Sunday, June 29, 2008


I'm trying not to count the days until I go back to school, but it's so very hard. I prefer to just count the days until my next visit, or until I have lunch with a friend, or until a meeting. I have exactly six days until I leave for my next visit to Chicago (3 and 1/2 days), and sixteen days after that I'll be in Chicago for VIP days (3 days), after which I have ten days until I help my roommates move in, and four until I move in. So...I'm still not tallying it up. It would be too painful. Okay, I lied, I just figured out that it's roughly forty-two days until I move back. However, I am more than halfway there, and if I just keep my eye on those little checkpoints along the way, I'll totally be fine. Unless I remain jobless, in which case only a very time-consuming volunteer position will serve to maintain my sanity. We shall see!


Saturday, June 28, 2008

anyone need a nanny?

Or a seamstress? Dog groomer? Lawn-mower (the human behind the machine)? Writer? Advertisement coordinator? Anything that can be done in six weeks?

'Cause I need a job, folks. Mine is practically gone. It's hanging by a teeny tiny microscopic spider-web thread, and likely to fall away in a matter of hours. Which makes me a college student in debt from loans, looking to go to Israel (next summer, hopefully), needing to pay for books and groceries and necessities and gas, with no job. For six weeks. Unless someone in this town is crazy enough to hire me for that short a time...

Please pray for me. If I don't get a job, I'll definitely be volunteering somewhere to help the community (and kill time, I'm not gonna lie), and yearning for August 10th. If I don't get a job, I'll try to go up to the city sooner than that and live with a friend off campus in an effort to preserve my sanity. So yeah, being unemployed...not cool. Prayers please!



Friday, June 20, 2008

wright on the report

N.T. Wright was on the Colbert Report last night! I am such a nerd, and I know this because as soon as Steven said, "And my guest tonight is Bishop N.T. Wright..." I just about fell out of my chair. I waited and waited for the interview portion and at last! it came and I basked in the joy of Wright and Colbert talking very peacably with each other.

Wright was discussing his new book, Surprised by Hope (umm, is it just me or does this sound a bit like Surprise by Joy in the same way that Simply Christian sounds a bit like Mere Christianity...just sayin') that I cannot wait to read. He was absolutely gracious and awfully charming. It must be his adorable accent. Or the fact that older clergymen are just generally charming in my experience. Whatever the reason, I was captivated. I'm sure that you could find the video of the interview at Comedy Central's website. Check it out!


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

i wonder as i wander

It occurred to me today that I wonder about a lot of things a lot of the time. The problem is that I'm highly inquisitive, so I ask questions. One question almost always leads to another, and another, and on until I can no longer remember what my original question or objective was!

Par example...the struggles I'm having with the Church, as I discuss probably more frequently than necessary, lead to questions that beget more and more questions. Here's how the dialogue began in my head: "I am dissatisfied with my church. Why? What exactly is it about this particular gathering of Christians that bothers me? (lack of community) Why does this lack of community bother me? (churches should create positive community in various ways withing themselves) Should I leave? What is a good reason to leave a specific worship community? What are good reasons to stay? (so I left) Wow! Orthodoxy is beautiful and powerful and so confusing! What is this for? Why do they do that? What do the colors mean? What's the deal with icons? (I've only just recently cleared that up) Why have women stopped becoming Orthodox deaconesses? Why am I wondering these things? Do I care? Why should I care? Will I ever convert? Should I? Why do other people convert? Is it better to stay where I am and do what I can to improve the situation? God's call is not always obvious to me, so how would I know? Is the Protestant church wrong? What about Catholicism? How do I know? Did the Bible provide any guidance for this particular type of situation, or are we all supposed to just figure it out? Obviously that's not working because there is so much division in the church and especially among Protestants--why? Can we not make more honest efforts to get along? Is there significant common ground? Should we not try our best regardless?"...and so on, and so on, and so on.....

Welcome one and all to my mind. On the one hand, my wondering causes me to learn much, and the layering effect of my questions generally provides answers from multiple views on the argument. I rarely make decisions without careful thought, which keeps me out of a lot of trouble. On the other hand, can you imagine thinking like this all the time? When I don't have anyone to talk to, I end up just thinking in circles. It goes back to the beginning eventually, and I realize that I have only moved a teeny tiny smidge forward from where I was--which, in reality, is better than not at all, I suppose. Anyway, I'm sure that my inquisitiveness is a gift that I will cherish for a very long time, even if it can be a bit annoying.


