15.11.12

this blog is silly. i hate and love it.

i've been wanting to get back to blogging...it's almost pitiful how up and down i am with this blog. but i think blogging is good for me to publicly think out loud about where i am, where i've come, and where i plan to go.

since the summer, i have:
taken 18 credits. interned at a law firm. got a new job. started dating a boy. created my own website. started a small group with high school girls. applied for graduation. applied for a million other things. have given a person of christ/sin/cross talk at YL club. it's been an exhausting semester. needless to say i am ready for thanksgiving break.

i am interested in:
actually joining a movement. (interning, tithing, volunteering?)
attend conferences. (TJC, SPC).
learning more about marketing and branding.
attend concerts (florence and the machine, mumford, explosions in the sky, ellie goulding).
travel (see annaliesa in england. abbie. interns).



22.5.12

majesty

I'm a very inconsistent blogger. I'm very sorry.

I was able to spend one week home in between school and interning. in that week, i felt extremely weak...loss of words, doubt in my heart, completely undisciplined...unfocused, weary, uncertain. in subtle thoughts of, "I don't crave any intimacy with the lord. I'd rather not be productive with my life. I don't really want to dedicate a whole summer to serving the Creator for lives to be changed. I'd just rather not meet new people."

and what did I experience all week? incredible moments of wisdom being showered into my life. in the most miraculous and real situations.

when my older sister needed advice about a boy situation, i mumbled unhelpful words and repeated phrases like, "boys suck." whereas, my younger sister, who is four years younger than my older sister, told her the honest freaking truth. "Leave him, run...you want a man who knows and loves jesus more than he loves you because in that, things will hold together. you are worth a million bux and i will remind you of this everyday until you really grasp it." and such. it was beautiful, hilarious, and so so encouraging. my younger, rambunctious sister was able to slap me and nina in the face and gently tell us things we always need to hear.


my mom and i were driving in the car to the market. she explains how she has a client who is battling stage four cancer...except that the battle is essentially over. she now lives in a hospice and is waiting for her time to pass over. my mom, NONCHALANTLY, tells me...."yeah, so i just asked her if she had a bible to read. we aren't allowed to bring religious matters into work, but i mean, she is dying and i found it important she knows of her savior. so i read her romans 8:38-39. she loved it."

oh, thanks mom for having an eternal impact. she is changing this world. i want to grow up to be like her. something as simple and childish as that. i am proud she is my momma and the lord is proud she is his daughter.


jenna. i didn't want anyone to come over, because i was extremely exhausted and nervous before leaving the following morning for a place where i didn't know a single person (yet). she insisted, plopped on my bed, and forced me to look at her and catch up, talk, express, love. she held my hands very tightly as she whispered prayers to the lord. beyond peaceful. beyond lovely. beyond everything i imagined.




thank you, sweet savior, for using my weakness for your profound and majestic words.



7.5.12

this Kiss

I haven't had one of those "experiences" in quite a while...the moments of raw truth and pure love being accepted.


this is my third time coming to the new site church, here in ridley. BRV media planted another one in ridley because quite frankly...we need it.


but can we just pause and recognize how this county needed a good church? one that flourishes, rains truth, speaks and lives out hope. kind of like luke 4.18
"The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor."
(totes my "life verse").


church is now in an old Leiper church. Stained glass windows, shades of gray and brown on the walls, an altar, pews. the whole thing.

do you know how incredible it was to have people scattered throughout the pews, arms open, wanting to just dance in the presence of the Great I Am?

Yesterday all of my passions, fears, doubts, dreams, hopes, insecurities, gifts, thankfulness, purposes....all that i am....were wrapped into one experience and exploded into the love i received.

standing next to my mom in worship. looking over my shoulder and seeing eric, a kid who graduated with christina on his knees. no one will really get it. people in ridley...well, you don't just go to church for fun. he was alone. and he keeps coming back. why? because he knows and he gets it.

overweight people. young and very old. skinny people. rough looking people. lower socio-economic classes. swarthmorians (wealthy people). everyone and anyone...ah, how refreshing to get a visual image of the kingdom.

sometimes it gets suffocating to have your community always look and feel the same...

anyway, i can't express what i felt and why i felt it. but i felt beyond free, loved, thankful. am i sad at the state of this world? why of course...am i going to change this world? why, hell yeah...but do i love who i am in the core of my being and the purpose i have for today and only today? why, jesus, i am so incredibly thankful.

i love him so much...because he gets me...when no one else does.


the first will be last and the last shall be first. the economy of the kingdom is upside down. how did i lose that? why do i feel entitled to earn more denari for a longer day's work? how sickening i am. a wretch.

"how he loves" was played. i've heard this song three hundred and seventy two times plus a thousand more. but yesterday morning, the line "so heaven meets earth with an unforeseen kiss." and people also know it as  "so heaven meets earth with a sloppy wet kiss." but honestly unforeseen was so perfect for me to hear. why do i grow dismal with the state of this world? God kissed this world, God kissed this Earth, God kissed me.


a truly depressing world would be one where the Kingdom never came and wasn't coming. but Heaven kissed earth...blindsided. had no clue. out of no where, the lord was like BAM, HERE ARE MY LIPS. (hehe) but what he is really saying is, "here is my love, my grace, tenderness, hope...everything will be okay because I did something about it."


and that was the most powerful kiss human-kind has ever known.



