Mini-thoughts

Like tiny pieces of cheesecake- it’d be nice to have a full slice, but one can still appreciate the abbreviated version 🙂

1) Not speaking or “venting” about your brothers and sisters in Christ (or anyone) is a means of extending God’s grace to them. If their heart is moved and they apologize, would you likewise be moved to correct what you said about them to others?

2) Self-control is one of the most attractive qualities in a man. I posted that as my fb status today and somehow ended up with 16 comments and 10 people “like”ing it. I think it’s attractive because it’s something I struggle with in some aspects of my life, and thinking about past relationships, it’s usually what unraveled them. Neither of us mastered it in some way or another, so things fell apart. I think it’s attractive because I know I need it. It’s the same thing as why I tend to let quieter/gentler people than I be my closest friends. I want more of those Christ-like characteristics!!!

Comments ranged from older women to guy friends and my mom liking random parts of the convo. It was also pretty sweet to watch my friend Stu speak truth to others on fb, as well as interesting for girls to defend it and guys to say that girls needed to hear it too. Did not expect so much hullaballoo over it 🙂

3) Southern pacific apples are amazing and smell good. I bought some at Hy-Vee today because they were on special and I’ve already eaten one. I love fruit.

4) Running goal for the year is to run the Living History Farms race in the fall. Yay for a 10k!

5) Was reminded at IFC leader meeting today not to argue, especially with non-believers over spiritual matters. This was just in time for me to ruefully observe a believer arguing with non-believers over spiritual matters… on facebook 😦 It was worse knowing I’ve been there before, but I definitely have enough faith in God’s power to know that 1) Others’ salvation is not my work, but the Holy Spirit’s, 2) people who are embittered toward God are not going to change their mind and love Him because you won an argument, and 3) that science as a belief system is not conclusive. The answers are not all known. I should try and post a couple of pics from Adler Planetarium that I went to over Spring break that remind us of that.

Did I tell you all that I went to Chicago with internationals over Spring break? Probably not. Maybe? Not sure. But it was really cool, and I enjoyed it.

Time for some time with the lover of my soul, and then sleep 🙂

Peace through Christ,

Rachel

Some mildly poetic thoughts…

Estranged

I once knew you
I once knew you
back before the colors grew
the forest surrounding the clearing of you

Too fast too close won’t last
You trashed
And spoke too soon
Flyaway red balloon

All the shades and stark dark
Charcoal smudges pencil mark
Can’t hide from me the canvas
Plain canvas
Cream and thin
Torn and mended
Bent and bended
morals. Ideals. dreams.

You smile as your eyes scream.

I once knew you
I once knew you.
But underneath thick pigment
I know you aren’t a figment.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
(Still needs a title)

I’m not very good at finding a way
To avoid all that’s cheesy and cliche,
But when our eyes meet again
Two pairs of bright kindred friends
It doesn’t even matter that much
When everything is glorious
taking walks, doing laundry, and such.

I feel like life gives you fuzzy snapshots to imitate
But until you get there it seems like a problem to create
Beauty out of imperfection like diamonds from dust
Or a sunrise from the darkness or restoration from rust.
But you, my love, were made from Saturdays
Easy going grins, coffee cakes with glaze

Love takes some time to collect
Like drops of rain turn to flow
Or the sun multiplies freckles
And yeast grows dough.

It is pristinely ordinary in that extra way
The depth of the ocean in blue jean cotton fade
I love you like breakfast brightens my smile
I’ll love you every morning, not just for awhile.

Some things change- you and I will too
But we’ll grow and talk and pull through.
If I wanted things easy, I’d live life in a fog.
I’d live for myself, and I might just buy a dog.

But I wear you like a grin
From my heart dawning outward nose to chin
You are my summertime, young and new evermore
Familiar as my fingertips, yet changing as the shore.

In a second…

I would leave forever. This is how I know I can’t. I am so eager to go anywhere, I know I need to stay and work where I’m at, finding my peace and satisfaction in doing God’s Will in His time. I’m not talking about camp, I’m talking about college. I am close to burnt out but I can’t let go yet.

But right now, in this moment, there are people I never want to see again, and I need to get better before I can see them again. I will though. God says to love selflessly with others’ best interests at heart. So I will. In this much I am glad and content.

The days pass by in sunshine and storm, and I would take a tornado watch over a week at school any day. I don’t know what this means, but I’m beginning to think I need a change. Or rather, this reinforces that I feel I need a change. As my summer skin darkens, my hair lightens, and smile brightens, I will be made more in God’s image from the inside out. I will walk. I will listen and be led, I’ll run laps and go to bed.

But I can’t sleep much these days. This is how I know something is stirring in my mind, tugging at my soul. I don’t expect my writing to make any sense to anyone. As always, I’m all right with that and I’m just trying to get some thoughts out.

