Thursday, December 24, 2009

Remember.

NO man is a failure who has friends.

Thanks It's a Wonderful Life.

How long will the deferral last?


Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.


Proverbs 13:12

Thursday, December 10, 2009

sometimes i wonder

Sometimes in my days, in particular the last few, that is:

I wonder if a manic bipolar state is ever permanent for anyone. How in the world can folks refuse to take their medicine if it causes them extreme delusions like those I've seen? And I know I've not seen the worst.

God bless those who work in mental hospitals, on psychiatric units, and daily with those living through grand and terrible psychoses.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Purple Flowers: a world through rose-colored glasses

It's the imagined title of a book I sometimes write in my head about the story of an only child of a bipolar mother and a late father who yearns.

Someday :)

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Terribly Exciting!

So what's new? Not much - more cleaning and researching what to learn next! Language? History of a region where I might move to in the next couple years? auditing a college course for free on oercommons.org??

Until I figure that out, though, when not reading Middlesex (awesome website, by the way, gives you one place to look for lots of different reviews and compiles them) or Africa: Altered States, Ordinary Miracles (this one is a social networking site for readers and gives short reviews from Joe Shmoe) I've been spending time learning personal finance and how to invest. Knew I'd be opening pandora's box, but there it is. 25 and getting a handle on retirement/investing/saving/paying off school debts!

There are SOOO many places to look. It's kind of fun to research at the library. I've never really looked into something that was current where I had to do research. Whereas in literature you're looking at old reviews in books and literary magazines (the way I researched anyway, and I didn't really have a penchant for it...I like just reading the text and discussing it in person), in this case the research is on websites and current popular magazines as well as what I'm used to. Add in the fact that my library and I are at odds currently (they say I have fines for not letting them know I renewed MEL books on my own before they went overdue) the only time I can use library materials is in person rather than checking more out. Sigh. If only I didn't have to be somewhere else during most of the hours they're open!

So my favorite picks so far: hard-copy of Money which assumes for the most part that I have a lot of money, Get Rich Slowly which doesn't assume, The Simple Dollar a good starting point, and even Suze Orman's 2009 Action Plan which was a quick leaf-through but definitely helpful with question/answer sections from a proven expert in personal finance.

Yep. That's what I'm up to. Figuring out whether to head toward max-out contributions for Roth-IRA and 401k and how much, exactly should be set aside as an emergency fund. Still trying to understand possible investing past retirement funds. Maybe I'm too poor for that just yet. I'll stick with my INGDirect savings account at 1.3%!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Cleaning

From 2000, age 16... My personal favorite is my view of what my mind, parent's mind, friend's mind, and teacher's mind looks like!

What is the first thing you remember learning?
tying my shoelaces for my kindergarten teacher

If you won the lottery guaranteeing you $1000/week for life, how would you spend the first $1,000?
Rend a car and take some friends around the country. Use rest of money for gas, food, and accommodations.

Complete the statement:

My mind is like a... rainforest, wild with unexpected treasures (memories) hidden throughout
My parent's mind is like a... prarie (rich life in the grass)
My best friend's mind is like a... secret door
My teacher's mind is like a... window

If you ever wrote a book, what would be its title?
Remember When...

If you could change your first name to any other name, what would it be?

I wouldn't change it. Stay Sarah

What's the hardest thing you've ever tried and actually accomplished?
Tried out for a high school play and got a good part.

What are two goals that you would like to accomplish this year?

I'd like to get a job and find out what I'll do after HS.

Who do you trust the most?
God

Which of these ideas is the most important in your life today:
Love, truth, time, change or freedom?

You're nothing without love. Love is the biggest reason you could have for living, whether it be being loved, loving others, or loving yourself for what you are.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Whew

I've been neglecting much writing of any kind lately. Not that I've been particularly busy; I don't know quite what it is. Except that it's probably not depression. I know some people mark their happiness or unhappiness by how much they're writing. And I've been writing in journal-form since about the age of 10. But there are phases. Heavy-writing and non-heavy-writing. I used to think it was linked to happiness.

Now, rather, I believe it's linked to sunlight and community.

My community as of late was been my workplace crowd and the bits and pieces of scattered friends and family around the globe. The friends and family one has been lagging. Always the one to be good at keeping in touch, it's odd not to be that person. Just got exhausting and maybe some self-esteem built up for myself. No longer do I need those connections to feel secure in myself. It's nice to mature sometimes. If indeed that's what it is.

