Friday, March 18, 2011


"Think Global; Act Local. Glocal"

Gosh I love that phrase....even though the hybrid "Glocal" seems like a bit much.

I moved to Minneapolis in September 2009, and to be honest, I didn't really expect to like it. I mean, I grew up in a house in the country where we couldn't even SEE any houses from ours, I knew every one I graduated with, plus all of their families, and there wasn't even a single stoplight in my town. So, to move from the country to a dorm that held more people than the entire population of my town, was intimidating.

In the past year and a half I have grown to love Minneapolis. I love the energy that is in the city, the mix of cultures, the exchange of ideas and information. I love that you can go anywhere in Mpls and never be more than six blocks away from a park. I love the bike trails and the fact that Mpls is number one in bikers (...well, since I am bike-less I more so like the idea.) I love that I see such high interest in sustainability, eating organically and locally, and recycling. I love the music/galleries/theaters and all the outlets for artists' expressions. Gosh. I just have loved being in Mpls!

The beginning of spring break, I took a "trip" with some Navigators (the ministry team I'm involved with.) We decided to stay local this year to see how we could volunteer in our city. Best Spring Break Ever. Not only did I come to love my fellow Navigators a ridiculously lot more, but my heart for this city grew so much. It grew, but it also broke for Mpls. Gosh, I have always thought that I would like to travel to another country and work in an orphanage or something....which would be cool...but this spring break, my eyes were opened to the idea that the things we go far away to help with, are happening in OUR CITY. We helped renovate a building to house women getting out of prostitution and sex trafficking. (Did you know that the Mall of America is one of the biggest sites of sex trafficking in the U.S.? Crazy right?) We heard stories from people who are in Minnesota Teen Challenge's rehab program after their lives and relationships were broken on account of addictions. (They are looking for mentors, btw...) We helped at a food shelf that services people in South Minneapolis. (Hunger is not just a problem in third world countries.) These are all problems that are happening in OUR CITY. OUR STATE. What are we doing about them? What am I doing about them? Food for thought. Let me know what you think :)

City Vision:


Breaking Free:

Community Emergency Services:

Minnesota Teen Challenge:

The Navigators:

Feed My Starving Children:

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Rosie's Worst Day Ever

So this week has been ridiculous. Unusual. Peculiar. Out of the ordinary. Strange. I got a rejection letter, left a class livid, worked 16 hours straight, had some unusual interactions with people, pulled three all-nighters for work, and  this morning,  my car, affectionately named Rosie Carmine, drove what may have been her last drive. In all honesty, I think all of these events coming together may be God trying to tell me something. What? I'm not sure. Whether you agree is up to you, but here's my story.

Last night I worked an overnight awake shift. This meant that I didn't drink any coffee yesterday so that I could take a nice long nap yesterday evening from 2-8pm. Then I got up and made it to work by ten. I have the best job ever, and it allows me to do homework (or watch TV...depending on my motivation) all night long, as long as I get done the things I need to for work. Last night I spent most of my time studying for my linguistics test. By the time 6am rolled around, I still had a lot to study, as I haven't paid attention in the class since the last I decided to go back to my apt and get ready for practicum, before heading over to Caribou to study for a bit. On my drive back, I spent awhile trying to determine where to park my car. I had three options: 1) in my parking spot behind the building...the farthest option from Caribou. 2) in the Caribou parking lot, which I was feeling guilty about, since I wasn't actually going to go there first and their parking is already limited. 3) on the street in between my apartment and Caribou. The meters didn't go into effect until 8, and I knew I would be leaving at 7:30. Perfect right?

Side note: Going to Caribou in the morning is nothing new. Pretty typical. But the fact that I was supposed to drive to practicum was unusual. A friend usually picks Jessica and I up, and this is the first time I was supposed to drive this semester. Another side note: I got an e-mail last night saying I was supposed to be at a meeting this morning from 6:30-7:30am. Knowing that going to that meeting would add more stress than it was worth...I told them I wouldn't be in attendance.

So, I skipped a meeting, unusually parked in the street, ran up to get ready, came back down about 30 minutes later and there was poor little Rosie, pushed up onto the curb, her trunk mutilated and scattered along Washington Ave. Behind it was a man in, what I later discovered to be, a 2007 Kia Rondo with the bumper disheveled and the hood a bit rumpled. Poor guy. All he was trying to do was go to work, he went around a van, straight into a parked car. Ouch. I'm certain that wasn't how he hoped to spend his morning.

We exchanged information, assessed the situation, talked to the police officer, chatted about his job and family. The police officer told me that he would arrange for my car to be taken to the impound lot. He said that from the looks of it, my insurance company probably won't put the money or effort in to get it fixed. Which makes sense. We said goodbye, and I finally made it to Caribou :)

What was cool about this whole thing, was that it didn't stress me out at all. It's super convenient that I don't have to work for over two weeks ( I had just given a shift away) and with spring break coming, I was headed home anyways. Lets just say I was probably one of the most calm and collected people at the scene of an accident ever, if I do say so myself. And I only do say so myself because it surprised me. Honestly, this past week, I've been on edge, on the verge of tears, tired, stressed, emotional....but as soon as I saw poor little Rosie, all I could do was shake my head and laugh. And laugh. And laugh. Mary-Kelly and Jessica can both attest to this...they probably thought I had finally lost whatever marbles I had left. Maybe I did. I learned something today....sometimes all you can do is laugh, because life is often just ridiculous.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Inner War.

