26 December, 2006

Christmas Dance Show

Two weeks ago I was writing furiously, attempting to finish my projects and papers for school. Meanwhile, the fencers had voted for team captains, my admissions advisor at my new school was frantically trying to reach me, and my family still didn't have a Christmas tree. Life was crazy hectic in a way that I'd only had nightmares about, but was now facing in reality. John had a phrase that week that seemed applicable... "the only reason [the weekend] will come is 'cause time doesn't stop...not 'cause you'll be ready for it :-)." God gave me little reminders of grace throughout that period, one of which was that time seemed to move remarkably quickly, but my production rate didn't slow down. A professor was particularly kind and gracious by extending deadlines, which allowed me to give him something more worth reading, though the end of finals came later.

On Wednesday I went to Phipps Conservatory (at long last) with Susie and some of her classmates. Though I really didn't know most of them, we had fun tramping around the hothouse flowerbeds and exploring the new addition. Afterwards I went to Quaker Steak & Lube with John and Mike to meet other people there. Mike was...inexplicably giddy, but I had fun laughing at him. I was ready to collapse by the time we left QSL, and that was the first time I remember coughing. The cough became a constant. On Thursday I wrote MORE and MORE, then suddenly realized that I had about an hour to pack for a 5-day trip to Akron. Uhhhh...but everything got done in relatively good time. I was typing my paper up until the moment I reached Oakland, but I had clothes and a toothbrush for the trip. I showed Mom around the basement of the Cathedral for a while, which was fun, and we went to Lulu's. Good, good food...and lots of it. Then we met Bek, and I took off with her.

I'd like to go down a rabbit trail here. Schoolwork is stressful, yes, and at the end of this particular semester I had an interesting battle within concerning school. Obviously I didn't have the time I wanted to make my projects, papers, and exams as stellar as I would have liked. So priorities came into play, and one particular class got sadly ignored. It hurt to do this, especially as I loved the class. My teacher received my final project and seemed shocked at what I had turned in. She offered a deadline extension, and named a date that I expected to spend in Akron. I was washing clothes in preparation for packing when I received this news, and spent several hours debating what to do. I know I had turned in shoddy work, and could do better, so I seriously thought I'd cancel my trip with Bek, go later with John, and come home on Sat. with my parents. Or perhaps not even go at all. I had reached a point in stress where I was tempted to just break down instead of working through the issue. Yes, I considered it an issue. To some, school may take 1st place, but this was not simple. I prayed fervently, and God gave me some enlightenment. Why was I going to Akron? For the Christmas dance show. Why did I want to partake of that? To spread the gospel. Is that the only reason? No, I expect to be blessed with godly fellowship and worship, but through that I'm also expecting God to use me in a way that proves eternally beneficial. I expected God to change hearts at that dance show, and draw people closer to him. Why would I consider not going/making my stay shorter? Because of school. What is the importance of school? By staying home I could have changed my grade by a whole letter value, but considering that God had given me this opportunity to invest in his kingdom, how important is an A when a B is already there? I had been concerned over missing Akron, but through this I became more concerned with missing the Point. My ultimate priority remained with God, and all I am should be invested in him. So I'm getting a B instead of an A in a class. This made the weekend more relevant to eternity, and God surprised me with the grace to let go of my GPA in this regards.

I arrived around midnight at the Murphys. Bek is wonderful; I am so blessed by her friendship. The ride there was full of good music and conversation about God, college, etc. We raced to be the first to hug Jess, and I got the good old couch cushions herded into Jess' room ASAP and collapsed. However, at midnight I got a phone call from John's phone. I hung up and went into the hallway to text him without waking Jess. The caller was actually my brother, who was John's designated driver of the night. I kept losing signal, but found out that he and John had gone off the road, called a taxi, and were now safe at Hoffman's. WHAT? Just kidding! Ugh! Brothers! Crazy boys. More on them later.

The next day was very lackadaisical for me. Jess and Jen both worked, so I watched the Murphy boys played videogames all morning. In the evening we went to dance rehearsal where I was reunited with the Smiths and the Hoffmans. I sewed the backdrop together with fishing line while the dancers rehearsed, and would randomly be needed on stage. "Joseph," played by Steve, had grown a beard for the occasion. 'Twas sweet! We came home, and though I meant to shower I watched The Return of the King with the Murphy family.