Sigh.

Although not written down, there have been a myriad of thoughts swirling in my brain. About the near future, about the friends and relationships changing, about the distant future. So many are getting married. I hope, hope, hope, that they don't follow the route more than half the population in the US is following, and divorcing. But being real, there must be some that will. My people are not an exception to the rule, no matter how I hope. And so I'm wondering who will be having kids then divorcing, remarrying, divorcing again. And who will divorce before children. Talk a out a downer.

Then there's the thought, what if this generation is will act differently? What if, because of war and young men and women dying overseas as the norm, 9/11, economistic woe, and a general negativity toward marriage, makes us more likely to be committed to marriage relationships (when and if we do finally dive in) than our older examples?

Maybe I'm just trying to justify my hope.

:)

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Things

bunny ears

The memory of what happened around this picture and this picture makes me very, very happy.

Trio

Hunting for beachglass in Kenosha and giggling at silly kiddie pictures of Ryan and Catie in Milwaukee... And to top it all off, dessert of the best apple pie in America with Susan in Chicago.

Doesn't get much better than that. Unless you add what happened this weekend!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

MEL Books

I have a date with Michigan Electronic Library yet again tonight, with special guest Amazon. Amazon helps me choose the best dishes, and MEL serves them up like an excellent chef.

Tonight I have a hankering for Julia Child specials. Julie & Julia and My Life in France, for starters. Then we might delve into some necessary studious vegetable options regarding Parkinsonism. A little less delightful than The Joy of French Cooking, but it is what it is.

Speaking of books, here's the last and most delightful one I bought, being devoured by the most handsome 2 1/2 year-old dude I know:

pigeon caleb

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

My family

My great aunt has 5 children, 20 grandchildren, and 20 great-grandchildren.

I have an Uncle Doc. He's great.

One of my cousins is having twins.

My grandparents have been married over 60 years.

I recently found out some of my great (7 greats, that is) grandparents were Isaac Martin and Phoebe Webb Harland, Wendelimus Schneider, Matthew Adams and Mary Undersee. They all lived in the mid-1700s.

The familial saga continues.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Make note of the first, second, and third sketch; then notice how the first and second, third, and fourth photo mirror the first images!

Carcassonne!

Ladies in Trousers!

009 and 004

Lovely Dinner

we Do fit

Monday, July 13, 2009

Uploading to YouTube

Finally, after half a year and more, a few of my videos are coming up on YouTube.

Like the monkeys.


Looking at little Binti dancing in Amba's kitchen, taking another tour of her house, even looking at some old college videos has me smiling with delight. It's so wonderful to look back and remember what great times I've already had with dear friends.



For instance, there was this one time all my classes for the day were canceled due to hail and ice. Of course I had already walked halfway to my building before hearing that...but I was able to capture the sparkle since my camera was always with me!

And there was another time friends at Cedar Campus filled the camp van with more people than I had thought was humanly possible.

I've worked with some great people so far. I hope the next 25 years brings even better memories! Some people claim that the best times of their lives were high school, or college, or right after. I hope that I'm not able to say the same. There's a lot of living and a lot more to do with the wisdom and experience that are yet to come, I'm pretty much sure of it!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Surrounded!

It seems I am surrounded by people getting married or having babies (or both..)

Which is normal, given my 20-something age. The odd thing in my thoughts, however, is the fact that so many are becoming younger and younger. A tad frightening.

They all look so happy in their cute little facebook pictures, and gush so prettily. And I'm happy for them. I am! But I am also so not there.

The exciting thing in my life right now is trying to figure out when I can make my way south to Houston and visit cousins, or east to New York and visit Ambakisiye. Good place to be in, if you ask me!

In some ways, travel becomes more expensive - since you have to book plane tickets for two. But if you're driving, it's cheaper, because you can cut the cost in two. You also don't get the quiet and the ability to belt out those songs on the radio, though (you know, the ones where they keep changing the words you're sure you knew...)

The fact remains, though; I'm surrounded by matrimonious relationships and babies. Singles, don't all leave me in the dust, please!

Monday, July 06, 2009

Yesterday

Spoiler: This will be a rather lame post. I'm really just delaying my need to get dressed for work this morning. And enjoying having time to breathe before getting in there, like last week. Starting the workday at 8am is harsh for Silly Sarah.

