Monday, December 24, 2012

Traditions

Oh me.
Christmas time is here!

While there are plenty of fantastic traditions associated with Christmas, anticipations, showings of love, present buying, remembering the important things of life, this time of year also holds a particular trend for me:

I get sick.

(...I feel that I have posted more about being sick on this blog than anything else.

This is partly due to the fact that when I am sick, there is little else for me to do save sleep, watch movies, read, or stare at the walls and ceiling. After a while, those tasks become tedious and I turn to typing out things.
The reasons for this typing habit I am yet unsure of. But I know I like the clickity-clack of my keyboard and the feeling of accomplishment that comes from "officially posting" something. I can't do much else productive, so this is therapeutic.)

Almost every Christmas, I have come down with something.

This year it is the flu and a sinus infection.

It all started last Sunday...I'll spare you the details. It has not been a very fun week, but I will say that I now have antibiotics, which should heal me up nicely.

There is one little downside to said antibiotics: they completely remove my appetite.

The thought of food is off-putting, which is unfortunate, since it is important to life/health, and doubly unfortunate, because this is the time of year when all the scrumptious treats and goodies are made.

But even amid the sickness and not feeling well, Christmas is here, and it is heartwarming family time. I am reminded of how richly blessed I am.

Perhaps I just needed to spend a week or two sleeping after this semester. 


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Lover of books. Books, books, books.


A few months ago, I was posting about being allergic to my book collection.
I didn't get rid of my books.

...I still have said collection, and it's growing.

I love books.

Some people say this, but I realllly do.

I often prefer reading a book to watching a movie. In books, the reader gets to decide just what everyone and everything looks like, whereas in movies, you get to see what Hollywood and the director dictates.

...maybe it's a control issue for me. I want everything to look the way I imagine it, which is more than anyone could put on a screen.

 Either way, my bibliophila is a small problem.


I should never ever go into book stores, especially used book stores where good deals can be had.
Yesterday I found 8 books (and some of them were compilations -- meaning, even more books for my money!)
A few of them were gorgeously bound hardbacks. I am a sucker for a beautifully bound novel, especially if it's a classic.

The stack of yet unopened and unread books, just waiting to be devoured, is exciting.

Something to tack on awkwardly at the end of this post:
I have been noticing that I am starting to read some novels just for the writing style. It's almost like a form of music, to read beautifully crafted prose. Oscar Wilde is a perfect case of this. When I read The Picture of Dorian Grey, I was not fond of the storyline, but I enjoyed how well the book was written. I've started to read other things by Oscar Wilde just for the fact he was so clever and good at writing.

What on earth is happening to me? Am I growing up?

Someday, maybe, possibly, hopefully, I will achieve that similar ability to weave descriptions and dialogue so my reader feels they are right in the situation with me.

I'm sure you know this, but, not all prose is good prose. I have read some badly written published work.
Question: HOW DO SOME RAGS GET PUBLISHED??

When I tried to read Twilight (yeah, yeah, everyone ribs on Twilight, but I am serious), I couldn't get over the bad syntax.

Maybe I should have gone through that "book" with a red marker and sent it back to the publisher. Instead, I got halfway through and decided it was not worth the time. I wish I could write something halfhearted and hokey, get it somehow (magically?) published, and rake in the millions!
.
...but so does everyone, I am sure.

If I had mailed the marked-up book in, maybe I could have gotten a job as an editor!

Now, that would be a fun job.


I'm afraid that I'm turning into a book snob. Oh dear.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Finding Sanctuary


I have been feeling far away from God.

I've been feeling like maybe I'm not really usable, like I am not good enough for being useful.
 I have been tired, stressed, and sick off and on -- still, no excuse.

GRUMP = Makenzie.

I've given in to my selfishness a few too many times, which means I am not fun to be around. I didn't even like myself.
You'd think I'd get it, go to God, and sort it out.

But this thing hung over me like a thick fog. 

I had gone to a few on-campus outreach events, and I got nothing
How could I? I was wrapped up in me.

I was feeling like a very bad Christian.

I was getting to the point of thinking I was hopeless.

Recently, the story of the Prodigal came up. (It's from Luke 15)
You may be familiar with this parable.
I know I am, I've heard it a dozen times at least.

