Sunday, February 28, 2010

I will listen to my fortune cookie from now on

Now there are two versions to this short story. I could tell it the way I wish it was, because, let's face it, it would sound so much more bad-a, but I shall tell you both just so you can decide which version is better.

The true story:
A friend of mine got Chinese food across the street and came back to eat it outside the pub. The lady who packed up her food gave her two fortune cookies, so my friend, being the awesome person that she is, offered me one of her cookies. Luck of all luck, there were two fortunes inside. I was stoked. The first one said: "Now is the time to try something new." Good advice. I think I can rock that one. The second one said: "You will soon have the opportunity to improve your finances." I got really excited over this one because it had already come true! Several hours before we were hanging out at the pub, I checked my mail and found an unexpected check from work for over $500. I had no idea I was going to be paid this month since I though I missed the pay period, and was even more surprised with the amount. You see, God still relays messages in creative ways.

The bad-a version:
For lunch today I walked down to the corner and bought Chinese food to go. Always being the impatient one -- not to mention unconventional and backwards -- I eat the fortune cookie before I leave the restaurant so I can read my fortune. Well, the cookie had two fortunes inside, (as some do on occasion), and since that means your fortune has a greater chance of coming true (I think...?), I was excited. Fortune #1: "Now is the time to try something new." Good advice. Not exactly a fortune, but maybe it'll pay off in the end. Fortune #2: "You will soon have the opportunity to improve your finances." Always a good thing. It's a vague fortune, but no matter when, I could always use an improvement where money is concerned. On my way back, I realized I hadn't checked the mail in a couple days and decide to see if we had anything piled up in the box. Lo and behold, inside I found a check for over $500 from the school district I work for. Chills ran down my spine. My fortune didn't waste any time in proving itself. The check was completely unexpected since I didn't think I would be paid until next month.

Now that I know these fortune cookies are legit, I am going to pay a heck of a lot more attention to them from now on. Who knows, maybe trying something new will bring me greater fortune.

Saturday, February 27, 2010


I just discovered the most amazing band tonight. Check them out; they're floating around the world wide web somewhere. It's just my style too. I haven't heard something this good in a looong time. The best part: they're a Christian group. Oh, and they're local. :)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

If we are the body...

We are all part of the body of believers (those who are believers in Christ), and as such we are a family that is closer than blood relatives. We have something that goes beyond mere lineage. We have a direct spiritual link to Christ and are co-heirs with him. Doesn't that just blow your mind?? But with such a connection to one another, we have the responsibility of supporting, encouraging, and aiding one another at all times. How is it that we as Christians bicker and tear one another down more than any other 'group' of people? No other 'religion' -- or faith if you will -- has so many divisions in the church. The fact that we have so many denominations says a lot. Sure, we're "Protestant," but there's a whole slew of denominations under that name. Even other religions don't have so many divisions. There are two commonly recognized splits -- orthodox and traditional -- and I feel like they mean the same thing.
The point is, that we are one body (1 Cor 12), and as such we must act as one body to bring glory to God. That's our purpose. Our purpose isn't to glorify self -- to see to our needs and wants -- but to work as a mighty unit to bring glory to God. He knows that we are all fallen creatures and have the innate tendency to sin. But this is where, in our weakness, we can show the world his magnificence! Imagine, hundreds and thousands and millions of people -- all of whom are set up for failure through sin -- defy that innate tendency in order to bring glory to God! It is HE who brings us together if we let Him.
I can't say it any better than Christ Himself, so I'll close with these verses:

Romans 15: 5-7 (NIV)
"May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God."

THIS is it

I've had a lot of "life verses" over the years -- ones that especially stood out to me and spoke to me where I was at in life -- but when it comes right down to it; if you want to know what life is all about, here it is:

1 Peter 2:17 (NIV)
"Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king."

We don't have a king here in America, but by making a slight adjustment in the verse, "honor the authority God put before you," we would be directly in line with Romans 13:1.

