application essays…

i have spent all morning reading the student handbook for a seminary i’m applying to. i read the handbook so that i would be able to clearly outline the ways in which i agree with the beliefs and statements and philosophy of the seminary. i read the handbook to help me out, but the more i read it, the more terrified i am to write these essays. the more i wonder if i truly can do this. the more i wonder if i’m good enough to get into this place.

i think about my transcript and i have a BUNCH of music courses and a BUNCH of psychology courses, but only 3 english classes, 2 spanish classes, no history, 1 philosophy class. i feel like i’m not very well-rounded. i feel like i’m not prepared. i have no religion courses. i have no greek or hebrew classes. i have pretty good grades, an excellent GPA. i am volunteering in mental health, i am helping to lead a recovery life group at church.

as far as job experience, i have worked in retail. and more retail. i once had a job working with kids with behavioral problems, but i had to quit because the stress of the job was giving me so many migraines.

i really, really want to believe that i can do this and that i will be a good fit at this place. i can honestly see myself at this place. i agree with their education and theological philosophy. i agree with their statements of faith. i agree with so many things, i KNOW i would fit in. i KNOW it would be a great place.

these darn nerves, though. the thoughts that creep in and say ‘you’re never going to be able to say the things that will get you in’. the thoughts that make me believe that i’m not good enough to get in. i have no doubt i’d be great once i get there, but applying to get in is TERRIFYING! there are so many essays i have to write and i feel like they have to be brilliant and i have to address things that i haven’t really, really thought about before. i have to figure out what i want to do with this degree at the end of the day. i have to figure all of these things out. i have to put them down into coherent essays. i have to sell myself in fewer than 10 pages when it’s all said and done. somehow, in these pages, i have to get this committee to say ‘THIS is the girl we want’ even though i don’t feel adequately qualified to get in.

it’s one of those things where i sit and think ‘woulda, shoulda, coulda’. i should have been working in the field, i should have been doing research with a faculty member, i should have done more. i could have taken more diverse classes. if i had figured this out sooner, i would have done so many things differently. i know that grades and classes and experience aren’t the whole picture. i KNOW that there is an in-person interview. i KNOW that i can do this, if i can just get in the door.

i’m afraid that i won’t be able to get in the door.

anyone who has ever applied for anything knows this feeling. i know i’m not alone. i know a lot of things, but that certainly doesn’t make writing these essays any easier and certainly isn’t putting my mind at rest.

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’tis the season…

i’m not usually one for holiday themed posts. i don’t like feeling like a have to write something good near a holiday. it’s too much pressure for me. so i usually just let the holidays go by without much to say. however, i think that this year is a little different.

first off, i enjoy Christmas. i love seeing friends and family. i love eating. heck, i love getting presents too, who doesn’t? the thing is, i don’t like all the HYPE that surrounds Christmas. i don’t like the shopping frenzy and the emphasis placed on getting ‘the perfect gift’ and having to spend, spend, spend to let someone know you love them. i don’t like that seems to be all about gift-giving and gift-receiving. this year, i was kind of turned off to Christmas because of all of that. yeah, it was fun putting up our first tree and decorating it and it was fun starting to see the gifts under the tree, and it was fun buying our first ornament together (which we did last night, by the way).

other than those things, i can’t say that i’ve overly enjoyed this Christmas season. i got annoyed hearing the same songs over and over, different renditions by different artists. i hated the guilt trip placed on me because i’m not that great of a shopper (or maybe this year will prove that i have potential. i really thought about gifts this year). i hated the idea that it’s what you buy and having to give a gift to someone because they gave the gift to you mentality. the more i think about it, it was the OBLIGATION that got to me. i don’t mind any of these things by themselves. it’s the obligation of it all that drives me nuts.

why is it that it can’t be about getting together with friends and family? enjoying each other’s company? why is not enough to let Christmas be about what it’s really about? i know that many people aren’t into the whole Christian thing and so why would they use this time to celebrate the birth of Christ? i get that. but even just to let it be about enjoying family, enjoying friends, counting our MANY MANY blessings – i think that would be enough.

