Friday, December 31, 2004

Oh my gosh, is it really almost 2005?

I think perhaps I'll copy the blogging technique of Will the Huggable (a.k.a. Average Bear), only writing about once a month, but writing such witty and unique stuff that everyone forgives him for his irregularity. While I am seriously lacking Will's wit, this may have to be the approach I take. We'll see if I ever get back to my more regular blogging. Anyway, I've started to wonder if anyone reads blogs anymore, or if they have passed away into fad history and been replaced by the sudden emergence of the "Facebook". I'm still forming my opinion about Facebook and, thus, not yet on it. Which is OK. I doubt I'd have enough time to keep up with that when I can't even seem to keep up with my blog.

Christmas has come and gone, as it always seems to, too quickly. Just when I realized it was the Christmas season and I was getting into that whole joy of the season thing, it was all over. In a few quiet days at my grandparents house in the mountains, suddenly I'm back and it's almost 2005. Yikes. All in all, though, Christmas was good. I missed my friends in the outside world (yes, that probably means you) but it was good to be able to relax with family. I even managed to keep my nose clean, not getting into any major political arguments with my conservative family members. For this, I feel I deserve a ticker tape parade, but I'll settle for a slice of my grandmother's lemon meringue pie. Mmmm.

Church Architecture
So, does anybody besides me sometimes wonder about the architecture of churches? All of them have some sort of tall structure, either a bell tower or a steeple, that seems to be a giant sign saying "God, this way!" Or perhaps these structures are like those kids in elementary school who always have their hands up waving in the air, screaming silently, "Oooh, pick me, I know the answer!!!" Maybe it's that the churches are really trying to act out that ladder of good works to heaven analogy people are always going on about. I find it strange. Then there are the stained glass windows. They are very pretty, but I never really got the point of the pictures. After all this crazy fighting (and the split between the Eastern Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Church) over iconography, everybody has the crazy stained glass windows with *gasp* ICONS!!! The artists could have put the crazy pictures on the walls but instead put the pictures in the windows. I think there's a secret message: PAY ATTENTION. They're a really decorative way of preventing all those fidgety kids (myself included) from looking out the window. You can only stare at a stained glass window for so long before it gets boring and you have to turn your attention to something else like, oh, I don't know, the sermon. Sneaky isn't it? But I love churches anyway. I think it's the secret passageways and organ pipes and mysterious nature.

Well, everyone survived fall semester 2004. After all that panicking, I still managed to get decent grades. Not up to my standards, of course, but decent. I even got through Greek, which was a cause of much celebration. Now on to planning for FS2005: South Africa. If I can get all of my paperwork done on time, arrange my capstone, and get flights and stuff, I'll be going to RSA for four months. I'm so excited I could scream. I just hope all of the paperwork gets in on time. Now I know how Allison felt with all of her mad paperwork and phone calls. I know she'll have a great time in Greece, though.

New Years
I can't really fathom that tomorrow is 2005. It seems like every year passes more quickly than the previous year, so I think by the time I'm eighty, every year will only last a day in my mind. No wonder the elderly get confused all the time! Anyway, as usual, I have a few resolutions (which, of course, will never last past February, but I try...). My plan this year is to lose 10 pounds (duh...) and to set aside more time each day for personal devotional stuff. Wish me luck!

I hope your holidays were spectacular and have a wonderful and safe New Year!!!

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Trudging Through

I have not written in nearly a month. I realize that this makes me a terrible person, but I have been insanely busy studying, then I took a week off from everything for Thanksgiving, and now I'm back to school. I spent the last month studying like a madwoman in an attempt to do well this semester. I came to the realization today, however, that this is getting me nowhere. It doesn't matter that I've studied harder this semester than I have any other time in my 16 years of schooling. It doesn't matter that I've officially been stressed for 3.5 months. Because I'm still going to do poorly in my classes. I'm watching my excellent GPA disappear down the drain in the toilet: spinning, spinning, gone.

On a happier note, there are only 3 more weeks until Christmas Break, one of my favorite times of the year. Christmas break is wonderful because there isn't the stress of homework (gotta love semesters!) and the break is pretty long, but not long enough to really find a job. It's three weeks to just relax, eat, enjoy time with family, read FUN books, and generally sit on your butt. I can't wait.

KJ said something really cool today that blew my mind. "She's cool, but her friends are... *nasty face* normal." I sat their for a second, then burst out laughing. I remember in junior high I thought that the best possible thing was to be "normal". The cool kids were "normal" and I thought I was a freak. But things have changed. The people I know now have no urge to be "cool" or "normal", we like being strange and quirky and fun. Suddenly "normal" is a bad thing. Hooray for eccentricity. Celebrate variation. Cheer for creativity and individuality.

Well, I'm off to write yet another paper for yet another class that is just going to kill my GPA even though I work really hard at it. G'night, all!

Friday, November 05, 2004

Fearful Outcome

Well, the election has come and gone with little change to the government. Republicans now hold not only the presidency, but also the majority in Congress. I, for one, am a little frightened by this. I do not have any faith in Bush as president, and I can't bear to think of the freedoms that an executive and legislative together can take away from the citizens in the name of "security" or "morality". We're likely to lose at least one member of the Supreme Court (Rehnquist) and I'm nervous about who will be put on the Court to replace him. It looks like we may soon have every branch of the government in the hands of the Republicans. This is not to say that ALL Republicans are bad, but since I disagree with much of the Republican platform, I think the nation is in trouble. I'm beginning to lose hope and considering going to seminary in another country. That way by the time I get back we'll be ready to have a new president, and this time it CAN'T be Bush again. Maybe we'll actually get someone into office who isn't misogynistic, homophobic, anti-environment, or lacking in essential communication and critical thinking skills. We can hope... (This is where my FBI file will start. Next thing they'll be using the USA Patriot act to look up my library records...)

In other news, I've survived another week of classes. There are only 4 more weeks of classes, which means 20 more Greek classes. I'm looking forward to being done. I'm ready for this semester to be over, so I can relax a bit. For that matter, I'm also desperately looking forward to Thanksgiving break, which is only 2 weeks away. This weekend should be relaxing if I can just get past all of the papers. I have an awesome Wesley movie night, then tomorrow I'm having dinner with the wombat. Nothing big or exciting, but no pressure either. I like the lack of pressure.

There are all sorts of prospective students crawling the campus today, following tour guides, visiting the dorms. They make me sort of dread the grad school admissions process. I really hate wandering around campuses being schmoozed by admissions people and trying to figure out if I like the school while being looked at like an alien by the current students. I hate trying to figure out whether the school runs liberal or conservative, whether it is a hotbed of misogyny or feminism, whether I could fit in socially (as one of the youngest students EVERYWHERE). I don't want to be that outsider awkwardly trying to get a sense of the campus through the admissions office and the tour. It's a lot of pressure, but it's also pretty cool to have that kind of open-ended freedom. I can go anywhere I want to any school I want, provided I can get in. It's a cool feeling to have an open plain ahead of you, waiting to be explored.

But for now, I'm not going to explore or do anything else, I'm going to go eat pizza. Happy Friday everyone!

Monday, November 01, 2004

Bizarro World

I would say the stuff about not writing and being really busy and apologizing but, face facts, it's getting really redundant, so I'll just skip it. Consider yourself apologized-to.

I just had the best weekend I've had all semester. I got to run off to Fright Fest (Six Flags) with the Wombat and meet Rachel there and see her for the first time since the summer. It was a blast just talking and hanging out with them all day. Also, I got to go to the Cheesecake Factory for the first time and it was amazing. The whole weekend was like a mini-vacation until I came back on Sunday, which was exactly what I needed. Everything was great until I had to come back and study for a Greek test. With the way the Greek test went, I'm going to start taking tightrope-walking lessons to prepare for my future career.

If I hadn't given up dating, I'd be slightly peeved with some people right now. Do you know those girls who just HAVE to have guys drooling over them and following them around constantly? I know way too many of them and they make me physically ill. I mean, why do they need to have every guy they meet fall head over heals for them? Why can't they just be happy with breaking one heart at a time, instead of having a small collection of men at their fingertips "just in case"? Nearly every one of the guys in my life that I've been interested in has bee interested in some other girl, always one of these heartbreakers. Then these girls have the nerve to complain about their situation. I am incredibly glad that I gave up guys for the time being. I simply don't have the time or energy required to compete with those girls, and I wouldn't win anyway.

As for the rest of life, I'm seriously excited about Thanksgiving break. The week before Thanksgiving is crazy, with three big papers, two quizzes, and a test, but that will make Thanksgiving break even sweeter. I can't wait to go home, see my family, catch up with my buddies, and finally get to relax.

Tomorrow is the big day: THE ELECTION. While my vote has already been cast (behold the wonders of the absentee ballot), I have a few things to say. First: Bush lied to us. He lied to the American people, and I cannot support a leader who doesn't tell truth to the people he represents. Second: I have not been impressed with Bush's actions. His tax cuts made no sense, his education plan stinks, and his foreign policy has made the vast majority of the world hate us. Why would we want four more years of that? Third: Bush passed the USA PATRIOT Act. This is a piece of legislation reminiscent of the years of McCarthyism and the Sedition Acts, making it possible for the government to check citizens' library records and to hold prisoners, without charge or proof, indefinitely at Guantanamo Bay. I cannot vote for any president who would uphold our freedoms like that. It is unconstitutional and dangerous to the freedoms upon which this nation was founded. I have excellent reasons beyond these for voting for Kerry, but I won't preach them here. But regardless of your opinions, get out and vote tomorrow. If you don't use your power to vote, you may as well be a monkey locked up in a zoo. (Which is actually what may happen to you if Bush gets re-elected...) I plan to sit by my TV tomorrow night and monitor this first presidential election I have been able to vote in. You have no idea how excited I am to see democracy at work. This will certainly be an exciting election.

On that note, I'm going to go try to do homework, since I obviously won't be doing any tomorrow... so get out there and VOTE!