It's amazing that I knew this verse for years and years. In fact, I'm pretty positive I discovered it during my high school years over a decade ago (wow, I'm that old?!?). I was looking through my old bible -- the one that's literally in pieces because I've worn it out so much -- and in the front cover I wrote 1 Peter 2:17. I'm not one to write in the cover of my bible, so it must have impacted me at the time (which I do not remember at all), and flipping to the verse I discovered the simplicity of what God calls us to do.

This is it, plain and simple.

Confront This

I hate confrontation. Anytime I feel an inkling of a confrontation coming, I want to bury my head in the sand like the ostriches in Dumbo. Simply put, I don't do well. It doesn't matter if someone is confronting me, or I'm confronting them, I end up stumbling over my words, talking very quietly, and totally without conviction. That is what I hate the most. Usually confrontation comes at an impasse -- where no compromise can be made -- thus the butting of heads, so to speak. It is during these moments that all spirit and passion leaves me. Whatever I was standing up for suddenly doesn't matter because I just want to appease the other person at best, and at worst, run and hide.

For those who know me, this is probably hard to even imagine. I know I'm aggressive and competitive, but when it comes to people challenging me and my values/beliefs, then I am surprisingly a chicken. Or ostrich, rather. I take it as a personal attack on my person, and I can't stand people not liking me. The confrontation doesn't even have to be about me per se, but I still feel like they are judging me.

I hate this flaw of mine. I should be more than diplomatic and soft spoken when the other person is often fired up and impassioned. You'd think I could feed off that fire and meet them toe to toe, but it sadly rarely happens. Why? Because I just want to be liked. It makes me sad burning bridges.

Will someone please hand me some matches? I need to keep them in my back pocket just in case.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Now and Then

A very important decision has to be made soon. I'm not sure how soon, but the time is creeping up, and it just might take me by surprise. You see, I have been applying for teaching positions all over Asia and the South Pacific -- everywhere from China to Saipan -- and miracle of all miracles, they have responded. Having job options is an unbelievable blessing, but also an unbelievable burden. I don't know what to do. Now that I have so many choices, I am worried that I won't make the right one. I am sure that wherever I go, I can make the best out of the situation, but I know I will be plagued with "what if" thoughts -- what if I went to another school in another country? What would it be like? What if I chose a different school? Would it alter life-changing decisions that I would have made at a different school?
I really should be happy -- if not humbled -- that I am given a choice of schools to teach at. But I am stressed out. There are pros and cons to each offered position. It is simply a matter of deciding which choice I can live with. I will be making my bed soon, and must lie in it.

I pray not for a bed of roses, but for a hammock that will sway in the wind and soften the blow of any storm.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Trip to Fiesta Foods

I was torn today between two carbs. I went to Fiesta Foods after work to grab some tomatoes for guacamole, but decided to stop and get some pan from the panaderia since Fiesta Foods is the largest Mexican supermarket in town and I know the pan is made fresh. So I grabbed two pastries and wandered around the store before heading to the cashier. Lo and behold the aisle I strolled down was the cereal aisle, and the first box to catch my eye was Capt'n Crunch with Berries, my childhood favorite. I haven't had the Crunch in years, but even the sight of the box brought the memories back. I had to have it. After paying for my purchases I walked through the automatic doors wondering which to break in first. I was tempted to start munching on the pan while I walked out to my car, but thought I would look too desperate/greedy. Should I bust open the Capt'n Crunch? Oooh, I wanted those berries. Smell links memories much stronger than any other sense, but fresh pan did sound enticing.

I ended up biting into the pan just because it was easier to eat while I drove home. Totally worth it. I'm excited about the Captain tomorrow morning.

