Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Flow of Life (written while listening to and in response to a song by Gillan Welch)

Peaceful. I picture a swing gently swaying in the breeze in someone’s backyard, fall leaves raining down. 
Life. Living. Simplicity. The music and words, which I couldn’t actually understand, seem to have a sense of repetition and existence. One line I believe sang of getting on the ‘slow train.’ 
The music and instruments used in this song create a sense of peace. It doesn’t sound particularly complex, adding to the sense of the simplicity of life. 
Life goes on, but this song doesn’t seem to be about moving past death or sorrow. It just is, kind of like life. We can take life from the perspective of thinking it will span forever and we needn’t worry about anything, or that it’s over too soon and we have to cram something into every moment of every day. We can view the world as a harsh and despairing place, or with such rosy glasses that the world becomes hot pink. This song’s music and ‘feel’ took me towards the ‘just go with it’ sort of view. The world is, so enjoy it and love it, rejoice in it and feel sorrow with it, don’t worry, just live. The flow of life, we can’t change it, but we can feel and breath and experience it. 

Words

Last week we watched this video for poetry class. It's really incredible, watch it :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0HfwkArpvU 

We were then assigned to write in response, to pen whatever we wished. My immediate thoughts and response is as follows:

Words and meanings and pictures...they all flow together and inspire one another, often melding together into one. We see and hear and experience the multiple meanings of a word, or different words that sound the same. From the flight of a cardinal across the blue sky, to the flight of a refugee to a new and safer home, words inspire us, teach us and define us. Some words depict things of great beauty, others tell the a sad tale. Either way, these combinations of letters and sounds create our world. Without them, we could not speak, we could not create, we could not learn, and we could not think. Words are beautiful, words are inspirational, and words are essential. 

Professional Eater of Mac 'n Cheese

In art class today, the ventilation machine was broken. This resulted in an incredible amount of sawdust, everywhere. It was magical, in a way. A layer of sawdust blanketed everything. It was like a fresh snowfall, creating a new kind of 'winter wonderland.'

Growing up I always knew songs like "Jesus Loves Me" and "This Little Light of Mine." Tonight, at an all Living Learning Community (International's the BEST, obviously), we sang "This Little Light of Mine." Growing up in a Christian home, this song always meant shining the Light of Christ in a dark world. We would sing about never hiding it under a bushel, and making sure everyone could see the love of Jesus illuminating our lives. When I heard we were singing this song, I was a bit surprised. A little kid's song about Jesus didn't seem like something we would sing at this sort of function. The song was originally written by African slaves, I believe that's what the speaker said at least. The meaning of the song he spoke about was more personal. He said it was about making sure your own light shone, that you didn't become smothered in the community, but shared yourself with those around you, strengthening the sense of family and togetherness. It was really interesting to compare these two different outlooks on one simple song.

Also, I really like the little faces on light sockets. That shocked look, it's a bit ironic, seeing as that's the face you would make if you stuck your finger into the current of electricity. I carved one of those faces into my art project. My art teacher was confused. I told him it was just random and he, thankfully, accepted that response.


Tonight, someone in my dorm said they were studying to be a professional eater of Mac 'n Cheese. He has Easy Mac every night around 11:15, so he's well on his way. Someone else said they aspired to be a professional beard grower, so we looked up the World Beard and Mustache Competition. Check out these beards! That's legit.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Ode to Lost Love

i found myself a blueish goat
a scary thing, I began to bloat
and you undo responsorial hair
begin, refuse Juliet a shoe






If you hadn't already deduced this, the poem is not actually about lost love. Or, perhaps it is...


 This was a poem Hunter and I wrote for poetry class. It had to have an A, A, B, C rhyme scheme and a certain meter. This was the result of much hard work and dedication. Hope you enjoyed it :)

I Never Have My Camera When I Need It :(

Denver's weather is spectacular currently. A little warm, in fact. Surprising, since according to the native Coloradoians, it should be snowing now. Needless to say, I'm absolutely thrilled it hasn't snowed yet. The wonderful thing about 90 degree weather in Denver is that due to a lower humidity level, the heat isn't as sweltering as St. Louis'.

As I was traipsing to class this morning, I glanced over at some ivy leaves blanketing a fence. Most of them were a deep green, but there was a streak of color cutting in, brilliantly red leaves brightening the scene.

A few moments later, the sun glanced off the broken shards of an old glass bottle. The glass glittered like diamonds in the sun's warm rays.

I spent around an hour today on an adventure delivering papers for the School of Art and Art History. I deem in an adventure because I may or may not have become slightly misplaced a few times. I asked around, read a few signs, and arrived at my destination only slightly sweaty and not the least bit disgruntled. Sometimes getting lost frustrates me immensely, but today's weather is so beautiful I was thankful to just be alive and outdoors. Walking back, I looked up at an apple tree. The tiny red fruits contrasted perfectly with the leaves and vividly blue sky. The colors were perfect. I bemoaned for the third time my lack of camera. I have to remember to put it in my backpack!

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish...