i know that my family said that gifts were optional this year. money is kinda tight for everyone. little suzy homemaker that lives inside me, though, just thought that wasn’t quite right. for someone reason, i wanted to PROVE that i could get good gifts for people. not necessarily EXPENSIVE gifts, but GOOD gifts. so i hit up amazon and went looking. i thought and thought, asked a few questions, got a list or two, completely disregarded the lists and came up with something else instead. all by myself. i’m actually really proud of myself for thinking of these gifts and i hope that the recipients enjoy the gifts as much as i will enjoy giving them.

i am excited to spend time with my family. i am excited to see them, to hang out, to have fun, to do what it is that we do. i really want to take time to focus on the reason that i celebrate Christmas too. i want to take some time to slow down, to focus on why it is we do what we do. i’ve written a post or two about living intentionally, and i think that this fits right in. i want to be intentional about life, living every day with a reason, with a purpose. i don’t want to just let life fly right by me without having taken the time to enjoy it, to do it right, to take care of myself and my family, to cultivate the relationships that are important to me, including my relationship with God.

so, ’tis the season to reevaluate life again. to reset priorities. to start over. to try again. to do it right. i know that EVERY season is the season to do that, but especially this year, this season for me.

i hope that you all have a fantastic Christmas and New Year’s season, that it is full of friends, family, laughter and love. for those who have lost someone, i hope that you are able to celebrate the life of this person during the holidays, even though it seems impossibly hard. i hope this season brings a smile to all your faces and to all your hearts, that we all will be able to take a few moments to reflect on our blessings and enjoy one another.

Merry Christmas!

 

the joys of subjective measurement…

i’m talking about working out. you know, exercise. apparently the bug is going around.

when it first came out, oh i think around the beginning of summer or some predictable time like that, i honestly balked at it. i think i’ve said that before around here. i didn’t do that because i don’t like exercise, though. i’m pretty active (well… as active as one can REALLY be when it’s 12 or fewer degrees outside and there is a little druid that needs to be leveled). i like to do things, go for walks, bike rides, and play hockey (coming soon, as in once the outdoor rinks are ready). what i balked at with all the exercise talk going around was the obsession with losing weight. i mean, it’s bad enough that thinness is shoved down our throats every second of every day, and believe me, i have my fair share of time feeling self-conscious and huge and a little too squishy and what have you, but i wasn’t sure if i could handle also hearing it on blogs. i just can’t get behind the ‘need to be thin!’ mantra.

let me just clarify. i’m not overweight (well… maybe according to the new height/weight/BMI chart thingies i am, but seriously, i’m not). i’ve been about 160/165 for the past 5 years (ps. i’m 5’8″). heck, maybe even more. it pretty much doesn’t matter what i do, i stay the same weight. i can exercise more, eat less, blah blah blah, nothing really happens with the weight. if i stop eating for 3 weeks, then i drop a lot, but i’m trying to not make a habit of THAT kind of weight loss.

