Monday, February 25, 2008

Pic-nickering Days

Picnicing weather is here!!! I love picnicing weather. (What a unique word. Picnic. I wonder where it came from.) It's the kind of weather that makes you want to kick off your winter boots, peel off your woolen socks, and let your toes reunite with old friends. Old friends like grass, dirt, the sun, lakes, the ocean, the sand. There is still enough crispness in the air so that you don't forget the winter past and are more appreciative of the suns warmth.

These kind of days remind me of May back in Idaho. Hiding in the deep shadows of our forsythia bush by the front walk are left-over patches of icey snow, dirty and forgotten. The forlorn remnants of a once smiling snowman lie dejected in the middle of our front yard, surrounded by grass that is just starting to turn the slightest tinge of green. Joel and I race out the door, barefoot, with Chestnut right behind. We squeal and run a little faster as our winter-naive toes hit the frigid stone sidewalk. The door slams behind us and the faint tinkle of the musical door harp sounds almost ethereal in the background. The day is full of endless possibilities. There are bikes to be ridden, forts to be built, trails to be cleared, trees to be climbed, and a father to be persuaded to play basketball. Schoolwork can be caught up on tomorrow.

Maybe we'll even set up a tent outside and sleep out there for the next few weeks. "What? No? But why not, Mom? It's not that cold outside. The last of the snow will be melted by tomorrow. We'll be fine! We get lots of blankets, we promise!" ... ... "Ok, *sigh* we'll wait until June."

Today is full of endless possibilities! What are you going to do with it?

Sunday, February 17, 2008

tips for your next hot date

Have you ever taken an eight year-old autistic child on a date as your chaperon? It's a marvelous idea, you should try it sometime. It works very efficiently. First, he insists that one of you sit in the back seat with him and share his cheese-its. Then he sits in-between the two of you when you eat. He frequently offers you bites of his food and he loves to switch all the straws around. He walks between you and holds your hands, requesting to be run and be swung in the air. He tests your parenting skills as his attention is short-lived and he, forgetting that "we're gonna do this together, ok?", tries to wrestle free and run off. He makes your heart smile when he slurs out his rendition of "Take me out to the ballgame", "If you're happy and you know it", and "Zacheus was a wee little man" in the back seat of the car. He tries your patience when he sits down in the middle of the Walmart isle declaring (in very unclear "yes" and "no's") that he'd rather have a spanking then cooperate. And if you weren't already convinced that this is something to try, he gives you both hugs, telling you that he had fun and you get the privilege of carrying him, fast asleep, to bed. Yep, definitely something to try on your next date.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Accent Religion Page

So some of you (ok, mainly my mom :D) have been wanting to read my articles in the Accent. (I'm the new and very-much-still-learning Religion Editor). Yes, I could just bring a stack of newspapers back home but I figured I could just post them up here. So I'm going to play catch-up and post several of them all at once. Note: I'm not posting the stuff that other people have written and been published under the Religion page. For that you're going to have to wait for the stack of newspapers. :D

Love ya mom :)

Adventist-Forum: an opportunity for open discussion (2-7-08)

As SDA youth who, many times, have grown up in the church, it is difficult for us to come to conclusions about why we believe what we believe. We take what we have always been taught at face value, never searching out the evidence for ourselves.

That's not to say that what we have been taught is wrong. But many of us don't have the Biblically founded proof that we need in order to share it with others. And what if we haven't been shown the whole picture? Is our grasp of Christianity an illusion?

The Adventist-Forum, a group of students, faculty, and community members, seeks to bring into perspective many of the issues that SDA youth are afraid of. They meet together to discuss the issues relevant to modern Seventh-Day Adventists (SDA). It is their goal to provide an open and non-threatening dialogue concerning the collective heritage of the SDA church.

The discussion is structured around the book Seeking A Sanctuary by Malcolm Bull and Keith Lockhart. It is written by non-SDA's but takes a fair and historic view of Adventist Heritage. The book is not meant to be the final say in the Forum. Instead it is just meant help facilitate a better understanding of SDA history and what we can accomplish because of it.

They met this past Friday, the first, and their discussion was centered on what it means to be a SDA and what issues are important within the SDA sphere. What role does Ellen White play and is this the role she should play? What part should reason play in our search for truth?

The atmosphere was friendly, yet professional. There was a variety of faculty, students, and community members present. Shaunda Helm, a History and International Studies major, was the group facilitator and helped direct the session.

