though trials should come… Christ has regarded my helpless estate and… It is well with my soul!

True worship takes work and good music is no different. The unity of the Church is in its harmony: multiple parts working together to create a stronger, more beautiful anthem. Not everybody has to sing the exact same thing at the exact same time. That’s just boring and the strain is weak. Nobody wants that.

Give me a complex harmony that has been structured around a strong melody! Listen, as it first swells, then soars! No offense to Chris Tomlin et. al, but a few meandering notes do not constitute a melody, no matter how many times you repeat them. I do NOT want to spend the rest of my life repeating the chorus with a key change.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Guy Buttersnaps & Co.

I don’t know about you, but in this crazy world, I can only get by with a little help from my friends. Even if I do think I’m going crazy when I can’t find something because they borrowed it. I love all my friends and sometimes nicknames just happen. For instance, one of my current friends is generally referred to as Guy Buttersnaps, thanks to John Cena and James Roday.

Over the years, I’ve gotten to be good friends with Jae, Gidget, Helen, and the list goes on… Most of my best friends don’t live anywhere near me, but thank God for modern technology! Elsewise, how could I ever say my confession? Not seeing each other for a year or two at a time still stinks, though. Guy Buttersnaps, however, I usually see every day or two.

Sometimes it scares me when we order the exact same meals. We do love the same TV shows—she introduced me to Castle and Bones, and I showed her Burn Notice and Drop Dead Diva. Good friends aren’t just about fun, though. The time we banned complaining about stupid boys for a whole week was awesome. In fact, I think we may need to do that again soon.

My friends get me through the day. They think my purple Fergalicious shoes are fabulous (which they totally are) and sing Glee songs in my office. True friends also tell you the brutal truth when you need to hear it, and not just that the dress makes you look fat. Today, I’m grateful for my friends! Especially Guy Buttersnaps… even if she did “accidentally” throw out my Star Trek DVD.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

If 1 + 1 = 1, Then 2 + 2 = ?

“One plus one equals one. We even have a word for when you plus another equals one… love.” That Zen quote from the finale of Life sums up a glut of sentiments pertaining to love and unity and two becoming one and all that cheese. I have observed this in several wonderful marriages, an exhibition which implies its truth.

My question is, what happens when that One is split back into Two? I am speaking, of course, of divorce. You don’t need me to tell you that this issue has become rampant in modern culture. I could quote multiple statistics about the number of children growing up in homes without both biological parents, but you have already heard all of them.

I am sick and tired of hearing people say that they got divorced because “things just weren’t working out.” That’s an excuse you use when referring to your old boyfriend/girlfriend from high school—not your spouse. If you’re married, you make things work out. Otherwise, your divorce screws up a lot of other lives besides your own. Remarriage does even more serious, irreparable damage to anyone it affects.

We shouldn’t have to explain to our kids why they have seven or eight grandparents, or why none of their siblings have the same last name. A divorce wrecks a home and a remarriage destroys any evidence of stability. As that old Yiddish proverb says, when a divorced man marries a divorced woman, there are four people in one bed.

Cohabitation, marriage, divorce, remarriage… anything and everything has become acceptable. Of course, it has all always happened, none of this is new. The degree of regularity with which it all occurs, however, has increased exponentially. Dysfunction has become normal. The most basic structure of society—family—has been as irreversibly injured as have the children who can’t figure out who to call mom and dad.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tall Decaf Cappuccino

I do not like coffee. It’s just that simple. I love the smell of the beans, but hate the way it tastes. I'm also afraid that it could stunt my growth. There are very few circumstances under which I will drink coffee: if I have a migraine, in a social setting, and only if there is a LOT of sweet stuff in it.

Yesterday, I went down to the Underground Café for a business meeting, so I ordered some coffee. I always order the same thing: a grande caramel macchiato. It’s the perfect drink with enough caffeine to keep me alert and friendly, enough caramel to mask the bitterness, and enough cream so that it isn’t watery.

