Saturday, October 27, 2007

Such a Long Time

I have quickly found this semester that the life of a college student consists of few things: school, work, and homework. You may possibly eat once a day and then I've heard of a concept called sleep but am not sure what it is. Do to my schedule, I'm sorry to say I've not had time to write anything interesting. So, I'll post one of my assignments from English Composition. Hopefully you won't find the topic too boring. Let me just say that the research for this project was really hard. Check out the new polling feature on the right and let me know your thoughts.

Just Tell Me Who I Am

A man who does not know who he is, corruption in the government, deception, and an effort to catch a project gone bad is just the start of the Bourne story. Just as there are romantic “chick flicks,” there are “action flicks;” however the Bourne movies seem to rise above into a category of their own. The story of Jason Bourne is told in three installments, The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy, and The Bourne Ultimatum. The Bourne series uses a thrilling plot, dynamic cast, unique filming locations, breathtaking stunts, and underlying morals to twist together an interesting action movie with few drawbacks.
The original story of Jason Bourne was written by Robert Ludlum in the 1980s. Some viewers may be disappointed that the movies do not follow the same plot as the books do and that Jason Bourne seems like two completely different people. This was done intentionally by executive producer Frank Marshall and producer Patrick Crowley. When looking at writing the screenplay for the Identity, Crowley put together a story line then approached Tony Gilroy to write the screenplay from the storyline without reading the book itself. Crowley kept the same ideas as he approached the Supremacy but allowed Gilroy to read the book before writing the screenplay. Either way they were written, all three movies have been a great success. Since their releases in 2002 and 2004, a combined total of eight awards and twelve nominations were received for the Identity and Supremacy while the Ultimatum has already received one nomination since its release in August 2007.
Even though the plot of the movies has been changed from the books, the tale of Jason Bourne can totally engross a viewer through numerous twists, turns, and unexpected events. First time watchers may need to keep a cheat sheet of major characters and where they are being directed throughout Europe. One must watch the movies numerous times before they can fully understand each piece of government corruption as layer upon layer of organizations are revealed until they reach Bourne’s original program and as overseas under-the-table relationships are revealed. The hardest transition between movies is figuring out where each new set of “bad guys” come from. An example is that the Ultimatum revolves around Operation Blackbriar, which seems to come out of the blue but was actually introduced in passing during the Identity. The fast paced, grainy, journalism-like filming style of the producers gives the series a realistic feel that helps the viewer care about the outcome of the characters.
Having the right cast has helped the good plot turn into excellent movies. Although the role was initially offered to Brat Pitt, the character of Jason Bourne was finally given to Matt Damon who is also well known for roles in Saving Private Ryan; Ocean’s Eleven, Twelve, and Thirteen; and Syriana. Damon comes across as an average guy next door who might not make it as a model but has something special about him. In the Identity there are moments before Bourne realizes who he truly was that there is an almost boyish charm about him as he rediscovers the world. Overall, Damon brings an incredible edge and energy to the movie as the viewer watches his expressive eyes. Damon seems like a natural as he analyzes and prepares for each character’s move down to the second and seamlessly goes from shooting a gun, to martial arts, then to driving in a car chase. It leaves the viewer dumbfounded at the skills of Jason Bourne. It also helps that Damon is surrounded by a great supporting cast including Cris Cooper, Julia Stiles, and Joan Allen. Each supporting character enhances Damon’s performance and adapts effortlessly through each step of the constantly changing adventure.
One of the most distinctive aspects of the three films is the locations they were shot at throughout Europe. The viewer starts in the Mediterranean Sea and then is whisked through France, Switzerland, Germany, Russia, Greece, India, Morocco, England, Virginia, and New York City over the three movies. The fast paced travel may confuse several movie goers, but the producers help them keep up by labeling each new location. The Bourne movies were the first American movies to shoot extensively in Eastern European cities such as Berlin, Germany; Moscow, Russia; and St. Petersburg, Russia. Unlike movies such as the Italian Job which built most of their major scenes in studios (excluding their filming in Venice), producers of the Bourne movies strove to keep the story real and alive by filming everything on location. This meant dealing with producing teams in numerous different cities for each film and crossing many cultural barriers. In the Identity, the scene in the U.S. Embassy was shot at the actual Zurich, France embassy using U.S. Marines in their own uniforms and with their own official procedures for dealing with such a security breach. At the Grand Station in London, producers were unable to close it down to shoot scenes for the Ultimatum, so they worked around regular travelers instead of extras. These unique filming locations provided great grounds for some amazing stunts.
Throughout all three movies, producers attempted to achieve all stunts practically, which enhances the realism of the movie. Most other popular action movies, such as Shooter, use computer graphics to fill in explosions, fights, and car chases. When a house explodes in the Supremacy, they used an actual condo and had one try to get it right. However, there are a few flaws with the stunt work. It seems that Bourne is never effected by getting shot or being in horrific car crashes. He always manages to limp away. For the car chase in New York City, during the Ultimatum, some of the collisions look slightly unrealistic. The reason behind this is that police department limited their speed to thirty-five miles per hour for safety reasons. This may explain how Bourne was able to survive it all by just holding onto a seatbelt. Stunts do not dominate the movie but only enhance the building of the characters and their stories.
Values such as justice, forgiveness, and truth are often missed in adventure movies where the only moral you may find is “get out alive.” There are many positive situations and even role models to be found in the Bourne movies. Parents may be hesitant to let their youth watch these movies because of the violent content that includes death tolls of eight to nine people per movie. This is a drawback to many but can also be used as a learning experience as families look at Bourne’s true character. Bourne thinks he is a good person until he discovers the skills he possesses and remembers more of his past job for the government and what they required them to do. Bourne cringes each time he encounters a gun, and in numerous cases he will defend someone then dismantle the gun and toss it in the trash. Each death caused by Bourne is either out of self-defense or during flash backs when he was ordered to do an assassination. Bourne’s greatest struggle is dealing with being the cause of so much death and hardship. He reaches the daughter of a couple he has assassinated to tell her the truth about her parents’ death and apologize in attempts to make up for some of his actions. Others may be concerned about the sexual content. Bourne and the first person to help him in his journey, Marie, share several kisses and then live together during the time between the Identity and the Supremacy. Unfortunately, because of his circumstances, Bourne is unable to marry Marie but his desire to honor her and his commitment to her is evident. There are several nights were they are forced to share a room and he quickly declares that he will take the floor. At one point when he has to keep running, he sends Marie away with her brother-in-law declaring, “I’m just trying to do the right thing.” The greatest role model for many is Pamela Landy played by Joan Allen. Landy is one of the intelligence personal searching for Bourne. She puts her job and her life on the line to search for the truth about Bourne’s life and unveil the corruption she found all around her.
Overall the Bourne Identity, Bourne Supremacy, and Bourne Ultimatum tell an incredible, gripping story that can be enjoyed for more than just an action adventure flick. Viewers are exposed to great acting, new geography, cool stunts, and moral truths. The taglines “They should have left him alone” and “They stole his identity. Now he wants it back,” are well known among viewers of all ages. Some people struggle with their identity, but Jason Bourne just wants to discover the truth of who he is.