anyway (i feel like i’m being rambly and not quite all here, i apologize if it’s coming off that way). basically, i kind of have a thing against objective measures of progress (i.e. weight loss, SEEING changes in body appearance, etc.) because i so rarely see them. i MIGHT drop about 5 pounds for 2 days and then it’s back to where it was. and the suspense/drama (did i ACTUALLY drop any weight this time??) is something i can DEFINITELY live without. i don’t want to begin to revolve my life around eating less, exercising more, thinking about it, dreaming about it, talking about it, whatever. i want to be able to live my life and maybe even work toward being fit and healthy at the same time. i do like to know that some progress is being made, though. when i was running over the summer and fall, my progress was watching my minutes per mile drop (AMAZING!!!). then school started and it started getting colder and colder and then we went down to only one car and pretty soon i’m working out at the school wellness center. so this limits me to treadmills (puke) or running 14 laps/mile (demoralizing) or elliptical machines (yawn). i don’t do well on exercise equipment. partly because it’s so boring and partly because i’m a purist – no tv, no music, just the sound of my feet on the pavement and whatever other ambient noise is out there. doesn’t really happen in the gym – there are too many distractions in there (though watching a saved by the bell while on the elliptical wasn’t horrible, but that’s probably just because it was saved by the bell). the distraction of other people (like those super tiny girls who make me feel terrible about myself), tv (only 6 tvs in the little workout area PLUS one on EACH machine, seriously???), the sounds of machines running, beeps, vacuum cleaners and whatever else the staff is doing, trying to stay ON the treadmill and not weave too much to one side or the other, keeping my feet in the elliptical foot thing because for whatever reason, my feet are always right at the front, even if i consciously try to keep them in the back or at least toward the middle, and just all sorts of other things going on while i’m there. now, i’m there at 7 am so there aren’t a WHOLE lot of other people there, which is a benefit. i’d die trying to work out over lunch or something. yuck.

so as i watched times go down and FELT better running and all that, i decided that i’d try to see how this losing weight thing might work. and after staying the exact same weight for 3 weeks, i gave up. WAY too demoralizing and it put my brain in a place that i honestly don’t need it to be. i started to obsess. i thought about it all the time, i really started seeing all these areas of my body that i don’t like, that need to change, places where weight should drop, thinking that my clothes weren’t fitting me right, and just generally feeling like garbage about myself all the time. not healthy.

so one day, i asked james. is this working? are you seeing a difference? are you seeing something that i’m not seeing?

you know what he said?

he sees the changes. he OUTLINED the changes. he told me exactly what’s been changing that he’s been seeing, and while he thinks i’m drop-dead gorgeous, ‘i-can-haz-plz?’ all the time, he likes the changes that he’s seeing. in that moment, something occurred to me.

i don’t NEED a scale to tell me anything. i don’t NEED a tape measure to tell me anything. i have exactly what i need right here, in my apartment, telling me exactly what i need to hear. this kind of measurement that takes into account subtle things, that sees the shifting, that sees the changes in energy and whatever else. i don’t have to let my scale and my clothes tell the story because so often, they create lies. they create the illusion of needing to be just a little smaller, just a little lighter. just a little more and then you’ll be happy. then you’ll feel beautiful. then you’ll have achieved something that you can be proud of. i cannot and i will not let these lies define me and how i should look. i honestly can only let the person who already sees me as beautiful tell me how i should look.

now, yeah, i still see things i’d like to change, i still see things i don’t like, but i know that all i have to do is ask and i get a run down of the TRUTH. i have someone defying the lies with me, sometimes defying the lies for me, especially on those days where i’m just not feeling it. i have help, i just have to remember that. i have strength that isn’t my own to rely on. even on the days i don’t necessarily believe him, i don’t contradict him. i just listen. i try to believe. if nothing else, it’s a challenge for the lie to live up to. this lie is fighting against two people, not just one. one who already mostly believes the lie anyway. i may not be super thin, i may be ‘overweight’, but that does not mean that i am not beautiful. it’s hard to remember that beauty is way beyond skin deep. looks have nothing to do with beauty. it’s the person behind the looks. it’s the attitude, the personality, it’s who they are that makes them beautiful. i have to remember that WHO i am makes me beautiful, not what i ‘look like’. it’s a concept that is hard to internalize sometimes. a lot of the time. the mirror so often lies, telling me that what stares back at me determines so much.

i love working out. i love running. i love feeling better. i just know that i can’t rely on a scale and a mirror to tell me that i’m being successful. i have to rely on something, someone, else. someone who will not feed the lies.

how about you? who do you believe?

yes, i play video games…

not surprising, right? even so, i find myself mildly apprehensive about this post. why? because i’m about to admit and almost promote something that for so long i’ve been really in the closet about, so to speak. i mean, the dorky/nerdy people IRL know about this, but pretty much anyone who might judge me for it don’t know this. because i didn’t want to have to defend something that i wasn’t 100% comfortable with yet.