3.5.12

A Sobering Look at Sexuality


**PREFACE:
I edited my paper--as in, i cut it and made it short. i didn't include the evolution of pornography. essentially, what used to be "hard porn" is now soft. example: Playboy, lad mags, etc.

PREFACE 2:
For the sake of time/research, my paper is about heterosexual men who consume pornography. I recognize there are other issues, like homosexual porn, etc. but this is about heterosexual men consuming porn, but most of all it is about the industry. my goal is for the industry/producers to be held accountable, because they are the ones carefully constructing the way sexuality is portrayed.

also, don't mind the grammar/punctuation mistakes! hehe. OH and i recognize some material is really graphic but that's the point, right?


In the last sixty years, sexuality has been commoditized and sold to millions of men through the increasing acceptance and usage of pornography.  As Gail Dines coins it, pornography has become a public health issue because young men, commonly starting at eleven years old, are developing their sexual experiences through degrading, virtual images, and this ultimately affects their perception of women (xiii). Not only is pornography a type of entertainment, but also it has evolved into becoming our main source of sexual education and standards of sexual expectation.  In essence, pornography has become the American culture.  In Dines’ novel, Pornland, she critically analyzes the harms of the pornography industry: “In short, [pornographers] are businessmen from start to finish, not innovators committed to our sexual freedom” (x).  The lack of sexual freedom in our culture must be evaluated, for sexuality is being defined and controlled by businessmen in the sex industry.  Because of pornography, sexual imagination and emotional intimacy are stolen from relationships and we are left with a society numb to malicious and disdainful acts towards women that are common themes in pornographic material.  Through the novels Pornland and Getting Off,  Dines and Jensen discuss the evolution of pornography, explore the content of two pornographic genres, and explain why pornography is detrimental to sexuality as a whole.
The content of this “arousing material” thrives off of the main idea that men should sexually and physically dominate women.  This domination is often seen in the forms of the submission of women to sexual acts, the aggressive interactions of men, and even violence committed towards women.  Today, the industry utilizes the domination in two central genres: “features” and “gonzo” (Jensen 55).  Features attempt to imitate a story line with actors, a plot, and dialogue; gonzo is solely sexual acts that are recorded.  Gonzo has become one of the biggest moneymakers in the pornography industry; this speaks volumes since gonzo, “…depicts hard-core, body-punishing sex in which women are demeaned and debased” (Dines xi).  Both features and gonzo highlight the way a woman’s body can be objectified and sexualized through the intentional facial expressions, body positions, physical contact, and verbal dialogue included. Men are aggressive by pushing a woman’s head or body in a certain position and penetrating her.  There is often a blatant expression of discomfort or pain on a woman’s face, and some pornographic films admit in their goal of inflicting this pain. Pornography blurs the lines of legal abuse and “sexually arousing material,” and almost all pornography consumers and pornography producers overlook this issue.  In almost all of these films, there is sexual and verbal abuse towards a woman.
Dines describes the intent of pornography:
In porn the man makes hate to the woman, as each sex act is designed to deliver the maximum amount of degradation. Whether the man is choking her with a penis or pounding away at her anus until it is red raw, the goal of porn sex is to illustrate how much power he has over her. (xxv)

This description of a scene in pornography is not uncommon; such brutality is typical.  Classic acts, in which they are shown in almost every film, are those of double penetration, double anal, double vag, and ass-to-mouth.  “DP” is when a woman is penetrated vaginally and anally at the same time; double anal is when a woman is penetrated anally by two men at the same time; double vag is when a woman is penetrated vaginally by two men at the same time; and ass-to-mouth is when a man removes his penis from a woman’s anus and, without cleaning it, places it in her mouth (Jensen 59).  Terms like DP and ATM are popular in the industry, and that alone is a grave danger to the way sexuality is being expressed in America.
Pornography is a billion dollar industry; the producers have to find creative ways to send their movies over the edge and remain “desirable” to men to keep sex selling.  Most people would claim to be appalled at the physical and verbal content within pornography; however, the popularity of the material is becoming deeper than individual pleasures and is contaminating people’s perceptions on a national level.  As Dines interviewed young college men, she recalls, “Some of the worst stories I hear are from men who have become so desensitized that they have started using harder porn and end up masturbating to images that had previously disgusted them.  Phil told me, ‘Sometimes I can’t believe the porn I like’” (Dines 93).  The meaning and expression of sexuality has been at risk for decades and has become so deformed that young men are becoming comfortable with images they never thought possible.  Sex should represent mutual affection, intimacy, and respect between two people.  However, the porn industry has carefully constructed their videos to convey the message that porn culture is desirable because of the absence of intimacy.  Detached from commitment, pornography offers men an escape into which their “wildest fantasies” can be played out with the click of a button.  With fulfilling sexual desires through the Internet and/or the media, pleasure has become a cold experience
Almost all of pornographic material reinforces the idea that women are nothing but sluts and whores and are objects to ridicule.  The evidence of this idea through verbal language is astronomical, for derogatory words are continuously being said in gonzo and features.  As Jensen states, “But it’s also clear that a common message of pornography is that all women are whores by nature; it’s intrinsic to being a woman” (Jensen 112).  Men in the movies are almost always using words like “slut,” “whore,” “bitch,” “cunt,” and anything that promotes the dehumanization of a woman.  A commonly seen instance in porn consists of a man telling a woman, “Choke on that dick,” and physically grabbing her head, slapping her face, and forcing his penis into her mouth (Jensen 62).
To see further into the intent of pornographic films, Jensen explains:
Women in pornography tend to get treated by men as either objects of desire or objects of ridicule.  That is, men see them as things to be either fucked or made fun of, or both.  For example, a pornographic website that focuses on gag-inducing oral sex asks, ‘Can these fuck toys be any dumber?’ That sums up the way men in the pornographic world think about these women. (122)

