Friday, August 29, 2008

Random Survey

Wanted to blog tonight and didn't know what to write. Found this blog on another person's site and then traced it back to the original writer. Lots of interesting answers. I wanted to share mine:

I AM ... blessed.
I WANT... to always be content with my life.
I HAVE ... an obsession with celebrities and pop culture.
I KEEP… magazine articles, pictures I find on the internet, and sweet e-mails.
I WISH I COULD ... swim.
I HATE ... summer weather, spiders, writers block, and computer viruses.
I FEAR ... losing people I love.
I HEAR ... everything! I love to eavesdrop.
I DON'T THINK ... I’ll ever stop over-analyzing things.
I REGRET ... not singing more often when I was given the opportunity.
I LOVE ... my family.
I ACHE FOR ... George Clooney.
I ALWAYS CRY ... at high school graduations.
I AM NOT ... intimidating.
I DANCE ... alone in my bedroom.
I SING ... very loudly in the car, as if I am recording an album.
I NEVER ... wake up early without an alarm clock.
I RARELY ... go to bed before 10:00pm.
I CRY WHEN I WATCH ... “Extreme Home Makeover,” one specific scene in “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip,” and the episode of “Gilmore Girls” when Rory moves to Yale.
I AM NOT ALWAYS ... serious.
I'M CONFUSED ABOUT ... God’s will, my future, and who I should vote for this year.
I NEED ... the Lord everyday.
I SHOULD ... write more often.

Add this to your blog! :) Have a great night.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Reality Show Life

Okay, so lets talk about the fact that it is only Wednesday and I already feel like it is next Wednesday! I have had so many unexpected things happen this week and my emotions have been a roller coaster, which has also made this week extra crazy. Let’s recap:

Friday: Bachelorette Party. Good mix of old friends, lingerie, fruity drinks, laughter, a cute Christian waiter, hot tub discussions, and (of course) boy talk.

Saturday: Lunch with some well loved and missed high school teachers. Shared memories and updated each other on our lives at present. I love these annual reunions; they remind me just how blessed I was in high school and how much my last two years there shaped me because of my good, seven days a week, friends and five honest and inviting teachers. Saw Amy’s beautiful wedding dress (shout out to Amy - can’t believe one of my oldest and dearest friends is getting married!!!). Beach. Submarina with high school thieves. Moonlight, which makes my summer feel complete, and was able to catch up with an old roommate and another favorite teacher.

Sunday: Saw a great movie (Woody Allen is so interesting and unique). Then had lethal margaritas with my mom – embarrassing, spontaneous, and quite an adventure.

Monday: The day the virus attacked! Word of warning – watch out for Antivirus XP 08 it looks just like Norton’s but is deadly. I freaked out, but tried to remember that it is just a computer and there are bigger problems in the world.

Tuesday: Ran to Target during lunch to buy a bigger flash drive. Annoyed at work because the day seemed so slow and lonely! Went to orientation for grad school, which was really great because it felt so good to be sitting in a classroom again! Crazy, I know… Came home and discovered I had to go back to Target for more stuff to back up my hard drive. Melt down in Target on the phone with my family. Very embarrassing as customers looked at me with concern and pity, tears falling down my face. Called Scott to get help with the virus. He gave me some piece of mind. Downloaded an antivirus program. Ilise and I deleted the virus five hours later! I was on cloud 9!

Wednesday (Today): The return of the brown, big, and hairy spider. Place of attack this year – my car (outside, thankfully). Splashed it off with water, felt like it would attack the whole way to work. Got the car washed inside and out (piece of mind is priceless). Also found the tomato I bought at the store on Monday in the back of my trunk at lunch today.

Maybe all of the above seems like nothing, or over dramatic, or lame. But, it feels very eventful to me. It’s just been one of those weeks.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