Several students, along with History professor Dr. Diller, spearheaded the Forum. The students include Raymond Thompson, Shaunda Helm, Marjorie Ellenwood, and Matthew Herman.

Raymond Thompson, a junior International Studies major, is really excited about the possibilities that the Adventist-Forum brings. "Many times our generation is accused of apathy concerning these matters. We need to wake up and realize that we are the church! The future SDA church will be better lead by people who have asked the tough questions. That is what we're doing in the Adventist-Forum: asking tough questions."

There will five more forums focusing on Seeking A Sanctuary. The forums will take place every other Friday from 12 to 1 pm. For more information, visit A videotape of Friday's forum is posted as well as more details concerning the book and how the Forum began.

By seeking to provide a safe environment to discuss spiritual issues, the forum is meant to be a place where students can talk about things that many wonder about but are afraid to bring up. If you wish to contribute to the discussion, learn more about current SDA issues, or are just simply curious, you are invited to come out on the 15th of February and join in on the next Forum.

The Gift of Black Cherry Cool-aid (1-24-08)

“Would you like a breakfast burrito?” I cheerfully asked as a tall, husky African American man opened the door.

It was Monday morning, and we, along with 60 other Southern students, had just finished scrubbing eleven floors worth of doors at Patten Towers for community service day. Now Taylor Paris and I were passing out the leftover burritos from breakfast. A resident down on ninth floor had told us to come up to this particular room.

He peered out at my friend and I, nonplussed at our sunshiny greeting “What’s in ‘um?” was his gruff reply as he hesitatingly took the two burrito’s I offered him. Taylor and I proceeded to attempt to convince him of the wonders of hash browns, eggs, and gravy all covered by a tortilla.

“Well, maybe I can put some black pepper on it.” He looked at us for a pregnant ten seconds, and then opened the door a bit wider. “Come in” he commanded and then, without waiting, turned around and headed back inside. Taylor and I looked at each other and then back at the door. Shrugging our shoulders, we followed.

Over the next hour, we got acquainted with our new friend. His name was Winford and he rarely left his apartment. “I just don’t do people” he emphatically exclaimed. “I’m perfectly content bein’ by myself, listenin’ to my own music and doin’ my own thing. I don’t need no one else.” He had heard about the Christmas Party and other events that Southern had hosted but he wasn’t about to leave his apartment for any of it.

He proceeded to tell us, between sips of beer, that he doesn’t like visitors and he is glad that he lives in the corner of the building because it is a lot quieter. He won’t even leave the house for food! He depends on a few friends and family to bring him everything.

Just when I was beginning to wonder if he was getting tired of his most recent visitors, he decided to make us some Black Cherry cool-aid. I was shocked! He liked us! He eventually told us that in his fourteen months of living at Patten, we were his favorite visitors. He gave us permission to visit or call him once a month. That doesn’t sound like much but to him it was a major risk.

After praying with Winford and sharing a few Bible texts, we went on our way but I could not stop thinking about how amazing God is! We would have never gone to that room if it had not been for a number of different things. And if we hadn’t, Winford would have never been told about the fathomless love of Christ. We run into people each day here at Southern who need to hear about God’s love just as much as Winford did. Are you letting yourself be used by the Holy Spirit? Are you telling others about Christ?

Christmas Sacrifice (1-17-08)

It’s always a bit tiresome coming back from break. You know how it goes. You’re walking down the dorm hallway and then you see an acquaintance that you hardly ever talk to. Recognizing the need for acknowledgement, you pause momentarily to ask the question-of-the-week: “How was your break?” It’s the question you’ve heard and asked a billion times by now. It’s beginning to wear thin, and your mind wanders as your friend gives their answer. Then comes the moment for the inevitable follow-up question, “So, did you get anything cool for Christmas?”

After about a week of school, the newness of your snazzy iPod, cute clothes, and sweet snowboard, along with the asking and answering of these questions, starts to fade. It no longer seems quite as important as it did early Christmas morning as you eagerly ripped off the wrapping paper. The truth is, we live in a world full of consumer ideals. TV ads, billboards, and the Internet all beckon us to obtain as much material goods as we can. We find ourselves vainly grasping after the treasures of this world, building up our mansions here on earth rather than in heaven. While the happiness may last for a time, as soon as a newer gadget hits the shelves we are rarely satisfied until it is in our possession. Satan has created this vicious cycle to entrap us, and it is incredibly hard to break free. Only by letting the Holy Spirit change our hearts can we begin to share Christ’s values.

