Sunday, August 31, 2008

Hurricane Gustav

So I have now been to New Orleans, Louisiana twice in my life. I even spent six weeks there. I even can call it a home because I want to go back there again sometime in the future. That is how much I loved being there.

And because I feel such a love for Louisiana I have been reading a lot about Hurrican Gustav. This time if the storm hits, I know people that live there that could be deeply affected by this event. It makes it seem so much more real because in the pictures they show places that I have actually visited.

And isn't crazy that we can see this storm coming but we cannot do anything to stop it? No amount of technology in the world can stop a hurricane with thousand mile per hour winds. We can try and protect the houses with sand bags and what not. But we can't just continue on in our lives.

This realization hit me today that no matter how much the knews reports about this storm, they can't make it go away. It is going on the route it chooses. Maybe Louisiana will get lucky and it will suddenly change direction but we can't tell Hurricane Gustav to do this or coax him to stop his howling.

It just made me realize the prestige and power that this storm carries with it.

I'm going to miss the gypsy

This is Corisa Ricciardi. She is a nut. Last summer we went to Chile with this group of people. While we were there, we became friends. Apparently her name is close to the word 'colisa' which means gay so her host family called her Gypsy. Therefore, to our group of friends she became the gypsy. And really she often dresses like one, so it is very fitting. This summer we were camp counselors for high school. And we became close again. And now in exactly two weeks she is going back to Chile for an entire year. I am so excited for her and what God is doing in her life but I am so sad that I will not be able to see her throughout this year. This is Cor eating popcorn. If she could, she would live off popcorn for the rest of her life.
She's a little quirky and inappropriate at times but she is so genuine, so thoughtful, so caring, so amazing that I am going to miss her so much while she is gone. But she is going to do amazing things while she is there. And really how long is year in the scheme of life? 365 days. 525,600 minutes. 31,622,400 seconds.
Maybe a part of me is jealous of her because she is going out and doing something that she is passionate about. She is so on fire for Jesus that she is just going. Sure, she'll be taking online classes, but she's not settling for the expected path of going to a four year college to get into grad school to get a good paying job. She's following God. She is putting her whole trust in God and completely relying on him that this is where she is supposed to be. I admire her for that.
And even though she will be pretty far away, thanks to technology, we can still keep in touch through email, facebook, and skype. And maybe if I raise $2,000 I can go visit her.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Those random conversations..

You ever had one of those conversations that kind of plays over and over in your mind and either you are thinking of what you should have said that would have been funny or you were talking about a specific subject and you just can't get that out of your mind?

Well I was facebook chatting (a wonderful little thing, thanks facebook) with a friend and we were talking about playing soccer.

I haven't played competitive soccer since April 26, 2006. That was the night that I tore my ACL; an injury that would come to haunt me for several months, and probably the rest of my life. I had surgery to repair it but I never completely got back into competitive soccer. And then while I was playing intramurals, I hurt my knee again and had to have surgery again, this time on my meniscus. That was at the beginning of the summer. It went really well and it truly felt like it would not just go out on me again. However, I was wrong.

In my first pick up soccer game this summer, I hurt it again and it swelled up and of course I was trying to impress a guy so I kept playing and didn't immediately ice it like I maybe should have.

Anyway, back to the facebook conversation, my friend asked me if I ever thought about getting back into it. And I do think about it. I think about how cool it would be to play for APU and be competitive again and score goals and get that incredible rush after a hard played game, but I don't think that is where I am supposed to be.

I really do love where I am at in life. I am majoring in Athletic Training, with a minor in Leadership. I have some of the most amazing friends that are scattered everywhere. I help out with high school youth group at my church on Wednesday nights, which I absolutely love because I like high schoolers for some reason.

And soccer really is not out of my life forever. Maybe I'll play in an indoor team soon or I'll become a high school soccer coach or anything. But I do miss it. So if ever you want to play, do you think you can invite me?

Friday, August 29, 2008

I love my job

This is my job:I wash uniforms, practice jerseys, towels, ace wraps, etc. And I love it. Do you know why? Because while I am writing this, I am working and getting paid. I put the clothes in, put the detergent in, and press start. And if I am drying them, then I put the clothes, put the dryer sheet in and press start. Sometimes I have to fold towels though, and that can get annoying. Especially, when there are a million towels to fold and it is just a never ending pile. But you make do. Well I do anyway.

Sometimes, I feel unappreciated by the athletes but then I realize that if I had been an athlete here I probably would do the same things they do. So what can you do?