This place is a spiritual nursery. We feed them on miracle grow, foster them in hothouses, but it’s only for a week. I see the parable of the seeds unfold. I see it written on them, but only faint traces. To me, it’s nearly invisible ink, but to God, it is ordained. All my days were before one of them came to be (think Psalm 139). I pray God’s blessing, holding small hands and knowing I am powerless, yet hoping big hopes for little hearts. We send them out in neat little plant boxes on Saturdays, with ribbons and fertilizer… and I pray they are planted in gardens tended with care. It breaks my heart to see them shriveled and dying, but often I never get to know. I was a little weed grown wild, yet pruned and tamed. I pray for fruit by grace.

I am given so much, I want to give so much. Heart-breaking love heals. Father, take care of me, a skinny weed who wants to be a fruit tree. Let your seeds of truth grow fruit in my life, may my branches strain for You in all seasons.

Love,
Rachel

Random Saturday Ramblings (posted on Sunday)

I don’t watch television very often. I don’t own a television right now, and I am spending my summer working as a camp counselor which equates to… not much television. At home we have a converter box, so I’m currently watching a black and white film called “Panic in the Year Zero.”
I’m struck by how movies reflect the social values of the culture. There’s a mother and father (obviously married), and two teenage children, a girl and a boy. From what I can gather, the plot is that there was a bomb dropped in L.A. and on major European cities, and this family is attempting to survive the resulting melee.

OK. Minor break, I’m watching commercials and this has got to be the worst I’ve seen. Worse than the moral issues raised by the commercials that talk about saving pets when people are still starving, even in the United States. Want to hear the tagline? “Sexting is a crime.” Apparently, it is now a public service message to inform teens that not only is texting nude photos of oneself to peers a stupid idea, it is also illegal. I worry about the generation I will hopefully be teaching.

Back to the movie, apparently there’s danger of an atomic fall out. The family has just moved their gear from their trailer into a cave at a camping ground. Points of interest socially: the husband and wife dynamic, the sense of honor/moral responsibility, the suggestion of acceptable means of survival (particularly compared with modern movies), and the reaction to dead bodies and violence.
As someone who would love to get married someday, the matrimonial relationship is intriguing. I feel as though it has changed drastically, even from when I was young to now. Divorce is rampant, and as one of my friends told me, it doesn’t seem like marriage means anything anymore. People are disillusioned with the concept of-

Another A.D.D. pause- I would like to point out that the station name is “this.” How original and useful for advertising.

People are disillusioned with the idea of staying with one mate for life. There’s also a huge difference in gender role. Consistently, the women in this movie are portrayed as delicate and weak. They crumple at the first sign of trouble, yet maintain civilization, like fine china or lace doilies. I can see how helpless the husband feels, having to think and reason and make difficult decisions to preserve his family. I think that dynamic influenced the high sense of personal morality/ responsibility. For instance, the father doesn’t have enough cash to cover the purchase of the guns, so he holds a gun to the clerk, but instead of running off with the stuff, demands a receipt to owe him the balance. Later, the gas is listed as a certain price, and when the father goes to pay, the owner tells him that he didn’t get a chance to change the price on the sign. The owner gets knocked out and left with the money the father originally thought would cover the bill. Of course obviously this movie was pushing the social boundaries of its time by suggesting that desperate times call for desperate measures (and women were allowed to wear pants in this film occasionally), but it wasn’t like movies today. You could see how every action was justified by the mantra of “A man must provide for and protect his family above all.”
I think we justify our views in the same way. The problem is, we change our mind a lot, and therefore social standards change. I think it’s important every so often to reassess what we believe and why we think the way we do. Challenge the cultural norms. An easy way to explore this is through learning about other cultures. You might be surprised to find there are things you accept without consideration.
Anyway, back to the movie. They move into the cave, the shop owner who was held at gunpoint ends up at the campground, the father doesn’t initially trust him, but when his wife is nearly at a breakdown insisting that “there must be other good people left,” he goes to make amends and finds the man and his wife shot dead. They were shot by these wild men who later rape his daughter, and have another girl held prisoner at the farmhouse where she lived (and the men murdered her parents). The father and his son avenge the daughter’s honor and kill two of the men, taking the orphaned teenage girl with them. Eventually, the son accidentally gets shot in the leg, which drives them toward civilization to find help. All this time they’ve been keeping up with the radio news bulletins, and there’s peace treaties happening, but the father is still suspicious about returning. The son’s injury drives them back, and the movie ends with some soldiers finding them, directing them to the nearest outpost, and after they leave, commenting that there’s 5 good ones not affected by radiation poisoning. Then there’s these words:

“There must be no end- only a new beginning.”

