Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wordless Wednesday...Almost

Ain't I a lucky girl?
Not one...but two gorgeous hunks lookin' out for me!
My squishy!
(My nickname for Mia)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

It's Summer!

Well, I did it. I actually made it through the school year. *wipes forehead* Whew, was it a toughy! For some reason, this year just seemed to drain the very life outta me...probably because I was working and having a perpetual nervous breakdown at the same time. lol

At any rate, it's over (school, that is--not the breakdown lol), my papers are turned in, and I can finally enjoy a well-earned break. Hard to imagine that only a year ago today, I was across the pond, in a little secluded Austrian castle, becoming better aquainted with the ways of the world. How far I've come since then...and how many amazing (and painful) things have happened! But God is faithful, and I know He'll see me through this year just as He did the last.  

For the moment however, I'm having so much fun! Last Friday, I took the whole day off to indulge in a little pampering. (Although, I don't know if it can  really be called "pampering" in the traditional sense since I spent my own money.) Anyway, during the school year I rarely have time to do all those fun, girly things I used to. So last week, after I had turned in my last paper, I said to my mom, "You don't need me for anything today, right?"
"No, I don't think so."
"Good," I said, grabbing the keys. "I'll be home for dinner." And I was out the door before she could change her mind. (Not really. Actually, I said it a little bit nicer that and informed her as to where I was going, but suffice it to say my attitude was one of intense anticipation!)
You want to know my version of paradise? Here it is:
8:00  Woke up without an alarm (!!!!!), ate breakfast, took a shower, got dressed, applied my makeup
10:00 Went for a weave--just some thin blonde highlights to spice up my mousy brown hair.
2:30 Four hours later (my stylist literally took FOREVER), went to lunch at Alculpoco, brought a book, and ate my enchiladas rancheros while engrossed in Little Women. :)
3:15 Got a french pedicure royal style, which meant that the lady massaged and applied a sea-salt scrub to my legs, hot towels, oils, creams, etc. Heaven. on. Earth. 
4:00 Stopped by Target to spend my giftcard from Christmas. (I told you I don't get out much) I ended up getting colored jeans (alla Kate Middleton) and some funky, wedge shoes, perfect for summer. ;)
4:45 Concluded the day with a grande mocha frap (no whip) from Starbucks, then drove home windows rolled-down, cranking the tunes as loud as my ears could stand it. Sometimes, ya just gotta be crazy!
I came home in an angelic mood, very much refreshed,  and $150 poorer.
And what do I plan to do with all this extra freetime? Oh, that's easy. Sleep. Study for that CLEP exam I've been putting off for 6 months. Sleep. Organize closets and music drawers. Sleep. Get together with friends. Sleep. Finish Insanity. Sleep. Research Masters programs for next year. Sleep. Work. And when I get tired of that--sleep again! ;) lol
I know some of you were waiting for the "read some good books" resolution. But honestly, if I don't read another book ever again, it will be all too soon. I think I've about read my eye balls to death, thank you very much! Okay, I might break down to finish the Hunger Games trilogy. Much as I hate to admit it, there's something about those books that's very intriguing--even if, from a classisist's perspective, they're somewhat "low literature."
But enough of my snobbery. Hope you guys are having a blessed, relaxing, and purposeful summer.
Lots of love,

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

I Didn't Do It

Life is a funny thing. It takes little twists and turns that are totally unexpected, and yet you have to stop and ask where you'd would be without them.

Yesterday, one of my professors emailed to say that she had a few questions for me and would I please give her a call. I don't have to tell you, I was pretty nervous. I mean, the very fact that a professor wants to talk to you--in the online world--is unbelievable. I barely have any contact with any of my professors. In fact, I sometimes doubt if they even read my papers. They just seem to deal out grades without any particular explanation. Anyway, all that to say I was pretty taken aback.
I also thought I was in for a big lecture. I had just recently abstained from reading several selections of literature on the grounds that they weren't exactly the most--moral pieces in the world. Lol, there just comes a point in time when you'd rather sleep at night than become an expert on modern American lit. ;) Suffice it to say I had voiced my objections quite candidly, not to mention the fact that I haven't exactly been enthusiastic about this class from the get go. If ever my prof wanted to be a stickler about "tolerance" and "open-minded analysis," she'd have grounds to mark me down. Thankfully she hasn't. ;)
But when I received that email last night, I knew for sure what was coming. The talk. All about why protest literature is vital to the American experience and why I should not censure certain authors for their explicit illustrations of drugs, sex, and violence. After all, it's an aesthetic interpretation of art and blah blah blah…
It was 12:15pm this afternoon when I made the call…or actually she called me. ;) Now, my professor as it turns out, is a very nice lady and quite educated in her field of expertise. Still, we hadn't addressed "the question," and to my surprise, we never did. Instead, our conversation (after some small talk) went something like this:
Prof: "So…I just wanted to say I really like the work you've been submitting."
me: "Oh, good."
Prof: "Yeah, um…you mentioned that you were homeschooled…I can tell."
me: (laughing because I'm not really sure if this is a compliment) "I guess that's a good thing."
Prof: "You really think outside of the box…I can tell you haven't been educated by the public schools."
me: (waiting for the "but") "Thanks."
Prof: "Yeah definitely…I uh….just…was wondering where all of those ideas come from."
me: "For my papers?"
Prof: "Yeah. It's just so…amazing that you can write like that…how….uh….do you come up with those ideas exactly?"
me: "Well, I just read the textbook and try to answer the assignment questions."
Prof: "By yourself?"
me: (apprehensively) "Yeah."
Prof: "Where do you pull all those ideas from?"

