Thursday, April 30, 2009

Letter to myself at 15

Hi fifteen-year-old me,

Don't kill me. Seriously, okay? Just read this and then give me a chance to explain. Since I know this is the number one question mark in your head at this point, I'm going to answer the question for you but then tell you how you got there: You go to Michigan State. Okay? Breathe. It's okay. It's not because MSU was your only option. You got into plenty of great schools. MSU just turned out to be the best, and you LOVE it here. Seriously. God knew what He was doing when He sent you to MSU. You're an education major. Funny, huh? You're so set on journalism right now...silly Christine. You don't like pressure and crazy spontaneous deadlines. You don't like writing what other people tell you to. You LOVE kids. Shouldn't the choice be obvious? Anyway, the College of Education at MSU is the #1 College of Education in the country (for the fourteenth year in a row this year!), so you're at the best school you can be at for your major. PLUS, in-state tution is definitely an advantage when you have to pay tuition. Yeah, you get a few scholarships and such, but it is surprisingly difficult to come up with thousands of dollars. You manage, though. Don't worry. Right now I'm a year away from graduating, and the financial horizon is pretty bright. Don't stress.

Speaking of "don't stress," Christine you have to CALM DOWN. You freak out too much. Yeah, KAMSC is hard, but let me let you in on a little secret: you do, in fact, graduate. Your final GPA comes out to a...3.86, I think? Yeah, that's right, I don't even remember it right now. I know that your GPA is practically engraved into your brain, but it doesn't actually matter that much. Seriously. There's going to be this one night where you go out for pizza with Laura and Emily (you meet them at the Civic) and spend the whole night laughing your head off and then don't get your Chemistry extra credit done on time, and you get a B+. Let me just tell you right now: WORTH IT. So worth it. The fun that you have in high school far outweighs the importance of your GPA. Once you start college, no one cares about it anyway. Plus, you get a 32 on the ACT, which is sweet. That opens a lot of doors.

KAMSC's killer, yeah, but you need to not stress out too much. Seriously. You spend way to many hours freaking out. Your study group is the BOMB, though. I'm 20 and still friends with all of them. It's way more fun when we get together now and don't have to study. :-)

Other than school...I guess the second most important thing you care about would be boys? Hmm...advice for you... OH! Since I know you're wondering about this, yes Nick does actually like you back. Don't date him for so long, though. As it stands right now, you guys make it through 10 months (oh, and contrary to what you believe, you don't get dumped). Don't let yourself get that attached, though. I mean, seriously Christine - you know that relationship is going nowhere. Why waste so much time on it? PLUS, there's this amazing guy waiting for you...and when you're hanging out with Nick you don't get together with the other guy until much later. Do you want to know who it is, or do you want to be surprised? Hmmm...knowing you, you want to know who it is. Okay, ready for this *drumroll*.....Rex Webb. Okay, once again, don't freak. He's not bald like in middle school when you date him. lol. He gets really attractive junior/senior year, you guys have Spanish 4 together (oh yeah, you skip Spanish 3) , and you become best friends. When you go to the hospital for five days junior year, Nick visits you once and Rex is either there and/or calls every single day. He's a really, really good guy. He doesn't tell you that he likes you because you have a boyfriend (once again, drop Nick sooner), but you guys stay close until a few months after you and Nick break up, at which point your friendship with Rex starts to become something more. He's amazing, Christine. The best guy in the world, I swear. You guys have been dating for two and a half years now, and he LOVES you. You love him, too. Oh, and I know you said that you never wanted to date anyone for more than two years before you married them, but you fell in love when you were seventeen. Getting married fresh out of high school wasn't very practical - you just weren't planning on falling in love quite so soon. You guys haven't been waiting because you're not sure about each other, though. I know that's what you were worried about. Mom and Dad dated for five years because they couldn't decide whether or not they wanted to and Rex decided to get married after you'd dated for two months. Yes, you were totally freaked out. But hey, as of now you guys are still together and just waiting it out until you're "old enough" to tie the knot. You graduate next year - who knows what will happen? But yeah, just know it's not one of those " I actually like him?" type of things. You do like him. A lot.

