Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A free cupcake and Russian prose: quite quaint.

Today, the best cupcake shop in Seattle gave away free cupcakes (no really, it was voted the best, and the taste did not disappoint). Usually, I'm not a big fan of frosting, but this stuff was phenomenal. And free. One of the best things about living in a city has been the giveaways. Stores have so much competition that they often give things away as incentive to customers. Know the city well enough, and you'd never have to pay for food...

"I was not yet used to the rather fatiguing jesting and teasing that goes on among American intellectuals of the inbreeding academic type..." Ha! Well described, Nabokov. I started and am half-way through his curious work of poetry/prose Pale Fire as of this afternoon. Atheistic in worldview, but very well-written and quite enjoyable to read.

Speaking of "quite", today a friend of mine jestingly mentioned my frequent usage of the word. I had never really considered it. It comes naturally, I suppose. "You always sound like you're on an adventure", she told me. That's just how I like to think of my life, though. You never know what tomorrow will bring...how much more adventurous can you get? Upon further consideration, I think "quite" just sounds rather old-fashioned or quaint (quite quaint...that's fun to say).

Monday, May 24, 2010

Boy, oh boy...

Growing up with four brothers has made me rather comfortable around guys. I've seen all sorts of things, and actually had to get more stitches than some of my brothers. So when the little boy at the house I'm living in decided that he just won't keep his clothes on when he's around me, I had to laugh (quietly to myself...we're trying not to encourage him). Only as a two-year-old can you get away with nudity. 

It's really quite interesting. As a nanny, I'm essentially getting paid to be a stay-at-home mom for someone else. So for both the family I'm working for, and the family I'm living with, the kids both have both parents and an extra authority figure to listen to. May God give me grace to steward these children well and join with their parents in bringing them up to treasure Christ above all else. 

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Nature lover though I am, I am the sierra club's worst nightmare. 
The littlest things captivate my attention, so going on a hike (or really, just existing) provides me with infinite amusement. I try to keep my observations to myself; I've discovered over the years that most people just don't seem to find such "trivial" things interesting. One manifestation of this is my love for all things growing (especially things that bloom). I grew up in my backyards around the world collecting rocks and interesting plants. Needless to say, I tend to take things home with me when I hike. Back when I was homeschooled, I could justify it as a scientific endeavor. But education is a never-ending journey...or perhaps it just feels that way. 
I was struck anew on today's hike not only with the grandeur of the mountains, but also with the intricacy and diversity of creation. I kept finding plants that I had never seen before and marveling at their beauty and form. It occurred to me: Not only has God designed that plant, but he has known about its existence. From the beginning of creation, God has designed that type of flower to live in a certain place and fulfill its part of his global purpose. Not only that, but he knows everything about everything. Every salmon in these rivers, God created and knew about. Every ant in the Amazon, God created and knows. That same God chose to make us and though we rebelled, he humbled himself and bore our sins. So easy to say, do we really feel the weight of it? Do we really believe it? How often we feel like we're in control and want God to let us run our lives. If he can take care of this universe, I think I'm fairly safe letting him determine my future. ;) 

Friday, May 21, 2010

Things I learned this week:

One of things I've noticed the most this last year when celebrating holidays away from my immediate family is how far removed we are from my extended family. Watching friends of mine who have lived in a similar area their whole lives, I realize just how much I don't know about my family. So spending the majority of this last week with my grandparents, I've learned some interesting things:
1. My grandfather served three terms during the Vietnam War in the navy (I knew previously that he had been in that war, but I heard many stories these last few days. I am now more sympathetic to his aversion for all things Asian, though it still saddens me).
2. My grandmother's favorite class in university: Russian history. Apparently the professor was quite attractive.
3. My grandfather's baseball hat collection is now about 1000 caps strong (He's always had lots of hats, but I never considered that it was that extensive). He can tell you where he got every single one.
4. For my grandmother's 50th birthday, she partied for three days straight. Too bad I was -3 years old at the time.
5. Just as I did a few years ago, my grandmother severed a tendon in her hand. But unfortunately for her, the doctors she went to in  Nebraska did not correctly diagnose the problem until nearly a year later. While the damage could easily be corrected by an easy surgery and some simple physical therapy, she's decided it's too much of a pain and is physically incapable of straightening one of her fingers (her version of this story takes about 45 minutes to tell).
6. My grandfather has children from his first marriage (we just never talked about it...).
7. Both my grandparents are significantly (and rather amusingly) losing their hearing.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

To market, to market...