Friday, September 7, 2007

A Word to the Wise...

As I try to type in my slightly hazy state of mind let me give some tips to all the students reading this.
If you are a high school student do not try to rush ahead and grow up to fast. Mature, but do not long to be an adult. For those considering PSEO ease into it and be realistic about how many credits you can handle. The majority of college classes are much more challenging than the equivalent in high school requiring more homework time and responsibility.
For anyone entering college and holding down a job at the same time make sure you have an understanding boss that will let you change your schedule at the last moment. To prevent from having to do this, set your school schedule up as soon as you can and try not to switch classes during the first week. Try to take some time off the week before school starts to enjoy rest and relaxation before the fury of school kicks off. Make sure you have access to all college sites (registration site, email, class sites, etc) at least a week before school starts. Buy your books early. Before the first day of your class see if you have access to the syllabus online. If you do read through it and get a head start on homework. Your teacher will be impressed if you have the first few chapters read and you know what you're talking about during the first class. Show up early to your class and choose a seat in the first two rows. You will have a better line of vision, pay attention better, and have easier interaction with the professor. The night before your first day, set out your outfit, shoes, accessories, and fully packed backpack to grab on the way out the door. Plan to wear a comfortable outfit with sturdy shoe whenever you will be traveling around your campus. If you plan ahead and are prepared you just might not have to pull an all-nighter to get ready for your second day of class.
I'll let you know any other ways you can learn from my mistakes as I get farther into the semester. One last thing, during classes is a popular time for the lawn to be watered. Watch where you sit and know all the ways around campus or just add a bottle of shampoo to your 50 pound backpack.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Fall is here??

When I think of how fast a summer flies I am reminded of the brevity of life. As a student I sometimes feel it will be an eternity until I graduate and will be independent, but then I think how can I be this old. One thing I have been struggling with lately is where to place my priorities. I am a student. That is my job in life right now. I also have a job which required to work 7 days in a row, take a day off, then work 9 days in a row. Church needs to be a big commitment for me so I can get spiritually recharged and encouraged. I also have family, friends, and a life of my own. While I am still a "kid" I want to enjoy the time I have. Balance is needed but oh so hard to find.

I mentioned school so I'll let you know what I'm up to. I will be taking 16 credits through two different colleges. I am taking Composition 1, Principles of Microeconomics, Chemistry, and Mass Communication and Society. After some frustrations and confusion I now have my class schedule set. It was amazing to see how God opened and closed different doors. I know that I will be really stretched this semester trying to keep up with school work and my job. As I went off to my first day of school I experienced the feeling of being the new girl, starting a new school, not knowing anyone (well only one student I haven't seen yet), and getting lost between each class. After being home schooled through school, this experiences which may seem normal to you, were a brand new adventure. I've found the one disadvantage of homeschooling is that I am timid to blurt out question or answer in a class. Now that I have teachers that grade partially on class participation I will have to work on that. I am also getting accustomed to attending a liberal, Catholic school. It is hard to determine where the professors' values stand.

Now that I have sufficiently rambled about school and work, lets see if there are any other interesting sides of my life. I will be a 5th grade girls small group leader for Sunday school at my church this year. I was able to go to the "Great Minnesota Get-Together" (aka. the state fair) this year where anything and everything can be found deep-fried on a stick. Since Minnesotans are good potluck Lutherans, the fair premiered "Hot Dish on a Stick." Unfortunately I was not adventurous and had nothing on a stick but had a great chocolate malt. I was there with a friend on Sunday: Sunday + Labor day weekend + MN fair = packed/massive crowds. One word of advice for fair goers: visit the fair during the first few days, the later it gets the fuller, dirtier, smellier, greasier, crankier, and brownier (does that work for "the grass died and disappeared"??) the fair grounds get. I did enjoy giving blood to the Red Cross for the first time on the bloodmobile they had stationed. there. My dad does all the electrical maintenance for the Red Cross Blood Services including their bloodmobiles. Once the staff found out who my dad was I was the center of attention as they tried to get the inside scoop on him. For anyone who has never given blood I highly recommend doing it. You must be 17 and healthy. It takes about 10 - 15 minutes for them to go over your health history and current health. Actually giving the blood takes about 10 minutes and is completely painless after you get through the initial pin prick. So there is my advertising for the night. I must close tonight before I end up doing an all nighter the first week of school but I will try to be back again soon.