Sometimes people waltz back into your life for no particular reason. The door has been shut, locked, dead-bolted, and buried in the back of your mind, and then suddenly it's broken down with a great battering ram and forgotten moments and people come flooding back. People don't always come back for the right reasons, in fact, they rarely do. They don't always apologize, or they do for reasons that pertain only to themselves. So, what to do? People come back, unbidden, to disrupt your supposedly peaceful way of life. The only response I've found truly effective, is to accept and forgive and possibly love in return. They're there for some reason. Even if it's purely selfish, or they want something from you, it's ok. Be there for people. Be a friend, forgive, even when people haven't extended the same courtesies towards you. 


And I'll admit, the title is entirely irrelevant to my post, I just enjoy Dr. Suess and felt like quoting him in my title. I'm actually not sure that's the correct quote...







Sing the Day Away

I love Sundays. The church I'm attending, Denver United, is amazing. I wish church lasted all day, and I wish Sunday came every day of the week. I've never felt that way before and I absolutely love it. The college class before church is great. We analyze biblical passages and it's superb. The reminder that Jesus will always be there for me, and will never give up on me is one I need to hear daily.

Thirsty:

Again
Always
Drinking this water

Parched

Drink, from me
Never
again
thirsty be

The sermon was fabulous as well. We're studying through Colossians and learning about growth in Christ. Jesus is in us, and that is the hope of glory. Jesus is always growing us and changing us and shaping us. We can never be perfect alone, but when we have the perfect Christ in us, we become greater in Him. A few great quotes from the sermon:
"It's less that we grown in Christ, and more that HE grows in US."
and...
"If your ladder isn't leaning against the right wall, every step gets you to the wrong place faster." - Stephen Covey

The sermon inspired yet another poem. I think it's the poetry class, it's rubbing off on me, I've never written so much (terrible) poetry before :P

I fought and battled
lived and loved
worshiped and idolized
This world

and

finally died
to live

no longer I
but You

I was talking with someone about my photography today. They asked what my main subject was. I talked (probably for too long) about my passion for beauty. I truly believe that the world is a beautiful place, and that splendor, elegance, grace, and grandeur can be found in nearly every aspect of life. There are so many minute details of life we pass over. That withered flower shoved towards the back of the bouquet that the hostess hopes no one will notice, or the cracked and mutilated window battling to protect it's home from the wind. A few withered berries on a dying bush, or an abandoned mannequin deposited in a dumpster, these are the moments I live to capture. I love the mountains, I love the sunsets and clouds, I love the majesty of a painting, or splendor in a sculpture, but I also passionately adore the small, unnoticed, and unappreciated moments that so many pass by.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Hidden Messages in the Words of the Fridge

We prayed in the little chapel on campus and ate at Jerusalem's on Evans. I love the food there. Right before my parents left to go home to St. Louis they gave me a cute little lion wearing a DU shirt. I named him Sherman. He resides near my beautiful pillow with the flowers and birds. He's happy. They also gave me a little metal tin filled with magnetic words to stick to my fridge. Two weeks later, I finally got around to placing these words on my little black micro-fridge. Rose and I spent about three hours talking about past friendships, poetry, Jesus, and love. When I got back to my room I found the tin of words and started sticking them, at random, on my fridge. It was like a secret message, a code or riddle to solve. As I put the words up sentences and phrases and feelings about my relationship with Jesus filled my mind. This is the result:

Hidden Messages in the Words of the Fridge
You fill
Safe and Smile
always warm 
secret (a)
you’re Beautiful
and Love
me
Happiness and Kindness
My heart to you
a friend, share I
help give, how? with
my
love
Hug
Together. Home. Us. 
love is my feeling
My feeling is Love
Listen
Like
Flower
Friend
Favorite
Enjoy
Comfort(ing)
me

Saturday, September 25, 2010

"Privyet! Kak zheevyosh?" "Harasho, cpyceeba."






I pinkie promise that isn't gibberish! I'm taking Russian, and that is part of the dialogue I must memorize.
"Hello! How are you?" "I am good, thank you." Exciting, huh?

Today was a pretty fantastic day. After four hours of sleep, I dragged myself out of bed and ran on the treadmill. I'm crazy, I know. Please don't judge me too harshly. Then I sat on a bench, called my dad, and had a wonderful talk with Jesus. He's awesome and He's my best friend. As I was sitting on the metal bench, I noticed how incredibly beautiful it was around me. Everything seemed sharper than normal, the colors more bright. I didn't have my camera, since I'd just left the gym, but I wish I had! The beds of rocks were shadowed on one side, and highlighted in the sun on the other. There were a few brightly tinted orange and red flowers, and the green grasses were brilliant. I wrote a few poems while sitting on that bench, they are as follows:

Warm:

I am a small child, again -
wrapped in the arms of
Some One who loves.
Strong arms,
wrapped around
never release
never leave
always

A Reminder Spoken through Matthew:

You love the sparrows

big
and small.

