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Archive for the ‘Thoughts’ Category

Today I gave the message at Space for Grace, our weekly chapel service on campus. By know you all should know how dearly I love the sound of my voice, especially on microphone, so this was very fun for me! I thought of the topic for the day (fairness, or lack thereof) and, with help from the college chaplain, prepared the entire service for the day! It seemed to be a bit of a one woman show though, as I was the only one singing and I gave the message, but that just means more mic time for me!

I’m including a copy of my message here, for those of you who want to hear it but were nowhere near Monmouth today!
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Growing up with a twin, I was always very conscious of what was fair and what was not fair. If my sister got two hugs, I got two hugs. If my sister got five more minutes before bedtime, I got five more minutes before bedtime. If my sister got $1 for allowance (which, at the age of five was A LOT of money!), then I got $1 for allowance. My dad was always very careful to be fair, and was that way until I entered middle school. However, I do remember one evening when my mom said to my dad, “You know, Rob, life isn’t fair. And you’re doing these girls a disservice by splitting everything exactly down the line.” I never forgot those words. That was the moment I realized that life is not fair, and no matter how hard I struggled against this reality, it was not going to change.

Fast-forward about three years. I am in the fourth grade, finally old enough to run for student council. So I run for secretary. An easy job…easy enough for a fourth grader. I diligently prepare my speech on how I have neat handwriting (even though I didn’t), and how I live close to the school so I would never be late for meetings. I didn’t win. When the next election comes around, I run again, but this time for a different position. I didn’t win again. Now, at this point, any reasonable child would stop trying. I did not. I kept running for positions on the student body up through seventh grade when I finally realized that I was not popular enough to be elected. Does this seem fair? To me, it did not. I kept running because I kept telling myself that I was the best candidate so, naturally, I would be elected. And every time I lost, I was crushed. But I’d come back with more resolve, determined to do better the next time.

Now, I could go on and on in this same vein, with elections for drum major of both my middle school and high school marching bands, and even positions I ran for and awards I applied for here at Monmouth College. But I don’t want to bore you with my failures. These were merely examples that show how life isn’t fair, because if life was fair, I would have won at least one out of the ten or so elections I competed in.

But most of the time, life isn’t fair. And sometimes when we think that life isn’t treating us fairly, it is a blessing in disguise. Take one more example: During my junior year at Monmouth, I applied to be a Head Resident. I was highly qualified by all accounts, having spent the previous two years as a Resident Assistant, completing the necessary programs, getting excellent recommendations, and serving the best I could. As you may suspect, I was not hired as a Head Resident, but instead simply rehired as a Resident Assistant. Again, I was crushed. However, I have realized this year that this unfairness has been a blessing. By not being hired as an HR, I have been able to live in Peterson Hall (the nicest, newest building on campus), meet my quadmates (who are wonderful) and spend time with a staff of great people with whom I never imagined myself spending time. Also, the fact that I have fewer responsibilities has probably kept me sane. It truly has been a blessing.

Today’s scripture comes from Matthew 20:20-28. It describes the mother of brother disciples James and John, coming to the feet of Jesus and asking if her two sons may sit on Jesus’ right and left in His kingdom. When the other disciples heard this, they were angry. It was not fair of this mother to come and ask Jesus such a thing! But Jesus called them all together and said:

“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

I read this to mean that the rulers did not treat their subjects well. They were bossy, egotistical, and probably unfair on many occasions. “The rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them and their high officials exercise authority over them.” Fairness somehow includes a sense of mutuality – and a willingness to serve others. That is what Jesus was trying to get across to his disciples in this story. He tells them that they are not like the rulers.. Because to get ahead, to rule the group, one must serve, “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” The Son of Man came to Earth to serve man, to pay for man’s sins, and to teach us that life is not fair.

