Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Insomnia and "Duh" Moments

Sleep has been pretty hard to come by lately, and it's starting to get frustrating. I thought that I was done with this a couple months ago, but I guess that was only a small respite. It doesn't happen every night, but the frequency is picking up again; kind of like a train picking up speed. This is not a train I would like to board.

Maybe I just have a lot on my mind. If that's the case then some blogging might help, or it could tire me out at least. I never wanted to use my blog as a place to vent about my issues, but I feel like I just need to get some things out, especially since sleeping is not much of an option right now. The way I see it, I have at least three main issues on my mind: I am getting pretty close to graduation and I don't know where (or if) I will be working afterward; Since I don't know where I'll be working, I don't know where I will be living; The last thing is something that I have, for whatever reason, decided to keep to a minimum on my blog. I guess I don't want somebody I care about to just stumble upon it on here (which is a funny thought because I don't know how many people read this anyway) but it's something that is best said in person. At any rate, it starts with a D and the second half rhymes with "horse." Call me if you need further explanation.


To put it like Dr. Klaus's Lutheran Hour sermon a couple weeks ago, I just had a "duh" moment. In my complaining I just realized that these issues that I have been worrying about so much are just the things that God wants us to take to Him in prayer. I almost deleted this post because the complaining I did in the beginning seems so, for lack of a better word, silly. I decided to keep it because it helped me realize something important. When I said "call me if you need further explanation," I guess God picked up the phone...

I don't want people to get the idea that I haven't been praying about these things. I have actually prayed about them quite a bit. My problem hasn't been in the delivery however, but in the follow-through. I have gone to God with my worries--but then I keep worrying about them! Imagine asking a friend to help you get through your "to do" list and then racking your brain about how you are going to manage to get it all done yourself. Yeah, it's kinda like that. I don't expect God to fill out my resume or go house-hunting for me; those are my department. God wants to handle my worry though, and from what I've read about it in His book, He's pretty good at it.

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Matt. 11:28

Maybe I should spend less time worrying and more time praying--and then actually letting my worries go. Besides, life isn't about my "to do" list anyway; it's about God's. I would also say that I should spend less time blogging about my worrying, but that actually turned into something constructive here. I did say that some blogging might help, right?!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Changing Gears

I haven't written anything on here for awhile. I've really wanted to, but it's been a bit hard to find anything that's really worth writing about lately. That's what I thought anyway, until just now when I sat down and forced my fingers to start typing...something...anything!

Last week I decided that my brain needed to shift gears for awhile; try something new. I have always admired people who can draw/sketch/paint. My grandmother was an amazing painter, and I have a photo of one of her best paintings hanging in my bedroom (I've actually been thinking of moving it to the living room so other people can enjoy it). The actual painting is hanging in my parent's house until I have a permanent place to display it. My mom acquired the talent, and I love watching her paintings progress on her blog or whenever I make it home for a visit (I think I have a link to her art page somewhere on here). I also consider my sister to be a very talented painter.

Up until last week I guess I figured that the "art gene" was limited to the women in my family, so I never really tried much in that category. As I said earlier however, I felt that my brain needed a gear shift, so I grabbed my sketchbook and a picture of one of my favorite places (Greyrock up the Poudre Canyon) and I began a pencil sketch. It's not quite finished yet, but I'm happy with the result so far. Even if the drawing isn't any good "the result" can also refer to how relaxing it was just to sit with some music and draw. Now I see why my grandma, my mom, and my sister enjoy painting. It really helps to refocus the mind, especially when things aren't going so great.

I hope to have it finished when I go home to visit the folks for Easter this weekend. When it's done, I might get up enough nerve to post it on here. We'll see!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Leaf Piles and Herb Gardens

How can these two things have any relation to each other? I didn't make a connection until recently, as I sat and let my thoughts run free. As I sat in contemplation, I made some deep observations about my life the last few months. This blog post won't be like many of the others I usually write.

Last spring, we started an herb garden in the kitchen window. As the herbs grew and thrived in the sun, the kitchen was filled with the fresh scent of herbs. In October, I could see the leaves falling from the trees through the kitchen herb window; a milestone of the changing of seasons. I raked the leaves in the front yard into a huge pile just waiting to be jumped in. We always played in the leaves, but some drastic changes were in the works last fall and this pile was left untouched. The first snow buried it for the duration of the winter months. Like the pile of leaves, the herb garden was also left untouched and it died. I closed the window blinds.

Yesterday I raked the pile of leaves. They were pretty wet and gross from sitting in a snowbank for several months, but there was still some new grass trying to green up underneath. When it was all cleaned up, I saw my first robin of spring; yet another milestone of changing seasons. Today I replanted the herbs in the window. All that was left of the old herbs was withered up leaves and dried up soil. When I was finished planting, the smell of fresh soil filled the kitchen and the dried up leaves from the old herbs left a sweet smell--one last time.