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Painfully Busy

First, I have to apologize (again) for not blogging for a really long time (again). You see, I got a promotion at work that means training and more hours. And then there's the fact that we had midterms and papers and stuff. Add to that Wesley, several important birthdays, and football season, and you've got a recipe for my insanity. You didn't miss any really big news, though, I'm still getting ripped to pieces by Greek and History, trying to arrange study abroad and seminary, and worrying about the upcoming election.

I've been reading a book entitled Grace, by Mary Cartledgehayes. It is the memoirs of a female United Methodist minister. I really enjoy it because the priciple character is somewhat liberal and feminist, but also very deeply rooted in her faith. Finally I feel as though someone else understands what I'm going through as a liberal, feminist, Christian woman. I get to hear about the courage of another woman in the ministry. I get to read about her struggles and triumphs, challenges and encouragements, and how she responds to the call. The author is extremely talented. This is a book that I would recommend very highly.

Well, back to papers and work. To quote, well, somebody, "I'll be back."

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Decision: Off the Market

I have made a big decision: I am not going to get into a relationship for the next two years. So far everyone I have told of this decision has looked at me as though I'm nuts, questioned me disbelievingly, or outright laughed. But, logistically speaking, it makes a lot of sense. Check it out:

First, I'm insanely busy right now. I'm taking 17 hours, starting a new 15-hour-a-week job, working as a Peer Minister and StuCo President at Wesley, trying to get through the Inquiry Process for Ministry, planning/preparing for/applying for study abroad and seminary, and attempting to have a social life. I really don't need the extra stress and time usage.

Second, my life is way too unstable to get attached to someone else. I'm only going to be here at school for the rest of the semester, then home for break for three weeks, then here for another semester, then back home for a month, then I'll disappear to South Africa for a semester, then I'll have one more semester at school before I graduate and go somewhere else entirely for seminary.

Third, I am in a stage of commitmentphobia. I hate feeling tied up. I haven't seen enough of the world to know what I want for sure yet, so how can I make a commitment to one person? Maybe someday I'll be willing to limit my options to one person, but at this point I don't want to do it. Maybe I haven't met the right person, maybe I'm not mature enough, maybe I'm too picky, maybe I'm destined to be single forever. I don't know. But regardless, this is my decision for now.

Don't hold me to this, obviously, as situations change and extraneous circumstances prevail. But for the moment, I'm not interested in relationships with anyone. Singlehood and friendship suit me fine. (And maybe a little random making out....;-) Just kidding...mostly...)

That's all for now. Hope your week wraps up well!

Monday, October 11, 2004

Spewing Nonsensical Jumble

My head is incredibly jumbled, with the result that I'm simply going to spill thoughts, not in complete sentences or even properly expressed, simply to get them out of my head and onto (virtual) paper. So, don't worry if this makes no sense to you, it's here because it doesn't even make sense to me. Here goes.

Boys. WTF? How does this happen? Massive confusion. Timing is terrible. Flowers, conversations, and singlehood. Now is not the time for romantic relationships in my life, is it? So many W's! What else, if anything, is out there?

Classes. 19 hours? 17 hours? 16 hours? Greek? Infamous Trials? Gen. Ed.s? Classes in my major? How much can I handle at once? What is necessary?

New job. Excited, but scared to death. Is it too much? Can I supervise? New place, new position, new responsibilities, new people. Yikes.

This semester. Why are classes going so badly all at once? Is there even a reason to go to history class?

Other stuff: Study Abroad. ASP. Friends. Weight. Family. Politics. Religion. Seminary. Candidacy. Wesley. Reading. Apartments. Money. The distant future.

Thank God for Ashley, KJ, and Caleb.

I need to sleep on this. I'm out.

Friday, October 08, 2004


I have discovered over the last three years (my entire college life) that many words take on a new meaning in college, and other words and phrases are isolated just to college campuses in general and my campus in particular. So, here I will endeavor to record this new vocabulary. There are sure to be more installments coming as I learn new things.

Acquaintance: (n.) A person that one knows under specific circumstances, but whom one does not confide in or spend time with regularly. This may have earlier been or may later become a friend (see below) but is not necessarily synonymous with said condition.

Badunkadunk: (n.) A particularly large and round posterior; large buttocks. Controversy continues to swirl over whether or not such a feature is attractive.

Cafeteria: (n.) A place on campus at which one may use one's meal plan to receive often undesirable food. Though this name is outlawed by University practice, its usage far outstrips that of the University-preferred term: Dining Hall.

Essay: (n.) The opportunity to spew random facts and the professor's own ideas back at him/her under the pretext of a "well thought-out, grammatically correct, and legible" series of paragraphs.

Friend: (n.) 1) A person in whom one confides. 2) A person that one enjoys spending time with on a regular basis.

Home: (n.) 1) The place from which one hails, usually the student's most recent residence prior to arrival at college. 2) Wherever student is living at present, be it residence hall, apartment, rental house, or car. 3) Where your rump rests.

Make-out: (v.) To kiss passionately for a period of time exceeding 5 minutes.

Pizza (n.) A food, often delivered, which is consumed by college students at least once a week and often at strange hours, such as 3 a.m., 10:30 a.m., or 2 p.m. This food is appropriate for all locations, times, and situations, and comes in varieties of price-ranges.

Registration: The bi- or tri-annual ritual of racing other computer-users to claim enrollment slots in classes for the coming semester. This often involves chasing professors in order to obtain overrides, fighting antiquated computer systems, searching frantically to discover the identity of one's advisor, and the development of ulcers.

Responsible: (n.) One who only gets involved in what they can handle and organizedly handles that which they take on. Note the emphasis on limited involvement. This is key for acheiving the title of "responsible" Also note that Responsible has nothing to do with living in Responsibility dorm.

Sick: (adj.) 1. Experiencing temporary poor health as a result of bacterial or viral infection. 2. Experiencing temporary poor health due to overconsumption of alcohol or drugs. 3. Disgusting; gross 4. Paper, project, or studying is incomplete.

Stressed: (adj.) The state of discomfort that ensues when a student has three or more major tests or projects due the following morning.

Clearly this is not a complete list. New words will be added as they arise and as time permits. If you have a word to add, feel free to leave it in the comments. For now, I'm getting my badunkadunk out of here.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Amish...or Not

I am mad at technology. Microsoft Office has decidedly stopped working, so I am contemplating becoming Amish. Here I will weigh the positive and negative aspects of such an idea.

Positives: First, the food. Amish cheese, Amish butter, Amish ham, fresh produce, all straight from the farm that you're living on. Talk about good eating. Then there's the whole anti-vanity thing. I'd never have to see another mirror, so I'd never know when I was having a bad hair day, or a break out, or anything annoying like that. Plus they're really devoted to God, so that'd be a great atmosphere. And I like horses and farm animals.

Negatives: Farm hours, which means early to bed and early to rise...not my type of thing. Also, Amish women are cooks, bakers, babysitters, seamstresses, and birthing machines. I can't do that. I am none of those things, and I don't really have any desire to be any of those things. On top of that, I'd have to wear dresses all the time. I hate dresses. I would probably break out in a rash because of all the dress-wearing. Not to mention the lack of medical care, the lack of cell phone, the lack of higher education, the lack of pictures, the lack of color, and the lack of blog.

OK, forget it. I'd die as an Amish person. Not that I don't love the Amish, I admire their determination. But it might have been a LITTLE impetuous of me to decide that the evils of Microsoft are a good reason to join an Amish community. Just a little. Lauren as Amish:Browns winning Super Bowl -- Not even in the realm of imagination.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Lauren's Thoughtful Spot

Tonight I went to my Thoughtful Spot (like Pooh) and sat thinking for a while. I'm wondering, am I too idealistic? Am I crazy to want to get a Masters and a Doctorate, and have an awesome career? Is it too big a dream to want to change the world (without going into politics)? I have a list of life goals, things like climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, seeing a pro football game (Broncos, of course), visiting six of the seven continents, getting a doctorate, and getting something I wrote published. Are they too much? Are my standards in dates and myself too high? I really do want to see world peace and freedom and provision for everyone. Am I naievely hoping for too much? Or is it really possible to be that happy and accomplish that much? I'll have to keep thinking about whether this is possible, but until I figure it out, I'm going with the assumption that it is possible, and I'm going to keep striving for it.

Happy thoughts for the day: I got the pictures and addresses from the ASP staff this afternoon, which was happy, plus the $50 bonus check (WOOHOO!!!). Also, I ate pizza and watched a movie with KJ, and I went to see the study abroad advisor, which has me even more excited about next fall. Plus, tomorrow Saved comes out, and I only have one class. Hooray for friends and the future and my life.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Freedom to be Adventurous

I got to hang out with KJ this evening, and it was awesome. She invited me on a walk, and pretty soon we were talking about guys and careers and families and the future. We both agree that we never want to settle. Not that we don't ever want to "settle down", but we don't ever want to just take what we can get and live with it. We both want to stretch, to do the exciting things, to go the exciting places, to marry if and only if we find a love worth marrying for. We have big dreams of seeing the world, doing things for ourselves before we settle down, if we ever do.

Because we were feeling so adventurous, we went out and did a little exploring. I showed KJ a really cool place to hide out and study, then she went off to write her French paper. I, on the other hand, am going to go to bed and finally catch up on my rest. Hooray for adventures. Hooray for sleep.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004


Ashley has informed me that my blog sounds depressed. I am not, in fact, depressed. So I'm going to try to make this the happiest entry EVER. Maybe that's a stretch, but I have lots of happy things to say, so we'll see how this works out.

First off, I saw a "Saved" at Ragtag last night with Ashley, Audrey, and Sheena. It is HILARIOUS! It is a satire on religious fanatics, and it is amazing. It has some awesome lines. For instance,

P: "When Jesus closes a door He opens a window."
M: "Yeah, so you can jump out of it!"

C: "There's only one reason good Christian girls come downtown to the Planned Parenthood."
R: "She's planting a pipe bomb?"
C: "OK, two reasons."

H: (throws Bible at M) "I am FILLED with Christ's love!"
M: (hands Bible back) "This is not a weapon, you idiot."