As American citizens, we do not have to look far to find glimpses of pornographic content.  Recently, Rush Limbaugh was recorded calling law student, Sandra Fluke a slut and prostitute. CafePress sells shirts with the term “Donkey Punch,” which refers to a move where the male punches the female in the back of head or neck prior to orgasm with intents of her “bucking like a donkey.”  Such examples are not only flooding porn sites, but are invading the news, clothing companies, advertisements, and systems.  This porn rape culture, a culture where the lines are unclear between illegal harm to women and pleasure for men, is polluting the minds of people everywhere.  Women are objectified into the simple belief that they are only worthy of sexually satisfying men, while men are being stripped of their masculinity and are being programmed to believe they are not men unless they dominate women.  The meaning of sexuality has been so tainted and perverted that most people do not know what healthy sexual experiences entail.  Because of the porn industry, sex has become simply become a service, where men demand and women supply.  Not only is misogyny the central theme to pornography, but also the videos are extremely discriminatory to all who are not heterosexual males.  The lack of discussion about the harms of pornography is further evidence in how consumerism has carefully constructed pornography to be accepted into mainstream culture.  Exploring the pornography industry is crucial in order to redeem sexuality in America, for this industry is controlling our society and molding it to be impersonal, misogynistic, and abusive.
To produce a healthy society, where sexuality is constructed by our own, natural experiences, we must raise awareness and become pro-active to end this industry.  Although the distortion of sex is undeniable and the pornography business is powerful, that cannot be a justifiable excuse to continue to allow the horrendous and blatant dehumanization of women.  Pornography is infecting the minds of children, adolescents, and adults and poisoning the perceptions men have of women.  The message pornography conveys is simple: degrade, abuse, violate, and dominate women.  For the identity and worth of a woman be centered on body parts and the ability to perform sexual acts, women and men must take a sobering look at how it truly affects society and personal relationships.


1.5.12

victory

it is exhausting wanting to be elsewhere and wanting a different lifestyle. to be prettier, more adventurous, smarter, etc.  most days it is a constant battle to fight the lies of, "transferring from APU was a mistake. you loved it there. you could have had a better life there." talking with my friends from APU is always bitter-and-sweet. bitter because i desperately want to be near them and have the life i used to have. basically the glossed versions of my time at APU...when things went well, when things were exciting and sunny and beautiful. not when i felt lonely and/or disconnected from the lord, and especially when i felt like i just was searching for more.

so why do i always skip over the victories of my college experience, both at apu and jmu? why do i so quickly forget the moments of "this is a beautifully fruitful and nurturing season in my life." i am not sure why i forget. but i don't want to...so this post goes out to the incredible, both little-and-small, victories of my time in harrisonburg just this week.

-getting two pints of cake batter ice cream from klines last week and not being judged by my housemates.
-giggling with Evi as we chat boys and think it is funny. (humor similar to middle school).
-spending hours with Sara and Lindsay as we did studied together yesterday. I think I am fueled by other people's energy.
-the warm weather today. the fan is blowing in the kitchen and i sure do love the feeling of summer. there is nothing like it and i'm addicted to the feeling.
-simply living in a house with so many awesome women.
-the late night texts Evi and I send as only a wall separates us...silly things like "I am tempted to text him. tell me not to." and then complete forgiveness and no judgment when we gave in and did. whoops!
-the adrenaline rush when i complete a kick-ass paper.


it's all about perspective, right? I know I will truly miss harrisonburg this summer.




28.4.12

the scene in titanic

last week i broke my foot. well, it's not definite but there is a strong possibility. what i have to say about that: i am miserable, unmotivated, defeated, insecure. i feel all of those things. but what are you going to do?

last night was a picnic for young life. long story short, all 120 something leaders square danced/country line danced (what's the proper name?) and because of my new best friends (crutches) i had to sit out and watch. I anticipated a pity party, because, come ON, reb LOVES to dance. so I knew it would be hard to watch so many people twirl, spin, and get a kiss on the cheek. (hehe).

luckily no pity party was near. instead, i felt absorbed in the moment of cheering, celebrating, and pure fun. you know the feeling you get when you're watching titanic and Rose is taken to the third class party underneath the boat? and you are just DYING to be with her and be spun by leonardo dicaprio? the screaming irish music, beer toppling over mugs, people letting loose and grabbing on to each other. it is wild and untamed. okay so no one got to dance with leo last night. but the feelings of adrenaline, being free, and excited about life were totally there. i loved being in the midst of chaos and not being able to have time to care about who thinks of who and who is judging who.

