December 30, 2010

Memorable Moments from Twenty-Ten

Memorable Moments from Twenty-Ten
With vital tidbits I learned along the way that have been essential to my survival.

1. Traveling to Burma
Take every opportunity to see the World.
Work everyday to make it better.  

2. Being Maid of Honor
Use the Maid of Honor speech to make the crowd laugh
by calling out the Groom for making fun of your last name, 
because girl you are REAL if nothing else. 

3. Seeing Lady Gaga LIVE
Your parents are THE coolest. The End. 

4. Weasley Sweaters 
How can you be unhappy with a sweater that has a letter on the front of it?
Red Vines, anyone? 

5. Being a Camp Counselor 
Find something that you can LOVE about every camper and hold onto that. 
Never doubt that you will be guided to where you need to be. 

6. Happy Birthday Jesus! Cake & Christmas T-Rex = Awesome Roommate  
People really will laugh with you. 
Be CRAZY if you want. 

7. Marian & Jesse 
Your Best Friend For Life may be sitting right across from you at lunch if you look up. 

8. Attending the Rally to Restore Sanity
If you want to go somewhere with cool people then GO! 

9. Being a Member of IYC: Meetings, Retreats, Stuffing Parties & Roundtable! 
Never take for granted the people in your life. 
They can save you.  
And LOVE will protect you from the star attacks. 

10. When in doubt: JUMP! 
You couldn't frown while jumping even if you tried. 
Go ahead. I dare ya. 

Happy New Years, Friends!
May Love and Opportunity abound with you in 2011! 
Peace and Love, 

This is for You: Weathering the Storm

Life sucks. Then you die.

Really is that all there is? Why do parts of our life have to suck so much? Rejection. Break-ups. Family problems. Grades. School. Why does life have to suck sometimes?

I don’t want to sugarcoat your pain, by just saying that life gets better - because when we're in pain we can't see the light at the end of the tunnel.

A Metaphor: 
Sometimes we’re in a storm. Being slammed from side to side by the raging waves. The shore is nowhere in sight. We can’t see the end of the storm. There looks like there’s no end in sight. All we can see is the storm. Just the storm.

We feel like this is all life is ever going to be. Misery. Hopelessness. We feel broken. Alone. Forgotten. Inconsequential.

But you’re not. You’re going to survive this storm. You may get tossed around by the ocean. You may get drenched by the pouring rain. Your ship may crash onto some rocks. You may be thrown into shark infested waters while you bleed. You might drift to shore on pieces of your broken ship. But…you will make it. You might have seawater in your eyes. You  might have open wounds from the rocks. You might have banged your head. However, you will heal.You will come out stronger, wiser, and storm savvy.

You’re not going down with the Titanic, mate. You’re going to continue to live life and find joy in what makes you happy. You’re going to learn and grow into a beautiful person. Life is filled with such beauty sometimes. Keep reaching for that. Hold fast to the mast, my friend.
Things are going to get better. They will. This perfect storm will end.

December 26, 2010

Response to the Hunger Games

I'm coming off a high. I just consumed three books in a matter of four days. Those books were the series that makes up the Hunger Games trilogy.

I feel like a kid again. These are the first books that I've read from cover to cover (for fun!) in a loooong time. I'm almost embarrassed to say how long - mainly because I don't remember myself.

I love becoming so engrossed in a book that you risk insomnia to finish, but you're able to stay up all night reading because your adrenaline is pumping just like Katniss Everdeen's as she races through the arena. So, I don't sleep, but I feel so awake and alive, because nothing matters more than finding out if she lives or dies. I'm invested in her. In her story. Then in the morning after I've pulled an all-nighter reading a book for fun I feel drained, not physically, but emotionally. I've been with her, experienced everything as she has. Then again, this could just be my tendency to over-empathize with everything

I get off on books about a future dystopia. The Hunger Games, the actual games, comes with all the trimmings of reality TV and roman gladiators. Complete with talk backs, drama, and season highlights. It's frightening to see our current world and 'pleasures' morphed into something ugly. Reality TV morphed into something like the Hunger Games. The exploitation of people within our own country. It's not so far fetched. That's what's most frightening.

The Handmaid's Tale is another one of my favorite dystopia books.
"I was once a graduate student in Victorian literature and I believe as the Victorian novelists did, that a novel isn't simply a vehicle for private expression, but that it also exists for social examination. I firmly believe this." - Atwood

December 23, 2010

The Weasley Sweater!

I finally finished it! I finally finished the Weasley sweater that I have been working on for the last semester. It's amazing how long it takes to knit a sweater when you have schoolwork, work, and the occasional track practice to deal with, not to mention time with friends, and eating meals. I'm probably preaching to the choir! Nonetheless, I was able to buckle down and in the midst of watching 2 Bollywood movies, an anime series (embarrassing, but true), and Season 1 of Dead Like Me I completed my sweater.

