Monday, December 14, 2009

Senioritis!

Oh, Senior Year, how lovely thou art!
When I think on your beauty,
Your tests and your projects,
What joy they bring me
To know each day you bring
The chance for success.

The sun calls out to me,
The trees are green with life,
But I'd rather be here with you
Studying...

How saddened I will be
To see you leave in May
My one request
Disregard this deliriousness!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Rough Days Hold the Most Encouraging Moments

Today was awful.

This morning I was supposed to meet with my darling friend Faith at our favorite coffee shope at seven in the morning. I organized everything so I'd be ready to leave at six-thirty, and as I thought of how tired I would be the next morning, I set my alarm for five-forty. When I awoke to my watch alarm the this morning, I thought it odd that I was not tired and that I was being awoken by my watch and not my radio alarm. I then looked at the clock and realized that it was five minutes past seven. I was supposed to be at the coffee shope in that moment! I woke my uncle up and asked if he could give me a ride. He took his time getting ready, while I tried to defrost the car. We didn't leave for another twenty-five minutes.
When I arrived at seven-forty, I felt so terrible that I had left Faith waiting there for forty minutes, but she was so gracious and understanding. We began talking all about her recent trip as though I hadn't been late at all.

At lunch, the drama students met to rehearse for the Christmas production, of which I am a part. During the rehearsal, we paused a lot to ask questions about blocking and lines. It was terrible; we basically stood in a line in the front of the classroom and said our lines. I felt so awkward because I knew how boring and uninteresting it was, but I didn't know what to do. I was supposed to be interacting with the other characters by getting frustrated at them, but they were not doing anything for me to get frustrated with. The play is this Friday and we are no where near ready.
After the practice, my directors said that they thought I was doing a wonderful job, and they understood that I was trying to do more but couldn't. They assured me that everything would turn out.

Then in seventh period web design, I turned off my computer when the bell rang but forgot to email my work to my home computer. I had to restart my computer, zip my file, and wait for the email to go through. AOL was having issues so I had to use my other email address. By the time I left class and went to my locker to get my books, the bus had gone. I had to call my uncle to come pick me up. I knew that meant that my aunt would give me a lecture when I arrived home about how irresponsible I am.
Yet, even as I sit here and type about it, I feel encouraged. I am reminded that everyone makes mistakes. Therefore, even if my aunt gets upset, I know that I am not an irresponsible person, but rather, I was slightly irresponsible today.

Rough days like today always seem to hold the most encouraging moments. I may have had a lot of stressful experiences, but after each one, I felt encouraged that things would get better.

I guess today wasn't too awful after all.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Childish Ways

Sometimes, I forget that I can initiate a conversation or ask for a hug without waiting for someone else to notice me first. I just want to be loved and noticed so badly that I turn into a little child and say stupid things that I only half way mean such as “I’m the invisible student” or “I’m used to being ignored,” in order to have people pay more attention to me. It’s such a childish thing to do. I am ashamed to think that as a senior I still resort to the behaviors of an unruly five-year-old.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

True Silence

I have seen rain fall hard and dark with pain.
I have heard weeping, what a thunderous sound --
The thought that no more shall I lose or gain --
My body lies still in the frosty mound
Yet still my soul walks through this world this life
As one who sees though none can see me back
I see the world and all its hurt and strife --
Perhaps this breath is not all that I lack --
For those who cling to silence weeps my heart;
For now that I have gone, I am forgot.
My words and deeds have fallen all apart.
The life I led became as all for naught
When I, convinced that living was a curse,
I took my life and rode in a black hearse.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Gift Bag

I often like to sit in the little downtown courtyard of my town and listen to the fountain trickling, the people laughing, and the birds chirping. I like to watch the people too and see which people like to go to which stores. It’s not that I stalk people or anything, I just like to sit and observe them and wonder what their lives are like.

About two years ago, a little paper boutique went in where the nail salon used to be. Its window was arrayed with pretty little birthday cards and photo albums, but on a display box in the center of the window stood a stunning gift bag. Thin silver thread adorned the gold body of the bag in a beautiful embroidered fashion, silver sequence and jewels glittered in various crisscross patterns and designs, and a large silver bow surmounted the bag with great elegance. When the sunlight shown through the window the bag would sparkle and shimmer. It was a beautiful sight to be sure, yet there it stayed day after day, sparkling for all it was worth. Pedestrians strolling by would often see the beautiful bag and make their way into the store; but after careful examination of the gift bag, they left it there in the window and came out with a different one. The other gift bags in the store were also beautiful. The storekeeper crafted a wide variety of bags in many different colors, all delicately thought out. His gift bags soon became very popular with the public who would come from neighboring towns just to buy a bag.