17th Grade

Today I was accepted to 17th grade, also known as GRAD SCHOOL. Crazy, huh? If you had told me seven months ago that I would be starting grad school at the school I graduated from, without taking a year off, and that my degree would have nothing to do with my BA in English, I would have told you that you were crazy. In fact, I would have bet you $100 that you were wrong and probably would have been offended you didn’t think I could move away from Azusa, a place I wasn’t too crazy about the first three and half years I lived here. And yet, today I was accepted to grad school at APU. I start in two weeks and will be on my way to earning a MA in Organizational Leadership. The thing that is even more surprising is that I feel very secure about the whole thing. I feel more secure now about living in the Azusa area, working at APU, and starting grad school than I ever did four years ago when I moved here.
Four years ago I was terrified. I’ll never forget driving up to school with my family getting, off the 210 and truly seeing the new city I was supposed to call home. The city was ugly, covered in smog, and full of stores and hole in the wall eateries that I thought I would never go to (sorry Moonwok). My freshman year may have been the worst year of my life and at Christmas break I was thinking of transferring schools, but I came back. The following year, I came back again, and again, and by the start of my senior year I couldn’t wait to move in with my roommates. But it wasn’t until I graduated college that I really began to love being at APU. Honestly, I was still relieved to be graduating and be done with undergrad, but I was finally content to be where I had been for the last three years. It was finally home.
Now, I am still at APU, enjoying my job, and beginning my new path of study in Organizational Leadership. I think this will be a really good fit. It brings together my love of Strengths and my interest in birth order theory (thanks, Mom). It also continues my love for developing leadership skills. I have been involved with leadership teams since Junior High, but it wasn’t until college that I truly began to analyze people in leadership and what motivates people to act the way they do. The MAOL program studies these same things. I’m excited to start the next phase of my academic career and feel relieved that I have a new direction and a sense of purpose for two to three more years. It is a complete answer to prayer.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Airport Humanity

Airports are great places to watch people. The roomies and I went to the airport last night to see our beloved Rach. There is such energy at airports. As a people-watcher it is a great place to be. It is so beautiful to see travelers welcomed by loved ones. Everyone is tired and anxious and exhausted, yet they come down the elevator and their faces light up in smiles at the sight of the one waiting for them. Meanwhile, the one waiting grows with excitement as the traveler gets closer and closer. Seeing all of this joy and love between people of all walks of life gives you hope in humanity again.
Every time I am at the airport I love to watch people say hello to each other and say goodbye. The range of emotions is fascinating. I always want to know their stories. Where are they going? Who are they going to see? Are they glad to be leaving? Who are they leaving? Why? I want to know all about them. It is like a puzzle of sorts. This happens to me in all situations, but I am especially heightened to it at airports and Disneyland. Two places full of a mix of people and stories and connections.
Observing people and analyzing their emotions and actions is so amazing to me. You’d be surprised how much you can learn by watching and listening. People give away so much about themselves in the details. Try it. Try to watch and listen. Look at the way people stand by each other, touch each other, look at their faces when they speak, watch their body language. Listen to what they say, how they react, watch their facial expressions, listen to their tone. It is easier than you may think and much more addicting than you probably think.
Life is in the details, and life is more fun when you take note.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Raw, Raw, Michael Phelps!!!


These are the words I have been saying all week. I have been using phrases such as “the 200 meter butterfly” and dropping names such as Michael Phelps, Natalie Coughlin, and Kerri Walsh. This week is when my Input Strength comes in handy, because since Saturday I have had all sorts of Olympic trivia and facts being filed away in my brain and spewing out in such a way that even I am surprised. It is so strange because before Saturday I had never even heard of the people I just named! I am religiously watching NBC every night from 8 to midnight. Who knew I’d be so obsessed with the Olympics?
The only clue to even point to my new obsession was during the 1996 Olympics when I became obsessed with the American Dream Team for gymnastics and began reading everything about Kerri Strug. However, all other years of the Olympics I really didn’t care at all, until now.
It has been a fun week. I can see why everyone seems to love the Olympics. It is such a unifying event, which is sort of ironic considering it is a competition of gigantic proportions. But it sparks such a sense of nationalism, which I think is refreshing given the day to day politics of everyone’s countries and all of the conflict between nations. People ignore that during the Olympics. This is especially noticeable to me this year because of the fact that we are in China, a nation that generally has very opposite practices and beliefs than the United States. They are a nation known for ignoring human rights, are pro-censorship, and an incredibly sexist country. Instead of focusing on all of that the Olymics make us think in a “glass half full” state of mind. We all are instead reminded of how similar people all over the world are at the core. We all have passion, talent, play the same sports, jump up and down when we are excited, and get angry when we are upset about losing. The Olympics reminds everyone what we have in common and that the world isn’t so big after all. It is a really beautiful and positive thing.
I am loving the swimming and am trying to get into the women’s gymnastics and I am starting to really enjoy women’s beach volleyball as well. I am so blown away by the amount of focus these athletes have and their discipline and ability to put passion into practice. And I really do believe these athletes have passion for what they do, because I don’t think you could put yourself through so much pressure and discipline and lack of a life for something and still be so successful if you didn’t actually love what you do. The love for the sport is what makes these athletes stand out and win. Michael Phelps must love swimming, because I really believe that if he didn’t then no amount of pressure or intimidation by others (parents and coaches, etc) could make a person win so many gold medals. Talent may be given at birth and practice does make perfect, but passion is what sets apart the good and the inspiring, the winners and fourth place. The athlete has to want it themselves, or they wouldn’t have qualified for the Olympics. That is passion.
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"If you enjoy every moment at the pool, you're bound -- you're guaranteed -- to train your best and swim your best." ~Michael Phelps

