Tuesday, January 31, 2006

A Poem by Mary and Julie

M: school is cool
M: and the teacher really rule
J: I'm too cool for school
J: I'd rather play in the pool
M: but then you would drool
J: maybe I'll just ride a mule
M: and then you might step in its stool
J: but don't be a fool
M: but i like tools
J: we just missed the season of Yule
J: but, let's not be cruel
J: 'cause I could take you in a duel
M: you don't play by the one important rule
J: well, you'd get scared by a ghoul
J: and I am a jewel
J: tied with thread from a spool

Sunday, January 29, 2006

More on the Day of Rest (I should be working...)

After some more thought, I've come up with a tentative conclusion.

Like all other biblical commands, the day of rest is a principle more than a hard and fast rule. (I do say that carefully, of course.)

Obviously, I do not consider it "sin" to be working today, but it would be a troublesome lifestyle if I were to simply give up striving for times of rest and simply cram more into my lifestyle. I generally plan to have Sunday (afternoons at least) off. As a result, I do the things that need to be done on Saturday, making them a priority for the day's activities.

If I still have stuff to do, I can take a Sunday afternoon to finish them up. I think it allows for me to go into the week with more focus and less worry. And less worry is what the "Sabbath" is all about anyway.

I will continue to strive for Sundays off, because I really do think it is important to have a day OFF - where I take time to ignore the things that usually concern me.

And when I am unable to take a Sabbath during my week, I really do feel the effects - tiredness and irritability.

But what can you do? It is a price, but a small price to pay, for more peace during the rest of the week.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Study Break...


It used to be that it was possible to take off one day a week. Sundays were for relaxing, hanging out with friends... being BORED even.

Not anymore. With three assignments due Tuesday, two significant volunteer positions with responsibilities next week, the Apprentice competition, a marketing case competition and work, I have no choice but to work tomorrow.

Really, I shouldn't be taking the time to write this, but I just needed a break before I beat up Excel for not being able to tell me the answer for my finance problem. It shouldn't be a hard question, but the wording is so convoluted that I just can't tell what the question is asking.

When Moses received the command to obey the Sabbath, he wasn't trying to juggle school, work, volunteering, networking and meaningful social relationships. All he had on the go was leading the Israelites.

Okay, yes, I know that isn't true. But I used to be so good at balancing my time so that I had a day off in the week! What has happened? Perhaps this is just preparation for real life. But, there must be a way...

Well, all I can really say is that I'm going to Phoenix in less than 3 weeks. And I'm sure I'll have some time off then.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Sense of Urgency

Tonight I spent some time reading about poverty. Videos, stats, websites...

The current plan is to get some experience and then start an organization that does something... the dream is to see different movements to alleviate poverty around the globe united to work with greater efficiency. I want the overhead for the organization to be covered by several private corporations so any money donated would be given directly to projects. And the plan was always to do this once I figured out what I was doing.

But I'm not sure it can wait. There are people dying NOW.

Perhaps it is time to start putting the business plan together...

Friday, January 20, 2006

All Smiles Today

This morning I went to the class registration website, tried to swap into a different accounting class, and lo and behold... Success!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The Great Disconnect

Prior to starting this blog, I wrote an entire entry whining about how crappy I was feeling today. However, in the process, I sorted it all out and rather than making you listen to me whine, you get to rather glean pearls of wisdom from my conclusions.

In my life, there is a great deal of frustration that results from knowing more than I have been able to apply. I don't know if anyone else feels this way. There are books we read, and speakers we hear, and classes we attend that tell us how to live, and we get this picture of how we could be if we really applied all of this to our lives.

But then we look at our lives, and there are so many areas where we fall short of this standard that we have set for ourselves. And I call this "The Great Disconnect."

And in moments where I evaluate my actions and attitudes, I get so FRUSTRATED because I KNOW I was acting stupid, or doing something I knew was wrong. And I can't understand why I do things that I know are dumb.

Hehehe... I guess that's what Paul was talking about in Romans 7... "What I want to do, I do not do, but what I hate, I do."

