Monday, March 30, 2009

On The Brink

I do a lot of thinking on my drives into and from work. More so than I realize, until I start talking and begin all of my sentences with, "As I was on my way into work..." or "As I was driving into the office...". I guess there is something about the drive that puts my mind into a state of reflection. Or else, my mind needs a constant state of reflection, but I distract it with so many things during the day and night, that my drive time is the only time in which I give it a chance to stretch and think about various things.

So, as I was driving into work this morning, taking Blantyre Road, which I haven't been able to take for a while due to construction that has been going on, I kept on noticing every little thing about my surroundings. From the daffodils that had pushed their way up through the hard soil to grace my sight with their yellow color, to the fields turning from their winter brown to spring's green, to the blooms starting to appear on the trees.

The trees. The trees were really capturing my soul this morning. There was something about driving past them, seeing all of their branches in their nakedness, starting to sprout growths here and there. And I was struck by a feeling of bittersweetness that the branches would soon be covered with leaves. That in losing all of their leaves to fall and winter, a beauty of the trees were revealed to me. The interlocking and intertwining of their branches, arcing here and there, showing strength in one branch, but extreme fragility in another. They are so beautiful and such high works of art, that it is almost a shame that they will soon be covered with green leaves! And yet, how glorious they are when they are crowned with the color of rebirth.

And the thought crossed my mind, that there is some great truth in all of this, but it is still eluding my thoughts. But in puzzling over it and trying to piece it together, I find that what God is telling me is that there is high beauty in stripping us down to our core. That going through a time of darkness, a time of winter, is needed in order to reveal who we truly are created to be. That the process of "losing our leaves", enables us to come to the core of the matter. And so when rebirth comes, we remember that the beauty really comes from the branches - that life is found there - and the leaves become the glory and joy given to us from the Life in the branches.

But, Allelulia and Glory to Him who brings Spring and reawakens the earth - my heart is literally singing with joy at the glory of spring!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Colbert's Rap Battle

This clip is waaaayyy too good to not share - Colbert and his team are genius...One of many quotes I love: "It's an East, West know, East Hampton, WestChester."

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Conservative Rap Battle - Michael Steele's Response
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorNASA Name Contest

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Tale of the Unicorn

Today I share a tale of utter humiliation, embarassment, and eternal annoyance with myself. It is about an epic battle between myself and a particular blemish upon my face. Blemish is too nice a word. It was a big, puffy, zit. And it was right, smack in the frickin' middle of my forehead, settled nicely in between my two eyebrows. It was the Unicorn.

Now I watched Unicorn evolve from the outset. At first I was not too concerned about It, applying the acne spot treatment I had, hoping that would stunt it's growth. I also foolishly thought that since I hadn't had a big blemish in a while that my regular facial treatment of daily scrub and cleanser would work and prevent anymore from coming in - I had finally found the perfect treatment. No dice. Day by day the Unicorn continued to grow and grow. I was at a loss at what to do. The acne spot treatment was not working. More drastic methods had to be taken.

So I went to my next line of defense - applying isoproypl alcohol solution to dry out my enemy, per the suggestion of some of my coworkers and their success with this particular method. In case anyone didn't know, applying rubbing alcohol on a zit hurts like a mofo. But I was willing to bear the pain if it would make the Unicorn disappear.

Defying all odds, it still did not go away! Blasted Unicorn!! Each day I would look in the mirror and wonder how in the world I was going to cover up this virtual horn right in the middle of my face! ARGH.

Like trench warfare in World War I, I decided to go over the trenches and charge this Unicorn one last time with everything I had. Taking my coworkers advice again, I stuck a pin into the giant in order to be able to open it up and drain the blemish with rubbing alcohol again. Again, it hurt like a mofo! And then it started to bleed on me. For Pete's sake, will it never end, I wondered? SO not only was I having to apply rubbing alcohol to dry the thing out, I also had to now put the generic neosporin on the spot in order for it not to scar. And then later put the same acne spot treatment on it, in hopes to dry the area out even more. At the same time, other parts of my face started to revolt - perhaps as a response to the fall of their comrade. Luckily they did not pose as serious of a concern as the Unicorn and have retreated to the nether regions of wherever blemishes go.