Yesterday I had a fantastic time doing absolutely nothing except surf and watch a season of sitcom on dvd, a good way to recover from a day with the extended family and their friends, a combined reunion/birthday/anniversary/birthday/independence day celebration.
flowers for gramma

waiting
The biggest task now? Figuring out which weekend goes where - PVM, C+C, Chicago, Detroit.. but the weekend of August 7 is sorted out! I'm one of the happiest passengers to Portland, OR for a delightful little wedding in the west and introduction to a new member of the family.

Partial Team G reunion with Heartbeat

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Hills

I rode up the steepest hill today. Just about killed me. I had to get off the bike halfway up and walk the rest of the way, it was so long and grueling. Made me feel like such a twerp of a rider. And as I was walking, still getting out of breath, I was deciding that this hill would be nice to come down but I was never, ever, ever coming back this way again. The hill just wasn't worth it.

But when I got to the top, there was an equally satisfying descent.

And all my plans changed. I just might have decided to go that way every time, because even though there's great cost to my fragile little ego in the climb, there's incredible reward in the 30 mile per hour + coast down the other side.

Seems to me that might just be the key to enjoying fitness. For me, anyway, the tougher it beats me up and pays me back, the more I appreciate it.

But tomorrow I might just take a break from riding...

Monday, June 15, 2009

2nd time

So today I hop in the car without my sandals on because I left them in the back seat earlier this weekend.

I drive to work, glad to have free feet (it's easier to shift without those particular sandals on.

Get to work, look behind me, and no sandals.

But...joke's on me (yes, for the 2nd time) since they're under my blanket back there...

HAH!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Status

I don't quite know what to do with myself when there is unscheduled downtime. Unless it's read a good book...

And after this week's over-read night (I got to sleep after 3:30) I'm taking a break from reading.

Can't even go out for a ride - there's no sun out there and after 3+ hours walking in the Relay for Life last night, biking probably wouldn't be a good idea :)

Maybe I'll...organize my book collection?

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Goal

I'm pretty sure I haven't blogged about this yet, but since biking around at Cedar in the summer/spring/fall, I've decided that this form of physical exercise is very enjoyable to me, mostly for the following reasons:
  • Cycling is much better for the knees and my metalrod scoliotic back than running
  • Since I shouldn't really be running but still like being cooled by speed, walking isn't enough but biking is way better
  • You can go farther biking and feel more accomplishment. A long ride for me right now is 20 miles
  • It smells so good to be outside (unless allergies drive you inside, I really have a hard time understanding why people choose the gym)
  • Even when it's hot out, if you're biking it feels cooler!
  • As a form of transportation it's much cheaper than driving, especially around town. Problem is nighttime...
And now the local fresh strawberries call. More later!

Friday, June 05, 2009

Only 5 pages in!

And already I have a favorite line. In the book Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart, Gordon Livingston talks about Kindness: "This most desirable of virtues governs all the others, including a capacity for empathy and love. Like other forms of art, we may find it hard to define, but when we are in its presence, we feel it."

Food for thought.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

She has her books...

I had my books, stacks and stacks of them. I kept them beside my bed, hauled them and myself to the library on my bike, and read there for hours until I felt as if I'd emerged as a distinctly different person from the one who had parked at the front door. You could disappear there; make sure your old self never came back. --Daughter of the Queen of Sheba by Jacki Lyden

You know, I think the outdoors can be like a library as well. Sometimes, when I'm riding through the countryside. The places those smells, those sights...they just take hold and sweep you away sometimes, don't they?

I was sorry to see the spring slip away from me, but glad to find that the coming of summer brings more delightful scents.

And those great Midwestern USA thunderstorms!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

It was jean day at work today. I had to pay $3 toward Relay for Life in order to feel like my normal casual jean-wearing self.

Felt great.

How long can I submit to this culture, though? (Probably quite awhile.)

Good thing it becomes bike-time and play-in-the-pool-time and sweatshirt-culture outside of work!

Monday, May 18, 2009

New Ground

I'm in a place I've never been to before...

In a job, in a place that I could realistically imagine staying more than a year or two..

There was college, volunteering, part-time jobs, doing the camp thing for over a year, then traipsing about the world a few months!