My sister helped me with a photo-shoot and I edited some pictures together.

I used the pattern found in Charmed Knits, but it's also posted online at The K is added in duplicate stitch. This worked much better and turned out much better than Intarsia, which I had done on a previous Weasley sweater.
The next time I knit a Weasley sweater it will be for my children or a baby. No more big person knitting jobs.

December 19, 2010

Reflections from a Camp Counselor: Making Plans

Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.
Proverbs 19:21

I've been reflecting upon plans this past semester. When I was in high school, I would imagine all of the things that I wanted to do when I got into college or when I was older. I wanted to do it all! My summer's would be filled with one wholesome Brethren activity after the other. However, not all of my plans have come to fruition. There are things called "rejection letters" that you don't necessarily anticipate when dreaming big.

One plan I made was to be a part of the Youth Peace Travel Team. A summer commitment with 2-3 other COB young adults who travel to various summer camps each week speaking on peace, non-violence, and the gospel. I'd always loved camp and have a strong passion for pacifism. I applied to be a member of that team my sophomore year, but received a rejection letter. 

Let's not call it a rejection letter...let's call it a "Wrong-Door-Try-Again" letter. 

So, after receiving my rejec "WDTA" letter I was feeling rather bummed. Especially because earlier that week, I'd received a "WDTA" letter from the NYC Coordinators. I hadn't been selected as Youth Worker (another one of those plans that I had made), because I had applied to YPTT. Now I wasn't even able to go to National Youth Conference at all.

I was really frustrated with God. I was also frustrated with the system - why couldn't they see that God was calling me to do these things? 

I don't quite remember how things fell into place, but by the end of March I was sitting down with the Program Director at Brethren Woods for my job interview. I was applying to be a camp counselor at Brethren Woods for the summer. It has never been a matter of "if" I was going to work at Brethren Woods, it has always been a matter of "when." Of when God would call me. A week or so later I was offered the job and it was so exciting to find the "Right Door" and receive that "Right Door! Hurray!" letter in the mail, full of a packing list and training schedule.

My heart was happy and I was content. I had no qualms about working at Brethren Woods. I was only compromising my bank account and that bothered my parents, not me. I had already spent a summer in an office (inside) and my soul was ready for a summer in the woods with children and God. I needed this. The first time that I drove up the Brethren Woods lane and saw Linetta, the PD, and her smiling face - I knew that I was home. 

Even so, I was still feeling a little bitter about not being able to attend National Youth Conference. A handful of people from camp were going to NYC and all of my college friends were youth workers. I tried not to let it get me down, besides I'd attended NYC 2006 and that was my year anyway. When NYC week rolled around, I was nervous about that week of camp. My co-counselor and my JR. counselor were both 17. I was going back to Cedar Cove, the 3-5th grade age group, where I had a troubling week 2 of camp. Not to mention, everyone was at NYC and I wasn't.

Despite my qualms, I never gave them any room in my head. I thought them and dismissed them. I hadn't worked with either my co-counselor or JR co-counselor before - how could I use their age against them? Besides, I was a responsible, passionate 17 year-old at one point. This was a new week, with new campers and it couldn't be the same as my difficult week 2. Also, I don't linger in the negative for that will only bring myself and others down. I approached the situation with a smile. The week would be great. 

And it was. My co-counselor and I clicked - we wore matching pink headbands all week and tag-teamed wonderfully. My Jr. counselor was fun and she laughed and enjoyed the campers. My campers were amazing! We bonded so well as a family unit. We had devotions together every night. Whenever I asked if someone wanted to pray - someone did! We even did popcorn prayers and they chimed in. They were a blessing. I was especially sad when this week ended. 

All summer, even in moments where I thought I might explode, I felt at home. When I was walking along the pond with my patience waning as I tried to coax a frustrated camper to nature. Or as I hiked in the heat of the day along the gravel road to the Falls. Or when I had to sit down and have a one-to-one with an angry camper. Or week 5, when all of my college friends were in Colorado and I was in Virginia with the best group of campers all summer. Never did I ever imagine being somewhere else.

God knew better than I did where I needed to be this past summer. After receiving my two rejection letters, I could have turned my back on God. I could have said, "Fine, if God won't have me then I'll just go work retail all summer."**I could have been consumed by my bitterness and let it overtake my path. I chose not to and continued looking for the door that God was leading me to.

I don't stop making plans or setting goals, but I always leave myself open to the leading of the Spirit.

Here's my post from last February when I received my "wrong-door-try-again" letters.
AND here's my small reflection on the summer.

**Working retail doesn't make you any less of a person. I just felt that I could have turned away from any form of ministry at all and devoted my summer completely to money.