Tuesday, September 10, 2013

British Invasion

Sometimes I forget I have a blog. Today I remembered.

I'm embarking on a new journey and may or may not post occasionally.

I'm going to the United Kingdom. I will be a postgraduate student (MA in Gender Analysis in International Development) at University of East Anglia in Norwich. More on that later.

I'm packing my wellies (actually I don't own any) and raincoat (just ordered one online) and preparing to embrace my British roots. And no one, not even the Queen, will rain on my parade. Crossing my fingers that I'll pick up an accent while I'm there.

To be continued...

Monday, July 2, 2012

Spilling the Coffee

Generally the word spill doesn't have positive connotations. Think "oil spill" or "spilling the beans."

This morning I did something quite stupid. And as I was doing it, I realized the level if its stupidity, yet in my rush I decided to ignore the situation and deal with it later. Which I did.

 I love coffee. I limit myself to drinking it once or twice a week, relishing the days when I can start the morning with a steaming cup of its fragrant goodness. The day always seems to pass quicker, my thoughts seem clearer, and I have no problem staying awake and focusing at work.

So as I placed the giant, red mug back into the fridge, I noticed that it was too close to the door. I hesitated for a moment, but brushed off the misgiving. Lunch time arrived. I hurried home to throw together an edible and semi-healthy meal, which obviously required opening the fridge. Are you following me? Do you know how this is going to end? Oh! The supense. Yes, that creamy liquid went splashing everywhere, just as I had feared.

How often do we handle more important life situations in a similar manner? We pause for a second to evaluate the action or decision, yet in our hurry and impatience, we slam the refrigerator door on the cup, hoping we won't have to deal with the mess later. Sometimes it ends up being a real nuisance. The coffee (our actions) don't always spill in a neat puddle, rather they flood the rest of the vegetables and fruit in the fridge (the people in our lives), and they are affected as well.

 Let's face it, we're bound to spill the coffee at some point in life. It happens quite frequently for most people (myself included). Just try to evaluate how your actions will affect others, and when you do make a mess, be bold enough to ask for forgiveness.

Happy Monday :)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Life Is a Game of Soccer

History has always fascinated me. There are certain time periods that are terribly gripping. When I was younger, I was certain that one day I would be an Egyptologist. I dreamed of combing the sweltering sands for hidden treasure. I longed to stumble upon a lost civilization, to study its secrets and mysteries. As I grew older, I learned about a more hideous side of history, of wars and power struggles centered on hatred that tore countries apart and ended innocent lives. History is terrifying. Yet amid the horrors and atrocities there is a common theme: our obsession with staying alive. The ancient world was fascinated with immortality.

For thousands of years, the human race has grappled with the inexplicable, with finding meaning in its existence. From the moment we are born, we are selfish creatures. Each breath, each conscious thought is wrapped up in our desire to thrive. By the time we are old enough to understand life a little better, we want to know our purpose in it. This curiosity is first manifested when we are small. Our frequent question is "Why?" We want to know why the sky is blue and why the sun is bright. As the years pass we begin asking more complicated questions. Not only do we want to know the answers to these simpler things, we also want to understand what (and possibly if) anything exists beyond the blue sky and large sun. And if something or someone does, is this being involved in our lives?

 I firmly believe that there is someone much greater than us, a Creator that not only made us, but who is completely invested in us (Long ago the LORD said to Israel: "I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself" Jeremiah 31:3.) Not only do we question our existence, we question our past, present, and future. An amazing woman (Corrie ten Boom) once said, "Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God." This lady, a Dutch Christian, survived the Holocaust. (Her autobiography, The Hiding Place, was made into a film that I highly recommend.) Many of us have difficulty trusting God's wisdom, even in trifling matters.
Despite the tragedy Corrie was a part of, she trusted God implicitly. What I'm about to say next may seem like a completely divergent idea, but I hope that you can make the connection.

 In addition to my love of history, I also have a special place in my heart for sports. I am frankly addicted. In an attempt to combine history and sports, and to explain our desire to understand life, here is my best analogy: Life is a game of soccer.

 Each of us has been selected to a team. We were scouted, not only for our abilities, but for our weaknesses, too. We're playing for a prize (eternity) that far surpasses any earthly trophy or award. Each player on the team has different talents, but in order for us to win, we must work together, utilizing our talents to achieve a common goal (no pun intended). Unfortunately we're all selfish players. We forget to pass, to play together, to support each other in moments of trial. We are puzzled by our failures and baffled by our successes. The sidelines often seem so far away from the playing field, that we forget there is a Coach. As we wipe the sweat and desperation from our eyes, we feel alone. Our suffering and fatigue seem overwhelming as the game drags on. Sometimes we feel like giving up, waving our arms around and screaming for a substitution. Just when all seems lost, the Coach makes an executive decision. He sends someone in to take our place: Jesus. The great thing is, Jesus has such a connection with the Coach (His Father), that He knows just what He has to do to claim the victory for the team. In the process He gives His life. Yet the team is victorious. The crowded stadium (the angels and other worlds) fills with passionate celebration. The victory is won!