Speaking of Mom and Dad...give them a break. They're not so bad. Especially Mom. You give her so much crap - I think you don't really know how much you hurt their feelings. Be nice. In three years you leave for college. Oh, and help Cara find new friends. Her Heritage friends turn super weird when they get to Jr. High. Renee threatened to kill her last week, and Amanda (yeah, she's thirteen) is dating a 21 year old. So find her some cool friends, ok? You're her sister - it's your job. As of now, though, Cara's still cool.

Anyway, that's about it for now. Keep your chin up and don't worry so much. Follow Christ in everything you do, because whenever you try to follow your own plans it turns out badly. He knows what He's doing with your life, so relax and enjoy it! :-)

Twenty-year-old me

Monday, April 27, 2009

This is funny

This is not Cindy. It is a very fat rat who is totally going to puke if he eats that pastry....he he he....when I saw this picture I laughed so hard I cried. Maybe it's a rat lover thing.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


This post is dedicated to the furry ball of cuteness that is sitting in my lap as I type this.  My pet rat Cinderella is called Cindy for short, but she has a host of other nicknames including but not limited to:

  1. Cindy Lou
  2. Cindy Lou Who (very popular around Christmas time)
  3. Cinders Linders
  4. Ms. Linders
  5. Her royal cuteness
  6. Cinderella Lou
  7. Cinderblock
  8. Stinker Pinker
  9. Pee Face (I bet you can guess when I use this one...)

Anyway, Cindy Lou is the highlight of my day.  I used to think this must mean that my days are pretty pathetically boring, but I have since decided that it actually means my rat is just pretty amazingly awesome.  She is always happy to see me.  Most caged animals do one of two things: either hide in corners and have to be forced to come out and socialize, or are constantly running around frantically trying to escape.  Cindy does neither.  She is perfectly content to sleep on her blue and red wooden hut or in the nest she's made for herself.  She cleans herself and plays with her toys like a good little girl, but then as soon as someone stands next to her cage she abandons whatever she was doing and moves to sit or stand eagerly at the door of the cage, ready to come out and play.

Every time I open the door of her cage to take her out, Cindy first puts her front paws on my hand and licks my fingers as if to say, "Hi, Mommy!  I love you!"  Then she does a huge stretch (many times accompanied by a yawn), whether or not she was sleeping, and then scampers onto my hand wide-eyed and ready for adventures.

Cindy likes to just sit on my shoulder and watch whatever I'm doing.  Once we watched Ratatouille together, and she happily watched the show until the part when the grandma started shooting at the rats.  When this started she darted into my arms and buried her head into me as if she was scared for the rats.  I think she was actually just scared by the loud noise, but either way it was adorable.

When I do homework, Cindy likes to help.  She has turned pages for me when I was reading by picking up the page with her mouth and scampering across the book to land the page on the other side.  She doesn't understand the idea that I actually have to read the page, though, so she would sometimes turn them too fast.  I didn't really mind.  College has taught me how to skim things.  Also, when I write, Cindy grabs the end of the pencil with her mouth and holds onto it with her hands as if she's going to try to write as well.  If I'm on the computer, she jumps up on the keyboard and runs around, making my essays and e-mails full of crazy typos that I have to go back and correct.  She seems proud of herself, though.  She tries to copy everything I do.  Maybe she's trying to earn a degree.

If any rat could earn a degree, it would be Cindy.  She is SO smart.  She can stand up on two legs and can walk a few steps that way as well.  Most recently Rex and I taught her to jump through a hoop, and she can make really high jumps!  She knows to come to the door of her cage when I call her out to come play (even if I'm not standing by the cage).  Teaching her tricks is so fun and easy, while with other rats it can be seemingly impossible (yes, I have tried).  Oh, and she's potty trained.  She sometimes has accidents and pees outside of her cage when she gets excited or scared, but she never poops outside of her cage.  Ever.  She's so smart.

Cindy loves her toys.  Her favorites are chew sticks that I buy at Pruess Pets 5/$1.00 and the plastic rings found on milk jugs, which obviously are free.  One time I came into my room to find Cindy jumping around looking very scared.  She had somehow wriggled halfway through one of the milk rings.  It looked like she had a bright orange belt around her waist, and she couldn't get it off!  Rex theorized that maybe she figured since it looked like a hoop, she would get a treat if she could jump through it.  It was a bit too small, though, and she got stuck.  What a goof.  Now I cut the rings before I give them to her so that she won't get stuck.