Anyway, I REALLY recommend that you see it. Check it out:

As for the rest of life, things have taken a sudden turn for the better. I've started meeting with Rev. Sarah again, and I love it. She's really understanding and the two of us see eye to eye on a lot of things, which makes it a great chance to talk with somebody who knows what I'm going through. I survived the Greek test and think I did reasonably well, and I think I'm going to get through this History paper after all. I also found out today that I'm probably getting a job that I really wanted (sort of a promotion, but also sort of a different job...) and I'm EXTREMELY excited about it.

I'm also making a list of books that I want to read when I get time to read heavy things again. I may not get to them until Thanksgiving, or even Christmas, but I really want to read them. Among the authors are Kirkegaard, Borg, C.S. Lewis, Bonhoffer, Geisler and Turk, Roy, and Ensler. I'm really looking forward to it. In the meantime, I'm getting to read some really cool lighter stuff, so it's all good.

Tomorrow is Wednesday, which will put me over the hump. Then I'll be my way downhill into the weekend, which means the Mizzou vs. Colorado football game (Claw Ralphie to pieces, Truman!), the dinner at Midway, and Dave Chappelle (live, here at Mizzou, OH YEAH!). I'm really looking forward to all of that, plus tomorrow I get to go to bed EARLY! I must really be an old woman to be looking forward to sleep, but I don't care. It's going to be awesome. And now, to start the awesomeness off right, I'm going to go snuggle into my newly-laundered sheets and give Howard another wedgie. I love my life!

Sunday, September 26, 2004


I went to see Napoleon Dynamite this evening, and I would really like to have my two hours back. I had fun with the people I went with, and dinner beforehand at the Berg was fun, but the movie was not my favorite. I actually found it rather offensive. The whole thing was a giant ruse to make fun of high school dorks. I was a high school dork, and I didn't find most of the jokes very funny. Perhaps I just don't have a good sense of humor, but the whole thing seemed awfully rude to me. Granted, the popular kids were almost as bad as the dorks, but I just didn't think it was very funny. I wouldn't recommend it.

Oh, and (to quote Aurora) I'm going to fail out of life. I am struggling through Greek, trying to get through History, Geology, and Geography. The only one of my classes that is going undoubtedly well is the Sociology. I have a huge Greek test on Monday, and I'm really dreading it. No matter what I do, I can't seem to remember the correct endings for the noun declensions or the exact placements of accents. Ugh.

One more thing: Directly below this and every entry is a place for comments. Feel free to comment. Really, it gives me something to look at to occupy my attention longer when I'm procrastinating.

Well, off to get sleep so that I can study so that I can pass. Goodnight, cruel world.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

World Peace and my iPod

I was studying for my Political Geography quiz a few days ago, when the perfect ideas for solving the West Bank dispute came to mind. I was thinking about animal territoriality, and then it hit me: fire hydrant. We should divide up the disputed territory into home-sized plots, then open it up for whoever wants to run out and relieve themselves. Whoever urinates on the plot first claims it for him/herself and consequently his/her country. It creates a multi-cultural community. It can't be suicide bombed because who knows where the Palestinians are and where the Israelis are? Or, if you have a distaste for human urine, we could always do the typical band fundraiser: cow patty bingo. We make a miniature miniature map of the territory on a football field somewhere in Nebraska, then we let the cows loose, some marked as "Palestinian" and some as "Israeli", then let the patties fall where they may. Palestine gets the plots marked by the "Palestinian" cows, and the same with Israel and the "Israeli" cows. It would make about as much sense as the current divisions of territory. I realize that they all want the same territory, but why can't they just share it instead of killing one another? Thus, the fire hydrant plan or the cow patty bingo plan. It's excellent.

A few other assertions: I think that non-state nations should be given territory instead of being "ethnically cleansed" off the planet. For instance, the whole Middle East would be more peaceful if Iraq, Iran, and Kuwait would just give the Kurds a little land and freedom of self-government. Many of the bombings in Southeast Asia would disappear if the people of East Timor, Tibet, and Taiwan were freed. And, come to think of it, Putin would have a much safer nation if he would let Chechnya and the other nations that wish to secede do so. But that's just my opinion. And I don't think that the U.S. should intercede, I just wish the other nations would get over their greed and work for peace instead of territory and control. (But then, the U.S. isn't really good at that, either, so I guess I can't expect it of others...)

In other news, I got my iPod in the mail today. I'm pretty psyched about it. I mean, all the music I want to listen to in a little tiny computer-thing. That means that I don't have to lug around my giant CD case, I can just walk and jam, jam and walk. I can go to class while grooving to my favorite tunes. I finally get to have a soundtrack to life, instead of just the music in my head that never stops. It's hot.

Well, back to cramming and jamming. I'm out.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Awesome Birthday Weekend

This has been a SPECTACULAR birthday weekend. First, I slept in on Saturday, then spent a few hours doing volunteer work on the home of an elderly gentleman named Paul. He was really sweet and I had a great time working for him. After that, I came back to the FARC and talked on the phone some with family and did some homework. Saturday evening I went to Grinders for dinner with Adam, then we went to Cold Stone for ice cream (YUM!). After that, Adam, Caleb, and I sat in the lounge and talked for a while, then ran to Gerbes. Upon our return, KJ and I had a great movie night, watching French Kiss and Someone Like You in the FARC lounge. We wrapped up the evening with a great conversation with Clark.

Today was amazing, too. I went to church, then Ashley took me out for Indian food for lunch. I went out to Cosmo to do some homework in the afternoon, then talked on the phone with my parents, my sister, Dusty, Amy, and Holly. Then the Wombat came and took me to dinner at Shakespeare's. After that, we watched While You Were Sleeping. Soon after that, KJ, Stef, and Rachee came over, and we ate cake and talked. The awesome finale of the evening was running around with the Wombat and KJ at Cosmo on the playground equipment, then running through the sprinklers on the quad, all the while wearing my tiara and boa. Awesome...freaking awesome.

All in all, a fabulous birthday. I think I may not hate being 20 after all. But I am going to regress from here. Growing up is for the birds. I'm still gonna play. Thanks to all of you who gave me such a wonderful birthday, though! You're awesome and I love you!

Friday, September 17, 2004

In Memoriam

Someone important to me passed away today. Granted, she was elderly and her health was going, so it wasn't entirely unexpected, but this sort of thing never feels good. Whenever anyone close to me dies, I always think of all the people in my life who have passed away. So, I have decided to dedicate this entry to those people and their memories. God be with them.

Betsy was the first person to teach me to garden. She would always serve dinner for herself, her husband, and my family. She always had food to give to us, just to share her love through tangible things. Every year, she would take me to her church for their children's program. At least once every summer, she would just show up one afternoon and take my sister and I out for ice cream. When her beloved husband, Harold, died, she gave me his puzzles because she knew I loved them. Harold passed away several years ago, but he was an amazing individual as well. Harold would do jigsaw puzzles with me, tell me stories about our hometown, and carve things out of wood. Harold could make anything. He made a baby cradle for me when dolls were my favorite toys. As much as I miss Betsy and Harold, I know that they're together now. They aren't in pain anymore, they aren't lonely anymore... now they're together with each other and God. And I thank God for the chance to know them.

Eunice died this year as well. She was a sweet, wonderful, faithful woman. She held on through tough times in her family and never gave up. She kept smiling into her nineties. Thank God for her spirit and love.

I lost two classmates from high school: Kate and Tony. Tony died my senior year in high school. He was always sweet, if a little quiet, and reminded me of Eeyore. Near the beginning of 2002, Tony committed suicide. He was a great guy, and we miss him dearly. Kate was a wonderful girl with an amazing faith. She was on the swim team when I was statistician, and I knew her from the music and drama departments. Kat was always smiling and laughing, always radiating joy from God. She was killed in a car accident in early 2004. She is sorely missed.

The first major grief in my life was the death of my grandfather. He suffered from Alzheimers, and I never really got to know him well. I feel as though I know him, though, from all the stories I have heard from my parents, my aunt and uncle, and my grandmother. I know from the stories that he was an amazingly intelligent, witty, humorous, and kind man. I'm glad that I got to meet him and know him for the brief time I did, and I am blessed to know that a little part of him is in me. I wish I could have known him better, but I rejoice that I knew him at all.

For the others who have touched my life and passed on: Mark, Darrin, Yvette, Mary, Susan, and others, I thank God for all of you. For those of you who have touched my life and those who continue to touch my life on a daily basis, thank you for everything. Never doubt how important you are or how much I love you.

Now I'm taking my sad thoughts and going to bed.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Dikaiopolis, plowing, and the slave

Yes, I know it has been a long time since I have written. I realize that this may be disappointing to the, oh, maybe two people who read this blog. To you, I apologize. However, I have been caught up in a very traumatic and engrossing saga involving my friend Dikaiopolis and his slave, Xanthias. There was some confusion about a rock, and some plowing, and the oxen were mad... it was a mess. That is to say, I have been really busy trying to keep up with my Ancient Greek homework (and other classes). So, allow me to update some random thoughts and happenings from the last week.

The first thing on my mind right now is: OUCH! The Wesley State-wide float trip was this weekend and, while it was quite fun, it is also excruciatingly painful in that I have a terrible sunburn and a couple of really nasty purple and green bruises. Despite my best efforts to apply sunscreen, my back and shoulders are the approximate color of a Kansas Jayhawk, and the tops of my feet and thighs resemble the color of a strawberry smoothie. I had to carry my bookbag around all day in my hands because it hurt too much to carry on my back, leaving me looking like a complete idiot waddling around campus with a grimace on my face. While I usually love being hugged, I have spent the last two days begging people not to hug me because I might scream. Thank heavens for Sarah, who puts aloe on my back three times a day. She is my medical hero.

Another revelation from the float trip: more confirmation that I'm never going to get married. I talked to a man there who chose his seminary based on where his wife could work while he was in classes. I don't want to be limited like that. I mean, there's way too much I want to do that would keep me from settling down: I want to travel to Africa, Asia, and Australia/New Zealand. I want to get a Masters Degree and a Doctorate. I want to have a dog. Besides, I'm not willing to settle for convenience and logical love. It's like Elizabeth Bennett says in Pride and Prejudice, "I am determined that only the deepest love could ever induce me into matrimony." Besides, where am I ever going to find a guy who not only is a good match for me, who I like and who likes me in return, and who is willing to follow me wherever I end up going for ministry?