Tuesday, June 17, 2008


I've been working on this workshop that I'm writing. It's on plagiarism--different forms and how to avoid them--and I'm getting paid to write it! Although not very glamorous, this is my first paid writing job and I'm very excited! I am a bit nervous because I need a rough draft by Friday and there are still some large formatting issues that I need to figure out, but it should be fine. My supervisor is very chill and we're meeting in July to talk about it and make the necessary changes, so I'm not too worried.

Anyway, I was writing the other day for a little over an hour, then I went downstairs for a break and some milk. I got downstairs and realized that I just earned money by sitting in my chair doing the kind of thing I've done for years (and often enjoyed). And I loved it! Now, I'm entirely sure how the whole writing books and articles as a professor thing works, but I think that if it is even remotely like this, I could definitely enjoy that aspect of professing. I wasn't worried about classwork and grading and mentoring and such--those are broadly the appeal. I was a teensy bit worried about the academic writing bit. No longer. So yeah, this is how I spend my summer--reading, working, visiting friends, and writing workshops on plagiarism for first-year undergraduates. Yay!


Thursday, June 12, 2008

very strange

I clocked in at 8:59am this morning and saw the date--June 12th! WHAT?! I mean, I still have two months until I go back to school and it seems like a very long time from this end, but June has just flown by. I remember saying to myself two weeks ago, "Well, I should start doing stuff now," and now it's been two weeks and I've accomplished very little of what I had intended to do! I've accomplished a lot of unnecessary reading...Anyway, this weekend I'm going to the city for about twenty-two hours, but then next weekend we're leaving for vacation and I get a whole six days in Seattle. Those days will fly by, and when I get back it will almost be July! I can handle July. I'm gonna make it!


Monday, June 9, 2008

resolution update

As it's already halfway through the year somehow, I'd like to take a moment to return to my new year's resolutions and see how I've been doing.

1. Come up with more creative ways to get people to talk about themselves.
Well, this is not going in the direction that I thought it would, but the direction it is taking is good. I am learning a bit more about people in my efforts! For example, I have learned that some people are simply not good at or are not comfortable with telling stories about their lives. This is new to me, since I love both telling and listening to little anecdotes. Like, all day. That's what my friends and I do...I'll keep working on this one.

2. Start something new
The problem with this is that one must first come up with an idea to 'start.' This might take awhile.

3. Love others better
This is difficult to measure, but I think I am at least marginally successful in this area. Any growth in this is definitely from God and not me!

4. Learn a seemingly useless skill
I said "seemingy useless" because you never know when a skill is going to come in handy! Nothing comes to mind, but knowing me, I'll learn a bunch of them by the end of the year and not even know it.

5. Learn a skill that is actually useful
I now know how to grill the perfect burger. Disgusting, dirty, and sometimes painful, but it is in fact useful. I can be the totally awesome GIRL grilling at family cookouts instead of my uncles!

6. Read, play, eat, travel, decorate, blog, and create---outside the box
Okay, who am I kidding? I was bound to do this whether I resolved to or not. Check!

7. Make one plan for after college.
I have made one plan for after college. The plan is to not go to grad school for music. I didn't say it had to be a plan of action--my plan of non-action is perfectly valid for this case. For the record, I am pondering my options which are: take a year off and live in the city working...somewhere; do an MDiv, possibly add a ThM to that after I'm already in the school (tee-hee, I'm so sneaky), be in ministry for a while, go back to school and get a DMin and teach at a seminary (whew, that was a long one!); do an MDiv, get married, have children, rear said children while husband continues going to school, eventually go back to school, teach at university; get married, do MDiv, have children, let husband rear said children while I go back to school, teach at a university. Okay, so these are obviously only a few of the options. And some of them are indeed contingent upon my finding a suitable mate, getting into grad school, being physically able to reproduce, and all contingent upon my ability to fund my endeavors. However, with prayer and much counseling from my horde of fantastic counselors, I believe that everything will work out.

The year is still young, and so am I!


its good to be second-in-command

When the owner of the establishment that I call my workplace first hired our manager Tracy, I was a bit upset. I had been doing all of those lovely manegerial tasks for just above minimum wage: phone calls, food orders, Pepsi orders, making the schedule, making actual decisions, being the one everyone called when they had problems...oh, yes. Life was grand.

