Thursday, April 30, 2009

Thursday Word: Isaiah 40:8.

"The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever." Isaiah 40:8.
via my flickr.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Wickedly busy.

Our doorbell rang at 4:45 on Saturday. I opened the door to find extremely attractive Boyfriend, dressed in a purple shirt and matching tie, cradling beautiful flowers. He had surprised me by picking out the shirt knowing I would be wearing purple. Turns out he was carrying not one but two bouquets: purple tulips for me and a beautiful white and yellow carnation bunch - for my mom. Heart melter.

Typical. :D
Handsome man, well-endowed in the eyebrow-area. ;]
Ethan, me, Cassidy, and Tucker.

So the Super Six went to the City to grab dinner at Ruth's Chris and then see Wicked at the Orpheum. It was lovely. I don't want to get into technicalities or I'll start comparing last night's show to the one I saw in NYC and that would make for a much longer entry than I care to post this evening. We saw the standby performers for the two main roles and it was still pretty awesome! Nothing beats just being with the Super Six - I always enjoy our time together. And Tuck, Cass, E, and I had the most hilarious time bonding over the weirdest musical number of all time (you have to see the end...). All in all, an amazing time. Very thankful that I'm so blessed.

Today was spent getting ahead on homework and memorizing lines for three different and unrelated scenes. I would say I was about 95% successful in memorization. Gooo Grace! I have the busiest week ahead... And more and more and more to follow. ;[

For no reason: On April 5th, I made a bunch of birthday cupcakes. For my own birthday. In a fit of loneliness. Anyway, I've made prettier- and tastier - cupcakes since (thanks to new pastry bags and tips!), but neglected to take photos. Darn it. via my flickr.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Up and down.

Sometimes my emotions can go from tip-top to rock bottom. Yesterday was an emotional roller coaster ride.

It started off fabulously with a good class, a good breakfast with E, a good rehearsal.

And then there was my Christ in the Four Gospels course - one of the classes that's giving me a hard time (it's like this quarter's Psych except I actually like this subject, which makes it worse). I really dislike my assigned seat in this class - in the very back. I never sit in the back if I can help it. I like the front: it forces me to pay attention and if I'm having an off-day, at least the teacher will recognize that I must be enthusiastic about the subject (and if I'm not, hopefully I can trick them into thinking so).

When I asked my teacher - a Jesuit father - a question, he interrupted with a mocking chucking. "It's all on the homework sheets - do you even look at those, by the way?" he sneered.

Okay, I'm sorry, What? I'd never been so disrespected by a teacher before. Mind you, I had already contacted the instructor, telling him how I was disappointed that my grades weren't reflecting my effort and asking if he had any suggestions for better performance. And now, in front of everyone, he's insinuating that I don't do the homework?

I know that some people will just say I'm being sensitive or dramatic... But for once, as my tears were slowly dripping down my face, I didn't mind my back-of-the-room seat. Plus, I don't think I could have kept myself from walking out if I was any closer to the door.

After class, and a lot of comfort from E, I had my second rehearsal of the day, which was super fun and really improved my spirits. I picked up Ethan afterwards and we drove to the mall to hang out. Super fun!

Later in the evening, I had a bit of a breakdown. To be discussed later, I guess.

Then Boyfriend and I had a ticklefest and all was well with the world.

So see? Up and down.

Other: I deactivated my Facebook account on Thursday night because I'm going to be so busy this quarter. I'm hungry. And I'm excited for tonight - details to follow.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Things are looking up.

Despite the insane amount of things I need to be doing - and should be doing right now - things are looking up. The last couple of weeks have been an up and down pattern... My awesome birthday celebrations flanked by deaths. Illnesses. And, mostly, just sheer sadness. And not even entirely related to me. But it takes its toll on everyone. It does.

Thursday Word, Wednesday Edition: "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted." Matthew 5:4.

It's so easy for us to fall prey to that assumption that being sad is unacceptable - that it's indulgent;  that it's counterproductive; that it's wrong. But it's none of those things. That's not to say that it's totally healthy to ruminate on negative thoughts... And to me, as a believer, that sort of dwelling might point to a lack of trust in God's plan. But surely God understands the confusion, heartache, and passion.

I must say that it's times like these that make it evident that mourning is not only okay, but sometimes necessary. To hold things in... well, you get too full. And if you don't allow yourself to mourn, perhaps you won't feel that comfort that comes as a result of mourning. Just a thought.

Anyway, the point of this was to say, I'm realizing what a hypocritical journey a person goes on as they try to reconcile faith with the worldly. But things are getting better. Slowly but surely.

