Friday, May 22, 2009

That's Life, I Guess

I started my job as Woods secretary on Tuesday. The following is the progression of my state of being:
Ignorance is Bliss
Deer in Headlights
Personal Pep-Talks
Looking Like I Know What I'm Doing

It's been pretty fun so far. The secretary from last summer came and showed me the ropes... that was so helpful!

Prior to beginning my secretarial duties, I made the time-intensive drive to TX. I've been able to whittle it down to 9.5 hours (staying within the speed limit, thank you) through much experience and discipline. Because of the experience, I thought I'd share my tips for long trips!

My Tips for Long Trips:
Avoid drinking too many liquids (especially coffee and tea)
Mix your instant cappuccino with decaf (2:1 ratio) to soften the sugar-high blow
Go to the bathroom at every stop... you'll definitely regret it if you don't (mom was right!!!)
Create a very varied music mix (You'll wish you did the 17th time you listen through it)
Listen to an audio book or the Bible (check out an earlier post for a good website that offers FREE downloadable audio)
Pray out loud
Work on scripture memory
Try to identify license plates by the design before you read the state
Call your friends/family
Plan visits with friends on the way (good if you can make it during a meal time... two birds with one stone!)
Check for major cities along your route and plan your leaving time to avoid rush hour

So... I was thinking it would be funny, but it was actually pretty practical. What can you expect, I'm better at that. However, I did have one of those I-thought-this-only-happens-in-the-movies moments on the way. I had just made the first of my two fuel stops (pretty good, eh?) and was hanging up the phone to enjoy my much anticipated italian-french-caramel-mocha-nut cappuccino + decaf when it happened. I picked up my piping-hot styrofoam cup-o-goodness, inhaled the steaming, sweet aroma, and... *pop*! The lid landed in my lap along with half of my coffee!!! I'm then shreiking, trying to put down my coffee, and pull the steaming, saturated fabric of my pants away from my burning lap. Aren't those stupid cups made for sipping in your car?! Don't worry, there were no permanent burns. Luckily I had some wet wipes to clean up the mess (I always knew mom carried those for a reason!). In the end, there was plenty of coffee left to drink, and my car smelled pretty good.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

It's Been One Week...

One week, seven days, 168 hours... well it's been a little over a week since the Forge class of 2009 graduated. I spent the first week at home in Ellinwood and it was a drastice change. I went from living with fifteen people and doing everything together to living with four people with four different schedules. It was kind of lonely in the day time with everyone at work, but I got to get somethings done that I needed to get done (including make yummy granola!). I also watched my first post-forge movie which was the Disney/Pixar classic, Cars. For those who don't know, we decided that throughout the duration of the Forge to not watch movies or TV, except as assigned by Matt (which wasn't that often). Anyway, the movie was heart-warming, but I haven't watched another movie since then.

As I've been reflecting on the past eight months, a few things come to mind. First was how much I learned about my own selfishness. The first 2/3 of the Forge was really difficult for me, and I really struggled with becoming a part of the community. I was very inward-focused. Matt, the Forge director, really challenged me at the beginning of the second semester to reach out to my Forge family and see if things changed. It's hard to describe what happened once I began to try. I know that I didn't do it on my own, but I also know that I had to try in order for the change to begin. God works in funny ways, I guess. One of the mysteries of the Kingdom is that when you reach out to others and sacrifice to meet their needs, somehow yours are met as well, but if you seek only to meet yours, then they remain unmet. It's the only way that community can work. In 1 Peter 1 it says, "[now] that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart, for you have been born again." That was the command I clung to last semester and I think it really sums it up well. I am to love the people God's placed in my circle of influence because that's who I am. I have been born again, I am a child of God, a disciple of Christ, and my identity is now one who loves.

That's all I've got for now! I hope the sun's shining wherever you are.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Possibly a Bribe

Hello again! I've finished the second video just now. During our visit to Bethlehem, we were able to visit the Church of the Nativity where we had a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Our guide got us front-row seats to an Eastern Orthodox mass in room where the Christ-child was supposed to have been born. Usually the room would be closed off to visitors until after the mass, but we got in. Who knows? Anyway, check out the video!

In the front of the room, where the priests are is the supposed spot. I was closer to the back of the room, but it was a great vantage point to capture all of the beautiful paintings hanging on the walls. It's dark, so it's hard to see the tapestries also lining the walls, but part of that may have been all of the carbon build-up from candles over the years.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

OMG, Galilee!

Good Morning!

I've snazzied up some of the short video clips I took while in Israel. The first is of the sea of Galilee from the vantage point of Susita, a city of the Decapolis on the east shore of the sea.