Friday, December 31, 2010

wrapping it up

I've been sifting through my brain for days, trying to decide how to wrap up this year with words. What I have found through all my sifting is that I don't know how to wrap this year up. It's uncontainable for me. And that is a very good thing, I think.

So much has happened in my life, and I couldn't be more thankful (for once) for ALL of the change that has accompanied 2010. It was all welcome change, and most has been so monumental for me personally that I am still largely in the middle of processing it. 

Particularly within the last four months, I have lived outside of my comfort zone in such a way that all of my 24 years of previous living experience has been shaken. It's amazing. I have grown so much, and through some powerful and sometimes difficult conversations with a few new close friends I have discovered that my self-perception has been skewed to an extreme of inaccuracy. So many things that I've always told myself (or heard from outside sources) that I was bad at or couldn't do or didn't have the personality for have been placed in front of me and conquered. I think maybe God is trying to teach me a few things here! Gladly, I accept them. 

So far, just in the past four months I have:
1. moved to a new city where I didn't know a soul 
2. transferred to a new university where I also didn't know a soul and 
3. started being a student again after 4 very long years
4. made friends with people who still don't believe that I'm truly an introvert (who knew I could be outgoing???)
5. joined the most boisterous student group that exists at NU - the Student Activities Board. As a division of the Student Government, we plan, implement, and are the face of all the "fun stuff" that happens at the university. That's right, I do the "fun stuff." ha.
6. applied for a leadership position on SAB (and got it!). Next semester I will be an Event Coordinator - I have another EC to partner with, and we are responsible for making sure our specific events get organized and off the ground...I'll even have a team of SAB members to work with. weird. but exciting.
7. not only survived a debate in my communications class, but got an A on it - which if you know me at all is a huge victory, as I have long thought myself incapable of decent public speaking. Turns out I was wrong...
8. after 4 years of not doing an ounce of homework or writing or reading anything 'academic,' I not only passed all of my classes, but made the Dean's List as well! 

I'm not what I would classify the adventurous type, or the outgoing type, or even necessarily the fun type, but what 2010 has taught me is that I need to stop classifying myself and allow myself to be and become what God wants me to be - and not what anyone else says I am or am not, or should or should not be.

A verse I just came across this afternoon jumped out at me for this coming year:

The LORD says, "I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you." Psalm 32:8 (New Living Translation)

I feel like that is God's promise for me in 2011. Focus on Him, and He will take me to and through everything He has planned for me this year. I encourage you to rest on that this coming year as well. But don't just rest on it, go out and live it! Live your life to its full potential in 2011! 

Happy New Year, friends! 

My roommate Kenzie, Ellie, Kelsey, me, Angie, and Jennifer @ NU in November. :)

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Yes, I do realize that I've been very quiet while away at college. I am keeping quite busy, learning how to be a student again and the art of making new friends (which is something I have always struggled with, but I am finding that the skill is invaluable if you want to stay sane in new life situations). I was struck dumb tonight by Donald Miller - again...this guy just knocks me over on a regular basis...and I just felt compelled to share. He was talking on his blog about growing up and maturing. This is something I have a problem with, because I have trouble managing fear in my life. But for the third time today, I was reminded that fear and worry are not ways of life that we were designed to walk in. Here's what Don had to say:
I wish I could go back and talk to myself when I was twenty. I’d say to myself “listen, don’t worry about the things you’ve been worrying about. Everything is going to work out great.” And I’d likely clarify with myself that “In the future I get everything I need?” And I’d say back to myself “No, you just realize you didn’t need it. And that’s even better.”
I was at church this morning and the pastor got up in the middle of the worship set to talk to us about fear, which was a deviation from the planned programming of the service. He said he felt like there were people there this morning that were living with a spirit of fear, and that was not how God designed us to live. And he prayed for all of us who were dealing with fear that it would leave us and be replaced with God's spirit of love. It was a strange concept to deal with because even though I know that fear isn't healthy, and it isn't the way God created us to be, I still live my life with fear hanging around me like a stray cat that got fed once and won't go away.

My new assignment is to banish fear. I have a feeling it will be a process, but at least I don't have to do it alone.

