28 April, 2006


One of my patients at work today told me I had a million-dollar smile. I haven't heard that in such a long time...it made me really happy. Then I remembered that I used to hear a lot of similar comments when I was in middle school. I'm going to make an effort to smile more often :-)

25 April, 2006


So, a friend recently explained to me that the word "weird" comes from the Old English word "wyrd," which means fate. I don't believe that my life is determined randomly or in a haphazard, crazy fashion. However, from my perspective it often seems that way. I've had so much going on recently that I don't know what to do with myself, seriously! Do I deal with my aunt's death so I can treasure her memory and not be bitter, or do I study for finals this week, or do I finish writing about crazy fun weekends, or do I write about God's activity in my life, or do I sleep, or do I eat? You decide.

Actually, I'm deciding. My lappy's getting slapped shut really soon and I'm hitting the sack. Hard. But not before... *sigh*

Ugh. School is such a hindrance to life. I can hardly wait to see what good God will bring from this.

21 April, 2006

Sovereign Grace Music

UGH! I've been listening to the collection of SGM I have in iTunes..."Songs for the Cross-Centered Life" is terrible! An example: "Wonderful Savior" has incredible lyrics, but the recorded version is SO BLAH. I wonder why. I know SG has a huge emphasis on theologically correct lyrics, and I have experienced incredible passion when worshiping with bands led by Bob Kauflin et al., but for some reason the recordings don't carry the passion.

"Awesome God" is probably my favorite SG album. Not my favorite worship album, but still a good one. "Your Love" and "Three in One" are my favorite songs from that album.

20 April, 2006

Late Nights Spawn Pointless Humor

I found this list on a facebook group. I found it amusing. # 18 and #24 are my favorite.

Things To Do On An Elevator
1) When there's only one other person in the elevator, tap them on the shoulder and then pretend it wasn't you.
2) Push the buttons and pretend they give you a shock. Smile, and go back for more.
3) Ask if you can push the button for other people, but push the wrong ones.
4) Call the Psychic Hotline from your cell phone and ask if they know what floor you're on.
5) Hold the doors open and say you're waiting for a friend. After a while, let the doors close, and say, "Hi Greg. How's your day been?"
6) Drop a pen and wait until someone goes to pick it up, then scream, "That's mine!"
7) Bring a camera and take pictures of everyone in the elevator.
8) Move your desk into the elevator and whenever anyone gets on, ask if they have an appointment.
9) Lay down the twister mat and ask people if they would like to play.
10) Leave a box in the corner, and when someone gets on, ask them if they can hear ticking.
11) Pretend you are a flight attendant and review emergency procedures and exits with the passengers.
12) Ask, "Did you feel that?"
13) Stand really close to someone, sniffing them occasionally.
14) When the doors close, announce to the others, "It's okay, don't panic, they open again!"
15) Swat at flies that don't exist.
16) Tell people that you can see their aura.
17) Call out, "Group Hug!"and then enforce it.
18) Grimace painfully while smacking your forehead and muttering, "Shut up, all of you, just shut up!"
19) Crack open your briefcase or purse, and while peering inside, ask, "Got enough air in there?"
20) Stand silently and motionless in the corner, facing the wall, without getting off.
21) Stare at another passenger for a while, then announce in horror, "You're one of THEM!" and back away slowly.
22) Wear a puppet on your hand and use it to talk to the other passengers.
23) Listen to the elevator walls with your stethoscope.
24) Make explosion noises when anyone presses a button.
25) Stare, grinning at another passenger for a while, then announce, "I have new socks on".
26) Draw a little square on the floor with chalk and announce to the other passengers, "This is MY personal space!"

18 April, 2006

My Aunt

My aunt is still alive, by God's grace. I'd been hit with the gravity of this situation when my father left to pick up my grandma at the airport to go see my aunt, and I hugged him goodbye. I'm not afraid, but sorrowful. I know I can stand fearlessly while wavering on the edge of death, and look boldly down into it without remorse. But I am yearning that my aunt would know such assurance, and that my relatives might also be assured for her spirit. Please pray.