I wasn’t really sure what they were getting at. I know it was intended to be artistic and deep, but it didn’t strike me that way because there was no social relevance to me. I don’t know much about the whole atomic scare other than the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the American propaganda that really wouldn’t help people much if an emergency actually occurred. I agree with those words on a basic level, but applied to the movie… not so much. However, I know that at the time this definitely held resonance with the culture.
Looking at movies today, I am terrified of modern culture. Movies are made to entertain, but I firmly believe that they influence us far more than we’d like to believe. Looking at films like the Saw series, or even television programs geared toward kids, I wonder how we draw the line between being in the world but not of the world. I don’t want to put a Jesus blanket over my head and pretend these things don’t exist, but I also don’t want to take an approach that says I’m not any different than the people who don’t know God. Moderation is the key… I know that. I also know the generic Christian answer of “well it’s up to your own conscious” or “it’s between you and God” but I don’t really buy that. I don’t think God would give us the Word or the Spirit and want us to play shades of gray. “Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial.” I think this is ultimately what it comes down to.

Minor life update- I’m camp counseling now and loving it, although I’m a lot more exhausted than I used to be. I am excited to see what God has for me this summer, and incredibly encouraged by what I have learned thus far. Lately I’ve been trying to realize the truth of just how much I need Him every day. There was never a time I needed Him more or less- it was always the same. Also, it’s been sweet to see that God hasn’t given up on me yet. I’m struggling with still feeling inferior, but it’s also teaching me that I used to base a lot of my identity on my works, not what God was doing in me. Therefore, when I made poor decisions, I thought poorly of myself. When I did something good, I thought well of myself. I think what I need to be doing is not thinking of me, but rather, Christ in me. I need to look at my best things, my best works, and count them as nothing in view of God’s love through Christ and the cross. Basically, I need to cherish God above all.

List Post!

Here we go, folks! Fantastic 5’s today!

5 reasons I know I wake up early on practicum days:
1. When I get up it’s as dark as when I went to bed.
2. The color of my underwear is just as much a mystery to me as it is to everyone else!
3. Breakfast means wishing for coffee and having to hold out til noon.
4. I debate the pros and cons of blow-drying my hair vs. 10 more minutes of sleep
5. I see the sunrise (and 5:30 is twice a day)

5 Reasons I should not be taken seriously this week:
1. PSBSD- Post Spring Break Stress Disorder
2. Sleep deprivation
3. Exhaustion to the point of hilarity
4. that one thing
5. Allergy season has begun (hence the drowsy loopiness)

5 Reasons I think you should come to my connection group
1. We’re super cool.
2. We’re on an adventure series right now. The past 3 weeks have consisted of coloring, baking cookies, sitting outside on blankets, walking around campus, all while digging into God’s word, looking at where we’re at spiritually and where God wants us to be, praying for others, encouraging each other and many others, and learning about how to be a friend with other’s best interests in mind and God’s truth on our hearts/lips.
3. It’s an awesome study break
4. We miss you/would love to get to know you
5. Because God desires a close and beautiful relationship with you and wants to be a priority in your life.

5 Reasons school will be best dead week:
1. MULTI GENRE RESEARCH PAPER WILL BE OVER!
2. ” ”
3. No club meetings
4. My friends won’t be super busy/leaving yet
5. I will pretty much be done… yay!

5 Reasons I can’t wait to be a teacher!!
1. Get to PRACTICE what I TEACH (no more of this “do as I say not as I do” business like I get with my profs.)
2. I will get to be my goofy self and inspire kids to love learning
3. I’ll be poor! lol I’ve said for awhile now that I’d be poor, very much in love, and full of life.
4. Finally getting to do what I’ve been looking forward to!
5. The privilege of the opportunity to positively impact those around me and equip the next generation with communication, independent thinking, and problem-solving skills necessary to not only be successful, but thrive in life (all while giving God credit for it)!!!

Some scattered thoughts…

I think I’ll use lists to try and organize this mental mess.

5 Things I need to do soon:
1) actually add that last class
2)do my homework
3) email my aunt
4)dishes
5) stop procrastinating. seriously.

5 people I hung out with over Thanksgiving break:
1) Peggy
2) Kallie
3) Sarah
4) michael my bro
5) the rest of my fam =)

5 things I’m looking forward to:
1) East Asia over Christmas break!
2) Chaperoning the twin cities trip this weekend for a yg from home
3) The Snow Ball!
4) Being done with finals
5) travel time to maintain sanity (i.e. time driving home, 13 hours on a plane to read and relax, etc.)

