Friday, November 23, 2012

After-Thanksgiving Musings

So I'm not very good at keeping up with a blog. It just feels weird sometimes to post my feelings and thoughts online where anyone can read them. Sometimes I don't want people to know. But I'm feeling contemplative tonight, and I thought I'd update those people who care on events in my life.

Junior year is almost half way over, and college is just flying by me. This semester has been different and difficult in many ways. I only have 4 units of Torrey so I was able to take more classes pertaining to my major and minor. I'm so thankful that I chose to minor in music. I've felt myself improving (and my teacher has also told me so), and it's an improvement that I can actually see and gauge. I'm becoming more comfortable with performing in front of others, which has been a big struggle of mine the past two years. But my non-piano classes have proven more difficult than I was expecting (Basic Conducting and Sight-Singing &Dictation). There's not that many grades in them, so we'll see how the finals go...but I've also been able to take more upper-division writing classes, which has been wonderful. Though it has been a lot of writing, I've felt confirmed in my chosen major and have really enjoyed most of what I've written. My teacher has taught us how to turn a phrase, and also how to search for that phrase in Google and see how common, or uncommon, it really is, which is actually really fun to do! Though I am still unsure how to pursue my career after college, I am happy with my chosen major and what I want to do (at least for the present, haha), which is something I feel is rare in college students. I have also discovered that I will most likely be able to take one or two Spanish classes my senior year, which makes me feel not so bad that I dropped that minor.

My best friend Ashlyn got engaged! I'm going to be a bridesmaid in her wedding in January. It's my first wedding that I've actually been in, and I'm super excited! I'm also excited for Ashlyn, as she embarks on this new journey. It's a little weird, I'll admit, thinking of her as being married. But it's a part of life and I'm very glad I can stand next to her on her special day and continue to support and love her.

The past week and a half has been extremely long...probably because I bought my plane ticket home and have been eagerly counting the days 'til I will return home and this semester will be over. Homesickness has been a different feeling for me this semester. I didn't realize it at first, but about mid-October it hit me. When I left for college, I was only leaving my parents; my sisters had already left. And yeah, that first semester was hard, but I was getting over being homesick - 4 months away from home was no big deal. But now, both Cat and Jen have been back at home, so if I were home I would be with them too. And now that Liz has returned home for her knee surgery, everyone's there but me. It's a different kind of homesickness than before. I can't recall the last time I was the only one not home for more than a week. And now it'll be a month. Which, in the grand scheme of things, isn't that long. But right now, it feels like this semester will never end and December 22 will never arrive. I have so much to do in the next 4 weeks that I just feel like I'll never get through it. Thanksgiving break is supposed to be relaxful, and it has been, but it's also stressful in that you don't get as much done as you want to and should (because you're relaxing, remember?) and thus only feel more stress when you look ahead to finals. Which really only increases my homesickness. And my need to cuddle with my puppy.

But I shouldn't complain. Break really has been fun, and it's been good to just be off campus for a few days. I'm so grateful for Elsa's family, who have accepted me into their family and allowed me to participate in their festivities. They are so filled with God's love and I love witnessing that. It's very encouraging. And they're also a very funny family which is fun to watch. :) We've been staying at an old ranch house, right in some foothills with orange groves and ponds all around, and it's been absolutely beautiful. I'm so amazed at God's creation. And reminded again how much of California is not Los Angeles.

Trusting in God is hard. Especially when it comes to money. I have an opportunity to travel to Cambridge next summer with the honors program I'm in at my school, to study for three weeks and also do sight-seeing and such. It covers 4 units of my classes and would be such a great opportunity. I've never been to England or any part of Europe for that matter. Now is the time for me to travel, right? I wrote a blog about a year ago about wanting to go on one of these trips, but it didn't work out. I didn't get the money. A part of me says now, Why would this year be any different? This summer will most likely be last opportunity for one of these trips, because, though I could potentially go after senior year, I will probably need to be starting/looking for a job then. I so badly desire to travel to Europe and see more of the world. My mom has told me to pray about it, and if I feel that God wants me to go on the trip, to take a leap of faith and pay the non-refundable deposit even though I don't have the rest of the money needed. My only problem is that I want it so badly, how do I know if it's what God wants? I don't want to pay the deposit just because it's what I want, when it might not be what God wants. But why wouldn't God want it for me? I don't know!