Life isn’t fair. There was absolutely nothing fair that Jesus went to the cross. If life were fair, we would be paying for our own sins. Thank God life isn’t fair, for God loves us and cares for us unfairly.
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I hope you all have enjoyed my message as much as I enjoyed writing (and delivering) it! 🙂

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Lasts

Last weekend, I had my last formal as an Alpha Xi Delta. I had a great time and thoroughly enjoyed myself, but it was still really sad. At one point my date even said, “Why are you crying? Don’t cry!” But I couldn’t help myself. 4 years. 4 years of memory, 4 years of responsibilities, 4 years of friends. And for some reason I was under the delusion that it would never end!

Then, not even a week later, I attended the last initiation I would ever be able to attend. I was crying before the ceremony even started. You don’t realize as a younger member that eventually you will have a “last initiation” and a “last formal” and a “last meeting.”

And as a student, you will have a “last paper” and a “last class” and a “last test.” But somehow these “lasts” are less traumatic. Perhaps because I’ve been in school for the great majority of my life and I can’t wait until I don’t have to go to school anymore.

But in my involvement, these lasts are traumatic. And I think it’s because I feel like I haven’t made the most of my time. Every year, the seniors said, “Don’t take this time for granted, because it goes by faster than you think!” And every year I thought, “Psh…I still have 2 years left! Plenty of time!” But now it’s April. April of my senior year. And I have 44 days until I can no longer consider myself to be a Monmouth College student. 44 days. And there’s nothing I can do about it.

I’ve made a plan for what I’m doing after school. It’s not glamorous, but it’s a plan. If you want to know more, ask!

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Sometimes…

Sometimes I feel like an adult in a kid’s body, and sometimes I feel exactly the opposite.

I came to this realization today while I was blowing bubbles in my milk with a straw. But more on that later.

I realized that sometimes I can’t wait to be a real grown up with real work experience, have the experience I need to get a job, and be an adult. Except I can’t do that yet because I’m only 21 and I’m still waiting for the other shoe to drop.

I’m 21, an almost college graduate, and I need a job.

On the other side, I feel like 5th grade Melissa is trying to bust out of the adult body I’m living in. Today for lunch, I had PB&J with potato chips layered inside. (If you say you haven’t done that, you’re lying.) I also started a harmless rumor and blew bubbles in my milk with a straw.

Being a kid was so much easier. I went to school 2 blocks from home, walked home with my best friend, and she’d stay until exactly 5:27 which gave her the right amount of time to get home by 5:30 for dinner. On the weekends, we’d meet halfway, right by the bushes in front of some old lady’s house.

Sometimes I feel like a kid in an adult’s body, and sometimes I feel exactly the opposite.

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The College Bubble…

…is a very comfortable place to be. Almost too comfortable. You go somewhere new, make friends (who are also somewhere new), get a routine, never have to worry about where your next meal will come from (because the cafeteria cooks for you), and you don’t really have to worry about a job, because you can always find one on campus! Life doesn’t start at 8 and go until 5. It starts at 11, goes till 2, and then you have a nice break until your 7 or 8 pm meeting.

Your biggest concerns in college are actually not that big. When is the internet going to come back on? How are you going to get home for break? When will the pizza get better in the cafeteria?

No rent, no utility bills, no grocery shopping, still on your parent’s health insurance. Life is good.

But then when you graduate, the college bubble is popped. Now, mind you, my college bubble hasn’t been broken yet. Still comfortable, still easy. But I’ve recently been looking into grad schools, full-time jobs, and thinking about living far from home (well, even further from home than I already am). Heck, just applying for jobs is scary. Cover letters, resumés, salary requirements…

It’s scary, right?

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Yellow

At the dawn of 2010 (okay, maybe a few days after…) I made three resolutions:

1. Be more badass.*
2. Be more of a free thinker. (Roughly..I can’t put what it really is for fear of losing friends)
3. Wear more color.

This is about resolution #3. Yesterday I wore mostly black, with a pink headband. Today I wore the most fabulous yellow skirt that I found over break.