Friday, August 20, 2010

the guesswork

life is all about the guesswork.
what if we lived in a world with no variables; only constants?
there would be no exploration, no discovery, no growth, and little passion.
it would be all just expanse of sky, with no earth.
or just dirt, with no mountains.
we weren’t created simply to exist; to float without experience.
we are here to learn, to breathe, to see, to teach, to touch, to share with one another our mistakes and our journeys...
and ultimately to glorify our Creator through all of those things
by using what we’ve seen, learned, touched, tasted, loved, laughed about, cried over.
and as much as we might put off the unknown and the discomfort in the variables, they are in fact crucial to our very core
 without shadows there can be no proof of the sunshine
no answers exist without a question
and if we stop fearing the guesswork, we might be more willing to step out and see what we can learn from the beauty that inhabits the unknown.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

countdowns and updates

Oh! It's July. Crazy how that happened!

I am moving in exactly six weeks to attend university and finish my Bachelor's degree that I started oh-so-many years ago. I can't believe I'm actually doing this. I'm so excited, and so scared - because this is incredibly out of my very small comfort zone. But I really feel ready for the change. Everything keeps falling so beautifully into place that I know it's from the Lord. There's no other explanation for how this is working out. Especially in the financial area. It's astounding, and I am so thankful that I have this opportunity to expand and explore.

I also was blessed with a visit from a childhood family friend and her boyfriend this past week. They had a week off work so they trekked to the Northwest from So Cal to visit Seattle for a few days and then came to stay with my family. It was so great to get to know Stephanie as a "grown up" as we haven't spent any concentrated time together in over ten years. Our families were really close when we were small and all lived in California, and I remember asking my mom if we were actually related to them. It certainly felt like it, and I have sincerely missed spending time with them over the past years. It was fun getting to meet Andrew as well, and I am happy to know that Stephanie is with someone as genuine and caring as he is. She deserves nothing less.

We got to show them some of the more touristy places around here, like the Tillamook Cheese Factory, the coast, and the gorgeous waterfalls that populate the area. We live in a really beautiful place, and I was glad to be reminded of that and share it with friends.

I hope you're all having a nice July!

Friday, June 4, 2010

learning things

...I am what can be classified as a 'hopeful romantic.' I refuse to believe that I am hopeless.

...I have serious issues when it comes to matters of the heart.

...I am far too melodramatic for my own good. (Somehow, most things end up feeling like they are life or death, even though my brain knows they're not. My heart doesn't listen to reason. Panic and chaos ensue.)

...I live in cycles - this is probably unhealthy on several levels; largely because I enter each new cycle believing that it hasn't happened before...but it's always happened before, and it's almost always been exactly the same as this time.

...These patterns that I repeat fall into one of three categories: my purpose, love, and a combination of the two (don't ask how they correlate, they just do in my life).

...Recognizing these truths in my life may hopefully be a step on the path to recovery.

What do I need to recover from?

I'm not really sure yet.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Mr. Miller Strikes Again.

"...God gives life to you to live, and you can either tell meaningful stories or boring stories. We can’t wait around anymore for God to make something happen in our lives, meanwhile we shop at Bed Bath and Beyond. The truth is, God gives you wisdom and direction and morality and His presence and support, and then asks you to live, to conquer, to risk and experience the whole of life. People grow when they are in motion." - Don Miller
I wish that Don Miller didn't make me think so much because, frankly, thinking hurts.  And usually, thinking leads to pondering, and pondering to considering. And once you start considering, say, the state of your life and how these new thoughts could be put into action to change the state of your life, dangerous things start to unfold.

Things like change.

Now, read the quote again. Go on, I'll wait for you.

Let it sink in a bit. For me, at least, those are terrifying words to read. Because I like shopping. Okay, not just shopping, but rather hoping that God will make things happen while I "wait on Him." Actually living my life is one of the scariest things for me. I don't like risks.

But apparently, we're supposed to actually do something with our lives. As in use action verbs. So we can experience and grow.

Hmmm...I guess it's time to force myself off the couch and start learning to tell meaningful stories.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Frenzying Away

Hello, Blogland...