Ethan and I are beginning rehearsals for an awesome project that my equally awesome friend Katrina has developed - a sort of people's theatre thing, for which she's interviewed people about their faith (whatever that means to them) and molded their words into monologues to create a comprehensive show. It's called "Many Names" and it's happening on May 8th at 8:00pm in the Santa Clara Mission and you should be there if you can.

I've also recently been given the opportunity to work with two of the sweetest girls I've met at my university! Kandace has cast both Ethan and I in a scene from Tennessee William's "Summer and Smoke," and I absolutely adore it, and Kristin has cast me in a couple of scenes from "Doubt" and "The Odd Couple (Female Version)", respectively. I'm honored and excited, to say the least. Now the problemo is memorizing those lines and hoping I don't let them down!

School has been giving me trouble lately. I'm losing my drive. I think this warm weather is partly to blame - it's given me a false taste of summer, but I'm being pulled back to the reality of academia. Splendid.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Weighty Issues, Part 2: The Mirror.

What happens when the Real Life You meets the Mirror You?

You get to see what everybody else is lookin' at. The crooked nose. The rounded tummy. The cellulite-laden thighs. That zit on your chin looking like Mount Vesuvias.

But contrary to popular belief, mirriors don't offer us perfect reflections of ourselves. There is a disconnect between our actual image and our perception of that image. That disconnect is why I can see a girl nearly identical to me in stature and I can consider her absolutely drop-dead gorgeous, while my opinions about my own body are less than favorable.

That's what I've been trying to explain to my friends all these years... It's not the weight. It's not the size, or the shape. It's how it all looks on me. How it feels to me.

For girls who struggle with body image, looking at our bodies in a bathroom mirror can be like looking at them in a fun house mirror: everything you're seeing does exist in the Real World, but the proportions are inaccurate.

It's that distorted perception that can keep us from being completely happy with ourselves.

I know some people are going to read this and think, Okay, easy fix. So you and like, 90% of the female population see yourselves as bigger/shorter/taller/smaller than you really are. Just alter your perceptions. Beauty is relative.

It's so much harder than that. It's hard to let go of a self-perception that, while maybe inaccurate now, was so prominent for so long.

In fourth grade science, we learned about adipose tissue. Fat cells, obviously, store fat. We learned that although one can lose that stored fat, those fat cells never go away. They just empty out. A male classmate of mine turned to me and said, "That's too bad for you, Grace. Did you hear that? Fat cells never go away."

I feel like an overweight body sometimes doesn't go away. It just empties out. And it leaves behind this imprinted memory of what you've looked like. What you've felt like.

And - it is true, you know. Beauty is relative. So what if your standard of beauty isn't matching up with your physical appearance? What do you do then? I guess you change. You change either your appearance, or your mindset. And I'd prefer a little of both, to be completely candid.

Sometimes I read what I write here and I want to delete it and shrug it off like it never mattered to me. But I just want to be honest with myself and express myself somehow. A lot of what I'm sharing here I've never shared with anyone but my closest friends. And, I want to make it clear that I'm not just writing about this because I need to be flattered with compliments about my body. I don't need that. That Mirror Me needs self-approval, and no one but Real Life Me can give that.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Thursday Word: Proverbs 27:19.

"As water reflects a face, so a man's heart reflects the man." Proverbs 27:19.
via my

Voluntary Quarantine.

Maybe you've noticed the absence of posts; maybe you haven't. I've had an increasingly difficult time bringing myself to share anything here because I either have nothing worthwhile to say, or I've got loads and loads to complain about. I've just been taking a break from most things internet (I can't say I've been successful with Facebook), lest I infect the world with my unusual degree of negativity or offend them with my self-absorption.

There's a lot going on and all I can do about it is pray. So I'll do that.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Camera, birthday, friends.

This is Christine, an actress and all-around sweet girl from my University. We had a photoshoot! via my flickr.

It was my birthday on Sunday. A couple of gifts, a delicious dinner, and unfortunately no cupcakes (would you believe they closed early on my birthday?!), and a performance later, my birthday was over. But the celebration continues this weekend, when my dad and my brother return from a missions trip to Mexico. huzzah!

There was no... birthday party, or anything... I don't know what it is. I've made no enemies at school, to be sure - but I haven't made any extremely close friends, either. I guess I am struggling in that regard. And I realized how much I miss my girl friends from high school - and even middle school. I've decided that I will organize a summer dinner thang for all of my loveliest lady friends. I'm already excited!