There's the buzzer, time to earn my pay.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Mod Sweet Mod

So I have now moved all my stuff into the place where I will reside the next eightish months. I live in a place that they call the Shire Mods. Its basically a trailer. Kind of ghetto but there is a kitchen, a living area, a bathroom (which is kind of small) and two bedrooms.
This is my roommate Ariel. She looks sweet and innocent but she's ferocious. I'm excited to get to know her better this year.These two girls will be living next door: Kai and Kim. Kai was my roommate last year so it is cool that we are still living together. I'm excited to be moved in because now I can start working and hanging out with all my college friends and start classes. I realize that I am a huge nerd and really can't wait to start learning stuff again.
The class I am most excited about is Human Diversity. It's about race and cultures and God; things that I always like to ponder in my spare time.
My goal for this year is to get A's in all my classes. What that means for me is cutting back on the Facebook time.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Los Jeans

So throughout high school and jr high, each year I always seemed to have only one pair of jeans that I basically wore every day. And when I wore that pair out, which meant holes where the pants rubbed together or being too small for me, then, and only then, would I go out and buy a new pair. I hated buying new pairs of jeans because I felt like I could never find a pair that would fit me. And really it seemed that each year, I would have a favorite pair that I would wear regardless if I already wore them three times that week.

And then I discovered Old Navy jeans. And they fit nicely. This was about junior year of high school. So now I actually had about two or three pairs. But I would still wear them out and had to go get new jeans. But I actually liked buying jeans now that I realized Old Navy jeans fit me and really weren't that expensive (especially when you go when they have a blow out sale because they are getting a new line and need to get rid of their old crap. )

Anyway, today I was doing laundry (because I'm moving back to APU this week and I wanted to wash everything before it cost me) and I decided to do an all jean load. And while I was folding them I realized I had close to ten pairs of jeans.

I was shocked. I have never had this many pairs of jeans before. I mean I guess I did just buy three pairs this past Saturday at Old Navy's $12 sale. But still, when did I become the person with more pairs of jeans than there are days in the week? Where did this person come from? Next thing you know, I'll be wearing make up.... okay, yeah, you're right, that's not going to happen anytime soon.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Bass Pro Shops, Mt. Rubidoux, Wyatt, Funfetti Cookies

So this is my weekend in pictures and commentary.

Have you ever been to Bass Pro Shops? That place is so fun. Even if you don't camp or fish or hunt, this store makes you want to do something. Or at least get hiking shoes and go on all sorts of adventures. I think that is something that I am going to look into. Here is the standard timer shot hiding in the sleeping bags.
And then we walk around Victoria Gardens. And this lady pulls Rel to her seat and gives her extensions. I just wanted to put this picture because she is a hottie.
And then we decide to walk up Mt. Rubidoux.
So that we can watch the sunset.

And then we made a delicious dinner of pasta, chicken caesar salad and garlic bread.

And ate ALL of it. We are pigs.

And then the next day I help Elly paint wyatt's room a light green (it looks yellow but its not) Speaking of Wyatt, this is the most recent picture of him. He's now 3lbs, 12 oz. He just had laser eye surgery because he might have been blind. He is breathing on his own and getting lower levels of oxygen, which is good. And then that night we make funfetti cookies
And drank some milk.

It was a good last weekend before I go back to college and move all my crap in. I'm excited for school to start though. I like learning. I'm just going to miss these random weekends.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I think too much.

No, really. I do.

Let me explain. Or try to.

I think about every decision I make constantly and those few times that I make a decision sporadically, I regret it, which just makes me take longer to make the next decision that comes across my path. I think about what other people say and their actions. I try and determine what they are really thinking when they tell me a story because really, I think anyway, this person would probably be somewhere else, not talking to me. I analyze the way people talk to me because if its a guy, I'm thinking that maybe he is being a little flirtatious and if this is so, then maybe he likes me. And if I'm talking to a girl, I'm thinking that maybe she would rather be talking to that group of guys over there, and not me.

I am about to start school so I am getting ready by packing and what not but I keep stopping because I don't know what our room is going to need this year and what I should bring from home and if I am really going to wear all those clothes that I want to bring because last year I certainly did not wear all the clothes that I brought and I really do not want to waste space. And speaking of packing space, is everything going to fit? How many trips am I going to take out there anyway.

Even when I am telling someone a story I am thinking too much, which causes me to slip in the dreaded "like" and "um" into my stories. Maybe while I am telling the story I start thinking about the end before I even get to it or I make eye contact with the person who I am telling the story to and get distracted by wondering what the person behind those eyes are thinking, especially when the eyes are gorgeous.