I see from the date that it's been a month since my last update...oops. It's April, and this year that means that I am in the process of slogging through the writing of my very first feature length screenplay. I'm participating in a program called Script Frenzy (see my little icon over here ----->) in which the goal is to complete 100 pages of script in 30 days. Sound familiar? It's a program from the same group as National Novel Writing Month, which I attempted to participate in last November.

Anyway, this project is already going significantly better than the novel attempt - I actually have a plot and dialogue and interesting characters! And a good number of pages...although I am currently a little behind schedule, which means I should go back to working on that rather than blogging. :)

Before I go, though, I thought I'd let you know (because I know you're all wondering!) that I finally found another job! I'm working at a movie theater in town, and so far, so good. I've been there almost a week. Ha. Anyway, I will now be spending my summer selling popcorn and smiling a lot, and I can now officially say that I have my first job in the Film Industry. Hey, it's a foot in the door, right? The guy on our training videos said that Julia Roberts even started by working at a movie theater...

Friday, March 19, 2010

Processing Station

I'm struggling with change right now. I think I've talked about this before at some point, but it really seems like once one thing shifts in my life, everything starts to move on behind it.

Pretty much as soon as I decide to move in the fall to finish college, I have several friends that are also moving - in one case, halfway around the world! I know these things happen routinely in life, it just feels like everything always crashes at once. I'm pretty used to not having solid constants in my day-to-day - my life has been in a state of flux for the last six years - but I'm finding that while some of these upcoming changes are good and exciting (like college and the opportunities my friends are taking), they also hurt. A lot. I'm really going to miss people. And I'm really scared of the newness this will bring to my life - I'm not used to holding on to people (up until a few years ago friends have not been constants), so losing people that I genuinely care about is difficult.

Starting over, by myself, and knowing that some of what is "home" to me won't be there when I come back is terrifying. I'm in the middle of processing this, so you'll have to give me some time.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Do Work

Sorry for redundancy of topic here, friends, but it has to happen. This may not be my last post related to the Olympics, either. So you may either bear with me or not. :)

I feel like I've been experiencing a total perspective shift in the last week and a half, and yes, it's because of the Olympics, strange as it sounds. The people that are competing this year are inspiring me in so many ways it's ridiculous. Not only are they amazing athletes, but they all work so incredibly hard to be as good as they are. To be the best in the world at something is such a strange and foreign concept to me - I can't even imagine what that would feel like. I'm pretty good at several things, but I've never been the best at anything. In fact, I've never worked anywhere near that hard for anything, either. It's embarrassing. But as I said, it's inspiring. I want to BE BETTER. It's time to do work.

In case you haven't been following along with the events - and I know some of you aren't, because you told me so! - I wanted to share one of the other reasons that I'm so inspired by these athletes. Aside from their incredible work ethics, some of these people have overcome crazy hardships and injuries that for most normal people it would have made it impossible to compete again. Lindsey Vonn (an Alpine skier), for example, shouldn't have been able to compete this week due to a terrible shin injury last week, but she came back the other day and won Gold in the Women's Downhill.

And then there's J.R. Celski, the Short Track speed skater - you probably shouldn't get me started on him, but it's too late. I first heard about him just over a week ago while watching the Biggest Loser - no, he wasn't a contestant, he was at the Olympic Training Center and he helped the contestants and shared his own story. I was blown away and immediately became one of his newest (and perhaps most enthusiastic?) fans. During the Olympic Trials back in September, J.R. had already qualified for three events, and was in the middle of his race for the 500 meters when he sliced into his own thigh with his other skate blade. Say what? I think he said that that gash was 6 inches long across his leg, and 3 inches deep. He also said the blade cut in only a couple inches shy of the main vein in his leg - the vein that, if cut, could be fatal. And yet, by some miracle, and then followed by sheer determination, less than 6 months later, here J.R. is...not only skating in the Olympics, but racing really well. He's already won a Bronze medal and has two more events to compete in, both of which he's already passed the qualifying rounds for.

...And I can't even organize my room or work out four times a week consistently.

These people amaze me, and I really think I'll be walking away from this experience of watching TV for two weeks (ha!) a changed person. I want to live my life differently. I want to know that whatever I do, I  will do the best I possibly can, and I haven't been living that way.