Months passed, but still the beautiful gift bag sat in the window; no one would take it home. I thought it a shame that something so beautiful would stay so unwanted. As I continued to observe this little shop, I noticed that each day the price on the gift bag would drop slightly; each day the flickering of the sequence seemed more and more obnoxious; each day I began to like the bag less and less until I began to despise it. At that moment, I noticed something peculiar about the bag, something that may be why all those customers left the bag sitting in the window; the gift bag had no handles. It was utterly useless and ultimately ugly.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Forty Dollars from God

This weekend, Kaylee and I volunteered at Wolf Mountain’s Labor Day Family Camp Weekend. We had such a great time. The families there were all so kind and the speaker was challenging. He spoke about our identity in Christ and how we died with Christ and have been raised in His resurrection to keep our mind on things above and what that looks like in the family setting.

Personally, I was most encouraged by my fellow staff members who opened their arms to me once again and loved me. I always look forward to going to Wolf Mountain and working along side such wonderful people.

On the way back to my town from Wolf Mountain, we (Kaylee, her mom, and I) needed to use the restroom so we pulled off the freeway into a little gas station, but Kaylee requested that we go to the store across the street instead because she hates going to the bathroom at gas stations. The store was called Nugget Market and was, in the words of Kaylee’s mother, “A hoydee toydee” store.

After we had relieved ourselves, Kaylee and I went to the soda isle to see what they had while her mother went to find sunflower seeds. The sodas were all so expensive, so naturally, Kaylee and I began to act silly and complain about the sodas and the water and the chips being so expensive. We kept saying, “It snot worth it. It snot good anyway. Let’s get the cheap water.” A lady, who was also in the soda isle, saw us and started giggling. “Oh sorry,” I apologized for our silliness, but the lady proceeded to pull two twenty-dollar bills from her purse and shove them into our hands. “Don’t get the cheap water,” she said. “It sounds like you’re buying toilet water. Here buy yourselves the Fiji water; it’s the best.” We tried to object, but she wouldn’t let us. By this point Kaylee’s mom was in the isle and her mouth and dropped open as the kind lady continued down the isle. We each grabbed a drink and Classic BBQ Kettle chips before heading to the check out. Kaylee’s mom insisted that we keep our newly acquired money as she paid for our snacks saying that the money was a gift from God for our hard work this weekend.

I still can’t believe it happened. I wonder if that woman realizes how much she blessed us today.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Love is Frozen Kettle Chips and Otterpops

Love is patient, love is kind. Love is sharing a favorite snack, love is gently rubbing a back. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. Love is affirming a saddened heart, love is making silly faces to make a friend smile, love stomps on cool. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love is saying "Good morning," even though your tired, love is making the other person look good. Love is understanding the other side of the story, love is letting go of grudges. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. Love is glad when others are glad and is excited when others win. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love is wiping away someone's tears, love is believing in someone's potential, love is looking past imperfections, love is unconditional. Love never fails. Love is saying everything without saying anything at all.

New Year's Resolutions in August

My friend Alexandra posted about her new year's resolutions about a week or so ago. This inspired me to create some of my own new year's resolutions, but it's August, so I decided to call them "senior year graduation goals:"

  1. Live my life for God's approval not man's

    • Like i said in my last post "Letting Go of Expectations," i choose to live this life for God's love and to be content in knowing that His love in all i need.

  2. Get involved in a supportive small group

    • Since i've been back from camp, i've been struggling with the fact that i don't really have a strong community to lean on for accountability and prayer here in Walnut Creek.

  3. Learn to deal with imperfections

    • Basically, i'm just afraid of being wrong.

  4. Study the whole New Testament intensively

    • i'm tired of knowing my Bible but not knowing my Bible...i tend to know generalities, but i don't always have a chapter and verse to back them up.

  5. Learn to breathe more and stress less

    • My concern for my AP English grade should not interfere with my thirst for Christ.

  6. Be more loving and love deeper

    • This includes those who are lovable and those who are not as lovable; even if this means that i will get hurt.

  7. Consider others as better than myself

    • Think about them more and about me less.

