Sunday, November 29, 2009

How to make the best egg sandwich

Bread (The best kind are either english muffins or bagels. If you have Montreal bagels you are golden)
Cream Cheese (Best kind is either smoked salmon or herb and garlic)
Cheese (Old cheddar - the older, the better)
Meat (Prosciutto. You gotta have prosciutto)

Making an egg sandwich is a very well-timed art. I'm serious. Time is of the essence in the egg sandwich making. You can make an egg sandwich in less than five minutes, and it will be amazing.

1. Get a small frying pan, put it on the burner, turn it on max
2. Get butter out of the fridge, and put some in the pan. Hopefully, the pan should be hot enough to melt it, but if it isn't, that's okay.
3. While waiting for butter to melt, take the cheese and cut it into about five slices.
4. By the time you've got a small pile of cheese ready to go, the butter should be completely melted, starting to bubble, and having lined the whole pan.
5. Crack the egg into the pan. Turn the burner to just above medium heat.
6. Put the toast in the toaster. Now it's crunch time. By the time the toast pops the egg will be cooked, so you have to move fast.
7. Now, I'm a fan of flipping the egg, and having it flipped, but still runny in the middle. This is extremely difficult to do, and usually winds up in an awful looking egg that burns and goes solid. The last few times I've been trying to just not flip it at all, and let it be, and this has yielded good results.
8. Wait for the toast to pop, keep an eye on the egg. Get the prosciutto ready.
9. The toast pops, so turn the burner to below medium heat.
10. Spread the cream cheese on one side of the toast, then set the meat on top.
11. Turn off the burner. Place the egg on top of the meat, the cheese on top of the egg. The order should be: cream cheese, meat, egg, cheese.
12. Put the other slice of bread on top, cut it in two pieces.
13. It will be very messy due to a newly broken yolk. But so delicious. ENJOY!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

God, Africa, Stress, and Baroque music

I had one of the loveliest dreams I had ever had the other night.

(This may sound blasphemous) but I dreamt that I was God, and that I was calling people by their true names. It was strange, and lovely. I felt like I had so much love for people, and that by naming them, I was calling them by what I had created them to be; to what their best potential was. It was weird, because what had happened in the dream was that God had spoken through somebody else, and then named ME God, and then I had to name everyone. It was like by naming me, I had a large and grand purpose, a reason for existing, and I had to tell people their wonderful reasons for existing in naming them. Like I could see all of the reasons behind everything, and had a deep knowledge, deep heartbreak, and deep love for everything. And I called them all by names of Saints, or names of Angels. I slept in to see the conclusion of the dream, and throughout it, I felt extraordinarily happy, or just peaceful. I really liked it.

I had a great conversation with Isaiah on Tuesday. He works in the cafe at EBC on Tuesdays, so I go in and visit him, and I love talking with him. I often feel like he's far more researched than I am, so his knowledge and insight into that research gives clarity to ideas that I dream about that are still foggy. Plus, he's already thinking about my ideas, so it's great to have someone thinking on the same wavelength as you are. We talked about so many things in the space of a few hours, that are usually gigantic conversations in and of themselves.

We talked about foreign aid. This past summer, when I was at the CSL, Matt Lockhart and I had a terrific conversation with Edmund, a Ghanaian who works for International Needs, and is an accountant. To talk to an accountant from Africa, would be talking to an expert on issues relevant to Africa, so I was very excited. His opinion was that Africa should not receive foreign aid at all, and that this was in fact detrimental to the countries. What they should do instead is unite all of the countries and become the United States of Africa, because with the incredible amount of natural resources the continent boasts, they could become the most powerful country in the world. I wanted Isaiah's opinion on it. Debt is interesting because all countries have debt, and all of it, he said, is unrealistic debt. I'm not sure what the best route is in the whole issue, nor by any stretch of the imagination at all do I have any form of authority to even speak a well-researched opinion into it. Though I did do some research. The United States of Africa concept has been floating around for the past fifty years, and countries are torn on it. The main countries that support it are Ghana, Senegal and Zimbabwe, where apparently South Africa (which is the richest African nation), and Nigeria aren't as interested.