What if, instead of asking the question “What did you get this Christmas?” , we were to ask “What did you give up this Christmas?” No, I’m not talking about handing over your cash to the Hollister sales-clerk in order to get that suave new jacket for your brother. It is a different type of self-sacrifice that God asks of us. The kind of sacrifice that is pleasing to God is one that has His goals and motives at heart. (Psalms 51:16,17) He asks not for the meaningless sacrifice of the Pharisees, who gave just so that people would think they were pious. Rather, He requests that we bring Him our two mites, just like the poor widow in the temple. What are your two mites? It’s easy to think, “Oh, but I’m just a college student. I don’t even have the money to pay my school bill.” I would remind you that those two mites were ALL that the widow had in the world. But there are also other things that we hold back from God every day; things that are more important than money. What have you been holding back from God? Is your spare time being spent on TV shows and video games? What about your imagination; are your thoughts focused on God or on things of this world?

Only by being “crucified with Christ” can we escape the everlasting death that awaits us because of our sin. “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” (Luke 9:23) To put it plainly, without sacrifice with Christ, eternity will NOT be yours. By following His example of self-denial, we too can gain a reward that will never become outdated. In stark contrast to the world’s love of display and public approval, Christ, “who, being in the very nature of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in the appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death—even death on the cross.” (Philippians 2:5-8)

The rewards that we receive in return far outnumber the costs. When we sacrifice ourselves to the Lord, we empty ourselves so that we have room for God to fill us to the brim with His blessings! Not only will He take care of our physical needs, but He will also expand us spiritually in ways we never thought possible.

What would it mean in your life if you were to live not for what you want in life, but for what you actually need. Think about what could happen! I challenge you to consider what ways you can offer yourself as a living sacrifice in the year 2008. I promise you, this is the only way to discover lasting joy.

Monday, February 04, 2008

5 things

1.) Scrubs are the most comfortable things on earth. I'm not talking about the starchy ones that you spend t00-much-money for at the uniform store or the crisp white school of nursing jackets that you see frequently around campus. No, I'm talking about the ones you actually put on to go into surgeries. The ones that precede the blue booties, hair net, and face mask. The ones with a cool drawstring and the v-neck top. Yep, those. I wanted to steal the pair I wore tonight. Don't worry, I didn't... :D

2.) I miss the Pita Wraps that Wendy's used to sell way back in the days of my youth. A more finely wrapped scrumptious meal you will never find. Packed to the bursting with romaine lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, feta cheese, greek dressing, etc, it never failed to fill my stomach after a long hard cello lesson with Sister Karen. (side note: hey! Maybe she's the one who got me started on the whole Nun thing!) It was a sad day when we drove up to the Wendy's in Spokane, WA and found, after excitedly ordering our Greek Wraps, that they had been discontinued. Obviously, their culinary tastes were not as refined as ours.

(those of you who are vegan or lactose intolerant, read on with caution. I don't claim to be vegan and am not ashamed of this next paragraph)

3.) I am an expert at Taco Bell's Cheese Quesadilla. It's my all time favorite thing to order. Why? Well, you see, a Cheese Quesadilla is composed of three things. 1. The Tortilla 2. Cheese 3. A most amazing three cheese sauce that's mixed with just the right amount of heart-attack-causing fat and spices to make a delicious blend of creamy goodness. However, there are two things that can go wrong with a Cheese Quesadilla. Actually, make that three things. First, they can mistake your order for a Chicken Quesadilla in which case you will kindly have to engage them in a discourse on the merits of vegetarianism. Second, (and this one occurs especially when going through the drive-through) sometimes when they are in a hurry, they won't leave it in the broiler/cooker-thing long enough and the cheese won't melt entirely. So then it's a three-cheese cole-slaw instead of a three-cheese gooey mess of delight! And third, (and this is the worse) sometimes they won't put on enough of the spicy cheese sauce and it won't be moist or spicy enough. Conclusion: Cheese Quesadillas are amazing!!!!

4.) When I say "dear", it's actually just short for "oh dear". ...not to be confused with a common term of endearment. (except when talking to people such as kristin thomas, caitlin meharry, and marissa martin. I reserve the endearment form of "dear" for them. :D ) Just thought I'd clarify because I think I might have confused some people in the past couple weeks.

5.) I have revised my former opinion of umbrellas. I used to detest them. Now, I don't mind them AS much. I still think they're kinda silly, albeit useful. However, I still would take a bright-colored raincoat over an umbrella any day of the week. The problem is... ...I don't own a raincoat OR an umbrella. Usually I just get soaked, which isn't such a bad thing. It's quite fun!