Which brings us to now. Now, in a job where I'm not the youngest person present nor the lowest on the totem pole of staff. I have a computer, a desk, a personal phone number, and responsibility! Most of the people I work with have been there for years. Not working in my hometown is a nice change of perspective.

Kalamazoo is a bigger little town than I've given it credit for. I feel a bit landlocked here, but with the opportunity to maybe work my way up to biking to lake Michigan this summer, the water feels closer even if it's not. :o) I've gone 20 miles a couple days this week, we're getting there slowly but surely.

I've never been in this place. People here, as a whole, are settled. I think that's the difference between what I experienced at PVM, Cedar (school and camp in general) and here. People come and go, yes, but Summer and Winter aren't so drastically different people/socially. I lucked out and still am working on summer programming, although it's less than I've worked on 'summer' things for over 7 years!

Happy day to you too.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Weekend!

This post is dedicated to the weekend and thoughts of how wonderful it is to be on the water in springtime with a friend.

Walking on Water

Ilene and I walked on the riverfront this weekend, and that just makes me want to live in a city all over again. We visited an amazing place which popped up on our walk, ate incredible Indian and Middle-Eastern foods, and I loved the fact that I got great coffee for 25 cents because it was world fair-trade day.

Capturing

Didn't even matter that it was graduation weekend, because we discovered the 40s station on Sirius.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Dad would be proud

So many things are going well at the moment. I'm soaking it up.

Tonight the only thing that's wrong is my most recent book was a huge letdown when I finished it last night.

On the good side, though, I have a bike to ride. Hopefully the old one is still seeing some good action up north at Cedar. It's very good that I have a bike now, because this is going to be my main mode of exercise and town transportation for the summer. Might even be my means of travel to work some too!

Today was a beautiful day and I was able to keep the window down and let the hair fly on the way home from a long day at work.

Willow and Silla only bark/jump a couple times when I come in the door now. They're growing on me. Being a cat person, I at least tolerate dogs but definitely prefer the quietness, purring, and independence of cats. These gals are good ones.

But what dad would be most proud of is my management of finances. Of course I can't go into much detail with it because I'm too private for that, but doing well with savings, insurance, income, and the paying off of those darned school loans are going great!

All this in the face of the people I work with - many who've lost jobs and many who are losing hope for a new job soon.

I'm blessed not just because things are going so well - but all this stuff adds together to make it easier to help others.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

3 years


Today marks 3 years since my last day oncampus as a student of CMU. Three years ago my plans were to work my butt off for the 4-day weekend and finish my heart-attack of a paper, attend a wedding shower, and somehow write and edit a monstrous amount of pages in a ridiculous amount of time.

But I woke up to a policeman practically beating my door down. And down with the door came news of my dad's sudden death.

Home I went. Adrift I went. Moved ahead with plans to travel and study in China for 6 months that fall. And returned again to finish that dratted paper, finally. Before the finish, I began to work at Cedar Campus as an intern. I ended up joining staff later and staying through two summers. It was a good place to heal, apart from the many memories left behind in my hometown.

A delightful detour to Africa and Europe, then I came back to this place. This house where my father lived the last 22 years of his life.

After a couple months of confusion about immediate future (thank you economic depression) I'm feeling back. I've got a job, a couple friends nearby, family, and it's finally spring in this place!

One little life, but God's brought me through a lot. There's still life after loved ones depart. I still miss him most days, even wonder if that car outside is him getting home; but missing 'em is one of the proofs that you love 'em isn't it?

Older and wiser, I hope. Wonder what's going to be coming around the corner?


Bring it!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Confession

I know that many people are annoyed by dog-eared books, and it's considered rude to do this to books which are not your own. But for myself, I don't mind. I less than don't mind; a dog-eared page to me is a sign of a treasure-hunt. Much of the time dog-earing is done only to hold the place for a page, but I always wonder - is it for some other reason? Was there a great line on this page? Especially if the dog-ear is not on the upper right side. Particularly if it's the bottom of the page.

So without further ado here are a couple of the memorable moments I deem most notable from books 5 and 6 of the Lord of the Rings. Otherwise known as The Return of the King!