You love us

All
even
  
     when
    
              we

                     fall






 After walking back to Halls, I talked with a few of my awesome floor-mates, took a shower, and met up with some friends, Rose and Andy, to go downtown. It was quite the adventure! We took the lightrail, go lost (or misdirected) a few times, and finally made it to our destination - Buffalo Exchange. It's a lot like Avalon Exchange in the Delmar Loop in St. Louis. They sell lots of cool and vintage used clothes. My kinda place. The trip was successful, we all found awesome things to purchase and are a little more in debt. Totally worth it, though. We walked around for the longest time searching for the lightrail to return to DU. Some of the buildings were really neat, and some quite beautiful. There was one ornately decorated church that was quite a sight to see. I took lots of pictures, which I'll share after I put them on my computer. The mountains were pretty breathtaking too. I guess for someone who has lived in Colorado for an extended period of time, they're nothing special. I'm not used to seeing mountains every day, so each time I see them I'm caught in wonder at their beauty.

Until today, the only part of downtown I had seen was the 16th street mall. It's very very well kept and there's literally no graffiti. It's so strange for me, I'm used to seeing lots of graffiti everywhere! The other parts of downtown had graffiti, though. I love seeing people's art all over the place. I don't like the random ugly words that deface, but I love the random doorways or alleys bursting with color and life. The random faces stenciled on the sidewalk are always fun too.



I'm also a huge fan of feet, and shoes, and walking, and the stories they tell. I think shoes or walking would make a great poem. Maybe I'll write that one day too.







Lotsa Lights

So I kinda sorta watch One Tree Hill. Not obsessively, I've seen a few seasons over the course of a few years. There's one character, Peyton, who has a tough life. Her mom passed away, then she found out her parents had adopted her, met her birth mother, who then died of cancer, had a few different boyfriends, broke up with the boyfriends, had a few massive fights with her best friend, and almost got raped/murdered by a sadistic stalker. She's had a lot of important people in her life leave or abandon her or hurt her. She's also an artist. She has this one picture of a stop light, lit up red, yellow, and green. Beneath the picture it reads, "People always leave." This is kinda her mantra. Whenever someone else disappears from her life the show flashes back to that picture, or wherever she currently has it hanging in her room. Sometimes I'm tempted to think this sort of depressing thought as well. I was thinking about it last night and realized the absolute beauty of that statement. There is a "but." People always leave, but Jesus never will. Happy thought! Humans aren't perfect, and they never will be. People will always mess up, leave, and hurt. They will also love, care, and serve. The great part is, God will never mess up, never leave, and never hurt. He will also always and unconditionally love, care, and serve.


Last night was the annual "camp out for hockey tickets" night at DU. I didn't actually camp out, but I stayed up and chilled with people until around 4 am. At one point I was walking around campus and saw a row of bushes covered in white and blue Christmas light. It was surprising, since it's not exactly Christmas-time, but a very welcome and pleasing sight. I enjoyed the lights immensely.


I think stairs would make a good inanimate object subject of a poem. There are so many different kinds of stairs, spiral and straight, long, narrow, tall, steep, uneven, squeaky, carpeted, the options are endless.


Also, there was a gorgeous sunset today, just sayin'.


P.S. Pretend this was posted on Friday, September 24, 2010

Friday, September 24, 2010

Christians Not Acting Like Christ Should Be An Oxymoron

“I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians.” Wait...what? Ghandi follows to say, “They [Christians] are so unlike your Christ.” Sadly this is, in many cases, true. The church of the Bible was known for helping and serving, but often churches today don’t seem to care about the poor and needy. Christ calls us to act like Him, yet too few Christians seem to be focused on this important factor. Too many Christians have become judgmental and hypocritical, too many Christians fail to be like Christ by spending time with the people He would have spent time with and as a result of this the world’s view of Christians has changed drastically.

If you were a woman, pregnant out of wedlock, would you feel comfortable walking into a church? Suppose you were drunk the night before, and still a little hungover, how would you feel attending a church service? Could you feel accepted coming in with your piercings, tattoos and scars? Or would you feel judged, like everyone was looking at you, because they could see your sin? Your little scarlet letter is there, burning a hole in your chest. It is a sad thing, this scarlet letter. We all have them because we “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”. This simple fact is something many Christians seem to forget. They see the scars on that girl’s wrist, the needle marks on his arm, the baby in a teen’s arms, or a Gay Pride sticker on the back of someone’s car and they judge. An alternative Christian band, Casting Crowns, wrote a song called Voice of Truth that tells the sad story of so many churches:
Under the shadow of our steeple/ With all the lost and lonely people/ Searching for the hope that's tucked away in you and me/ Does anybody hear her?/ Can anybody see?/ She is yearning for shelter and affection/ That she never found at home/ She is searching for a hero to ride in/ To ride in and save the day/ And in walks her prince charming/ And he knows just what to say/ Momentary lapse of reason/ And she gives herself away/If judgment looms under every steeple/If lofty glances from lofty people/ Can't see past her scarlet letter/ And we've never even met her.

