Sunday, July 19, 2009

Quick Trip

Well, I am currently sitting in the Salt Lake City airport waiting for my flight home. I was in So Cal this past weekend for a wedding--the first of the cousins on my dad's side of the family to get married! If you didn't already know this about me, I love weddings and theirs was no exception! The music, the flowers, the vows, the dress, the ring, the dance, the smiles and the laughter! The story of their first kiss and engagement was SO romantic. A walk along the beach. They saw a shooting star and both made a wish. He asked her what she wished for. She wouldn't tell because then it doesn't come true. He kissed her and then she said, 'that's what I wished for"! Engagement story was a re-enactment of that date: a walk on the beach to the same location and then a beautiful ring. :) Isn't that so cute???

Oh, I am such a romantic! I really want a cute, romantic, thoughtful, and unique engagement story. I mean if I get a cliche fancy dinner and then down on one knee proposal when the time comes, it's not like I'm gonna refuse. I know I will love however my story goes but I fear being disappointed that it's not some really sweet story. I want so meting so cute and wonderful!

My cousins did a couple cool things at their wedding that I have never seen before and will have to keep in mind. Beginning the reception was an introduction of the parents and wedding party with little stories of how those people affected the bride and/or groom's life. Then the new couple was introduced and they sat back to back each holding a pink and blue flag. They played the Newlywed game and were asked about 20 questions such as "who takes longer showers, who is the better driver, who will take out the trash", etc and they would both raise a flag indicating who they thought the answer was. They agreed on a lot of them but the ones they disagreed on were really funny. The last question was my favorite: "who was the better catch?" And instantly, the groom raised the pink flag and the bride raised the blue flag! Awwww :) They also had about 10 guests play musical chairs but rather than grab a chair first, they had to grab items such as grocery receipts, make-up compact, specific car keys from other guests and then get back to the seats first. One of my aunts had to do it and it was so funny to watch her run around! Such a fun and beautiful wedding.

I have another cousin on that side getting married in October and just found out today about some friends getting engaged! We are all growing up!

Aside from the wedding, my trip to California also included a wonderful day with my roomie and hanging out with family. My roomie and I looked at pictures, talked, went to lunch at CPK and got French pedicures, so fun! Seeing family and catching up with everyone was fun as well. The weather wasn't too bad. A bit hot a few times but overall enjoyable.

I left the palm trees this morning and in 3 hours I will be back on a plane and then back home to the pine trees.

Monday, July 13, 2009

blogging guilt

sorry for not writing in awhile--I feel bad. I think about writing a lot and come up with things to post but then can't find the time to sit down and write. I do hope to post before I leave for CA on Friday and tell about my backpacking trip and other things happening. But for now, here is a poem I wrote for my Theology class (Christ: Culture & Radical Ethics) this past quarter. This poem was in response to the question: In what ways, if at all, can Scripture be a moral guide
for contemporary Christians making moral decisions? I hope you enjoy it and it causes you to think about what you base your descisions on.

The Test of Life

High school graduation,
Cardboard hat and flowing robe.
One summer away from change,
Time to live now on my own.
To be my own person,
and make my own decisions.

Dawn of first day’s freedom
A stack of papers,
Slid beneath the door.
Dozens of questions,
I can’t count how many.
It’s a test and it looks hard.

Who put this here?
When is it due?

Printed in grey,
Some multiple choice
Others true/false.

Questions about

15 minutes til class.
Enough time for a handful.
Hastened guesses,
To clear my conscience.
I really don’t know.
I really don’t care!

Twenty-four hours pass.
The test is back.
First 10 questions gone,
Pure, white emptiness in their place.

Except for my answers,
Bold and black.
Shouting at me.
Each begin with “I believe...”

Number 1, okay
Number 2, mmm hmm
Number 3, NO!
I don’t believe that!
What were my options?
They’re gone!
Lost in the white void

Desperately erasing,
The mocking statement of creed.
Smudging the ink,
It smears and fades to grey,
Blemishing the white paper.
My answer now illegible
Can I start over?

I do care!
The answers are important!
No satisfaction in grey.
“All of the above” is no longer an option.
I must choose carefully.

Everyday, I take the test.
Struggling over answers.
Life-changing questions.
My being hinges,
on an encircled letter.

Everyday, the test returned.
Whiteness a majority,
Bold, black creeds erect,
Grey questions still unanswered.

Doubt and confusion.
Which to choose?
Which is right?
Who has answers?

All have opinions.

Loud voices shout advice.
Religion adds two cents.
Politics offers agenda.
Confusion has reached its climax.

My reality is twisting,
Spiralling out of control.
There must be a way to know
How to live and maintain sanity.

Can someone help me take the test?
Does anyone have a study guide?
I search my room for aid.
Leather-bound and dusty,
Sitting on my shelf,
A book of Holy wisdom.
Maybe it can help?

Tales of countless mistakes,
And victories numbering the same.
Never-aging lessons,
Recorded for our benefit.
How did they know?
How did they decide?

God-breathed words,
Equipping us “for every good work”,
Omniscient author,
Exceeding human standards,
Beyond ethical confusion,
Righteousness and Goodness all in one.

Jesus, the Word Himself.
Model of unconditional love.
Reaching out to poor and broken,
Perfect answers for complex queries.