Monday, August 6, 2007

A Tragedy, A Miracle

From Minnesota to Colorado to South Africa headlines this past week have been covered with news of the I-35W bridge collapse in Minneapolis, MN. By God's mercy my family was out of town at the time of the accident and is safe. As I sat several states away I scrambled for every scrap of news. Were any friend of mine affected. Do I recognize anyone in the pictures? What are the death and people missing numbers? What was the cause? Numerous friends of mine live, work, and attend church within several miles of the bridge but all are untouched. As news spread throughout the country I started to receive emails that gave me relief: "We are safe!," "I would have been on the bridge but chose an alternate route at the last minute," "Drove across the bridge 10 minutes before the collapse," "Did not affect anyone I know." Worry and helplessness filled and consumed me.
When a tragedy happens you wonder how could this happen so close to us? This happens in New York or California, not in my town. It is easy to complain about not having this crucial bridge for two years, traffic will be bad. But I tried to look at a few of the miracles: terrific was stopped so cars dropped instead of flying into the river, two lanes each way were closed for resurfacing so there was less traffic than normal, the water level of the river is historically low so it was easier for victims to get out of the river.
It seems like every now and them we need to be shaken out of our routine and be reminded that life is short. Many do not see a need for God until their deathbed, but a deathbed conversion is not an option for everyone. Our days are numbered and only our creator has the list. Here is a link to a blog created by friends and their response to the bridge collapse along with a Godly response when bad or hard to explain things happen <>.
Even now, almost a week afterwards we are still in a recovery stage, we still do not know how this happened, we still do not know how many have died or who the victims are, we still do not know what the plans are for rebuilding, we still do not know how this will effect our everyday lives, but we do know that God knew everything that happen on Wednesday, August 1, 2007 before the world was even created. God is in control. God has an ultimate plan. We can rest in this knowledge.


To my dear readers, I have not fallen off the face of the planet - yet. It seems that each year as you approach summer you think that you will have nothing to do to fill your days. The next time you can think of it, it is August when you see the back to school displays in the stores (do they realize how depressing it is?).
Although summer may be busy, I often learn the greatest lessons from God during this time. I was able to work at a camp for 5th and 6th graders earlier this summer where we focused on the theme that Christ is our Treasure. We can search all the world and look to family, friends, money, fashion, education, jobs, boyfriends/girlfriends, etc but none will fulfill our lives. I find myself asking "Am I willing to give up everything (family, home computer, cell phone, books, piano, family, friends, goals for life), that means everything in order to follow Christ with all my heart?" When I realize how hard it is to let go of everything I need to look at where my priorities in life are set at. As Americans we are very goal and money oriented. I want to climb the corporate ladder and succeed with my future but I also need to let all of that go, enjoy being in this stage of life, pursue God with my whole life while I have that unique opportunity.
So as summer comes to a close and you have a spare moment of time, reflect on Christ as your treasure, set up a date night with you family, read a good book, play a game with a friend, walk in the sunshine, and enjoy life in the unique stage of it that you are in.

Friday, June 15, 2007

It is Sweet and Fitting

While taking a literature class in school this past semester I came across the poem "Dulce et Decorum Est" by Wilfred Owen. I ended up writing my literary analysis essay on the meaning of this poem. The translation of the final lines in Latin is "It is sweet and fitting to die for one's country." Owen wrote this poem while serving in France with the British Army during World War 1.

Dulce Et Decorum Est

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.

Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of disappointed shells that dropped behind.

GAS! Gas! Quick, boys! — An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And floundering like a man in fire or lime...

Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, —
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

True Modesty

School is over and summer is finally here. Along with summer comes many challenges such as deciding how you will spend your summer, how much will I work, which trip will I go on, and how many camps do I volunteer for. With June comes numerous graduation open houses you are obligated to go to, July brings weddings, August is full of vacations and camps, and then comes September with the back to school push. One of the decisions you make is what will I wear. As you look for that perfect outfit for your friend's wedding or a swimsuit to wear at the beach what do you think about.

Modesty is a controversial topic that many people just avoid. Some view it as rules and regulations, others think they can never look cute and stylish if they are modest, some just want the attention they get when they dress scantily. I come to find that modesty is not just a matter of how short can my shorts be or what necklines can I wear but where is my heart at when I put on that outfit. Before you examine your closet examine your heart. In my heart I want to dress and act in a way that will not be a stumbling block to the men I encounter but more importantly I want to be a witness for Christ. Many girls will ask "Isn't lust just a guys problem? Why do I have to change just for them, they can deal with it." Guys do need to work on fighting lust but as sisters in Christ we can help them along. The way you dress can also affect other girls who may get discouraged in their quest for modesty or may develop low self-esteem because they think they do not look as good. They have been countless time when I have been in youth group and not been able to concentrate as I watched the midriff gap on the girl in front of me grow bigger and bigger or saw that tight, low cut shirt and my heart goes out to the guys in the room. So modesty can affect every, guys and girls, but how can we be modest.

I have no rules and regulations as what is right or wrong but here are some of my personal convictions based on what godly men and women have said about girls' modesty. If you are even in doubt steer towards caution and if possible run you outfits by a godly dad, mom, or brother. Guys, your part is below.


Tops: I try to avoid anything that would draw attention to my bust line or not cover my midriff. Focus on drawing attention to your face. Some styles to be very careful of or avoid are tube tops, spaghetti straps, halter tops, plunging v-necks and shirts with writing across the bust line. Before you leave the house sit down, bend over, and twist around to check to if the shirt is too short, bra straps might show, or there are gaps between buttons, and bend over to see if you can look down your shirt. Some easy fixes include layering several shirts to provide more coverage, safety pins can close up problem spots, and remember to hold a hand over your neckline if needed when bending over.

Bottoms: I want to make sure that my pants are never to snug, that you cannot see an under ware line, that skirts are not see through when the sunlight hits them, and that shorts are not to short. I good way to check shorts is to evaluate them while sitting in a chair or cross legged in front of a full length mirror. Beware of how far skirts will ride up when you sit down. I will not wear a skirt that is above my knees and have heard that slits in skirts can be unhelpful.

Swimsuits and formal wear: I believe that the location does not change the standards. I know that modest formal wear may be hard to find but it is out there and many dresses can be easily modified. Swimsuit are also a challenge to find. Easy updates to a suit include swim or exercise short and a tee shirt. I have heard a college guy asked "Are two piece swimsuits a problem?" and the answer was an immediate "Yes!" Do you guy friends a favor and spend the extra money on a suit or let the tan suffer to be modest.