The first one comes when Sam and Frodo are in the land of Mordor, and the darkness increases moment by moment as they come closer to the fire and the end of their barely conceivable mission. Sam sees a white star twinkle. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty forever beyond its reach. I can see a direct corelation to some of the things we see here on earth and the way I view goodness and God's love. It's something that only seems a twinkle at times. But it can't be winked out by something like hunger, family heartache, or war. Massive problems, yes, but bad as they are, there remains light.

And the second one comes after the ring has perished in the fire and Sam and Frodo are being honored by all the warriors. Sam had dreamed often of the idea that someday songs would be sung about the war of the Ring and their part in it. But I don't think ever thought it truly would happen for his ears to hear! When Sam heard that he laughed aloud for sheer delight, and he stood up and cried: "O great glory and splendour! And all my wishes have come true!" And he wept. And all the host laughed and wept, and in the midst of their merriment and tears the clear voice of the minstrel rose like silver and gold, and all men were hushed. And he sang to them...until their hearts, wounded with sweet words, overflowed, and their joy was like swords, and they passed in thought out to regions where pain and delight flow together and tears are the very wine of blessedness. What an idea. I know lots of people have said it before, but the thoght of pain and delight flowing together and the tears that come are blessed. There's sadness, yes, but great joy. I'll just leave it at that.

Oh. And the confession? I sometimes dog-ear particularly splendid passages of library books.

I think it's okay, though, because I pay for the library to buy lots of books with my overdue fines!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Walking into Summer

I stepped out of the house this morning, and it happened.

For a couple weeks now, we've been dealing with the smell of rainy pavement (a smell I love) but today - well today it was the smell of summer in the air. Morning, wet, summer air. And I was tempted not to sniff, it was so tantalizing.

Such good memories, of so many days spent in summer air doing campy things! But those days are not present days. (Somebody's been reading of Middle Earth recently)

Today I was headed to the office, and it's an office in which my chair does not face a window, or even spin around to easily face a window!

I don't know how people can spend years working in offices like that.

And I am determined not to be one of them. It's simply not possible. My mental state just won't take it. For those of you living 9-5 in a windowless cubicle, goodness, I'm impressed by you. I don't know how you do it.

Bring it, summer! I think I need to go camping. And soon!

Red River Gorge, here I come...

;-)

Monday, April 06, 2009

It's ccccold

Not quite as bad as this was, though -


What I would give for a sauna to jump into right about now!

Lions and Lambs

There's a part of me that wonders if March will turn out to have been warmer and sunnier than April.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Scratch

Winter reared her increasingly unwelcome head again yesterday.

Snow.

aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Spring has Sprung!

Birds chirping me awake every morning, snow disappearing,
Outside ice is a thing of the past,
How I've missed it.

I don't know if I can do this winter in Michigan thing again next year.
Seriously.
If not for the gray...maybe.
And the way spring is SO very welcome...

Well we've got a few months before need to decide that anyway.

:-D Spring is here!!!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Straightening it out

Unless you have seen me in a bathing suit or I have had the pleasure of telling you my awesome story about the cool scar and shown you how metal can be felt underneath the skin (say that 10 times fast!), it is likely you don't know about my body's fight against a straight spine. The curvature when first discovered (I was 12) measured about 55 and 60 degrees. They start doing surgery when curves hit the 40s. Less than 6 months later I was on the operating table and being given 2 inches of vertical height in 8 hours.

Even though I had to say goodbye to my professional aspirations of gymnastics, soccer, softball, and basketball fame for a year after the surgery, (which also put a kink in my thoughts about serving in the military) having rods along my spine hasn't stopped me from doing most things. Running after small children, teenagers, and college students at summer camp for 5 summers, namely, as well as hiking in China, Tanzania, Morocco, France, and Luxembourg. And it did stop me from mandatory high school gym, since my hips really hurt from running. When I found out your grade was determined in a large part by how fast you could run the mile, I went running to my doctor and pleading for a note. The only unfortunate thing about that was I spent the next 3 years wondering if they'd determine phys ed wasn't too hard for me and not give me a diploma..

X-rays

I've been reading some horror stories about scoliosis, though. Like people's instrumentation corroding, losing the ability to work, losing an average of 11 years of their life because of the scoliosis...sometimes I do wonder where they really get those statistics. And it's interesting that there's only one site that sounds legitimate when I've looked around a fair bit.