So many see those ‘scarlet letters’ of sin and think they are better or their sins are smaller and they haven’t screwed up that badly. They judge the sins of others and fail to recognize that their ‘small’ sins, like gossiping at the ice-cream social, white lies about where they’ve been or raised voices to their families, are just as bad in the eyes of God. It’s a shame that so many Christians forget that the only difference between these people and them is the blood of Christ and their acceptance of His love.

When Jesus came down from Heaven He spent His time with the tax collectors and thieves. He prayed for the wicked and ate with the broken and needy. He fed the poor and cared for the orphan. If he were here today with whom would he spend his time? Possibly he would spend an afternoon downtown ministering to the homeless. Maybe he would go visit the prostitutes and tell them about His love. He might go to a bar and help a drunk walk home. The drug dealers, homosexuals, pregnant girls, depressed people, the addicts and thieves... He would be with them. So why aren’t we? If Christ was with these people and He calls us to be like Him, what are we doing? Jesus called us to care for the broken, poor and needy. His heart went out to the orphan and the widow. But there is too much isolation and separation between the body of Christ and the needy people. Christians often care only for their own. Taking the phrase ‘in the world, but not of the world’ too far, many Christians fear becoming ‘of the world’ so much they are no longer in it. They spend time only with other Christians and fear that those who are not Christians are ‘bad examples’ and may ruin their faith. This is not to say Christians can’t spend time with other Christians, only that they should also spend time with people who are not believers. We should strive to be like Christ by befriending, loving and ministering to those who do not know Him. He wants us to share our time and money and homes just as He did for us, and that is what we, as Christians, should be doing.

If Christians should be acting, loving and serving like Christ then why would someone like Ghandi say that Christians act so unlike Christ? Because so often, it is true. Over the years the church has changed. In Christ’s time its focus seemed to be more on being like Jesus, caring for the poor, spreading the gospel and sharing His love. Even in the 18th and 19th centuries the church was known for helping, caring for and serving others. An example of this is hospitals. Many hospitals are named after saints, St. Mary’s or St. John’s for instance. Hospitals were started by Christians so that everyone could be cared for, not just those who could afford to call a doctor. The church was a place that many went when they needed advice, financial aid or other help. Unfortunately, many Christians seem to have lost sight of how God wants them to act. It appears that many Christians have made their goal to live as ‘good Christians’ by obeying the Ten Commandments, going to church and reading their Bibles daily. These are not bad things, but we must remember that what Christ first and foremost calls us to do is love others, just as He has loved us. As Christians have changed, the opinions non-Christians have of Christians have become more negative. In Catherine Hyde’s book Becoming Chloe (p.119) the main character, Jordan, sums this up in his comment: “Or maybe he would like me anyway. He’s a Christian, right? Christians are supposed to be good at that. Only sometimes they’re not.” It has been said that Christians are judgmental, hypocritical, holier-than-thou, Bible-flaunting and uncaring. Although this is not always completely true it is sad that any of these actions should characterize Christians at all. Christians have stopped acting like Christians, because they have stopped acting like Christ. This is a problem because it is turning people away from the Christian religion. Now we are reaping the consequences as people no longer expect acceptance by Christians, but instead fear judgment.

We have been given everything because we have been forgiven and loved. As Christians we should be the last to judge, for we have not been judged. Just as Jesus showed us mercy and forgiveness we should love and accept those around us, no matter what they have done. All sin earns a ticket to Hell. More Christians should remember lying is on the same level as sexual immorality in God’s eyes. Christians are to love, care for the poor, and accept those in need. It is sad that non-Christians should dislike Christians because of their judgmental actions, hypocrisy, and un-Christ-like mannerisms. The old saying still rings true that “actions speak louder than words”. We can be good witnesses by being like Christ. How we treat others tells more about what is in our hearts and what Christ means to us than attending church and checking off items on the ‘good Christian’ list ever could.

Forks and Curls, Hate and Power Tools

I don't know if you guys are familiar with Twitter (mine is katyo7723, if you would like to follow/stalk me). I was looking back on a few of my previous tweets, and re-read a retweet I had posted. Sorry if this is too much Twitter jargon for you...tweeting is like updating your status (think of Facebook) and retweeting is pretty much when you copy someone else's status and tweet it because you like or agree with their statement. The retweet has their name in it, so no copyright infringement, I promise :) Anyways. I retweeted this statement: 


JohnFugelsang 


Dear mosque protestor: I'm not a fashion expert but your 'never forgive' sign clashes with your crucifix.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Mountain Drizzle, Mountain Dazzle

Today it rained. I haven't really experienced much cloud coverage or precipitation in Denver, so today's weather seemed abnormal to me. I love the smell of rain though. That's something about St. Louis I will definitely miss. Walking outside early in the morning and smelling the rain still hanging in the air from the night before, or the promising scent of rain to come. I think the lower humidity level in Denver changes the smell of rain, but it's still welcoming.