Random Comments: Guys are often taller to girls so what does your neckline look like as you gaze down at it. Along the same lines, as I sat in several different places at church the past few weeks I got some different perspectives. When I was in the balcony I was able to look down several shirts on girls on the main level and as I gazed across the sanctuary there where several short skirts that you could look up. Also when you sit in the balcony or go up stairs be careful of your skirts. Be very cautious on lying down around guys, not only does this look bad but you it causes many other problems with neck and waist lines. All in all, no matter where you are, consider you outfit from many angles. My big pet peeve is wearing pajamas in front of guys. If naturally draws attention to the a bed. At times this is unavoidable but when you are at retreats or camps take the time to dress before breakfast and do not get ready for bed again before the evening session.


Big surprise guys - you can think about modesty also. Girls may not be visually stimulated like guys but we can still get uncomfortable and distracted when guys dress immodestly. Some tips coming from girls would be: keep your shirt on if possible; if you take a sweat shirt off with a tee shirt underneath do it on the side of a group and make sure both shirts don't come off at once; don't wear pajama pants outside of home; if you have jeans on with gym shorts underneath and want to take the jeans off for playing games, don't do it in the middle of a group; don't wear baggy jeans that won't stay up or jeans that are tight. Just like girls, act in a way that will take the attention off of you and point it towards Christ.

In Closing

Examine your heart, then examine your closet. Make sure your clothing and you actions are God glorifying not attention attracting. Have fun looking cute and blessing your brother and sisters in Christ in the warm summer weather.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

What else can girls talk about?

Finals, tests, exams, and more finals pretty much explains my life. Oh, yeah, and helping to plan a banquet for 160 people in between. Because of this writing a blog has become a lower priority in my life but for all my faithful readers (3 of you??) I will try to get back in the swing of things. Until then, you will have to put up with reading this article I found. I read this article from Brio magazine's website (a girls magazine from Focus on the Family) and then found it saved on my computer. When I was in Chicago around New Years with my youth group leadership team for a conference the girls had a long discussion on how we should interact with the guys in our youth group. Are the topics we constantly talk about (weddings, romance, chick flick books, hair, nails, makeup, what qualities we want in our husband, what we want to name our kids, our exacts plans for the future, etc) positive and uplifting to the guy around us? Who should take the initiative in a friendship even if it a brother-sister relationship? What topics are safe to talk about? After we hashed through these topics and many more we went over to the guys to ask their opinion. Because that was 5 1/2 months ago around 1:30 in the morning I don't remember the entire conversation. One general guideline we came up with for when a girl and guy who a just friends or acquaintances is that if you are not comfortable sharing what you are saying with anyone in the group, do not share it with one guy. This will keep you from sharing you heart and dreams which draws people closer together and can wreck you Christian siblingship. So, now with the article, I thought it gave a lot of basic insight and suggestions. I hope this is an encouragement to the girls out there reading my blog.