I want dance through everyday.

15.4.12

I need you

" I need you to listen. I need for you to not lose heart. I need for you to always choose hope over despair. I need you to know that all seasons pass. I need for you to be courageous in moments that pass without a swelling orchestra or standing ovation. I need for you to believe with all your heart that you are beautiful and created not only to witness, but to participate in beauty and wonder. I need for you to know these truths because someday I will need for you to remind me. I will lose faith just as you have. I will cling to doubt and self pity. And one day you’ll forget what we fought for and why we laughed, and I will remind you of the life we chose to live, believing we’re meant for more than we could ever imagine. "



11.4.12

heaping mount of choco


This past weekend I reconnected with a great friend of mine. Clingy, inseparable, what ever word you would like to choose to describe our annoyingly obsessive, playful, and loving friendship that started ten years ago. It has not always been smooth sailing. We have walked through valleys with each other and cried our eyes out over difficult life situations.

In college, she has pushed through excuses, distractions, and circumstances. She’s called. Called. Called. Texted me. Messaged me. Left voicemails. She does not give up on our friendship.

Saturday night we sat in a local Applebee’s, discussing life over warm doughy cookie, teeth chilling ice cream, and a heaping mount of chocolate cake. We poured our hearts, confessed deep secrets, and laughed about life’s absurdity. We wrestled as we tried to give each other advice, to which we only blankly stared at each other and said, “I am here for you. You are not alone. I understand.” Nothing too substantial or ground breaking, but powerful and needed, noneoftheless.

It didn’t matter what we believed. It did not matter if we agreed on most things. But it did matter that she made me feel on top of the world. In those short couple of hours, I was freed from judgment and divine expectations. I was enough for her because I am Rebecca, a young woman filled with doubts, fears, and uncertainties. But she wanted my honesty and I wanted hers. She wanted to know how I felt, how I get by in life, and if I felt loved. If I wasn’t staring in the face of Jesus, then I am not sure who I was looking at.

That night, the spirit picked me up…he carried me far out of and into my feelings, because he let me feel a lot of goodness and hardship. But he showed me that a life with him is not always extravagant, majestically divine, and filled with epiphanies. Of course, that is a part of it. But as I stared into my friend’s face, I knew he was letting me know it is okay to relax. Let go of some things. Rip a part the image I try to create. Let go of what I want to be and just be, me. Yes, me, included with my doubts, shortcomings, and fears. To throw away the idea that I am clean, have it all together, and know what I am talking about. She showed me to let go and reveal who I really am.


I am grateful he chose my beautifully brave friend to tell me this.

22.3.12

Solitude, I need you

It's funny that when things get harder I have less to say. It is not that I have less to say, it is that I do not feel as brave and want to hide my ish. But I really want to throw it all out there because it is what I am experiencing and I want this blog to document my life.

The last couple of weeks have been filled with younglife, school, work. some of the time it's incredible, other times I am so sick of it, and some is out of obedience. I get irritated with my teammates and I grow impatient. I get tired and confused and feelings of defeat. I don't want to think about camp and want to run away from responsibility. And really, there is no excuse for it. I have fallen short in some areas. I even hesitate to write, "but it's okay." because it is not. if i am truly experiencing the Love I desperately proclaim, the Peace would go beyond my impatience. Solitude, I need you.

How crazy I was letting other things get my attention because I was CONVINCED they were more exciting. What could be more exciting than you, jesus?

You're a gift. A gift and a present. a special assortment of sweets because i'm obsessed over sweets and eat about 5 a day. the smell of various flowers and especially the look of sunflowers. you are creativity. you are a king and that means you are MAJESTIC. you are a box of crayons that speaks each color into life. you're painting this world. from death to life you paint a beautiful, detailed, redeeming picture. you are academics, intellect, papers. you are intelligence.
but most of all you are what i always need, a lover. you know how and when to hug and kiss me. you not only understand a human but were a human. you not only can predict my next move but you predestined it. you not only guide me but you grab me, throw me over your shoulder, and push me through temptation, heartache, and loneliness.
you not only refute my illusions but you are the cold water on my face to wake me up. you not only turn on the light but you created and installed the light.
you are not only the answer but also the question.



19.3.12

Bex whatcha up to?

I haven't blogged in a while and I really do want this blog to be something I frequently do.

Some highlights as of lately:
-My schoolwork. Sociology, my independent study, my professors. challenging, but inspiring.
-The beautiful weather.
-Officially deciding to intern at Lake Champion this summer.
-Prayer Overnight at Rockbridge this weekend.
-Two new young life teammates. I was so ready for them.


Will post shortly. :)

8.3.12

This ain't easy


I am on the plane on the way home from LA…appropriate to blog, right? I SMELL A BANANA AND I WANT IT.

Everything I said in the previous blog stands true. Wow. It was emotional, messy, fun, exciting, wild, tiring, rewarding, challenging, hard…it was a really special trip. Some of those days I did not think positive thoughts because negativity is always easier to fall back on. Takes less emotional strength and so sometimes I fell back on regrets or sadness. But I have to get back up, rearrange my heart and move forward. This trip helped move me forward. Not in all senses but at least in some.