After my Analytical Inquires class (a basic computer programming class), I biked to the Safeway to make a few necessary purchases. The sky was absolutely breathtaking. I'm sorry, I know, I talk about the sky and clouds and sunsets a lot, but they're always so different and unique and fabulous! I was headed west (I think) towards the mountains. The dark purpleish hues of the clouds nearly perfectly matched the color of the darkening blue sky and mountains in the distance. I can't really describe it, and I didn't take a picture because a moment like that simply could not be captured, but I wish I could have saved it for you all to see.

I arrived at the Safeway and bought my necessary items (all-natural peanut butter, italian dressing, and honey). It's rather sad that nearly all dressing contains corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup. Ew. I miss being able to make my own dressing at home! I'm sure the checkout guy thought I was an insane anorexic girl who only consumes condiments. Not the case, I assure you. My entire fridge is filled with fruits, vegetables, soy milk, orange juice, and water, plus the recent addition of dressing and peanut butter. Yum.

I was biking back to DU and saw a super neat painting on an alley wall. I can't remember exactly what it looked like, since I was biking past, but I liked it, and I'll try to remember to take a photo of it sometime in the nearish future :)

In my fsem (first year seminar class - From Lyric to Lyrics: Poetry Then and Now) class today my teacher, Alba, assigned us to, in addition to three daily observations, make one (or more) of those observations about inanimate objects that we could give meaning and life and put into a poem. Many poems are about relationships, love, people, they're narrative. Often people get caught up in the story in the poem, instead of the language and words and imagery and the poem-ness of the poem. Using things, instead of people or events, can tell a story, but force people to pay more attention. One thing I thought of and noticed is pennies. Whenever you see one lying on the ground you stop and pick it up. It's just a penny, a 100th of a dollar, which isn't even that much money anyways. Yet, we still love to find pennies on the ground. A 'lucky penny' can brighten nearly anyone's day, because of the positive connotations that we generally associate with these tiny bits of copper and zinc. They're great. Needless to say, I found a penny on the ground today, prompting this random discussion.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Reflective Squash

Sitting at my desk this afternoon, I was working through my Russian homework and eating a smoothie (yes, eating, it was frozen, so drinking was not an option), when I glanced up and saw my decorative squash and miniature pumpkin reflected in my spoon. I got up, crouched under my bed, unlocked my giant box of photography equipment, and extracted my camera. The photographs of the spoon and squash reflections didn't turn out, but I took a few other photographs of the squash and my awesome old salt shaker that turned out quite nice.

Today was a busy day. I started working on my 3D-Approaches transformations project! It's going to be super cool. We're given a 12" x 12" x 1/2" piece of MDF wood that we have to transform into something that looks nothing like a flat piece of wood and is a self portrait, but not a face self portrait, something that represents you. I decided to create a 2" by 12" fork. It will have a matroshka doll (Russian stacking dolls) stuck on it's prongs, a carrot on the end of the four prongs and a vine snaking down the fork, transforming into a string of pearls halfway down. Sorry for that awful run-on sentence. I had a few stressful minutes as I carefully cut the outline of my fork with a ban-saw. Saws and power tools terrify me, there is simply so much room for mistake! I carefully slid the wood into the tiny row of rotating teeth. They cut through the wood slowly and methodically. It was a bit mesmerizing, I wish I could have taken a picture.

Everyone in art class is working with their wood in different ways. A few people were carving their wood, the shavings falling in perfect spirals on the floor. I loved them, they looked so flawless and intricate, but if you were to pick them up their fragility would cause them to fall apart.

I was reading in Matthew this morning. One of the Beatitudes talks about being peaceful. I took a yoga class this morning, and at one point we did the Warrior Pose. The teacher told us to feel our power and strength, but in a peaceful way, not a way that desired to dominate and fight with this strength we possess. It's interesting to compare these two sides of 'being peaceful.' Yoga is all about yourself and who and what you are on the inside. I love doing yoga, but the mindset and worldview behind it is pretty self centered. God's instructions on peace do not focus on the self. When I read that verse I thought about how I need to focus on being more peaceful towards others, not arguing with my siblings for example. Yoga is a great workout, but I'm definitely a fan of Jesus' worldview.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Unexpected Ways of Love

For poetry class today we talked about love, and how it is a common theme in many poems. Poets have to find uncommon ways to express common themes, ways that avoid cliches. As an exercise, we all had to write down descriptions or feelings or expressions of love that avoid the common cliches. Here are mine:

(Insert something along the lines of "love is" or "love is as" or just figure out how it applies to love and role with it)
like the sea loves to froth
like a pigeon excitedly descending on a few cheerios dropped by an infant in the park 
as a worm loves a piece of fresh fruit
love is like a painting, wild and abstract
as melodious as a baby’s laugh
touching as the final scene in an old black and white film, the ones that always end happily
Like an old brown leaf beneath a bench, not always noticed, but beautiful and persistent. 


jagged edges saw, like the rough edges of a paper, just waiting to slice your finger
sweet and soft and light as pale pink cotton candy you eat at a carnival, but as breathtaking and terrifying as the roller coaster you ride next.