There were so many other things we talked about: relativism, unity, yet not losing the salt and value in the traditions people are so convicted over. It was very good. It felt like a pile of ideas I was thinking of crammed into a two-hour session of awesomeness. :) Which is good, I needed it, though I know I should have been doing other things. It's been a bad semester, all in all. I should never have to look forward to a semester ending; it costs too much money to be in a school when you don't want to be there, but the workload was too big, the schedule was VERY bad, and I haven't had time to get everything all done, though I've done my very best. I also tried to do it while maintaining the same level of connection with my friends. I'm not sure if that's a bad idea. I'm thinking it was, because something that is important to know (and a lesson I've learned these past few weeks) stress levels will most definitely transcend into other facets of life, and that's never fun!

This week was pretty crazy. Last week I remembered that I'm playing piano for the Christmas production at EBC, so I looked at the music for the first time, and realized that it's actually HARD. I should have learned the Hallelujah Chorus at least a month ago. I'm so thankful for headphones. It has meant many nights spent up late playing, and trying to memorize it. I'm pretty impressed at myself; my piano teacher would be so proud. I don't like the Baroque period. Bach was a mathematician more than a musician, though he did love music. But a lot of it was about numerical perfections in the pieces, not to mention the Baroque music is VERY hard to memorize. Romantic music has distinctive tunes, and melodies. Baroque doesn't because Baroque wants to be mathematically correct. This makes it hard to memorize. It's also about fugues, polyphonic melodies that run all over the place, and confuse you, and everything being in the SAME CHORD, because Baroque is also excited about chords, because they just invented chords. It's like the Bronze Age for chording. Of course, we haven't really gone far beyond that because we always play the same chord progressions because they sound theoretically correct and best, and if anybody breaks from that, they either get jazz (which has it's own chording system now) or abstract things that don't make sense. Wow. I just read that last paragraph; it sounds so disjointed because I thought I would take a break from doing the usual run-on sentences I tend to do anyway. I now see why I like run-on sentences so much. I feel like each sentence is chopped into pieces by a knife or something - it's so disjointed!

Uh, anyway...

Friday, November 20, 2009

I miss Caroline.

I just sent this e-mail to Caroline a couple of days ago:

Dearest Caroline.

I miss you.

I miss your doodles on the sides of your notebook. I miss that random blonde highlight in your hair that never got tangled. I miss how when I couldn't tell the difference between left and right, I could shout "Matt!" or "Caroline!" And you'd know what I mean. I miss sleeping with you. Even though you didn't like sleeping with me. I miss your random funny faces. And I miss when you would hum random and pretty things in the other room while I was brushing my teeth. I miss the incredible amount of scarves you produced when I taught you how to crochet. I liked how all the boys in Ghana tried to marry you. Even more than Kelsey, because you wanted to be a teacher. I always wondered what the patch felt like. And you kicked butt at washing dishes. I miss your talks about the environment, and your love for the book "Sex God" (Did you ever secretly want to marry Rob Bell? We all knew how much Lockhart had a teenage-girl like crush on Tony Campolo.) I miss your sermons, and how you were REEEALLY good at playing Apples to Apples. I miss how, whenever we all got into big arguments and horrible two-hour long check-ins (which was pretty much every check-in we did) you were able to calm Josh down while Lockhart and I would sneak out and take pictures of things and this is how I grew to really like photography. I liked how Jacob prophesied that your motion sickness would be cured when you have a kid, except you really don't want to have kids. I don't think I do either. Birthing sounds like a messy process that involves ripping, tearing, sweating, and crying. No thank-you. However, I would like to have sex one day, but not right now. And I still don't feel that great about birth control either, even though a lot of people tell me the pill's a good idea, very close friends of mine have still put forth Natural Family Planning as a very convincing alternative. More so convincing because they're not pregnant. Anyway. I miss your poofy sleeping bag, all of your shirts, and your colorful "happy skirt". I miss your freakishly accurate sense of smell. Lockhart smelled good though. Especially after Paul Fletcher gave him a bottle of Stetson cologne. You could have kicked butt in playing the "pa-diddle" car "one-light on" game that Matt and I always played, but you never played it. I wondered why for a long time, but it never kept me up at night. I miss your very firm handshake. Whenever I hear the word, "Promiscuous", I think of you. And Matt. I like how that one day, that old lady called Matt beautiful because he had beautiful blonde curls, and as soon as she left the room, he said, "Okay I'm getting my hair cut tonight." I miss Matt's patchy mustaches. And how he loved us in a non-sexual way. I miss your Mountain Equipment Co-op packsack. And your big purse, and your bell-bottom jeans.