Would you please, whoever you are reading this, join me in praying for God's clear direction and, if it's what He wants for me, the provision of the funds needed for me to travel to Cambridge? I don't know where the money would come from. I raised some money over the summer, intending to use it for the trip, but instead had to spend it on fall tuition, books, and gas money for my road trip back to school. So I would greatly appreciate your prayers in this matter.

God is good. And His strength and love have never failed me. As I listen to Christmas music as I write this, I look forward to all that God has in store for me in the future.

Also - puppy. How can God not be good if He creates a creation as beautiful, adoring, sweet, soft, and special as Abby?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Good Friday

The Sacrifice by George Herbert

O, all ye, who pass by, whose eyes and mind
To worldly things are sharp, but to me blind;
To me, who took eyes that I might you find:
                                       Was ever grief like mine?
The Princes of my people make a head
Against their Maker: they do wish me dead,
Who cannot wish, except I give them bread:
                                       Was ever grief like mine?
Without me each one, who doth now me brave,
Had to this day been an Egyptian slave.
They use that power against me, which I gave:
                                       Was ever grief like mine?

Mine own Apostle, who the bag did bear,
Though he had all I had, did not forbear
To sell me also, and to put me there:
                                      Was ever grief like mine?

For thirty pence he did my death devise,
Who at three hundred did the ointment prize,
Not half so sweet as my sweet sacrifice:
                                       Was ever grief like mine?

Therefore my soul melts, and my heart's dear treasure
Drops blood (the only beads) my words to measure:
O let this cup pass, if it be thy pleasure:
                                       Was ever grief like mine?
These drops being tempered with a sinner's tears,
A Balsam are for both the Hemispheres:
Curing all wounds, but mine; all, but my fears:
                                       Was ever grief like mine?
Yet my Disciples sleep: I cannot gain
One hour of watching; but their drowsy brain
Comforts not me, and doth my doctrine stain:
                                       Was ever grief like mine?
Arise, arise, they come. Look how they run.
Alas! what haste they make to be undone!
How with their lanterns do they seek the sun!
                                       Was ever grief like mine?
With clubs and staves they seek me, as a thief,
Who am the way of truth, the true relief;
Most true to those, who are my greatest grief:
                                       Was ever grief like mine?
Judas, dost thou betray me with a kiss?
Canst thou find hell about my lips? and miss
Of life, just at the gates of life and bliss?
                                       Was ever grief like mine?
See, they lay hold on me, not with the hands
Of faith, but fury: yet at their commands
I suffer binding, who have loosed their bands:
                                       Was ever grief like mine?
All my Disciples fly; fear puts a bar
Betwixt my friends and me. They leave the star,
That brought the wise men of the East from far.
                                       Was ever grief like mine?
Then from one ruler to another bound
They lead me; urging, that it was not sound
What I taught: Comments would the text confound.
                                       Was ever grief like mine?
The Priest and rulers all false witness seek
'Gainst him, who seeks not life, but is the meek
And ready Paschal Lamb of this great week:
                                       Was ever grief like mine?

