Monday, October 28, 2013

When the busy day ends...

I must admit, I'm taking it easy this semester. I only have a few required classes left, so I've been been taking less classes than the average load, and I'm also working less hours than I used to. And being a senior, I feel entitled to claim the horrible disease known as "senioritis."I get to be lazy and just not care because, well, I'm graduating in a few months.

Before you start feeling sorry for me, there are those rare occasions when I actually have a lot of work to do. This weekend was one of them.

Let me give you a rundown, just so you understand. Friday night I finished reading a book for my research project and went to The Great Gatsby with my friends (that clearly was a necessary activity). Saturday morning I volunteered at The Salvation Army, and in the afternoon I went to work at Baldwin. But you quit there, you say? I made a deal, so I get to go in every Saturday and decorate the dessert table for Sunday brunch! Isaac (my replacement) wasn't as enthused about decorating as I am. Then my friends picked me up and we drove all over for several hours taking pictures (some of which are shown here, in case you were wondering what the random pictures had to do with this). After that I had to go take pictures for The Sojourn and then I got in bed and edited them. Sunday, I woke up bright and early for church, got stuck on the way home when the van's tire (and spare tire) lost its tread, wrote an essay for my group project, met with my group, and filmed a video for a friend's project. Then I had to edit that project, write an essay for Chemistry, do all my other chemistry homework, and study for my test, which took place today after my presentation at 7:50 this morning. The day did not end until after Turbo Kick at 7 tonight. Well I guess technically the day still hasn't ended, but here I am sitting in these last few hours of today, taking a deep breath after the crazy weekend and wondering what the point of it all was?

Obviously there was a point to it all. Taking pictures for friends, writing essays for a school assignment, studying so I would understand chemistry (which I don't). But I guess I just felt so distracted these last few days, caught up in things that are not the most important part of life. Perhaps it's just that I lost focus. I mean, did I take time to spend with God? No. And I don't mean for this to be cliche, saying that I had a rough weekend because I ignored God and did too many other things, but what I am saying is that these things we stress so much about are not that significant after they're finished. The presentation and papers that my mind was wrapped around all weekend, they're gone now and they haven't left me with anything. It's not that they are pointless, it's just that they don't need to consume me. They don't rule my life; my life is worth more than a paper or a test grade or even the photos I took for my friends. And now that I am done and once again am struggling to find something worth doing, my life is not any less valuable. Through it all I want to have an attitude like Jesus, an attitude of peace in all of the circumstances, an attitude of contentment.

My favorite Bible verse is: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)

I used to quote this verse to myself when I was in high school. Whenever I had a hard work load or a presentation (those are the worst!), I would pause and run through this verse in my head. When I got to the last sentence, I would slow down and savor those words, the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, and I would have a sense of peace, that God was with me and that everything would end up ok. Because it did, didn't it? I don't believe that I have any lasting effects of horrible presentations and bad grades haunting me today.

My prayer for you is that you would know the peace of God in any and all circumstances. In the busy days and the workless nights. In the calm and the storm, and everything in-between.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Recipe of the Week

It pays to have friends.

This is a lesson I can certainly learn from. I like to keep all my ideas to myself until I've tried them. Then, if it didn't work, no one will ever have to know. But if it did, I can show everybody and they'll say, "Oh my! That is brilliant!" But sometimes life just works a lot better when you ask for help.

Exhibit A: recipe of the week ideas. I am just not brilliant enough to come up with all the ideas on my own, but hey, there is a whole school full of people out there who are eating several times a day in Baldwin. That's a lot of experience to glean from.

Since I have friends who work in Baldwin, they see a lot. It's like having eyes on the inside. I've got a man on the inside! Or in this case, a woman. My friend Charlee (who is a woman) was presented with a strange request when she was making omelets the other day: someone asked her to mix cottage cheese in with the omelet. Whhaat? Cottage cheese in the omelet, huh? Well hey, it doesn't hurt to try. Even if you are skeptical of cottage cheese, as I am.

So here's what you do: pick out your toppings. Anything you want. I chose ham, broccoli, and tomatoes. Because I was being healthy. Somewhat. So cook them in the frying pan, just as you would when preparing your normal, everyday omelet. And THEN you add the cottage cheese. Because this is not a normal, everyday omelet. It just melts into the mix like it was supposed to be there in the first place.
Once all your toppings are good and covered in melted cottage cheese, add your eggs. Mine started out looking like an omelet, but the cheese does make it harder to hold that shape, so it ended up as scrambled eggs. No shame in that. It's pretty simple, just cook it all up together. And if you're feeling adventurous, throw in some rosemary or whatever spices happen to be around. I am not well versed in my spices, so whatever you believe will augment the taste of this concoction, I'll trust your opinion. You'll be the one eating it, after all, so mix in whatever you like. Just make sure you mix in some cottage cheese too because, hey, I just made eggs that literally had cheese cooked into them! I honestly can't say that there was a strong taste to them, but there certainly wasn't a bad taste. Next time I shall try to add more cheese because everyone knows that more melted cheese makes everything better.
Looks yummy, doesn't it? Not bad Charlee, not bad.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Why So Unserious?