PS: I did buy two tomatoes. Can't have good guacamole without it.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I'd lie

Strike that, I already did. I am finding it easier and easier to lie to students every time I am in the classroom. The question about my age, and then conversely my capabilities as a teacher, come up every time I substitute, so to make things interesting I make up a new story about my past in order to entertain the kiddies.
The latest tale I spun came as an omission of truth. A student asked (quite originally I might add), "how long have you been out of college?" It wasn't the typical "How old are you?" or "Are you old enough to teach?"
I gave him the vague reply, "A very long time." Then followed it up with, "I'm a child genius."
Naturally, they wanted to know how exactly, and if I ever skipped a grade. I told them I never went to middle school. Not quite a lie. I never went to middle school because I was home-schooled until I started high school, so technically, I spoke the truth. The rest of the conversation with various students went like this:
"Wow, can I skip middle school?"
"No I don't think so. It takes a lot of dedication and a lot of test taking."
"So you skipped 6th, 7th, and 8th?"
"Yes ma'am."
"So you went from 5th grade to high school? That means you started high school when you were eleven."
"Technically I was twelve."
They sat in awe.
I felt empowered -- no exhilarated. Oh the things little 13 year olds believe. Thursday is all about the high school kids. If I can convince college kids that you become shorter at the equator (that's another story for another time), then high schoolers should be a breeze.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

When I turn one down...

There's always a lot of questions as to why I am not drinking. I could be a smart ass and ask whether they are referring to that particular time, or the fact that I don't often drink in general. But the truth of the matter is, I have several reasons for not drinking, and all are valid.

1. I'm allergic to alcohol. When I first started drinking three years ago, I thought I simply couldn't hold my liquor. I use the excuse, "I get the Asian flush" and leave it at that most of the time. I HATE the Asian flush. But the truth is, it's just one symptom to my unfortunate allergy.
2. Drinking takes legitimate effort. This is probably because I am allergic to the stuff, but I really have to be in a drinking mood and pump myself up to drink.
3. I hate how foolish I can look when I drink -- especially if it's more than two. Regardless of whether or not people actually judge me (hey, they're drunk too so why should it matter?), I am still very self-conscious and don't want my reputation as a "good, smart girl" to be ruined by me stumbling around or laughing hilariously.
4. For the year of 2010, I am only drinking on twelve occasions, which means I really need to limit myself to those occasions that really warrant a good drink or two. Or three.
5. I hate the way I feel after drinking. The general consensus is that you drink to feel good. Drinking does not make me feel good. In fact, if the way it makes me feel is any clue, then alcohol is definitely not for me. I turn really red, I have a hard time focusing on anything, I'm sure I become chatty and slur my words, after the chattiness subsides, I get very quiet and want to sleep. I'm not a hyper drunk by any means. I am the one who just wants to sit in a corner and be left alone with my pounding headache. I hate the dizziness and the fact that I need to use the bathroom every ten minutes. And people actually want to make themselves feel this way?!? The concept is beyond me.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Airlie 7

To keep myself accountable to one of my New Years resolutions, I decided to record every drinking event of the year for you to see. As you recall, one of the things on my list is to only drink on twelve occasions this entire year. I'm not a big drinker, so keeping the stints down to twelve is going to be a breeze (not to mention healthier).

On Wednesday, February 10, I had my first drink of the year during my first visit to The Crush with some friends. I was pleasantly surprised with the new wine bar in town -- not only were the owners personal and friendly, but the classy ambiance was definitely top notch. As much as I admired the brick walls and naked lady pictures on them, it was really the company that made the evening more than enjoyable. Although the occasion wasn't particularly "special," I was proud to make that my first drink of the year. After a taste of the 7, recommended by a new acquaintance, I promptly asked for a full glass of Airlie 7. I didn't think I was much of a white wine drinker, but since I like 'em sweet, I trusted the connoisseur at the table and was not disappointed with the 7.

