Friday, March 28, 2008


I have just a few moments before bed, so this will probably be short.

Never has it seemed more clear to me just how limited our mortal perspective is. I have had cause recently to consider choice and accountability. The burning question I tried not to ask myself for so long was this: Is it my fault all these bad things are happening in my life?

It was hard to face to this question-- maybe harder than anything else I have had to do. But the experience of shame and blame and catharsis taught me something in a very poignant way. The Lord knew things I didn't know and my choices all along were limited to the things I could see at the time. Am I responsible for the choices I've made? Yes. Should I blame myself now and punish myself for doing things I believed were the best at the time? No. All I should do now is make sure that I consult with the One who knows much more than I do from now on.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Retail rant.

So I'm starting a new job tomorrow. The UVSC bookstore needs people to help with the buyback at the end of the semester, so I've been hired as a temporary for the month of April. (Tomorrow is my first training.) Taking a temporary job kind of sucks because it requires finding something else immediately, but it seemed worth it me for the pay. I've recently decided that it just really isn't worth it to take a job that pays minimum wage or even a dollar over. If I'm going to work a ton of hours all the time, I want to make a reasonable wage. The thing that frustrates me is the fact that the only jobs that are available to me seem to be retail jobs.

Honestly, I hate, despise, and loathe retail. My experience in retail is thus: you are one of many undervalued employees who have to spend 39 and a half hours a week on your feet being yelled at and having a constantly changing schedule and being called in to work on all the days you actually plan to do something fun. And if you accidentally break the 40 hour limit, you are lectured endlessly because the store does not want to have to actually give you benefits for working for them. (They figure, "Who really likes to go to dentists and doctors anyway? We're simplifying their lives by making sure they don't have the option at all since we don't pay them enough to afford medical bills without insurance!" How very kind they are, don't you think?)

It gets old.

And so I took this temporary job with the firm resolution that I will find something better for the summer. I'm not talking glamorous or fabulous-- just something that pays reasonably that I don't hate, loathe, and despise. Why should I undervalue myself enough to take a job like that? I don't know what I'll end up doing, but it will be better than retail.

A correction to the text.

I stand corrected. Jeanne was not actually there for the imaginary cookie incident. She was only at school there with Ruth and I for the first semester and then she moved away the second. But I have lots of happy Jeanne memories that are just as fun. One of my favorites was one of the last nights before Jeanne left and there was a heavy snowstorm. It had snowed too much too fast for the street scrapers to respond, so the streets were covered in a thick layer of compacted snow that was extremely slippery. Jeanne and I went "skating" up the streets, which included much running and sliding and trying not to fall. We had been getting in shape for several weeks (with Ruth) and we got hyper and started running as fast as we could. It was really amazing to feel our legs burning with the exertion of running while we were literally trembling with cold.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Imaginary cookies!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Today I had the most random memory come to me and it really made me laugh. My sophomore year at college, my friends Ruth, Jeanne, and I did some seriously silly stuff. (Our friend Elyse was involed too, I think.) We made cookies once and had stuffed ourselves on them before putting them into a gallon baggy. I think I started the madness, but it might have been Ruth. Anyway, we took turns hiding the cookies in random places around the apartment, getting a little more creative each time. "Hide the cookies" became commonplace on warm and boring afternoons.

But it gets better. On one such afternoon, the three of us were laying in Ruth's bedroom burned out from homework and feeling utterly lethargic.

Ruth said, "Let's play Hide the Cookies."

"We don't have any." I said, "I'm too tired to make cookies right now."

"Well," Ruth responded, "I'll hide some imaginary cookies, then."

I started to laugh lazily, but she closed her eyes and said, "Wait. Wait. I'm hiding them. I have to find a good place." After a moment, she opened her eyes again. "All right. I've hidden them."

It turned out that "Hide the Imaginary Cookies" was even funner than "Hide the Cookies!" You could put them in much more interesting places than real cookies would allow. Once I hid them in the pocket of the Levi jacket in my closet and another time under the plunger in the bathroom. Ruth liked to hide them on the under side of furniture.

Anyway, it is completely ridiculous, but we had so much fun! Ah, the Ruth and Jeanne era...