Reuniting with my friends was exactly what I had hoped, and way more. Whether it was hearing Grace scream when she saw me, Amy tackling me, or people on the Cougar walk jumping out of their chairs to greet me. Paul’s expression because he did not realize I would be at his door. To express my gratitude and how special I felt could never, ever be given justice through this blog. But seriously…text after text, calls, voicemails, meeting me on campus, squeezing in time to see me—real and genuine efforts to see me was beyond beautiful and lovely. Especially because most of my time with friends was authentic—sitting outside, staring at each other, pouring and pouring and pouring. No time to be fake—let’s jump to the heart and meat of life. It is not that I had the most ideal friendship situation at all times at apu—clearly not, because my community at jmu is what I need. But what makes my friendships exceedingly special about apu is because they know I was deeply hurt, my shit was out for all to see, and I had to leave. They do not judge me for that, but welcome me and long for a different situation. They craved to know the well-being of my soul. They were selfless and wanted to hear about the success of my experience at jmu. Ugh, really…how did I get so lucky? And I did not even get to spend time with everyone I wanted to see. Breaks my heart. (but only after like twelve hours of non-stop talking do you realize you may be a little burnt out—introverts where ya AT?)

My trip to apu made me feel extremely rich in friendship.

However, I am not going to lie. Spiritually, apu can be a strange place. I had difficult conversations where my friend cried to me in the most honest and vulnerable way explaining how she missed God. I had another friend tell me he wishes he even knew Jesus still. Was I discouraged? Upset? Surprisingly, I was not at all. Because my friends looked me dead in the eye and told me their reality of being at apu. Anyone that can finish four years at apu has more strength than I do. With those two friends I got to stare at them and tell them they do not have to do anything—their Lover will come find them. (He already is).

At the same time I had friends explain victory after victory of what the Lord is doing, how they are maturing in painful and incredible ways, and how Jesus is more real to them than ever. I loved both realities because we are all in this messy, shitty, surreal, lovely life and cannot escape but can only go deeper into humanity and spirituality.

I wish I could explain in detail my heart behind all of my time with my friends (letzgo journal…cannot wait!) but I think sometimes I want and need to keep intimate, personal, complicated experiences for myself. But just know—there is so much more.

Last night I was texting my housemate from jmu. I was explaining how my heart is in a million different places and almost feels shattered because of how deeply I long to be with everyone at the same time. How sometimes I feel like I did not have the strength to finish at apu. She responded, “You were always meant to graduate from jmu. You are just too special for one place.” I can honestly say I do not know if words ever hit me so hard. A simple TEXT made me feel and think thousands of things at once. Maybe it is because she does not realize how ridiculously I reacted to circumstances at apu (and I say this because she is in a harder position than me and is so brave. Ugh, wish I could tell y’all). But either way, that text put my life into perspective a little, for I was able to recognize the sovereignty of my Guide and how I promised Him and myself I would trust Him so I am going to do so.

So what if my heart is all over? That I cry as I take off on the runway for Pennsylvania? That I have to watch Real Housewives of Beverly Hills because I already miss driving those streets with Nina? That I need selfish prayers? I am going to love until it hurts because guess what? It really does hurt. It hurts to look at certain people and tell them goodbye…again. It hurts because I would rather spend most of my days alongside them. Can you imagine when jesus had to ascend? Like, OK c-y’all, those that I just died for? But he knew greater things were coming because of the active and alive spirit so I must let the spirit work.

I am growing to appreciate the diversity of my life and the boldness of the spirit in me to take care of me. I had anxiety, sadness, tears all being in California. That is extremely true, but that is all extremely okay.


**Now I am in my home in Philadelphia, PA. Completely silent, sitting in my kitchen finishing this blog. Dang, this is not easy.

I was not prepared for how hard it was going to be to leave Nina. The only thing giving me hope is the possibility of us becoming roommates a little over a year from now. Who knows? Maybe? But really...this week was a little taste of what we always have known and what is natural. For sisters to live alongside each other and walk through life. the sometimes annoying and mundane errands such as Ikea, the bank, her old apartment, grocery store. I miss it all (it's been less than 24 hours) and I want it again. I want my sister and her presence and her comfort and love. I am hesitant to even continue writing because it is very emotional for me and this silence is killing me. But I want to be in tune with my emotions. So here it is: I want to be with my best friend. Still. I want to be back. I did not want to leave. But maybe this is just a way for all three of us to be together. More preparation for the day my sisters and I can all live together.






2.3.12

LA baby





I cannot believe I am sitting on an airplane, drinking “CafĂ© Mystique US Airways” coffee (that is seriously what it says on the Styrofoam cup), 43,000 miles up in the air, only an hour away from Los Angeles International Airport. The last day has been a blur—minimal sleep, excess amounts of coffee, and sweat outbreaks because of two midterms I had to take. Afterwards, I quickly did laundry, had three friends visit, and then Colleen and I were off to Washington DC. Laying my head on the pillow at 11:30 and waking up at 3:45 to begin a wild journey.