I'll say it again, it's time to DO WORK.

Those are my thoughts for the day.   :)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Olympic Goodness

Okay, so I've been going crazy for the last week because the Olympics are finally here! I don't remember ever being so hyped up for two weeks of sports as I am this year, although I do remember experiencing great joy during the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City - perhaps because they were close to home then, too? I think what's getting me this time is a combination of things: the location - it's practically in my backyard! - I have competitors that I am deeply loyal to (more on that later) & I have this driving force in me that desires to accomplish something great like Olympic competition. I want to be great at something - and I want to always be striving to be at my best, which is something that I feel like I haven't been doing in the last few years.

I'm not an athlete, but I do have a deep affection for sports, which is often veiled by my intense involvement in the arts during the last decade. For those of you who don't know, here is a brief history of my life in sport:

Age 4: Gymnastics. I took a Parks & Rec class with two other kids. My awesome instructor broke her leg or something equally terrible for a gymnast and was replaced by a horrible man who had legally changed his name to Jim Nast. No, I am not being facetious. I quit shortly after that - it wasn't my calling.

4th Grade: Softball. Played on a Parks & Rec team (The Purple Pandas) with my cousin. I recall being a decent catcher and I liked playing 3rd base also. My career ended due to the fact that my family moved the next year and I never got back into it.

5th Grade: Soccer. I was signed up for a team due to start in October - we moved before the first practice. Ha! End of soccer career.

6th Grade: Figure Skating. Okay, this wasn't really so much a sport that I participated in but rather was deeply obsessed with for a year or so. I've been on the ice maybe five times in my life, but I still love the sport. For a while I was desperate to be an Olympic figure skater, even though at that point I had never put on a pair of skates. Crazy? Maybe. Oh well. :)

6th-8th Grades: Track & Field. I fancied myself to be a sprinter - in my head I could handle it due to the short distances of the races. I ended up being a shot putter. I wasn't great, but I liked it even though I didn't compete in 8th grade. I was moved up a competition class - based on age and weight - and hadn't improved enough to feel like I could compete against the better kids.

7th-8th Grades: Volleyball. Probably my favorite sport to play. I didn't make Varsity, and I couldn't spike to save my life - hello, I'm 5 feet tall! - but I'm pretty competitive when I need to be, and I loved being in the middle of the action.

AND...that's the end of my sports career. I moved on to my high school life in the arts as a theater nerd. But it is far from the end of my career as a fan. I don't know why I hide this part of my life - I hide my enthusiasm so well sometimes that even I forget it's there...but these Winter Games in Vancouver have ripped open this part of my insides that's so excited and keenly devoted to these sports and these athletes that I can hardly contain myself at moments. It's weird.

So, to finish up this crazy little journey into my mind, here's a little rundown on the sports that I'm committed to for the next two weeks. If you can't find me between now and the end of the month, it's because I'm watching the Olympics.

Short Track (Speed Skating): Athletes to watch: Apolo Ohno and J.R. Celski. I can't hide the fact that I am deeply loyal to Apolo Ohno - I've watched him in the Olympics starting with his debut in 2002 at SLC, and I have to admit that I watched every episode of Dancing with the Stars the season he competed (and won!). Okay, so I watch every season of DWTS, but that's not the point - that season was especially great. J.R. Celski, on the other hand is a new discovery - I learned about him a week ago when he helped train the contestants on the Biggest Loser. But he's no novice when it comes to skating, even though he's only 19 - he took Bronze last night in his first Olympic race - Apolo took Silver in the same race. And this is after a horrible injury J.R. experienced in September at the trials!

Snowboarding: Athletes to watch: Louie Vito and Shaun White. I love Louie for several reasons - one, he was on the last season of Dancing with the Stars. ...okay, it's a sickness, I admit it! Too much dancing. I was so excited when I found out that he would be at the Olympics. Snowboard Halfpipe - the one with all the crazy tricks - is one of my favorites to watch in the games, and is the event that both Louie and Shaun (the defending Olympic Gold Medalist from Torino '06) are competing in. I'm also super excited for the Women's Halfpipe, the Snowboard Cross, and the Downhill events.