Friday, March 21, 2008

Sera, Sera, whatever will be will be.

The world moves so quickly and things change constantly. Paul and I are on the job hunt again and we're obsessing over where Paul will apply to grad school. There are a lot of choices and most of them only accept a small number of applicants- we're talking five or ten individuals. But they all cost money to apply and we don't have loads of that to throw around.

There is great news, though. We recently learned that a lot of universities offer fellowship grants to their graduate students and you shouldn't go to one unless they're paying you for it. (At least that's how it is in Psychology. I can't speak for other fields of study.) So in two more semesters, we graduate and then move to WHEREVER we're going and get money for our living expenses. That really gives us something to look forward to!

So Paul's looking at a schools in New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Washington, and Oregon. We're talking constantly about what it would be like to live in all of those places, but of course we don't really know. All I know is that it sounds fun to live somewhere new and tackle experiences I have never faced. It will be exciting!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Pennies from Heaven.

I love to see spring approaching. Today it was beautiful out-- cold if we weren't in direct sunlight, but beautiful. When Paul and I went for a walk, I just really enjoyed being outside. The wind stirred up crisp leaves in the gutters and there were little shoots of bright green grass pushing out from the yellow lawns. I was skipping along, singing, "Every time rains, it rains pennies from Heaven. Don't you know each cloud contains pennies from Heaven? ... Make sure that your umbrella is upside down."

And of course, there really are "pennies from Heaven" all the time in our lives. I think if we could see all of the things that the Lord does for us, we would be surprised.

A lot of the hard times in my life have been from failed friendships or a feeling of being friendless. I don't know why that is-- maybe I have been just too much in my own head, but these times stand out in my memory as times that I was more able to see the goodness of God in my life. I know that sounds strange. But when I was the most lonely, I found joy in every smile or friendly greeting from another. I took pleasure in every small kindness that I would normally take for granted-- like the cashier who wants to chat with you when ringing up your order.

Likewise, having to deal with my health problems has taught me to enjoy fully the days that I feel good, to appreciate the body that I have. Why do women always want a different body than the one they have? Didn't we all want bodies badly enough before we came here? If we hate them, isn't that showing God that we're not grateful for this amazing gift?

Anyway, I really do think too much. Sometimes my mind flies off on these tangents and I just follow them wherever they go. My point was something along these lines: when we pay attention, we can see the pennies from heaven stacking up. Only then do we realize how rich we really are!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Small degrees.

As I consider my life, I have cause to wonder. If my blood sugar levels had stayed too high, I could have gone into a diabetic coma. I could have died. I don’t know the likelihood of that happening, but it could have—and suddenly I would have found myself standing before God, having to make an account of my time in this life.
I wonder how I would feel then about this life that I lead, what I would say about all the things I’m doing that I shouldn’t and all the things I’m not doing that I should. Would I be comfortable in the knowledge that I did all that I could? Or would I feel ashamed that I could have tried so much harder? When I’m completely honest with myself, I know that so many times I was kind but had no kindness in my heart. If you do the right thing but your heart is not in the right place, does it really count as doing the right thing? Won’t I have to answer for the state of my heart more than for my individual actions?
But I realize also that individual actions are the things that change a person’s heart like tiny colored particles too small to see. Every tiny thing I do colors my heart one way or another, changing me by small degrees into a different creature than I now am. It strikes me as almost paradoxical that the most important decisions a person can make are all the tiny ones that add up to transform us in ways we would not imagine. Have all my small choices changed me to a better person than I once was or am I slowly drifting into a form I would like less? If I had to answer for my soul today, would I wish I had made so many more good small decisions?
Speculating, of course, gets a person nowhere all by itself. I can imagine all day and night, but until I change something in my life, it won’t do much good. The thing to do now is to set a goal to do something worthwhile today. Life can be full of so much meaning and beauty if you will choose to see it and participate in it. I can be aware of my decisions and make them more thoughtfully. I can rededicate myself to good things and fulfilling activities. I can think more about others and strive to keep genuine feelings of love in my heart.
Then, in 80 years or so, when I am called to stand before my God, I will be able to laugh with him about all the ridiculous hilarious things that happened in my life, feeling no shame and only joy. That’s what I want to happen.