On Saturday I fried apples for Jess, Jen, and Daniel before we took off for the church. The dress rehearsal was full of Joseph/Mary jokes. Lots. Even before the show we were teasing each other on Facebook. Once things started, though, Joseph and I would tease each other onstage since we weren't dancing. I'd hold the baby for a while, pass it off to Joseph, and he'd start cooing, "Who's the son of God? Oh yes! That's you! You're so cute!" then would get bored and hand it back. I'd sit there stroking the baby's face and Joseph would be watching the angels dancing around us. "Joseph! Stop flirting with the angels!" I'd snap, and he'd come back with "Well you know, the baby's not even mine." Yeah. Backstage, Herod (Micah) wanted to see the baby, and I pretended to get offended. Joseph immediately was like "hey, back off" and the two of them started teasing. So I was accused of flirting with Herod to get back at Joseph! Ah, the long twisted stories...the teasing helped to relieve stress but also, I think, helped several people to realize the scandalous affair that Jesus' birth seemed to be. Steve even said, "I'm starting to realize what Joseph went through about this."

I was kept quite busy massaging shoulders and feet between the first show and the second one. The day was long, especially for dancers, and I was glad to be of use to them. Even Phillip felt better after a back rub.

[3/21/07...unfortunately, I never finished this. But the shopping trip in Columbus afterwards was fun, too. Jess and I sang our throats raw, I rubbed more backs, and got nice hand massages that really helped the arthritic pain. The rest is, unfortunately, forgotten. But I'm glad I went!]

22 December, 2006


I was thinking about gifts the other day. A friend reminded me of how cheaply I can bless others with animals, fruit trees, etc. that would give them an incredible economic boost, and I thought, "oh this is nice but not for me-I'm a poor college student." I've been looking at iPods, thinking about which one I'd like to get, and the special edition (PRODUCT) RED nanos looked interesting, and $10 (of $250) goes to help fight AIDS in Africa. "Aww, cute!" I thought, and more or less decided to get that one instead of a plain old (yet perfectly sufficient) Shuffle. THEN Jon D's blog sent me to globalrichlist.com where I learned I was in the top 15% of richest people in the world. Even with my student's wages. The website told me that, with $73 I could buy a new mobile phone OR a new mobile health clinic to care for AIDS orphans in Uganda.

Embarrassing, isn't it...that I would consider a $250 toy that would give $10 to the "Global Fund" instead of a $70 version which would enable me to give basic health supplies to orphans?

I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare.
~C.S. Lewis

africa 007
Originally uploaded by sumiknik.

11 December, 2006

Thoughts before the show

Instead of typing one of 3 papers due tomorrow...two of which are rather large...I decided to write down just a few thoughts before the dance show happening this weekend.

I need to practice! I have a DVD that's essentially showing the part I'm playing, although I'll be putting some new "twists" on it, and I need to watch that as often as possible and practice the movements. Like...walking like a pregnant woman, looking for a place to stay, while in labor. Yeah...that'll be a new experience!

Stage butterflies are something to face before the show. I've learned to practice being nervous so I can practice being focused on why I'm doing this. Must work on being nervous :-P

What to focus on? THE GOSPEL. That's why I'm going and doing this, and people are working back stage for it. It's so easy to forget...yet so, SO central. God, help me to remember YOU during this, and devote every thought to you. May I appropriately model the character of Mary and convey her emotions effectivey so that I may glorify you.

07 December, 2006

Pearl Harbor Day

Think what you will about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that happened at dawn on 7 December 1941, 65 years ago. I know that its historical importance is significant, but I do not claim to know the events leading up to the attack. Regardless, I am asking you to remember those who have been or are in the armed services today. If you know war veterans or current soldiers, please pray specifically for them and their current situation. Contacting them to chat may not be a bad idea, either. They have amazing stories to tell, both good and bad.

Why is it important to remember such events? Because "those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it." (George Santayana)

06 December, 2006

Finally-hoedown stuffs

Here I recount the event of PHC's hoedown. It has been a long time since it happened, but I'm hoping to remember a few things worth mentioning. The trip began at 11:30 PM on Thursday night with a call to Bek, asking about dress codes at her school. Hearing a gravelly voice, I remembered the time. Ahhh! Who in their right mind calls that late on a week night? Silly, insomniac me. Bek is gracious, however, and forgave me!

Perhaps it was because my packing was so frantic, but I brought more on that trip for 3 days than almost any other trip I've taken. Even when I went to Europe for 3 weeks, I packed everything into a backpack and a soft-side cooler, both of which were carry-on items. For this trip, I had a backpack full of clothes (note to self...bring more than 1 t-shirt), a laptop bag with lappy, cords, and notebooks, my pillow in its bag, and a sizable CD case. Wow.