5 reasons my parents are awesome:
1) They’re letting me go overseas for my break
2) They introduced me to Jesus
3) They support me unconditionally and whole-heartedly
4) They taught me flexibility and a good sense of humor
5) They gave me siblings to keep me entertained lol

3 books I read over break:
1) Extras by Scot Westerfield (4th in the Uglies quad)
2) Life of Pi
3) The Kite Runner

5 Recent realizations about myself:
1) I’m not sure I want to be a camp counselor again. I never thought I’d consider not wanting to, but honestly I don’t know if I have the energy anymore… or if I just feel like that part of my life has passed.
2) I am great at taking initiative, not always so great at going along with something if I feel it could be done better/more efficiently
3) PMS and major holidays with family do not mix well.
4) I am learning how to derive confidence from God by just trusting Him… and not me.
5) Just because I can do something and be good at it does not necessarily mean it is the thing I’m supposed to do.

3 unknowns I’m trying not to worry about:
1)what to do with my summer
2)how classes are going to work out the next couple of years
3) where/with whom will I be living next school year

5 Christ-like traits I’m working on:
1) Self-control
2) humility
3) love
4) gentleness
5) patience (as always lol)

1 person who makes me smile all the time:
Tony 🙂

Random!

AAAAND a list of songs otherwise known as a music lyrics life update:

Someday You Will Be Loved- Deathcab for Cutie
You Have My Attention- Copeland
I Need You to Love Me- Barlowgirl
Someday Soon- Francesca Battistelli

I am hopelessly hopeful.
Sometimes it’s my downfall- at others, my greatest strength.

I don’t have the address… yet =p

Dear Future Husband,
I realize that you are hypothetical at the moment, but I like to think positively, so I am going to write with the understanding that you do exist somewhere out there, regardless of whether or not we know it yet =)
I’m going to get straight to the point: I love you.
haha no that’s not all. I pray for you, you know. I hope you know that I think you are great and I am looking forward to the day that God makes your identity evident. I realize that relationships are not on a first come, first serve basis by any means, but I will admit that I can be impatient for you to come steal my heart =)
In the meantime, I’m working on being the best possible person I could be for you; the kind of woman God has created me to be. I want to be a mom and an English teacher, but I also deeply desire to be your helper. I want to bring you good, shower you with affection, challenge and encourage you spiritually, love you selflessly… and I want all of these things to be mutual. I want to submit to you and have our marriage exemplify the beautiful relationship between Christ and the church, which means first of all, I assume you share my passion for a personal relationship with God (or you definitely will before we start dating), and you will want to pursue me. That will be amazing- working together to show others’ God’s love, and growing closer together as we grow closer to Him.

To me, these things all seem like they would naturally be a great foundation, but I’ve found that a lot of people don’t see it that way. It makes me sad, yet absolutely determined to wait for you. This definitely isn’t all of what I’m looking for, but it is what I start with.

Hope you’re growing up great, and having fun =)

love,
Rachel

A Noiseless Patient Spider

A Noiseless Patient Spider by Walt Whitman

NOISELESS, patient spider,  
I mark’d, where, on a little promontory, it stood, isolated;  
Mark’d how, to explore the vacant, vast surrounding,  
It launch’d forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself;  
Ever unreeling them—ever tirelessly speeding them.          5
  
And you, O my Soul, where you stand,  
Surrounded, surrounded, in measureless oceans of space,  
Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing,—seeking the spheres, to connect them;  
Till the bridge you will need, be form’d—till the ductile anchor hold;  
Till the gossamer thread you fling, catch somewhere, O my Soul.   10

I first read this poem in high school. I literally can almost see the page in a textbook I’ve otherwise forgotten. As much as I don’t care for Whitman’s lengthy style (despite noting its value and necessity of length to capture the essence of his personal philosophy), I was instantly drawn to this poem. I don’t even like spiders.

I just read and understood. We are all tiny specks of nothing, endlessly reaching and exploring, striving to know those around us. We weave our webs of lives, fragile attempts to control that which is far beyond us. One can assume to know someone, but it is a farce we swallow on a regular basis. 

I think of how these spheres ebb and flow, planets in an endless ocean of the unknown. I looked up at the stars tonight, and saw two little pinpricks of light, right next to each other in the sky. They were separate, but aligned, and I wonder if it was fate or divine design. Can any two actually align or do we deceive ourselves in thinking that a life companion will stay? Furthermore, is it staying that proves the value, or is it more? I feel there is much more, but have little notion as to whether or not it is actually attainable. I wonder if our paths are really paths. They are measureless in dimension, because personalities have the propensity to change, and people grow. And where am I in space and time? 

I am a noiseless, learning-to-be-patient spider, standing on a promontory, ceaselessly attempting to reach out, to give to the world around me. I am a sphere alone, one silver thread keeping my sanity by its strength and impervious nature. This thread was not my own, yet I took hold of it, and it will never break.  

Sudoku

 

Sudoku: epic winThat’s right. I finally solved a sudoku in the Daily today in about 15 minutes. This has been my goal most of the year, but when I am tired and stressed I really can’t focus enough to solve them. I did today, therefore, today is a good day =p

Sad news: I need new earbuds, mine are busted and I actually need them for tonight.