Good evening -- having a glass of wine with friends and new acquaintances, learning about each other, and discussing the finer points of Oregon wine, rugby, and Idaho. I'd say it was a success. I felt like I was in the middle crowd though, with three people people a good ten years older than me, and the other three still in their undergrad. Is this what limbo is like? No matter, I enjoyed my 7, enjoyed the brick walls, and most of all, enjoyed the company.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Bucket List

Everyone needs goals. I just happen to have 101 of them.

1. Live in Europe for over a year and visit all the countries

2. Visit Greece and sail to the islands

3. Go on a Mediterranean cruise (for my honeymoon)

4. Exercise regularly (4 times a week) for one year

5. Hitchhike over 100 miles

6. Go on another Greyhound adventure

7. Publish a book

8. Get on New York’s best sellers list

9. Go scuba diving

10. Get my ear pierced again

11. Learn how to surf real waves

12. Swim under a waterfall

13. Audition for an off-Broadway musical

14. Learn how to play the guitar

15. Backpack through Europe

16. Visit Prince Edward Island—see the places of Anne of Avonlea

17. Go horseback riding on a beach

18. Visit Australia

19. Swim with manatees

20. Teach a college English/Writing class

21. Dance in the rain

22. Get proposed to in a very creative, romantic way

23. Marry the man of my dreams

24. Have 7 children: 3 biological, 4 international adoption

25. See a musical on Broadway in New York

26. Develop an accent (other than American) naturally

27. Stay up all night with a stranger

28. Sleep in a train station

29. Work in a publishing firm

30. See Jared Seachris again

31. Skinny dip with husband in a mountain lake

32. Race a car without fear of being pulled over.

33. Design and buy a 4-door Mini Cooper

34. Sleep on the streets like a hobo

35. Learn Tagalong

36. Get Lasik eye surgery

37. Get laser hair removal in my armpits

38. Volunteer in an orphanage

39. Run through a field of flowers

40. Buy a professional camera and take pictures for enjoyment

41. Meet Michael Buble

42. Get a medi/pedi and a complete spa treatment

43. Attend a world cup soccer game

44. Attend a world cup rugby game

45. Get serenaded in a romantic way

46. Play Aravis in the “Horse and His Boy” film

47. Manage a homeless shelter/rec hall/youth center

48. Have my first child by the time I’m 30

49. Take a boat ride through the Indian Ocean

50. Travel the Middle East and dress like the women

51. Visit Egypt

52. Attend a southern Baptist black church

53. Visit Mount Rushmore

54. Work in a DoDDs school

55. Learn how to fence

56. Take a spontaneous vacation somewhere

57. Go rock climbing up a real cliff

58. Learn to fly a plane

59. Get pulled by a dog sled in Alaska

60. Marry royalty from another country (preferably England)

61. Wax my legs (eek!)

62. Cry my way out of a ticket

63. Sleep on a roof or barn

64. Design and own my own home

65. Be debt free in 6 years (starting 2010)

66. Live on a ranch

67. Sing in a jazz club back east

68. Try blue/green contacts

69. Kiss a stranger

70. Take professional voice lessons

71. Sew a quilt out of old sports/school shirts

72. Design/make my own dress

73. Find the Lochness Monster

74. Take ballroom dance lessons

75. Punch someone in the face – legitimately

76. Make my own decorative furniture

77. Finish scrapbooking Europe pictures

78. Go on a real first date

79. Spend a week “blind” and learn Braille

80. Ahem....have a personal and private experience.

81. Be the “cool” mom for my children

82. Learn how to play the harp

83. Own a spirited horse

84. Do Camp Adventure again

85. Be a recreational/outdoors guide

86. Lead someone to Christ

87. Road trip through all 49 states (excluding Hawaii)

88. Ride a trolley

89. Go on a safari and ride an elephant

90. Visit South Africa to observe culture

91. Live in downtown above shops

92. Go to the Love Parade

93. Visit India and go to a monastery

94. Pretend to be pregnant for as long as I can with strangers

95. Go up in a hot air balloon

96. Tour a southern plantation

97. Spend a full 24/48 hours in jail

98. Climb a coconut tree and pick a coconut

99. Write letters more

100. Do a professional photo shoot

101. Obtain a magical power

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Functions never to attend as a single woman:

This short list was inspired by a little 2-year-old's birthday, and will continue to grow with the awkward experiences I will have for the rest of my life -- because, let's face it, I am destined to be a perpetual bachelorette.