Then came--


I was slightly offended, but honestly, I was leaving for school and what was Dave going to do without me? So he hired this totally fantastic woman who used to own a similar establishment, and she is so good at her job, it's scary. In fact, most of the high school employees are scared of her. Anyway, I went away for school and came back and this woman had turned my workplace into her empire. She rules. In both the literal and figurative enthusiastic-shouting kind of way. I've come to love her. Here's why.

Tracy does all of those pesky little things that I used to do, and does them better, and runs the store because the big boss is never around anymore. I still got a raise even though I started doing less work. On top of all of this greatness, I retained all of the fabulous perks that came with being the favorite, including my ability to dictate my schedule exactly the way I like it and to eat whatever I choose. AND, on those lovely occasions when Tracy goes on vacation, I still get to be the manager.

Call me the assistant manager. It's basically the best job. I have occasion to be the manager when she's out, but when I'm not being the manager, I don't have to make people hate me! No disciplining, writing horrible schedules, ordering the wrong food, or doing hardly anything wrong. Then, when I do get to be the manager, I make everyone's life by not being the real manager and they take me seriously while I'm in charge, and then complain to Tracy when she gets back. It's great.

No, really. I do love Tracy--she took my job, but hey! I wasn't going to be around and she's much better at it anyway. Also, I do love the responsibility and miss it, but I figure that it's the summer and I will have more than enough lovely responsibilty to cradle in my happy arms come August. So, I aim to thoroughly enjoy this week as the manager, after which I shall resume my assisant managership with pride and joy.


about that schedule

Well, I knew this would happen, but I didn't know it would be so soon. I didn't exactly follow my schedule today--I didn't work on the plagiarism workshop. I did read Augustine, which was really good, but now I have to play catch-up tomorrow. It was just such a beautiful day for reading and cleaning and playing piano! I seriously played for about three hours total today. And I organized the bathroom that I share with my sister and filtered some old things out of my closet. That's how I procrastinate--I don't feel guilty about it if I was in some way productive. This is also the reason my room is cleanest around the time that a big paper is due. I work best under pressure!

Tomorrow I am off work so I am cleaning out my car and riding my bike to the library. I think a change of scenery will be very good for me. And then I can return my overdue book (yes, just one, I missed in on my shelf). Hoorah.


Sunday, June 8, 2008

finally a schedule

I finally made a schedule for myself. It turns out that I have a really hard time with motivation when I don't have a lot to do, so I made a schedule. This should help me finish my tasks in a timely manner and add variety to my academic reading life (I've been in a bit of a rut lately--Eastern Orthodoxy being the top competitor for my inquiring mind) AND help me with the cabin fever issue (see below). So here it is--you'd better hold me to it!

1. Work on Dialogue plagiarism workshop
2. Read Augustine's Confessions
1. Study Greek
2. Read Theology of the Body
1. Work on the workshop
2. Theology of the Body
1. Greek
2. Confessions
1. Greek
2. Workshop
*other assorted necessary tasks

Of course, this is flexible enough to fit around my work schedule, and I do indeed have goals set for the completion of these tasks. So, much of it will change after my vacation in Seattle, but for now this is what my life will look like. I have it all written out on my fabulous little whiteboard--on the other whiteboard I have people's prayer requests (feel free to add). Both of these are within view of my desk in my OFFICE! Yes, I have an office. I commandeered the guest room in which there is no mattress (a bed, but no mattress) and put a desk and chair, a small bookshelf, a "guest" chair, and a lamp in it. It's beautiful, and I am going to miss it very much when I move in with my four roommates in August, but I think I'll definitely get over that. My girls are much more important than my space.

Schedule starts tomorrow! I can't wait!


Thursday, June 5, 2008

what is cabin fever anyway?

Seriously! I don't know where it comes from. Well, I know where the saying comes from, but how do we let ourselves get to the point where we have cabin fever? How do we get out of it? Why must we be constantly entertained?!?!

Let us examine the developmental process of cabin fever. First, you wake up in the morning thinking that you have all the time in the world to handle all of those little tasks that pop up. With no one around taking care of similar tasks, you have less motivation to take care of them, which, coupled with your inordinate amounts of free time, makes you lay in bed a little while longer. You lazily shower and eat some sort of breakfast, maybe read, maybe play piano, check email, and other such activities that can be taken care of with little effort or motivation. After a morning (this is how long it takes me, but others may have more endurance) you begin to be a little antsy, but you aren't really sure what to do. Which of your tasks has priority? It is very difficult for me to prioritize when I am not pressed for time. Give me a schedule, and I can tell you exactly what fits where and when and why. And I'll ask for more things to fit in! But when I'm free...I'm lost!

