Happy

I’m happy.

People asked me if I was sad that I wasn’t living at home this summer. Typically, I’d shrug at them and say “It’s an adventure, living ‘on my own.’ I’m excited to try something different.” These past two weeks have been some of the happiest I’ve ever had.

I love the community here. I love that all us summer workers live in the same building. I get to have my friends over for dinner — and there’s another thing — I GET TO MAKE DINNER. The other day I made broccoli-corn calzones. And I love the fact that I can say “Sure! I’ll get you the recipe!”

I love my roommates. (So far) we’ve figured out a great balance of group-bonding time and alone time. On Saturdays we have pina coladas (virgin ones, guys. Calm down.) Sunday nights we invite everyone in the apartment building over for scones. We learned a dance to the song Classic by MKTO. We watched The Ugly Dachshund last night and admired the 60’s clothes together.

I’m reading again. I’m re-reading some of my favorites and starting some new ones. (I’m currently reading a book of Mary Oliver’s poetry and re-reading Fahrenheit 451.) Because I’m reading more, I’ve also been writing more, and I think that maybe, just maybe, I’m getting a little bit better because of it.

And work is fantastic. Today I learned how to play the mandolin, banjo, and how to use so many different settings on my keyboard. We’ve put together a set list of songs we’re going to play and that’s been exciting. I’ve spent a lot of time with my team just getting to know them better. Our bassist (finally) gets here on Saturday, so we’ll be able to start training intensely soon enough!

Life has been pretty good.

Of course, it’s not all roses. There are minor roommate conflicts like how cold we keep the apartment and what’s “fair game” for food. I hate the fact that I have to wash my dishes by hand. Creating a budget isn’t very fun; sticking to that budget is even worse. And even though cooking meals is fun, there are some days when I wish dinner was waiting for me on the table. (Thanks, Mom for all your hard work. I get it now.)

I have no clue what I would be doing if I was back at home. I saw that Wendy’s by my house was hiring when I was home a few weeks ago. Sometimes I pretend what life would be like if I worked there. I wouldn’t have Pina Colada Saturdays. I wouldn’t know how to play banjo. I wouldn’t have roommates. And I probably definitely wouldn’t be cooking my own meals.

This has been an amazing few weeks here already. I know it’s going to get more stressful once I start traveling with my team, but I just have a really good feeling about this summer.

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Important People

I wish I could go back in time to when I first met people and let myself know how important they’d become.

See that guy that subscribed to your youtube channel that says he’s excited for you to come to Dordt? You’ll make a horrible mess in his kitchen when you cook tacos with him.

You’ll be on the same praise team as the sound tech for praise and worship that you get along with it so well.

His sister is going to be on the praise team too. And she’ll live in your apartment. And she’ll also become one of the best friends you’ve ever had.

The blonde guitarist on your praise and worship team? You’re going to teach a digital media class with him . . . the very same digital media class you took when you came to Dordt Discovery Days in 2008.

His girlfriend . . . you know . . . the girl who walked around in moon boots and tried to get you to do theatre? She’ll sleep in the bunk underneath you in your apartment.

Oh, speaking of apartments – you know the first Southview room you went in? You’ll live in that exact room all summer.

You never know when these moments are coming. There’s no flashing sign above a stranger’s head saying “THIS PERSON WILL BE IMPORTANT.” And as much as I wish I could go back and just alert past self to how important these people are, I’m so glad that things happened the way they did. One year ago I didn’t know any of these people . . . and now I can’t imagine my life without them.

Thinking back to the first times I met some people makes me so happy and thankful for how God creates stories. I can’t wait to get to know people and meet more characters this summer as well as next semester. Who knows who I’ll be writing about this time next year!

Peace out, MN

It’s been a great week at home! I spent a lot of time in the city doing “Minneapolis things,” like going to the zoo, exploring coffee shops, and just spending time with friends and family here.