It's getting late. I thought of you while on the bus this morning, so I wrote this, then I went to Psych of Death and Dying class. Now I'm tired. So I will go to bed. :) Goodnight!


This is what she wrote back:

Oh Jessie, I miss you too. I miss Ghana too. The YBs are going in two weeks!

I was thinking about a lot of things to give you in the reply back, hopefully they'll come to mind
I miss seeing you type like a maniac, in your weird way that was/is so fast and accurate. I miss learning crocheting techniques from you and having rainbow yarn in the house and van. I miss how you and the team and I would always go to random thrift stores all over Ontario and beyond. I miss fighting with Matt over who we should and shouldn't wave at from the front window. I miss all of the wonderfully creative photographs you and Matt took, and his discovery that he was creative afterall. I miss having someone with me who will challenge me everyday with my preconceptions ;) I miss how I'd go to bed at night without you, and wake up in the middle of the night and you'd be there. I miss good checkins, but I don't really miss the totally intense ones where people were getting hurt etc. I miss the feeling of coming back to the CSL and having a few days to just be and regroup. I miss singing to God with Pastor Jacob before breakfast. I miss how you could remember license plate numbers, and telephone numbers, and amazing seemingly random facts, but couldn't remember peoples' names. I miss listening to you play the piano. I miss Josh talking about the city ;). I miss giving away books to new friends. I miss hearing you sing and laugh at the same time. I miss how you were hopeless at telling your lefts from your rights. I miss how you were not a good driver, but how you kicked butt at learning standard. I miss your neon clothing. I miss balogna games. I miss hearing about saints all the time. I miss how you loved my silly moments. I miss how Matt was so reliable, and if he was late, we knew it was for a good reason. I miss sharing my nightly dreams with you- like the time I dreamdt that you said you loved me but didn't like me, and how that has persisted to this day in our conversations. I love you Jessie, and I like you too. May God bless your day :)- Caroline

This is what I said in return:


That made me laugh out loud. :) Do you remember when Matt honked and waved at the high school girls that were stretching for soccer practice? Or the time when Josh preached this huge sermon to Mike about the importance of the environment, then went on to say that he would burn a couch in a bonfire? I remember when Matt and Gordo ran out to chase and shoot a raccoon. Or when Matt and I would shoot that really cheap ceramic statue that said, "Maybe Someday" on the bottom with a bb-gun. And it didn't break. I remember how you guys couldn't believe I didn't know who Brock Wiebe was, because apparently I had sat next to him numerous times at different events. I still don't know who he is, but I'm sure he's a nice person. I remember when we had morning prayers in the hot tub. Or when Matt asked us what we thought about push-up bras. I remember when you talked in your sleep, and you said, "I have a boyfriend!" I also remember when we joined that crew of really nice sports cars in our big old ugly van. I remember Peter. I wonder what he's doing now. I also remember when we shone the spotlight on the boys when they went naked pier jumping, though I'm pretty sure you didn't join us on that one. I remember that one time we had to bring a van full of empties to the beer store, and it took us ages to unload all of those bottles and cans. I remember when you suggested "Uncircumcized Gentiles" as a theme for the year. I remember when we filmed the random horror film that MJ wrote, and the expression on your face when you killed people. I remember when we all thought that Mitchell Peterson had a crush on me. He probably did. Even though he is a wicked pianist and has long hair, I never really reciprocated those feelings, though. I remember getting locked in the bathroom in Pennsylvania, and climbing out the window, across the roof, and down the tree. I remember when we all got our hair braided in Ghana, and you could see Jill's skull, and Kelsey looked like she was wearing a helmet, and I had black hair, but yours looked awesome. I remember how the day trip to Baltimore was the only day in the ENTIRE FLIPPING YEAR that the four of us didn't fight. I remember the times when we went to Timmy Ho's (because that's what Matt called it) and he went through the drive-thru. I always liked it when he asked if they parlez-vous francais-ed, and when they said no, he would say, "Oh good. Neither do I." or the other time when he asked if they took Canadian Tire money, and when they didn't, he said, "Well they do in Newfoundland!" I remember when the Americans would tease us about saying "abowt" with our Canadian accents. I remember, and really miss, Turkey Hill Iced Tea. That stuff was good. I remember how we all got so good at pirating internet from coffee shops. I remember how we would talk about which songs were our make-out songs, and what kind of people we wanted to date. I miss our van conversations. I remember listening to Tony Campolo podcasts, and rap music. I remember how efficient and fast we were at getting things planned and done, and then how long it took the other team to do stuff because they would like, have a pillow fight, or hug each other, or something. I remember the one day where all of us wore matching brown shirts and blue jeans without planning to.