  8. Teach my friends how to play mow

  9. Have a pizookie

  10. Blog at least four times a month

  11. Keep in touch with Wolf Mountain friends

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Letting Go of Expectations

All my life I’ve struggled with this idea of expectations. Everyone wants something different from me, and I’ve thought that I have to make them all happy some how. I stress over little things like writing close to perfect essays, giving the correct answers, and saying memorable and witty phrases so that the people whom I respect and love would also in turn love and respect me.
I’m generally not afraid to be myself or afraid to stand up for what I believe to be right, but I often think, “Will so-and-so approve of this?” or “Will this grab so-and-so’s attention and make them love me more?” This summer, I have decided to live only for God and His expectations for me.
I’m going to live this life for the One who loves me unconditionally, for the One who loves me more than anyone in the world ever could.
Colossians 3:17 “And whatever you do whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”

Friday, August 21, 2009

Running with Rhinos: Giving My Ambitions to God

In the selection “The Blessedness of Possessing Nothing” found in the book The Pursuit of God by A. W. Towzer, he explains that to be poor in spirit is to give up the things that you desire the most in order to give your whole heart to God. He does this by telling the story of Abraham and Isaac and how much pain it brought Abraham to let Isaac go. Abraham loved his son too much and had let Isaac take over the “shrine” in his heart that God had intended for Himself.

This summer (through out my life really), I’ve begun struggling with what I’m going to do after high school. Unfortunately, I’ve fallen into the mindset that after this year my life will truly be my life. That is a LIE! The life that I am living is not my own; it is God’s. I have all these ambitions for my life: I want to work with Not For Sale and help stop human trafficking, I want to own over four thousand books and live in a nice house, I want to go to graduate school and earn many different degrees, I want to publish a book and be known by the public, I want to do something great! These are the things that I want, but is all this what God wants for my life?

God has given me a heart for the broken, especially children and teens. He has instilled in me a love for His creation and teaching others to appreciate His beauty. He’s given me the gifts of compassion and of teaching. I know God calling me to let Him use this life and the things that He’s given me (along with my strengths, joys, and weakness) to impact other people’s lives. But at the same time, I hear the voices of those around me telling me that I need to do the practical thing and live in the comfort zone or that I should do “more with my life” than what I feel God calling me into. It’s easier to live the life I want to live. I will enjoy life more if I’m doing what I want to do with it. But is that really what life is about? Accepting Christ as my Savior only to live my life as though it’s still mine?


Every year, my school goes on All School Retreat where all of the teachers, students, and faculty go to Jenness Park for three days of campfires and s’mores, fellowship and worship, late nights and Sour Patch Kids.


This year, God knocked me off my feet. During every session with our speaker Ted Montoya and every seminar I attended and every passage of scripture I read, God said, “Marci, give Me your life! Give Me your life! I want to use you! I have things planned for you that you can’t even imagine, but you have to give Me your life!”


I accepted Christ as my Savior when I was in forth grade. At that time, I told God that I committed my life to Him; and in many ways, I did commit my life to Him. I stopped doing many things that I used to do, and I started sharing Christ with others, but I also kept some of my life for myself. I held on to fears and desires and ambitions. Now, none of my ambitions are necessarily wrong; but if I let them get in the way of God’s plan for my life then they become wrong. I could be a missionary in the heart of Uganda freeing young girls from sex trafficking, but if I’m there for personal motives and know that God wants me to be working elsewhere then my “good deeds” in Uganda become blaring disobedience.


During one seminar, Miss Nelson said that committing our lives to Christ is not a metaphor or a euphemism; it’s a real commitment. We are not called to be nice Christian people who live nice Christian lives doing nice Christian things. Each one of us is called to do something specific, to use the gifts that God has given us to His glory, to give up everything for Him.


Like Abraham, we all let things overtake the shrines of our hearts, we all let things push God out of our place of highest esteem, we all let things replace God as whom or what we live for, even after we have accepted Christ and committed our lives to Him.


Once Abraham gave Isaac to the Lord, Towzer explains, that He saw things differently in that he learned to posses nothing. “Now he (Abraham) was a man wholly surrendered, a man utterly obedient, a man who possessed nothing. He had concentrated his all in the person of his dear son, and God had taken it from him. God could have begun out on the margin of Abraham’s life and worked inward to the center. He chose rather to cut quickly to the heart and have it over in one sharp act of separation. In dealing thus, He practiced an economy of means and time. It hurt cruelly, but it was effective.” For us to fully give our lives to Christ, we must give Him the things that we desire most until He alone occupies the shrines of our hearts. This means that we must give up our ambitions and our dreams to Him; He may give them back to us, but we need to let Him control them completely.


