Sunday, July 31

last day of July- work in one hour

So as of today...i have about 3 weeks until i move down to start at Laguna. wow. As is often the case with my emotions pertaining to big events like this, in the last 4 months i've gone from ecstatic (when i found out i was accepted), to terrified, to anticipatory, to proud, to joyful, to completely numb, to uncertain, to nervous...aaaaand now back to terrified, again! Joy! talk about a wild ride...

The approaching start of a new chapter in my life, however, has unfortunately been plagued with old weights, insecurities and proverbial thorns (though at times i swear they are real) that cloud my vision almost to the point of panic. Such drastic shifts in my relationships, interests and prospects have made me question so much about myself...and i'm feeling less ready to go off and begin the next leg of my lifelong journey now then i did back in March.

One of the hardest things about this is that some of the most important people in my life (and to some extent nearly everyone else, as well) have no idea what is really going's just so hard to disappoint the people you love.
Sometimes i wonder if "being strong" is just a form of weakness because you're too afraid of everyone knowing how you really feel.

In which case i'm not sure what the heck i am...thank the Lord he knows, anyway. even if i don't.

Thursday, July 28

more from Sarah...i got this on Monday

Title of e-mail: icecream chocolate pancakes with sourcream

That is what I have been eating. Not all together. icecream... and pancakes (sort of) that have sourcream on them. Yesterday I had them with this yum yum yummy jam and today I had them with currants. It was tasty.

Please keep praying because I'm a bit worn out and camp hasn't even started. Everyone in this group likes to do do do do do here, and I kind of would like some time to soak things in pray and contemplate. We're leaving for the english camp tomorrow. It'll take a few hours to get there, and i'll be there until I think next monday. So a week.

Tonight we're going to a youth thing. I have to be back at the hotel in an hour. I'm tired, but the Lord will get me through. Lets see.... we went to the field the otherday. I sat and talked to someone I made friends with. That was fun. There was some really beautiful singing at the service today.But I'll tell you more when I get home. I got a spider bite on my leg right next to a mosquito bite. They itch; and the spider bite is super big. Yuck. There was this cute little green bug on my bed last night, and today I saw the most beautiful butterfly. We've taken the bus quite a bit lately. We're the only ones who talk on the bus, and when there's the whole group of us running on and getting off saying "Get on quick!!!" or "this is our stop!!!!" it's gotta be kinda funny. I like walking around. The other day we walked all around and went into these stores to find some euro hairdryers because within one morning, like, three of us blew out our converters. Tell jeff I'm sorry, but his converter sort of blew up and filled our room with the most horrible smoky smell I've ever smelled. It wasn't my fault either. Donna was using it at the time.... well.... sort of. I'll tell you later.

Thank everybody for their prayers. Me and Donna and Matt and Lindy and 2 interpreters went to a resturant yesterday and it took them about an hour to give us our food. Donna didn't even get hers until after the rest of us had finished our icecream for dessert. So we spent about 3 hours at a resturant playing american pop music videos on their plasma screen TV. The food was good. I got  this pork that had cheese and tomatoes with dried aprocots. I liked it. And of course, the icecream was great. They have these 'department stores' where basically they have everything, but it sort of reminds me of the way those big china town areas are set up. There aren't any real stores or anything... and they sell all kinds of weird stuff. I'm sort of going to wait until St. Petersburg to get the rest of my gifts for people. They have these really cheep guitars at the department store for like 1000 roubles. That's like... between 30-40 american dollars. I kind of wanted to get one, cuz it would be funny.. But I really don't want to carry it to st. petersburg. Besides, I've gotta get stuff for other people before I get anything for me. Did I tell you tomorrow I've got a 2 hour busride? The buses here are not nice like the one we had in moscow. They're really funky and old.

Please pray for me. I'm tired. But I'm so thankful! Why? Because I was expecting things to be a LOT harder. I haven't had any real culture shock. I think the closest thing I've had to culture shock is having to be around all these go go go americans. (don't tell anybody that, though!) They're so sweet, but also very different from me. Which is very very good for me... but I think it's going to get a little difficult for me in the next few weeks. So please pray for me, and my relationship with the Lord, and for my camp room mates I'm going to have. I think that's what I am most nervous about.

Please, all of you whenever you think of me say a prayer. Tell everybody thank you. I miss you. Lots and lots and lots of love love love love.


Keep in mind, these were just exerpts. Please do keep praying, everyone!