Eight Secrets About Guys (That Shouldn't Be Secret) by Grace M. Dove
Growing up with four brothers and now having three teenage sons of my own, I've learned a lot about guys. Stuff they won't come right out and say to you is vitally important. It's not that guys are trying to keep secrets, but the issues are sensitive for them. Perhaps more importantly, they're not about to tell girls how they see things because they don't want to hurt their feelings.
My sons and their friends have taught me much without even knowing it. (It's amazing what a mom can learn while guys eat and talk!) Even though they don't freely reveal their feelings, I easily pick up on them, and I'm convinced that girls deserve to know what I now know.
When I recently shared my "inside information" with a group of young ladies in our church, their attention, questions, laughter and gratitude confirmed that guys? secrets need to be revealed! Here are a few of my observations.
1. Guys Appreciate Modesty
This is a biggie. For females, it's tough not to be influenced by advertising when we're deciding what clothes to buy and what makeup to wear. But in most cases, ads don't represent what guys really want. Remember, advertising is meant to convince you to buy products. Tight tops, extra-short skirts and clothes that show too much skin are actually intimidating to many young men and make them uncomfortable.
In a recent survey of teen guys in our youth group, an overwhelming majority stated they wished girls would dress more modestly. Eighty-six percent commented that girls wear tops that are too revealing. Sixty-four percent said that current styles of skirts and shorts are not modest enough. One section of the survey allowed the guys to add any comments they wanted. Because they could remain anonymous, the guys dared to share what they really thought. Here are some of their statements.
• "God has blessed girls with beauty inside and out. It's not necessary for them to reveal their body or portions of it to entice."
• "Put some clothes on!"
• "It's not all about what you wear that we like; it's your heart and personality."
• I wish girls knew that "dressing immodestly is really a stumbling block for guys."
• "Please dress modestly. Some girls wear extremely tight clothes and it actually turns guys off. We want girls to be women of God, not lust magnets!"
• "I wish women would try to attract men with their godly character, integrity and class, not just with their looks."
That's just a little peek into what guys really think. Rarely, if ever, will guys openly offer this information. Yet, isn't it liberating to know that guys actually prefer modesty?
Even though "modesty" is a relative term today, godly guys appreciate girls who put them at ease by wearing looser clothing that covers what doesn't need to be revealed. It is possible to do that and still be fashionable!
2. Keep a Little Mystery
Years ago, the founder of a Bible college gave some advice to a friend of mine. With a twinkle in his eyes, this dignified man of God shared a valuable secret: "Always keep a little mystery about yourself." My sons agree.
Guys by nature are "conquerors" (just look at their interest in football, video games, rock climbing, etc.). What can guys conquer or pursue if girls reveal everything about themselves? I'm referring to how you relate to guys, but it can also apply to how you dress.
It is possible to be too open and too buddy-buddy with guys. There seems to be a fine line between treating them as brothers in the Lord and crossing over into too familiar territory. When a guy knows everything about you, it leaves nothing for him to conquer.
You know what happens when a new girl comes on the scene, don't you? At school, youth group or elsewhere, guys are alert to any new young lady. Her very presence initiates a fresh commotion. Why? She's a mystery!
In our discussion, the girls drilled me about how to actually maintain some mystery. I responded by giving them questions to ask themselves.
• Who initiates most of the conversations I have with a guy?
• Who (other than adults) initiates our activities, the girls or the guys?
• Who's making the phone calls?
• Does he ask questions, or do I volunteer information?
Remember, if you're too available, you've removed the challenge.
3. Don't Mock
Guys of any age don't like being playfully mocked by a group of girls, even if the mocking comes in the form of a compliment: "nice eyes/hair/muscles/etc." Girls tend to tease this way in order to give and receive attention and probably don't mean any harm, but it doesn't go over well when a group of females gangs up on one guy. He may laugh and play along, but inwardly he'll begin distancing himself from those girls. However, genuine compliments and encouragement, either one-on-one or in a group setting, go a long way toward friendship.
4. Not All Guys Are Alike
Guys don't like being compared to other guys. They're not all alike, and they're very uncomfortable with the idea that their masculinity is totally determined by their physique. Do you want your worth measured by your figure? Neither muscles nor curves last forever.
It's tough when guys feel compelled to conform to an image. Cultivate an appreciation for other qualities in guys, and let them know you see and appreciate their uniqueness.
A side benefit to acknowledging special aspects of guys is that it sets you free to enjoy your individuality! Life's more fun when everybody's not trying to fit the same mold.
5. Free or Flee
Guys don't like feeling manipulated, controlled or emotionally cornered by girls. Being conquerors, they naturally withdraw from those situations. My sons know they're not yet ready for relationship commitments, and the more they feel pressured by girls to make them, the more they pull away. In the survey, more than one guy wrote, " . . . Let us go after God."
Set guys free by being at peace with yourself. I know you've heard it before: A guy will never be able to complete you. Only God can do that. Girls who are their own persons, without being rebellious or haughty, challenge guys. Self-assured friendship and kindness work like a magnet. When you're not dependent on guys for your fulfillment, you're actually succeeding in maintaining some of that mystery that's so attractive to them!
6. Guys vs. Girls
Guys don't like competitive "guy vs. girl" contests. It puts them in a lose-lose situation. On one hand, when guys win a contest, they're put in a male chauvinist category. If they lose, it's humiliating and creates an invisible barrier between them and the girls.
Competition locks girls into a no-win situation as well. If the girls win the contest, it forfeits the openness the guys may have felt with them. If they lose, girls usually feel some degree of humiliation, resentment or bitterness. At the least, sarcastic comments begin flying from both sides. (Well, don't they?)
Contests and competitions at camp and youth group can be fun, but if the sides involve guys vs. girls, be bold in suggesting that the teams be mixed.
7. Guys Are "Allergic" To Silliness
Guys enjoy seeing girls have fun, but they don't like being around girls' silliness. What translates as silliness to guys? It usually occurs when girls are in groups whispering, glancing at guys, giggling, shrieking loudly, etc. It?s a big turn-off and sends guys in the opposite direction, sometimes permanently.
Please understand, I'm not saying to quit having "girl fun." I'm saying it's best saved for slumber parties and girls-only settings. Rest assured, guys definitely have their own form of silliness. Do they ever! But it needs to stay among the males. Keep your silliness among yourselves as well. Guys admire girls who conduct themselves with poise in public.
8. Guys Do Notice Homemaking Skills
Believe it or not, in these days of liberation, guys still notice a girl's homemaking skills. In fact, the older my sons and their friends become, the more alert they are to the presence or lack of those skills in their female friends. Can she cook? Administrate? Is she kind to children? How does she handle her money? Does she care about learning?
Homemaking skills (as well as chivalry ? though we're still working on that) seem to be in danger of becoming a lost art. Guys not only notice, they also respect and talk about girls who cook. Believe me. I hear it.
Because they're individuals, not every guy will agree with all eight of these points. I must admit, however, I haven't run into any disagreement yet. When my sons and their friends found out I was working on this topic, they begged to see my notes. In reviewing them, every guy expressed the same reactions: shock, agreement and relief, mixed with a little fear, usually in that order, but always with a big grin.
The shock and agreement came from realizing that a female (and a mom) actually understands and is revealing their secrets accurately. Their relief is about the fact that they didn't have to express these secrets themselves. And the fear is due to the unknown reactions of readers! I hope you'll make it safe for them. I've only shared eight of their secrets and I have to confess, there are more!

Disclaimer: I will say that I am not interested in any guys right now and have decided not to pursue a relationship until I am at a point in life where marriage is an option. These tips will help you to understand where guys are coming from and how to interact with them at school and church.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Contentness in Singleness

During the sermon today my pastor spoke on singleness. He focused on the blessing a single person get from spending their life passionately following Christ and spreading a passion for him to others around them. The joy of having a child in Christ as a fellow believer is far greater than marriage and children of your own. It was a good reminder to me to stay content in whatever stage of life I am in at the time. A poem I wrote several months ago came to my mind as I thought on this topic. This is a free verse poem that talks about my promise ring and my resolve to not only remain pure but to also save my heart for my future husband if that is God's will or to save it for service to my King.

The Garden Wall

The ring sits, sparkling on my finger,
like a wall around the garden of my heart.
Placed on my left hand as a symbol,
the symbol of love but of a special kind.

The diamonds and sapphire, sit in splendor,
like a riot of blossoms giving a glimpse of my heart.

Only one will see behind that wall,
only one will behold the riches inside.

Inside the wall lies my heart in waiting,
and from it flows the spring of my life.
Inside the wall lies my first kiss in waiting,
saved for the one and given at the altar.

The garden is closed for the time,
to all but the gardener, the one who
created it and fuels the spring.

Until the day one is granted the right to enter,
my love is solely for the gardener.
My life is His to weed out imperfections.
and to fertilize new hope and joy.