Yet remnants of the Unicorn live on to this day. Each day is an exciting and wrenching dilemma of how to best cover up the part of my face right smack in the middle of my forehead - and since a unibrow is not an option, I praise God for the creation of skin-tone makeup.

And if you happen to see me anytime soon, I kindly ask that you please ignore the spot right in the middle of my forehead. The Unicorn does not need any other encouragement to wage battle again. I have won this skirmish, and am hoping that it also means that I have won the war - but the Unicorn is wily, and I will have to continue to keep diligent watch over it.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Blessings and Gratitude

Being in ministry is hard. There are no two ways about it. And the Young Life ministry that I am involved with is particularly hard for me, because I'm not really a "Young Life" kind of person. I'm not particularly funny; loud; enjoy watching people eat gross stuff; like getting dirty; creative; have a hard time keeping conversations going with high school girls. They are all so much cooler than I will ever be. And it's hard to be "cool" when you're so boring.

But for some reason, God has given me a heart for high school kids, especially those in Fauquier County. I don't know why, because my life would be a lot easier if He didn't give me this heart. But He has, and I can't ignore it. And so I press on through my feelings of inadequacy and guilt of not spending enough time with kids because of my work responsibilities, and continue to pursue them and do what I can.

I share all of this because in the past 24 hours, I have been blessed by seeing the effect of ministry in the lives of kids. It has been such an inspiration and I wanted a way to both share it with others as well as record it to remind myself what serving and loving others is all about.

The first girl, Janelle Leach, is one of the very first girls I ever got the chance to know when I first became a leader at Covenant High School in Charlottesville when I was at UVA. This girl is amazing. She not only has incredible talent as a hair stylist, but she has now gone on to across the Pond and is pursuing middle school girls, sharing her life with them, inviting them into her home, sharing a meal with them. It is so beautiful to see this girl, who I hadn't talked to in a long time till we reconnected via Facebook, have such a deep relationship with Christ, and such a love for others.

Second, a lot of our high school kids from Fauquier County who are now college freshmen have gone through Young Life training to become leaders in high schools. It is so cool to see them have this desire and enthusiasm to share their lives with high school kids. I pray for their journeys ahead, knowing how difficult it is, and how hard it is to negotiate through it in college. But their enthusiasm at being placed at their high schools is infectious, and inspired me.

Lastly, I was given a gift from one of my old girls who now is a leader herself - a letter from her allowing me to know how Christ had been shown to her through the effort I made to try to share my life and time with her. It touched my heart and helped me to realize that what I do is so much bigger than myself. And what is so funny though is how much this beautiful gal has given ME support and love. Her love and encouragement has meant so much to my life. So it was one of the best gifts that I have ever received to get that letter.

You know, people argue over the particular ways and means of how to minister to others. What we should share and not share. But to me, it just is so simple. We are called to love God with all of our hearts, minds, bodies, and souls and our neighbors as ourselves. I'm lucky that there are a few people out there whom I've gotten to see Christ influence their lives and then decide to go out and serve others.

On a side note, I have had several other thoughts cross my mind this past week and weekend which I keep thinking will make for some good posts, and so I hope to over the next few days give it a shot and post them - hopefully they won't take an entire day, like this one did! So stay tuned...and hope that I can remember the ideas in the first place!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

This Week's Thoughts for a Wednesday

1 - It is crazy how fast time flies. I cannot believe that it is already March 11th, full on into the second week of March. On the other hand, I am infinitely happy that it is March and that spring is right around the corner - oh how I cannot wait for springtime!! Green trees, green leaves, green grass, green, green, green - The color just refreshes and rejuvenates me!

