Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Next 40 Days

So I am horrible about blogging, I always think I'm going to, "this will be the year, the month, the semester", "This will be the time where I finally commit to something with any kind of habit forming purpose."

It doesn't happen.

Today is the first day of Lent, and people all around me are giving things up- chocolate, smoking, facebook.  When I googled it, the internet informed me that we give things up for Lent so that we can share in the suffering of Christ so that we can share in his Resurrection, too. We give up things that we love, but I don't know that we replace them with things that grow our relationships with Christ or with others. If Lent is the season of turning back to God, recommitting our lives to him and shaping them to be lives that are in a better place with him, wouldn't it also be true that God wants more than our suffering.

Our God is a relational God. He doesn't just want our suffering, he also wants our passions. He wants our best lived life. In a time of the year where we begin to think about how passionately Christ loved us, how far He was willing to go, and how much He was willing to give, it's impossible to think that we don't owe the world a reflection of that love.

So I've been thinking about the next 40 days. Maybe this isn't the year to give something up, but rather the year to give something back. Maybe this is the year where I should be less worried about my own suffering and more concerned about assuaging the suffering of others. 

So for the next 40 days I will be trying to complete a challenge a day to find big ways and little ways to give back to the people in my life, to God and to myself. My day 1 challenge was to make this post. My day 2 will be to try to come up with a list of challenges.

Stay tuned, I'm excited to see how God responds to my desire to grow.

Monday, September 10, 2012

From today's 10th grade journal entries

Today, while grading journal entries- I stumbled upon this entry. I had given the kids the prompt, "who is one person you wish you were more like? What traits do they have that you wish you could emulate?" One of my handful students, who also happens to be a struggling writer responded with this.

"If i culd be more like one person it would be god. Because, dude, that guy loves everybody. I try. But I cant."

Thanks kid, thanks for the reminder that God does love everyone, and thanks for trying.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

I would walk 500 miles, and I would jog 500 more.

Just kidding. 1000 miles would be crazy. But as it is, I've always been kind of obsessed with really track-able goals, and now I'm ready to out this one.

This school year, I'm going to run/walk/jog 500 miles.

I've run the numbers, and am sufficiently terrified. I don't actually know that I CAN run/walk/jog 500 miles in a school year- but from the numbers we've run, this goal seems to be at the intersection of crazy-ambitious, and maybe-possible.

But here's the thing about running. I started jogging in October of last year because I wanted to lose weight, and my nutritionist said it'd be good for me. (And Shirley is never wrong) And for the first month, I hated it. I hated every single step, every single side stitch, every smug high school athlete or neighbor who saw me out jogging or dying slowly on a treadmill. I hated it.

Then, in early November, it was like I passed an unmentioned milestone. Don't get me wrong I didn't drop 40lbs. I wasn't suddenly able to sprint a 5k. I still huffed and puffed, and got all red in the face. I still sometimes had to walk. I still sometimes thought my legs might spontaneously fall off. But after a month of light training (because I will probably never be a hardcore) I had stopped having a body that couldn't, and started having a body that could. I had a body that could jog a mile. I had a body that could bench press 85 lbs while giggling and cracking jokes. I had a body that could jog the stairs without pause or being winded. I had a body that could squat 100 lbs.

I had spent so long wanting a body that was skinny that I'd forgotten to celebrate having a body that can. And so in the spirit of "CAN" I will try to run/walk/jog 500 miles. Not to drop those lbs, but because my body is hugely able, and should be pushed.

Friday, June 24, 2011

At the halfway point!

1. Cook a curry dish that does not suck- Let me show you a tasty, tasty curry dish, made in South Dakota with only things that can be purchased in Pierre.

2.    Do the couch to 5k again- I am a terrible person, who hates to run. The 5 k I aimed for came and went. The next one will be available around Thanksgiving- we'll see.

3. Read 6 books that are “just for fun”
(3/6) - I read the second book in the Hunger Games series. (I still recommend it tremendously, and can't wait for the movie to come out.) But the other book I read was called "The Things They Carried." It's less a novel, and more a series of related short stories that focus on the men of the Alpha Company during Vietnam. If you like war books, or short stories, or books about how people cope with things that are hard, or books about how people come back when their coping didn't work- or really if you like books about people in general- this book will have some appeal to you.

4. Learn to make my own pie crust – I still cannot make anything that rivals pillsbury's roll out dough. So let's look at a quiche I made instead. 

5.    Cook pad thai - This is way harder than it seems on the internet. I'm going to scour some of the Pan-Asian stores in East Lansing this summer to see if I can't get the hook up on the noodles.