Flying standby is stressful and there is no other way to put it. No seats available, no flight for Rebecca. I wish I could explain how many flights I was considering to take to do this story justice, but long story short, at 3:45AM there were 0 seats available for my second flight. 0. Zero. Zehaa-raw. I had intended to try for another flight to make another connection and eventually end up in CA, but when I checked in my luggage, the lady said “Both flights look good so I won’t stamp your bag as standby.” Huh? Both flights look good? Really, because about 40 minutes ago there were no seats left.

I hop off my first flight, RUN to terminal B (seriously, if you ever are on those moving escalator side-walk thingers, MOVE OUT OF THE WAY for people who actually need this speed enhanced machine!) and after the not-so-nice employee @ Special Services says, “can’t do anything to help you,” I sit down feeling extremely defeated. Tears start welling because I cry when I am stressed. Sorry ‘bout it.

I check online and 14 seats show up. Fourteen?? How? What? Okay, I’ll take it! With my dad’s seniority, I then had a boarding pass gratefully stuck in between my palms. God is mysterious and I doubt. I doubt a lot and do not give him credit. “He definitely does not care about my flight drama. People are dying.” Maybe that is the case, because I would like to think he is taking care and performing miracles, but either way this was my mini-miracle. A small celebration. A moment of gratitude.


I am listening to Matt Wertz because he reminds me of Young Life camp, which is probably the safest place my mind can ever wander when I am feeling uneasy, unsure, and a little fearful. Why am I “afraid” to go to California? Well, I am not afraid of spending time with my best friend, my soul mate, my older sister. Wow, what joy will that bring the both of us. Anyone have a sister? Sibling maybe? Do you have a connection with them? Because if so you totally know the feeling I mean when you desperately crave to unite with that person who compliments you, frustrates you, and loves you without doing a single thing. No performance necessary, only genuine enjoyment of each other’s company. I need that a lot in my life (hence why I am always homesick for my sisters). The presence of my sisters is also one of the safest places I can ever go. They are probably the only two places I can go. (oh, and mom). Spending time with Nina is a continual pouring in and out relationship, where we both are energized by each other, yet are honest and our complete selves.

But besides spending time with her, it is the first time I am visiting APU since I have transferred…and I don’t know if this is irrational of me or not, but I am nervous. APU is a place of the highest peaks in my life and the lowest lows. It is where I contracted swine flu on the day my aunt died back east, it is where I was given the opportunity to travel to Cambodia, it is where I entered into my first serious relationship, it is where I first led Young Life, it is where I academically explored the bible in class, it is where I discovered my innate passion for fighting against injustice and inequality by becoming a Sociology major. It is where I freely raised my arms in worship without fear of being judged, it is where I found out Dominic had committed suicide, it is where I had run wild in Disneyland, feeling like a seven year old again. It is where staff and professors recognized me, it is where I first tried counseling, it is where I really explored my passionate soul, and it is where I had my heart broken. APU, you gave me opportunities. LOTS of them. Up and down ones to say the least.

But I salute you, APU, because although at times (most of the time), when I did not know how to fight the battles, you pushed me…you pushed me to wrestle with my Father, with my friends, boyfriend, myself. You pushed me…too hard, I admit. And graciously I was removed and gently put in one of the most fruitful, beautiful seasons in my life. But I would be a fool to say I don’t think about APU everyday or that it wasn’t my reality for the past two years. Without APU, I would not be where I am today, which is exactly where I want to be. Wow I am giddy writing that because I am finally at a place where healing has happened and I can look at APU with tender, forgiving, and admirable eyes. And I am not stuck, immobile, or trapped. I am free as can be in my heart, identity, and even geographical location. I can take APU with the beautiful things it offers and look at those dark moments with the knowledge it is okay. It was not always dark. Run after the light and affectionate moments.

Circumstance does not define me, but only contributes to my growth and experience. APU and JMU do not define me, but brutally and gently throw opportunities, relationships, and experiences at me. I have taken the hard punch, handled it pretty poorly, but also have jumped up and down and danced around with joy. So this break, I will reconnect with the saving graces of my APU experience…I write on this blog to publicly (except it is kind of private by the amount of my readers:) declare I will say sorry to those I have hurt or felt abandoned by me suddenly transferring. And I will rejoice, and explode with giddiness and appreciation for those who know me so well and have seen me too little.

Now I can’t say I won’t be emotional or even have a breakdown. I want the freedom to feel my emotions to the twentieth degree and not be ashamed but acknowledge hard parts but also the sweet parts. I can say, though, that I will walk in full confidence and assurance of where my Love is guiding me, taking me, and has taken me thus far. For that, I am forever thankful.

Wednesday, while I was working at the library, I had bursts of anxiety, confusion, and fear for going to California. “What am I thinking? Why would I want to put myself in a stressful situation (flying), chaotic week of moving around, and emotional situations where memories will flood?”

Then He answered me, very clearly and very gently. He said “Why wouldn’t you? Why would you choose comfort when you so, personally know the value of taking risks? Why would you not trust me?”