Other exciting news: the Broncos beat the Chiefs last night in the season opener. I was ecstatic. Today I wore my Elway jersey around campus and had more random conversations with strangers than ever before. I mean, I know that a lot of people here are Chiefs fans, but I never realized how many people were willing to speak up about a SHIRT. No one was mean, though, there were a few supportive Broncos and Rams fans, and the Chiefs fans merely joked around with me. Fun times.

We discussed language in my women's sociology class the other day, which means we got to use all sorts of "dirty" words like bitch and cunt. I really hate that the word bitch is supposed to be bad, when it is used to describe an assertive, opinionated, strong woman. There is nothing wrong with being assertive, opinionated, or strong, no matter what the gender, and I resent the implication that such things are bad. I, however, have never had a problem with the word cunt. I mean, because it was so "dirty", I first encountered it when I was sixteen and reading a Ken Follett novel. I didn't even really realize it was bad, and I refuse to think about a part of the female anatomy as a "dirty word". I mean, words like dick aren't bad, so why should cunt be so bad? This irks me. I am hereby reclaiming the word cunt. I like it. I'm going to use it. People can deal with it.

I also saw my first roommate on campus today. After hearing rumors that she quit her sorority, that she was moving to kU, and that she'd switched out of journalism, I didn't know where she was. I mean, it's been almost two years since I've run into her, and I was so surprised when I saw her today that I didn't know how to respond. We had one of those inane how-are-you conversations, then we went our separate ways. I have no idea what she's studying now or anything. Surreal.

I leave you with one last exciting bit of news: Filming is underway for a new Pride and Prejudice movie, starring Kiera Knightly. Even though I know it won't be as good as the Colin Firth version, I still love Jane Austen, and I'm looking forward to it. YAY! For now, though, I'm headed back to Dikaiopolis and his plow.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Labor Day

Labor Day weekend always makes me restless, so I tried to keep busy this weekend. I went to the park with KJ (coolest playground EVER is out at Cosmo!), watched movies with Jen and the Wombat, read three books, did my homework, and wrote some letters. The most bizarre part of my restlessness, though, was my decision to change my hair color. I had been getting bored with having my boring cut brown hair, so I decided to shake things up a bit. Sarah got dark dye, and I got auburn/red. So, now I have earned the nickname "Coppertop" and my hair is deep red, looking either brown or purple in weird lighting. My favorite description of the hair is "edgy".

Another weird thing about the weekend is that it marks one year since the last time I kissed anyone. A whole year since I've kissed anyone. I'm not sure how I feel about that. Do I even remember how? Oy.

Anyway, it's a gorgeous day outside. There's a tiny bit of chill in the air, and the breeze has a taste of dried leaf crunch mixed with the last of summer's sunshine. I want to go walk, or play on the playground, or at least read outside. After all, winter's going to come and I'll want to hide for four months, so I'd better enjoy the nice weather while I can.

Saturday, September 04, 2004


Yes, that's right, I'm working the FARC desk. An exciting pastime for my Saturday night, I'll admit. It's Labor Day weekend, which means that the dorm is 2/3 empty, and the other 1/3 are band folks who are partying or out-of-staters left to their own, quiet devices. I count as an out-of-stater, I guess, and trapped into working until midnight. Not that I'd have anything to do anyway, I'd probably be doing the same stuff in my room if I weren't at the desk: reading, knocking out the dab of homework my professors kindly gave me to occupy my downtime, and contemplating the future.

It's hard to believe that there are just four more semesters left in my college career. After this semester, I've got 12 classes left. Only 12. I'm starting to give serious thought to Study Abroad stuff, and thinking that perhaps New Zealand isn't the place for me. I've been crunching numbers, looking at programs, and thinking about the cultural experience. My options at this point are New Zealand, Australia, and (in first place right now) South Africa. South Africa has the most unique cultural outlook and it's the least expensive, plus I could speak English. I'm trying to figure out what kind of Capstone project or class I'd like to take, and I'm looking at seminary prospects.

Seminary. Just like with my college decision, I'm starting to make a giant spreadsheet with the options, strengths and weaknesses, the financial distribution, and my opinions. I'm considering Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Duke, Emory, Garrett, Iliff, St. Paul, Trinity, and Boston University. Ten. I want to visit all of them, then I have to decide. The nice thing is that I probably won't apply to all of them, and even if I did it would be a smaller number of schools than I applied to for undergrad. Ahhh... gotta love applications.

But enough living in the future. For the moment, I'm working my way through my classes, struggling only with Greek so far. I'll be getting back to Inquiry stuff soon and Wesley is off and running. And, there's always working at the desk: getting paid to relax and snagging a piece of every pizza that's delivered to residents. Mmmm...

Monday, August 30, 2004

Broken Cup

So, I know that I resolved to move on and stop moping, but I can't help it. I've changed, and I'm struggling to fit my new shape into it's old place here at school. Nothing seems right, nothing seems as alive or vibrant or important or joyful as it was over the summer. I know that the beginning of ASP was tough, so I have hope for this, but it's a much slower process than I anticipated. I mean, I've been back for two and a half weeks, but I still don't feel comfortable here yet. I'll be fine for hours on end, and everything will feel OK, but I always come back to this feeling of discontentment, sadness, and loneliness at the end of the day. I mean, I know that God is beside me, but sometimes it's hard to hold onto that, when I really want to just hold onto someone and cry for hours. Does that make any sense? Probably not. But, there it is. Someone on the ASP listserve sent out this poem today, and it summed up everything very well:

"I go back to the city
To a world that doesn't know the peacefulness of clouds hugging the ridges on a cold summer morning, To a world that can't hear the cascading waterfalls and eagles' cries, To a world that can never hope to imitate the beauty of moist green forests and snowy peaks in vast array.
I go back to the city,
Knowing that I must go, And that it's my place to be there, yet wondering. How can a bring a piece of this world back to this land?"
-Judy Urschel

I want to move on. I really do. So, I keep on smiling and moving and studying, and doing, and don't let on that I'm unhappy. I keep on grinning and laughing, and they'll never know, right? If I never stop and think, it won't hurt anymore. If they never find out, I won't have to explain it, and they won't see me weak and hurting. I don't let on, and they don't ask, so everything comes out OK.

Saturday, August 28, 2004


Do you ever get caught totally off-guard and slip up? Something happens really fast and you don't see it coming, so you do something stupid unintentionally? Yeah, I did that. In my Geography class on Friday, this guy who sits next to me asked me what I was doing this weekend. Figuring it was just a conversation starter, I said I didn't have plans. Then, to my surprise, he asked me if I wanted to do something this weekend, and if he could have my number. At this point, I was in shock, I didn't know what to say. After a slight stuttering, I gave him the number because I was so taken aback that I didn't know what to do. I mean, WHAT?! This is a goth guy, totally wrong for me. We have nothing in common AT ALL. It was bizarre. So, now I have this guy who keeps calling and showing up because I was too surprised to respond. Ooops!

Then the other mistakes: Wombat totally left his car lights on and killed his battery, then it took us a rather amusing 5 minutes to figure out the whole thing... fun.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Bureaucracy and Dreams

Don't try to switch classes once the semester is started. Really. This is for your own good. I have to say, there are few things that cause me more annoyance than the bureaucracy at the educational institution that I attend. Dropping classes is easy. You just get on this little computer program and type a few numbers and it's done. But adding is another story altogether. I tried to replace Finance with Sociology. This involved getting permission to get permission to get an override. Two offices in Middlebush and an enless line in Brady later, however, I have a much better 2 p.m. class, and the guaranteed workout of climbing to the third floor of Middlebush every MWF to wrap up my marathon of five classes. Eh, it's all good, I finally get to study feminism.

In other news, I got to take a nice, long nap today, with the result that I had some pretty crazy dreams. First, I dreamed that I was making out with a certain FARCing sax player, which would never happen, but was enjoyable in my dream. Then I dreamed that my Ohio friends were here at Mizzou and we were rocking the house (dang I miss those guys!). Then I dreamed that my roommate was an anime character (not far from the truth) with her rat. And throughout it all, one of my friends was sitting quietly in the background, just watching it all go by, which is characteristic of that person, but still a little creepy. The really strange thing is that I got more sleep last night than I got on the average night this summer, then I took a three-hour nap, and I didn't even want to get up when the three hours was up. How much sleep do I really want to get? This is getting crazy.

OK, so the "academic" update: Classes have now started. First thing in the morning I have Elementary Ancient Greek, which is really cool, but goes very fast, so it can be difficult to keep up. Next, on MWF, I have Geology: Age of the Dinosaurs, which is incredibly cool. I have a professor that practically bounces in his excitement about the course material, and who shows video clips and media images all the time because he's that neat. After that, I have History of Europe in the Nineteenth Century (Writing Intensive). That class is a little on the boring side, but the professor looks like Hitler, speaks with a Jersey accent, and smiles to much to be either Hitler OR from New Jersey. Then I get a break for lunch before going to Political Geography, which is actually pretty cool, and Sociology: The Female Experience. Doesn't that class sound like a B-Sci-Fi movie to you? Anyway, the title makes me think that, but the class is pretty neat. I dumped the incredibly easy Intro to Finance for non-majors in favor of this more interesting sociology class. I only have Greek at 9 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so I make up for it with work, homework, Wesley stuff, and sleep.

Well, I am off on the eternal quest for someone to eat dinner with. *Here is where I would say goodbye in Greek if I knew how and could find letters, but neither is possible at this time, so you'll just have to put up with "Later, dudes."

Friday, August 20, 2004

Caught in the Rain

Why do people dislike rain so much? In my opinion, rain is actually a soothing, beautiful thing. Rain blurs everything, making everything around you seem softer and fresher. No one has problems with mist. Rain is just really heavy mist...that falls instead of hanging in the air. If it didn't rain, how would things get cleaned up in towns that don't have street sweepers?