I was reading the newspaper today. There was an article about the Democratic party and their campaign for the upcoming election in November. The article mentioned how many Americans are currently anti-Democrat, due to the financial crisis and the fact that our current situation is not getting better. A few years ago, the general public hated Republicans. Maybe Americans are just fickle? Or they just like to blame all problems on the current party in office? I don't know. 

I started working at the School of Art and Art History today. So far it appears to be a pretty easy and laid back job. I answer phones, make copies, run things over to the Dean's office in Sturm Hall and do homework between tasks. While being shown around the building we walked over to the Annex and looked at the studios. One of the larger rooms was quite spacious and very well-lit. Giant sky lights made up the ceiling, allowing for optimum lighting for the artists inside. Giant wooden easels stood around the room, and over in one corner tables were piled high with old shoes, the subject of a few painter's canvases. It looked very inviting, but at the same time perfectly balanced, as if too much movement would disrupt the peace and stillness of an artist's reverie. 


When I left my final class of the day, the sky was bright blue, filled with huge white clouds that mildly resembled cotton candy. It looked picture perfect. Maybe one day I'll figure out a way to write a not-cliche poem about clouds. Not today though...

Sunday, September 19, 2010

If We Didn't Have To Eat We Would Have So Much More Money...

I went grocery shopping today, I'm not fond of the price of food. I bought two cute little squash, and a baby pumpkin for 49 cents each though! They're reminding my room that it is fall, even though the weather outside is still a gorgeous 80-90 degrees :)


I'm not sure what I was thinking about at 1 am this morning (I"m counting that for today, by the way), but something prompted the thought of unknown things, which prompted this:


Unknown


Unknown Eyes,


Unknown,
Watch
Judge
Decide.


Unknown
Unknown surround
As you, hasten


Bye




Today I went to Denver United for church. This is the second Sunday I have attended. I love the church so much! The worship is great, everyone is so into it! People seem to be fully present, just worshiping Jesus, not worrying about what anyone thinks of them. Hands are raised high in the air, eyes are closed, as everyone sings their love and thanks and praise to the One who saves. The college classes before the service, and the sermon, were awesome. My other two Daily Observations come from church today. 


The college class is going through John. Last week we talked about Nichodemus (NO clue how to spell his name) and this week we discussed the Samaratin (again, my spelling skills escape me) woman at the well. The main characters in these two stories are pretty much polar opposites. Nick (yeah, I gave him a shorter name...) is a very legalistic, uber-religious man who has spent his entire life studying the Bible. He really only views it as a law though, he can't seem to get to the love and forgiveness of Jesus aspect. Ms. Sam (that's her nickname for the time being) is 1. A Samaratin, they're pretty much hated by the Jews because they are only half-Jewish, and 2. has had five husbands and isn't currently married to the man with whom she is living. Jesus came to both of these people where they were at in their lives and meets them. He doesn't make them change, or wait for them to figure out the error of their ways alone, He meets them where they are in life and loves. The passage talks about how Jesus HAD to go through Samaria. Geographically, He did not, but He did NEED to meet with Ms. Sam. This passage also reminds us that Jesus, though fully God, was also fully man. He was weary from his journeys. Yet, He still met with Ms. Sam. These two points simply remind us again that Jesus will meet us wherever we are in life. WHEREVER. No matter how deeply immersed in sin, hate, or distrust we are, He will meet us, He will love us, and He will save us. That was so encouraging to hear and such a wonderful reminder. It's always wonderful to be reminded that it's ok, God will love me no matter what. I don't have to hide when I've sinned or failed. Jesus will love me and forgive me and He will always want me.


Water. That was the third thing that really stuck out to me. As I write this I'm drinking a bottle of water. It's really helping the analogies to apply to real life, plus then I won't get dehydrated, I am in the mountainish areas, after all. The Bible talks about water a lot, and water really is a beautiful analogy of Christ. We talked about three ways this applies (there are many more) in class today. 


Think about a river. When it washes over you it rinses away any grime you have caked upon your body. It cleanses and refreshes, leaving you washed and happy and free. The Holy Spirit does the same thing to our souls, sweeping over us and erasing the refuse of our sins. 


Picture the Grand Canyon. It was carved out by water. Water can cut through anything, even stone. So it is with God. He can get through to anyone, to matter the level of their sin, lack of faith, or general stubbornness. He never gives up. He never stops loving. He never stops carving. 


You can't live more than three days without water. Physically, you will become dehydrated and pass away. Without Jesus we would spiritually die. I think that is the most simple of these three images, yet it is the most powerful. Daily we can see the necessity of water in our systems, and daily we can see the need for God to fill that "God shaped hole" that every human possesses. 

50 Years From Now...

Today I went on a scavenger hunt in downtown Denver with my International Living Learning Community. We're like a big, happy family. It's fantastic. After the scavenger hunt, which was quite fun, we went to Oktoberfest. It's some German festival thing, I was a bit confused. Mostly, there was a lot of beer...plus it's American Beer Week, so there really was A LOT of beer.