And then, I remember, on the very day that YB ended, one of my friends invited me to the movies, and I said, "I can't stay out too late because Caroline will want to get to bed."


Monday, November 16, 2009

The cheesiest chunk of literature I had ever heard in my life.

One time, I was sitting with Ryan Mahon and he opened up my blog, and started to read it. Out loud. It was the cheesiest chunk of literature I had ever heard in my life. I kept on telling him to stop, because it sounded so cheesy. This only spurned him on. I wonder if he still reads my blog. I don't think it's become any less cheesy.

Here's 25 things about me, that I am going to try to think about that nobody may know.

1. I like to pick bouquets of wildflowers to celebrate the end of exams.
2. I've always wanted to be a professional figure skater. I still do.
3. Whenever I get upset about something, I think about becoming an astronaut, and going to the moon, and this somehow cheers me up.
4. When I was very little, my dad had a freshwater aquarium (he has since upgraded to saltwater) one time I stuck my face up to the glass to find a dead fish staring back at me. I screamed and ran to my mother to get it out, but it was so big and heavy it broke the net, and I refused to go back into that room. She ended up having to call our next door neighbor to get the fish out. Since then, I've had a fear of dead fish.
5. When I was a kid, I was terrified of public restrooms. The smell of a clean washroom still sends shivers down my spine.
6. In my mind I think in third-person, as though a narrator is narrating everything.
7. The movie Home Alone terrified me when I was a kid. I like it now though.
8. I was afraid of my hair turning brown when I grew up, because my parents have brown hair.
9. Toilets. At campsites. Are the scariest/the worst. Whenever I go camping (even to this day) and the bathroom is too scary, I will look for an overhanging tree branch in a secluded area.
10. I will rehearse conversations habitually, and actually mouth the words out loud when I'm walking somewhere. I wonder if people who are walking by me think I'm crazy.
11. I take a long time in the bathroom every morning not because I'm trying to look pretty, but because I like to practice various speeches in front of the mirror.
12. I have dreams of flying quite often, but in those dreams, I'm a really awful flyer. I have bad aerodynamics, and my technique consists of me jumping off of a high ledge, or doing a triple-jump (Mario style) and flapping my arms excessively until I'm high enough. I bend my knees and use my feet to steer.
13. I frequently have nightmares of toilets eating me.
14. I do sit-ups every night.
15. Sometimes funny memories will come into my head and I'll laugh out loud, and people will think I'm laughing for no reason.
16. Whenever I played Ninjas with Shawn Williams, I was the sky-blue ninja, because the sky-blue ninja can fly.
17. The Paramount theater in Hanover had these atrociously ugly green curtains for the past twenty years. I want to steal these curtains when they finally decide to replace them.
18. Every morning, when I walked to school, there was this tree on the corner where the sidewalk ended. I would reach up, grab a leaf from the tree, and tear it to pieces in the same pattern.
19. The very first person I made a phone call to was Allison Smith, in grade 1. She sat across from me. Her mother answered the phone, and I got really shy, so I hung up.
20. Now, whenever I call Allison Smith, I hope that the answering machine will come on so that I can leave a funny, pointless, and long message for her.
21. I was always afraid I would miss the bus for school, so every morning I would run to the bus stop. Even on the mornings I was on time I would still run. It became habit, or my own jogging routine.
22. Apparently Gina Williams would watch me run to the bus stop every morning.
23. I like dresses with poofy sleeves. Anne of Green Gables liked dresses with poofy sleeves too.
24. I like the feeling of crunchy leaves, or crunching ice. I can't stand the feeling/sound of stepping on soft snow. It reminds me of velvet.
25. Whenever I travel to a new place, the first thing I do is look for the shower. Then I continually keep an eye out for exotic looking bathrooms to pee in.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