And as I write this, the Ginny Owens' song "Own Me" comes on my iPod.

"Got a stack of books so I could learn how to live,
Many are left half read covered by the cobwebs on my shelf.
And I've got a list of laws growing longer every day,
If I keep plugging away, maybe one day I'll perfect myself.
Oh, but all of my labour seems to be in vain,
And all of my laws just cause me more pain.
So I fall before You in all of my shame,
Ready and willing to be changed.

Own me, take all that I am.
Heal me with the blood of the lamb.
Mold me by your gracious hand.
Break me til I'm only yours.
Own me."

What a God I follow... that He can even control the random function on my iPod. (So why can't he get me into the right Accounting class?)

Lasting change does not happen all at once. When I get frustrated, I need to submit myself to God's leadership and control and let Him chisel away at the perfect me He is creating. And sometimes it will be painful, other times it will seem too slow, and yet other times it will seem too fast. But I just need to trust Him, because I can be "confident of this, that He who began a good work in [me] will be faithful to carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." (Philippians 1:6... Paul again)

And when I can't figure out where He's leading me, or what my future is supposed to look like, I guess I just need to trust Him with that as well.

Wow... I really am feeling better now. Blogging is my new favourite venting outlet. (Which is too bad, because walking burns more calories.)

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Restless Exhaustion

So often we find ourselves completely tired yet drawn to stay up for whatever reason. Tonight it is my thoughts and the deep desire to do SOMETHING that has prompted me to postpone sleep just a few more minutes and write. So although I'm not sure that writing my thoughts counts as something any more than reading, but it's all I can do at this moment.

Right now, as I sit surrounded in exorbitant luxury by at least 80% of the world's standards, someone who has never known life without hunger has just been orphaned.

And I don't know what to do about it.

That's all I've got for now. But if you are interested in actually reading about the whole topic of poverty, check out any of the following:


Friday, January 13, 2006

Been tagged!

My sister, Rachel, (http://www.livejournal.com/users/immerrichtig) tagged me, so now I'm supposed to answer these questions. Wendy, here are the instructions: Copy and paste the following, delete my answers, and put in your own.

2 names you go by:
1. Julie
2. Jules

2 parts of your heritage:
1. Mennonite
2. Icelandic

2 things that scare you:
1. the thought of not living up to my potential
2. crowds!

2 of your everyday essentials:
1. my workout (um, yeah, new semester's resolution...)
2. a shower!

2 things you are wearing right now:
1. my "i like switchfoot" t-shirt (still in my gym clothes)
2. my blue fuzzy slippers

2 things you want in a relationship (other than real love):
1. to be challenged
2. good conversation

2 truths:
1. Jesus loves me, this I know.
2. Attitude is everything.

2 physical things that appeal to you (in the opposite sex):
At the risk of not knowing who reads this (thanks for the tip, Rach!), I'm going to have to say...
1. guys who dress well totally impress me... tapered jeans turn me off like nothing else (hey, it's a shallow question)
2. eyes (if they have them, that's good... j/k... I like when a guy's eyes portray depth, and when they maintain steady contact with mine during a conversation)

2 of your favorite hobbies:
1. writing
2. playing games

2 things you want really badly:
1. to not lose the momentum I've got going right now
2. to always be content (like I am right now)

2 places you want to go on vacation:
*note: vacation, not travel... they are different
1. Phoenix (a month and 5 days, baby)
2. Hawaii

2 things you want to do before you die:
1. sky dive
2. change the world and leave a legacy

2 ways that you are stereotypically a chick:
1. chick flicks... they totally rock
2. I like pink

2 things you are thinking about now:
(okay... why is it that we can't ever think about what's on our mind when we are asked?)
1. the fact that we are leaving to go for supper in 5 minutes and I'm still in my sweaty gym clothes and wish I hadn't started on this now
2. life is just good today, even though I'm completely exhausted

2 stores you shop at:
1. Old Navy
2. Indigo

Sleepless in Edmonton

And now here I am... wide awake. It is 12:48 a.m. and in precisely 6 hours and 12 minutes my alarm will go off, beckoning me to join the day.