We were walking around, taking in the sights and smells, and we came upon a group of people performing German dances. It was so cute! They were all older couples, probably in their 70's and they were dancing together. That was my first 'Daily Observation.' I definitely want to be like that when I'm an old married woman. I want to still be completely in love with whoever I end up marrying, joking and laughing and playing games and dancing.


The clouds were really neat as we wandered about. One particular group of clouds had a really interesting shape. I can't really describe them. They looked a little like a swan, or a pointed heart, or maybe a slightly de-fingered peace sign. Don't worry, I took a picture :)

The rest of Oktoberfest was fun. We got food and I had some absolutely fantastic almonds and cashews and pecans. Half of the pecans were covered in some cappuccino mix and the others in cinnamon and sugar. Let me tell you, those were fantastic. I also had a delicious Jamba Juice smoothie, the five fruit one. I highly recommend it. We ate and then did a little German dancing ourselves. I'm sure we looked ridiculous, I know I did at least! Either way, it was fun. That's what college is about right? Having fun? Actually I think it's supposed to be about getting good grades, passing classes, becoming used to sleep deprivation, and eventually having a job, but 'having fun' just sounds more...fun.

My last observation was made a mere twenty minutes ago. By the way, I just realized it is technically Sunday, but this post is counting for Saturday. It's only a few minutes after midnight! (Here's where sleep deprivation comes into play) I've never seen Glee, but a few people from my floor are huge Glee fans. I'm more than willing to join their forces, I like movies with singing and dancing, so I'm pretty sure I'll continue to like this show with singing and dancing. One of the characters, Emma, makes a very good point while trying to convince her fellow co-worker to pursue his dreams, not a fat paycheck. Here's the quote/conversation:

Emma Pillsbury: Do you know who that is? That's you, Will. That's you happier than I've ever seen you.
Will Schuester: That was the greatest moment of my life.
Emma Pillsbury: Why?
Will Schuester: Because I loved what I was doing. I knew before we were half-way through with it, I remember that we were gonna win. And being a part of that, in that moment, I knew who I was in the world. And the only time I felt that way since then was when Terrie told me I was gonna be a father.
Will Schuester: No, no. I need to provide for my family.
Emma Pillsbury: But provide what exactly? The understanding that money is the most important thing - or the idea that the only life worth living is one that you're really passionate about, Will?



That's really very smart, and pretty common-sense, but not a lot of people seem to follow this advice. Personally, I think it is far more important to be happy, and do something worthwhile with your life, then miserable and making lot of money. When I had to choose a major for college I had to think about this a lot. I love art, but I probably won't make much money from this. On the other hand, I don't really enjoy many school subjects. History, science, and math aren't fascinating to me. There's nothing wrong with other people loving these things, they simply don't appeal to me. I decided I would rather be a happy, poor artist, than a rich and miserable accountant or something. I may change my major sometime over the next four years, but it won't be because I'm afraid of not making enough money in my future, it will simply be due to a change in interest. I think it is very important for us to live by what we are passionate about, not what we think society will approve of, or even what our parents or friends or neighbors would desire. We should live free lives, for the glory of God, not for a sweet mansion or BMW. 

Saturday, September 18, 2010

When You Stop, Look, and Listen...

It's surprising what you'll find! Yeah...that was corny/cheesy beyond words. My bad, it's late(ish). Anyways, my daily observations for today are as follows...

So I was sitting outside, prepared to do my homework. I had my poetry book and a book called Blue Like Jazz that someone recommended. The weather was gorgeous today, by the way, perfect for reading outdoors. I sat down at one of the red tables outside Halls. Setting my books, keys, and sunglasses on the table, I glanced down at the brick beneath my feet. A few cigarette butts and green crab apples littered the ground. I stared at them for a moment, gathered my things, and marched back to my room to retrieve my camera. There's my first observation :) I shot the apples and cigarette butts for awhile. I'm sure all my fellow students thought I was slightly insane, crouched on the ground with a massive camera taking pictures of old cigarettes and rotting apples. Obviously, I didn't see them in that light. I like the contrast of the burnt out, and harmful to one's health, cigarette and the tiny green apples.


Since I already had my camera on me, I decided to go take pictures of the sunflowers I saw during my morning run yesterday. I stopped to take a few photos of rocks. You know those large white-ish rocks that people often use in their yards because they're too lazy to have a garden? (Or they have cool Chinese gardens, those are legit) Those are the kinds of rocks I was photographing. I had a few frustrating moments when I couldn't figure out the lighting, all my pictures had a blue hue (that rhymed!). I took a few pictures of perfectly crunchy looking leaves, you know, the kind you just HAVE to step on when they litter the sidewalk in the middle of fall. I was really close to the ground (shooting with my AWESOME macro lens) and saw a rock that had been perfectly broken in half. Only one half of the rock was there, but it had an almost completely straight edge. The edge looked like it would be really sharp, I don't know if it really was or not. For some reason it really struck me. I don't know, I just liked it. That was my second observation. I took a few photos of it, but they didn't really turn out. I don't know how to explain this rock, I guess I just thought it looked really interesting.