This whole business of old leaf piles and dried up herb gardens being cleaned up and replanted helped to remind me about the renewal and rebirth found through Christ. When life threw me an inside curve ball at the end of this last year I was at a loss for what to do. I felt like the leaf pile and the dead herbs would outlast some larger issues. In a way, these two things started to represent those bigger problems, somewhat like a shrine to "the issue." God has a speciel way of helping us see that His undying love will always endure, and that through Him we can get through anything life throws our way.

I cleaned up the leaves and replanted the herbs. As a result I saw new grass, I heard a robin's song, and I smelled the freshness of new soil mixed with the final smell of something good that had passed away. It was as if God was holding me in His embrace and telling me, "See, it's not so bad. I have made everything new. Life goes on."

"He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death
or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed
away. He who was seated on the throne said, 'I am making everyting new!'
Then he said, 'Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."

Revelation 21:4-5

Saturday, March 13, 2010

What happens in Vegas...

...ends up in my blog! Well, the highlights anyway. This last week was my final trip as a member of the CSU Band. I played my last Fight Song after a disappointing loss to SDSU on Thursday night and sang my last Alma Mater as we pulled up to the UCA last night at 12:30. As my time as a band member slowly drew to a close, I took some time to reflect on how my "last hurrah" in Vegas with the band was definitely an adventure.

First off, I'd like to mention that there are some really great people that I have come to know in the band. Vegas was an opportunity to hang out with these great folks in an "out of band" experience that led to some really great times and lasting memories. Given my current situation with someone I had spent almost my entire CSU "career" with (especially in band-related activities), I took this opportunity to break out of my usual clique. I spent some time with people I had always considered to be good "band friends" but never really hung out with. Between late-night bowling, hot-tubbing, Fremont Street, the Hofbrauhaus, and walking around just taking it all in, I found myself in a new "rat pack" so to speak.

One of the truly memorable points was the game against SDSU on Thursday. The men's game against SDSU was both heart-breaking and heart-warming. Our team played fairly well, but we ended up losing by one point. Our desperate three-point shot at the buzzer fell a little short, but I hold true to the fact that our guy was horrendously fouled just outside the three-point line and should have been given shots that may have won the game. With the outcome of the game aside, the band sounded amazing! In the last 10 minutes of game time, we had the entire place rocking. Our usual small group of die hard CSU fans was increased by a factor of 10 (not kidding) with fans from around the conference all chanting for CSU. We had people from UNN and UNLV even starting up chants for CSU that they had converted from their own stuff, and every time the band would play we were met with a roaring crowd. It felt like everyone in the Mountain West (except SDSU) was a Ram for the night. It almost brought me to tears. I will feel like I will remember that night for a long time when I look back to being a proud member of the CSU Band.

As far as gambling goes, I actually left Las Vegas this year with more money that I started with. I played some blackjack on Tuesday night and left the table $20 up. After giving a buddy a crash course on how to play back at the hotel Wednesday morning, I proceeded to lose my Tuesday winnings as well as the $20 I had spent to buy in. My friend ended up winning $5 and calling it quits. After our basketball team lost on Thursday I hit the tables again before we had to leave the next morning. One of the guys from the UNM cheer squad also playing at the table won over $200, but a guy from UNLV slowly lost an equal amount. I never imagined that I would be holding a $100 chip, but when I finally cashed out, I was holding $125 in Southpoint Casino chips. Wow! It was a great way to end the night (well, it was actually about 4:30 in the morning when I was done).

I have thought recently that life is a lot like a book with many sub-books and chapters that are all interrelated into one amazing story (a lot like the Bible actually). The book about my as life as a CSU band member is almost finished. It has contained some amazing chapters about friendship, camaraderie, and love; and some of the chapters have shown some deep conflict, sadness, and hurt (especially recently). I feel like the chapter just written about this final trip to the Tournament in Vegas showed a lot of climax and resolution with some amazing experiences and friends that helped begin a great ending. As the epilogue is written, it's time for me to look to some of the other books I'm writing.

Turn the page, but don't close the book.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Gym

I was looking at my blog today and noticed that all my entries to date have been several paragraphs long! I thought it would be nice to give a break to weary eyes and write a quick note about something simple.

I LOVE the gym. I started going at the start if this semester and found that I haven't been this dedicated to working out since high school. Along with working my body into better shape, I find that I have the chance to work out some of the issues in my own mind as well. Whether it's taking a long time to think while on the bike or treadmill, getting out some frustration and angst while hitting the speed bag, or thinking about absolutely nothing and letting the "animal mind" take over for awhile while using a weight machine, I find that time spent at the gym is time well spent. Once things starting warming up for the "spring thaw" I hope to transfer some of my gym time to the glorious outdoors.

Here's to time spent at the gym! A time of physical improvement and personal reflection. Cheers!