At this point, my heart is pounding. Could it be? No, she couldn't be inferring? *eyes wide* REALLY? So I ventured in my most polite, let-me-clear-the-air-for-you type voice:

me: "Wait you don't think I…Do you…think I--plagiarized my papers?"

Prof: (big sigh of relief) "That's kind of what I was trying to get at."  

At which point, I started bursting out laughing.  The very idea...I hated those papers with every fiber in my body and thought I did a horrible job communicating my point! And no, I did not plagiarize either of them, by the way. ;) I then explained to her how I had taken college prep courses all throughout junior high and high school, and that I am a big literature fan and have read extensively. She even got a kick out of the fact that my dad had the same problem when he was in college. In the end, she was reassured, and we had a great brainstorming session regarding my term paper topic. She's one of those revolutionary profs who can inspire someone simply by asking Miss Stacy from Anne of Green Gables. If ever I do become a teacher, I want to be just like this one. I've never been more excited to write a paper in my life, even though it'll be the longest I've ever written. ;) I've also never been showered with more attention from anyone at either college I've attended. This Prof gave me hope that there are educators out there who truly care about their students and want them to learn--not just regurgitate info. ;)

Overall, I was immensely flattered that someone should think my papers were good enough to be published. Maybe being accused of plagiarism isn't such a bad thing after all...if you didn't do it. ;)

Monday, June 4, 2012

Monday Musings

What is my calling as a Christian?  

I used to think it was such a simple answer. Tell people about Christ. Simple, right?  

I don't know, maybe I've got the wrong perspective, but I'm not one of those people to go passing out tracts on street corners. I'm not the type to just smile at a stranger and say, "Isn't it a beautiful day that the Lord has made?" Maybe I ought to be more that way, but my personal belief is that people respond better to the love of Christ, not just some random booklet that tells them how insufficient they are. No, when I look the life of Jesus, I see someone who was focused on relationships--all the time. Who exuded love--even tough love--in every, encounter, building relationships with those who were, by society's standards, the untouchables, the outcasts. The sinners and the prostitutes, the tax collectors and fishermen, the sick, the wounded, the demon-possessed… Never once did he put a scroll in their hand and tell them to have a blessed day--oh, and by the way, Jesus loves you!  

I'm not saying there's anything wrong with tracts per se, but I am saying it doesn't seem like the most effective way of sharing one's faith. Just saying… 

In recent months however, I have come to really question my ability to "go and preach the gospel."  Working at my job, surrounded by unbelievers who say and do some of the vilest things I've ever seen/heard of…what ought to be my reaction towards them? How do I show the love of Christ to people with whom I have nothing in common? Why should they even listen to me?  

I'm one of those people who wants to save everybody. It gets me into trouble sometimes because I can be very naive. But when I see someone who's truly broken inside, my first instinct is to want to help. I feel such a burden for these people. Honestly, they keep me up at night. Never mind that they're a hard core partier/sex addict/egotist. I know that common sense does come into play here, especially as a vulnerable, single young woman. But I just can't stand the fact that I can't say all that I would wish to. I feel like my hands are tied, like a doctor holding up an antidote that a dying patient doesn't want to see. Ugh! It's so frustrating. And demoralizing. Because no amount of reasoning can make a person see what's right in front of their face!  

I came across a chapter this morning that really ministered to me. Ezekiel 34. I'll just share a few verses with you. 

vs. 4 (speaking about the shepherds of Israel) "The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back was driven away, nor sought what was lost…"  

vs. 11 "Indeed, I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out…(vs. 12) so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scatter on a cloudy and dark day…(vs.13) I will feed them on the mountains of Israel…(vs.15) I will make them lie down…(vs. 16) I will see what was lost and bring back what was driven away, build up the broken and strengthen what was sick…(vs.23) I will establish one shepherd over the, and he shall feed them…(vs.26) I will make them and the places all around My hill a blessing, and I will cause showers to come down in their season; there shall be showers of blessing." 

I like to imagine what it would be like to have a literal shower of blessings. ;) I don't know about you, but I have a tendency to take long showers. What can I say? I love the feeling of HOT water running through my hair, down my back, cleansing my skin, peeling (more like burning) off the old layers, refreshing me…How much better to be washed in God's blessings, where the source of them never runs dry, where the temperature never turns cold or looses pressure. ;)  

These verses so encouraged me to keep on doing what I'm doing. Little by little, shift by shift, binding wounds, seeking what was lost, bringing back what was driven away. So many people have the wrong perception of Christianity. Maybe, just maybe, my witness is evident enough to break down barriers, rebuild trust, and pique interest. That the sex addict/partier who attempts to hide behind his exploits doesn’t need me to infuse Life into his prodigal existence; he just needs me to point the way to the One who can. That the girl who's devastated over her trillionth breakup doesn't need me to play Dr. Laura; merely to point her to the Lover of her soul.

It's encouraging to know that the fate of the world does not rest on your shoulders. And yet, the moment we lose sight of this fact is the very moment we ought to realize--it does. How involved are you in making a difference today? In your little circle of influence, with the people with whom you come into contact. Our mission field doesn't have to be in the jungles of Africa. It's with the next door neighbor who's down on his luck. It's with that annoying coworker who just needs a kind word. It's with that friend or sibling or relative that's hurting despite the "I'm fine."

Bind up the broken. Bring back what's lost. Heal what's sick. And never grow weary of doing good. ;) 

May that be our focus today and always.