Besides, rain means puddle jumping. Rain means wearing galoshes and a shiny, yellow slicker. Rain is an excuse to be six again because, after all, who's going to be able to tell whether you just got caught running in from your car or you went out and jumped in the puddles for five minutes?

What if we all let go, just once, and played in the rain. Imagine, seventy-year-old people dancing in the rain with their walkers. How great would that be? No one would talk about a generation gap, because six-year-olds, teenagers, adults, and the elderly would all have something in common. It might be a problem for world peace, as those who live in the desert might get jealous... but I'm sure we'd figure something out.

Anyway, to sum up this entry: HOORAY FOR RAIN! Now, I'm going to go curl up and read, then fall asleep to the sound of falling rain.

Thursday, August 19, 2004


I have this bizarre feeling of disconnection and unreality. Nothing feels quite real. It is as though I am standing outside my life and gazing in at watching a sequel to a movie that I used to star in. The plot is familiar, or at least predictable, but I don't seem to really feel like a part of the story.

I feel restless, as though I should be doing something more, or something different, but don't know where to start. Yet, at the same time, I feel lazy. I find myself fighting to keep from dazing out and just standing in the middle of a parking lot for hours, just dazed into my own little world, thinking. My mind is somewhere else. I feel like I'm only 50% present, like the rest of my brain is on vacation. Nothing I'm doing seems to demand my entire attention, not like at ASP.

Beyond that, I'm out of place everywhere I go. I mean, I'm a junior in a dorm full of freshmen, which is strange to start out with. Plus, it's a fine arts dorm, and I'm not a fine arts person, so I don't really fit in with the theater, art, band, and music ed. students here. Even Wesley is a little weird, since I'm president and all, and the only female peer minister. I feel like a star-shaped peg, and Lord knows there are no star-shaped holes!

I just want someone to hold me and tell me that it'll be OK, that I'm not a freak, and that I won't be alone and awkward forever. Until then, I'll just go cuddle with Howard and sleep. Everything will be better in the morning. I hope.

(P.S. This is way too much emotional drivel packed together. I promise, my next entry will be at least slightly amusing!)

Monday, August 16, 2004

Missing in Action

Do you ever wonder what would happen if you stopped trying? If, perhaps, you stopped putting effort into your activities and relationships? Would people notice or care? Perhaps it's this transition thing, but I seem to lack the energy and enthusiasm to go out and meet people. I don't seem to want to make new friends, or even go out and try to form relationships with the people in my hall. I mean, I know just about everyone in the dorm. There are a few new freshman, most of whom have little to nothing in common with me. There are the old band people, who I just feel left out from in general. And there are the dorm returners, who all have their groups of friends from before. Then there's me. I don't really fit into any of those categories, and I feel as though I am surrounded by acquaintances, and a few friends who are too busy to hang out with, anyway. I know that I'm being mopey. I know that I could go party with them or attempt to build relationships, but I don't feel like it just yet.

So, I am resolved that starting tomorrow, I will be super-social and try to form relationships. I'll introduce myself to people, try to start conversations, build relationships, and generally put myself out there.

But I'm going to give myself the night off, first. (Procrastination, what?)

Walk Down This Mountain

The summer is ended, and I'm back at school. I just finished the most amazing summer of my life. I can't even describe it. I worked harder than I ever have in my life. I grew and was stretched more than I could even have imagined. And now I'm looking back on it, missing it almost more than I can bear.

ASP Staff... how can I describe it? I was a counselor/social worker/contractor/spiritual leader/hardware distributor/professional driver/financier. Each day I woke up at 6:45, led high schoolers in devotions, maybe went to the hardware store, visited construction sites answering questions and giving advice and encouragement, drove at least 2 hours, made business phone calls, filled out paperwork, led a worship service, and discussed construction with my fellow staffers, before going to bed between midnight and two a.m. The four of us made sure that 70 people were fed and taken care of, oversaw construction on up to 10 sites at a time, provided construction supplies for up to 12 work crews, led 4 worship services per work, and managed a $40,000 budget. Each day I was surrounded by 70 people who were there solely to serve God and His people. I met 13 of the most amazing families EVER, and got to serve them by repairing their homes and giving them new hope. I can't describe the pain of having to turn down 60 families seeking aid, the joy and hope in the faces of the families we served, the energy and growth of the new volunteers each week, the exhaustion by the end of each week, the excitement of new volunteers and improvements, and the amazement of seeing God work in the people around me and myself. I can't explain it, I can't show it to you, I can merely express that I was overwhelmed.

And now it's over.

36 hours after ASP ended, I was back at school reporting for work. It was incredibly strange to know that my awesome summer was over and that I'm back exactly where I was before I left. The location is the same, things here are almost as though we never left, but I am different. I tried to go shopping yesterday because I needed new shoes and school supplies, but I can't bear to spend money. I mean, the money I spent on my textbooks alone was enough to feed one of those families for a month. How can I buy new shoes when they can't afford to pay their bills for the month? It hurts to be in such a different place. It hurts that no one here understands, and that I can't even begin to explain my feelings to anyone.

I want to make friends with the new people in the dorm, to get back into the swing of things, but I don't seem to have the motivation. I'm sad, lonely, and emotionally disconnected from my present surroundings. I don't seem to have the motivation to have social interaction or to do anything, really, besides do the necessary things to get ready for classes to start. It's as though I don't really know what to do with myself. I was invited to a party tonight, but I just didn't feel up to it. Instead, I'm sitting here alone, being lonely and sad, wishing I were back in Virginia. I know I should talk to someone about this, or move on. I know that feeling guilty and pulling away from people doesn't solve anything, but I can't seem to do anything else. I just don't feel up to it. I feel like hiding, crying, running away. I'm coming down, back to the life I left behind. It's a good life, but I suddenly feel like something is missing. I guess I'm just coming down from the spiritual high of ASP and struggling with a little withdrawal. *sigh* It hurts.

"It's a better place standing high upon this mountain
I've seen your face full of the light that only His light can show
A blistered hand is what you've given
You've been given all you'll ever need to know.

So walk down this mountain with your heart held high
And follow in the footsteps of your maker
With this love that's gone before you
And these people at your side.
If you offer up your broken cup,
You will taste the meaning of this life.
Hey Hey

It's a common ground and I see you're all still standing
Just look around and you find the very face of God
He's walking down into the distance
He's walking down to where the messes are.

so walk down this mountain with your heart held high
Follow in the footsteps of your maker
With this love that's gone before you
And these people at your side
If you offer up your broken cup
You will taste the meaning of this life.

Standing in a place of peace,
This is how the world should be, how the world should be.

So walk down this mountain with your heart held high
Follow in the footsteps of your maker
With this love that's gone before you
And these people at your side
Offer up your broken cup,
And you will taste the meaning of this life.
Hey hey." -Bebo Norman

I praise God every day for the opportunity I had in ASP. And I keep walking.

Monday, May 24, 2004


Warning: this is my last post for a while. I'm about to embark on a journey to Kiwi-a-gogo land for three months. I most likely will not update this until I am back in Missouri. Tomorrow I drive to my grandparents house, then Wednesday is the first day of ASP training. Here goes...

As I have mentioned, I'm terrified. People keep telling me that it'll be OK. People say that I'll be fine, I'll be able to do the work, I'll even be good at it. I'm still nervous, though. It's walking into the complete unknown, and that, as you can guess, is a little scary. I have to walk away from home in Ohio again until Thanksgiving. That means no more of the Ohio buddies for SIX MONTHS. I'll have very little contact with anyone from home or school for three months. I'm excited to serve, to meet great people, to work hard, to learn and grow, but I'm also scared to death that I'll fail. I'm going to work at the hardest job I've ever faced, far away from everything and almost everyone I know.

I feel like I won't be prepared, no matter what I do. There are some reassurances: Scripture, tons of prayer support, promises of contact and letters, and having Rachel and Bonnie going to training too. So, I throw more stuff into my duffel bag, say yet another prayer for strength and faith, and try yet again not to panic or throw up. So, if you're reading this, say a little prayer for me and the work I'll be doing this summer. I wish you all the best summer, love to all of you, and I hope to talk to you soon, or at the very least as soon as I get back. Happy and merry!

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

T minus 6 Days

Just when you thought I'd settled for a little bit, I'm back to countdowns. This time, it's the countdown to ASP, a crazy, exciting, terrifying summer experience. I only have six more days in Ohio before it begins.

To catch you up on what has been happening here, I will give a brief summary. I've caught up with most of my friends, either seen them or arranged to see them. I visited two lovely doctors, talked with my parents some, and went to church. Nothing too exciting, but it has been awesome to see my friends here again.

Tomorrow I have to give a speech, and it really scares me. I don't like public speaking anyway, and it is in front of my entire church for 45 minutes. I know that they are all friendly faces, but they gave me a lot of money for the trip and I don't want to let them down. I prepared a Powerpoint presentation and an album... I don't know what more I can do, really. I just hope and pray that it goes well.

Also, in one week I will go to ASP training. I'm scared and excited all at the same time. I feel like I'm getting ready to go skydiving. I'm terrified right now, looking up there and thinking about how I could fall and hurt myself, but I also know that it will be exhilerating. Above all, I know that once I get up in the air and am falling, I'll pull the rip chord, handle the situation, and love the ride. Until then, though, I've got to keep thinking about the fall and how scary it is. At this point, that overshadows the enjoyment.

So, a wonderful week is ahead. I get to see my friends and family, wrap up all the loose ends, and pray like mad, because ASP IS COMING!

Friday, May 14, 2004

Home again, home again, Jiggety Jog

I am home. My car is unloaded. The trip was long and rainy. I'm tired. There are a warm bed and a Harry Potter book calling my name. Mmm...break. Goodnight!

Thursday, May 13, 2004

And they lived happily ever after... or at least all summer long...