Authority from days of old,
Foundational to humankind,
Constitutions, codes and laws,
Based on Truths of blessed Book.

If the Bible can’t be trusted,
We’re limited to human guides.
None more valid than another,
Subjective opinions based on what?
Who’s to say which answer is correct?
Everyone believes their own ideas.
A higher source must be considered,
Perfect melody amidst the din.

One sole Truth must exist,
For judgement of all mankind,
God as Judge knows the laws.
To live blameless, shouldn’t we?

God’s Word is not an answer key,
Spelling out all do’s and don’ts.
Discussion and prayer bring truth,
through discernment and community.

The Bible declares wisdom,
Offering the aid I seek.
Facts that never hold nor hinder,
Instead, freedom offered through the Truth.

1 Sovereign Inspiration,
40 human pens,
1500 years of stories,
All point to 1 Truth.

The Truth of Father, Son, and Spirit,
Love for God and all mankind,
Grace and mercy proclaim salvation,
A blood-stained cross and empty tomb.

Another day,
Another test,
I feel ready,
Now I know.

Confident pen circling here and there
I am not forced to choose A or B
Each answer is my own,
Based on Biblical Truth.

I do not fear blackened answers of tomorrow
Or the white void I leave behind.
So long as all grey disappears,
I know how to live my life.

Each day is a test,
Am I in the world or of it?
Correct answers reflect His love,
Yet, pass or fail He loves me evermore.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Independence Day!

Happy 4th of July! Although this may not get posted until after midnight, I am starting it while it is still the 4th. :) I had a wonderful day relaxing with a couple from my church (my youth leaders and good friends) and playing with their adorable 16 month boy. We had a bbq, played croquet, talked, and then went out on our boat to watch a great firework show! It was a wonderful day.

Sitting on the boat tonight I was reflecting over the day and realized that sadly most holidays have a tendency to become so removed from their original meaning. Many people just love the day off of work, a chance to vacation, good food, family and friends. Yet, today was a celebration of our country's beginning. We watch fireworks, but how many of us really think back to the substance behind the symbol (the Revolutionary War)? And what about all the other wars, hardships, successes, great moments, and tragedies that our country has been through? Today is a celebration of being American, our country's foundation, growth, and all the men and women who gave their lives (both dying and serving) for that. America has come so far since the Pilgrims landed, since Paul Revere rode through the night to warn of the British, since a civil war over slavery almost tore this country in two, since expansion towards the west, since the first plane flight at Kittyhawk, since the Great Depression, since 2 World Wars, since segregation, since walking on the moon. If you can't tell, I love American history. I think I would be content living in any era of our fascinating past. The culture, clothes, music, and lifestyles of each period amaze me and to see the transformation over time is really fun for me. These things make me proud to be an American!

However, with all the cool and wonderful changes also come changes for the worse. Sadly, many freedoms that were once SO important to our founding fathers are now declared unconstitutional. The faith and beliefs that America was based on are now torn out of schools, courthouses, and phrases. People often say "God Bless America" but I don't see any reasons why He should. We (as a whole nation) kill millions of babies, do not uphold traditional marriage, encourage materialism, practice sexual immorality, and continuously turn our backs on God. We want Him out of textbooks, the Pledge of Allegiance, and erased from monuments and yet we still expect him to "Bless America"? Is it just me, or is that really twisted? These things make me ashamed to be an American (especially when the rest of the world looks at us and calls us a "Christian" nation. Sure we're based on Christian beliefs but we're not very Christian anymore.).

Don't get me wrong, I am still thankful to live in America where we have so many opportunities and can worship God without persecution (at least without physical persecution, and at least for now). However, I only see it getting worse.

Sorry if that rained on your patriotic parade at all. I do love our country and am truly grateful for our military and the sacrifices they (and their families) make. I am amazed by all the great things this country has done. But like I said before, bad comes along with the good and since I am so passionate about the good, how can I ignore the bad? Well, as things do get worse, may other things continue to get better!

I hope you all had a wonderful Independence Day! I hope you reflect back on all that our country has been through-the good and the bad-because it is all part of who/what America is today.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

1 month down, 2.5 to go

June?!?!? Where did you go? Well, okay then...Hello July! My mom pointed out that there are onlye 177 days until Christmas! Geez, it seems like forever ago that I was doing Christmas parties at school, dressing up really wierd and then riding the train home for break. And yet, the past 6 months have flown by! Time is a very funny thing; I can't wait until it no longer matters. Although, trying to think about eternity right now (with time as my only context) it is extremely confusing and kinda scary. It's okay though becuase I know I won't care about it but will just be worshipping my Lord forever and ever!

4th of July is this weekend? Any fun plans? Traditions? Sometimes we go watch the fireworks show in town, sometimes we do our own. I don't think we're doing either this year but I have no idea.

July reminds me of more summery things I love:
~Cannon Beach, OR

The last brings back so many wonderful memories! My family went there for 9 summers in a row and had a blast each time! I have always planned to work their one summer as a teacher for on of the kids groups. I think I will do that next summer Lord willing. Ahh...a whole summer in the cutest little town, teaching kids, being on the beach! I can't wait. :)

But for now...the sun is setting and I think I will do some reading. Happy July!