While my drink was being made, I noticed that some of the other staff’s favorite drinks were listed. Coach Holloway’s was called the “Why Even Bother?” since it’s all non-fat, decaf, and no sugar. That made me chuckle and reminded me that the purpose of Starbucks is so people who don't know who they are can—for only $2.95—get not just a cup of coffee, but an absolutely defining sense of self: Tall! Decaf! Cappuccino!

It always amuses me how certain standard deviations from a societal norm can so clearly speak of personality. A lot can be assumed about someone who has both The Who and Taylor Swift on their iPod (and by the way, I do). The same can be said about what someone orders at a café… or whether they even like coffee in the first place.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Feliconyms

Today has been quite the feliconymous day! What do I mean by that? I mean that it has been simply chock-full of feliconyms. What is a feliconym, you may ask. Well, I'll tell you...


Main Entry: fe·lic·o·nym

Pronunciation: \fi-'li-sō-nim\

Function: noun

Etymology: Late-Modern English, from Middle English felicite, from Anglo-French felicité, from Latin felicitat-, felicitas, from felic-, felix fruitful, happy, + Old High German namo name, Latin nomen, Greek onoma, onyma

Date: Late 20th century

1 : a word that is fun to say or amuses

2 : a term or phrase which could be said to roll off the tongue


To be more precise, “feliconym” is a word that I made up sometime more than ten but less than fifteen years ago. I was so frustrated that I couldn't find a word to describe words that are fun to say that I just went ahead and made one up. Therefore, a feliconym is literally a friendly (felicitas) word (nomen).

Examples of great feliconyms include—but are by no means limited to—“serendipity,” “moratorium,” and “perpendicular.” Go ahead, have FUN with your words today!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Want vs. Need

Wants and needs are sometimes two very different things. You can want the things you need, but you don’t always need the things you want. Like the song says, “you can’t always get what you want, but if you try, sometimes you get what you need.”

For instance, clothes: I may want new, fashionable clothes, but all I really need is enough material to keep things covered. I may want a fast, new car, but all I really need is to get to the store for groceries. So, I look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns” and “consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin.

Maybe I don’t have everything I want, but I do have everything I need. If I thought that I needed something, but don’t have it… I guess I never really needed it anyway. Why do I constantly rather fight for something I don’t really want, than to take what is given that I need? Probably because I’m an idiot.

We can be so stupid sometimes. How much “stuff” do we really need? Yet we constantly put possessions and prestige ahead of the truly important things in life: people. At the end of the day, a flat–screen or a corner office won’t keep you warm. In your pursuit of what you want, whom have you forgotten that you need?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Going Global

The World Cup is once again underway. Some of you may be asking, “cup? What cup?” For those of you (Americans) who do not know, it is a soccer tournament that occurs every four years. It is actually the world’s largest single sporting event. The Olympics don’t count because they’re actually a series of tournaments for multiple sports.

Pretty much every other country besides the U.S. thinks this a huge deal and uses the opportunity to exuberantly expresses their deep devotion to football. We mostly spend the whole time trying to figure out why they’re playing with a black and white ball… “Dude, I thought you said they were playing football, but this is just soccer.”

It always amazes me when the whole world comes together for a single event. The original Olympics in 776 BC could only be held every four years because that’s how hard it was to coordinate the travel plans of everyone in Greece. In 1873 AD, it was nearly impossible to travel around the world in 80 days. Now, you could easily do it in 80 hours.

The world has gone global. Today, we have things called global phenomenons: Michael Bublé, Twilight, the World Cup… even this blog has gone global (special shout-out to my friends in Germany and Portugal)! The world is a different place these days, but the people are still the same. We still live and love and die and get all excited about sports we don’t understand… “Okay, why is he rolling around on the ground?”

Friday, June 11, 2010

Multiple Personality Disorder

For the past two days my work computer has generally been out of commission. Why? Because I.T., in all their infinite wisdom and magic abilities, is “fixing” it. By fixing it, I mean, repeatedly striking it with a sledgehammer.

I made the mistake of asking them to help with some access and connectivity issues I was having. That was my own fault. What was not my fault was the root problem: I have three staff accounts! At first, we thought there were just two to merge, but no, there are actually three. The network knows me not only as Snippert, but also as Sarah.nippert, and Snippert2.