Why would I not go to California? Why would I not put myself in the most emotional situations? Is that not what life is about? To feel, to feel to the point of crying in the best and worst sense. To explore, engage, remember, reflect, pray, and praise. I want that at all times. Whether I am flying across the country to California, at Spotswood high school in Virginia, or nuzzled in my cozy room in Pennsylvania. I want to explore, engage, remember, reflect, pray, and praise for all of the days of my life. I am starting now.


28.2.12

Vitamin C is Good for me.



Today I was eating lunch at home; alone, without my phone, without my laptop, and without music. It sounds absurd I have to clarify, but I am the first to admit I feel guilty if I am not active...in whatever. if I am not reading, talking, writing, going, doing, doing doing. so I was eating an orange and I thought to myself "How do I feel about this orange?" I want to do that more, because this question offered a lot of room for small celebrations. My answers were along the lines of, "It's absolutely delicious, and it is messy. It is bright in color, and it smells nice. It is good for me." and I could not help but continue to think about things that are good for me.


I write this in the sheer fact that I am so, SO easily prone to ALWAYS indulge and impulsively pick things that are not good for me. Yea, I am talking about sin, but I am also talking about just dumb desires or ideas of what I want and when I want it and how to get it. But how good does it feel when we pick things that are natural and innately good for us?

I wish I had discipline, and I think it is appropriate to explore in this season of Lent what it means to pick things that are good for us, even when we don't necessarily think they are a big deal, like eating an orange, and especially when we do not want to choose those things.

I certainly do not think that choosing good things means we should wallow in the ways we choose bad. Because in that case, I'd be screwed. Do you REALIZE how excited I am for 7:45 so I can go get cake batter froyo with a mountain of rainbow sprinkles, reeses chunks, and cookie dough pieces? And in a way, I think it is good for me...in the way that I get to have great conversation over it and the way I am passionate about something so dumb as to a dessert.

Also, you seriously-could-not pay me enough to stop watching Khloe & Lamar. And I'll admit, I don't know how I could even try to make a case and say that is good for me. So, yes, I choose bad things. I think that is why good things feel so powerful to me.


So what is good for you? What ignites a passion or gets your mind wandering in a peaceful manner? What brings you to the core of who the Father has created you to be? Most of the time, I choose things that are good for me in long-term ways....such as a major I am passionate for, school opportunities, and so forth. But I am more talking about what is good for you today? Remember, the present is a present. It's a gift...Where are your gifts today?

My gift was in my sweet, delicious orange. Also, in the book I am currently reading: Reaching Out by Henri Nouwen. Out of reading this book comes learning about prayer, which is good for me. Another gift is the Penguin Cafe Orchestra station I am listening to on Pandora, because it is instrumental, calming, and creates room for me to insert my own lyrics.

These are three silly things that are good for me. Which only consisted of about an hour of my day, total. Could you imagine how incredibly full my life would be if things that are good for me took up most of my day? It is not that the rest of my day was in vain; it consisted of ministry, school, cleaning, singing, a little dancing, walking. but things that are good for me on a very small scale...a VERY small scale...make me feel less cluttered and more aware of the nourishment I need everyday that pertain to me, Rebecca.

O how all good things come from You. Will you reveal to me what is good for me and give me the strength to choose so?





25.2.12

my O's be burstin




yesterday was a strange day...i get sick often so when i woke up with a small fever i didn't think anything about it, except i called out of work. around 12:30 i collapsed in my hallway, gripping my abdomen, telling colleen i'm in excruciating pain. she says "i have to go" and leaves. (kidding coll, you're way more sensey than that). but then i call my mom and she thinks it's appendicitis, so she goes "get to the ER, now."

y'all, i've never been to the ER. but i knew i wanted this pain to go away. i'm hunched over in a torrential downpour walking to my friend's house so i can take his car. long story short, i end up at the ER, get blood/urine taken, and proceed to wait for 4.5 hours. i get a ct scan, an IV hooked up to me (umm, OUCH when they can't find your vein & are diggin' around for a good amount of time in your hand).

i watch a walk to remember in the hospital, get warm blankets put ontop of me, and cry a little. doc comes in with no appendicitis! but ovarian cyst ruptured. uh? skuzz me?

even though it was a lonely and at times painfully boring day, i really did feel at peace the whole time. i mean, yeah i did cry a lil hysterically when my phone died, could not update my momma, and malicious needles were running around underneath my skin. or when mr. nurse was putting iodine into my bloodflow and the ct scan room was intimidating.

but i will choose to describe the encouraging and engaging parts of my field trip to rockingham memorial hospital. like when i was shivering, watching a walk to remember, and mr. nurse lays a warm blanket that is radiating heat over my body and i verbally & literally say out loud "jesus, that is a really nice man." or how about the angelic paramedic who had an aura of gentleness, peace, and servanthood. i ask her if she is a nurse and we get talking. she tells me how she is a volunteer paramedic and a paid one in staunton. she continues & tells me how she has sent three people this week to be airlifted because of traumatic accidents. wow she is really brave.

one of me & jesus's "things," kind of like inside jokes but more just inside "things." well one is when i go, if jesus had a profession/job, what would it be? i like to encourage and motivate my mom by letting her know that jesus would be a social worker at the department of public welfare (because i do believe that) and yesterday was a day of, "ohhh, yup. also a paramedic."