I think the problem is partly that I have intentionally forbidden myself to drive anywhere, thus changing the act of leaving the house into a big to-do because I'd have to ride my bike. So I don't. There's that, and the fact that I have no one to call. I'm a bit lonely right now and I don't like to voice that feeling because then I think my family is going to think that I don't like them. I did voice it, though, so now my family is getting together with my dad's siblings' families so that I can re-establish contacts with my cousins so that I have someone to hang out with! Isn't my mom the greatest? That was her idea. So, yeah, I definitely do this to myself and I think the solution is to simply decide the night before that I am going to get up and choose a task and just do it without looking at the clock. It's the clock that's the kicker--'what, only ten minutes have gone by? Are you SERIOUS?--so if I just stop looking at them, maybe it'll get better.

We'll see how it goes...


Wednesday, June 4, 2008


I have just finished writing letters to three of my galfriends from school. I have already received a letter from my close friend Laurel in Washington and was responding to her. The other two were first letters sent to my friends--Johanna in Michigan and Amanda in Oregon.

Though I will not see these girls for a while (two months, seven months, and maybe years, respectively), I felt as though we had a physical point of contact through our letters. It's a great feeling, and reminds me of the sacraments (of course). Through our very concrete letters, not emails or Facebook or phone calls, we are able to hold on to a piece of each other until the next response to our piece comes to us. The letter that I received from Laurel is a treasure that I read at least once a day, remembering all of the fun we've had this past year in getting to know one another. Laurel and I were acquaintances freshman year, but at the very beginning of last year we swung on the swings together at the University Ministries student leader retreat and became fast friends. We've been close ever since, and our friendship just keeps growing. She and I are truly kindred spirits--similar aspirations, fears, joys, and wonderings. It's beautiful, and I'm glad that we can communicate in this way while she is at camp!

Johanna is a transfer from CBC Canada that I met in choir this year. We also took Paul together with Prof Willitts, which is where we first began bonding, but we grew closest during the choir tour to California. Now that we've finally become friends, she's studying abroad in Sweden in the fall!! So the letters are great for us, too. And as for Amanda, she was my mentee this year, and our relationship had an interesting start. I met her on the bus to the boat dance--she sat down next to me and basically told me her life's story on the ride to the dance and we've had coffee at least once a month ever since. No classes together, no common activities or hanging out, just little touchpoints here and there where we discussed life and her growth through her freshman year. She is transferring to BIOLA next year, but I should see her at her wedding in the next few years! Again, letters are very good. =)

I cannot wait until my girls respond! I've made a cute little box for the letters so that I can keep them to look at later, especially when Laurel and I are little old ladies sitting in rocking chairs reminiscing and we think all the way back to when we were in college and wrote each other these fun little letters!


Tuesday, June 3, 2008

adventures with Father Pat / the history of my life

I made a separate post for this because even though it was part of the greatest weekend ever (see below), it stands in a class all its own. Christina and I went to breakfast with Father Pat and his wife after church! I must first begin by saying that all of this sounds absolutely absurd if you know me very well. Well, not the going out to lunch with people part, but the going out with a priest part. I'll tell the story...

Once upon a time, I was part of an Evangelical Free church with my family for over eight years. When I was almost sixteen, we left that church (and things had been bad for a WHILE before we finally left), and didn't really settle anywhere else. I didn't even want to go to a Christian school, but ended up at North Park through a series of events and couldn't be happier! Anyway, so here I was at an Evangelical Covenant school going to an Evangelical Covenant church and things were okay. The school part was great, but I was really just going to my church because it was close and convenient and lots of people I knew went there. We didn't try anywhere else. It was much more liturgical than I was used to, and it weirded me out a bit at first. I mean, written prayers that everyone reads together? What?? And hymns--you've gotta be kidding. After years and years of Baptist church camp in Missouri I was burnt out on hymns, but they eventually weren't so bad and I almost preferred them to what we sang at school. But that's not the point.