The end has finally come. I've finished my last final, I'm packing up my stuff, and tomorrow morning I'll start the drive back home. As I sit here at the desk, I know that I am the last person people see as they leave this dorm. Some will be back in the building next year, some will be on campus next year, but some are transferring or going away for good. "There are few things sadder in this life than watching someone walk away after they've left you, watching the distance between your bodies expand until there's nothing...but empty space and silence." That's a line from Someone Like You. The character is speaking about her ex-boyfriend, but I really think it applies to anyone that you care about leaving. I know that I'll all of them again, but right now it feels like everyone is leaving, and three months sounds like a really long time. So, for everyone who I will be leaving in the next 24 hours, know that I will miss you and I'm already excited for the next time I see you.

On the plus side, I'm starting to taste that freedom that comes with wrapping up the loose ends in a part of your life and leaving them for a while. All of my finals are finished, so I know that I won't have to worry about school stuff again until August. While there are some things that I wish I'd done better on, there's nothing I can do at this point except wait for the final grades to be published. I've packed up a lot of my stuff and put it into storage for the summer, and in 2 hours the rest will all be packed up, too. Then I'll give my room back to the university for 3 months and spend a last night hanging out with the girls. Tomorrow I'll walk away from this place for 3 months and leave the stresses of being a student here.

Tomorrow I'll get to spend 10 hours with one of my best friends: me. I'll get to drive with no one telling me where to go or when to stop. I'll be able to sing along to my music and sort through the jumble in my head. Then, after the drive, I'll be able to hug my parents for the first time in 4 months. I'll be able to see my friends from home that I've only heard the voices of for the last 18 weeks. I'll get to giggle with Amy, take walks with Dusty, trade stories with Alex, have tete-a-tete's with Rachel, and scope boys with Rikki. So, perhaps, as the Wombat tells me (when he brings me flowers, yay!), that makes up for the fact that I won't be playing spy games and frisbee with Zach, hearing crazy stories from Stef, goofing off with Kristen, trying to keep track of Sarah's boys, being spoiled by the Wombat, and chilling with Ryan, Matt, Tommy, Rachee, Chris, and the other FARCers. ASP will make up for the lack of Wesley.

Either way, today is my last day as a sophomore and tomorrow I'm off like a waterbuffalo stampede.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Finals, Finals, Finals

I am timing myself, I can only spend 10 minutes writing this before I have to start studying for my Historical Geology final tomorrow. So here goes.

I have a love-hate relationship with finals week. I hate that I have to memorize all of the information we have covered in all of my classes over the last fifteen weeks, then regurgitate that information in two hours. I hate that I have to say goodbye to all of my friends here and not see them again for three months. I hate that I have to try to pack up all of my belongings without boxes and either fit them into a rented storage space or cram them all into Jack, my car. However, I love that my schedule finally eases up. I love that we are all more considerate of one another and extremely caring about our friends because we realize our time left with them is limited. I love that you get tired and goofy and play insane spy games through campus in the dark. I love the "last time this year" meals out, pizza nights, study sessions, and late-night talks. I love the philosophy that you can hang out with friends and watch movies all day long, then try to cram all night so that you can pass the tests that are supposed to be the reason we're all here in the first place. Finals week is the epitome of the college experience: the friends, the studying, being cramped and broke, laughing, and loving all the people around you.

One finals week story that must be shared: Last night Sarah, Zach, and the Wombat decided to take me to visit their new favorite place: rooftops. We climbed up onto a couple of roofs, climbed over buildings, and played spies across campus. We hid in bushes, behind trees, and in shadows. We ran from hiding place to hiding place, rolling in the grass. Then we went to Hitt for some snacks and stuck around and talked. It was definitely one of the best nights of the year, just because it was so fun, laid back, and goofy. And you weren't sure I was GOOFY enough?! I'm insulted. But it was great. I should have been studying, however, because I am completely unprepared for my test tomorrow. Good thing the Wombat will help me study tonight! And that is how finals week should be: fun and stressful, simultaneously full of laughter and studying. We're going to have to continue that tradition!

Now, shout outs to my wonderful Missouri friends:

Stef, it's been awesome to bee your neighbor all year. You are loud and hilarious, and I'll never forget watching you charm every person you see and smile your way into the hearts of everyone you meet. You're amazing, hun, and don't you ever forget it. I can't wait to see you again next fall.

Sarah, you're wonderful. No one else could convince me to go running for the first time in a year, to help them study a language that I don't speak, and persuade me tease and flirt with every boy in the building. Hooray for being jackals! I'm so glad you moved to FARCland. Next fall is going to be wonderful!

KJ, what can I say? You're crazy, but in the best possible way. Pride and Prejudice week was a blast and I know there will be more wonderful times next fall. Je t'aime, m'amie!

Wombat (who does have a name, even though I never use it), I'm so glad you decided to come hang out with Stef and let me meet you. You've been an great friend and study buddy. You actually made Valentine's Day fun. Thank you for all you've been and let me be. You'd better be ready for me to invade your apartment and bug you in the fall!

Zach, you're such a bum for not coming back next fall! However, I will forgive you for that. You're a great guy, you made sitting in the car driving down I-70 for 8.5 hours enjoyable, which is quite a feat. You'd better be prepared to come visit and play frisbee next fall!

Ryan, Matt, Rachee, Tommy, Chris (Wang), Will, Adam, Caleb, Mel, and Sara, you guys have stood by me and been great friends for as long as I've known you. Thanks for everything! Next year will be great.

I have to give a shout-out for Susanne and Clark as well, since they are graduating. I can't believe you won't be here with me next year. I can't really imagine it being college without you, but I also know there's no way to keep you here, you're both too smart to fail. Just know that I will miss you immensely, you two could always make me smile and laugh when no one else could. I am so glad I got the chance to know you.

Well, I'm out of time, so I must run. Hope finals are treating everyone well and that we all survive this week! Now, back to the history of the earth. Dang.

Songs for the day: "Remember Me This Way" from the Casper Soundtrack, "Graduation (Friends Forever)" by Vitamin C, "In This Diary" by the Ataris, The theme song from "Friends", and "What You Own" from RENT

Saturday, May 08, 2004

Running from Myself

Do you ever just want to run away from yourself? Just slip out of your body and disappear? I've had the feeling over the last few days that I just wanted to sprint away from who I am. I mean, there's nothing really wrong with who I am, I like who and where I am. But I felt the need to sprint, to push myself beyond my physical limits and let myself burst out.

To let this out, I went running. Not cross-country style slow jogging for miles, but full-out sprinting for a few hundred yards, then walking for a bit. I feel restless, like I'm going to burst, and I have no idea why. It's like James Thurber says, "All human beings should try to learn before they die what they are running to, and from, and why." I wish I knew what was going on inside me. I just feel emotionally raw, and there seems to be no escape from people, but also a lack of care. I mean, there are people who care, but I don't seem to want to be consoled by them, so I don't tell them what's going on, or I pretend to be fine. I guess I don't want to burden them with my problems. Then there's the fact that there's really nowhere to go here and get away from people. I'm used to being in Ada, where I can always go wander away somewhere and be alone, but here the only place I can be alone is in my practice room, and that seems prison-like and barren.

I found out today that the scheduling conflict cannot be worked out, and therefore I will not be Head DA next semester. On top of that, because I was supposed to be HDA, there may not be a DA position for me in FARC, which would be really depressing. I would then be a junior, living in the dorms, with no good reason to still be here. Most people move on from the dorms after their freshman or sophomore years, unless they have work in the dorms to give them a reason to stay.

I'm horribly stressed, with tons of studying to do for finals, packing to go home, parting with my friends here, getting prepared for ASP and my Peru presentation at home, and finishing up Wesley stuff before I go away for the summer. I am worried about some family stuff, which is difficult to explain, and terrified of ASP staff as much as I am excited, but I'm not sure how to explain any of it. How can there be so many words in the English language and so few that fit what I want to say?

Ignore this, please. I'm sure I'll be over it in a few days. Just say a little prayer for me, because I'm struggling.

Songs for the day: "Somebody Lives There" and "One Tin Soldier" (I don't know who those are by), "Reflection" by Christina Aguilera, "Iris" and "Black Balloon" by the Goo Goo Dolls, and "Innocent" by Our Lady Peace

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Trapped in a Jar, and the Lid has no Holes

People always tell me that I shouldn't bottle my thoughts up inside. That I should let it out, release the tension. What they don't understand is that it makes me feel bad. I don't want to bring people I care about down by dumping my sadness and burdens on them. Especially right now, when nearly everyone I know seems to be burdened down with their own stresses and hard times. I'm incredibly stressed, I've gotten some bad news, and I have a bad feeling about something, but I just can't bring myself to tell people what's wrong. I mean, everyone I know is busy with lots of their own stress and difficulty right now. I can't bear the idea of making everyone else's situations worse. I would rather keep it to myself. Besides, what is talking about it going to do, except make other people upset?

I feel like my heart is a firefly in a jar, but the lid has no holes. I just keep holding all the stress and emotion inside, I keep giving signs of cheerfulness with by lighting up and flying around my little jar... I don't let anyone see the sadness, just my little light and my flying antics. However, I am suffocating and slowly dying inside, because I refuse to punch holes in the lid. I won't let the stress and strain out for fear of infecting the air around me, I just hold it all in my jar. And I know that eventually I'll be fine, that really, there's enough air in the jar to get by until the situations work themselves out and the jar shatters, setting me free. I just hope that the tension releases before I run out of air.

Songs of the moment: "Ain't No Sunshine" by Bill Withers, "A Strange Way to Save the World" by 4Him, "Tears in Heaven" by Eric Clapton, and "Bad Day" by Fuel

Here's to smashing the jar.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

The End is Near

This title has nothing to do with my recent study of Revelation for class, rather, it refers to the fact that the semester is nearly finished. I had my last class of the semester today, so I am just a few breaths away from being halfway done with college. I'm not sure how I feel about that. In a way, I feel accomplished, like I'm really growing and learning new things. But at the same time, it's scary, knowing that in two short years I have to face the "real world". I don't think I want to do that. In fact, if I could prograstinate entering the real world indefinitely, you'd better believe I'd do it. I'm starting to look at seminaries, and that's intimidating, too. I have to make yet another important decision that will affect my future, and that always makes me nervous. So, I have achieved it, reached the halfway point of college, but I'm also on my way down the other side of the hump toward the real world.