The end.

Thursday Word: John 15:5.

"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." John 15:5.
via my flickr.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Discussions on Faith, Part 1: Introduction.

If you know me, you won't be surprised when I announce that I am a Christian. As Ethan and I lately have felt the need to strive to develop stronger relationships with God, we have been lending the issue of our faith quite a bit of time. And it's got me thinkin'.

I am proud to be a Christian, and I do refer to myself as such. Often, however, I find myself foregoing this label and instead going into a bit of detail, mentioning I have a relationship with Jesus and a veneration for God and I try to honor Him in all that I do (so if I'm gonna blog, let it glorify, too, right?). :] Why do I feel the need to explain?

My father, who became a believer in his early thirties, has commented before that he's not exactly thrilled with the term 'Christian'. His displeasure comes not from what it literally means, lest you should think him ashamed of his beliefs; my dad, like many others, is dissatisfied with the connotations that have developed alongside the term.

It's so common now to hear from someone denying religion - the ever popular "Oh, I'm not religious - I'm spiritual" or, among my Christian counterparts, the creed "It's not a religion; it's a relationship." And I'm not saying either of these things are void, just pointing out that, technically, these people are not denying religion (which, put simply, is a belief in something accompanied by according actions - which means, yes, even atheists have a religion, in a way) but rather organized religion and any culturally-associated stigmas.

Quick disclaimer: I'm not saying "No stereotype about the Christian tradition has any truth to it!" No. I'm saying there are a lot of preconceived notions, unfounded assumptions floating around - a sort of collection of general misunderstandings with what it means to be a Christian.

Think about this: the term 'Christian' developed outside of the faith. It served as a sort of mockery of those who began to consider Jesus to be the Messiah. The term is used late and sparingly in the Bible, and among one of these few instances, Paul notes that "[I]f you suffer for being [called] a Christian, do not feel ashamed, but glorify God with that name" (1 Peter 4:16). I have to speculate about Paul's train of thought here. 

Humor me. A lot of my more intelligent friends throughout the years have been referred to as 'nerds'. Kind of a back-handed compliment, right? Someone called a name like that could either wallow in the fact that they're being told they're basically equated to some high pantsed, taped glasses-wearing misfit, or they could take pride in the fact that they've gained a reputation as a smart kid. I think this was the sort of reasoning behind Paul's encouragement - sort of a,hey, regardless of what the nay-sayers call us, we know why they're doing it. And, in my view: christianos - 'little Christs' - those who immitate this controversial, raconteur who they think is the Messiah, the 'annointed one,' right? Isn't immitation the sincerest form of flattery? And to flatter the Christ - Jesus - well, that means to flatter God and to flatter God... Well, you're good. :P I think Paul, and whoever else, saw this as a kind of "take it and run with it" situation.

As far as I'm concerned, being a believer still means the same thing it meant when Biblical authors used the term. What does it mean to be a Christian now? And I am well aware that when I pose the question, it opens up a whole can of Christian worms.

It's been interesting to me, what with my tumultuous past as far as my faith goes (to be discussed at a later date) to see what people think of Christians and even what Christians think of Christians. I want to explore what keeps people so afraid of Christians, or what makes Christians scared to call themselves such. Spirituality is great - but spirituality is a sort of buzzword. And faddish words, well - it's not that they don't have a real meaning... It's that their true meaning often becomes lost, drowned in a sea as confused as the person who uses it.

So in this series of posts I will attempt to make reason out of rhyme - if not for others, then for myself. I will explore my faith and the Christian tradition in general. Discuss; dispell; disclose. Or at least this is what I aim to do.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Thursday Word: Luke 11:9.

"So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." Luke 11:9.
via my flickr.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Just sayin'.

1. I forgot to mention that last Friday, pre-Date, I met up with Karina and we went and gallivanted around a huge mall. I got cute things - most of which I returned on the Date, due to the discovery that they did not fit. Unfortunate, but that's what I get for not trying things on! Anyway, Karina is awesome. The end!
2. School is up and runnin' and so far it's been nice. Ethan is standing knee-deep in homework already but I've been pretty relaxed. ;P
3. I eat too much a lot of the time. Further proof (as if you needed any): my second trip to Kara's Cupcakes in four days occurred on Monday - but for good reason! Monique and I met up to chat. Good times.
4. My birthday is in four days. Holy. Smokes.

Snapped by Momma in Half Moon Bay. Selected because I am happy here. And I am happy about my birthday. Not pictured: sad that neither my dad nor brother will be here to celebrate it.