31 December, 2007

Insomnia Film Festival

Yeah, I still haven't fallen asleep. THIS was amazing, though! SO GOOD!

30 December, 2007

New Family Tradition?

27 December, 2007

Not Sad (Quite The Contrary)

Christmas resulted in a torrent of good, new music (my dad introduced me to the Brian Setzer Orchestra. Go check them out)! Huzzah!

One new album I have is Switchfoot's Oh! Gravity which I should have gotten myself long ago (at least before I saw them in concert recently--post about that is coming).

Their song Yesterdays is so, so so so so so good on every level I can think of (guitar parts? Aiie, they send shivers down my spine). If I had a six-star playlist like John, this would probably be on it. It is, however, on a playlist called Death/Funeral. By far, it's my favorite song of the four that are currently there, though the average rating is 4.75 stars. Why? The topic of death causes me to worship like few topics do. Please, let me explain. I know you're probably creeped out, but hey, it's my blog, and I really want to tell you this story.

Years ago, before Christ, I was deathly afraid to die. I would lay awake and imagine ghastly events resulting in death, or imagine that death was imminent. Because of this, gory things don't scare or gross me, and it probably contributed to my insomnia. My parents often dealt with this fear, since I woke them up a lot, claiming I could see smoke (in the dark?) and was convinced that the house was on fire and we'd all burn in our sleep. (How old was I, Dad? Four or five, maybe?) But one night, my dad gave me a verse to remember, which was Psalm 30:5*. He explained to me the concept of faith, and that faith is reaching out in the dark with my heart and knowing that God was there, beyond a shadow of a doubt, and had only good things in store for me.

At that tender age, I began to wrestle through thoughts of God's existence, sin, Heaven (reward), and Hell (punishment). God was certainly there; I can't remember a time in my life where his voice has not been audible to my soul. My (meager) life experience led me to believe that he did reward faith and punish sin, though he sincerely did not want to punish anyone. What had I to lose by culturing faith in God? Yet, everything was to gain by doing so.

Late one night when I lay awake seeing wisps of smoke and fighting the urge to wake my parents again, that verse came immediately to mind. "His favor lasts for life! ...Joy comes in the morning!" I latched onto that promise, and for the first time believed that God had only good things in store for me. Joy will come. At first, I hoped it meant that I would live to see the sun rise again, but if it didn't I would be seeing the Son, which must be better than anything I can see here. In those sleepless nights, God helped me cultivate a sense of anticipation, learning more about death and that it isn't the end, or even just a stagnation, but a portal. What lies beyond that portal depends on what one does before reaching it, and God accepted my childish faith and assured me of a purely good future. What exactly that goodness was, I could only imagine, but my faith filled that unknown.

Over the years, I've learned tiny bits about what Heaven and Judgment Day will be like, and have realized that there's more--my faith must result in action. But I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that death is going to be exciting! There are good things in this life that might not be in Heaven, but God has nothing but good in store for me, so if he chooses to give me another kind of goodness, it must be better than anything I've known yet. There are things, however, that I will be so glad to not have. Arthritis has pointed me toward the promise of Heaven so many countless times. Did you know that in Heaven, we'll have new bodies?!? This makes me breathless! No pain, ever! Did you know that God can't stand the presence of Evil? So if we're going to live in his presence (can't type, mind is exploding...), then we can't even consider the topic of Evil. Petty thoughts and hurtful actions will be GONE! AH! What could be better? No Utopia could match this! How can I even think about such a lofty ideal? I don't know! I know I can't realize any of it, or really predict anything. It's a wild, glorious unknown. It's a place I can barely wait to reach. In fact, I've thought about going there NOW, but Philippians 1:21-26 has kept me here to fulfill the good purpose God has for me.

If the paragraph above didn't make you breathless, or laugh, or at least smile, my writing has utterly failed. Language is a pitiful medium to communicate such ideas--that's why you should go read what the Bible says about faith, promises, goodness, and Heaven. Those aren't merely words; they're alive because of the Holy Spirit. He can communicate in ways I can't imagine.

Heaven is why death holds no qualms for me. I have fears about how death may come, and still lay awake imagining unlikely, unpleasant ways to die. But the pain will be over eventually and I, yes I, will see the the Son of God and will be an heiress with him. An equal with God's Son? This sounds blasphemous! But it's true! So true! Every fiber of my body screams in anticipation of this joyous event. (Not kidding. Even my nose is running really hard right now... :-P)

It's selfish of me to wish that no one would cry at my funeral, however. I mean, hopefully my life has impacted at least some others and shown them God's goodness. If they think that my death means God's goodness has ceased to be revealed in at least one aspect, I can't wish that they'd forget about God's goodness. But I don't want my funeral to cater to sadness and depression. Look up! Rejoice in God's goodness! Thank him for what was, and rejoice in what will be!

Every lament is a love song!
~Jon Foreman

*My first "real" Bible, a Precious Moments Bible, had a page dedicated to this verse. I recently gave it to my cousin's daughter. I pray that she learns the same precious truths that I learned, and a genuine faith grows in her heart as a result of that Bible.

12 December, 2007

The Semi-Annual Interview

[Cue: couch with one occupant. Sun is setting in window behind couch.]

Self: And welcome, folks, to this semester's edition of Thoughts of a Wood Elf! Once again, I'm hosting a guest, Self. But before we meet Self, let me give you all some background information. Self left the bureaucratic world of academia at a huge university and spent some months working at a sub joint. This fall she returned to school, and tonight we're going to hear about her experiences. Please, welcome Self!