Cindy Lou is such a good friend.  She is extra calm and loving when I feel sad, and when she knows I'm excited she gets jumpy and excited too.  She loves me no matter what, and is constantly licking my fingers, ears, and nose with her affectionate kisses.  She is always, always excited to see me.  Do you have any idea what it does to my day when I know someone is waiting in my room, just dying to spend time with me?  She makes me feel so loved and needed.  I talk to her sometimes, which some people (*ahem CARLY*) think is super weird.  I like it, though.  Yesterday I practiced a twenty minute math presentation in front of her, and once I told her it was going to be twenty minutes about math she promptly settled down and closed her eyes for a nap.  She knows the right way to respond to math lectures...

Anyway, lest you should think I am crazy, I'm not the only one who likes Cindy.  Since meeting my adorable rat, many other people have gone out and gotten rats of their own: Rex, my mom, my sister, two of my cousins, Rex's little brother, one of Rex's cousins, a friend of mine who lives in my building, and most recently my roommate's friend who came over to visit my roommate, played with Cindy, and decided she wants a rat now too.  Cindy is seriously helping to spread rat love.  

Out of all of them, though, she's the best. YAY for Cindy!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Sunday

Today at church our pastor talked about how God is more holy than we can envision, our sin is worse than we can imagine, and His grace is greater than we can fathom.  As with almost all of Pastor Kevin's sermons, I walked out of the service thinking, "That is SO true!"  Sometimes I see God as sort of a pocket pal; a cool little thing that a bunch of my friends and I all collect.  Sometimes I see Him as a perpetual WWJD bracelet used to convict me of things I'm doing wrong and to remind me to do what is right.  Sometimes I see Him as a therapist who I can talk to about my feelings and emotions and He can say "How does that make you feel?"  Sometimes I see Him as a malicious map drawer who knows the course my life is supposed to take, but He won't let me see it because He's having fun watching me run around in circles trying to figure it out myself.  Sometimes I see Him as a loving father, and sometimes as a wrathful avenger.  I know that some of these perceptions are true, and I know that some of them aren't.  One thing I know for sure, though, is that I can't fathom who God is.  His holiness goes beyond anything I will ever be able to figure out.  Pastor Kevin said it's like mixing the awe of entering a huge European cathedral with the amazement of looking into the Grand Canyon with the fear of suddenly finding yourself face to face with a bear.  It's so amazing and beautiful, but terrifying at the same time.  I wish I could fully understand this holiness, but at the same time I bet I wouldn't be able to handle it if I could.

I also learned that my sin is worse than I can imagine, but that His grace is greater than I can fathom.  I think sometimes my pride gets in the way of letting me see how sinful I really am.  It seems that I justify myself by saying my sins aren't as bad as others'.  For one thing, I actually do try to follow God.  I tell myself that has to count for something, but with His kingdom it's not actually the thought that counts.  I tell myself that the sins I've committed aren't as "bad" as some of the ones others have committed, but James 2:10 reminds me that "whoever shall keep the whole law and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all."  Sin is kind of an all or nothing type deal.  Either a person is sinful or they aren't.  Black and white.  People try to see it as a spectrum: "Yeah, I'm not as pure white as God, but maybe I'm sort of a dusty gray...not as gray as ashes and especially not black...maybe a salt and pepper type color."  No.  All people are sinful.  The end.  The thing is, when I compare myself to other people it is completely pointless.  Compared to some people I am going to be a saint, but compared to others I am going to be a devil.  Comparing myself to God is the only thing that matters, and that comparison is laughable.  It's like comparing a marble to the sun.

The funny part of that is, though, that God still loves me!  He wants me as a part of His kingdom - what?!!  That doesn't even make any sense!  If you recall from my "Talents" entry in March, I really don't have that much to offer.  My sinful nature has rendered me completely useless to God, and yet He wants to cover that with His only son's blood so that I can be with Him?!  Excuse me?  I don't have any kids, but if someone asked me to sacrifice my pet rat Cindy in order to save some mediocre little bug who mostly just ignored me all of the time, I would say no way in a million years.  Yet God sent his SON to die for ME?!?!!?  This is craziness!  I can hardly believe it!  I mean, yes I have heard this since I was two years old, but every time I really realize this it still amazes me.  WOW.  God is so cool.  

Happy Easter, everyone!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

My Haiku - "Snow in April"

This is craziness
There should be green and colors
But there's only white