So, I had the good news recently of being told that I was selected as Head DA in my favorite dorm for next year. The problem with this is that I'm supposed to be back at Mizzou by August 8, but I'm supposed to be working at ASP until August 13. Somehow I have to find a way to be in two places at once, or compromise somehow. I don't want to lose either job, or let either organization down, because I care deeply about both of them, but I also can't be in two places at once. On top of that, I can't seem to get an answer from either side as to whether compromise is possible. I've only been able to talk to answering machines at ASP, and I haven't gotten any word from the higher-ups at ResLife yet, either. What I really want to do is leave ASP on Aug. 10 and be 2 days late to the HDA stuff, but I don't know whether that is possible. I suppose if it comes down to it, I'll give up the HDA and stick with the ASP, but I'm afraid that if I give up HDA, I'll lose my DA spot altogether, since the DAs have been selected. Perhaps they'd bump Ben up to HDA, then give me his DA spot. I don't know. I just really want to know how it's going to work out so I don't have to worry about it anymore. I hate the insecurity.

I do have good news, though. One of my finals was made optional, so I'm not taking it. That means I only have 3 finals left to take, and I know for sure that I have an A in one of my classes. Unfortunately, the three finals I have left are in my hardest classes, and the finals will have a huge impact on my final grade. Ugh. Who invented finals, anyway? Whose brilliant idea was it to try to make you remember everything you'd learned in 4 months on one test? Whoever thought it up was a cruel and terrible person. Sadist!

In other news, it is gorgeous out today. It's one of those cloudless, 80-degree days that only happen in the spring. One of those days where the sun just kisses your cheeks, without inducing a tsunami of sweat. Very nice. Why is it that these days only ever happen on Wednesdays, when I don't have any time to enjoy them? I want to go make grass angels, fling the frisbee across the quad, and spin in circles until I fall down, then watch the clouds float dizzily past. *sigh* I really think I was born to be a seven-year-old. Which would mean that I'm already 12 years past my prime. And that it's all downhill from then. How incredibly sad is that? Yikes.

I have to try to find storage tomorrow with Jen, which is NOT going to be fun. I'm scared to death that we won't be able to find storage and that I'll have to call my parents and beg them to come and get me here, which would be terrible. So, we'll all pray that storage smiles on me tomorrow.

Just to clarify this entry, I'm actually not in a bad mood. I'm just a bit stressed. But hey, there are wonderful things, too: the gorgemous weather, the puzzle I'm doing, getting to see my family and friends from home in 9 days, the cancelled final, Wesley Stuff, and my friends here at Mizzou. So, it'll be OK. I just have to keep telling myself that. It'll be OK. It'll be OK. It'll be OK. *Deep breath* Ahh...

Now, back to work. Later, dudes...

Songs for the day: "Paved Paradise" by Joni Mitchell, "College Kids" by Reliant K, "Remember Me This Way" from the Casper Soundtrack, "Freefalling" by Tom Petty, and "She Said" by Collective Soul

Sunday, May 02, 2004

Dark Thoughts

I spent the vast majority of yesterday evening, at least 3 hours, just sitting around and talking with a friend of mine. At one point in the evening we got to talking about more serious matters, deep things. I ended up revealing some things, particularly dark things and worries that I don't usually let people see. After about half an hour of this dark and depressing conversation, I was ready to let the sad subject be dropped, and I said as much to my friend. He chuckled a little and said something along the lines of, "Yeah, I knew it wouldn't last long." When I questioned him, he explained, "I knew the cover would come back up eventually." Thinking on this, I'll admit that it's true. I do have a darker side, internal thoughts and ponderings that make me sad or hurt or angry that I hide inside all the time. I don't like for people to see me being sad or angry because it makes me feel weak and vulnerable. There even things that are buried much deeper than those I showed my friend last night. Does it make me less genuine that I never show these things? Do I give people the wrong impression of me by not showing the darker side? I wonder. But either way, my defense mechanism is to hide them behind humor and cheerfulness, so that is what I do. Is that wrong?

Anyway, I'm in the midst of a crazy day, which I will update you on later, but for the moment these thoughts and questions need to be sent into the abyss. So there you have it, abyss.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Cool and Rainy

This week has been a little crazy. I spent nearly all of Monday night doing Wesley stuff, Tuesday I did yard work for elderly members of MUMC for Wesley, and yesterday was a typical Wednesday, which means it was insane and packed. So, now it's Thursday, tomorrow I have a paper and an oral final exam, and I'm not really ready for either. I have very little desire to prepare for the test and even less to write the paper, which is very bad since tomorrow is the due date for both.

There are two good things in this whole lack-of-motivation problem. One is that it is cold and rainy outside. If I had wanted to do my homework yesterday, it wouldn't have happened. Yesterday was gorgeous: temperatures in the low eighties, bright and sunny, but with a cool wind to keep people from sweating too much. I spent the free 20 minutes between classes and work and stuff laying on the quad taking in the sunshine and thanking God for spring. If I'd had more time, I just would have spent it sitting in the sunlight, not accomplishing anything.

The other good thing is that it gives me a reason to write here, in my Blog. Since I don't want to write my paper, I'm writing here. It's quite lovely, actually.

I'm getting really tired of being simultaneously insanely busy and in a holding pattern. I'm still waiting to hear about HDA and DA stuff for next fall, waiting for Wesley elections, waiting to go home and have a break, and waiting to go to ASP. At the same time, I'm cramped for time on writing this paper, doing a presentation, and taking an oral final, plus getting ready for finals week. On top of that, I need to do laundry, I have an interview to sit in on this afternoon, and I really just want to sleep. Oh, well, that's life, I guess.

I give up, I can't procrastinate anymore. I have to go actually WRITE my paper. How sad.

Sunday, April 25, 2004

The "F" Word

That's right I'm saying it. I am a feminist. I think that women are equal to men, and therefore deserve equal opportunities and equal treatment. After all, how does having a different anatomy make us any less than men? Is a vagina inherently less valuable than a penis? I don't think so.

Abuse of women should never be tolerated. Women should not be forced to wear veils or burqas. Women do not "belong" to men; we are not property. We will fight for equal treatment and challenge those who hurt, rape, or mutilate us. I don't think that abortion is right, but I also don't think that men should be able to make laws that force women to carry a baby and give birth if that is not their desire.

That said, I am not a man-hater or lesbian. I'm not against the institution of marriage, and I don't think that men are inherently evil. There is nothing wrong with women who choose to stay at home, and I support women who choose to have children and stay home to take care of them. I have been known to quote the slogan, "A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle", but that's not entirely true. I think that marriages of equal partnership, in which both parties share power and support one another are great. However, marriage is not necessary for everyone. A woman does not need to be attached to a man in order to have value. Women can survive single or married, it should be a choice that each woman makes for herself.

I have been told lately that I am "too picky" when it comes to guys. Perhaps this is the case. But I have reasons. After all, I don't really see the point in dating anyone that I wouldn't consider marrying, since that is the eventual goal I have for romance in my life. I don't feel that getting married is absolutely necessary, so I am not going to settle. Why should I? I can't commit my life to someone that I don't respect, admire, and love. If I never find that person, then I'll never get married. It's not that I think I'm too good for the guys I know, it's just that few to none of them possess the characteristics that I need. I need a guy who is a Christian with a really strong faith and a good sense of humor who is kind, gentle, strong, intellegent, understanding, articulate, and patient. It wouldn't hurt if he were liberal-leaning and attractive, too. I don't think that I am too picky, I am just not going to change my standards just to get a guy. If I never find the right guy, then I will be single forever. I can handle that. Which, I suppose, is probably one more reason that I will never end up married.

I used the "F" word: feminism. I am a feminist, but not, as Seinfeld would say, a "Femi-Nazi". I don't burn bras, but I fight the against patriarchy in our society. Sorry if that offends you, but that's the way I am.

Saturday, April 24, 2004

Stolen Quiz

{x} what's your full name? Lauren
{x} what are your nicknames? Lee, Double L, Skippy, Paintbrush
{x} how old are you? 19
{x} when is your birthday? 9-19
{x} how tall are you? 5'8" (an ogre!)
{x} what color are your eyes? Green most of the time (mood eyes...)
{x} where were you born? Ohio
{x} where do you live now? Ada, Ohio, or Columbia, Missouri when I'm at school
{x} piercings? no
{x} tattoos? nope
{x} do you get along with your parents? most definitely
{x} can you do anything freakish with your body? I can wiggle my ears!
{x} when is your bedtime? That is entirely dependent on circumstances.
{x} what size shoe are you? 9.5 or 10
{x} have you ever been arrested? of course not
{x} who's your role model? my sister and Mother Theresa
{x} what is the best thing you have done? Any time I've ever helped someone else.
{x} what type of shampoo/conditioner do you use? Finesse (because Vidal Sassoon went out of business)
{x} do you have any pets? sadly, no. If it were up to me, I'd have a dog.
{x} do you have any siblings? Tina, 23
{x} nationalities? German/British/who knows what else?
{x} what is your astrological sign? Virgo

(x) serious or be funny? funny
{x} coke or pepsi? Pepsi
{x} whole or skim milk? skim
{x} single or taken? Our Lady of Perpetual Singlehood
{x} simple or complicated? simple
{x} law or anarchy? law, I guess...
{x} flowers or angels? Angels
{x} grey or gray? Gray (ask Crayola)
{x} read or write? both, but most of all write
{x} color or black-and-white photos? color
{x} sunrise or sunset? sunset (I don't want to be awake for sunrise)
{x} m&m's or skittles? skittles
{x} rap or rock? rock
{x} stay up late or wake up late? both!
{x} tv or radio? TV
{x} is it pop or soda? POP!
{x} eat an apple or an orange? apple
{x} what came first the chicken or the egg? chicken
{x} dead or alive? alive
{x} tall members of the opposite sex or short? Tall.
{x} emerald or ruby? Ruby
{x} left or right? Right
{x} ten acquaintances or one best friend? How is this an either/or question? Both!
{x} high or drunk? neither.
{x} green beans or carrots? green beans
{x} low fat or fat free? that really depends on what it tastes like
{x} what is your biggest fear in the world? Being alone forever
{x} kids or no kids? I like kids...but I'm not sure I want any of my own... we'll have to see!
{x} cat or dog? dog
{x} mustard or ketchup? Both.
{x} hard cover books or soft cover books? soft cover, because they're easier to store/carry
{x} newspaper or magazine? magazine
{x} sandals or sneakers? sneakers
{x} wonder or amazement? wonder
{x} red car or white car? red (who can keep the white one clean?)
{x} happy and poor or sad and rich? happy and poor
{x} singing or dancing? singing
{x} hugging or kissing? hugging
{x} purple or green? green
{x} a year of hot sex or a lifetime of friendship? friendship (what do I know about sex?)
{x} mcdonalds or burger king? McDonalds
{x} winter/summer/fall/spring? Fall
{x} gloves or mittens? mittens
{x} chicken or fish? fish, if it's fresh, chicken if it's not

