Posted in College, Life

Studio C!

According to Facebook, my friends and I discovered Studio C four years ago today. It was the end of a semester for me, and I probably spent too much time watching Studio C videos instead of studying for my finals. But I can’t say I regret it. Anyway, this seems like a good opportunity to share some favorites. I hope they make you laugh.

 

This is where it all started.

 

It really is how kids view their lives…

 

I will never see sloths the same way again.

 

In case you need a pep talk.

 

I don’t think I’m capable of saying anything to improve on this one.

 

My first favorite.

Posted in Christianity, College, Life

Great Books I’ve Read This Year

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
I discovered this book’s existence when YouTube started giving me trailers for the movie based on it. The trailers intrigued me. Then somehow I found out the book’s backstory: The original idea belonged to an author named Siobhan Dowd. She died before she could write it, and her editor asked Patrick Ness to turn the idea into a book. That can’t have been an easy task, but he created a beautiful book. It’s about a boy whose mother has cancer. They yew tree in their backyard comes to life and helps him. It’s an unavoidably sad book, but it’s excellently crafted. The movie turned out great, too. It’s gorgeous and probably the best movie adaption of a book I have ever seen.

A Visual Guide to Bible Events: Fascinating Insights into Where They Happened and Why by James C. Martin, John A. Beck, and David G. Hansen
I impulsively bought a brand new copy of this book at the beginning of the year. I rarely spend money on books I know nothing about (especially new copies), but this turned out to be a worthy investment. As the slightly pretentious title implies, it is fascinating. It’s full of exactly the sort of information I like to learn. I kept reading things and going, “Why did no one ever teach me this before?!?!” It’s amazing how just a little historical or geographical knowledge can help Bible events make so much more sense.

Redigging the Wells by Monroe Hawley
I read this book five years ago for a college class, and it’s one of the few books I kept instead of selling back. I’d been wanting to reread it, and a sermon at church finally inspired me to do so. It’s a study of undenominational Christianity, and it’s a thorough, thoughtful look at the topic. Hawley does not purport to have all the answers, but he’s not afraid to consider the questions.

 

Art Fraud Detective: Spot the Difference, Solve the Crime! by Anna Nilsen
When I was younger, we used to check this book out from the library, and last year I got a copy for Christmas. I was very excited. A gang of art thieves has replaced almost every painting in a museum with a cleverly copied fake, and your job is to find the differences between the fakes and the real paintings to help stop the criminals. It’s a lot of fun and surprisingly difficult sometimes.

This House, Once by Deborah Freedman
This is a delightful picture book I discovered while at a bookstore with my friend Maria. It talks about what the different parts of a house used to be – the door was an oak tree, for example. The illustrations are soft and lovely, the writing is sweet, and I liked it a lot. Maria and I squealed over it.

Posted in Christianity, College, Life, Thoughts, Writings

College Reflections

Sometimes I think about my college degree and remind myself that it is an accomplishment. It doesn’t always feel like it, but it is. The diploma displayed on my dresser and the summa cum laude cords hung on my wall represent heaps of time and effort and frustration and lack of sleep and months when I would have much preferred to quit altogether.

I’ve been out of college for more than two years now. (Yet people still regularly ask what grade I’m in, so that’s amusing.) I don’t miss it. At all. But recently I’ve been thinking about how certain classes impacted my life, so I thought I’d talk about the two most notable.

We’ll start with the one that’s notable because of its lack of long-term impact: Creative Writing.

I do a lot of creative writing. I have filled up notebooks. Last month I found myself editing a story I wrote before college. It wasn’t awful, but I have definitely improved since then. But that improvement came from practice and talking to friends who write. None of it came from my Creative Writing class.

I don’t remember learning one thing in that class. I remember a couple short stories we read (I didn’t like either of them). I remember that we were supposed to keep a journal and I gave up halfway through the semester because I did not have the time and the teacher never once checked to see that we were doing it. I remember leaving one day because it was the third time the teacher was more than 15 minutes late, which meant students were allowed to leave without penalty, and I hadn’t left the previous two times and I had had it.

Basically, I remember a lot of frustration.

The one nice thing that came out of the class resulted from our final project. During that semester, I had been working on a story entirely unrelated to the class, but I asked the teacher if I could submit it for the final project, and she said that was fine. When she returned it, she informed me that the story kept her up past her bedtime because she couldn’t put it down. It was satisfying that someone who was neither a relative or a close friend liked something I wrote that much, but perhaps not quite worth it overall.

But on a more cheerful subject: Scripture Interpretation.

Rumor has it this is one of the hardest classes at my college. I took it my sophomore fall semester. I saw the teacher (my favorite teacher, incidentally) a couple weeks before classes started, and he asked, “Don’t you know you’re supposed to take Greek or Hebrew or at least Intro to Biblical Languages before you take this class?”