Tuesday, July 26

little sister

So my sister, Sarah, has been in Russia for about a week, now. I think it's safe to say that i miss her...but it's nice to have a room that stays clean for more than 24 hours!
She's been sending us some great e-mails, talking about the people there, the food, the culture, and the ministry work they're doing and the hardships they have come up against. I'll include a few excerpt from her e-mails, just because they are highly amusing and very interesting. I got this one last Wednesday...

On food:
"Lets see... what have I done lately? I've had lots of iceream. The girls here really like to eat it. (yeah, caus it's so so so good!) I had to fight to get some real food tonight. Me and Ashley and Lindy (two girls in our group) were out at dinner tonight and the girl that was at our table knew very little english. So it was really really funny because we were asking if they had all these different foods and they werent on the menu, and when we asked her what she was getting she said "icecream". So that didn't help we finally ordered these pasta thingies filled with meat and we asked what was on them and they said mayonase! Ugh! So we ordered pasta... w/o mayonas and then ice cream for dessert and Pepsi. Well. First came the little tiny cups of pepsi, and then our icecream came FIRST. Okay.... uh.... whatever. Then they brought out our 'pasta' (very round brown thingies) I stuck one with my fork and it went flying of my plate. The were hard and fried and reminded me of round tacitos (I don't know how to spell it!). So we ate those for dessert after our icecream."

On people, etc...
"All the girls here wear short short shirts, high pants and PLATFORM shoes all around the city. We rode the bus today and jaywalked across a busy street. (mind you these people don't stop for anyone) Ashley almost got hit by a car in the parking lot today. At the bus stop you could see all the heel prints of the girls shoes in the sidewalk. We went to the russian zoo. It smelled really bad and all the animals were pacing around. It sort of depressed me. We saw a satue of pushkin. I took a picture of me in front of it. Breakfast was good. We had eggs with bread with this yummy jam on them. Mmm."

On how she's doing...
"I've slept pretty well. I smell like bug spray. Everybodys got mosquito and spider bites except me. Hope I didn't just jinx myself. I don't know if I'll be able to mail you at camp so I'll keep writing until then. I love you all. So so very much. Colleen... I got you something in Moscow, I forgot to tell you. I hope you like it. The water here tastes different. I've already started to get used to it. The Lord is good, and so good stuff happened today. Please pray for everybody's health. They need it."

Anyway...i just think she's awesome. And as she mentioned lastly, if you all could keep the group in your prayers, i'm sure they would be very thankful. There's some really shady stuff going on over there right now, and it's hard for them to let us know exactly what's happening without getting into serious trouble.
The only way we've been able to learn about some things is through coded e-mails sent by one of the guys in her group to his dad, who then informed everyone else. So prayers are good!

Still hot. Pool good. I've been getting stuff for my apartment i'll be living in, so that's been fun. Bettina and i started re-drawing characters for one of our old comics yesterday...he he he.

You know who's awesome, Ross? Tom Waits!!!!

Friday, July 22

well...i tried.

In response to John's comment on my last post...yu-mmy!
and it wasn't very good. after this picture was taken i threw away the bag...a waste of good sour gummy worms.


My Gummi
gooey worms
Praise the Lord for great big tubs of 85 degree water in your backard.
It's the only thing good (in my opinion) that comes from triple-digit temperatures! I haven't swum enough this summer.

Mark my words...i'll be doing a lot more of this.

Thursday, July 21

Westmont Pictures, &c

I figured i might as well get a few pictures up here from when i went to a conference a Westmont College over the weekend. Here you see a picture of Amaris, my sister Sarah and myself at the beach after everyone left the last day. It was overcast most of the time...but still warm.

And here...
is a picture of Pip, myself, Wankunda, and CyBelle. Good names. In case you're wondering what Pip is doing wth his face...he's blowing in my ear. Hence my somewhat annoyed turn-of-head as the picture was taken. What a sweetie.

And here is a picture of Ginger, the wife of my cousin Joey (middle) and Matt. Don't they just look like nice people?
Yes, Ginger is pregnant.

Once again, to see the photos a bit bigger, just click on them.

I sure hope everyone out there is cooler than i at the's so hot here i'm almost sweating sitting here typing. The pool's about 86 right now. A night swim a little later sounds delightful...perhaps i can scrounge up a few people to go with me...

Laurel, Sarah, Pip, i miss you guys!!!

now hearing:
Yo La Tengo: Let's Save Tony Orlando's House

Wednesday, July 20

Where am i...?

Hawaii? Cancun?
It's 98 degrees and humid outside...and as i stood in the backyard under the overcast started raining. Holding freshly picked snowpeas in my hand and treading the warm grass under my feet, the chilly specks of falling water were a sharp contrast to the stifling air around me. I stood by the pool and listened to the droplets as they hit the surface and stared at the hills and clouds that loomed over my house...thunder rolled faintly over my head...and i shivered a little.

