Wednesday, May 26, 2010
The STOA National Speech and Debate Tournament started on Monday, but due to work, school, and other commitments, Mom, Sara, Ryan and I were unable to be there for the first three days. After a long day of Jamba, school for Ryan, and classes for Mom, we're heading out. San Diego or bust!
It's a 10 hour drive...and we're starting at 9pm. o.O
We've got some great CDs with songs including:
Hey, Soul Sister
Shark in the Water
Si Yo Fuera un Chico
Dance in the Dark
Everytime We Touch
Somos Mar y Arena
Sun Comes Down
Desmargaritando el Corazon
and more. We'll be singing a lot. :)
We've got plenty of snacks (crackers, cheese, apples, animal crackers, *chocolate covered coffee beans*, water, pretzels, etc...), and a couple pillows for the few who want to catch a few winks tonight.
I'll be driving all.night.long. Whee! Chances are, we'll find a Wal Mart or similar place to stop for a couple hours and sleep (Wal Mart is preferable...they have lighted parking lots with ever-patroling security guards. How convenient...we'll be guarded as we sleep. Nice.).
Leave Sacramento: 9:00pm
Arrive San Diego: 7:00am(ish)
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Last night, after it was dark and the dinner dishes had been stored away, the leaders took us on a "faith walk." Faith walks can easily be corny attempts at spirituality; ruined by chatty teenagers or overly cliche leaders. Though I was a bit skeptical about the whole idea, I donned my warm clothes and lined up with the 20 or so other college students.
Beneath the brilliant Santa Cruz stars and mossy branches of the massive trees, we lined up in a long, curving line. Hand placed on each other's shoulders, eyes closed, senses on overdrive. And then, in his musical English accent, Mark began to speak:
"Don't speak. Just open your heart. Listen for the still quiet voice of His word and His peace and His mercy. As you walk, let this be an opportunity for Christ to speak to you, whether it's a time of prayer, of remembering verses, or simply letting your mind empty. In this time of darkness and quiet, as you're forced to wholly trust in the leaders and your fellow students, let His love and presence envelop you..."
The trail was rocky and uneven. It was full of holes, branches and invisible snares waiting to trip us...and as we stumbled blindly ahead, guided only by the leaders' whispered directions, I felt myself resisting. I wanted to open my eyes. My feet strained to maintain balance and steadiness. I felt so vulnerable heading down this path; I didn't know where it lead, I didn't know what lay in my path, I could only hope the leaders were guiding us accurately, I had to put my complete trust in the person before me...total helplessness.
And as I stumbled (literally) blindly along, I was shocked at the powerful message this excercise held for me. I suddenly realized what it meant to "step out in faith". To trust unconditionally. So many times, we head down difficult paths in life and rather than clinging to Christ and surrendering to His guidance, we open our eyes and rely on ourselves for safety and security. Yet, what a powerful reminder that we cannot rely on ourselves, we can't try to figure our lives out...we can't navigate life alone. As I stumbled down that rocky, narrow path in the darkness, words and scripture flooded my mind. "Thy Word is a light unto my feet." "Trust in the Lord with all your hearts and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight."
During a time of personal uncertainty and doubt and worry, this was an incredible testimony and a bit of a reality check for me. I don't exactly know how I'll manage this next semester in terms of finances, amount of school, workload, car issues, life at home, and everything. It's rather overwhelming sometimes and I don't know what I'm going to do yet. Stepping out in faith is a day to day struggle, a constant quieting of my heart. Yet, in moments of darkness and silence, just as during the faith walk, I can hear His voice..."Just let go. Trust me."
Just let go.
Santa Cruz is gorgeous. Freezing cold, but absolutely gorgeous.
We spent two days there, camping and surfing...and with the help of a wetsuit, coffee and a suburban, we managed to stay warm and have an *incredible* time. The waves were p-e-r-f-e-c-t and nearly everyone caught at least a couple waves. The water was gentle and powerful, propelling surfers towards shore in a beautiful dance of balance and timing. Ahh! So much fun.
Since I was surfing, I don't have any surfing pictures....but these will have to do. :)
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Thursday, May 13, 2010
I don't get it. I don't understand it. I hate supply-side fiscal policy and Keynesian methods and required reserve ratios....and....and...
15 chapters in 8 weeks = insanity.
And I'm working 29 hours over the weekend. That means three 9-hour days and then a short spurt during rush hour smoothie traffic. So I have no time to study for the final on Tuesday.
And it's so hard. And I read the stupid chapters and I just don't get it, and I read the same passage again, and again, and AGAIN, and I feel just as lost. And my professor is no help, whatsoever. And the final is in five days. Ohmygosh. I think I'm going to die.
I HATE THIS FINAL ALREADY!!!
Okay. I'm done.
**Disclaimer: I do like economics, actually. Really, I do. Econ is fascinating...I just wish I could discuss and debate and soak it all in and not get tested on it. Boo. :(
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
There are times when my heart and mind yearn for silence; emptiness that neither thought nor emotion can penetrate. Moments of enveloping peace.
Tonight I wanted to curl into my soul and hide for a while. Not from anything or anyone in particular, but from everything and everyone. I wanted to listen to my heartbeat, hear my lungs breath, feel my thoughts relax. I wanted to take Risa in my hands and cradle her in the dark quietness.
And then, as my desire to bury myself reached almost desperate levels, my friend began to sing. The notes from his guitar quieted my mind, while his words soothed my restless heart. At that moment of inner turmoil and intense desire to wrap myself in broken silence, these words were a balm:
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Silent wrath against MLA formatting,
Past exams to study off of,
Weekend study group,
Crackers and peanut-butter,
Giant stacks of flashcards,
Notes on the mirror,
Finals week. One down (Speech final today - check), more to come.
Monday, May 10, 2010
Sometimes I wish I could drive through the rocky areas of my life, the areas under construction or repair, and simply be guided to the safe stretches of road.
It's hard not knowing. It's difficult not quite knowing what tomorrow will hold, or what next month entails, or how we'll make it through the summer. It's hard not knowing what to say. I speak my mind and then regret it....or I'll hold my tongue and kick myself for it later. It's really hard sometimes. Oftentimes, lately.
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord. "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
"The Lord will guide you always, He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail." -Isaiah 58:11
"The Lord bless thee, and keep thee. The Lord make His face to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee. The Lord turn His face towards thee and give thee peace." -Numbers 6:24-26
יִשָּׂא יְהוָה פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ, וְיָשֵׂם לְךָ שָׁלוֹם
Perhaps the bright orange cones arn't as visible, or tangible, but I have to believe they are there. It's sometimes difficult to see them in the hustle and bustle of life. In the finals, in the cramming, in the working, in the fighting, in the studying, in the surviving, in the living, even in the praying.
Lord, tune my heart to sing Thy grace. Create in me a clean heart. Help me act justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with You. Help me seek You first. Always.