17 April, 2006

We Interrupt the Weekend News...

Last night, my parents received word that my aunt (my father's only sister), who has been struggling with cancer for a few years, is expected to live only a few hours longer. Her cancer has spread througout her body and she is in a coma.

I am praying for my extended family's salvation, my aunt's physical comfort, and my immediate family's worrying and grieving processes. I'm also anticipating a wonderful display of God's grace and mercy in this time. Could you pray with me? I would appreciate it.

15 April, 2006

O Wondrous Spewin' Q

Saith the brother: "Oh, the taskbar? I F11'ed that."
Respondeth the sister: "WHAT? What did you say?"
Brother: "The taskbar?"
Sister: "No, the other part."
Brother: "F11?"
Sister: "Oh, I thought...never mind."
Brother: "Haha, that does sound funny."

13 April, 2006

To Do

Here's a list of things I want to do when finals are over:

~Read a John Piper book (finishing "Don't Waste Your Life" doesn't count)
~Alter my kilt
~Do something (biking/running/friz) in the beautiful air
~Write to Bethany in Tom's River
~Celebrate my grandparents' 50th wedding anniversary
~Not touch my computer for a week (danger! :-P)
~Plan for Europe
~Revamp my room...paint, curtains, organization, whatever
~Figure out how Mom handles the food in this house and see if I can, too
~Win the PSFC championship! Down with Allderdice!! :-P

The list will probably grow as I think of more things to do. I wonder how much I'll get done...

12 April, 2006

Questing For The Holy Grail

Saturday: I never really woke up.

My good friend Chris came by to pick me up at 9 AM. We drove to CMU, stuffed the parking meter with quarters, and walked around an old gym building until we found an unlocked entrance. We met our fencers, and everyone got their equipent dragged into one corner of the gym and we set up camp there. In case you've never been to a fencing tournament, we use TONS of equipment, and the tourneys last a long time, so we also bring food and drinks and fidgety siblings and bored parents. The tournament started almost an hour after it was scheduled, but after that things ran pretty smoothly. Chris was called off to officiate for the saber tournament, and my epee team went up for their pools. Yay!

We didn't do so hot in the pools (8th place of 8 teams), but they learned some important stuff about the differences between epee competition and foil competition. I learned some important stuff about coaching! That was the first time I had ever been sole coach for a team that I had trained. It was pretty interesting. The boys all responded to my coaching well, which I so appreciated and enjoyed. In the DE's we fenced the team from IUP, who were mostly alumni. They were ranked first, but the final score was 41-45! We got pretty darn close to beating them a few times. My boys were disappointed that they weren't going to another round, but I think they learned a lot and they were happy with that.

The foil competition was HUGE. Of the 13 strips, 10 were dedicated to foil. After my team was eliminated from the epee DE's, I bounced around the foil teams, mostly encouraging the middle schoolers to stick around the strip and cheer each other on. Occasionally there'd be a break, and I'd eat voraciously or collapse somewhere and space out for a few minutes. I was called to officiate for the epee competition eventually, and that was really funny. This competition had a different scoring system than I had been used to, so I kept messing up...ah, well. I called the shots right, I just didn't know what to do with that info. I met the epee guys from Penn State's club (not the NCAA team) and they were a really cool bunch. They invited me to come hang out in their awesome fencing facilities for a weekend! That was cool.

The varsity boys' team from Bethel went to the semifinals (I think), and were defeated by Pitt's cream of the crop. Ironically, I had to coach against Pitt! Ouch...the bout went as I expected, however. I forget the final score. That Willy kid had improved a lot since we had last fenced him in high school.

