Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Trip Down Memory Lane

Tonight at 5:00 I take my very last final of my Undergraduate Study at Sonoma State University. Its in Early American Literature.

In keeping with the tradition of putting off studying until the very last possible moment, I will pause and reflect on some highlights of my past four years at Sonoma State.
Freshman Year:
I moved in with 7 complete strangers and became great friends with all of them. By far, Freshman year has been the best year of my life so far. My bedtime went from 10:00 PM to about 1 or 2 AM, my diet went from mom's home cooking to fatty and salty caf food. I learned that it was important to study when a professor told you to, and that class may be "optional" in the sense that not all instructors take roll, but that if you opt out, your grade will eventually reflect your attendance. We did lots of fun stuff that year together. Beach days, a Halloween party in which we bobbed for apples, an Oscars Party, late-night study sessions, and cookie baking in our illegal toaster oven. I convinced my bible study to drive all the way to Sacramento to get ice cream at Leatherby's, went to Monterey with good friends for the weekend, and fell in love with Jesus all over again. Freshman year was great because I could re-invent myself into anything I wanted. I'm not sure if I changed too much, but I did choose into things and made them my own. My faith grew exponentially being away from home for the first time. I got to see what life (and faith) was outside of my home and as an "adult."

These are my roommates freshman year (L-->R): Emily, Ariel, Ashley, Me, Danielle, Sarah, Sam, and Alex.

Matt, Aaron, Emily, and I on the roof of the Monterey Hotel. We snuck up there.
My roommate Alex's good friend Macy came to visit us for a week. They "found" a table on the way home. This is how we improved it:

Macy and Sam painting the table in our bathroom. We all contributed to the masterpiece.

This is Sarah and I on our last night together. I slept on the couch the night she left because it was too strange to sleep in my room alone.

And how could I forget my mission trip to Costa Rica?! At the end a whole bunch of us got baptized. Such a phenominal way to end the trip.

Sophomore Year:

We moved from the freshman dorms into the apartments reserved for mostly sophomores. We lived with a French Foreign Exchange student, Constance Martin. She was a fabulous addition to the five of us crazies, and she is coming out this summer for two weeks to visit us all! This was my first year as a bible study leader with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, I found a church that I loved, and learned what it means to fight and reconcile well. God really taught me to love people, and put people in my life who were hard to love, just so I could practice on them.

We hosted an 80's themed birthday party for our friend April. Here we all are (L-->R): Ashley, Constance, Danielle, Ariel, Emily, and Me.

We adopted a roommate second semester. Jennifer Schedler was added to the mix and has stuck through the madness with us! Here she is on St. Patty's Day. Emily's family hosted us for traditional corn beef and cabbage. Yum!

I got in my very first car crash! I was driving Emily's in the parking lot and some chick backed right up into me! There we all are.

Here we are, moving out. This was during the kitchen packing session.

Junior Year:

We moved into a condo that was literally backed up to campus. There is a back gate, so we still walk to school every day. I had surgery over the summer to remove bunions from both my feet, and spent the summer back on OrangeVale. This is the year that Jennifer officially moved in with us. We decided to keep with the tradition of having dinners together. We got a taste of what a real "home-on-your-own" feels like, and liked it very much. Its like we officially became a family. My favorite class was California Ethic Literature with Bob Coleman. He kicked my butt.

My feet became bunion-less. There they are.

Jen, Ashley, and I all have birthdays in August. Our friends threw us a surprise party! We all had party hats. This is a picture of me blowing out Jen's candles.

My friend Juliann and I took an Art History class on Rodin's sculptures. Here we are at my favorite museum, The Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco. Juliann is in between the Berghers of Calais.

This is the third year that my family has participated in the Run to Feed the Hungry. Or, as my father refers to it, the Shuffle to Feed the Hungry: you and your closest 30,000 friends.

Some friends and I walked to Golden Gate Bridge over our Intercession courses. This is Caroline and me!

We helped host a Super Bowl party for InterVarsity. Over 85 people came to one house! They were on the floor, on the stairs, upstairs, in the kitchen, in the dining room, in the study room, EVERYWHERE! We definately were breaking fire code. Ashley, Juliann, Caroline, Danielle and I were wiped out!

Matt, Ariel, and I went crazy over midterms. This was a really late night. At least I think it was.