Somehow I always connected being tired during the day with being able to sleep at night, thus breaking the cycle of tiredness. Reality in the past month, however, has proven otherwise. And here I am. Wide awake and completely exhausted at the same time, but helpless to do anything about either.

The accounting battle is half won. I am now in a class with the prof I want, but in the wrong time slot. It wouldn't be a big deal, really, because it will be the same exams, so I can attend the other lecture. There is, however, the bane-of-my-existence group project to worry about. We need to select our own groups of two or three. Right now, the friends in my other class have a group of two, and if someone would just drop out so there was a spot, I would be the third. Life would be perfect. (um, yeah... I mean the group project scenario would be perfect.) At this point in time, I'm going to see if I can just go with them because we have the same prof. If I can't, it will be like an assigned group, only worse... if things go badly, I will have brought them on myself.

On Friends and Small Talk and that First Awkward Hello

This is all quite bizarre. Four months ago, I didn't know a soul in the Business faculty. I made small talk with the person who had the great fortune of sitting beside me in each class and from there, many great friendships were born. Then the assigned groups started and I got to know many, many people. And they were all great, and it was such a great opportunity.

But then this semester started. And suddenly I feel shy and awkward around those I don't know and it's strange to me because I was in the same boat, only worse, four months ago.

How can we get exclusive and closed-off when we are in a place that is safe? Today my friend Debra and I were sitting in ORG A 201, and the prof handed out playing cards to split the class into groups. Rather than venturing out on our own, Debra and I both grabbed the same number so we could stick together.

And how is it that although in the past, fewer encounters with others have been awkward than have ended in friendship (and acquaintance-ship), I still cling to the familiar? Take Debra for example. Four months ago, I plunked myself down beside her in our first BUS 201 class, introduced myself and began asking all the standard questions that I ask when attempting to make small talk. I expressed sheer delight when I discovered she was in the same cohort as I, and from there, we sat together all the time and soon started hanging out. In less than two months, we are going on a road trip to Phoenix together for Reading Week. (Plug: if you are interested in coming, we may still have spots... http://phoenixroadtrip.blogspot.com)

In our first conversation, I can't say I felt an immediate connection, but we just worked at being friends, and now here we are. Friends.

And there are dozens more in the range from acquaintance to friend that I have met from simply taking the time to say hi.

But now, at the beginning of this semester, it feels all awkward and new again. I always forget that this is the first stage of what eventually becomes a meaningful friendship or a future business contact.

Which leads me to realize yet another area where what I believe fails to intersect with how I act. What a crazy mixed-up life I live.

On Blogging

Blogging is quite strange and bizarre to me. Here's the thing: I sit down and write out these brilliant (we'll pretend), insightful and incredibly introspective blog postings. In my mind, there is a great anonymous public simply waiting for my pearls of wisdom, keen wit and intelligent wordplay (to use three cliches in one sentence).

But the truth is, I think only one person reads my blogs - my sister Rachel. (Hi Rachel! Here's a plug for her blog: http://livejournal.com/users/immerrichtig)

Of course, the fact that I just posted a link to her blog would suggest that I actually really think there is an anonymous public reading this blog. And the occasional comment from some random person miles away would suggest that there are people who stumble by my cyberspace abode from time to time. (Oh, and random people, I like you, so keep leaving me comments and links to your blogs. I do check them out when I can't sleep, am bored or in the midst of procrastinating.)

In addition, my blog address is posted both as my MSN "personal message" and in my email signature, so virtually everyone I know could potentially access it. But, I write as though they don't. Even though my friend Robyn emailed me a comment about the happiness post. (Hi Robyn!)

Blogging is strange and bizarre. It is completely selfish and I post this stuff to cyberspace thinking that someone out there might actually be interested in reading it. And not only do I post intensely "personal" stuff, I don't even keep it short! So, even if someone did want to read about my great life and learn great nuggets of truth from my fingertips, I can't imagine that they would make it the entire way through.