My love is here in the garden,
waiting for the one
with the right to enter.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Part 2 - The actual story

Setting and Conflict

Leah stood in the back of the room contemplating on where to sit. As she gazed around she was excited and intimidated with so many people. She went through this every Wednesday night at youth group. Every week the girl would tell herself to be brave and sit with some of the other girls she desperately wanted to be friends with but when the time came she did not have the courage or she waited too long to get a space in the row. Most nights now Leah just gave in to her fear and sat in one of the back rows. Those nights either one of the leaders would take pity on her and sit next to her or she would end up next to some kids who would rather whisper and giggle through the lesson instead of listen. Did she have the courage? Not tonight, she gave in again. As Leah slid into the second to last row she wondered why this happened to her not only in youth group but also at her school classes. She did great one-on-one with people or with small groups she knew, but in a crowd she was ignored.
"Hi, is anyone sitting here?" a cheerful voice asked. Leah looked up and saw Megan, one of the leaders smiling down at her.
"No, I guess not," Leah responded still deep in thought.
"How's your week? Is school going good? I don't think I saw you in Sunday school last Sunday." Megan inquired. The common questions Leah had come to expect were asked. How should she respond? Leah looked at Megan trying to decide whether she truly cared or was just being a polite leader doing her job. No it actually seemed like Megan wanted to be her friend.
Leah tried to answer the questions honestly but had a hard time giving too much detail, "It's been a long week but I'm doing okay. School and work tend to be tiring, I have a lot to do. As for Sunday school I don't go because I'm working with Children's Ministry Sunday mornings." I guess I do have some friends in Sunday school Leah thought, even if they are only five or six, they will love anyone. Just as Megan began to ask another question Josh the youth pastor walked to the front to welcome everyone. Leah took her cue and walked around the side of the room and then up to the front and took her place behind a microphone. One of her musical passions besides playing the piano was singing with the youth band for her high school group. As with any type of music, Leah was able to escape reality for the ten minutes she was on stage doing the background vocals.
"That was great. I didn't know you were on the worship team," Megan whispered as Leah sat back down after worship.
"Thanks, I love to do it," Leah responded politely. Another person I am invisible to thought Leah. She had been on the worship team for the past year singing almost every week. Would anyone ever know who she really was?
"Tonight we are going to be talking about friendship. What is a friend? How do you pick true friends? And how can you be a friend?" Josh's voice broke through Leah's thoughts causing her to jerk up as the lesson started.
"Great, this is what everyone needs to hear," Leah muttered to herself but as the lesson started she was proved drastically wrong. As the lesson went on Leah soon realized that everyone else didn’t need this talk, she did. How could she forget about all the people who were friendly to her? Every female leader knew her by name and said hi to her each week. There were several nurses she new that where always happy to talk to her about what to expect in nursing school and give her all the tips should could want. There were the kids who knew her as Miss Leah and were thrilled to see her and talk to her every time they saw her. There was the worship team who encouraged her to be on the team and thanked her for coming in each week to practice. There was Krista who would listen to her talk for hours and would laugh and cry with her. And there was her mom who would quietly encourage and guide her. The reason Leah thought that she had no friends was because she was not being a friend to others. She had built a wall around her with fear. She was the one that needed to open up and start to include others in her life. After the lesson ended, Leah stood up with an ear-to-ear grin as she looked around the room at all the people she could befriend, not all the people who needed to befriend her. The world was full of opportunities but Leah had to step out to take hold of her chances.

Monday, April 23, 2007

A story of my life - Part 1

Last month for my literature class we had to write about a character then put that character in a conflict. I'll post the character part here and give the story in a day or so. Names and some details have been changed. Some of the minor characters do exist but some are fictional. This struggle Leah, the main character, will go through is a struggle I'm have been through. Leah has found the simple answer but it is never as easy in real life as on paper so I am still searching for my own answer to the problem.

The Character

The people who knew Leah would say that she is nice but no one really knew who she was. Leah was a junior in high school who was trying to find her place in life. She was quiet and reserved around her peers and would often get lost in the background. When around adults Leah would enter her comfort zone and flourish but how can a teenager become friends with an adult? She considered herself to be average looking, not the prettiest but not ugly. She didn't dress in the most fashionable or colorful clothing but always looked nice and professional. While at youth group some kids would ask her if she was a leader and almost everyone else thought she had to be a senior because of the maturity in her actions. When at work she was often identified as twenty or twenty-two instead of her sixteen, going on seventeen years. A perfectionist like her father and grandfather, Leah always did the best she could in school and maintained high grades in order to get scholarships for college. She had wanted to be a nurse most of her life and was focused on achieving that goal so she could travel the world helping others. Leah often thought about her future. Would she ever find someone who would love her for who she was? Would her life have a purpose? Could she make a difference in her world? Would she ever be able to say that she had friends? Leah loved being around people and worked with the children at her church as much as she could. At work Leah also worked with people helping them with directions and answering questions and complaints. She loved what she did but it was also draining on her to always deal with angry and stressed out customers. Leah spent much of her free time pouring over her piano where her emotions came though the music and she was able to escape the realities of life if only for a little while. Leah's one friend was also a source of comfort and encouragement. When around Krista, Leah became a totally different person. Krista was one of the few people who could make Leah relax and act her true self – fun loving, a little crazy at times.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

The Beauty of Submission

During the sermon this morning my pastor talked about a wife's role to be submissive. He based his sermon on 1 Peter 2:13 - 3:8. Several of his points really stuck out to me, encouraging and challenging my actions.
The definition of submission (or as much as I could get in my notes) is: A divine calling of the wife to honor and affirm her husband's leadership and help him carry it out using her gifts.
Often we think of submission as losing the right to be an individual, unique and special. Submission is not: agreeing with everything the husband says (can disagree when he is not a Christian), leaving you brain and will at the wedding alter (you can think for yourself), avoiding every effort to change a husband (can win him to Christ without saying a word), putting husband's will before Christ's will (He is supreme over everything), getting all spiritual strength from husband, acting out of fear of husband (submission is a free choice).
As I was listening to the sermon I thought how can this apply to me? As a student with any prospect of marriage at least five years out how can I apply this teaching in my own life? A wife's submission is just one species of submission. In 1 Peter 2:13 and following it talks about everyone's submission to God foremost, government, and masters (bosses). 1 Peter 2:17 stuck out to me 1 Peter 2:17 "Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor."