Nope. No one ever told me that. But I wanted to take the class, and at that point rearranging my schedule seemed like more trouble than it was worth, so I stuck with it.

541362_454180244623700_1225700392_nThat was my hardest semester. Not necessarily academically, but in general stress and homesickness. But Scripture Interpretation was a lot of work, so that may have contributed. Most memorably, I took this picture of all the books I used for a one-page paper (though I think it ended up being longer than one page). But in the long run, I did well.

Despite all the work, I’m so glad I took the class. It ended up being my favorite college course. I gained a great deal of respect for translators. I regularly see its influence in the way I read and study the Bible, and that’s something that will be valuable wherever I go in life.

Posted in Christianity, College, Life

Alphabetical Music – Part 2

Part 1

 

Now and for Always – The Lord of the Rings Musical
What’s not to love about a song celebrating Hobbits?

 

On My Way Home – Pentatonix
This is the other song I discovered the week I helped with Expressions at my college. It was used in a skit and was very cool and I knew I had to find it. It’s beautiful and impressive (that’s all voices, no instruments) and important.

 

Poet – Bastille
Bastille has some good stuff. Their songs have depth. This one is about writing about people you love as a way to make sure they’re remembered.

 

Quiet – Lights
It’s just so cute and happy.

 

Reckless – Martina McBride
Martina McBride looks a lot like one of my fictional characters. This song fits said character and her husband perfectly. That was an exciting discovery.

 

Still – Hillsong United (This version is sung by Kaoma)
This is my favorite of the songs I learned in chapel at college. I love it. It can make me teary. Unfortunately, I never encounter anyone else who knows it now.

 

Tear Up This Town – Keane
This is from A Monster Calls, a fantastic movie that came out a couple weeks ago. The movie is beautiful and possibly the best movie adaption of a book I’ve ever seen. I highly recommend it. Just be prepared to cry a lot.

 

Unwritten – Natasha Bedingfield
This song is cheesy. But I love it. And it’s a lot of fun to sing. It’s about how real life if unpredictable and the future isn’t known, but it’s also great for writing stories.

 

Voices – Celtic Thunder
This was the first song performed at the first Celtic Thunder concert I went to. It’s pretty epic-sounding, so it made for an excellent start. I’m not sure I breathed much during this one.

 

Where – Lisbeth Scott
This is from the soundtrack of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. It’s such a pretty song. My friend Maria and I have always been of the opinion that it’s much too short. Then one day we discovered that a longer version does exist. But it doesn’t have the gorgeous harmony in the one part, so it wasn’t quite a worthwhile trade.

 

Dear X, You Don’t Own Me – Disciple
Okay, I cheated slightly on this one. Sorry. It’s a very cool song though. It’s like a breakup song, but it’s addressed to issues like anger and shame. It’s quite clever. And satisfying to sing loudly in the car.

 

You’ll Be in my Heart – Phil Collins
This song from Tarzan is so sweet. I haven’t seen the movie for years and years, but I like several of the songs from it.

 

Zelda’s Lullaby – Violin cover by Taylor Davis
Let’s end with some video game music! Because it is very pretty. And because Z is hard.

Posted in Christianity, College, Life

Alphabetical Music – Part 1

Last week I had a dream that I was writing this post. My brain even gave me suggestions for some of the more difficult letters. It was the most useful dream I have ever had.

I decided to split it up into two posts since it’s going to be rather long. It’s probably still too long. But that’s okay, because I had fun putting it together.

 

All the Pennies – Mindy Gledhill
Mindy Gledhill sings lots of fluffy, adorable songs. This one is fun.

 

Beautiful Times – Owl City ft. Lindsey Stirling
It’s hard to choose, but this might be my favorite Owl City song.

 

Come to Me – Goo Goo Dolls
I heard part of this on the radio recently and thought, “That’s cute. I need to look it up when I get home.” I managed to remember, and it did not disappoint.

 

Douse the Flame – The Hunts
The Hunts played at my college multiple times while I was there. Unfortunately, I never got to go to one of the concerts, because they were always Thursday nights while I was working in the library. But I still feel some sort of connection to them, if only because of the many, many, many times the concerts were announced in chapel (at some point it became a running joke with the whole school).

 

Europe’s Skies – Alexander Rybak
I don’t even remember how I discovered this song. Well, correction: it was from some other song by the same artist, but I don’t remember how I discovered that song.

 

Follow On – Celtic Woman
I just think this one is cool.

 

Geronimo – Sheppard
This song gives me flashbacks to the week I spent at my college running the lights for Expressions after I graduated. I heard it on the radio while driving around, it reminded me of a couple fictional characters some friends and I have, so I looked it up while killing time in the school’s library. In some ways, that was a frustrating week, but I did get some good music out of it.