This whole time, I thought there was only one of me. Then I thought about it again and realized that there really are multiple me’s. There is Professional Sarah, Party Sarah, Girlfriend Sarah, Sports Fan Sarah… you get the idea. They’re all me, but each accentuates a different feature of my personality.

No wonder my poor computer is so confused! In fact, I’m surprised more computers aren’t all muddled up. Everybody allows exhibition of personality to be affected by circumstance on some level. Perhaps my computer knows me best, after all. It knows that I download showtunes while watching hockey—and that’s probably the least schizophrenic thing I do!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Impossible Dream

Published in 1605 and 1615, El Ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha, by Miguel de Cervantes, is in my opinion, one of the greatest works of literature ever written. Commonly referred to simply as Don Quixote, it is the story of a country gentleman who apparently goes mad and decides to live as a knight. The ensuing adventures (or rather, misadventures) are both entertaining and inspiring, which is a rare combination.

My favorite adaptation of the tale is the Broadway musical, Man of La Mancha. The 1972 film disappoints me because Peter O’Toole simply cannot sing, although Sophia Loren’s performance is brilliant. The emphasis of this version is placed on Don Quixote’s relationship with Aldonza (or as he calls her, Dulcinea).

Cervantes tells his audience that he has known “men who saw life as it is, yet they died despairing… their eyes, filled with confusion, questioning ‘Why?’ …why they had ever lived. When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies? … Too much sanity may be madness! But maddest of all—to see life as it is and not as it should be.”

Aldonza is a just a poor country maid, but Don Quixote sees her as she could be, as the Lady Dulcinea. He describes her as “at least a princess, since she is my queen… the impossible and fanciful attributes of beauty which the poets apply to their ladies are verified in her… what modesty conceals from sight such, I think and imagine, as rational reflection can only extol, not compare.”

I love this story so much because again and again, when faced with brutal reality, the hero refuses to acknowledge despair. He repeatedly chooses to continue dreaming The Impossible Dream and persevere in The Quest. Everyone thinks he’s crazy—jousting with windmills, declaring shaving basins to be golden helmets, honoring a peasant girl as a great lady.

When confronted with the harsh insanity of the world, Don Quixote constantly reminds all of us to keep going, keep dreaming, keep trying. He knows that “if I'll only be true, To this glorious quest… The world will be better for this, That one man, scorned and covered with scars, Still strove with his last ounce of courage.”

Imagine what the world could be like if we all dreamed the same dream as Cervantes, seeing the world as it should be, rather than as it is. What if we actually tried to make it better? Even if we only changed the world for one person, each our own Dulcinea, it would be worth it.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Don't Stop Believing

Some days I really do feel like just a small town girl, living in a lonely world. That midnight train going anywhere sounds very tempting sometimes. I hear that song playing over and over in my head and want to scream. It mocks me.

Why shouldn’t I stop believing in love? Love has never ended well for me. My mind tells me that loving is foolish. Logically, it would be better for me to just forget the whole thing. My heart, however, keeps grasping at every silly hope to come along. Why?

God is love. It doesn’t say that God is like love or that God is loving—it says God IS love. It is so much a part of His personality that it isn’t just an characteristic, it’s a definition.

I don’t think it’s even possible for me to stop believing in love. Love has been stamped on my very soul, no matter how many times life tramples it. To stop loving would be to stop worshipping… to stop breathing.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Carry-On

Someone once said that if there is a Purgatory, it’s somewhere in the Philadelphia airport. Having gone through that particular airport, I agree. That place is even more of a mess than my personal life. None of my future flights will go anywhere near there if I have anything to do with it.

Going through the purgatory of life, trying to get from one place to another, we all have baggage. The difference is how we carry it. Some people check all of their luggage; others prefer to carry all of it.

Veteran travelers will tell you that the best approach is a combination. You don’t want to check all of your bags, because it’s very possible you’ll never see them again. You don’t want to carry all of your bags, because if you’re going on a serious trip they’re probably big and heavy. What you want to do is check some and carry some.