At the end of the selection, Towzer gives this prayer: “Father, I want to know Thee, but my cowardly heart fears to give up its toys. I cannot part with them without inward bleeding, and I do not try to hide from Thee the terror of the parting. I come trembling, but I do come. Please root from my heart all those things that I have cherished for so long and which have become a very part of my living self, so that Thou mayest enter and dwell there without a rival…” Let this also be our prayer.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Baby-in-a-Box

Every summer, my aunt, my uncle, and I attend Mount Hermon Family Camp. This summer, my friend Faith came along. Since this was Faith’s first time at Mount Hermon, it was my job to fill her in on all the fun activities and traditions. One such tradition is affectionately known as “Baby-in-a-Box.” To drive to Santa Cruz from Mount Hermon and vice versa, one must pass the Santa Cruz Memorial Cemetery; in this cemetery lays a perfectly preserved baby girl in a glass box full of fluids and chemicals. Legend has it that the baby was the only girl in a family of eight children. The baby girl caught pneumonia and died. The parents were so grieved by the loss of their daughter that they placed her in this glass box so they could see her everyday. Naturally, Faith didn’t believe me, so I took her to see it up close…

Saturday, June 27, 2009

It Was This BIG!!!

One night during our week of staff training, a handful of us counselors decided to hangout in the frontier Dinning Room. To pass time, we watched Youtube videos. We started with silly videos like “Simon’s Cat,” “Billy’s Balloon,” and “The Llama Song,” but we were soon watching prank videos such as “Scary Car Commercial,” “Brittany Spears Scared to Death,” and “Very Scared Kid.” Around eleven thirty or so, Zandra and I decided that we should go to bed and began to make our way back to the lodge where we were…well…lodging. Naturally, we had to walk on this narrow trail that wasn’t lit very well, and I was a tad bit paranoid that Buddies (one of the other counselors) was going to jump out from behind a tree. After a short while, I began to relax; unfortunately at that same time, Zandra and I both heard a peculiar scratching-crunching-rustling sound coming from the left. Just as we turned our heads toward the noise, the trashcan vomited a giant tornado of fur. Disregarding the dreams of our fellow staff members that we would be interrupting, Zandra and I screamed and ran toward the lodge. Once we stood safely on the deck with Pete and Kyra (two other counselors), we let our minds comprehend what we had just encountered and realized that we had been scared by a cute, little squirrel.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Epiphany of the Year

There comes a point in everyone's life when he or she realizes that he or she has been trying to hard. We don't need to stress over every little decision or situation. There are things in life that we simply have no control over, and there is no sense worrying about those things.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Strange 7Up

The year before I went to Kindergarten, my brothers and I lived in a pretty nice house. It was a cute one-story country house complete with a front porch, blue trim, and a large tree in the front yard (the same tree from Ceramic Frisbees). An apricot orchard surrounded our house and the house next to us. Teddy, Kurtis, and I frequently enjoyed having free run of the orchard where we played Power Rangers and had apricot eating contests. Back behind our house a little further into the orchard, a small shelter sat for the fruit pickers to relax in during their breaks.
One day when the workers were not there, Teddy and I decided to explore the shelter. There wasn’t much to see. The only piece of furniture was a small wobbly table, but it was what sat under the table that intrigued us. There must have been ten two-liter bottles of 7UP down there. Teddy insisted on having the first drink; but after opening one of the bottles and smelling its contents, he changed his mind.
With a mischievous smile, he handed the bottle to me and said, “You try it.”
It smelled weird, and I didn’t want to drink it.
Teddy sensed my hesitation and, before I could protest, said, “Oh that’s okay if you’re scared to drink it. I forgot that you’re a girl.”
I knew that I shouldn’t ingest anything that I found just lying around, but I couldn’t have Teddy calling me a girl.
As I put that bottle to my lips, Kurtis, who had been on his way over to check up on us, yelled, “Marci, don’t!,” but it was too late. The yellow liquid burned and tickled its way down my throat.
Teddy was laughing so hard that his face turned red, but Kurtis just stood there staring at me. “What?” I demanded. “What is it? What’s so funny?”
Kurtis’ whole demeanor changed as he finally found his words and asked, “Didn’t that 7UP smell funny to you, Marci?”
It was a rhetorical question but I decided to answer it anyway, “Well yeah, but-”
“Do you see a toilet anywhere around here?” he continued.
“Kurtis, you know as well as I do that the only restrooms around for miles is ours and Autumn’s.”
“Well, little sister, where do you think a the fruit pickers pee at?”
It took my mind only a few seconds to register what he was saying before I began throwing up.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Unforgettable Excitement

I’ll never forget the first time I jumped a horse. I was on a trail ride at summer camp in 2007, and I was riding a large black Arabian named Spirit. Galloping through the forest, we dodged tree branches, bushes, and rocks at top speed. My heart raced with the rhythmic hoof beats of my horse. I could feel excitement pulse through Spirit as we rapidly approached a fallen tree. I leaned forward and counted, “One, two, three.” We were only in the air for a few seconds, but it was the best few seconds of my summer.