 

I proceeded to the sunflowers and took around 60 photos of them. I won't call that my third observation, because I already used the sunflowers. They were awesome though! The sun was shining from one side and lit them all up. It was gorgeous. I'll post a few photos on here after I've gone through them. I just realized I have a lot of observations, bear with me.



I really enjoy photographing plants that are dead or dying. That sounds strange and slightly dark, I know. It's not because I have a fascination with death, or want to glorify the end of life. I like to photograph these because I think they are generally viewed as ugly and worthless. My desire is to capture them in a way that shines beauty on them, instead of casting them in shadows. I don't know if I succeed, but at least I try!



As I walked back I passed a garden bed littered with wilted blue flowers. The sun was shining on them and, to me at least, it was quite stunning. I attempted to capture the moment. That's a fourth observation (the capturing dead plants was the third, because I saw quite a few wilted sunflowers and was struck by them).

Here's my last observation, I promise. After returning from my walk I sat down on a bench outside of Halls to change my camera lenses. I looked out onto the lawn, which was brilliantly green and littered with crunchy-looking brown leaves. The grass was damp, I guess, because it glistened in the light from the sun, I swear it looked like someone had sprinkled diamonds across the grass. I know it's odd that I even notice those sorts of things, and that I find them beautiful, but it truly was breathtaking.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Listen and Observe

For my first year seminar class, From Lyric to Lyrics: Poetry Then and Now, we are assigned to 1. Keep a journal, and 2. Document three things a day that capture our attention and imagination. I promise I started doing this immediately, but forgot to write my post for yesterday (Thursday).

So, pretend it's Thursday, September 16, 2010.

It was early in the morning and I decided to take a jog. Leaving my iPod in my dorm room, my mind was free to experience the pain of running uninhibited. As I gasped for breath (the altitude only hits me when I'm running or climbing a long flight of stairs), I began to marvel at the beauty of the chilly morning. I ran down the sidewalk and past a few gardens. The brilliantly yellow sunflowers (I think they were sunflowers...) looked so perfect against the faded wooden fence. Tiny purple flowers caught my eye, and I vowed to bring my camera back soon (something I have yet to do). I remembered how much I love the simple beauties of nature, and the freedom and joy simply enjoying the world brings.


Later today (remember, it's still Thursday) I listened to someone talk about their story. Not a pop-up picture book, or novel they had written, but their life story. That stuck out to me. They talked about making sure you have a good life story. We have to know what we want, who we wish to be, and what kind of story we desire to tell. I've never really thought about my life in those terms before. When I think about it, though, I won't be on this earth forever, so what will people say about me when I'm dead, what part of my life story, if any, will be remembered? It really makes you think about what you do with your life. I know I want a good story, I want an exciting story, and most of all I want a story that is remembered. Not because I became famous, won an award, or made a brilliant scientific discovery, but because I made a difference with my life. Even if I only make a difference in the lives of a few people, that would be a story worth telling, that is the kind of story I want my existence to recount. I don't want this tale to be about me, but about a life that mirrored Christ's, serving and loving. High expectations, huh? And so many obstacles to bar my way. I think MY biggest obstacle is myself, and how incredibly selfish and self-centered I can be. I need to daily step back, look at the big picture, and remember that in the grand scheme of things, I am rather minute.
Since we are also supposed to compose poems inspired by our observations...here goes:


The Story You Tell
Everyone has a story. 
A vision for life, 
A statement. 
Do you know
What you want?
A life template, a timeline, 
Mapping out 
Who
You want to be?
Rich
Poor
Happy
Known
Making a life for yourself, 
Or 
Creating a life for others. 
What is the story you want to tell?
The good story’s most perilous enemy
Is not evil deeds or sinful thoughts
But not knowing what you want
Or who you wish to be. 

This is the longest post ever, because I still have a third daily observation to relay. In class, our teacher (Alba Newmann Holmes) said one thing we could focus on is light, if we wished. I didn't think I would end up actually focusing on this, but I noticed some neat lights that inspired (hopefully) interesting lines. I was sitting in a chapel on campus for the Cru meeting and noticed the light fixtures and the shadows they cast. As a photographer these intrigued me (I wish I had pictures...) and then I remembered what Alba said in class. Here's the poem I wrote in response (I apologize for how horrible my poetry is, hopefully my poetry class will improve it):




Lights will guide us
Lights to carry us Home. 
A common theme, 
A common dream. 
Lights surround us,
Leading, or
Leaving
Us cloaked in darkness. 
Exit signs glow
Green and Red
Escape from unwanted places. 
Golden flowers silhouetted in sun-light,
Dark middles winking.
City-lights twinkle, a land that never sleeps
Shadows from ancient lights
Darkness cascading down cracked walls.
Stars glow, like glitter in the open sky
Freedom, overwhelming. We feel
So small.
And a solitary window Light
Calling, us Home



The End! I'll post later about my Friday observations.