In life, some things will have to be carried along. Other things, however, can be carted off until you can handle them. You’ll need to carry your identity with you, but you shouldn’t have to lug around all that other baggage. Check it at the gate and forget about it until it’s time to deal with it.

Monday, June 7, 2010

An Exercise in Honesty

Today was not a good day. One of my purposes with this blog, however is to be honest. Today makes it hard for me to celebrate life. Life has had a habit of kicking me when I’m down lately. I do not wish to get into today’s specific difficulties in such a public forum, but to be honest, it hurts like hell.

In life, there are certain people who you are supposed to be able to trust. They come with titles to make it easy to distinguish them from everyone else who may or may not be trustworthy. They are your Father, Mother, Husband, Wife, etc. I’m not talking about the kid who you swore a blood oath to be best friends forever with in sixth grade but haven’t heard from in ten years.

Those of you who have been privy to the details of my personal life over the past couple years will understand the pain I’m trying to express. Maybe you yourself have experienced the same hurt. The kind that goes to the very depth of your soul because someone who should have always loved you actually left you—for good.

Leaving doesn’t always look the same, but it always feels the same to the person left behind. Even if someone is still physically present, they can leave. And then one day, just as you think you can pick up the pieces and somehow move forward, you get hit with it all again. Suddenly, the pain comes rushing back and you feel completely alone.

The funny thing about loneliness is that it’s not about people—it’s about persons. You can be in a crowd of people and still be completely alone. Sometimes, all it takes is one person to make all the difference in the world. If someone in your life, someone with a title, is missing, you can’t help but look for someone else.

People leave holes in our lives when they leave us. Those holes hurt. Some days, like today, it’s a sharp, throbbing pain that makes you just want to scream. Other days, it’s just a dull ache… but it’s still there. If you know this pain, I’m praying for you. I’d appreciate your prayers too.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Piña Coladas

My propensity for getting caught in the rain has recently resurfaced with a vengeance. One summer, I must have raced up the hill from the boathouse almost a dozen times. I could usually see the storm coming across the lake and would just have enough time to make it if I ran. It seems that this summer will be another meteorological challenge.

The good news is I don't always mind getting caught in the rain. Under the right circumstances, I enjoy the surprise. Today was one of those instances. I was about half-way home from church when the storm hit. I had figured that I had another five minutes, but I guess I was wrong.

By the time I did get home, I looked like I had gone swimming with my clothes on. I had to wring out everything, even my underwear. Thankfully, nobody was around to see me—for some reason “drowned” is just not a good look for me. At least I got soaked on the way back from church, instead of on the way there. The storm also dropped the temperature by about 15 degrees… hallelujah!

The best part of getting caught in the rain is that it’s something you never plan to do. I didn’t wake up this morning thinking, “I hope I get stuck in a torrential downpour.” But it happened and I LOVE that it did! I could not have stopped the rain, so I chose to dance in it.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Sparks Fly Upward

Bonfires have always been one of my favorite things. Last night may have been an exception. Hiking across a field in the dark to stand around in the rain with people I don’t know while mosquitoes eat me alive… it was certainly an adventure. The bonfire itself was not that impressive either. Still, it was a fire and that’s all that matters.

I love fire because while on the one hand, you always know what it’s going to do (burn until it runs out of fuel), on the other hand, you never know what it’s going to do (burn things you didn’t want to be fuel). Life is pretty much the same deal—beautifully dangerous.

Fire scares me. This may sound rather Freudian, but I had several bad experiences with flames and hot surfaces as a child, so now I keep my distance. I do admire it, though. Life has burned me multiple times as well, but I still love it, even when I’m keeping my distance. When I was a kid, I wanted to grow up to be an archaeologist and travel the world solving ancient mysteries—which is actually slightly similar to being a librarian.