It’s amazing how much of an effect the color you wear has on your general disposition! Somehow, when you’re wearing yellow, the world seems sunnier. Like everything has suddenly gotten brighter. When I’m wearing yellow, it doesn’t matter if I feel lonely, or if I’m mad at someone, or if my tummy hurts. It doesn’t matter if I didn’t do my reading and we have a quiz. It doesn’t matter if the cafeteria food is sub-par (which it usually is), or if I have to eat alone, because I’m wearing yellow and I look fabulous.

Does anyone else feel this way? What color do you feel brighter in?

*Borrowed from Allison Lindsay.

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In this epic battle, books would come out victorious.

As a child, I read the entire Anne of Green Gables series. Starting with Anne Shirley as an auburn haired orphan being brought home by Matthew Cuthbert when Marilla really wanted a boy, to her friendship with “bosom friend” Diana Barry, to her love affair with Gilbert Blythe, to the birth of her children. And throughout the entire series, I had vivid images in my mind of what she looked like, what her house looked like, what Gilbert looked like, and what her general surroundings were. In 5th grade, I was so sure of Anne Shirley’s life that I almost thought I could be Anne Shirley if I wanted to.

There’s a house in Frankfort, IL, that I call the “Anne of Green Gables House.” Jered always makes fun of me for it, but it’s my most favorite house in the whole area. This is what it kind of looks like:


This is how I picture the house at Green Gables. Except without a garage door or quite so elaborate landscaping. And maybe a bit more colorful. But the general structure, with the wrap around porch and the circle rooms and creative rooftop.

I bet most of you have seen the movie, “Anne of Green Gables.” I have not. I never saw it when I was young, and now I have absolutely no desire to see it. My idealized images of Anne Shirley and Green Gables are too perfect in my head. I spent too much time building that world in my head to have Hollywood show me what it should really look like. I just can’t bring myself to ruin what 5th grade Melissa created.

I feel the same way about the Little House on the Prairie books. I began reading these much earlier – I have vivid memories of my mom reading Little House in the Big Woods and trying to imagine what that winter would feel like – and finished the series in about 3rd grade. Apparently there are movies, but I haven’t seen them. And I don’t want to.

I feel bad for kids now. Unless they are introduced to these great books, they will never have the opportunity to create these imaginary worlds and be transported somewhere else than their backyard or living room.

Go outside. Read a book. Play pretend.

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Two thoughts today. The idea of the domestic diva, and the death, disappearance, and changes in chivalry.

Domesticity. That word just oozes 1950s, doesn’t it? When I grow up, I want to have a job, but also be a domestic diva. Actually, I’d really be happy as a housewife, but I think I may feel the need to contribute. Time will tell.

I’m well on my way to becoming a domestic diva. I know how to bake cookies, knit, own a teapot, and have 2 aprons on the way. Here are pictures!

Teapot! Except mine is yellow. It makes delicious tea and I love it!

Apron numero uno. I just love the big yellow roses! I can’t wait to try it on. (:

And this is apron numero dos. It’s vintage 1940s, and I will have it in my possession within the next 5-7 days. Love it!

Part of me wants to be a domestic diva because it’s such a romantic figure (in my head, at least.) I like to joke that I’m living in the wrong decade. I’d much rather be a 1950s housewife than a 21st century professional. Maybe. I mostly just wanted to show off my aprons and teapot, so…moving on.

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Chivalry. Is it dead? Has it disappeared? Where did it go? Just today, I was walking slightly behind a person of the male gender. As we reached a door, he flung it open and walked through. He didn’t even hold it open for the 2 extra seconds it would have taken to wait. It’s entirely possible he did not see me, just as it is possible that this man is devoid of manners. But what ever happened to holding a door open for someone or offering a jacket? And where have the true gentlemen of the world run off to?

Some people like to say that chivalry disappeared with the advent of feminism. Women were becoming more self sufficient and seemed almost resentful of men who tried to coddle the “weaker sex.” Well, you know what? I want to be taken care of. I want to have someone open doors for me, offer a jacket or umbrella, open my car door, and act gentlemanly all of the time.

Call me old fashioned, but doesn’t it sound nice?

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