Stop dwelling on the unknown future you face; rather trust in the known Coach/God. He's watching the game from the sidelines, but He has a better view and vision for what works best/where/when/and with whom. Just because we're the ones sweating on the pitch doesn't mean He doesn't care or "get it." In fact He's more invested in the outcome than we are. We fail to forget His years of experience. He brought all of the players on the field (the people in our lives) for a reason. He saw the abilities, the weaknesses... the drive or lack thereof, and He saw in His wisdom that you would fit well with this particular team. Hang in there. Victory is near!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Straight Up Statistics

I love statistics. Correction. I love statistics that don't require me to use a TI-83 calculator and the bell curve. I took a statistics class one summer as a general math credit. The class lasted for about three hours twice a week. It was torture. I don't remember much about the class. I'm drifting away from my point though. I love statistics because. . . well, because they let me know how many people read my blog on a daily/weekly basis. Even when I'm not posting anything, people are still reading it! I guess that's a good thing. I often wonder what they find interesting, or if they even read a whole post.

Anyways. I don't write much because. . . well, because I'm lazy.

I have decided to take a break from Facebook. I'd been toying with the idea for awhile, but finally went through with it. I have been Facebook-free since Thursday morning. I still have to use it for work, but I have deactivated my personal account. Yeah, I am definitely going through withdrawals. Mostly when I am bored at work or in the evening. It is a needed break though. The big reason it took me so long to deactivate it was that I use it to communicate with friends who live far away. But I also spent hours on it, just sifting through my news feed and bouncing from one profile to the next. I want to use my time better. I don't like having an addiction, but that's what Facebook had become for me. I know many people who are addicted to Facebook/their smartphone, but refuse to see that they are. Whatever. My goal is to stay away from it for at least a month.

Well, this post is more of a time for me to ramble. Maybe I'll post more now that I don't have Facebook to suck up all of my free time. Maybe I won't.

I've been playing soccer a bit recently. I love sports. I love playing with guys too because for some reason it's assumed that girls can't play well. I like to crush that notion with a few flicks of my left foot. Yeah, I fall down sometimes and I miss the ball too, but there's always a feeling of inner satisfaction when I make a steal or assist a goal.

I think this is a good time to insert a cliche side note. Life is filled with ups and downs, but what is it that everyone says? Oh, that it's not about falling down, it's about getting back on your feet after the fall. I think sometimes I feel like I'm sort of floating in mid-air between the ground (a fall) and getting back on my feet. Picture a slow motion soccer replay of a bicycle kick-- that's how I imagine myself. I feel like my life isn't bad enough to equate it with a fall, but I don't have a clear idea of where I'm headed or what I'm doing, so I wouldn't say that I'm standing strongly on my two feet either.

I should get back to work. Should. . .

Monday, June 20, 2011

Flamenco: The Fight of Freedom

I recently returned from a trip to Europe which, I must say, is a continent with too much to see and enough culture and history to stick its tongue out at the United States. I won't continue with that thought.

I have wanted to visit Spain for a long time, and I was finally able to do so on this trip. Unfortunately I only made it to Barcelona and Madrid, but I was still impressed. Barcelona is beautiful! I love the fact that there are mountains AND the ocean, as well as an abundance of art, both old and new. Two days was not enough time to even scrape the surface of this precious city. I will be back.

After Barcelona, I spent a day in Madrid visiting a dear friend that I hadn't seen in 13 years. It was there that I saw some paintings that inspired me: flamenco dancers. I really wanted to see a live performance, but alas, I didn't have enough time. However, the city is full of souvenir shops overstocked with fans and flamenco regalia. That settled it. The paintings were too big to take home, but I was determined to make my own. Yesterday I started looking for images, as well as watching a few videos, to help me make a better painting. So, here's a more artsy end to my blog.

Flamenco: The Fight of Freedom

Her hands curl intricately, following the rich notes of the melody. A bright light highlights her scarlet dress and a yellow silk scarf pinned to her waist seeks to free itself as she twirls. An unseen guitarist plucks violently at the strings of his instrument, providing her with the rhythm she craves as she storms across the stage. Her shoes thump and tap, thump and tap, echoing into the darkest shadows of the room. Yet in all of the calculated commotion, she's dancing, nay, fighting for freedom. Smiles die on her proud cheekbones and fail to flutter across her boldly painted red lips. A new moon of stage light glows in her hair, it's perfect semi-circle mimicked in the exquisite arch of her back.