2 - Well, ABDC finally concluded last week, and I am heartbroken. I don't know how I am going to get through Thursday now that I don't have it to look forward to once I finally get home from work. My prediction did turn out to be correct, and it was Beat Freaks and Quest Crew in the finale. It wasn't a really hard prediction to make, as they were above and beyond the other crews in my opinion, although this season of ABDC was really the best that I have seen. I will always have a soft spot for JabbaWockeez and Super Crew (throw the "S" to the chest!), but the crews on this season were phenomenal by virtue of both their abililty and creativity. I won't give away who won, but honestly, I think it should have been a draw - they are both THAT talented. *Sigh* Now, please excuse me while I go cry until the next season premieres.

3 - Lost is still the best written show on TV, but I am ticked that I have to wait another week till a new episode! What the hay ABC?? Didn't you start the whole season late so that we didn't have to wait??! Not fair...

4 - The World Baseball Classic is going on right now and it is frickin' awesome (spring AND baseball?? I'm in heaven)! The USA actually made it the next round, but what is MORE surprising is that the Dominican Republic team was eliminated!! By the NETHERLANDS!? Say what!?!? Amazing and awesome. Who says baseball is not a world sport, especially when Japan had 4,000 people show up to watch their practice (PRACTICE) session?

5 - I really am super-ready for summer baseball season to begin. Watching the WBC and all this beautiful weather has me antsy to be outside, watching a good game, interacting with all my baseball peeps, and watching my little happy campers run amok at the games.

6 - Speaking of it being March, March Madness is almost here! So excited - it's one of my favorite times of the year. I watched a little bit of the Horizon League Championship game last night (gotta watch those 13 seeds!) and watching the passion and intensity of play in that game was so cool - there's just nothing like it. So I'm sharpening my pencil in anticipation and hope that my picks will catapult me to the top of my office pool!! (Bright-side of downsizing - I now have a better chance of winning the office pool! Before I get laid off too!)

7 - Bachelorgate last week was RI-DI-CU-LOUS. I mean COME ON people, this IS the Bachelor! The After the Final Rose show is usually just a farce - I'm just glad that it was as entertaining as it really was! I feel sorry that Melissa was dumped on national TV, but she did sign up for a reality dating show in the first place! I just think it has been hilarious watching the fallout from it all - so much so that ABC is now milking it to the max and putting Melissa on Dancing With the Stars (which ironically, for all my love of dance shows, I really don't like).

8 - I have a lot of thoughts for this Wednesday, don't I?

9 - After watching the Red Bull BC One, I have decided that if I believed in reincarnation, I would want to come back to earth as a B-Boy. Being 27, I think I have missed out on this dream, but man oh man, how I wish I knew about it back when I was a kid (dang sheltered CT childhood). I don't think I would have been any good at it, but who knows? Maybe I would have actually developed a sense of rhythm or something? Anyway, those guys are all so cool and I just wish I had a smidgen of their talent, but alas, just like ABDC, I am relegated to just uber-appreciating their amazing skill and creativity. Maybe I can somehow become their best friend? Or figure out how to just get in the audience of one of those shows, because those people looked so cool.

10 - I feel like I should say something about the economy, work, world events, Obama, the stimulus bill, etc, but honestly, I just find the whole lot so depressing that I don't want to think about it or write about it today.

So, sorry for no deep thoughts or anything today. I'm sure those will come at some point, but honestly, it's hard to have time for any of those these days. It's just so much easier to be entertained by entertainment. Besides, once we officially get out of winter and well into spring/summer (since spring really only lasts a day in Virginia and then it's hello humidity), I'll be able to think more clearly. Winter is so tough for me to get through - I need to become like my sister and just perpetuate an endless summer for the rest of my life. Thank goodness for spring, green, and blue sunny skies right around the corner!!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Most Dramatic Rose Finale, EVER!

Sorry to the hordes of readers out there who are dying for my thoughts on the stimulus package, events in Pakistan, the Israeli-Palestinian elections, A-Rod's (or should I say, A-Roid's) juicing confession, and the Oscars. Last night, with the promise of the most dramatic After the Final Rose, the little show that is a staple of reality TV, The Bachelor, launched itself into realms of controversy unforeseen, that it has now topped the previous most dramatic moment of the show's history, Brad Womack's dumping (or duping) of his final two girls in the finale.