Senior Year!

I spent the summer in McDermitt, Nevada working with Sierra Service Project. What a great summer! I came back to start my final year at SSU. Thankfully we didn't have to move, we had the pleasure of staying in our same house. Again I was taught how to love people well. I learned how to manage my time more efficiently, and found the importance of resting on a regular basis.

My staff for the summer (L-->R): Kelley, Marty, Lisa, Amy, Me, Jennifer, Mallory, Philip.

I turned 21! My roommates took me out to drinks at Applebee's and then made me dinner. Wonderful! This is Ariel, Danielle, and me.

We took a road trip! We went down to San Diego for Labor Day weekend. Here we are on the beach.

Our roommate Danielle got engaged! Here we are helping her shop for the dress. Rebbecca, Emily, Me, Brenna, Ava, Ashley, Jen, Jessy, and the bride. Just a few weeks after this, Emily got engaged too! Its that time of life, I suppose.

We went wine tasting! Korbel was our destination.

Three of us went on another road trip! We visited Jessy in Pine Valley. The four of us will be spending one more year together.

That is it for now! More final photos to come later. Graduation, Chapter Camp, and the Dominican Republic are coming up. Keep you all updated!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Poverty Quote of the Day

"No matter how poor my neighbors may be I cannot define them by their poverty and their needs, because God defines them first as His children."

Thank you, Josh Maxwell.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Hunt for Perfection

Over spring break my two of my roommates and I took a road trip down to Southern California. One of our first stops was Pismo Beach, CA, a favorite spot on the central coast.

It was Jen's mission to find sand dollars--lots of sand dollars. As many as she could. So we woke up early the next morning in time to scope out the beach during low tide. The shore seemed to expand for miles the surf was out so far. Slightly overcast but still warm, it was a great day for shell hunting.

As we made our way down the steep stairs to the beach, I could not help myself from looking at the wood stairs beneath me, not only for the sake of concentration, but because it fascinated me as well, the way that the steps before me had been worn into divets and how the rail had been smoothed out by thousands of hands asking for its support. Those people too had been on missions.

Our feet finally hit sand and we kicked our sandals off, elated that the beach was so empty. Jen pulls out her baggie and diligently starts looking. Ashley and I are more enticed by the caves nearby and explore those for a while. But soon we were hunting along with Jen, turning over anything that looked slightly like a sand dollar with our toes. More often than not, we would dig our toes into the sand only to unearth a rock or a different shell.

At last I found one. I exclaimed with joy as I pulled it from the sand and shout to the others. As they come over to inspect it, their joy is not the same. "Its not a whole one," they say. "We only want ones that aren't broken."

Undeterred by this, I slip the half sand dollar into my pocket. I still think that it is pretty and that it will remind me always of our trip. But more importantly, it started me thinking about perfection.

Why is it something that we strive so hard to find, and yet are never able to attain it? Are we not imperfect beings? Will we not fail? Will we not sin? Will we ever be perfect?

I think that a lot of people put too much pressure on themselves to be perfect. The perfect student. The perfect daughter. The perfect employee. The perfect friend. The one who always looks perfect. These simply are masks we all wear. An acquaintance of mine says that perfection is a lofty goal. I think its a foolish one.

If we as humans are perfect in and of ourselves, we have no need for a perfect God (or any god at all). If there is no need for redemption, there is no need for a redeemer.

But I don't think that people are perfect. In fact, I know that people aren't and if they say they are they are lying. I think the problem is that we never admit to this.

How relieving it is to know that GOD is perfect. My grateful heart cannot help but to rejoice in the light of the knowledge that it doesn't matter if I am broken. It doesn't matter if the sand dollar is only half there. The one that created both it and I can redeem anything that I do to mess things up. God is bigger than my imperfection and has the ability to make all things new. For it is in Him that I am made perfect, through the continual redemption and forgiveness of Jesus. Praise the LORD for His unfailing love!

This God--His way is perfect; the promise of the LORD proves true; He is a shield for all those who take refuge in Him.

Psalm 18:30

My beautifully broken sand dollar.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Farewell, Dear Friend!

My good friend Aimee left for Cambodia today. Please pray for her safety and heart as she stays there for a year to work with the Chab Dai Coalition. Many blessings on her time there!

The last time I saw Aimee. We had lunch at the Sunflower!