One of my friends e-mailed me this week, and it got me thinking about Hanover, and just about growing up there. It especially got me thinking of my last year of high school. I have known this for a while, but I really hadn't realized the enormous extent that that last year profoundly changed a lot of things in my life. Truly, I would be in a completely different location, doing completely different things had the direction of that last year gone differently.

I was seventeen. In grade 11, I did a co-op at the church helping with youth group with Sam, and was just, very involved in that whole group of people. I wasn't exactly close with anyone in that group really though, and often felt a sense of distance from every single one of them at some point or another. It reached a climax that summer when I went on a weekend-long retreat, and instead of spending time with the people I had known and claimed to love for years, instead I sought new friends, and spent that weekend meeting new people and avoiding the ones from home. There was something seriously wrong when you're part of a community of people, yet don't feel especially apart of it - and I'd been feeling that for years. When I was fifteen, I got into an awful fight with one of those guys, and everyone took his side in the fight. I know they didn't intend it, but harsh feelings were definitely held against me for years by many people following that whole fiasco (most of them probably didn't even know WHY they had harsh feelings for me) and it was a primary and at the same time unconscious motivator in what I did next.

I completely changed my primary group of friends. Psychologically, to make a shift in a group of friends, a community you hold yourself accountable to and they to you, and then to flip that community over and swap it for new people, is a really big change. There were/still aren't any ill feelings held towards the old group of friends, it was just time for a chance to find a group that could hopefully understand me deeper. I realize that a large theme of being a teenager for me, was just trying to be understood and seeking people who would understand me. And really, it's a huge risk whenever someone does something as drastic as switch over their entire communities. You're back at Square One. You're in an unknown world, with unknown people, hoping they are indeed good people who will have your back, and hoping this experience may prove more positive than the last. Everyone makes a shift in their circles at some points in their life obviously - usually when they move out, and it's usually more gradual than this. I realized that I had been waiting for this shift to happen since I was fifteen, and that fight happened with that one guy. It's not like I was directly thinking about this, or dwelling on something that had happened years earlier; I think this was all unconscious, but it's crazy, how little things like one argument, or a couple of new friends can profoundly influence huge decisions that can actually alter the course of your life.

I was immediately drawn to these new people for two big reasons: they were fun, and they didn't know a thing about me. I remember thinking this, and feeling safe about it. They didn't know me, so they couldn't come up with pre-judgments, and maybe (I thought to myself) this time "I have a chance to not screw it up!" Plus they were a lot of fun. The restrictions that some of my more conservative friends have they didn't have as much, and they weren't afraid to have the kind of fun that I thrived off of. I would find myself racing down unmaintained roads in the middle of the night, or jumping into rivers, games of car tag, going out for wings (all the time), referring to Sunday as "Random Adventure Day", and all kinds of other fun memories.

Obviously... things happen. People screw things up. I have come to learn though that it isn't to avoid that happening, but rather to repair what has and will happen, because it's a part of life, and the ones who seek to make it better, and to love despite conflict, are the real friends that are worth holding close. This is friendship in it's truest, goriest form. I like it.

It's worth thinking about, at least for me, because in July of 2006, I was convinced that I was going to go to this tiny little University in this remote village near Algonquin Park. Thinking about it now, I realize my motivation in going to the school in the first place was to see more of those friends I had met when I had gone on a retreat with my youth group. I was looking for a new community before I had found it. And obviously, I didn't end up going to that school; in July of 2007 I did something completely different, and much more fitting. All in all, I'm glad I did.