Monday, February 23, 2009

You Don’t Need to Have Super Powers to be Someone’s Hero

A hero is someone who does what is right even when it’s not popular. She values the truth and seeks to find it. She sees the good in every hardship and stays optimistic in the face of oppression. She thinks before she gives advice and admits that she doesn’t have all the answers. She wants to protect and shelter, but she knows when to let others receive their consequences. She is gracious and forgiving. She loves the "unlovable." Most often, she doesn’t even realize that she is someone’s hero.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Addicted to Saki

Recently, a teacher of mine introduced me to a literary genius who happens to go by the name of Saki. Because of this teacher's generosity, I find it extremely difficult to sleep at night. You see, once I read one Saki story, the only thing that could keep me from reading another would be an earthquake or a fire in which case I would make certain that my book of Saki short stories was safe before trying to escape for myself.
Saki's stories are full of unexpected twists and turns. He tells of hunting tigers and teaching cats to talk and describes things in the most peculiar and interesting ways. It's as if I said to someone I cared about, "I love you more than not very much," instead of saying, "I love you a lot."
I highly encourage you to read his work, but I must warn you that you will get addicted.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Just a Random Story that I Wrote For Fun...

Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Sally Marie Jo May Weston, but most people just called her Sally. Sally was in love with a boy named Whit Waltman. Whit was two months older than Sally, and he was very smart. Sally had a twin brother named Wilber Parker Jo Weston. Wilber next to Whit in almost every class. One day, Whit caught Wilber cheating off of his test in Algebra II. Whit's first instinct was to tell their teacher Mrs. Comfort, but when he stood up to tell, Wilber whispered, "If you don't let me cheat, then I'm going to tell my dad that I saw you smoking behind the school; and he won't let you take my sister to JSB."Whit hesitated and stood there a while."Whit, do you need something?" Mrs. Comfort finally asked."Um - no, Mrs. Comfort," Whit reluctantly replied. "I just need to turn my test in."

Although Whit didn't know it, Mrs. Comfort had super rodent ears and could her even the quietest whisper. She had heard Wilber's threat, but wanted to see how long Whit would withstand the blackmail.


That night, Whit had a horrible dream:
In this dream, he had been in Mrs. Comfort's Algebra II class and received his test back with a 115% written in big handwriting on the top with smiley faces and stars drawn around it. Suddenly, the smiley faces turned into frowns and leaped off the page.
They circled around him and chanted, "You cheated! You cheated!"
"No! No! I didn't cheat; it was Wilber! He cheated off me!" Whit yelled.
Just then, an old man in an old-fashioned brown three-piece suit and a white powdered wig walked toward him from behind Mrs. Comfort's desk.
"Ed - Ed – you’re – you’re Edmund Burke," Whit stuttered.
"Yes, Lad, I am Edmund Burke," the old man replied. "And you are Walt Whitman.”
“Um no actually, it’s Whit Waltman,” Whit replied.
Oh right, you don’t change your name until after high school,” Edmund Burke muttered. “Anyway, Whit Waltman, I am here to give you a very important message. I am here to remind you that all it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing,” Edmund Burke continued.

The next day, Whit decided that he had to tell the truth even if it meant that he couldn’t take Sally Marie Jo May to JSB. Of course, he had to tell her first so that it wouldn’t be a shock to her when her brother told her father that Whit had smoked behind the gym. So, as soon as he arrived at school, he found her. Sally looked so nice in her purple dress and matching earrings. She saw him approaching her and flashed a pearly white smile.
“Hi, Whit,” she waved.
“Hi, Sally,” He replied. “I need to talk to you about something. It has to do with JSB…and Wilber.”
“What did my evil twin do this time?” Sally asked.
“Well…he – I – uh – I caught him copying my answers in Algebra II yesterday.”
“Not again. Did you tell Mrs. Comfort?” Sally sighed.
“Not yet, but I’m going to today and that’s why I can’t go with you to JSB,” Whit answered.
“What on earth do you mean? What does Wilber’s cheating have to do with JSB? And why on earth didn’t you tell Mrs. Comfort?” Sally interrogated.
“Well, Wilber said that he was going to tell your dad that he caught me smoking, which is a lie, but your - ”
Sally’s laugh interrupted Whit’s hurried explanation. “Whit, this isn’t the first time that Wilber has cheated. My dad will understand that Wilber is lying to him. Besides,” she smiled and squeezed his hand before walking away as she said, “I already got my dress, and your going to love it.”