The other part of the sermon was on Biblical womanhood based on 1 Peter 3:3-6. It say that women should not have external adornment, braiding of hair, wearing of gold, and putting on of clothing. This does not mean that all these are bad and you cannot do them, but we need to focus our time and energy in beautifying our inner souls. Biblical womanhood's deepest root is hope in God not in looks or finding the perfect husband. This hope yields fearlessness and brings a maturity that is aware of the suffering to come. And she makes beauty of matter of proportion and priority focusing on the adornment of tranquil, gentle, quiet, serene inner spirit. When a Godly woman yearns after these three things, hope in God, fearlessness, and adornment of the inner spirit, submission and true beauty will grow from it.

All in a days work

Work can be fun and encouraging or it can be stressful and draining. I've worked 17 hours since Thursday and another 4 1/2 on Monday which may not seem like much but is about double the hours for me. So, I'm going share some lessons I learned and revelations I had while standing in a skyway for 3 hours.

1. Not all hospitals validate parking. Don't badger staff when they say that they can't validate your parking ticket it's because they don't have a stamp.

2. When all else is quiet, heating systems can be extremely loud and a footstep can be heard from down the hall and around the corner. Silence can be great for thinking but too much can force you to talk to yourself or wave at security cameras.

3. Yes, greeters do have to stand for long periods of time and asking them why they cannot sit down and saying they should complain to their boss doesn't help the greeter to feel any better.

4. When someone comes up to you and says that they broke their finger last night, wrapped it in scotch tape, are just coming into the ER, starts to call you 'sis,' and says that they 'saw the stars' when their finger broke you have the right to feel afraid, very afraid.

5. Having the president of a company wander around the building throughout the day will put employees on edge. Besides creating more stress, this will improve productivity and perfectionism.

6. Mistakes happen to everyone and they aren't the messenger's fault. Be patient and accept a sincere apology. The messenger normally knows just as much as you.

7. If you ever buy uniforms, show kindness to your employees and don't get anything made of polyester. It traps the cold, winter wind and the hot, summer sun inside.

8. Be ready with small talk to discuss with cashiers, greeters, receptionists, and anyone else you briefly interact with. They've already asked others about today's weather 40 times.

9. Whenever you have a doctor's appointment at an office within a medical complex know: the doctor's name, the doctor's specialty, the name of the clinic, the address of the clinic, the name of the building it's in, the closest parking ramp, and why you are seeing the doctor in lay terms. Also, arrive with plenty of time to spare so you can get lost five times before getting the right directions.

10. When interacting with workers who serve you (receptionists, greeters, customer service representatives, cashiers, waiters, etc.) show your thanks and appreciation. They are not at a lower social standing because of their job position. Be polite and patient. The best way to show appreciation, encourage them, and receive better service is to use their name while interacting with them and thank them by name. You can brighten anyone's day up by simply showing them that they are an individual person with their own name.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Similies, Metaphors, and Personifications

Since school and life have been busy I don't have must time to be creative and write anything new but I have to keep writing so my few, thought faithful, readers will continue looking this up. I share with you some similes, metaphors, and personifications I came up with (with the help of prompts) for my literature class. You might get an idea of the crazy way my mind works at times. My favorite one is the second personification on winter. Writing it was a highly comical scene as my mother and I sat at Starbucks drinking our hot chocolate. Books, papers, and homework surrounded me as we sat at a corner table blocked in by business people. When no ideas for the personification came immediately I became frustrated. My frustration grew as the ideas finally came but made no sense to anyone. I sat in the corner, shifting around in my chair and making large hand motions trying to get my mom to follow my train of thought (which is hard on a normal day). As I talked the assignment out the stares became more and more frequent and more and more sceptical. I'll just say that in the end it did work out, at least my teacher like it which is all that really matters. :) I hope this brings a smile to you day.

1. Rain on a roof sounds like the pitter-patter of small, bare feet on a wooden floor.

2. Ice cream on a hot day tastes like an unexpected day off at work.

3. Jumping into cold water on the first day of summer vacation feels like opening a present on Christmas Eve.

4. Summer is a child’s weekend.

5. A fierce thunderstorm is a step in life; trouble some at times but leading to rejuvenation.

6. Growing up is a journey, constantly moving, forever learning, and always experiencing new things.

7. A tree (try personifying it as old and wise)
The tree sits back as he watched his grandchildren sprout up around him. As life comes to a close he spends his days sharing his tales and instilling truth in them. All to often though, the children run, missing a once in a lifetime chance they will soon regret ignoring.

8. Winter (personify it anyway you want)
Winter glides into the ballroom, her skirt of snow swirls across the floor as she flutters throughout the room. The other dancers give way to her brilliance but they cannot be kept away for long. Spring soon stomps on Winter’s train, marring it with mud and Flowers will over take the floor shunning her out the door. Winter had her moment to shine but fame does not last.

Monday, April 9, 2007


I hope that all of my readers had a wonderful Easter. I thought I would share some of the blessings that God has shown me in the past weeks. I will start with Easter afternoon yesterday. My family invited my brothers entire college over for dinner (clarification: this includes 11 students, 10 came) and some other friends from church. After lunch my brother took all of the students on a walk down to the Mississippi River. It was a beautiful, crisp, sunny, spring day. I enjoyed taking nature photographs which I haven't done for several months. It was amazing to see God's handiwork in new spring buds, sunlight, and some lingering ice.

This past semester in my Wednesday night youth group meetings we have been studying the book of Galatians. At our last meeting several works stuck out to me: righteous, faith, trust, rely. "Righteous" talks about the children of God and ties in with "faith" which is what we need to have in order to be saved. Many of us try to do things on own our, take our destiny into our own hands, or make our own decisions which is a matter of pride in our hearts. When this happens we must "trust" in Christ that he has a plan for our lives and that his plan is perfect. Secondly, we need to "rely" on his timing and way of doing things. So often in the past week I have felt like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders, at these times I need to trust and rely on Christ. I have relaxing into God's arms as he eases the weight off. I need the constant reminder that I will not figure life out on my own but need regular doses of prayer and trust.