Figure Skating: I haven't been following the sport recently, but I'm watching the Pairs Short Program as I write this, and remembering just how much I love this sport! I can't wait to watch all of the following events - Men's, Women's, Ice Dancing, and the Pairs Free tomorrow night. My favorite for the Pairs is the Chinese team of Shen & Zhao (sorry USA!).

Skiing: Just fell in love with Freestyle: Moguls last night while watching Hannah Kearney take Gold for USA, and watched the Men's a little while ago. I absolutely can't wait until Lindsey Vonn's first Downhill race on Thursday night, and the Olympic debut of Ski Cross.

Okay, that's my top 4 sports (ha!) for the Games. And my battery is about to die, so I will end this extremely long post. I just felt the need to reveal a piece of myself that most people in my life know nothing about. I learned some about myself through this, too. A good time all around, I think.

Are you watching the Games?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Getting LOST

Ladies and Gentlemen...
may I present my first blog about food (that I made):

Okay, so for those of you who may not know, I am a diehard fan of LOST. My lovely friend Jennifer invited some of us over to watch the premiere of The Final Season. First let me say that I love how much ABC is hyping this season - this leads me to believe one of two things: 1) ABC is afraid that people won't watch the last season because they (being the fans) are fearful that it won't end the way they want it to (even though it will probably be fantastic), or 2) ABC knows that it will be a fantastic disappointment to end one of their most popular shows, and they want to get their money's worth out of every last episode. 

Actually, now that I look at it, I think it may very well be a combination of the two. But I digress...

Onto the CAKE!

I skipped documenting the preparation phase because I used a boxed cake mix, which really requires no baking skill and therefore needs no here's my lovely Devil's Food Cake in the oven:

*Note: I did however, deviate from the recipe on the box because I discovered that our canola oil had passed it's expiration date (crazy, I know, but we just don't bake with oil), so I used equal measure melted butter, and it worked great!

After the cake was baked, I put it in the fridge for an hour to cool it off so it would be easier to ice (a great tip I picked up from my friend Merilee). After I took it out, I removed it from the pan and transferred it to the base of a cake carrier, since I was going to be taking it away from the house when I was done. I then covered the entire thing with whipped cream cheese icing, and then scored it down the middle to create the shoreline. (Because what's LOST without the island?)

For the beach, I used graham cracker crumbs, then sprinkled raw sugar over the top to give it sparkle and dimension. After the beach was finished, I put the cake into the freezer for a while to get everything to set up. Then it was time to create the ocean:

For this, I took half a container of the icing (I bought two for this project) and mixed in blue food coloring until I got the desired shade for the water. Once the cake came out of the freezer, I spread the blue icing over the empty space. *Make sure that the icing is dry from the first layer before you do this, or it won't spread evenly.* I then took a toothpick and some of the leftover white icing and created the waves.

To finish up, I created a distress signal on the sand with rocks (or chocolate chips, if you must!) and my mom was so kind as to make a couple of adorable chocolate palm trees with a candy mold.

Time for the show!
(sorry it's kind of blurry - I took all the pictures with my phone)

By the way, in case you're not a LOST fanatic, the premiere was amazing and had all of us going, "Say what???" (That's a good reaction, by the way!) I would not, however, recommend that you begin watching the show now, because I can guarantee that it won't make ANY sense whatsoever. I *would* recommend that you find Season 1 and start there. 

But be warned, once you get LOST, you can't go back. :)

The Island is calling...

Thursday, January 14, 2010

2010 is already slipping past...

...Trying to figure out how I want my blog to behave in 2010 is slowing down my blogging progress. So I'll be back shortly once I've had time to figure it out.

In the meantime, please enjoy a few photos from my Christmas vacation in Maui. :)

Pua'a Kaa Falls

Bro and I on the Road to Hana, Christmas Day

...that's a hibiscus.

Mom on the Wailea Coast Walk
(Dad's waving in the background, can you spot him?)

Bro seems confrontational at the Black Sand Beach Blowhole.
Dad's just enjoying the scenery.

Lipoa Point