Then they accuse me of great blasphemy,
That I did thrust into the Deity,
Who never thought that any robbery:
                                       Was ever grief like mine?
Some said, that I the Temple to the floor
In three days razed, and raised as before.
Why, he that built the world can do much more:
                                       Was ever grief like mine?
Then they condemn me all with that same breath,
Which I do give them daily, unto death.
Thus Adam my first breathing rendereth:
                                       Was ever grief like mine?
They bind, and lead me unto Herod: he
Sends me to Pilate. This makes them agree;
But yet their friendship is my enmity:
                                       Was ever grief like mine?
Herod and all his bands do set me light,
Who teach all hands to war, fingers to fight,
And only am the Lord of hosts and might:
                                       Was ever grief like mine?
Herod in judgement sits, while I do stand;
Examines me with a censorious hand:
I him obey, who all things else command:
                                       Was ever grief like mine?
The Jews accuse me with despitefulness;
And vying malice with my gentleness,
Pick quarrels with their only happiness:
                                       Was ever grief like mine?
I answer nothing, but with patience prove
If stony hearts will melt with gentle love.
But who does hawk at eagles with a dove?
                                       Was ever grief like mine?
My silence rather doth augment their cry;
My dove doth back into my bosom fly,
Because the raging waters still are high:
                                       Was ever grief like mine?
Hark how they cry aloud still, Crucify:
It is not fit he live a day, they cry,
Who cannot live less than eternally:
                                       Was ever grief like mine?
Pilate a stranger holdeth off; but they,
Mine own dear people, cry, Away, away,
With noises confused frighting the day:
                                       Was ever grief like mine?

Yet still they shout, and cry, and stop their ears,
Putting my life among their sins and fears,
And therefore wish my blood on them and theirs:
                                       Was ever grief like mine?
See how spite cankers things. These words aright
Used, and wished, are the whole world's light:
But honey is their gall, brightness their night:
                                       Was ever grief like mine?
They choose a murderer, and all agree
In him to do themselves a courtesy:
For it was their own cause who killed me:
                                       Was ever grief like mine?
And a seditious murderer he was:
But I the Prince of peace; peace that doth pass
All understanding, more than heav'n doth glass:
                                       Was ever grief like mine?

Why, Caesar is their only King, not I:
He clave the stony rock, when they were dry;
But surely not their hearts, as I well try:
                                       Was ever grief like mine?
Ah! how they scourge me! yet my tenderness
Doubles each lash: and yet their bitterness
Winds up my grief to a mysteriousness:
                                       Was ever grief like mine?
They buffet me, and box me as they list,
Who grasp the earth and heaven with my fist,
And never yet, whom I would punish, missed:
                                       Was ever grief like mine?
Behold, they spit on me in scornful wise,
Who by my spittle gave the blind man eyes,
Leaving his blindness to mine enemies:
                                       Was ever grief like mine?
My face they cover, though it be divine.
As Moses' face was veiled, so is mine,
Lest on their double-dark souls either shine:
                                       Was ever grief like mine?

Servants and abjects flout me; they are witty:
Now prophesy who strikes thee, is their ditty.
So they in me deny themselves all pity:
                                       Was ever grief like mine?
And now I am delivered unto death,
Which each one calls for so with utmost breath,
That he before well nigh suffereth:
                                       Was ever grief like mine?

Weep not, dear friends, since I for both have wept
When all my tears were blood, the while you slept:
Your tears for your own fortunes should be kept:
                                       Was ever grief like mine?
The soldiers lead me to the common hall;
There they deride me, they abuse me all:
Yet for twelve heav'nly legions I could call:
                                       Was ever grief like mine?

Then with a scarlet robe they me array;
Which shows my blood to be the only way,
And cordial left to repair man's decay:
                                       Was ever grief like mine?
Then on my head a crown of thorns I wear:
For these are all the grapes Sion doth bear,
Though I my vine planted and wat'red there:
                                       Was ever grief like mine?

So sits the earth's great curse in Adam's fall
Upon my head: so I remove it all
From th' earth unto my brows, and bear the thrall;
                                       Was ever grief like mine?
Then with the reed they gave to me before,
They strike my head, the rock from whence all store
Of heav'nly blessings issue evermore:
                                       Was ever grief like mine?
They bow their knees to me, and cry, Hail king:
Whatever scoffs or scornfulness can bring,
I am the floor, the sink, where they it fling:
                                       Was ever grief like mine?