My father drove me to Starbucks to meet with Dave T, Bek's brother. After a bit of waiting and some good conversation, Dave showed up in his mother's cute green convertible. My stuff was stuffed into the tiny trunk and we took off. Though that car has a poor sound system, the seats were very comfortable and perfect for a 5 hour drive. Dave and I traded 1-liners for a few hours, and left each other in stitches. We stopped for lunch at Quizno's, which was soup in a breadbowl. A quick stop at several gas stations later, and we were almost at Bek's. I decided to go old-school and popped Carman into the CD player (I'd been DJ'ing the whole trip). After discovering that Dave had similar childhood memories connected to his music that I did, we both sang lyrics loudly and headbanged for most of the CD's duration. Unfortunately, this caused us to miss a few vital turns. Bek received several frantic phone calls as we tried to find her school.

Upon arrival at PHC (amid confusion, laughter, and wrong turns), Dave tricked Bek into coming out of her dorm while not seeing us. He, dressed in his leather trench coat and wide-brimmed hat, ran to meet her. She saw and ran toward him, and was swept up in a bear hug that lasted for a minute. Both were smiling widely, and it was contagious. I couldn't help but smile with them. After unloading the car we wandered around campus a bit. Her school is drastically different than mine. Our mottoes... mine: Veritas et Virtus. Hers: Pro Christo et Libertate. My school has 28,559 students, and hers has 308. I had 300 students in my Intro Bio class! My school is urban, hers is suburban. Girls and guys are not allowed into each other's dorms (save the foyer), but at my school there are absolutely no rules concerning that-thankfully, I don't stay in the dorms! However, both schools have the same colors of blue and gold. Huzzah!

We partook of dinner in the cafeteria. It was pizza night, but thankfully I had choices. I ate a turkey sandwich, salad, orange, and chocolate pudding. Everything was good as cafes go, but something strange happened there. I woke up around 3:30 AM the next morning with severe stomach pain and cramps, but Metamucil took care of that the next day.

At dinner we met a fellow by the name of Joshua (I think) who chatted with us a bit. After dinner Dave and I played a bit of air hockey and foosball, but found out that some dudes (including Joshua) were playing Halo in the hall. I didn't play, but I'd never seen Halo before. Interesting...it's definitely a guy game, though I could enjoy it occasionally. After that, Dave, Joshua, and I decided to watch Return of the King, and went to recruit people to watch with us. After getting entangled in several conversations in the hallway (Is infinity a natural number? Can infinity be multiplied?) and meeting a girl named Samantha, we found out that 13 Going On 30 had started in the room we planned to watch our movie in. Since none of us wanted to watch that, we wandered until we found people watching The Incredibles in another dorm hall. We watched that for a while, then dispatched to our places of repose.

Bek came back from work around midnight with a bag full of Starbucks goodies. We ate them the next morning in the cafe, where I brought the lappy and a notebook. I got a few hours of reading done, and it was time for lunch. The waffles were excellent, and I kept meeting people. In a school that size, it's hard not to notice strangers :-) I made mental notes of guys I'd like to dance with that evening, and girls I'd like to hang out with during lag time.

That evening I took a long nap because I'd been up with stomach pain for some time. Bek woke me when she returned from work (with more goodies) and we prepared for the hoedown. I wore jeans (duh), a plaid shirt, corduroy jacket, and the infamous John Deere hat with braids. Bek looked gorgeous, of course, in jeans and a blue, pink-flowered shirt and braids. Jake showed up and took us and Dave to a restaurant called "Red Hot and Blue" for dinner. Dinner was good and greasy (I totally forget what I got...something with a spicy dip). Our conversation seemed light but intelligent and very enjoyable.

The hoedown itself was well worth the trip. We danced in sand, which wore me out very quickly, and there were a LOT of people there dancing. One fellow danced so much that, since the air was cold, his body was steaming! I was glad that I dressed in layers, and shed my jacket quickly.

[3/21/07...I seem to have half-finished accounts of wonderful trips spread throughout my blog. Apologies. Some random memories from the rest of this trip:

Being spun by Dave...faster than I ever thought possible.
Getting dragged through the sand by Derek during a line dance.
Gasping for breath during and after dances.
Wishing guys weren't intimidated by my height.
Laughing at guys climbing the barn structure.
Meeting a random girl and being friends for a night.
A keg of root beer.
Beautiful stars after the dance.
Dave nodding to sleep at church on Sunday.
CJ Mahaney preaching.
Wasabi on tuna sushi at lunch on Sunday.
Looooooong conversation about Spiritual giftings with Dave on the way home.
Conversations about other deep things with Dave on the way home.
Trying to snuggle into the sheepskin seat covering on the way home.
Asking, "What's for food?" when Dave and I finally get home.
Playing Risk and getting slaughtered by Dave the next morning.

The weekend was wonderful. Many thanks to Bek for hosting!]