 

Halo – Starset
One day a Starset song popped up as a suggested video from some other song I was listening to on Youtube. I don’t know what that other song was. I don’t know why Youtube thought I would like Starset. It’s not really my usual style. Sometimes I listen to the few Starset songs that edge into screamo and wonder, “How do I like this?” (This is not one of those, if you’re wondering.) But their songs, put together, tell a story, which is very cool. And somehow I just like them. They have a new album coming out this month. I’m rather impatient. And my friend GG and I are going to a Starset concert next month. It should be exciting.

 

I‘m a Wrecking Ball – Yellowcard
This is my favorite song from Yellowcard’s latest album. I love it. I can play it (sort of; it still needs more practice) on the ukulele, which is enormously satisfying.

 

Just As I Am – Charlotte Elliott (This version is sung by Ray Walker)
I love this song. It’s pretty profound.

 

Kill the Whales Anthem – Mates of State
Obviously this is not intended to be taken seriously. (It goes with this video, if you’re looking for more humor.)

 

Loch Lomond – Peter Hollens
This is my favorite of Peter Hollens’ covers. It’s just gorgeous.

 

My Hope is Built on Nothing Less – Edward Mote (This version is sung by The Dallas Christian Adult Concert Choir)
At some point during college I realized this had become one of my very favorite religious songs. I’m not entirely sure why. My favorite verse is the third, which is the verse no one sings, of course, but this version includes it.

Posted in College, Life

Prolonging Your Lifespan

A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones. – Proverbs 17:22

My friend Maria and I have a long-running joke about how when we’re together we prolong our lifespans because we make each other laugh a lot.

Studio C is another thing that makes me laugh (and sometimes Maria and I laugh at it together). It’s a TV show of a group that does comedy sketches. (And they don’t include inappropriate content, which is very nice.) It came into my life a few years ago when someone shared one of their videos on Facebook during finals week. It provided great procrastination material; I think I watched every Studio C video in existence at the time during that week.

In the interest of prolonging everyone’s lifespans, I decided to share my favorite sketches from the current season.

It just keeps getting funnier. And the end. The end is my favorite part.

You can probably relate.

Just the fact that this one exists excites me. And their impersonations are fantastic. Moriarty especially is spot on. Matt gets the gold star.

This one is probably funnier if you’ve seen the original Mr. Ecklestone sketch, but I think it would be great all by itself, too.

I have lots of sub-favorites, but I couldn’t narrow them down, and they would have made this a very long list. So go investigate for yourself. Try not to get too sucked in. (Or just go with it.)

Posted in College, Life, Thoughts

Taking Care of Me

Last Friday, the On This Day app on Facebook brought this status of mine from three years ago to my attention:

“My creative writing teacher was 15 minutes late – for the third time this semester. The last two times, she arrived just as I was leaving, so this time, I grabbed my stuff and dashed out right away. Then I made the mistake of stopping to talk to someone in the hall, and she walked by a few minutes later.
“Took all the fun out of it, I tell ya. Now I feel guilty.
“But I didn’t go back.”

I remember this day well. I was thoroughly fed up with the class. It was about halfway through the semester, and I hadn’t learned anything. The teacher was late frequently. Assignments were never graded in a timely manner. (She was a nice person. This did not mean she was a good teacher.) And to top it all off, I was frustrated that the class was such a disappointment because I had wanted to learn from it.

As it approached the point at which students could leave without penalty if the professor hadn’t arrived, I gathered up my things, determined to not put up with this again. And at 9:15, I left. I was the only one to do so, and I felt kind of funny, but I did it anyway. Then, of course, I saw the teacher in the hall, which made me feel worse, but not enough to make me return.

But now? I am so glad I didn’t go back to that class. I feel no guilt. I was doing nothing wrong, and I was taking care of myself.

Another situation where I’m now pleased with how I handled it involves showers at church camp. There are never really enough for all the girls. When I was a camper, people would loudly complain about how some people were taking way too long. But I was not comfortable going out there in a towel to get dressed somewhere else to save a little time like most of the girls. So I never did.

I felt bad. I knew time and space were limited. But I’m very glad now that I stuck to my guns, even though I did it silently. (And thankfully it’s not an issue now that I’m a counselor and can find alternative opportunities for showering.)

Sometimes I’m very proud of my past self for doing things to take care of me.

Please do not misunderstand me. I’m not advocating skipping classes willy-nilly or purposely inconveniencing people because you can. Responsibility and treating others with consideration are incredibly important and should not be neglected just because you feel like it.

However, your physical and emotional and mental health are also important. Sometimes protecting them involves resisting peer pressure to do something that makes you uncomfortable or removing yourself from a stressful situation. Do these things with thought and with care and without inconveniencing others if possible. But make your future self proud by doing things to take care of you.