My Back

With the amount of people that have this surgery, I'm glad to see that there's been progress online to educate and give support to those involved. But I still am not content with the amount of information for post-surgery folks. Unless you count those few months afterward, when people formulate their youtube informational videos (which I appreciate!) and document that moment in time.



Then, it seems, we move on and it's no longer a part of our lives. Understandable, when there are so few of us, really. I've never met someone who had the surgery. Only ever heard of a friend of a friend's daughter/niece who might be having the surgery and offered to share should they be interested.

One thing that concerns me is the future of us post-ops who don't have the now obsolete Harrington rods we know that these rods have snapped on people and a lot of the negative press you can find on scoliotic surgery is because these rods were used. But there just aren't patients who have had these other rods long enough for us to know. I'm finding out the my type of rod, Cotrel-Dubosset first came out in 1984 which means it wasn't used by lots of people until the late '90s and testing had determined they were worthwhile. So I join the millions of patients around the world who have had procedures done not knowing how it will affect their long-term future.

Will I turn out like that horror story website says, and in another 10 years have the same pre-op measurements because the surgery's effectiveness disappears after 22 years? Will I be legally disabled when I'm only in my 40s because of complications from a surgery I had at age 13?

Just some thoughts for a rainy day. And those certainly aren't around this week! Wahoo!!!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Lookin up

Yep. I didn't anticipate it taking until mid-March for me to feel like things are settling into place, but it has and now that I'm here I'm glad that I'm not back there in January or February. Or even the whirlwind of the end of December, saying goodbye to international travel buddies and a quick hi/bye to some special Kentuckians.

We're on the brink of true spring! Yes, the roads are flooding, and it's gloomy but warmer and almost not snowcovered everywhere!

Which brings me to books. That's always where I end up anyway, isn't it? I just picked up Stone Cold by Baldacci, and am sadly almost finished with books I and II of The Lord of the Rings otherwise known as The Fellowship of the Ring. The Fellowship was just broken as Gandalf fell into shadow. And lamentably I don't have the book with me to write down the most memorable line (for now, for me, in this moment).

Now if I could just have my voice back, please, customer service would be so much better...

Here. Have a Frangipangi.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Work on Crew!

So, granted, I am loyal to two dear summer camp programs. Pleasant Vineyard in SW Ohio is where I spent 3 blessed summers. I began as an unschooled young'un of 19, counseling my first summer away from home (the longest I'd ever been out of Sturgis, as I was going to a community college and living with my parents the first 2 years of college.) And by the last summer, I led the Junior Staff program. God knows how deeply I love and miss that place. Ever since the first summer, I haven't gone longer than a handful of months before finding myself there again for some reason or another, whether it's helping out with a weekend program or just seeing some of the friends who live nearby while taking time to walk the trails prayerfully. Both for people who have walked them in the decades before me and for the ones who will walk it in the years to come.



My second camp is actually a camp and conference center, Cedar Campus, in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I spent the last 2 summers there and the seasons between them too. Still not quite sure where I've spent the most time, if I were to count all the days at both Cedar and PVM. It was at Cedar where I began not quite as a newbie, as I'd already put in 3 summers as camp staff, but a newbie to the area. At Cedar (as opposed to PVM), I was an adult although one of the youngest on staff. I had my BS in English and was fresh off the plane from 6 months in China. This made me appreciate the international crew and guests so much more, as I had had a taste of what it was like to be a stranger in a foreign land. There was also the added plus of rubbing elbows with InterVarsity staff from all over the midwest, many of whom I had met through involvement in CMU's chapter.

At both places I have been brought to both temporary and long-term meaningful friendships, and greatly increased my EQ (ala Susan Vaal, that's Emotional Quotient). Before working at a summer camp, I had always thought it would be amazing work. You get to be outside all summer (when it's not raining, anyway), you get to do great and fun things with kids (and some tough things, but still good), you become more fit because you're playing with kids, it looks great on a resume, and you probably make some incredible friends along the way.

Now, it's true, the types of camps I have worked at aren't the ones you go to in order to make a lot of money, and I worked my way through college with loans, some of the money from camp staffing, and employment while at school; but even though it's cliche, the experience working at a camp and giving of yourself for others is priceless.

Consider summer camp staff!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

It still gets me

Somehow, I don't know why I just don't get it through my head.