In Algebra II that same day, Whit went up to Mrs. Comfort’s desk and said, “Mrs. Comfort, I need to tell you something.”
“Wow,” Mrs. Comfort replied, “Did you already tell Sally?”
“Uh?” Whit responded very confused.
“About Wilber’s threat…did you tell Sally?” Mrs. Comfort replied.
“How did you know about that?” Whit asked.
“I can hear everything,” Mrs. Comfort replied with an all-knowing smile. “But thank you for doing the right thing and telling me. You’re a good kid Whit Waltman.”
“Why thank you, but I do have to admit that I had some encouragement from Edmund Burke,” Whit smiled. “From now on, I’ll let my barbaric yawp be heard over all the roof tops.”

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Ceramic Frisbees

When I was growing up, my brother and I didn’t have many toys; but we didn’t mind; we had plenty of branches and mud and rocks to make up silly games with.
One day, Teddy and I became bored of our silly games. For some reason, we really wanted to play Frisbee, but since we did not own one, we decided to make one. First we tried using paper, but it was too light. Then we tried using sticks taped together, but it was too hard to catch. Finally, my brother, two years my senior, came up with the best idea that my little six-year-old mind had ever heard. Though, I must admit that I was slightly apprehensive about getting caught, but I would never have told Teddy about my reservations.
Quietly, we sneaked into the kitchen; and I kept watch while Teddy climbed up onto the counter and took a small white plate from the top shelf of the cupboard. It would make the perfect Frisbee; it’s not too light and not too heavy.
Once outside again, Teddy told me to stand in front of the tree and he’d throw the “Frisbee” to me. I positioned myself exactly in front of the tree with my back up against it. The “Frisbee” came at me too fast and too high; it smashed into the tree right above my head and shattered into pieces of all sizes. One of the larger shards decided to make my head its home and wedged itself into my skin.
…Apparently…plates break…who knew?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Love Brings Knowledge

Philippians 1:9-11
“And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ – to the glory and praise of God.”

I have always enjoyed knowledge; being intelligent is something that I thought would fulfill my life and keep me from making the same mistakes that my mother made.

My first reaction to reading Philippians 1:9-11 was that a love for knowledge would help me discern what is good and pure; but upon reading these verses a second time, I realized that God was trying to tell me something very different.
In these verses God is saying that our love will help us see the world differently (with the knowledge that God’s love brings us), and then we will have the ability to discern what is best and how to be pure and blameless. My love of knowledge is not what is going to make me wiser and fulfill my life; a love for God and God’s love for me will make me wiser and will truly fulfill my life.
I’ve struggled with this a lot and am still struggling. I have fooled myself into believing that if I don’t know every answer to every question I have then I am going to fail at life, but it’s not about knowing everything because it is impossible for any human being to know everything. I need to come back to my first love, my love for God.

Crazy Californians

Last summer, I had the privilege of taking a trip to Israel with my school. We ate a lot of interesting foods and saw many beautiful places, but we always seemed to have the most fun at the hotel.
One morning in Galilee, Faith, Cassie, and I were very excited for the day’s activities and were acting very silly. We imitated the unicorns from the YouTube video “Charlie the Unicorn” and danced around as we rode the elevator up and down.
While we stood in the elevator with our backs to the door singing “Bohemian Rhapsody,” a family from Wisconsin walked in. We kept right on signing and making funny faces into the mirrors until the mother of the family asked, “Where are ya from?”
California,” we giggled in reply.

The woman gave us a that-explains-it smile and stepped off the elevator.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Only a Cold

I hate being sick. I hate how my voice sounds gravelly, cloggy, and low. I hate that my nose gets as runny as a faucet and as dry as the Sahara Desert at the same time. But despite all that I hate about colds, I also see them as an odd little blessing. I am blessed because I am not always sick and I know that I have a healthy immune system that can fight off my cold germs. Being sick reminds me not to take my days of good health for granted, which I do often. It reminds me also that there are many people who have worse illnesses than I do and I should be glad to have only a cold.
Of course, being glad is easier said than done. Because although I am grateful that I don’t have the flu or AIDS, I am still slightly annoyed with the inconvenient time that Mr. Cold decided to visit. Tomorrow, I have tryouts for the spring musical and I sound like a bass, though normally I am a soprano.
If someone only heard my voice and didn’t see me, he or she would think I was an old man who has smoked for seventy-three years of his life.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Nonconformity, Good or Bad?