I got home about an hour before my Pysanky party started. The Pysanky party was cool. I met another girl named Sarah, who was a friend of Anna's. Anna accidentally crushed her egg after all her hard work on it when she was blowing out the yolk! Ouch. Ryan's egg looked African, like his previous egg. Domenica's egg was red with green and yellow stripes on it with hearts on it. I have to remember to give it back to her. I completely forget what Lisa's egg looked like...but her back rub sure felt good :-)

I was too tired to get up early for church set-up. But it was a good weekend :-)

10 April, 2006

Continuing My Missive About the Weekend...

Friday: I died.

Not literally. It was a very different experience...I woke up rather early and got all gussied up for a day of hard work and hard rocking. Nate picked me up at 7 and we headed to the Behrens' house. John was loading his car, so we all got ready for a long car ride and settled into the blue hatchback. The ride there was filled with conversation and music. Bela Fleck and the Flecktones are AMAZING!!! Duuuuude. We talked about music (duh) and traveling. John's interested in Japan, so we were discussing the possibility of a journey there. Said John, "Would you be interested in a trip to Japan?" I, thinking that he meant finding a group of people to travel with in Japan, responded with "Oh, yeah, that'd be amazing!" "Hehe...Well, actually, that question was directed at Nate," saith the John. Haha. Misunderstandings can be rather awkwardly funny. So John & Nate were discussing THAT possibility, and I got jealous, but it was cool :-) I hope they end up going, and coming back with cool pictures and interesting stories that would encourage me to go there some day.

We got to the Hoffman's house around 11:30, and surprise! No one was awake. Oh dear. John immediately noticed the 2-liter of Dr. Pepper Berries & Cream on the table, and we sampled the new beverage. Phillip came down the stairs, tousled and smiling, to greet us while Mrs. Hoffman lectured John on the importance of informing her of guests before they arrive. We mulled around a bit, and Mrs. Hoffman and Phillip were introduced to the Amazing Nathan. Brian pulled in the driveway and drove off...I forget the details...and we mulled around...and Steve got home. Then Mike. Then they started to pack the van. Somehow I was half a step behind the guys, so I didn't really help load much, but I labeled power strips and cords with Phillp after searching for Brandy. I rode to YMCA with Mike in a huge conversion van.

We got there a bit late, and found out that we'd have to haul the equipment all the way across the building, up stairs, and back down another hallway to the gym. At least there was an elevator. And we had a truck to wheel the really heavy stuff on. Nate, John, Mike, Steve, Brian and I took it all up there. I got to carry some heavy stuff and show off my knowledge of the proper application of force :-P

While carrying a speaker with me, Nate said, "Shannon, you'd make any feminist proud," and followed it with something like, "You actually get up and do stuff..." I wasn't sure how to understand this statement, although I now know Nate had only good intentions. It occupied my mind a lot during setup. My thoughts went something like: Am I too masculine? Does our culture consider it unfeminine to use muscles that way? I love using my "maaaascles," but I don't want to be masculine. Am I crossing a line? I really appreciated what he said about doing stuff since I try hard to be active in what I'm interested in, rather than just discussing it or serving the world's interest (such as conforming to a certain appearance). If anyone sees sin in this area of my life, please let me know.

So then we got everything in there and the stage got set up. We proceeded to lay out power cords, and Mike spent some time scratching his head and figuring out where we could get electricity and not blow the place up. Flipping switches was pretty exciting, but nothing exploded :-) A few hours into setup (with time running out) things got a bit stressful. I made it quite clear that I wanted dinner whether or not we had time for it, and I think that got obnoxious. Alternate plans and the passage of time eased the stress, and Nate was kind enough to get pizza for the crew. Thanks so much, dude! That pizza kept me from getting ridiculously angry or weak or whatever else happens when I get low blood sugar :-)

Soooo we got way behind schedule, and Pure Boss never actually practiced on the stage. But most of the stuff was working before the opening band, Screaming Silence, got there. I started to wander around and chase Phillip and greet old friends. I walked up behind Jess and put my hands over her eyes...she was quite astonished, and gave quite a hug when I revealed my identity. I love the Murphys! They are always happy when I see them and willing to giggle and talk. There was a group of girls who came, aged between 8 and 12, who absolutely adored the band members. They crowded around the stage asking for autographs before the band started playing. It was pretty cute seeing a bunch of little girls go crazy over my friends...like, dude! They're famous! :-P One of them, after getting an autograph, ran over to another friend squealing, "he touched me!" That just did it for me, and I totally fell apart laughing.