mr. nurse and angelic paramedic were truly delightful and made my lonely visit really nice. another blessing was the song that came on the disney channel: "man or muppet" i found it hilarious and appreciated it.


so all in all, ER life is difficult, depressing, and dreary. but it is also life giving, in the most literal sense, and also in the spiritual. of course i wanted my mom right beside me, babying me, and tenderly helping me because i so desired that. but i am trying with every ounce in me to see the shittiest of situations in the prettiest of ways. i always want to know that a muppet commercial can cheer me up, a blanket can shower me with warmth, and a radiant young woman's soft conversation can give me just the right amount of courage to keep going. i am courageous, not because of circumstance, but because of companionship with yahweh. i will swim lengths and dive deep to find bravery to face today, tomorrow, and especially my past. i have a lot of anxiety, pain, and fear but like i said before, i will stomp on satan's schemes to not give him that satisfaction.






23.2.12

not having twitter is really hard



tonight was the spotswood basketball game. for all y'all out of state or distance blog readers (lol), i am a younglife leader at a local high school in harrisonburg, VA called Spotswood. home of the blazers. sometimes we joke and call it spotsweed or potswood blazers. marijuana's a big deal here.
but tonight was a regional game to go to states... and we lost by one point.
i told my younglife teammate i am so thankful we lost (even though in the midst i was going crazy, making any excuse to act like i am a big deal, because MY girls' bball team could go to states). but i am thankful because we all got a glimpse of brokenness. a taste of dissatisfaction. and with 3.6 seconds back on the clock, i made sure i took pictures to remember this night.




i was definitely caught up in the excitement of it all until we lost and i realized how we are caught up in idols, achievements, false worth.

but i also realized how it is okay to be caught up in the moment. i love that my head was dizzy and my legs were shaking because i couldn't stand the anticipation and nothing else mattered. being in a sea of highschoolers, praying over every individual in the gym, and feeling too many emotions for a couple minutes. i am lucky to have felt that.


UGH, the tension. so rebecca: are you saying you are grateful for tonight because you felt lots of emotions and felt like the luckiest girl in the world, or are you burdened by the weight of this world and the brokenness in which we put our hope and worth in?


both.



after the game, i dropped off three girls. giggling, talking about their school crushes (four wheelies--they "like" someone based off of how much they text! times are a'changin).

i drove back to my teammates house (because i borrow his car, thanks bud). and he knew i was moved with emotion. we walked to the back of his house, found two chairs in the dark, sat and looked at each other. surrounded by beer bottles, a muddy landscape, and barely any light to see each other, we were moved to pray. we prayed deep prayers of plea, gratitude, wonder, majesty. i could not hold back my tears and i let 'em rip (ew, really?). but i could not stop crying because i repeated truth that i have problems believing, yet i could not stop clinging and gripping onto hope. our prayers were dark, deep, sincere and i am lucky. will you bring me back to the backyard in deep peace and prayer because i need you?





beauty and wonder


today is lovely. sitting in my college bedroom in an older, virginia style home. being a housemate of 9 young women. the sun and temperature--really nice. so nice that my broken, oversized windows are open as an invitation for stink bugs, sunlight, and a gentle breeze. i even debated not playing music so i could hear the construction worker poking at the pavement, cars driving by, and birds conversing. not that those are exceptional noises (and i don't even understand bird, so it's not like i have a clue what they are saying), but i'm feeling so grateful and tranquil.


sure, i have a paper to write and my room is a mess, but i can't help but pause and appreciate NOW. living in the present for me...HA, talk about challenging. 60% of the time I'm dreaming big dreams for the future, 20% I'm looking up internships, jobs, universities, 10% I'm in the middle of an application for the next season, and 20% i'm going through old facebook photos from previous experiences and memories.
that's 110%. whatever.

but really, almost ALL of my mind is in the future. the future excites me. it's not long enough, wide enough, deep enough for me to explore and engage with. i want to participate in beauty and wonder. wonder is probably my favorite word. wondering is so majestic, mysterious, freeing. have you ever participated in the beauty and wonder of this world and regretted it? and most of the time i attribute w
onder to the future.

but i want to participate with beauty and wonder of this world right now. what are you doing to participate with creation, humanity, and spirituality? i admit, it is so much easier for me to feel present when the weather is filled with sunshine, clarity, and refreshing air. ugh, i know what you're thinking. you're THAT person who cries for no reason when there are rain clouds hovering. why, yes, yes i am.


but on days like today, and yesterday, and tomorrow, i will use every ounce of energy to stomp on satan's schemes and repeat to myself that the present is what matters. the present is a present. i live a beautiful life because i am being showered with gift after gift after gift. my god has given me a wondrous, magnificent, peculiar mind. i am going to use it. i am going to use my mind and heart. i will cry when i want to cry. i will rejoice, even on shitty days. in shitty circumstances. i will remember just being in your presence is magnificent.


PS- i'm probably back to blogging because i'm giving up twitter for lent. and i am so obnoxiously prideful i suspect everyone still wants to know my thoughts.
PPS- i'm also giving up sweets/treats. I sound like I am an 85 year old woman with diabetes. lord help me.

did you know PS stands for post script? at least that's what Yahoo! Answers tells me.