anyway. enough stalling.

a while back, over the summer i think, james approached me about playing world of warcraft (no judgmental comments, please. i really don’t want to hear it.). he used to play a while ago and had a friend who still plays and they wanted to play together and he thought it would be fun if WE played together.

now, wow (world of warcraft) and i have a complicated relationship. i played a long time ago when the ex was into it. i was trying to be a cool girlfriend who did the dorky things that he did. you know? yeah. so anyway, i made a character, i played her, i got really bored. didn’t understand the point. i didn’t know that you could go wherever you wanted to play that had monsters your level, i didn’t know about riding mounts (sweet animals that you ride that are WAY faster than running), i didn’t know about the database that was out there with ALL the answers when you got stuck, and pretty much ALL my friends kinda made fun of me because i played. so, needless to say, i stopped and never wanted to play again.

fast forward a million years to james asking. i remember that we had this conversation in the kitchen of our apartment. he asked. and i thought about it. i remember finally looking him in the eye and saying ‘i’m not playing it alone and this does not get mentioned outside our apartment’. ridiculous conditions, i know, but again, i was trying to be the cool, understanding wife who actually interacts with her husband with his interests. he kinda does the same for me, except my interests aren’t necessarily interactive (playing music, knitting, etc. he’s just supportive when he can be. fine with me.).

anyway, so we start playing.

so james has played for a long time. he’s played lots of other similar games. he GETS it. he’s kinda bored with the low level stuff because he’s leveled 50 bajillion characters. basically, he just wants to get to the highest level as fast as possible to then do the things that you do at the highest level. i don’t know what that is yet, because i’m not there. needless to say, we have different playing styles.

sidenote: crash course in wow for those who don’t know. you make a character, you do quests, you get xp points (experience), you get money, you spend money on upgrades of gear, mounts, food and drinks (which replenish health and mana that get used up while playing), etc. there are dungeons which are special areas of really high level monsters (the guys that you fight to finish quests and get xp) and a group of 5 go into the dungeon and kill stuff and get stuff, whatever. once you reach the highest level, 85 as of very recently, then you focus on getting better gear and doing raids, which to my understanding are times of going to the other faction’s areas and killing them – as in other players. a faction is the biggest classification, either alliance or horde. there isn’t really a good or bad guy situation, it’s like, you’re buddies with humans or you aren’t. then you pick your race (elf, dwarf, human, orc, tauren, etc.) and your class (preist, mage, druid, warlock, etc.) and as you play, you pick professions (mining, tailoring, skinning, enchanting, etc., and these can be used as major money makers). so anyway, as one does raids, he or she gets what are called honor points to buy better gear, yada yada. i THINK you now have enough info for me to finish my post.

so we start playing. i picked a priest. rather, ummm, weak if you will. james picks a druid. rather, ummm, strong if you will. so it basically evolves into james kills things, i make sure he doesn’t die. which is fine and dandy for a while. and then i started getting bored. i wanted to kill monsters too. i’d have to say that pretty much any ‘argument’ we’ve had (which is more like snippy words from me to him) occurs during the course of this game for one BIG FAT reason: i suck. seriously, i don’t know what i’m doing, i don’t really know how to play my character, i’m not very good. for a really, really competitive person, that is probably one of the worst things ever.

however, over the course of playing, i have learned some really cool things and those are what all that background information have lead to. so, the things i have learned from playing video games (there is another one i’ve started, starcraft, but i’m not getting into that one. you can look it up, but the principles still apply because i’m pretty terribad at that too).

1. it’s really important to ask for help. seriously. in this game, and IN LIFE, i don’t have all the answers. sometimes, i don’t have ANY answers. sometimes i don’t even know where to LOOK for the answers. it’s hard for me to make that quarter turn of my chair and tell james ‘please help me’. sometimes, he even just watches over my shoulder and gives me advice on how to do something better. i find that i get really irritated with that even though i KNOW that i don’t know what i’m doing and he does. he’s only played every single class minus one, i think. my pride gets in my way so much while playing that game because i WANT to be really good. well… i can’t BE really good if i don’t get some GOOD information from someone who knows. who can see the parallel to real life? yeah, i thought so.