It occurred to me that amidst my dining hall dishes and the newspaper pictures that I post, I may lose the serious nature of my original blog posts. My intention is not to create an academic site with incredibly intellectual readings, nor is it create a shallow, sunny site with no hint at all of real life. My goal is to show real life, my life, including all my moments of raw honesty and serious thought, and those of shallow, simple fun. Perhaps that is all too random to be on the same blog, but life is like that you know, needing a little bit of this and a little bit of that, but not an overload of any one thing.

That being said, it has been ever so long since I did share anything honest or worth talking about. And I hope that if I can share my struggles and ways of coping, then other people with similar struggles can take heart and learn from my experiences.

So let's get back to God. How am I doing with him? If you've read my earlier entries you'll know that I am serious about becoming a follower rather than a fan of Jesus Christ. That I felt compelled by God to quit my job at the dining hall and take up a job in the photo lab. And that I expect everything from then on to be happy, sunny, and perhaps a shallow life filled with microwave waffle batter concoctions. But again, life needs a little misery thrown in to keep it worth while.

About a week after I had stopped working in the dining hall, I was incredibly depressed. Still being the beginning of the year, there was not a lot of activity in the photo lab, and I spent many hours sitting there doing nothing. I felt so useless and my body was sick of being stationary. My previous job required constant running around, which meant adrenaline and excitement. This meant entertaining yourself. There was certainly the opportunity to get a lot of things done, such as writing in my blog, but clearly I am too lazy for such self motivation.

Life sucked. I told myself it did at least. And told God. This is what you want me to do? Sit here and be useless? And basically I felt God say to me, "Get over yourself."

Get over yourself. Just stop complaining and start living the life you have. Don't focus on you, focus on me. It is incredible how much the prospect of facing your daily life can change when you are not focused on how much you don't want to do any of it, but rather on the fact that you are here to worship God. This occurrence being nearly a month ago now, I cannot tell you my exact thoughts, but I do know that by realizing every day is mine to live for God, I am learning to be content whatever the circumstances. Because the circumstances no longer matter.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Recipe of the Week

My mother will surely appreciate this one ;)

I promised that I had something grand planned! Here it is:
I call it...well I don't know what I call it...Here's what it is:

First, (and this is very important), spray a large cereal bowl with waffle iron spray, or what might work better is to grease it with butter. This is because we are going to commit an unforgivable crime in Baldwin--we are going to cook waffle batter in the microwave! It does tend to stick to the bowl, so I tried to keep it clean for my dish room friends.

I took two bowls and filled one with cream cheese, strawberry jam and sugar, just to make sure there was enough sugar in it, although I'm sure it tastes fine without the extra sugar. But what the heck, it's always fun to add extra sugar! And then I was planning on chocolate chips, but there weren't any today!! However, since they just melt anyways, chocolate sprinkles worked just as well. Mix it all up really well.

Then take your other bowl and cover the bottom with waffle batter, but not too full because remember we have the sugary filling to add. So add a good scoop of cream cheese whatever it has become on top of that waffle batter, and then finish it off by covering it with more waffle batter. Do remember that your waffle batter will rise in the microwave, so don't fill it to the top.

Then microwave for about two minutes and it should come out wonderfully fluffy and delightful. And steamy, sooo you should probably let it cool off before biting into it. The filling flooded out of the top a little bit, so it did not look as cool, but pretty much I've just created a waffle lava cake! And of course you must drizzle syrup on top, and although there were not chocolate chips today, there was strawberry topping which is a rare treat.

This pretty breakfast is rather sugary, but so worth it. I really like how the creamy chocolate-strawberry filling turned out.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Life Takes Over

Week number two of the recipe of the week, and I've fallen behind. I do have some ideas, but I have not had time to actually try them. This past week has been especially busy for me. Here are some highlights:
Through a strange series of events, I ended up shooting many of the program photos for FNL, IWU's version of Saturday Night Live. While we were waiting for one of the performers to show up, I just played around in the studio with the other cast member who was there. I got out the gels and put together a rather creepy concoction of light.
I also got to shoot the 9th President of IWU's Inauguration for The Sojourn. I sat next to the Director of Communications for the Wesleyan Church, who used to be a missionary and now is an editor for their denomination's magazine. We had a rather enjoyable conversation. You can read The Sojourn's coverage of the event (and see my photo!) here:
Here are a couple of my other photos from the event.

 Earlier last week I also had the opportunity to travel to Muncie to take some interior photographs. I explored the Emens Auditorium at Ball State and a neat community theater of which I do not remember the name. But it definitely looked like a good place to perform The Phantom of the Opera.
 Is that enough photos to make up for no recipe this week? I was just presented with a fabulous idea at brunch today so look forward to some good stuff soon. I hope.