A father has two sons: the younger wants his inheritance and wants to leave his family behind.
The father gives him what he wants and the son goes on his merry way.
The money disappears as the son spends the inheritance on frivolities.
A famine hits the land he's in.
He gets a job.
Feeding pigs is his new occupation. (and pigs were highly unclean to the audience -- they were considered to be just nasty)
He is so hungry, he wants to eat pig slop.
The son realizes his father's servants have it better working for his dad than he does feeding pigs, so he sets off to see his dad to beg for a job.

NOW, this is what hit me:
The son was approaching the father's estate, but he was still far off. 
While he was still far off, his father saw him. He must have been looking for his son.
The father ran to his child.
He wrapped his arms around his son.
He kissed him.

This son is probably nasty from feeding pigs/his journey.
He has nothing. He had insulted his father by saying he wanted his inheritance, which meant his father was dead to him.
His plan was just to beg for a servant's job.
If I were that son, I'd be heading over -- head down, shuffling forward: mortified and full of shame.


I would be embarrassed, rehearsing an apology, hoping it would work to get me some semblance of compassion. 

But his father ran to him. The son didn't even say anything.

After his father hugged him, the son fell at his feet and apologized saying he would gladly work as a servant if it were possible.

But the father gave him the family crest and declared the son was his son and that it was time to rejoice.

The imagery that comes with that makes me feel a deep emotion because I'm getting it.

I have heard this story countless times; I thought I had gotten all I needed from the story.

annnd, I was wrong.

I was just in that spot of realizing that I needed God.

I am admittedly a horrible human being without Him; I don't like who I become when I'm not walking with Him. I'm prideful, whining...well, let's not go there.

I realized how much I needed to reconnect.

So, I was slowing edging towards Him, full of remorse, but not sure how to go about making it all right.

I was far off.

And HE RAN TO ME. 

He embraced me.

I experienced a relief, like when you've been holding your breath underwater and you surface, gulping in fresh air.

Or when you've been out working in the sweltering heat, and you get a glass of ice-cold lemonade and sit in the shade.

That ahhh feeling.


The thought that God runs to us, embraces us, and declares us as HIS, even when we've taken our inheritance and run off, even when we have been pretending like He doesn't matter, is huge.
When we come back, He accepts us.

It's not like He halfheartedly saves, or barely saves us, all the while despairing at how much we screw up.

When we are His, He goes above and beyond, enveloping us in acceptance because He loves us that much.

That kind of love is not like anything else. It is inexplicable...I could try to describe it, but I wouldn't do it justice. It's joy-bringing.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

space cadet.

Ideas, inspiration, thoughts, and issues all cloud my mind, competing for attention.

This may sound sad, but I can easily be entertained. Maybe my standard of entertainment is low.

Once, I did a traffic count for the DOT. I sat on a street corner for 2 hour intervals, counting pedestrians and bikes. (hey, it was good money)

If anything could be boring, it's sitting still for hours.
It wasn't a busy intersection, but I was strangely okay with that sort of sitting still. I was lost in thought, appreciating the surroundings, and counting the few who used the intersection.

I'm not saying I would make that my JOB, but I was able to do it.

I've rarely ever been legitimately bored.
This lack of boredom is something my parents instilled; if I ever complained about being bored, they could find me a task. Sometimes it was entertaining, a craft or a project; other times it was extra chores. I appreciate that they taught me to never allow myself to be bored.

I've trained my mind to occupy itself with ponderings all the time. I like to take on projects.

A downside to always having something to mentally munch on: your mind gets full to overflowing with thought.
Thank God for the invention of writing! Otherwise, my brain would most likely explode.

Another downside to this sort of over-thinking: it is so easy to be a space cadet, absentmindedly floating in one's own world.
It has been embarrassing on a few occasions, because I have found out later that I saw someone I knew, made eye contact even, without even realizing it.
How mortifying.  
I should work on that sort of awareness. I really don't want to come off as rude.

So, if you do see me and I'm not at least smiling at you, please do something to get my attention and pull me out of my thoughts.

...I'm already well on my way to becoming an absent-minded professor.
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