Someone (it was probably Brian) decided that the band was going to wear green golf shirts and suit coats. John had his collar popped, and while he was talking to Lisa I walked up and flipped it down under the pretense of giving him a back rub, Then he asked for more, so of course I couldn't just stop rubbing his shoulders. Eventually it got popped again (oh well) and Mike wanted me, anyway.

Mike gave me the job of spraying fog on the stage. The "other" John (a cool dude I just met) did the WMP animations/video feed/slideshow switching. Even though I was crouched beside the stage with a fidgety black box full of ashy liquid, I still tried to rock out & screamed when I could. I got the "other" John to scream with me! Way fun. I was watching the crowd, and noticed that few of the people I knew were getting into the music, so I took a break from the fog machine and left to rock out. I shoved a couple of people and got Jess to dance with me. Yay! That's the funnest part of being at a concert, and seeing people standing still with crossed arms makes me sad. I saw my brother rocking his face off from the beginning, and that was so cool. Mike, you had the hugest smile on your face :-)

And then I had to go back to the fogger. But since it was so fidgety, Mike gave me his tiny camera (it's the size of about 10 stacked credit cards) to take pictures. I switched between those jobs for a while. I got this SWEET shot of Brian rocking in a cloud of fog with a big spotlight behind him, sending rays into the fog. Soooo cool. I hope they get up on a website somewhere so I can see them!

Pure Boss did a few cover songs that were fun, but they began and (almost) ended the concert with "Ohio." They played some of my favorites, and I was able to rock out for "Straight From The Nails," my absolute favorite PB song. I can't think of a song on their album that they didn't play, and John played electric guitar for his "Time" song (one of his many songs that involve that dimension). He had some sweet new guitar licks in it. The band has improved incredibly since recording that album. Ridiculously improved. It was cool to see how they had improved. And I heard rumors of a 2nd album? (Can I help record? Pleeeeeease?)

After the concert Jess introduced me to Sarah, a girl who had come because she heard of the concert at her high school. That was cool to see Jess reaching out to her...I hope I hear more about Sarah in the future.

Then we took a bunch of fun, silly pictures of the Pittsburgh group, etc. I scrambled to find the electric cords and power strips that I brought, and didn't catch all of 'em. John graciously added finding them to his ridiculously long list of things to do...I felt bad for shuffling that off on him. I hope he didn't go nuts on my part to find 'em. Oh, and I left my sweatshirt in his car! How irresponsible of me. John, I know you're gonna tell me that I helped a lot, but still I want to thank you for doing so much to enable my trip there, and to clean up for me afterwards. Dude, up 'til 7:19 AM? Definitely not me.

The ride home was so cool. We sang songs a capella! That's quickly becoming my favorite pastime when with friends and we don't have much to talk about. Lisa, Nate, and Rachel sang with me. Lisa and Nate I have heard before (it was fun having a guy's voice in the mix). Rachel's voice I heard for the first time, and it is really good! I have never gotten positive reviews of my voice in the past, but apparently I'm not insufferable, so it was really fun. Heather fell asleep listening to her iPod :-)

And then home again around 2:30 AM. Oh, boy. As much as I wanted sleep, I wanted to crawl back in Lisa's car and do it all again. But, I had more waiting for me the next day...

06 April, 2006

God Has Smiled On Me

Here I review Thursday in detail, sorta. I had this amazing sense of God's grace all week, and named these senses "Smile" moments, because I felt like God was smiling on me, and I could see that radiant, mind blowing smile in my mind's eye. So follows my accounts of these moments:

Thursday: I woke up.