{x} number? 13
{x} holiday: Christmas
{x} radio station? WONB (great DJs... ;))
{x} place? anywhere where I see people I care about
{x} flower? lilacs (or does that count as a bush instead?)
{x} scent? freshly baked cookies, probably
{x} if you could be anywhere, where would you be? southern France
{x} what would you be doing there? walking through the fields of lavender toward the beach

{x} current clothes: jeans and a Broncos shirt
{x} current mood: content (if a little bored/hungry)
{x} current taste: sweet
{x} current annoyance: my own restlessness
{x} current smell: Moonlight Path (because I just put it on)
{x} current thing you ought to be doing: homework or reading for ASP
{x} current worry: nervousness for finals and ASP, getting ready for next fall
{x} current sound: ESPN (NFL Draft!!!)
{x} current fav food: Mexican or Indian
{x} current fav shoes: the ancient Addidas sneakers on my feet
{x} current fav TV show: SportsCenter
{x} current fav movie: The Importance of Being Earnest or LOTR Trilogy

{x} you touched? probably KJ when I woke her up
{x} you talked to? Mom
{x} you hugged? Stef
{x} you instant messaged? Alex
{x} you kissed? Rick (Peruvian greeting)
{x} you yelled at? KJ, to wake her up
{x} you laughed with? Stef

H A V E Y O U / A R E Y O U / D O Y O U
{x} considered a life of crime? nah, I can't lie and I'm clumsy... it just wouldn't work
{x} considered being a jigalo? nope
{x} split personalities? no
{x} schizophrenic? negative
{x} obsessive? not really
{x} obsessive compulsive? not that I know of
{x} panic? only under EXTREME stress... so not frequently
{x} anxiety? not a whole lot
{x} depressed? not in the last 5 years
{x} dream of mutilated bodies? No
{x} understanding? I think so...
{x} open-minded? About most things
{x} insecure? a little
{x} interesting? doubt it
{x} friendly? yup
{x} smart? I wish
{x} moody? nah, not particularly
{x} independent? mostly
{x} hard working? when I care about the work
{x} organized? in most areas
{x} healthy? reasonably so
{x} difficult? generally not
{x} attractive? not really
{x} bored easily? not bored, but (Oooh, shiny!!!) easily distracted
{x} responsible? usually
{x} talkative? too much so, probably
{x} different? yup
{x} lonely? on occasion
{x} color your hair? I have before, but only slight hightlights... it's really too much work
{x} have a boyfriend or girlfriend? I have had a few at times, but not currently and not on the horizon that I can see.
{x} ever get off the computer? frequently

{x} fallen for your best friend? no
{x} made out with JUST a friend? yes
{x} been rejected? a couple times
{x} been in love? not "in love", no
{x} used someone? Not to my knowledge... (and if I did I it was unintentional)
{x} done something you regret? Sometimes I'm less than pleased with my actions, but I wouldn't change them and I move on pretty quickly.


OK, quick segments about the past few days:

MU Day of Silence: talk about a powerful experience. I took part in MU Day of Silence (not speaking on Thursday until the 5:00 p.m. Breaking the Silence Rally) in order to fight discrimination of all kinds, and to honor those who have had their voices taken away because of differences in gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, or opinion. I just hope that my silence made a statement. After all, we're all in this humanity thing together: if any group of people is taken out of it, there's a hole in our species.

This week marked the five year commemoration of the Columbine School Shootings. I still can't believe that high school students would bring weapons to school and violently and hatefully attack their fellow students. Yeah, being a teenager sucks, but killing people obviously isn't the answer. Zach and I watched Bowling for Columbine in honor of the occasion. It's a great movie that doesn't attempt to give answers, only to ask reasonable questions. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it. (Unless you're a die-hard member of the NRA, then you might not like it so much...)

Today is a gross, rainy day. It makes me a little sad to look outside and see everything all droopy and gray. But, on the plus side, it's NFL Draft day. I'm glad to see that Eli Manning made first pick (I really appreciate a guy who has the guts to follow in his father's footsteps). Not to mention that I'm excited to see what Shanahan has up his sleeves for the Broncos. I can't wait for football season!

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Theological Thoughts

Time to address an interesting theological issue and clarify something about my previous blog: I do not believe in predestination. Unlike some conservative Christians, I do not believe that God has one plan for our lives. I don't think that he puts a stamp on us when we are born that determines our home for eternity...I don't think he stamps our backsides with "Saved" or "Damned" before plopping us down on this planet. I can't imagine God plotting out our lives ahead of us, then zapping us with lightning bolts to get us to do what He chooses and go where He wants.

With that said, I now enter the part where the answers get shady. Do I think that God wants the best for us? Yes. But when bad things happen, is it because that is God's will? No. I think that mankind has freedom: we can choose our actions and our lifestyles. When humans do bad things, that is when bad things happen. What about natural disasters, diseases, plagues? I don't know. I don't believe that God sends these things to punish us. I really don't know the answer, though. I guess I'll chalk that one up to questions that I someday want God to answer.

So, what about this life plan thing? I think that most of the time, we should just live our lives in the best way we know how. We should pray for help and discernment, but I think usually God's answer is, "Figure it out for yourself, that's what I gave you free will for!" Most of us don't have transformation experiences, and God doesn't usually just pop down from heaven and tell us directly what to do. There aren't very many of us who get burning-bush-mail or instant-angel-messages. In general, I think we are supposed to read Scripture, pray, and behave according to what we think is best.

My best guess on the whole predestination thing is this: God is outside time. I don't believe he determines what we will do, nor do I think he alters things in ways that interfere with our free will. Instead, I think He can see our whole lives, everything ahead of us and behind us, and he knows what we will choose. (That whole omniscent, omnipresent thing again...) We have free will, but God is watching us all along the way.

Now, for all of you who are sick of this theology, not to worry. I'll write later regarding MU Day of Silence, the weather, and life in perhaps some observations on the world. Until then, adios!

Wednesday, April 21, 2004


There is something that I feel the need to finally open up about. I'm amazed that I haven't explained it here before. Perhaps I was scared, or maybe just not sure how to put it into words. Regardless, it's about time that I explained myself: Here is the story of how I got my call to the ministry, and what's going on now. So, here goes...

Near the end of Spring Semester last year, I was sitting in Bible Study at Wesley and a thought popped into my head at random, something along the lines of "You could be a minister." This, I must say, is not normal for me. Random ideas about my future don't just pop into my head on a daily basis. However, it didn't seem that remarkable, so I just pushed the idea to the back of my mind.

I didn't give the thought any more contemplation until I was sitting in the back of a van one night while I was at ASP (Appalachia Service Project). As I sat there in the dark, the thought occurred to me again. This time, since it was a repeating idea, I didn't shove it to the back of my mind immediately. I mentioned it to my friend Rachel and we agreed to both pray about it.

When I returned to Mizzou, I thought more and more about those ideas, and devoted a lot of time in prayer to trying to figure out what it was about. The more I thought about it, the more I saw the ways God had molded my life along the way. I could see his hands shaping my life, like the image of the potter in Jeremiah 18:1-4. A memory dredged up from when I was about 5: my parents had tucked me in and I was supposed to be sleeping, but instead I pulled out my book of Bible stories and started a church service for my stuffed animals, complete with hymns, a reading, and a sermon. I hadn't thought about it in years, but all of a sudden it was a clear memory in my mind. The more I thought about it, the more it seemed as though I was being called in some way. I preached at the Wesley on Wheels and I felt completely at home, like what I was doing was right, exactly what I should be doing. However, I wanted more security, more persuasion that it was, in fact, what God wanted, so I still held off.

I continued to pray and think about it, and finally I got incredibly fed up. I felt incredibly restless one day, so I wandered over to the small chapel at MUMC, lay down on the floor, said a prayer begging for clarity, and meditated. As I lay there with the light of the setting sun pouring in the window at me, everything seemed to clear up and suddenly I felt an amazing sense of peace. It was as though opening myself up to God's will and saying, "Yes, I'll do whatever you want me to do," and he was saying, "Now you are ready, this is what I have for you."

I finally felt secure enough in my call to talk to someone, so I sought out Rev. Mike, the Wesley Campus Minister. After talking to Mike, I felt more comfortable with the idea. I waited until Thanksgiving break to tell my parents about my experience. I wasn't sure how telling them would go, but it ended up being one of the most reassuring experiences possible. When I was finished outlining what had happened and what I was going to do, my dad said, "Yeah, I thought so." This confused me, so he explained that this information had come to him in meditation a few months earlier. It was incredibly comforting to have my parents support and the knowledge that I wasn't the only one experiencing God's call.

Now I am working my way through the Ministry Inquiry Process to get ordination in the United Methodist Church. It's a series of workbooks, interviews, conversations, and tests that pave the road to becoming a pastor. So, now I'm navigating that path. I'm going to get my college degree in Interdisciplinary Studies (combining History, Sociology, and Religious Studies), then go to Seminary and, hopefully, get Ordained as an Elder.

"So, now you know the rest of the story." I hope that this explains some things about my decisions and life. If you've got any questions or comments, encouragements, or even complaints that women shouldn't be ministers, leave them. Now that I've unburdened myself, I'm taking the rest of the night off.