Anyway, after a year and a half of attending this very nice church, I had begun to feel like something was missing. People weren't talking to us no matter how hard we tried to get involved, the worship was not nearly as much about God as I thought it should be (it sounds obvious, but you really don't think about it all that much when you're in it), and I really just felt like I was going because I needed to go to church. I worshipped on my own time, but I was really lacking a community, a Church. So, a few of my friends had been feeling the same way for a while and some had found homes in Catholicism...well, I wasn't quite ready for that, though I do intend to go to Mass sometime soon. But I knew people attending All Saints' Antiochian Eastern Orthodox Church just a couple miles away, and my friend Mark was being chrismated there in a few weeks. I thought I'd try it out. We were also preparing to go to Pascha and didn't want to be totally shocked when we made it there, so we wanted a few weeks to get used to the Liturgy. Since then, I've been welcomed and have experienced God in ways I never could have imagined, and I love it. I don't know that I'll be converting to Orthodoxy anytime soon, but I won't leaving All Saints' anytime soon either!

This has become much longer than I meant for it to be--too bad! So, back to why this going to lunch with a priest thing is strange for me: remember all that stuff about my Evangelical Protestant background? And the church camp? Well, I grew up being told that most Catholics aren't Christians and that they worship Mary and believe all kinds of weird stuff. I grew up knowing nothing about Orthodoxy. At all. So it was easier for me to accept things like priests and the Eucharist (not that I'm a communicant or anything, I just recieve blessings!) and the veneration of Mary through this other door. While I still have issues with Catholicism, namely the power of the Pope, I am no longer terrified of it, nor am I terrified of Orthodoxy. And now I've had lunch with a priest...from my parish...after the Divine Liturgy and church school on Sunday. COOL!

About the lunch itself--it was exactly what you'd expect from having lunch with a very nice grandfatherly man and his wife and two granddaughters. They asked us about ourselves, our majors and backgrounds, what church we grew up in, how we ended up at All Saints'...told us we should join the know, normal things. And it was AWESOME. The only thing that was odd about it was the fact that, in classic Father Pat fashion, we were invited over the chalice. Christina and I went up for blessings, and after blessing Christina, Father Pat pulled her close and said, "I want to take you to breakfast with me and my wife today." Christina told him I had driven her, and he said, "Great! Bring her along, too." Christina nodded, turned away, and said, "We're going to lunch with him and his wife!" I was shocked, went up for my blessing, and spent the rest of the Liturgy marveling at Father Pat's ability to carry on completely ordinary conversations while holding the chalice containing Christ's body and's not the first time. But it's his quirks that I love!

I hope you like long stories.


a beautiful weekend

This weekend, Melissa and Christina (two of my roommates) and I and a bunch of our other friends from school gathered in Chicago and took the MegaBus down to St. Louis for our friends' wedding. Robert and Anna Eisenbraun were married on Saturday, May 31st at 1:30pm.

It was an absolutely lovely wedding, and I cried twice. Anna was georgous, and I've never seen Robert so happy. The two of them smiled their way through the reception. I cried twice during the ceremony (at the giving away part and the "I now pronounce you husband and wife" part), as did Christina, though Mel was able somehow to hold back her tears. Marriage is so incredibly moving and spectacular!

The weekend itself may have been the best one I've had with my friends. It was the first time that Christina lived with Melissa and I since we've been roommates for two years now and Christina will be joining us and two other girls in our apartment in the fall. So that dimension was expanded and beautified. Also, we all travelled together, the three of us and "the boys" and a few other female acquaintances, and riding a bus with people for six hours at a time definitely shows different sides of everyone and strengthens the relationship in strange ways.

Before we even left, I had a very nice long walk with my friend Josh and a very nice long breakfast with Mel. Matthew and I had a good walk on Sunday before I left as well, and all of these little touch points were fantastic for me. Since being home I have found that I left my heart in Chicago. Every time I go back it feels like I'm coming home, and I forget that I don't actually live there and sometimes I do things like invite myself over and offer my roommates' food to people who just show up at our door. Thankfully, they don't mind (I hope), probably in large part because I always make sure to bring gifts! It was a great weekend.

That's it for now. Peace

keep up with Cindy

For all of my avid readers (umm, the two of you?), I have added [bolaskoxfordia] to the links. Cindy is travelling around quite a lot this summer, and if you're interested in keeping up with her, you should check out her totally awesome blog and say hi. The title comes from a combination of her destinations: Bolivia, Alaska, and Oxford (yes, the one in England, the lucky stinker). So stay in touch!