2. i’m never going to get anywhere if you don’t risk dying. ok, this parallel is a bit of a stretch using the word dying. in the game, however, dying is more of an annoyance than anything. we could exchange dying for ‘something’. i’m never going to get anywhere if you don’t risk something. myself, my pride, my image of knowing everything, insert whatever here. if i don’t put myself out there, i’ll still be a little level 1 sitting in some building watching the outside not really change. if i don’t put myself out there, i’ll still be sitting in a dead end job getting paid $7 an hour doing whatever. in order to succeed, i have to take risks. i have to work really hard.

3. i gotta have a buddy. if i don’t know what i’m doing and i don’t know where i’m going and i don’t have a buddy, ouch. right now, i’m working on a new character. i get to a point where i get kinda bored with who i have and i like to start over. so i’m working on a new girl and james started a new guy. well… he doesn’t really want to play the new guy because he’s just going to transfer over one of his big guys and whatever. so, currently, i’m playing both of them. at the same time. which actually is fun. it’s a whole new challenge because now i’m trying to keep 2 people alive, not just me. there’s really something about having someone else there that is SO comforting, even if no one else is REALLY there. does that make sense? we both run around, we both do all the quests, and he has a two professions that are really good moneymakers, which is the primary reason i started playing him at the same time. i continue to do so because of the challenge of doing it and the ease with which i’m able to stay alive now. he heals me. awesome. it’s like the opposite of how james and i started. now i’m picking the fights and he gets to heal. totally down with that. again, in real life, it’s the same thing. i gotta have a buddy. i have to have friends, i have to have people that i can depend on and lean on and to have sharpen me. to tell me when i’m not in the right. i have to have that social network of support, even if it’s only a few people.

4. IT IS OK TO RELAX SOMETIMES. for someone who’s so used to going going going going all the time, taking some time off is really hard because i’m CONSTANTLY thinking about all the things i COULD be doing or SHOULD be doing. wow is a way for me to really unplug. the best thing about it is that i feel like i’m accomplishing something, even if it’s just getting one level or part of a level or into a new zone. it’s something that i can walk away from when i don’t feel like playing, i’m not letting anyone down by not logging in for a few days and i’m not carrying anyway if i log in for hours a day.

5. be flexible. wow is something that be just for me or it’s something that i can share with james and that is really awesome. while it’s really hard for me sometimes to take direction from him, i’m getting better. wow is teaching me to be better at listening to someone who knows what they’re doing. part of me is just really stubborn and only wants help when i ask for it. well, anyone who knows me pretty knows that i don’t really ask for help. at least not until i’m completely over my head and totally frustrated. so it’s good for me to be getting feedback BEFORE there’s a major train wreck.

so while this is something that i would NEVER have wanted to admit to, i think that gaming has some seriously awesome benefits that i never thought about before. and i haven’t even started pvping yet. 😉

i’m baaaack…

well HELLO bloggy world! my brain has finally decompressed enough from the end of the semester for me to ACTUALLY do this. some of you may have noticed comment notices in your inbox on posts from, oh, NOVEMBER. seriously, though, i absolutely could not bring myself to blog or even read because i was SO busy and stressed and honestly, did NOT want to read anything else.

i do have a few ideas lined up for the next few days/weeks (however that works out) since i am ON BREAK from school and pretty much everything else that might require me to think. so hopefully over the next few days, i’ll finish wading through reader and get caught up and all that jazz.

i’m not going to post anything really crazy deep today, just letting you know all know i’m back (for at least a little while) and give you a sneak peek of what’s to come in the next few days/weeks:

  • seminary apps
  • working out
  • the importance of dorky video games (a sort of coming out for me, i guess. i’d NEVER admit that i play dorky video games, but i’m finally getting used to the idea and being ok with it)
  • Christmas and other holidays
  • plants
  • the interwebs
  • being married

that’s just SOME of the stuff i plan on talking about. i HAVE had ideas in my head and they’ve stuck around really well, actually, so i hope that you guys are just as excited as i am that i’m back and blogging.

much loves!

you are my sweetest downfall…

i have two more days of class before finals. i cannot wait.

after my two days of class, i have a day off. study day. which should be glorious – staying home, doing a bit of studying, and getting ready to play some music for some people. yep, you heard me right, i’m doing live music.

my friend is having an art exhibit at a gallery and he wanted some live music, so he asked me and considering he did all the work for our wedding invites and programs, i could most certainly return the favor. and i’ve been WAITING for an excuse to pull clinty back out and play him. of course, the irony is that i won’t be playing clinty there, i’ll be playing a MUCH better guitar. which is always good.

i have to say, i’m REALLY excited for this wednesday. i’m excited to play, i’m excited to sing and everything. really, honestly. my fingers are NOT ready, which kinda sucks. i played for an hour tonight and they’re super tender. i HAD wanted to be playing more over the past two weeks but with school, i just didn’t really make the time to play and get my fingers all calloused and now i’m trying to crunch callous and anyone who’s ever played a string instrument knows how THAT goes.

so i’m playing quite a variety of songs, from oasis to keri noble to maren ord to jars of clay and tenth avenue north and relient k and regina spektor and a variety of Christmas songs, because of course, can’t play music in december without whipping out a few of those. they are the last two mini sets i’ll be playing.

i’m also playing a mini set of my own music. as in, stuff i’ve written myself. i’m usually really self-conscious about people hearing my own music because i’m really afraid of what they’ll say about it. i’m afraid that someone will tell me it sucks and that i shouldn’t be writing and whatever. yeah, a little irrational, i know. now, i didn’t just arbitrarily pick four songs – i picked them based on how good i think they are, and you’re always your own toughest critic. two of the four were written about the ex and the surrounding situation, one was written about someone i met after the ex became the ex and one was written for a lady in my church who was diagnosed with cancer a year and a half ago.

like i said, i’ve been practicing on and off for a couple weeks and something really surprised me. something i never expected to happen. i pulled out my songs to practice them, to see if i still know them and they elicited NO emotional reaction (and of course they always have in the past). well, no NEGATIVE emotional reaction. which i think is SO strange. you would think that such an emotionally charged event would cause a little more reaction than how i reacted. honestly, i’m really excited about that. i think that i’ll really be able to just SING and not worry about anything. yeah, i might think of the ex and that other boy, but it doesn’t matter. thinking about them is no longer emotionally draining and detrimental to me.

i’m so ok with that. i love those moments where i am really able to see how far i’ve come in a certain amount of time. i love seeing how some events hold less and less importance in my life and how i’m able to move on and live my life. i’m able to do what i want to do and love what i’m doing. i’m finally finding a bit of freedom, finding that i can spread my wings and fly, finding that i can succeed in what i want to do. it is such an amazing feeling – and then being able to sing about it. remembering my experiences through songs and music.

i remember avidly writing songs as my life went up and down. i remember trying to find the perfect melody, the perfect accompaniment and time to make them all sound as unique as possible. i think that i’ve also really achieved that with this two hour set of music. even though it’s just going to be me and the guitar, i think that i’ve found songs that sound sufficiently different that it’s not going to sound like one continuous song that has a few breaks here and there. there were days when i had thought i’d lost my passion for music, but in all reality, it was just a reaction to stress. it was just my mind shutting out things that weren’t directly related and tied to what i needed to be doing at that moment – school. it’s refreshing to see that i HAVEN’T lost it, that it’s still there – heck, that i can still remember how to play these songs that i haven’t played for a year or more. it’s pretty darn awesome.

ps. bonus points to whoever knows where the title of this post comes from.