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Passion


Before you read this blog about coming alive and passion, please know that I am writing about a joy of the Lord that is lived out in a way that is separate from being filled with the joy of the Lord, or as I say having the “God glow.” I want to clarify that as a Christian and I love the Lord and He makes me come alive with joy inside and out, so please understand that when I say “come alive” in this post I don’t mean spiritually, I mean in a way where you are doing something that people see and immediately know it is from the Lord or else there is no reason one should be good at that thing or doing that thing or have been given the opportunity to shape their life around that thing.
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I have been thinking about passion for more than a week. I have a writing “date” tomorrow after work with my good friend, Jamie, and it has been hauntingly hanging over my head since last Thursday. It is haunting me because a year ago making plans to swap writing and spending a week getting drafts ready would have been a dream, especially considering that my nights and weekend are free from responsibility with ample time to write. However, it has been painful thinking about it this week. For about a year now I have been wondering if I have talent in writing. I have also been questioning how passionate I really am about it. In December I was going to apply to grad school to get an MFA in fiction, and the day before graduation I made a decision not to follow that path because I wasn’t passionate about it. Filling out those applications was painful for me, not exciting at all. I realized that writing was something I enjoyed, but wasn’t sure I could make it a career, flash forward seven months and now I am not even sure if it is a passion or just some expected dream, like having the right answer or something. It is even more ironic because I applied for grad school last week for a direction I never even knew I would be interested in someday, but that doesn’t mean it makes me come alive, however, I am looking forward to it.
I am curious to see how it goes tomorrow night. I have had extreme writers block all week, but I was able to write a page of something that may actually turn into something (I also am bringing an old story to work on with Jamie and edit). All I do know is that today I began looking forward to tomorrow because I love seeing Jamie’s passion for writing. She comes alive when we discuss and share it and I love that. I love to see people come alive with what they do.
Jamie isn’t the only one who has been showing me what coming alive looks like this week. I have also been inspired by my favorite wedding photographer Jasmine Star. I am always inspired by her blog (http://jasminestarblog.com/) because she is so honest, personal, and genuine. She is a Christian and I think the Lord shines through her talent and her heart. She’ll be photographing my friend’s wedding in a couple months and I am really hoping to meet her! What inspired me this week on her blog is that she is on tour for the next few weeks talking about photography around the country and it is just so incredible to read about her love of photography and of connecting with people. Her passion screams through her blog. You know when you read her blog that she is completely and totally and beautifully alive.
Today I was impressed by Jason Diaz. He is an incredible musician and I bought his CD on iTunes today. He was my high school worship leader and then again was my college worship leader. I have been listening to him sing for a total of six years and he is inspiring. The fact that he has a CD on iTunes and Amazon is incredible and I admire his passion and hard work. He is a perfect example of just a normal person following their dreams and (beginning) to catch them.
As I write this I am watching the semi-finals of “So You Think You Can Dance.” Every time they show a one-on-one chat with each of the final four followed by their solo I get teary-eyed. These four – Twitch, Katee, Joshua, and Courtney – were four of my favorites this season (in addition to Kourtni, Will, and Kherington). The reason these four bring tears to my eyes is because they come alive when they dance. It is clear that they were each born to dance and it is incredible to watch them on the show because it means they went after their dream. They prove it on stage week after week. Even when they are talking about dance they beam. It is exactly what they were meant to do. I especially love watching Courtney dance her solos because, although she is not as technically excellent as the other three, she brings more passion in her 30 second solo than the rest of the dancers combined. You can see on stage that she “brings it” every time. The way she moves and throws her body around with such purpose and force and meaning is mesmerizing. She is alive. All of the dancers on the show have just shown such incredible passion.
Passion is what I have felt I’ve been missing for the last year. I love many things and find joy in those things, such as God and my family and my friends and deep conversations and music and feminism and education and even writing, but I still haven’t found – or maybe decided – what I am so passionate about that I come alive too.
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"Don't ask yourself what the world needs, ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive." ~Gil Bailie