Yet since man's sceptres are as frail as reeds,
And thorny all their crowns, bloody their weeds;
I, who am Truth, turn into truth their deeds:
                                       Was ever grief like mine?
The soldiers also spit upon that face,
Which Angels did desire to have the grace
And Prophets once to see, but found no place:
                                       Was ever grief like mine?
Thus trimmed forth they bring me to the rout,
Who Crucify him, cry with one strong shout.
God holds his peace at man, and man cries out:
                                       Was ever grief like mine?
They lead me in once more, and putting then
Mine own clothes on, they lead me out again.
Whom devils fly, thus is he tossed of men:
                                       Was ever grief like mine?
And now weary of sport, glad to engross
All spite in one, counting my life their loss,
They carry me to my most bitter cross:
                                       Was ever grief like mine?
My cross I bear myself, until I faint:
Then Simon bears it for me by constraint,
The decreed burden of each mortal Saint:
                                       Was ever grief like mine?
O all ye who pass by, behold and see;
Man stole the fruit, but I must climb the tree;
The tree of life to all, but only me:
                                       Was ever grief like mine?
Lo, here I hang, charged with a world of sin,
The greater world o' th' two; for that came in
By words, but this by sorrow I must win:
                                       Was ever grief like mine?
Such sorrow, as if sinful man could feel,
Or feel his part, he would not cease to kneel
Till all were melted, though he were all steel:
                                       Was ever grief like mine?
But, O my God, my God! why leav'st thou me,
The son, in whom thou dost delight to be?
My God, my God -
                                            Never was grief like mine.
 Shame tears my soul, my body many a wound;
Sharp nails pierce this, but sharper that confound;
Reproaches, which are free, while I am bound.
                                              Was ever grief like mine?
Now heal thyself, Physician; now come down.
Alas! I did so, when I left my crown
And father's smile for you, to feel his frown:
                                               Was ever grief like mine?
In healing not myself, there doth consist
All that salvation, which ye now resist;
Your safety in my sickness doth subsist:
                                                Was ever grief like mine?
Betwixt two thieves I spend my utmost breath,
As he that for some robbery suffereth.
Alas! what have I stolen from you? death:
                                             Was ever grief like mine?
A king my title is, prefixed on high;
Yet by my subjects am condemned to die
A servile death in servile company:
                                              Was ever grief like mine?
They gave me vinegar mingled with gall,
But more with malice: yet, when they did call,
With Manna, Angel's food, I fed them all:
                                                Was ever grief like mine?
They part my garments, and by lot dispose
My coat, the type of love, which once cured those
Who sought for help, never malicious foes:
                                                Was ever grief like mine?
Nay, after death their spite shall further go;
For they will pierce my side, I full well know;
That as sin came, so Sacraments might flow:
                                                Was ever grief like mine?

But now I die; now all is finished.
My woe, man's weal: and now I bow my head.
Only let others say, when I am dead,
                                                 Never was grief like mine.

I know this poem is long, but I took the time to type it out, so please take the time to read it. I read this poem for one of my classes about two weeks ago, and it has stayed with me ever since. Easter has come and gone every year, but I've never really felt a connection to it - it was just an excuse to buy another dress. And Good Friday. That was just a day I got off from school. The real holiday was Sunday. I never really thought much about Good Friday before. Yes, I knew Jesus suffered and He died and it was a terrible thing. But reading this poem gave me a new perspective, a new way to look at the day. Never was grief like that of Jesus'. Never. Yes, He rose from the grave, He conquered death, He got the victory, but still - Never. I never understood exactly what He went through before. I wish I'd read this poem years ago. But I think God knew I would need it now. A new way to look at Him and think about Easter, especially as I spend my first Easter away from home and not with family. Jesus loves us so much. I know poetry doesn't speak to everyone, but I hope this poem can at least mean to you half of what it means to me. And may you be blessed as you think about Christ's death, as well as His resurrection. He loves you enough to suffer this much for you and experience this grief - He will take care of your problems and troubles too, no matter how big or small. Just remember that this Easter.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Some Personal Things