Today had so many moments where I noticed God smiling on me. Out of 9 students, I was randomly chosen to do a presentation that went quite well for having 5 minutes to prepare for (not my fault...the professors designed it that way). I brought up a point in my SciFi class' discussion that made my teacher ecstatic. I unwillingly ended up at my kickboxing class, and got an awesome workout that seemed to flush my body of toxins left over from sickness. That feeling after good, hard excercise of elated relief is so undescribable and unique. Then I found out I could sleep standing up on the T and not drool or fall over, and that was definitely a "Smile" moment. I rushed around like a mad woman to find sustenance, then rushed off to fencing with my dear brother. I got to fencing, and I got to coach both epee and high school practice! Yesssssss.

I love coaching. It is probably the most favorite activity in my life right now. Why? I have authority over teenagers who are usually in a period of some sort of rebellion, and they respect me and my advice. It's so cool to walk past someone, and say "Tyler, you need to quit pulling your arm back after a lunge," and he gives me an intelligently remorseful look and makes an effor to change his technique for the better. Then I have to turn around and chastize a middle schooler by making her run, and she runs! It's such a sweet rush to point something out to a kid I care so much about and they respond by caring about my advice. And then I'm able to set an example for them by chatting about life and quashing team gossip and helping with homework and stuff. Such a unique figure for them. I love it.

Then I rode home with Chris, another coach, and he let me borrow "Ogre Tones" by King'sX. I listened to that album while preparing for Friday. What a day...

03 April, 2006

When I Go Down

I'm having a "people hangover." Good weekend...why? God's been showing me sin. I've been changing my priorities. John was here, so that kinda started an impetus to spend time together in the college+Nate crowd, and that was cool. I'm feeling healthier. I had at least one really good/enlightening discussion (late at night as always). I've been anticipating next weekend.

But now what? I'm left unfulfilled. I feel like I just got started with socializing, and now it's time to write a paper and everyone else is too tired to talk anyway. Worship this Sunday was better than usual, but I still feel unfulfilled because I haven't yet faced all the sin God's been showing me.

Where do I go? I don't want to face silence, because that means facing God, and that means uprooting more of my worldly values. But people aren't around to distract myself with...and why don't I want to pursue sanctification, anyway? I had some reason for choosing these worldly values...what was it? I don't want to think about it.

How do I approach people about my sin? I'd love to deepen my relationships with other people, but I don't have the social savvy to know when it's time to goof off and play balderdash or bring up a serious question and get some discussion going. (How do you do that, John?) I always feel selfish when I talk about my sin. I feel selfish now for talking about me in my own blog.

"The very thing that I hate more than everything is the way I'm powerless to dictate my own moods...When I go down, I go down hard. And I take everything I've learned and teach myself some disregard...it hurts to hit the bottom. I've thrown away the secret to find an end to this and I just pray my problems go away if they're ignored but that's not the way it works...Any control I thought I had just slips right through my hands...I confess I'll blame all this on my selfishness yet you love me and that consumes me." (Relient K, "When I Go Down".)

God satisfies. That's where I'm headed.

02 April, 2006

Children's ministry

I love serving my church. I do sound because it's fun, and we can do crazy fun things in the wee hours of Sunday morning :-) I do BS because it's an important interface between the worship team and the church that can always be improved and I like being part of that. I do children's ministry for selfish reasons. I don't have to sit still for an hour during the sermon, it is true, but I also get to play with other people's children. What a precious gift, those children! I got to hold Patrick today for the first time...what a CUTE little Irish baby! And cuddle with Timothy, and Ezra slobbered on me, and Abigail and Lydia gave those charming baby smiles. And Jonathan has such a big vocabulary.

And now two more little ones are on the way!

01 April, 2006

My 100th Post!

Wow, I should celebrate somehow! I think I will add a picture to my blogger profile. That's exciting, right? :-P

I like this picture 'cos...I'm in a tree...in a skirt...with long hair...in Schenley Park. Fun stuff. Oh, plus my mom and Jackie were there :-)