Social functions never to attend as a single woman:
1. Little children's birthday parties. I wrote extensively on this event, so check a few posts back and you'll get the full scoop. Basically, I ended up being the ONLY single person there who was not an immediate relative and did not have a wee baby of their own.

2. Male birthday parties. Not so bad you say, but when every other invitee is also male; as a female, I started to feel out of place real quick. I can only acquaint it to being the only woman at a bachelor party where I am neither the stripper nor the sexy bartender. Double whammy here: every guy present was in a serious relationship. It was a lose-lose situation from the start. Why was I even invited? Well according to the birthday boy, I am "kinda like a guy anyway, so don't worry about it." Why was I even compelled to go? Because I am an idiot of a woman, and thought it'd be fine since we were good friends and I thought I'd know all the guys there, so it'd be like a mini-reunion. I was wrong.

3. Superbowl parties. This was a surprise to me too; usually Superbowl parties are chock full of every kind of person, not to mention a room full of all your buddies. Well leave it to me to stumble upon the only party that was almost exclusively couples. I was with some of my friends watching the boring game and started feeling out of place (don't ask me why). Since I knew another friend was having a Superbowl party, I decided to do a little hopping and see what was happening in his neck of the woods. Big mistake. One that could not be corrected. You see, the moment I walked in, I spotted three couples squished on a couch and recliner. I peer around the corner and see two more couples on a couch. The lone single guy was sprawled out on his own couch, and was the only obvious place to sit. I greet the room at large, greet the host and the only two other men I know, and hurry to the "singles couch". Well it was too late to make up an excuse and dart out to the safety of my car, so I had to sit through over a quarter of the game until it mercifully ended with the win going to the Saints. (Anyone see irony in that?) Needless to say, I felt out of place -- not only because I felt like I was intruding on a party that was in full swing, but because I left a good foot of space between me and the only other guy on the couch and DID NOT have my hands all over someone. Seriously, if I become one of those touchy, clingy couple, then you have my permission to slap me across the face.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Oh me of little faith

This is really a formal apology to God. I know it doesn't make any difference to Him if it's done privately or for all the world to see, but it is such a great lesson, I thought I'd share it with the rest of you as well. You see, last night I was nearly having an anxiety attack because I felt so much pressure from several people (including myself) to get a substituting job. As if I haven't been working hard enough trying to make connections with schools in order to secure said jobs (which I have. I swear.) Anyway, with all the stress surmounting, I cried out to God for peace. That was all I wanted -- peace -- and the knowledge that I was doing the right thing by staying here in Monmouth.

Well guess what? God granted me that peace and the very sign I was looking for: a sub job for today. All day. Which means I'll be $150 richer (give or take whatever the government steals from me in taxes). I got the call bright and early to take over a former colleague's English class for the day.

God, I am sorry I ever doubted you. I know you promised to take care of your children and I had nothing to be worried about. I know you didn't need to prove yourself to me, but you did. For that I say thank you. Grant me humility and carry me when I am weak. You are great. Thanks.


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

I'm not sure how I got as far I have. You see, I started this blog as a way to explore some creative writing techniques and keep my writing from going rusty. Now it has turned into a digital journal that anyone and their mom can read if they truly wanted to. I wanted this to be (slightly) professional and insightful -- something I can continue to use even after I become a published author. Alas, I fear I will need to start afresh if I ever want to be taken seriously again. This little venting blog has become sadly unprofessional. Therefore, I will strive to improve my writing and post things worth reading about.

End scene.