And really, it wouldn't be so bad to over think things if it all turned out good in the end. But thinking too much about a certain guy usually just builds that guy up in my head so much that when I actually talk to him, I am completely baffled by the feelings I have for him. Or it wouldn't be so bad if when I do overanalyze every decision that I end up making the right choice and live somewhat happily, but this rarely happens. Something usually goes wrong in the decision that I make. And this just causes me to think about why it went wrong and what I could have done differently and why I am such an idiot sometimes?

And even right now, as I type this I am thinking about how stupid it is to write all this down. No one really cares how much you overanalyze everything, they probably do it, too.

If that's you, let's just start a club. Overanalyzing Anonymous: For people who think too much.

Maybe you are thinking that its because I am a girl that I think so much about this and that and why this and why that. And you are probably right. If I was a guy, maybe I wouldn't over think everything.

Sometimes I hope for a day where I will just not think and then maybe, just maybe, that guy that I have a crush on will be perfect when I talk to him and every decision that I make that day will turn out great because I did not obsess over it and life that day will be grand

But for now, I will just keep thinking way too much about life.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Almost Dying

Yesterday I went to the beach with Corisa because we were meeting my sister Mary and her husband and his dad's church there for a bonfire. On the way, no joke, we almost died.
I was driving and we were on the 55 freeway in the carpool lane. The cars in front of me suddenly braked and I slammed on my breaks and we started to swerve to the median I thought for sure we were going to crash into it but then we started swerving the other way towards the other lanes. I am not even completely sure what happened but I'm pretty sure we started going back towards the median and then back towards the other lanes but then this time we ended up doing a complete 180 on the freeway. We are facing the oncoming traffic. And the car behind us is a big truck, like a Uhaul or something. I am straddling the line and no car is even coming close to hitting us. So I just put my foot on the accelerator and we keep driving like nothing happened.

In the brief probably 10 seconds so many things went through my head. One of my thoughts was that I can't believe I am going to kill Corisa. Another thought is that this feels exactly like a scene from Alias. Another thing I am thinking about is what do they tell you not to do when you lose control of the car? And yet, through it all, I felt an incredible peace about what was happening. Like I knew that we were going to be okay. And if we weren't going to be okay then I was totally okay with dying. I just would not have liked taking Cor with me. She has too much left to do in this world.

And then afterwards I felt such a wide range of emotions. I wanted to cry, I wanted to throw up, I wanted to pray and thank God, I wanted to freakout. But I just kept driving. I got into the slow lane and definitely kept with the speed limit.

Me and Cor kept talking about it the rest of the day and we really could not believe that we did not die. We didn't even get in any type of crash or scrape. God was definitely there on the freeway protecting us.

Death is such an imminent thing for everyone and we are all scared of it in some way. Some of us have a faith that doesn't make us afraid of life after death but maybe we are more scared for the people that we leave behing. I am okay with dying because it means that I get to spend eternity with Jesus. I just worry about the people that I would leave behind and I wouldn't want them to be sad. Yesterday, if I would have died, my sister would forever remember her birthday as the day her sister died. She would hate her birthday, (she told me this, I am not that conceited thinking that she would not be able to live without me.) And what if I die right after I get married, I would not want my husband to fall into a depression or anything.

But we cannot choose how we die or anything of that sorts. We cannot choose whose lives will be affected by our deaths so really I think what I learned from almost dying is that I am still alive, still breathing, still on fire for Jesus, still able to serve, still driving, still walking, still everything and I don't want to regret anything.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Reading Corner

So I just finished reading an amazing book. I call it amazing because it really got me thinking. It is called Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri. The author is Indian and writes about love in this century between generations, cultures and continents. But they are not sterotypical stories of love. The writing is just so honest and brutal at times and it shows people for who they really are. Each story was narrated by an Indian person and none of the stories were connected.

None of the stories really have happy endings either. Like there is resolution but its just an honest ending. There are no couples walking off into the sunset or a couple making out when its raining. Because that is not how life ends for us ordinary people.

There is a quote from the book that I like:

"I am not the only man to seek his fortune far from home, and certainly I am not the first. Still there are times that I am bewildered by each mile that I have traveled, each meal I have eaten, each person I have known, each room in which I have slept. As ordinary as it all appears, there are times when it is beyond my imagination"

My life is so ordinary. But that is exactly how I want it. When I think about all the good times in my life, there have been so many. So many random lunches, acquaintances, experiences, that no matter how ordinary it may seem to someone else, it is quite perfect for me.

Well that's enough reading corner for now. I recommend this book.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Being a camp counselor

I have attended VCC/ The Grove since I was a wee little one and ever since I was old enough I went to summer camp with this church, and some winter camps. I never missed a year. I feel like every camp I learned something or grew in my faith. Each year still holds special meaning to me. In fact I just finished a scrapbook that chronicles my life throughout jr. high and high school. Man looking at those old pictures, I realized what a goober I really was.