Ever do something you know you probably shouldn't? Ever make a decision you know you'll probably regret eventually? Why do we do these things? Why do we do things that our mind tells us not to? What creates this disconnect between our reason and our actions? Is it those darn emotions I previously mentioned?

I'm reminded of a passage that I've been reading a lot in Romans:

" I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!
   So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin."

And the best part, Romans 8:1-2

"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death."

It's kind of nice to know that I'm not the only one who struggles with this. I mean, it might be nice if I saw everything as black and white, or maybe just always acted with wisdom, but I don't. Now I'm not saying this passage gives me an excuse ever time I make a poor choice, the rest of Romans speaks to that, but I am saying that its nice to know that perfection isn't expected 100% of the time....cause that's certainly a standard that I could never reach. I would love to go more in depth, but once again, its 5:30 am....two hours until bedtime. Livin the dream :) 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Sometimes I wish I was more in control of my emotions. Today, my professor made me cry. Once I start, there is no stopping me. Annoying. I'll spare you the details, and instead, focus on the interesting phenomenon we call emotions. I wonder; do animals have emotions, or just instincts? I think dogs get sad, and I'm pretty convinced that Dad's little Sweet-Pea gets jealous, but that's merely speculation. I think our emotions are what distinguish us so much from the other things on the planet. Why do we have them? What do they do? What's the use? And why do other people have such control over them and I seem like I have no control over them? I mean, when I think a guy I like may text me, and he never does, I'm disappointed. When a teacher completely belittles me, I get so upset I could kick a puppy. (Well, no, I couldn't...but hopefully you understand the analogy.)

I'm reminded of a C.S. Lewis quote:

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket — safe, dark, motionless, airless — it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside of Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.

While looking for that quote, I came across the one below. Now I may not be in complete agreement with him, but I certainly understand his point.

Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn't it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up. You build up all these defenses, you build up a whole suit of armor, so that nothing can hurt you, then one stupid person, no different from any other stupid person, wanders into your stupid life...You give them a piece of you. They didn't ask for it. They did something dumb one day, like kiss you or smile at you, and then your life isn't your own anymore. Love takes hostages. It gets inside you. It eats you out and leaves you crying in the darkness, so simple a phrase like 'maybe we should be just friends' turns into a glass splinter working its way into your heart. It hurts. Not just in the imagination. Not just in the mind. It's a soul-hurt, a real gets-inside-you-and-rips-you-apart pain. I hate love.”- Neil Gaiman

I certainly don't hate love, but it resonates, doesn't it?

So, is there a way to not let people have so much control of my emotions? Not care so much what they think? Be more confident in myself? Be more confident in who God made me to be and care what He thinks more than others?  I think we are emotional beings because we are made in the image of God and He Himself is emotional. Probably not in the same overtired or PMSy way that I get, but He has emotions still the same. Interesting. Emotions. Weird. The End for now. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Doors Closing?

Before today, I was not concerned about what I was going to do next fall. I was in the application process for two prestigious programs and felt very confident I would be accepted to both and would succeed in either one I happened to choose. Boy was I startled when I realized that I had spaced on a major part of the application process of one of them. This part of the application was a written activity and was due a week ago! Failure to complete it was “grounds for dismissal.” Drat. I wrote a very apologetic e-mail asking for another chance, but I know if I were them, I would “dismiss” me. The second application I had been “working” on for months, is due tomorrow (well, today.) I transferred to this state and to this school with the specific intention of applying for this particular program, and that was two years ago. Yet, somehow, I managed to wait until the night before to finish applying. Now, to this competitive program, my references will be late, as well as my transcripts. Double Drat. The two programs I originally thought I was a shoe-in (shoo-in?) for, may not even take a second glance at my applications before sending me a courtesy rejection letter. Sigh. Talk about getting knocked off my high horse.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about God being graceful to me. I am reminded more and more every day that there is nothing that I do that earns his grace, but that his grace is a gift, given just because He loves me, He created me, and I am His daughter. He doesn’t withdraw it when I make bad decisions, or ones that are disobedient to His word, even if I think he should.

I have also been noticing lately that God doesn’t like it when we give ourselves credit for what he has done. I was pretty confident that I would get into both programs because I deserved to, because I had worked hard to be the perfect candidate for either. That’s the wrong attitude to have. Instead, I should have been thanking God for who He made me to be and asking Him about His will for this next phase of my life. The cool thing is though, that I know that if I get accepted to either program, it was only by the grace of God, since my efforts were less than admirable. It’s up to him. He has (and has had) the power to shut or open whatever doors he wants in my life. If he wants me to get accepted, he can encourage the applicant reviewers to be merciful. If not, maybe there is something else I should be doing next year. Either way, I know that everything will be just fine.

This leaves me with a lot of questions to sort out. Alas, since it is 5:30 in the morning and I am about to finish my first awake overnight shift at work, I’d better leave it at that.  More to come later….