I love it when that happens.

Sunday, July 17

hey y'all.

I got back from a Conference at Westmont College this afternoon, which was a great and richly blessed time. Pictures soon to come!
I had completely forgotten that my copy of the new Harry potter book came while i was that was a fun surprise to see waiting for me when i got in today. I can't wait to read it!
I probably just lost the respect of a great many people...

Hope everyone's doing well...i'm tired and not a little let down at the sudden and unpleasant return to "normalcy". aka: grandpa yelling at me :P, worrying about too too many things, and not seeing dozens of people for yet another year.
It doesn't sound so bad, i'm sure. I'm just feeling a bit of a low after a few days of emotional and spiritual highs, i guess.
Among other things. There's just so much i can't post here...

Now hearing...
Pedro the Lion: I Am Always the One Who Calls

Tuesday, July 12

"...maybe this is OZ!"

Does anyone remember this film? I loved it as a kid; Sarah and i rented it the other night and reveled in memories of it. So fun. It's too bad that it never got the acclaim it deserved, because unlike the 30's "Oz", it actually remained true to Baum's vision and storytelling. It's dark and very chilling at parts, and there are no munchkins! Dorothy (played brilliantly by Fairuza Balk in her first film role) is in very real danger in this film, being threatened by numerous grizzly ends...whether it's turning into sand in the deadly desert, being "ripped into little peices" by the wheelers, or having her head stolen by a very frightening don't for once mistake this world as the same colorful, safe one that Ms. Garland skipped and sang her way through so many decades ago. It helps to not even associate the two films with each other.
The special effects are almost painfully dated...but that adds to it's charm, really. The claymation and exquisite puppetry used in this film are wonderful to behold...such "tangible" effects have long been my preference to CG, and all throught the film i kept wondering how much of the magic would have been swept from it if everything was perfectly clean and computerized. Anyway.
Add to it all a beautiful, haunting score that still drifts through my head every once in a while, it still remains a lovely little "cult classic" of a film. I've gone on much longer than i expected (i imagined a sentence or two) and must now go wash and wax my baby.
i car.

Sunday, July 10

till we are parted by death

Yesterday i attended a wedding of two young people from my church; not the most beautiful or elaborate ceremony i'd ever been to, but by far the most blessed and the most poingiant. How often do you get to witness two people who have known each other since childhood, went to the same college, and courted for 2 years...kiss each other for the first time on their wedding day?

There's something so beautiful about a love that strong and devoted to such purity. I don't know if i could ever do something like that. After they were announced to be married, they took communion together as their first act of husband and wife, to position Jesus a the forerunner and foundation of their commitment to each other. Then, as they returned to where they were standing, i could see the anticipation building in each of them as the minister jokingly took his time, "You see," he told the congregation, "Ben has never kissed Bonnie before, and here i am going on and on..." but then he paused, looked at them, and finally said to Ben, "You may kiss your Bride". And believe was quite a kiss.
I'll try to find a picture of it. (;

Anyway, I should go. it's wonderful how in the midst of such toil and stress as goes on in all of our lives, the Lord still works. And he knows what he's doing. Even if i don't. Which i don't. But that's nothing new.
It just uplifted me so much, despite the melancholy that follows me around, and i so wanted to share it.
What a rare and beautiful blessing.

Wednesday, July 6

Oh, say...

So Monday was the ever spectacular July 4th holiday. And, as tradition, my family had a swingin barbeque at our house to mark the occasion! Complete with good food, fellowship and plenty of fireworks in the backyard (that is, until the Policia showed up), it was quite an enjoyable evening.
That there's little Maisy playing soccer with Dvid and Pip. Though i spent most of the time doing food prep and G-parent stuff (hence my absence from most of the pictures), it was a very nice evening. I made a true disaster of a jell-o dessert that many people sweetly said was quite good (luckily there were pies, too), and then young and old alike took pleasure in playing with the sparklers.
Around 9 o'clock, about 20 of us all hiked up the hill to watch the firework show in the Rose Bowl. It was a good one this year. I tried to be patriotic and sing the national anthem, but Bettina kept covering my mouth.
When the show was over, we wnt back down the hill and to the living room where guitars were pulled out and we sang and talked and just enjoyed each other's company. You can kind of see me in this picture standing up...too bad it's so blurry.
Good day. Go America! Too bad Stina and Laurel couldn't be there. We sure missed them.