A couple weeks ago I was filling out the forms to substitute teach in the state of Michigan, and in several parts of the application, it clearly stated that you must have all these materials and extra paperwork filled out and present with you when attending the orientation session. If not, you can't be signed up to substitute teach and your application will not be considered. So of course like a good rule-follower and desirous of a position as I am I tried to cross the t's and dot the i's as required.

One thing I didn't do, though: I was supposed to get fingerprinted before going. And realized it late the night before orientation while re-reading the directions. But in one place it led me to believe that fingerprinting results are sent directly to the agency. So there's no form I must have with me at the session. So the morning of orientation, I woke early to drive to the sheriff's department. Because I'm slightly neurotic. Couldn't find it, though, since the meeting was in a another county and I was running out of time. So I went to the meeting hoping it would be alright anyway, and that they wouldn't say I couldn't go to the meeting and have to wait another month till next month's orientation session.

Out of six attending new substitutes, who do you think was the only one able to turn in their paperwork? Yes, you guessed it. Here I was freaking out about not having done everything right, and the other five had more undone than me! I really should lower my expectations of myself, I suppose. Oh, and no one else had been fingerprinted either.

So many times I have gone into a situation thinking I don't have everything as required or needed to make a good impression. I should have more self-confidence than that! Because again and again, it just so turns out I have been more conscientious than others. I have paid more attention to details. I have been a perfectionist. But is it still a perfectionist when you see there are many things you have let slide in the spirit of just getting it done because time was of the essence? I really do not think that's perfectionism or detail-orientation.

What do you think?

:)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

There and back...

The edge of the world!

I've been to kingdom come and survived.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

My next project

I'm going to do it, finally. All these years of reading books and seeing noteworthy lines, my brain has been telling me I should write these down. Yes, it's true I write them down sometimes; but that's really only every 20 books or so. It helps that lately I have taken in some great literature and am therefore urged more strongly to put the plan into action.

So I'll be writing them down here in blogger as a way of also sharing them and dialoguing with you fine folk about some of my favorite lines.
To begin, I'm sending those interested on a hunt. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society has my favorite line on page 211. It begins with a D. But really, people, you have no idea what the lines are trying to convey unless you've read at very least the 10 pages before it as well. Preferably the whole thing. Often in a book, a line can be drawn out of context and you still can take away meaning from it. In this case, I don't think so. But if you've read it or are reading it, I love this line because the anger, frustration, and inability to do anything to change the situation are fully felt there. It's exactly what I would have done, and Juliet's words are my words; the book draws you in that well!

Secondly, I'm reading Rabbit, Run which Jamie, I really think is going to depress me. At least there's good imagery and description. At one point, Updike likens a couple's held hands as they rush to their car to a starfish jumping! But the book feels similarly to Native Son, with Rabbit just having this sense of not fitting in. I still have trouble believing that people therefore feel subconsciously licensed to do idiotic things when they're already in a precarious position. But what can I say, I'm only 40 pages in. The line I like, though, is a moment which stops the book and is one of those times you can take the line out of context safely. In fact I'm certain Updike meant for this to be so. It's page 28 of my first edition, where the elderly gas attendant with some whisky on his breath says, "The only way to get somewhere, you know, is to figure out where you're going before you get there." That line just screams, take me out and put me in your brain! doesn't it? :)

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Granddad always said

It's easier to get a job if you have a job.

Monday, January 26, 2009

You can take the girl out of the country...

What, you may ask, am I doing here? It's simple, really. I am merely using what I have available to me for some light housekeeping (is it still called housekeeping when it's on the outside? Maybe it's maintenance..). We have some ice that's actually a lot of ice weighing our roof down. Correction: We had some.. Now it's gone, thanks to this lovely thing most often used as a closet rod. Being on the second floor, I didn't feel exactly comfortable stretching the upper part of my body out the window to take down the ice.

While talking on the phone with Kim (who knows my quirky problem-solving ability has brought me to shoot geese out my window in the country as well) the thought came to me and made a good story.

Maybe I should be a mechanical engineer. Anyone hiring?

:)

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Fam in Loui'


The Fam in Loui', originally uploaded by sarah_laughingguts.

This is one of my few recent-ish pictures with McGarys. Taken 2 years ago, it's toward the end of one of my whirlwind travel trips which took me to west Kentucky for Christmas, then St. Louis for the Urbana student conference, then a pitstop here in Louisville for another cousin's wedding and to see these guys, and finally in the Cincinnati area to see old camp friends. Whew. Even writing it is exhausting!