Now, to be completely honest, I have mostly followed this season through Entertainment Weekly's awesome recaps, written by Kristen Baldwin. The girl summarizes everything for me, with my exact thoughts in her commentary, only written in a much more hilarious way, that I didn't even need to watch the show. I also was following Chris Harrison's blog, who in and of himself is a pop culture phenom (I wish I had a job in which I clink wine glasses and say, "Ladies, Bachelor, The Final Rose..."). Futhermore, the said Bachelor, Jason Mesnick, was not a fav of mine during his stint on the season of The Bachelorette with DeAnna Pappas, so I wasn't that excited to watch him this season and didn't want to commit myself (Now, if it had been Graham, I might have tried to sign up for the show). However, I did know that DeAnna was to make an appearance on this season of The Bachelor, and as the recaps and weeks progressed, it became apparent that that moment would not happen until the finale, so I had to tune in for the last show (actually, DVR it - there's only so much filler one can take!!).

BUT, the thing that really got my interest was Chris Harrison promising in his blog a couple of weeks beforehand that something extreme would happen in the After The Final Rose, that was SO shocking and SO dramatic; that nothing of the sort had happened in Bachelor history before; that it shocked HIM. NOW that teaser was enough to start getting the comment boards popping over at! My fav theory was that one of the girls was preggers (kudos to T for coming up with that one) and it would serve all those "fantasy suite" dates right (real life=real consequences, ABC - let's try to come up with this twist next season!).

Well, the moment arrived last night. I watched, along with everyone else, the (actual) sweet proposal of Jason to Melissa, how happy they were, how happy she was, the ridiculous engagement ring, the jumping into the pool with really expensive clothes on, dragging little Ty into the pool with them. I saw DeAnna try to crawl back into Jason's arms and him have none of it (kudos to the producers for the first camera shot being her face seen through a security camera - that was hilarious!!). I watched with everyone else Molly warn Jason that he was making a mistake - a big mistake, and him almost throw himself over the balcony once he rejected her and put her in the limo. And then, after the final rose was accepted, the screen went right into the After The Final Rose - and the craziness started!

Jason totally did a 180 on Melissa, dumped her on national TV, and we watched the poor girl go through the shock of what he did to her, helplessly on the sidelines. Kudos to Mel for saying "Bastard" on television, and then proceeding to tell him to not call, text, email, or in any way shape or form, try to contact her again. Poor thing left thinking there was something wrong with her, when in reality, Jason just changed his mind, or rather, couldn't let the thought of the other girl (Molly) go. THEN Molly came out, proceeded to say how she wish Jason would call her or text her or something to let her know why she was K.O. in the finale and how she wish she could hear him say that he had made a mistake. Well girl, you must have a genie in your pocket (or Christina Aguilera playing Genie in a Bottle), because you got your wish!! Jason totally went from breaking the heart of one girl to re-choosing the girl he originally dumped. Say WHAT?? Oh it was so awesome, it was a work of Bachelor beauty. Kudos Chris Harrison - you were right - this was something that we have never actually seen on an episode of The Bachelor.

What has been fascinating though is how this turn of events has exploded across the internet and lit up the message boards everywhere!! This show is in its what, tenth, twelfth, thirteenth season? And it just became a pop culture phenom with last night's turn of events - who knew!? It really has shocked me, more than the turn of the events last night (which were just predictable, except with maybe that in six weeks Jason fell out of love with Melissa - ie, six weeks in the real world and they were toast).

That all being said, I totally cannot wait for tonight's edition of the After After The Final Rose - Jason gots some 'xplain to do!!

Oh this show. From Aaron to Trista to Firestone to Byron to Bob all the way to DeAnna - oh VH1, please bring the re-runs back! :) And Graham, wherever you are, you are still way hot.