So I think I write to no one. It is a controlled exercise in processing the things on my mind in a controlled fashion. Kind of like a journal, but public. Which makes it completely unlike a journal. Because if I were to write about the deeper things on my mind right now... well, I wouldn't. That would just make me way more vulnerable than I care to be. Especially not knowing who really does read this.

The conclusion, so far, is thus: blogging is like journal writing, but not as effective because I can't be as thorough as necessary.

Yet it is entirely therapeutic and satisfying for me. I think we all like to imagine that we do have an adoring anonymous public hanging on to our every word. And since this imaginary mass in anonymous, we will never be proven otherwise.

The other therapeutic thing about it is that this blogging allows us to take the things we are thinking about and apply them to a much broader scale. If I were to simply write about being frustrated about not getting into the class I want in my journal, I would focus on that - brainstorming ways I could convince the faculty to let me in the class, etc. But because I'm writing with an audience other than me in mind, I have the ability to take my situation and apply it to something much more broad and ultimately get to the root of the issue.

So that's that. That's my take on blogging. I really enjoy it.

Now, if you do find yourself reading at this point, do post a comment.

Or not. I still like the illusion of an adoring, anonymous public.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

*another sigh*

It is 10:30 p.m. and I don't know where my day went. How did life get so busy so quickly? I could retrace my steps and lay out every detail of the day, so I know that I didn't simply lose time, but I'm starting to think that living a "balanced" life takes more time than an unbalanced one.

And it was a good day, filled with good things.

But I picked up a copy of the National Post yesterday to read the "Working" section and have still only gotten through one article.

Now here I am, 10:40 at night, completely exhausted from the day and the lack of sleep which seems to be my curse this week. Frustrated because I can't get into the accounting class I want. Feeling uncertain simply because I feel so certain.

Okay, the last point needs some clarification. As you can read if you scroll down just a few posts, for the first time in my life, I feel like I know which direction I'm going. I'm in Business (check!), and will be studying that in September. (September has been the big unknown in my life for many years and now it is known, certain.) I've resigned myself to the fact that life can be blissfully wonderful as a successful single woman and for the first time in ages, forever really, I'm not expecting that this is the year in which my "tragic" love life is going to make a dramatic shift. My Valentine's journal entry will NOT read "maybe next year 'he' will be around." I also have a summer job! And while last year I had received several offers at this time, I was still tormented about which to choose. This year, I've made the decision, and I'm quite happy about it.

On top of that, the first four days of this semester have so far shown a dramatic improvement in discipline on my part, and I don't want to lose that.

And so I'm scared because everything is going so well, it's sinister. My biggest fear is that I'm going to change my mind once again and drop out of school and it will take even longer to finish my degree.

Which all leads me to a point of complete bafflement. I really do not feel at this time that I am walking in a path that is the wrong direction, so it's not like I feel convicted about anything. But right now I am more scared to trust God than I ever was when I didn't have things figured out and lined up. I like where I am. I know the direction I am going. I know the steps I need to take in the next few years. I'm content and I'm in control, yet it is at this time that I am petrified that God is going to change things, even though I KNOW that He only wants the best for me.

Even to the point of almost telling someone to take it back when they pray for God's direction in my life.

Maybe all of this has something to do with why I can't fall asleep at night...

It is now 11 p.m. and I need to wake up again in 8 hours. Start the busyness once again... How is it like this only four days into the semester?

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Deep Thoughts on Happiness

Happiness, I've logically concluded, is 100% internal.

Here's why:

- God never changes. So, while you're relationship to Him definitely affects your joy and happiness, it's not His fault if you're unhappy because He hasn't changed.

- Stuff doesn't make you happy and I think that can generally be accepted without providing too much support. But, for the sake of a well-rounded argument, just think back to the last thing you really, really wanted. Now, think about the next thing you really, really want. There's always something new that we want. So getting stuff can't make you happy because as soon as you get it, you want something else. Emile Durkheim (a sociologist) said something to the effect of satisfying a want only increases your appetite.