Self: Hi, thanks! I'm glad to be here.

Self: Self, it was rumored that you'd dropped out of college. Was that true?

Self: No, I'd never planned to leave college altogether. I certainly needed a break, and wasn't sure I'd be going back to the same school, but I always hoped to finish my degree.

Self: Why?

Self: I was so close to being done already, and a college degree can open doors, even if they're not in fields that one has studied. Personally, I wanted revenge, too. I felt like the College Experience tried its best to chew me up and spit me out, and I wanted to get back at "College," and prove I was actually smart enough to graduate.

Self: Wow. Has it worked?

Self: Oh, yeah. I haven't graduated yet, but this semester has been so different!

Self: So you've been sleeping 8 hours a night and eating meals at regular intervals?

Self: No, I'm still an insomniac and I actually stayed away from food on purpose this semester.

Self: Whoa, OK. Two questions: 1) Why did you stay away from food? 2) What was different, then?

Self: I stayed away from food because I wanted to lose weight but didn't feel healthy enough to work out. A long time ago I swore never to do this...but I did. Oh well. Next semester will be different, though, because I plan to work out regularly in an effort to stay healthy, rather than recognize that need after I get sick and too weak/lazy to exercise.

[Self passes a slip of paper to Self, which says "Note to Self, starving is a terribly inefficient way to lose weight."]

Self: So what's going to change about next semester?

Self: I discovered a program at my school that gives you a ton of resources to help you set fitness goals and reach them. So I'm going to invade the gym most days after classes, armed with knowledge and having specific goals. One of those goals will be to improve my fencing footwork. I hate feeling old and slow when I coach!

Self: [Chuckles.] Let's go back to academia. What changed in the months that you took a break from college, and how did that affect your studies when you went back to school?

Self: Well, I battled depression in the winter and spring. I wouldn't say I "recovered" from depression during the summer, but I was reminded of central truths that I had taken for granted or forgotten. I think part of depression is a worldview that causes one to keep looking back into oneself, which can be healthy but not in extremes. God changed my view to be focused on him, rather than myself. So I approached the fall semester with a very expectant attitude, waiting to see how God would glorify himself there.

Self: And did God come through?

Self: Of course, silly. When doesn't he? He taught me a lot about relationships this semester, for which I am incredibly grateful.

Self: How did your approach to school change?

Self: It didn't.

Self: So did your semester grades change?

Self: Well, I only took 4 classes, so I had more time to devote to studying...not that I really studied all that much more. But in the past, I've been excited to get something other than a C. This semester, I'll be disappointed if I get a C. Hopefully that trend will continue next semester.

Self: What, in your opinion, caused this change?

Self: Linguistics! I love it...I love that I can geek out over it with my classmates, and they participate in the geekiness and encourage it. It's hard to geek out over something like biology...something that is certainly mysterious and intriguing but which has been researched to death. Linguistics is such an undeveloped field...if I ever get to research stuff, I have a notebook full of questions I could easily turn into research projects. I mean, Sign Language alone has so much to offer that no one knows about, and it's only one of five languages I've studied. Oh, speaking of languages, I think I'll have time to study one more language before I graduate. Should I pick ancient Greek, ancient Hebrew, an African click language, or artificial languages like Klingon and Elvish?

Self: Um, perhaps we should poll the audience!

Self: Sounds good. Whaddya think?

[Turns and looks at you expectantly.]

If This Doesn't Make Sense, It's Vincent's Fault...

I've come to the sudden conclusion that it's hard to be idealistic about one's work. If I went into an art field, it would have something to do with the visual arts, but I've been afraid to follow this path because I'm idealistic about what and how I would create art. And yet, I love music but don't claim to be a musician. I am an instrumentalist, yes. I know how to play the violin and can produce good notes (with exception, of course). But I don't know music, and cannot produce good original music (I may be able to jam, but only because I've studied Sevcek's variations). So it's much easier to be idealistic about the kind of music I enjoy than the kind of art I create. After all, if my next meal would depend on the the shape of pot I throw, I'd certainly throw something that would sell, not necessarily the shape I want to throw (though hopefully I'd get to do that, too). There are careers to which this doesn't apply. I hope CPAs aren't not idealistic about their work...the idea is to have integrity, after all.

I love studying the interaction between the visual and the auditory art spheres.

09 December, 2007

Oh, man...

These guys amuse me, even when they don't have a huge tech crew and lots of money. Jon must have either taken singing lessons or gotten serious back pain from singing like that... And, wow, Tim must have stopped dyeing his hair between then and now. And Jon has yet to cut his since then. At least Chad has some follicular sense :-P

07 December, 2007

December 7th

Today, dear friends, is Pearl Harbor Day.

Please remember those who lost their lives in this tragic event, and remember the circumstances, so that history won't repeat itself. Thank the veterans and soldiers you may know for their courage.

(Also, could you pray for my younger brother? He got slammed in the head by a hockey puck, and is on his way to the emergency room.)

05 December, 2007


Guys--it's officially Christmas :-) OK, fine, it's been "officially Christmas" since the day before Halloween, but I just realized it.


When I popped open a box of Sugar Plum Spice tea after frolicking in the snow for 20 minutes.

To celebrate, I'm posting in red :-D [EDIT-I never realized what red-on-green looks like. Sorry to those whose retinas were offended. It WAS red, now it's pink.]

Originally uploaded by bowznstuff.