6.    Knit 5 items to donate (1/5) I'm competing in this thing called Nerd Wars. (In case there was any doubt that I am a HUGE nerd) I knit this sleep sac and donated to 0-5 closet on Pine Ridge

7.    Try a new bread recipe-

8.    Host a dinner party with at least 5 attendees- Amy and I have decided on a fiesta theme as a welcome dinner in August. Yes that's right "Ole'! No, Hola!" 

9.    Lose 10 lbs- I'm down 4
10.    Go to bed before 11 for three weeks straight- I can usually get like 5 or 6 days in a row, then a weekend comes, and breaks the streak.
11.    Learn to eat pomegranate Let's go to the footage!

12.    Give up soda for a month The whole month of April!

13.    knit something that requires colorwork

14.    bake a lava cake

15.    Find 15 new recipes to mix in to “the usual rotation” (4/15)
16.    add 100 new squares to my sock blanket (18/100)

17.    Watch all 100 of the American Film Institute's 100 greatest movies of all time (5/100) See previous post- though I'm hoping to get to watch quite a few more this summer.

18.    Send 20 letters (3/20) 

19.    Complete my "facebook 5" surprise projects (.5/5)

20.    Use mouthwash every night for 3 weeks straight - I can't seem to find a mouth wash that I like. The one I have right now tastes distinctly of pool. 

21.    Blog at least 24 times. (5/24)

22.    Visit a state I've never been to before. - So this one time Christine, Shanna, Maggie and I went to Omaha to see Wicked. The play was fantastic. The food was good. Being in the city again was awesome and Christine's parents were super sweet. Who knew you could have so much fun in Nebraska??

23.    Deep clean the flat at least 6 times- this should include mopping and washing the covers on the furniture (3/6) - I just finished giving the whole thing a good once over last weekend.
24.    Save up for a DSLR camera. ($100/$800) It turns out car fixing is expensive.

That's how things stand at the half.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The First 5 Films

So far, I've made it through the first 5 of the 100 movies of all time. Though watching them in order is tricky, so I might stop that after tonight's viewing.  
1. Citizen Kane- **- I had to work up to watching Citizen Kane, and even after I did, it only recieved two stars. It was hard to follow, and the action was confusing and subtle. I'm willing to admit that possibly it was a film written, filmed, and edited for a classier audience than my self and my bag of Popsecret, but if I had not listened to the Stuff You Missed in History Class podcast "Who was the real Citizen Kane?" I absolutely would not have understood this film.  Though having said that, I have to agree that from a cinematography point of view, this film was light-years ahead of its time. The shots, light, and framing are all beautifully done.

 2. The Godfather- ***- I gave this three stars, partly because it's hard to get four or five stars from me. I really enjoyed the film but I have to confess that it took two tries to watch it from start to finish. (Though that might be because I tried to watch it during finals week and I was just exhausted.) The movie takes a little long to establish its characters and its premise. However, the person who did the scores did a fantastic job. The music and sound in this film stays right with the action the whole time. The second time I watched this film I really enjoyed it, though part of me wonders how much of that enjoyment was derived from realizing how many quips are said in other films that make allusion (2 pt Literature word) to the Godfather. Every joke about horse heads in beds and going to the mattresses, every time we've made someone an offer they can not refuse, every time either your name or your blood will be on the line- we're making a reference to the Godfather. My student hated the week after I watched this film because I don't think I made it through a block without doing the worst Godfather impressions ever. 

3. Casablanca- ***- I watched this film for the first time during my Junior year of college with my mother over Christmas break. I believed then, as I believe now, that it is one of the most heart- wrenching love stories ever told on film. The costuming is perfect, the acting is great, and the writing is far above the quality we see in theaters currently. Even in black and white, it's very easy to get swept up into this world of almosts and not-quites, and hard choices that speak to what it's like to be human. The music and shooting leave something to be desired (especially if you watch it within days of having watched the Godfather and Citizen Kane) but the story is completely worth 2 hours of your life.
4. Raging Bull-*- I hated this film. It was literally torturous to watch it. I didn't find the plot engaging. I didn't care about the characters, whom I felt to be flat and almost stereotypical. And I felt like the cinematography left a lot to be desired. Don't tell the boys, but I hated "Raging Bull"

5. Singing in the Rain- ****-Maybe it's because it was so different from Raging Bull, but I loved this movie. My mother used to sing the "Good Morning" song to us when we were little, and I never knew this was where that was from. With the exception of the Broadway Melody Ballet, which I just felt ran a little long, I love all of the music in this film and the dancing is incredible. The villain in this film is perfect, and without giving anything away, justice is extremely poetic. Needless to say, I think I just smiled for about 103 minutes straight.

If I continue to go in order, the next films up will be Gone with the Wind, Lawrence of Arabia, Schindler's List, Vertigo, and a re-watching of the Wizard of Oz.