Growing up in a ministry family means that Sunday is usually the longest workday of the week, and Mars Hill has been no exception. So with limited cars (read "one car"), there's plenty of time to kill between services while waiting for everyone else. One benefit to attending the downtown campus has been the unique urban flavor of both the community and the congregation. I've really enjoyed getting to explore the Belltown area on foot between services. One of my most frequented spots (and perhaps the most touristy/best people-watching place) is Pike Place Market. Part enormous farmers market and part tourist trap, it's a glorious, grungy mix of shops and street entertainers, full of sights, sounds and smells. People gape at the infamous gum wall, take pictures and wait in ungodly long lines at the original Starbucks (though there's another rather old and equally interesting one a block away). Host to a myriad of festivals in the warm weather, the market recently featured a flower fair on Mother's Day weekend, and a wine and cheese sampling fest from farmers/growers across the state. Made me wish I could legally drink in this country. ;) Today, for the first time, I got to take 3 people there and show them around. It was funny, I still feel like such a newcomer myself. Guess I just fit in rather well...what a gift from God.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

As many of you may know, leaving school (and Canada) this year was hard for me. Though initially I despised it and couldn't wait to be back South of the border, the Lord works in mysterious ways. He lead me to Ambrose and provided caring, supportive friends, strength and diligence for the schoolwork that needed to be accomplished, money for housing and tuition, and even good health. I have been blessed and will no doubt continue to be blessed by my time up North, and I'm anxious to return and see what more God has in store for me there. That being said, here's the cliff-hanger that you've all been asking me: Lord willing, I will not be in Calgary when fall semester begins. Clearly, this is not because I dislike it, or because I want to take more time to finish my degree. On the contrary, taking the time to save up money down here where I can work without dealing with complicated government issues will make it far easier for me to stay for the remainder of my degree. Yes, it will mean getting settled then uprooted. Again. But God has provided exceedingly and abundantly more than I can ask, think, or imagine; His words are true and unchanging. I can trust that if He moves me, He will supply my needs. Right now, it just seems that my needs will be best supplied if I'm in my home country for the time being, so I'm staying put.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Judge not, that you not be judged. For with the judgement that you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure that you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye. -Matthew 7:1-2

As my days are currently filled with work that is rather brainless, though certainly requiring a level of attention, my mind is prone to wander. Tending towards observation, and spending hours making tidy houses into immaculate ones, I notice things. In a harmless way, it is quite interesting to see what one can learn about a person from their house and its contents. Most of our clients are very liberal politically, relatively healthy eaters, meticulous with their yards but poor gardeners, decorate in an artistic but not bohemian way, and have more cats than children (though usually counting their cats AS children). It is exceedingly easy for the imagination to jump from observation to judgement; often I have to remind myself of this passage. Nowhere in scripture am I given the right to judge these people that I know nothing about and criticize them. But it's such a fine line for my fantastical and seemingly tireless mind, and takes a lot of effort not to cross. So I have a tendency to make up stories for each of the houses I clean instead of thinking about the people who actually live there. Needless to say, with how much I love a good mystery, if I let myself imagine that I'm looking for clues, the workday goes much faster. Sometimes, I wonder what goes through my coworker's minds...I imagine it's less trite than mine. It is rather amusing, as I get to know them better, I'm realizing how quiet I can seem. While sometimes, it is amusing to watch them become slightly uncomfortable when I've been silent staring out the window for some time. I suppose if you're not wired that way, it would be hard to understand that quiet doesn't always equal sullen. But usually, I'm just thinking about how cool something looks, or intrigued by some curious thing I've seen. 
(In retrospect, stream of consciousness employed in this blog post is less than logical. Oh well).

Monday, May 3, 2010

In other news:

"What is being home like", you ask. Well, if you add wrestling and BO to this picture, that's pretty much it. ;) We just had a brief discussion about the fact that humans don't lay eggs. I had almost forgotten how odd it is to be a homeschooler. Really, it's not until you leave that you realize how different a homeschool family is (or even how different, and yet eerily similar, homeschool families are to each other). Today, in looking up the Dies irae from Mozart's Requiem for my brother's Latin lesson, I ended up listening to many arrangements of Kýrie on youtube. Simply translated, the phrase "Kýrie eléison" means "O Lord, have mercy". Traditionally, the music accompanying it is gorgeously written in haunting, minor keys. Two examples: Verdi's Requiem and Mozart's version.  It is helpful to be getting a refresher on my Latin, though I fear that if I had to conjugate any words, I'd be  up a certain unsavory creek without a paddle. 

My prayer of late: Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long. Remember your mercy, O Lord, and your steadfast love, for they have been from of old. -Psalm 25:4-6a

Saturday, May 1, 2010

John Mayer, you are making me melancholy.

The fact of the matter is, I miss Julian Hall. I miss being known. Being able to do dishes and see friends, always having shoulders to cry on and women who love me right down the hall. I miss the accountability of my small group; I miss the laughter and the tears. Pathetically enough, I even miss going to class and studying with people.
  But enough whining. Perhaps I'm just feeling off because I'm having to fix a jock strap and I'm listening to John Mayer. ;)