Monday, November 27, 2006

[I Wonder...]

I give up. I wrote six pages (out of a recommended 10-15)... it's all fairly coherent, it proves my thesis, so I quit. I simply cannot spare another brain cell tonight (and only one more tomorrow, to check it over and polish it).

Thanksgiving was pretty cool. I spent it with my grandparents (and my biological dad). That's pretty generally both fun and emotionally taxing. If you know my story at all, you know I've only been in touch with them since my 18th birthday. While Grandma and I get along famously, things with Michael (the dad dude) are more confusing and difficult. Not to say we fight or anything, but there's a difficult history, regrets on both sides of the fence, and I don't know what the entirely true story is, because I don't have my mom's story from her own lips. Somehow I am sure that her story would be the most fair toward all parties.

On the other hand, I'm now starting to feel more like a member of the Miniea family. We went to St. Peters to my cousins Lee and Phyllis' house, and we had a rather large crowd. I felt comfortable enough to joke around and be my usual smart alecky self ("Boy, I'm glad I got a piece of chocolate cake before Aunt Alex drops it on the floor in about two seconds...").

Grandma gave me pictures of Mom and Mike's wedding. When I get some free time for contemplation, I'm going to search these questions I have dancing around my head, like, "What must it have felt like to be sixteen, getting married, and having a baby? What if Mike hadn't screwed up with the drugs and alcohol... would we have stayed a proper family? And what if the stress of the marriage and divorce triggered Mom's cancer? What if? What if? What if?" I know it's pointless to explore the what ifs, especially since, as Aslan said, "It's not for you to know what if." The what-ifs will never be, so it's a waste to over-ponder them. Nevertheless, I have to wonder. What would it have been like to have young parents rather than old ones, like the ones who raised me? Would I still have found the Lord? Would I still be as comfortable around older people as I am? Would I have grown up faster in order to help take care of things around the house? Mike told me that when I was still living with them while they were married, I was just about two years old, but I would operate the can opener on a can of pasta, put it in a bowl, and microwave it. If I did stuff like that at that young of an age, what else would be different if I'd had to take care of myself more? Is my tendency to yearn for and thrive off of independence have anything to do with those first two years?

There are so many questions, but the one who could have answered them the best is gone. I just wonder.

[Term Paper Hell]

I'm in term paper hell. That's all I have time to say.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

[Music and Recovery]

I expect that this entry will be fairly brief. It's after midnight, and tomorrow's my extra-long day. But it's been awhile since I've posted, and thus I feel the need to write my thoughts.

I'm nearing the end of a rather vicious battle with a sinus infection. My doctor gave me a double dose of antibiotics since I seem to have so much trouble kicking these things and keeping them down. The first few days are rough, and my mind tends to be even more scatterbrained. But after the midpoint of treatment, suddenly I find myself with the energy and focus needed to do my homework! It's amazing not to feel despair looking at my list of things to do.

It's kind of funny, really; I'm sick so often that it's gotten to where I can't easily distinguish between me sick and me healthy. It seems like I'm always fighting something. Frankly, I blame it on surgeries 11 through 16. I think they pretty much mortally wounded my immune system.

The roommates and I have decorated the Boomchuck Pixy Townhouse (our apartment) for Christmas already (brief explanation: only 2 weeks after Thanksgiving, we'll be moving). My piano looks romantic and inhabited by fairies. We have white Christmas lights around the living room, the end of which I've draped over my piano and interwoven with the red-and-orange runner and the artificial grapevine. It's soooooo pretty!

Speaking of my piano: I've been playing again. It's awesome to play without obligation; suddenly I have no difficulty in practicing for an hour; five years ago, it tortured me to sit there for 20 minutes! I love music so much. I sat there playing this weekend, and as I played O Holy Night, I forgot about everything but the sound of the music just carrying me away. I actually played, not just practiced, and it's as though my love for music has been reborn. I'm so looking forward to December in that once I'm finished with work (or as will probably be the scenario for a month or two, job-hunting) each day, I can sit down and do those things I love, like music, painting, and creative-writing. I've missed being able to devote focused time on them without feeling guilty for not doing something else.

Well, I need to go to bed. I have more to say, but I can't justify sitting up much longer--I have to get up too early. Good night, and may His face shine on yours!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

[And Now, a More Serious Post]

It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex, a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage, frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness, trinket gods, magic-show religion, paranoid loneliness, cutthroat competition, all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants, a brutal temper, an impotence to love or be loved, divided homes and divided lives, small-minded and lopsided pursuits, the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival, uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions, ugly parodies of community. I could go on.

This isn't the first time I have warned you, you know. If you use your freedom this way, you will not inherit God's kingdom.

But what happenes when we live God's way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard--things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely. -Galatians 5:19-23 [The Message]

And something I read in the Nov/Dec issue of Relevant:

Sobering Fact #23:
The Power of Giving
If Christians had given the traditional 10 percent tithe of their income to their churches in 2004, instead of the 2.56 percent they actually gave, there would have been an additional $164 billion available, according to a report released in October called "The State of Church Giving through 2004." If the churches chose to funnel just $80 billion of that additional income to missions and humanitarian works, the basic needs of every person on the globe would be provided.

What are we doing with our lives? Have you ever been face to face with a starving, impoverished community, forced to drink contaminated water and scratch a living off a rock? Millions around the world could be provided for if we who say we are Christians would live out what we claim to believe. No one would have to starve. What's 10 percent of an income? Not much... not much at all; yet if we all gave, we could love our neighbors around the world tangibly. After all, what says "I love you" more: preaching words that suffering people never hear from halfway around the world, or giving a bowl of soup to a child who hasn't eaten in days?

Challenge yourself, and challenge your church leaders. We don't have to living in a starving world. We really don't.

[A Little Musical Fun]

1. Open your library (iTunes, Winamp, Media Player, iPod, etc)
2. Put it on shuffle
3. Press play
4. For every question, type the song that's playing
5. When you go to a new question, press the next button
6. Don't lie and try to pretend you're cool...

Opening Credits: Grace and Love - Kutless/Kutless
Waking Up: Let My Words Be Few - Rebecca St. James/Worship God
First Day At School: Make That Noise - V*Enna/Where I Wanna Be
Falling In Love: (oh man, this is ironic!) He's Not Here - Hero!: The Rock Opera
Fight Song: I Need Thee Every Hour - Jars of Clay/Redemption Songs
Breaking Up: Living La Vida Loca - Ricky Martin
Prom: Finding Who We Are - Kutless/Strong Tower
Life: I Got a Feeling - Third Day/Wire
Mental Breakdown: Notes/Prima Donna - Phantom of the Opera Soundtrack
Driving: This Day - Steven Curtis Chapman/Declaration
Flashback: You - Rebecca St. James/Worship God
Wedding: New World - tobyMac/Inspired by The Chronicles of Narnia
Birth of Child: Speaking in Tongues - The Elms/Truth, Soul, Rock N Roll
Final Battle: (again, ironic!) Underwater March - Pirates of the Caribbean Soundtrack
Death Scene: All of the Above - MercyMe/Spoken For
Funeral Song: (ooh, nicely chosen one!) Where I Wanna Be - V*Enna/Where I Wanna Be
End Credit: (laughing outright at this title) God Only Knows - Forty Days/Forty Days