I often wonder what to do with all these opportunities I have had to see things and to be near to people I love. One of my friends who is now married and a mother says that now is the time to enjoy my independence and ability to pick up and go so freely. Because time will change, and things will just be different when I'm more settled.

So these memories I have, of picking up one day to spend 5 days in Nashville in order to be alongside family saying goodbye to their wife/sister/mother, are memories that for now I will fight for and not regret.

I'll miss Lynn, one of the absolute best examples of a godly woman whose love for God and others fairly shot out of her, blessing all she met. But the pain of cancer is past her now; and I'm a tad jealous that she's now seeing her Lord face to face and sharing in the company of other loved ones: my father, uncle, and grandparents.

She knew deeply incredible love and every moment lived out of that deep well. Often people speak of those who have died as though they were better or more loving than they actually were. But I really don't think it's possible to do that in her case. I hope to take the memory of her love and convictions with me wherever my travels find me.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The goings



Gone - flitted away,

Taken the stars from the night and the sun
From the day!
Gone, and a cloud in my heart.
~Alfred Tennyson

He captured my feeling at the moment so well. Each time someone leaves, whether it's just until who-knows-when or their soul leaves their body, it's like another cloud forms in my heart.

It's a good thing there's a strong sun out there. When it shimmers through those clouds, the sensation is glorious.

But still, I would rather the clouds didn't have to come. There is so much more of this lifetime that I have to then experience without them, the joys as well as the sorrows.

Friday, January 09, 2009

The day I ruled the world

It happened to look like this:

Sensory overload does crazy things to a person. After months of limited internet access and accumulation of fine photographs, my self-control is nil.
So you get to hear about my world domination. It happened while wearing my favorite brown pants, which were on my legs a grand total of at least 28/30 days from Morocco to Germany.
Oh dear. Goodnight.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

In Remembrance

This was written in my friend's service folder

God's Garden

God looked around His garden
And found an empty place.
He then looked down upon the earth,
And saw your tired face.
He put his arms around you
And lifted you to rest.
God's garden must be beautiful
He always takes the best.
He knew that you were suffering
He knew you were in pain
He knew that you would never
Get well on earth again.
He saw the road was getting rough,
And the hills were hard to climb.
So He closed your weary eyelids,
And whispered "Peace be thine."
It broke our hearts to lose you
But you didn't go alone
For part of us went with you
The day God called you home.

Holly died at the age of 25 in her sleep, probably from complications with type 1 diabetes which had always been difficult to regulate.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Just Chillin'


IMG_9672, originally uploaded by sarah_laughingguts.

This was taken in Barcelona. It's the entrance to a free temporary exhibit space. FanTastic wall!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Their Song

It's not often that I actually pay much attention to people's 'songs' but this one that was my parent's song makes me laugh every time. And until last week, I don't think I actually paid much attention after the first couple lines and the chorus. This one's a keeper, though. If you knew them, you can see the hilarity. Especially based on the way dad used to be - definitely the partyer who doesn't listen to common sense in driving!

Hope you enjoy the story:

Friday night I crashed your party

Saturday I said I'm sorry

Sunday came and trashed it out again
I was only having fun
Wasn't hurting anyone
And we all enjoyed the weekend for a change

I've been stranded in the combat zone
I walked through Bedford Stuy alone
Even rode my motorcycle in the rain
And you told me not to drive
But I made it home alive
So you said that only proves that I'm insane

You may be right
I may be crazy
But it just might be a lunatic you're looking for
Turn out the light
Don't try to save me
You may be wrong for all I know
But you may be right

Remember how I found you there
Alone in your electric chair
I told you dirty jokes until you smiled
You were lonely for a man
I said take me as I am
'Cause you might enjoy some madness for awhile

Now think of all the years you tried to
Find someone to satisfy you
I might be as crazy as you say
If I'm crazy then it's true
That it's all because of you

And you wouldn't want me any other way

You may be right
I may be crazy
But it just may be a lunatic you're looking for
It's too late to fight
It's too late to change me
You may be wrong for all I know
But you may be right

You may be right
I may be crazy
But it just may be a lunatic you're looking for
Turn out the light
Don't try to save me
You may be wrong for all I know
You may be right
You may be wrong but you may be right