Although this post is getting long, I would like to share one more event that shook my life this week. My best friend's father has been in Iraq with the Army on his second tour of duty for the past year and a half. The past Friday we had a joyous welcoming home for him at the airport. At the airport I hung back while he talked with the other adults but after saying hi to my dad he came over and almost immediately asked how school was for me and if I was keeping my grades up. I answered that I was staying busy but have been able to keep high grades so far. His response to my answer blew me away. He said that he had been praying for me! Here is a man who is across the world in a war zone worry about a million different things and he took time to pray for me and my school classes. A grade seems like such a little thing compared to the problems that he faced. I was humbled as I thought back to how often I had actually prayed for him which were very few and far between. If a soldier in Iraq can have such a strong dedication to pray for friends back home how strong can my prayer life be. How often do I point blank as my friends how their life is truly going and how I can pray for them. I hope this is an encouragement to give your worries to Christ so that you can slow down and take time to pray for those around you.

Thursday, March 22, 2007


I am working on a speech on how to be a better leader. So, I thought I would test my main points out on my readers. I appreciate all your feedback. The speech is centered around an acronym LEAD, each letter being a main point. If any of you know of resources that will back up my points I would love the info.

Listen - be open to your group's ideas, opinions, and concerns
Encourage - motivate your group and let them know their work is appreciated
Assist - work alongside your team, delegate and organize tasks but get down to their level also
Dedicate - if you ask a team to be committed the leader needs to have a even higher level of commitment to be able to do the above tasks.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Who will the next Wilberforce be?

As I sit at work right now I get to watch some excitement. We are in the midst of a lobby remodel and they are putting in carpet in front of my desk and tearing down a corner of the wall across from me. So, as I listen to the sounds of construction, I will try to put my thoughts in order and give you a rundown of my weekend. I was able to watch two movies with my family, "One Night with the King" on Friday night with my parents and "Amazing Grace" on Saturday with my parents and brother at an brand new theater.

"One Night with the King"
This movie is a thematic version of the Biblical story of Esther. The beginning of the movie is hard to follow because if jumps around to different locations and it is hard to make out the characters and figure out who is who because many of the scenes are dark. We first see Hadassah, as she is first called, at home with her Uncle Mordecai and around the town with telling Biblical stories to other Jewish children. Between flirting with a friend, she begged Mordecai to let them go on the caravan to Jerusalem. Her Uncle firmly refuses until just before she is captured and taken to the castle. Shortly after she arrives at the castle she is asked to read to the King to put him to sleep. It was love at first sight for Esther. She ends up telling him the love story of Jacob, Rachel, and Leah and it becomes their special story. Esther pushes aside her Jewish heritage and relationship with God until she is in trouble and realizes she was made queen for 'such a time as this.' There are lovers quarrels between Esther and the King just before the edict to kill all the Jews is sent out. The touching climax of the movie is the feast she throws for the King and Haman to beg for the Jews life. She lets them know she is a Jew by shining her necklace in the candles making Jerusalem stars shine around the pavilion built on 12 pillars for the twelve tribes of Israel. Haman is unable to see the stars as is the King at first, but after Haman attacks Esther the King returns and says he came back because he could see the stars and renewed his love for Esther. The one thing I did really like about the movie was Esther's dresses and jewelry.

"Amazing Grace"
Wow! The best movie I have seen in a long time! "Amazing Grace" is the retelling of William Wilberforce's fight to end the slave trade in England. Saturday was the second time I saw it and it was even more inspiring than the first. The first time I saw it, I was confused when Wilberforce would flash back to an earlier time and a lot of the characters can look very similar in their white, powdered wigs. The movie begins as Wilberforce travels to his cousin's home to recover his health after fighting for seven long years to get his bill passed in Parliament. You see a man who is worn down with loss and failure to a point were he cannot continue but is tormented with what he knows about slavery and the faces of children on sugar cane plantations who are dieing with no hope. At this time Wilberforce meets and marries Marianne who gives him strength to not only introduce his bill again but to also fight his conic medical condition. One of the moving scenes is when one of his long time opposer signs his petition in front of the entire parliament and a line often quoted is John Newton (author of 'Amazing Grace') says "I am a great sinner but Christ is a great savior." The movie finished as Wilberforce's bill is final passed through parliament and the whole room gives him a standing ovation not only for his accomplishment but more to recognize his dedication, commitment, and passion. As I walked away from the movie I could not help but think what am I passionate about? How can a be a Wilberforce in my family, church, city, country, or even the world? Do I have the courage to stand against everyone else to do the right thing and not only oppose it but work to change it? "Amazing Grace" was an inspiration, encouragement, and challenge to me and how I live my life.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Thoughts as Another Birthday Passes

As I ponder the recent passing of another birthday, I thought I would share some of my new found knowledge gained with each passing year. I recently wrote the poem below as I thought of the passing of time. I was inspired by a speech I gave in my public speaking class on Carolyn Arrends' song "Seize the Day" and Pastor John Piper's book "Don't Waste Your Life."

One other bit of wisdom, if you ever plan a surprise birthday party for someone and you pick them up from work, triple check to make sure they have a change of clothing and will not be stuck in a uniform during the party.

The Sand of Time

What will I say of my life when I am old?
Will I be looked upon as forlorn,
or will I have fallen into society's mold?
What will be used in my life to adorn?
All that time is are grains of sand,
to what can they compare?
They quickly slip from my hands,
to recapture one is ever so rare.
I only get one chance to live each day,
will I make it one full of delight?
So come whatever may,
come with the light at the end of the night.
How will my life pass?
How fast will the sand empty from my hourglass?


I have started this blog to share some of my creativity and let friends read my random writings. The title of my blog came from a quote out a Robin Jones Gunn book I read several years ago. The quote has stuck with me ever since. It is a blessing or farewell that refers to the day that Christ will come back for His children.

“Until. Until that day, and may we live today as if tomorrow was that day.”