I've definitely changed a lot since then as well. Reading my old blog was like reading about a completely different person, except that I could remember writing it, and knew all the nuances and stories behind the words on the paper. Here is how I've changed:

* I am still awkward, but in a different way, and less awkward in social situations. Or at least, more aware of when it gets awkward, and good at laughing it off, and making new friends because of it.
* I'm not as loud as I was then. I've quieted down.
* I was a better writer when I was younger though.
* I cry WAY more than I did then. This sounds CRAZY and hard to believe, but I'm fairly certain that I've cried on average once a week for the past three years or so. I'm also extremely good at hiding it, which is why people can never tell if I had been crying, or if I'm sitting next to them and crying, even.
* I'm more aware of others in the face of conflict, and really work hard to resolve conflict compassionately
* I feel like I've become less selfish, or at least have developed more compassion for those around me
* I look older. In my eyes I do. I have a wrinkle on my forehead. :)
* I've matured. People think I'm older than I actually am, and will guess my age at 22, or 23... never 20...
* My sense of humor has changed, and my favorite colors have changed - they're not as BRIGHT, but more... vibrant. If that makes sense. I understand it, and I'm writing this blog to mostly clarify my thoughts.
* I don't need wild and crazy adventures to have fun anymore. Though they still are fun once in a while.
* My favorite band changed from Relient K, to Coldplay.
* I am much better at photography.
* I'm still in grade 10 piano, however, I've learned more new songs and have finally expanded my repertoire significantly with some new ARCT level pieces. I've also developed my ability to sing, and gained confidence in that.
* My parents did sell the house I grew up in. I really miss it. Losing something as constant as a home you've had your entire life is a great way for someone to feel extremely displaced. Especially after they've spent an entire year living out of a suitcase.

It's just interesting to me to think about why I'm here, and where I came from.

And my blog from when I was about 14-17...

Sunday, November 1, 2009

As deeply as I love

I really try to be aware of myself, and the things I'm doing. Funny thing about this is, that you are always looking, and can easily miss the most blatantly obvious things. Or worse, think you're an awful person all the time, and constantly need to improve, rather than celebrate what you've done well, and strive to improve where you see improvement is needed. If playing the piano has taught me anything (besides one of the most wonderful blessings in my life) it's always to be evenly critical. To think in your mind, "YES! I aced that cadenza but I needed to improve that last arpeggio at the end, and I can do that by practicing scales." (then I usually think, "Bummer! I don't like scales. But I love my piano teacher, so I'll do them..."

This has been an interesting past couple of months, with a variety of events happening that has left me flat on my back. But the most amazing thing is the response of people around me. I have never received so many random, huge, and incredibly sacrificial acts of kindness in one short span of time that has really caused me to think very critically about what I am doing, and what needs to change. Oh goodness. I am excited.

I am not a perfect person. I am young, and I cling to naivety for the selfish reason that it is a cushion that prevents one from being overwhelmed by the world, and the unselfish reason that it is wise to remain forever young and (slightly unrelated) it's how we relate to God - as children, and He as our Father - if you "grow up" you grow closer to death, not in the physical sense, but in the spiritual sense of logicizing God and losing a sense of wonder and amazement at Him, but that's beside the point. I don't know a lot of things - I know a bit about music, I have a good memory for number combinations, and I know a lot of random historical facts, especially about wars, music, and saints. I live frugally, and I know how to save money. But I don't know the first thing about finances. Usually I'm very awkward, forget most important things, and if I'm caught in a quiet moment in conversation, internally I panic. If I'm around people I admire, I tend to mess up my words and say the wrong things and regret it later. I'm bad at mathematical things, and in some ways, I'm the most organized person I know, yet in others I'm horribly disorganized, and I constantly struggle with self-discipline. But for my young age, and for the things I do not know, there are a few things I do know that many will spend a lifetime never realizing. And one of those things is our desperate primitive need for community.