So God has been teaching me a lot lately, and I thought I'd write about it. But whenever I blog, I feel like I should give an update on my life, especially since the last time I blogged was the last day of last year. So update on my life:

College is wonderful and going by way too quickly. I remain busy, but I suppose that is a good thing. I bought a Disneyland pass this semester! That has been a lot of fun; I've been 3 or 4 times since I got it, and I still don't think I've done everything yet. It's hard to find time to go between work and school (and I got the cheap pass, so I can't go on Saturdays or Sundays). But I don't regret buying it. :) I've been reading Shakespeare for class the past month (Hamlet, Macbeth, King Lear, Richard II, Henry IV parts 1 & 2, Henry V, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and The Tempest) and I have loved it! I'd only ever read King Lear and Romeo & Juliet before, but I am now a Shakespeare fan. I also read Beowulf for my Brit Lit class and I really loved it, too; so I've kind of been in a poetry-reading, old-English, old-fashioned literature mood of late. If that makes sense ;)

I tried sushi for the first time the other day. And actually liked it. I was really surprised! Haha, but I did get a non-spicy kind, and it had crab in it. I never thought I'd say that I like sushi, so it was a big moment for me. :)

My best friend Ashlyn is coming to visit me on Tuesday, and I am so excited! She's staying 'til Sunday, and it is missions conference week, so I don't have classes. I do have to go to conference stuff, but she can come with me, and I'll still have more time to hang out with her than I would if I had classes. It's gonna be great. :)

Now to what God has been teaching me:

At the beginning of this year, I made myself a goal to fail at something and be okay with it. I didn't know exactly what that something would be, but I made this goal because I am a perfectionist and worry too much about what other people think of me. My brain knows my family and friends will love me even if I mess up and make a fool of myself, but it's not something my heart knows. Therefore, wanting to change but not really knowing how, I made myself this goal, thinking it would occur with something Torrey-related (as in me saying something in session really stupid) or a bad grade in a class or something along those lines.

I was not expecting it to happen yesterday, at my piano recital.

But it did. I even got to practice on the piano I would use for the recital twenty minutes before the recital started, and I performed second in the program. I knew my piece; it wasn't even that long. But something threw me off towards the end. Most likely the fact that I was thinking now don't mess up at this next part, when I came upon the measure that I frequently had messed up on. So I messed up and couldn't get it back; my mind went completely blank, and I had to repeat the same section two more times before I could finally remember the notes to continue and finish the piece. It was a very noticeable mistake, because I paused trying to remember, and I wasn't sure exactly what to due. When I sat back down in my seat, I was fighting tears, but I had to sit through another hour and 15 minutes of the recital. And as I sat listening to the other pieces, it hit me. I had just failed, quite epically too, at something. And I almost laughed out loud. Of course it would be something I wasn't expecting. How else can I grow and learn? My next question to myself was how do I be okay with this? What does that even mean, or look like? My life hasn't changed. Granted, I haven't talked to my piano teacher yet (I will Monday!), but still. I had smoothies with two of my closest friends right after. Last night and today I hung out with people that I haven't hung out with in a really long time. And this morning, I got to babysit kids for two hours at my church. It was wonderful. Life goes on. My family and friends still love me. God still loves me. Am I still upset and disappointed in myself? Yes. Should I be? I haven't quite figured that out yet. But I know God wants me to learn from this. I definitely don't think it was just a coincidence. But I've been doing a lot of thinking over the past 24some hours, and this is what I've come up with so far.

My journey's not over yet...

"You're not alone. I'll listen 'til your tears give out. You're safe and sound. I swear that I won't let you down. What's hurting you, I, I feel it too. I mean it when I say, when you cry, I cry with you."
- Cry With You, Hunter Hayes