But this summer was different. I got to be a counselor. I really do not know what I was expecting by being a leader this year but really it was not what I got. And really this was totally different than being a counselor to the 3-6 year olds in Louisiana for those six weeks. And I keep saying really. I really need to expand my vocabulary.

I was counselor to six beautiful freshman girls. They are so mature in their faith and their actions that they really inspired me throughout the week.

I have always been called the mom of any group of friends I was in. This is because I am an innate caretaker. I just am always prepared with the most random things whether it be bandaids or scissors. So really this was the perfect setting for me because I got to be the 'mom' to these six girls. One night, some of the girl counselors and I got to do wake-up calls (which is basically going into the cabins super early in the morning and waking everyone up any way we want to while filming it.) Well this particular night we woke up four cabins and one of them ended up being my girls. I kept telling them all week that they probably wouldn't come and wake us up and I ended up being one of the counselors that woke them. It was beautiful. However, they didn't take it lying down. When I got back to the cabin, they ambushed me with pillows. Luckily, I was able to get mine and get off a few good hits of my own, but I conceded and let them win. I'm not going to lie, I really think this was my first pillow fight.

One of the highlights of camp were the other counselors. If I had a picture of all of them I would put it up. But here is a picture of Lynnea, Candyce, Emma, Cor and Me (Perhaps the cooler counselors)

The other counselors were just amazing people and when you yourself are a counselor, you get to know the counselors in such a different way. We bonded over the early leader meetings, the special privileges of doing whatever we wanted at anytime of the night, and of course, at the end of the week lunch at Chipotle. Some of these counselors were friends with my sisters and others were my own counselors and leaders in the youth group and still others were people I just met. But this week, we were all pretty much equal even though Cor, emma and I were the rookie girls.

Between my trip to Louisiana and my week as a counselor and the random weeks in the middle where I slacked and read and obsessed over this upcoming year, this summer has challenged me, molded me, encouraged me, and sometimes made me frustrated. And now as I get ready to go back to APU in two-ish weeks, I really want to find time to process what I learned and how I grew. I hope that i can take what I experienced and apply it to my life. I want to set goals that I will read everyday and work towards in every decision that I make throughout the days ahead.

That is my plan this upcoming week. Maybe if I write them down, I'll share them with you.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Run Run Run

I love running. I really do. I wish I just had the stamina to run for longer periods of time and at a faster rate. But lately I have gotten into the habit of going on sporadic runs in the evening if I am at home. I just run around the neighborhood. It is really not a long run but it causes me to depart from the regular evenings of stationary television watching.

And while going on these runs, I have found the best place to sit and watch the sunset. It has become my favorite place in the world. I love watching the sun set. It never gets old to me. So in order to watch the sunset after a good hard run I look up what time the sunsets exactly and if I start my run off early enough I am able to make it to this place before the sun goes down.

On my last run I decided to take my camera so that I could take pictures.

Really I took a whole bunch of these sunset pictures but really a picture of a sunset cannot be felt by a person unless they experienced the actual sunset.

This is what I call purple mountains majesty.

And I took Turbo. A relatively new addition to our household that is the best running dog partner ever. He doesn't bark at any of the other dogs in the neighborhood, he stays by my side, and he sits with me on the rock while I watch the sunset.

I really want to name this place but I am kind of afraid that if I get too attached to this place, I will jinx it and developers will come and build houses on the property and forever take away this place from me and the others lucky individuals of the neighborhood who take refuge in this place. Even though most of these individuals are delinquents who choose to express their love for so and so by graffiti-ing (yeah not really a word, I know) it on the rock and leaving their trash to deteriate in the wind. I guess to each their own.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Just call me Aunt Jane

So I went to Louisiana for six weeks this summer and two weeks into it, I get a call from my mom and she tells me that my pregnant sister Elly is in the hospital. She started having contractions three months early but the doctors were able to stop them thanks to modern medicine. Three days later I get a call from my dad that Elly is officially in labor. Fifteen minutes later, he texts me saying "It's a boy!"

On June 7, 2008, I became an aunt to Wyatt Dale, three months before I should have become one. He weighed 2 pounds, 13 ounces. He was tiny. However, these past seven weeks, he has progressed very well. Today I am happy to report that he is off the ventilator and breathing on his own. He is back down to weighing 2 pounds, 13 ounces, but for being a premature baby, he is relatively healthy.

Here are some pictures of Wyatt without his ventilator. I think I am going to like being an aunt. :)

"Success is how high you bounce after you hit rock bottom" Gen. Patton