We all conform to something in one way or another. Most people conform to the rules and laws set forth by the government, which, in most cases, is a good concept to be grasped. Many of us conform to the likeness of our friends; we start laughing at the same jokes and wearing the same types of clothing. When we stop making our own decisions and start relying on others to tell us what to think, conformity becomes an undesired quality. I’m not saying that, in order to be nonconformists and to think for ourselves, we can’t agree with those around us or ask for advice; but rather, we need to be able to take in what others say, process it, and make our own educated decisions. If a nonconformist is one who thinks for his or her self, then “whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist.” (Emerson)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sometimes I wonder what life would be like if "I became a transparent eyeball" as Emerson describes in Nature. I could see everything, but no one could see me. I could be a fly on the wall or a bird on the windowsill. If I could see what someone is like when I am not around, then I would know if that person were truly trustworthy.

Which reminds me of one of Emerson’s main beliefs that a person should trust no one except for herself, that she should do whatever is pleasing to her. Does not a person have to trust Emerson in order for her to believe that what he says about trusting only oneself is true?

I do believe that it is good to think for myself and to go against the norm when the norm goes against what I believe, but I also know that we must be able to trust other people. If we did not have trust in our lives, then how would we be able to learn and to know ideas to be facts? Everything would be a matter of self. There would be no reason to share ideas with other people because no one would believe that the other was right. The world would be in chaos because everyone would do what was right in their own eyes rather than following rules. It’s like saying that truth is relative and that there is no absolute truth, but that in itself is an absolute.

I’m not trying to sound arrogant or say that I know more than Emerson and that his ideas were completely wrong.
I like much of what Emerson, Thoreau, and the Transcendentalists had to say especially about thinking for oneself; and thinking for myself is all I am trying to do.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

At the Risk of Completely Embarrassing Myself

Reading has always been something that I’ve enjoyed. There’s something about opening a book and letting the word’s fill my imagination with new tidbits of information and stories of new places. As a child, I would read stories about girls who solved mysteries or who pursued their passions without a care in the world. Their stories meant a lot to me because reading about their lives made me forget about my own.
I loved going to the library; and when I was in the third grade, my class had a once a week visit to the library for thirty minutes. It was the only time that we were allowed to go, but it was the best thirty minutes of my whole week.
On one such visit, I found a great book that sucked me into its story right away. After a few minutes had past, I realized that I needed to make a trip to the little girl’s room; so I placed a bookmark in between the pages to hold my place and walked quietly to my teacher to ask for my library card. Unfortunately, she could not find the magical little piece of plastic. Instead of asking for permission to leave, I resolved to ignore nature’s summoning in order to finish my book since I couldn’t check it out.
As I continued to read, the need for a restroom became more urgent; and I found myself in quite the predicament. Library time was soon to be over, I still had three pages left in my book, and I had only three seconds before my bladder exploded.
Of course, I chose to finish the book then ran to the restroom to clean up my mess.

Ross and Me

I have the misfortune of being blessed with Spontaneous Social Awkwardness or SSA. It’s a common condition among Marcelina’s and is sometimes called the Marcelina Disease. An easy explanation of this rare, fictional disease would be to say that Ross from Friends and I have a lot in common; we both find ourselves saying, “I just heard that the way you must have heard it, and that’s not what I meant at all.”
One such situation is brought up almost everyday in conversations among my friends; although, it happened in September of 2008. It all started when my good friend Max wore a pair of colorful stripped pants. Personally, I liked them; so when I saw him at lunch, in an effort to compliment his interesting choice in clothing, I said, “How’s your day going, in your pants?”

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Dangers of Sales

I tend to be a fiscal person; when I find something I like, I’ll put it back on the shelf for an hour before I consider buying it. I don’t even try on clothes that cost over thirty dollars. I have avoided many impulsive purchases this way; but recently, I discovered my weakness.
Allow me to start at the beginning; I was sitting at home staring at my door thinking about what else I could draw on it and how much I hate long vacations from school, when I received a phone call from my friend Faith. Knowing how board I was, she proffered an invitation to go to the mall with her and our friend Julia. To be completely honest, I don’t like going to the mall very often. I’d much rather peruse downtown or see a movie, but I desperately needed to leave my house.
I made sure that I had thirty dollars for dinner, and met them at the entrance. The first store that we hit was having a buy-one-get-one-free sale on already reduced price clothing. At first, I just looked around and tried on some sweaters and jackets with no intent of buying any of them, but then I saw it. A gray wool button up coat hung on the sales rack. Originally it was seventy dollars, but that day it was only thirty. I tried it on and knew before I looked in the mirror that fate had brought me to the mall that day.
Normally, I would have made my purchase and been content for the rest of the day, but now I had the task of finding something I liked to be my “get-one-free.” I found a blue and white knit sweater and absolutely fell in love with it only to find that it wasn’t on sale. What was I going to do? I only had thirty dollars with me. It was then that I remembered that there was an ATM machine around the corner. I could withdrawal another thirty dollars and buy both of my exciting finds. I handed my soon to be new clothes to Faith and Julia to watch over while I went to make my transaction. When the ATM asked how much I wanted to withdrawal, something compelled me to take one hundred dollars from my account, which was a mistake.When I arrived back at the store, I still needed to find something to be my free item. I ended up trying on two dresses, another sweater, and a sweatshirt. I bought them all. I went to the ATM one more time that day to pay for dinner.
In the end, it was a great day; and I received some pretty good deals, but I’ve learned the dangers of sales.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Speedy Cleanup

