Things are getting real

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I leave in T-minus 11 days, so here’s an update on my progress.

If you don’t have time to watch the 6 minute video, here’s a very brief update:  I have received my visa and am mostly ready to go.  As I get closer to leaving, I’m also getting more nervous.  Through this, God is teaching me important lessons about fear, truth, and His sovereignty.

The apples aren’t any bigger here….?

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I woke up this morning at 4 AM to board a plane to New York City with my parents. After a few hours of sleepy flying, we were met at La Guardia airport by my great uncle Denny. He took us on a driving and walking tour around the city, and then out to an Italian dinner with his wife. I’ve already seen Broadway, the Chrysler Building, Rockefeller Plaza, the Empire State Building, and the new World Trade Center, though they were all from a distance. We also went on a sort of pub tour as they showed us some local haunts and we watched the drunks for entertainment. In my first day in the Big Apple, I’ve already learned quite a few things:
1. I’m starting to wonder if I have a small form of social anxiety. I get incredibly anxious when faced with large crowds. I love people, but crowds are scary.

2. For this reason, I figured I’d hate NYC. But actually, I like it a lot. It still makes me nervous, but I’m really enjoying it here. It’s lovely, and the fast pace is exciting, at least for a short time.

3. Remember in Aladdin when the genie says “itty bitty living space”? Well yeah, he was actually talking about New York. The apartments here are teeny.

4. It’s hard to tell if the guys here are gay, or just well-dressed because that’s how people dress in New York. I mean that in the nicest possible way, too, please don’t take offense. All the boys look fly. But they’re not interested in me.

5. Whenever possible, take vacations where you can visit people. It’s way cooler to get the authentic, personal experience than the mass-produced tourist one.

6. There are lots of Jews in NYC.

7. Cats are awesome the world over.

8. You never know the cool people who may be in your family. My aunt is apparently an actress in the city, and Denny was a very successful artistic advertising photographer for large companies. They are legit, and I never even knew.

That’s all for now, folks. Tomorrow we’re going to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Central Park. I’ll be back later with more life lessons or adventures or something!

Me vs. Gravity: a tale of daily struggle

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I was just part of the most epic showdown between me and gravity.  Let me tell you the story.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.  I was on a diet, and yet I was allowing myself one exception: a peep.  I held in my hand that glorious, neon pink bird, like a precious gem, or an orb of magic light.

Alas, he was the last peep.

I stared at him, one last sugary miracle of this spring, come so late and gone so soon.  With much anticipation, I raised him to my waiting lips.  But as he neared my dripping, yearning tongue, that elusive bird slipped from my grasp!

I watched without breath as he fell to my bed, bounced off the sheets, lighted for a moment on the back of my desk chair, only to tumble once more 

down

      down

            down

                    onto the chair below, where he fell yet again and stuck in the gap between my laundry basket and my chair.

There, one mere foot from the floor, my wingless bird rested safe from his flight.  Without so much as a second thought for my safety, I threw myself after him and plunged down the gap between mattress and bed frame.  My grasping fingers stretched, but as I reached to free the bird, he slipped through my grasp once again and went crashing down to the floor below.  Deeper I plunged on my rescue mission, contorting the small portion of my body still on the bed to best anchor me down, lest I fall to my very gruesome death and never eat that sparkling peep.

At long last my fingers enclosed around my prize, and my face glowed with pride.  But the pride was fleeting, as I soon realized I was stuck.  To keep with priorities, I initially set my peep safely back on my bed.  I then proceeded to wiggle my body back and forth, inching slowly backwards up onto the bed.

At long last my dear peep and I were reunited in safety.

So I ate him.

The end.

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She Always Came Back

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            Her feet pounded the ground, dried grass splintering against her heels.  The sun streamed down on her red cheeks as she slowed and looked up.  In the distance she saw birds circling.  Then she ran.

            Every day she spent running, fighting, and laughing, and every night she came back home to sleep.  She is my inner child.  She’s an adventurer, a believer, and a runaway.  But I believe in her.  I believe in my inner child.

            My inner child lived for adventure.  Some days this meant going to battle.  My brother would join us then and my inner child and his inner child would go to war.  They would create an enemy to fight and spells to fight them.  He would strategize and she would scout the enemy.  Finally, they would attack, him swinging dual swords and her singing spells of protection.

            And every night when she’d won the battles, she would come back to sleep.  She always won, and she always came back.

            My inner child didn’t win because she fought well (those chubby arms and lanky hands couldn’t hurt anything).  She won because she believed in the power of good to conquer evil.  She knew how to look at something bad and see the good it held.  I remember one time I looked at a fallen tree and saw death.  She whispered to me “it’s a fort, see?”  And when I saw trash floating in the creek, she saw treasure needing a treasure hunter.  She taught me to see that there was good in the world.

            And every night when she’d made the world a happy place again, she’d come back to sleep.

            But there were nights when she didn’t come back.  On these days I couldn’t see the beauty in the world.  A tree was just a tree.  Trash was trash.  These days I became this thing we call an adult.  Finally, she quit coming back at all.  I ached for her to return.  When I ran outside and felt tired, I ached for her fighting spirit.  When the world felt heavy, I ached for her stubborn belief that life is good.

            Some days she comes home.  Sometimes I walk through a forest and hear the chatter of fairies, or see a gnome in the brush.  In these moments, I know she’s come back.  She’ll never be back for good, I know that.  She’s grown up and moved on as much as I have.

But I still believe in her.  I believe in the child whose feet were bare and legs scratched, all summer long.  I believe in the child who sees beauty in the plain things and goodness in the broken things.  I believe in that same, elusive girl who runs away.

But I believe in the fight to get her back.  I believe in this adventure called life where we should never let her go.  I believe in her coming back to me every night. And if she doesn’t, I believe in running after her with all I have.

Because I believe in my inner child.