God made us to need community. We were created to rely on each other, and it's so vital to living healthily, for growing, and giving back. I don't know how to properly stress how deeply important this is. We can eat, and we can drink, and have shelter, but if we do it alone, we are missing a vital ingredient to basic human survival. One is in very deep trouble if they do not have a community in which they can call upon, and one that will call upon them.

Another thing that I know very well, is that it is through love that the most effective change is made. What Gandhi did is the best example I can think of for this. It's the idea that nobody would dare to hit a person who is not going to hit them back. Instead, what will likely happen is that the fight will end, and the one who raised that fist will be deeply convicted and challenged to peace in the future, and the true "winner" of that fight will cease to matter anymore. People can say, "Be generous, be generous," or they can tell you that you are not doing a good job of being generous, you need to change, you're doing it wrong, and this is how you should improve. I know people who do this. They say it to me all the time, and I usually find that I do not listen as well as if someone encourages me and challenges me, or more than that, SHOWS ME. People were generous to me. So many people, in so many ways. Now I pray for the opportunities to be generous.

For years, I have felt a conviction to the core of my being to strive for unity - particularly in the church. But I have been increasingly feeling that if I were to do JUST that, it wouldn't be fulfilling at all. Sure, it's a passion, but it's not serving a deeper need that's present. If I were to work at that, and do that and nothing else, I have a feeling that at the end of my life, in those last moments, I would have thought, "I should have done more." - oh, what a frightening last thought. I mean, the words were, "You will unite the world." - and the world is BIG. Bigger than the church, though it is good to focus, it's ambiguous because the bigger picture is missed. Unity takes your whole life, it takes all of us, and it takes love. If I loved others the same way I love and care for myself, or the same way I claim to love and follow God, I would never ever want to let another person go hungry, go without warmth, clothing, basic health, and a loving community. And if everyone were to operate with that challenge on their heart, there may be more open doors and less starving souls.

What does this mean? What does it mean for me? For my community, and for everyone I know? I study religions because I'm fascinated by it and curious about what is behind the driving force that convicts people in such ambiguous yet terrifyingly strong ways. Yet what will this do in the long run? I constantly think about this, and I'm questioning it in a huge way this year, because unlike last year, my goal for learning is not as defined as it was last year. I don't have a goal. I'm just going, and I've been praying for a goal since the year started. This isn't about dropping out, but it's about rethinking my directional goals. It makes me want to go back to Africa, randomly enough. Not only did that place teach me a great deal about myself, was hugely spiritually fulfilling, and I felt like the best version of myself while there, the idea of doing missions came to me today, yet that whole issue causes me to think a lot. I wonder a lot about the lasting effect a short-term missions trip has, and I wonder if the idea of doing mission-work has been glamorized, and how the proper way to most effectively use the skills I have to work to love others the same way I love myself. I don't want to give somebody a fish. I want to teach them how to catch their own fish, and not starve. One of my close friends is studying international development for her degree and she went to Ecuador for a year to study it more. I like how she's going about her passion, because she chose, rather than to just hop on a plane and go, to study it, study the problems out there, and the most effective solutions. Where is this sort of thing going to manifest itself in my life? Because it absolutely needs to, no doubt about it (I feel shallow in admitting that I hope it manifests itself in another country, but I know it will be where I am meant to be). No more with selfish living, shallow ambitions and low expectations. We're ALL missionaries. Some people say or talk about having a heart for missions. If one does not have a heart for missions, then something surely is missing. There's a hurting world full of people endowed with God-given challenges to fix it. Not just overseas, but everywhere we live and breathe and work. Anna Halpin and I talked about this all the time in high school, and I loved those conversations and ways we would dream.

Maybe one day I'll actually have money in my bank account. May I use it with a generous heart, and the thought that it is not mine, rather mine to share with those who have none. Surely one day, I will be off my back, and that day will come soon, and when that day comes, will I operate as I always have, or will I have a heart and mind and eyes that are open to the pain out there, and resourceful in regards to what I can to relieve that pain, and how? People showed me love, and that is how I grew to love God. People are showing me generosity, and that is how I am growing to love others as deeply as I love myself, and as deeply as I love God...