The two weeks that I spent at a volunteer camp this last summer was definitely the highlight of 2008. While I was there, I had the privilege of working in the conference center bakery with my friends Heather and Jesse. I can still smell the fresh bread rolls and pumpkin pie. As we worked, Jesse and I would have races to see who could frost the most carrot cakes in one minute. Our most favorite past time, though, was to make up spoof songs by replacing different places and people that we knew. One such song was set to the tone “Get Low” and went something like this:

“Heather got the plates and the pie made from pumpkin. (Made from pumpkin) She put the oatmeal cookies in the oven. She hit the whip cream. (Hit the whip cream) Made us all scream, ‘Better clean the floor or or or or or or!’”

One day we had a fight with the leftover peanut butter cookie dough. My hands were all sticky and gooey, and there was peanut butter clumped in my hair. We used trays a shield and dodged back and forth between the counters, and just as Jesse was about to throw a huge fistful of cookie dough at Heather, we heard someone say, “The food inspector just called. He’s going to be here in five minutes!”
We froze, dough still oozing from our hands, and looked around the room. It was a complete disaster. Frantically, we raced around the bakery scraping peanut butter from every crevice we could find. Jesse filled buckets with soapy water and looked for rags while Heather and I swept the floor. Once the floor was swept we wiped down every surface we could reach. Not once did we pause to check the time or sit down; and when we finished, the bakery was pristine. Our manager Beth walked in just as we set our rags down.
“Wow, the bakery looks nice, guys,” Beth complimented.
“Is he here yet?” I asked completely forgetting my manners.
“Is who here yet?” She asked.
“The inspector,” explained Heather. “A few minutes ago we heard Annie say that the food inspector was coming.”
Beth looked confused. “I wasn’t informed that he was coming.” A chuckle came from the doorway as Annie walked in. “Wow, you cleaned up fast,” she said with
a mischievous smile.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Too Many Hobbies, Zero Commitment

Having many talents and interests is generally seen as a good thing, but I have to disagree. I have an innumerable amount of hobbies from playing guitar and crocheting to horseback riding and acting. Currently, I am saving money for a Digital SLR Nikon D40 camera so that I can peruse digital photography; unfortunately, I also want to take piano lessons and learn Hebrew and Greek and make a quilt. I have too many ambitions and can’t seem to stick to any of them unless, of course, I am being graded and have a teacher to impress. So I figured that I could start taking classes at the community college in the things I’m interested in, but classes take time and money, of which I have very little.
Who would have thought that a love for knowledge would be such a bad thing? I can’t commit myself to one major because I don’t want to be stuck doing one thing for the rest of my life. I want to go places and learn things. If I had the money, I’d have multiple degrees in Chemistry, Psychology, English, Forensic Anthropology and Pathology, Biology, Education, Theology, and Journalism; and I’d receive them while traveling to places like England, France, Russia, and Israel. I’d learn as much as I could about this world that God has created for us. Although I doubt that I will ever be able to earn nine degrees, I know that I will never stop learning. I will continue to amass knowledge until my final breath even if it doesn’t take place in an official classroom. Besides, life itself is one of the best teachers I know.

Monday, January 5, 2009

True Beauty


Your beauty should not come from outward adornment…Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” 1 Peter 3:3-4
I love these verses; I find them encouraging and reassuring.
Our main goal in life should not be about looking good physically or attracting other people because of the way we look, but it should be about showing others who God is by letting our inner beauty and character shine through.
The most encouraging thing you can do to help some one else have a great day is to show some kindness. Smile a little! Say “Good morning!” to that kid you pass in the hall every single day. Ask someone how he or she is doing and actually listen for his or her response.
The things you do everyday show your true character, and inevitably, your true character shows your true beauty as well.
This does not mean that you can’t wear nice clothes or you can’t look cute. Those are great things. Show your creativity through style, but let that be a side note. How you dress and do your hair should be an accessory to your already beautiful character.
So, share a smile or an encouraging word today, and let your character radiate your true beauty.