Flamenco. A dance and genre of music that originated in the southern Spanish region of Andalusia in the 18th century. A dance of rigidity dominated by exact steps and precise movements; however, underneath the costumes and pretentious routines, there is a profound liberty of expression, an internal and external fight for control of ones body. Dancers must escape the rules of time and social conventions, of unwanted emotions, yet as they seek this liberty, their inner joy must remain masked and solemn. Despite their struggle to maintain this facade, a triumphant glimmer occasionally rushes through the cracks in a defiant display. Flamenco has a soul of structured beauty, with the heart of a rebel. This is probably why gypsies were so influential in its development.

Close your eyes. You sit breathlessly in the dark bowels of the large room. You hear her steps thunder closer, closer. You catch a whiff of her perfume and feel the air move as her arms scream wildly in anticipation of the close of the dance. You long to open your eyes, to see her haughty expression, but you find you cannot pry them open. You feel trapped. A desire to run outside overwhelms you and you try to yell, but the sounds fail to leave your parched lips. It feels like a nightmare. You begin to move your feet to the notes of the insistent guitar, succumbing to this feeling of helplessness. You move them faster, and suddenly, an inner strength surges through your muscles, leaping along the sinews and bubbling through your veins. You, my friend, begin to dance, immersed for a second in her plight. You suddenly understand her struggle, and you make it your own. Freedom is just a few notes away.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Die Katze ist unter dem Bett

I have three favorite words in German:

Katze (cat)
Zeitung (newspaper)
. . .

I thought there was a third. . . and I believe there is, but at this early hour of the morning I can't quite seem to remember it.

Regardless. I like German! I never thought I would say that. That is like saying "I like sweaty socks" or "My favorite food is moldy bread." Yeah, like, unthinkable. Yet, I do. It's proof you can change your opinion of something/someone if you give it/them half a chance. I've been trying to practice German each day for at least 30 minutes. Sometimes it's quite exasperating. Rosetta Stone is great, but you don't get an explanation for anything. . . you just repeat, repeat, repeat. . . which is why it works apparently. Practice makes perfect.

The past few days have been simply lovely. I love sunshine. I love the smell it wrenches from the spring flowers. I love the way it seeps into my pores. This morning (Monday) was made slightly more bearable as I walked outside for work and breathed in the luxurious and intoxicating scent of sun.

A new week. The same responsibilities. Yet so much to be thankful for.

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.

Psalm 143:8

Friday, March 11, 2011

Temblor 24

I remember the time when. . .

Oh, but there are so many times I remember. They're probably not meaningful to most people, but to me they represent 24 years of living.

I remember my first kitty, who survived many moves and a truck accident.
I remember burning my arm while making tortillas when I was 4.
I remember trips to England to see my grandparents.
I remember pleading with my Dad to let me paint my ceiling purple (to go with my pink walls and carpet).
I remember how I used to put carrot shreds on my teeth for "braces" (and then one day I had to get the "real" ones. . . not so glamorous after all, despite the exciting chance to change the band color each month).
I remember when I couldn't wait to be a teenager.
I remember being a teenager, and realizing it wasn't quite as amazing as I'd always thought it would be.
I remember my best friend's barn burning down.
I remember my first day at school. Eighth grade. I had braces (the real ones) and I was so shy I barely talked to anyone at recess.
I remember high school crushes.
I remember arriving at college with high expectations.
I remember the distinct desire to stay, but graduation came too quickly.
I remember arriving in Honduras, the heat and newness were overwhelming.
I remember sleeping in my closet for a few nights in my first apartment until I could find a bed.
I remember the butterflies in my stomach as I anticipated talking to a friend.

And now, as I write this. . . minutes are passing and tomorrow I will remember writing this blog. Sunday I will turn 24. So many memories crowd my head; boring and ordinary memories for most, yet for me, they are beautiful reminders of how God has blessed my life.

There are so many insightful quotes about life. . . I wanted to end with one.

Only a life lived for others is a life worth while.
|Albert Einstein|

May this be my motto. Whether I live for another day or until I turn 90, may each day be lived for others.

Happy birthday to me. I'm thankful for the life I've been given, and I feel blessed to wake up each morning. Suffering and pain abound (Japan's 8.9 earthquake and tsunamis are a fresh reminder of life's fragility), yet I'm alive.