I never would have dreamed the life that I currently have or the difficult situations that have put me here. As I watched the fire last night, I could not help but be reminded that as surely as sparks fly upward, so man is born to trouble. We should expect life to be full of trouble, burning things we did not expect. Eventually, however, it will be extinguished, leaving only the memory of its warm glow.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Can't Touch This

A few days ago, a web admin error forced me to rename my site, in order to register it again. While I was working through the process, my Pandora started playing Zippiddy-do-da. I couldn’t help laughing because my friend Emily had once sung it to me as “Snippiddy-do-da,” so I decided to use that as my new handle—who knew that choosing my own name could lead to such self-revelation!

“Snippiddy-do-da” is far from the worst thing that has been done to my name. Nippy, Snippy, Nip-Nip, Lil Nips, Nippertus Minimus/Maximus, and my personal favorite, Snipperdoodle… Yeah, thanks for that one, Rachel. My new boss, however, loved my name before she even met me, said it had a nice ring to it.

One of the reasons that I would probably never get married is because a lot of my friends wouldn’t know what to call me. Most of the time, I’m just Nippert—I actually wonder if some of them even know my first name. Not that it matters much, because what’s in a name? I would still smell as sweet no matter what you call me.

Go ahead, play around with my name. You can never really touch me. All of who I am is contained in my name, but I am not my name. I am so much more than a bunch of letters: I am infinite. My eternal self could never be confined to any human construction. The beauty of the soul is in its inherent identity with the deity of the creator.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Call the Waahmbulance

First thing this morning, I heard a sound that completely turned my stomach. It sounded something like “STAAAA-HOPPPP!”

For those of you who don’t speak TSB, that’s the whined form of “stop.” This particular version is popular with two-year olds and blondes all over the world. “Do you know what the number one killer of girls under the age of 30 is? Self-pity. I want to help you, but you have to do something: stop crying. Right now. No, seriously. You’re giving me a headache.”

One of my rules is that if you are not going to deal with an issue, you are NOT allowed to whine about it. Much of life is difficult and while it may be tempting to complain, that will not fix the problem. I am not discrediting a legitimate lamentation for real problems—such as world hunger. However, if your roommate ate your Ramen, I do not want to hear about it.

Sometimes, talking through a situation helps you fully grasp it and formulate a solution. Whining and complaining, on the other hand, is completely unproductive. The TSB should have tried an assertive “Stop!” instead of whining. Nobody really wants to hear whining and nobody will respect an opinion delivered through a moan. If you genuinely want help, please just ask!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Snippy goes to Seminary

The lack of Mountain Dew at the college has reached tragic proportions. Today, I was forced to trek over the pond and through the woods to the seminary. Thankfully, it is a beautiful day and I enjoyed the chance to get out of the office. But seriously, this needs to be fixed because I am not welcome at the seminary.

It’s true… very few women are well received at the seminary, especially during the day. I could feel the professors staring at me when I paused to say hi to Megan. She’s allowed since she’s the receptionist over there, and they love her—probably wouldn’t be able to function without her, considering they’re men.

It felt very strange to be over there. I remember going with my dad to visit the professors when I was a kid. Dr. King had the best candy stash and the coolest action figures. None of them recognize me now that I’m all grown up. Unless they ask my name, of course… which leads to “oh, you’re John’s daughter! How are you parents doing?” which I really do NOT want to get into.

I love my Mountain Dew. I look forward to Dew Day all week long, anticipating that moment when I crack the cap and take the first sip. I cannot, however, continue going over to the seminary every Wednesday. Desperate times call for desperate measures, but I can’t keep this up too much longer. If you are reading this, Pepsi distributor, please put me out of my misery and restock the machines!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Kobayashi Maru

I don’t believe in no-win scenarios. A situation may seem grim, but that just means that you’re overlooking something. Even dying is a form of winning. Personally, I’d take heaven over anything here on earth any day.

Sometimes all a sticky situation needs is time. Things have a way of working themselves out quite nicely when left alone. Of course, some circumstances demand action, in which case, get moving already! The trick is knowing the difference. But denying that there is a problem won't help any.

Often, the best solution is the simplest one. The facts can only be manipulated so many ways, so pick one and stick to it. Go ahead—redefine the parameters, bring in outside help, turn the whole thing upside down! And when all else fails… cheat. After all, losing a fair fight isn't much incentive to fight fair, now is it?