- If stuff can't make you happy, then money can't either. A survey (don't know the source, or for which country, but that's okay, trust me on this) found that all people needed to be happy was a pay raise of 15%. So, apparantly, no one makes enough to be happy.

- Relationships definitely provide a sense of fulfillment and worth, but when's the last time you had a truly amazing relationship with someone who was unhappy? Logically, then, it would follow that in order to experience fulfilling relationships, you need to be happy beforehand.

- Circumstances don't make us happy. Here's why: a study (again, I can't cite the source because it's just something I heard in a sermon once) found that after people suffered life-altering injuries, they returned to the same general level of happiness they were at before the injury.

So, all that said, if you want to be happy, you just have to decide to be happy. Of course, that's easier said than done. And joy, well, that's another topic. But here's a teaser: true joy can only come from a relationship with God.

Monday, January 02, 2006

The Requisite New Year Post

When I get tired, I either get really giddy or really grumpy. Usually the giddy happens when I am up late by my own choosing - I chose to drive 40 hours in one weekend, or I chose to stay up all night. The grumpy happens when I don't choose (can't sleep at night, or I got a ride with someone some place and they aren't ready to leave), or I indirectly choose (good old procrastination has led to staying up later than I'd like finishing school projects).

After all that explanation, I can now say that I chose to stay up all night on New Year's Eve/Day with my sister who was leaving for Montreal at 6:50 a.m. January 1st. And I was giddy to the point of embarassment for my family. We were at the airport, and fortunately my sister knew what to do, because the signs explaining the whole process were covered by some festive Christmas wreaths. (I'm assuming they said "1. Check in here" because there were other signs that you COULD see that said "2. Check baggage here") The girl in front of us did not have x-ray vision, however, so when the "friendly" Air Canada lady came through the line making sure everyone had their boarding passes, she did not. Now, we were obvious very willing to hold her place in line, but when she asked if she could leave her luggage, the Air Canada lady said, "we don't leave luggage unattended, this is an airport." To which I quietly replied (to my family), "oh, I was wondering what all those planes were doing out the back." Of course, that alone wouldn't have been embarassing for my sister, it was more the fact that I thought it was very funny and when her friend came back from wherever she had gone (probably tampering with people's luggage - it was an airport after all), I told her perhaps at a slightly larger volume than necessary (although I can't say for sure since my judgment was slightly impaired by a lack of sleep.)

You would not believe how much fun Skip-Bo and Uno are at 5 a.m. Neither game had I played in several years, but we played them that morning. Including our own(?) variation which including picking up cards until you had something you can play (in Uno) which inevitably lead to a hand FULL of cards pretty much every time. It was the game that just kept on going...

I have no New Year's Resolutions. But, at the risk of jinxing it, I WILL say that I am reading a book called "Today Matters" by John Maxwell. Kind of like "Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" by Stephen Covey, but different and potentially better. (Although I can't say for sure... I am only assuming it's better because I'm sure John Maxwell has read "Seven Habits" and would not write his own book if he thought the habits book sufficed. All that said, "Seven Habits" is still on my list of books to read whenever someday comes) It always sucks that I read these kind of books when everyone else is making their resolutions, because the habits and changes I want to make as a result will seem like resolutions and thus be jinxed, but summer and Christmas are the only time I really have for reading and self-inspection.

It's amazing how much bad music is out there. But what's more amazing is that I have purchased so much bad music. I learn this as I have just spent much time ripping CDs onto my computer in order to put the music on my iPod. To be fair, I have spent a good 12 years buying CDs and my taste has evolved very much in that time.

Well, now we've drifted far away from the subject of New Year's. But I really have nothing to say. We are two days in now and I have spent most of the time in 2006 sleeping, cleaning my room and importing music onto my computer. Plus reading the book that is going to change my life (oops... not anymore, I jinxed it).

How is it that I've become so cynical already by the age of 24?

If you've stuck through until now, congratulations. Leave me a comment, please. (But not to tell me I'm an idiot, because I already know that. ;) )