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I had a lot of adventures, but it’s time to pack up my bags (again) and head back out to the tiny little town that has captured my heart.

I’ve told a lot of people in person, but for those of you who haven’t heard, I will be working with Dordt’s traveling praise team, The New City, by playing keys and singing. We are going to all different kinds of summer camps and service projects both at Dordt and other places in the midwest.

I’m so excited for all of the adventures I’m going to have this summer! I’ve been waiting for many, many months for this job and it’s FINALLY here! I can’t wait to meet so many new people this summer. I also can’t wait to get to know the people on my team even better!

I’ve loaded my last box into my Buick and it’s time to head out! Don’t worry, Minnesota. I’ll be back before you know it!

Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,”for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

Revelation 21:1-5

Thank You, Mom

When I was in eighth grade, I was . . . well . . . I was a thirteen year old girl. In the middle of the drama of middle school life I didn’t really know where I fit in. There was one Wednesday in November of 2008 that I remember running to my room after school weeping hysterically. I couldn’t for the life of me tell you what it was about that time. I think a friend of mine threatened to tell the boy I liked that I liked him. Whatever it was, it felt like the end of the world to me, so I locked myself in my room to cry for hours and hours.

Six-o-clock came around at it was time to go to church. My mom knocked on the door and told me it was time to leave. “I’m not going!!” I shouted back in tears.

“Are you sure?” she asked.

“I can’t go! I just need to stay here and be by myself!!”

She left with my brother and sister and I stayed home alone that night. When I woke up the next morning, there was something in front of my bedroom door. I bent down to pick it up and was shocked to find a chocolate bar and a note that something like:

I know yesterday was rough, but it’s going to get better. I love you and I’m proud of you.

She never asked what was wrong. She didn’t have to. She knew exactly what I needed.

My mom has never forced me to do anything; she’s let me make my own mistakes as I’ve grown up. But every time I come to her in tears, she approaches me with grace. She shows me love and kindness without ever throwing in “I told you so” (except when I really deserve it.) I’m so thankful that I was blessed with such a beautiful mother.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. I love you so much.

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Home is . . .

Home is . . .

A place in the garage, not a mad search for a spot in the parking lot

A laundry machine that doesn’t require quarters to start

The smell of popcorn (that isn’t burnt)

My puppy snuggling with me during a thunderstorm

A bookcase filled with books, and not just textbooks

Caribou Coffee, Target, and Chipotle

Watching movies with my sister

Having a kitchen filled with utensils and ingredients

Welcoming hugs from people at my church

Not needing to wear flip-flops in the bathroom

The paths that wind deep into the woods back behind my house

Roads with four lanes

 

A while back I wrote about how I had fallen in love with Sioux Center. I love that tiny little town so much, however, Minneapolis will always be home. I only get about two weeks at home before heading back to Dordt for my summer job. Two weeks is plenty for me, and I’m so excited for what this summer has in store. But . . . it is really, really, really good to be at home.

msgCherryMariePlocharz

A Picture is Worth 140 Characters

“A picture is worth a thousand words.” It’s a phrase we’re all well acquainted with. I heard a story once about a professional photographer that only took one picture a day. He spent a lot of time in the mountains and saw a lot of beautiful things from sun up to sun down. But as a challenge to himself, he only allowed himself one picture. This was before the days of digital cameras too. He had to take time, carefully considering his exposure, his angle, his zoom . . . he carefully figured the science to each picture before clicking the shutter. And then he had to wait until the film was finished to see how it turned out. Imagine the devastation he must have felt if one of his pictures was blurry! Or what if he saw the most beautiful sunset he’d ever seen, but took a picture of the dew earlier that morning!

But now, in 2014, I don’t really think “a picture is worth a thousand words” is the way the world runs, but instead “a picture is worth 140 characters.” We whip out our iPhones and what do we do- we “snap” a picture and send it to all our friends. We doodle a mustache over our friends’ face, write a few words over top of it, and send it out. Our friends open the picture, laugh, perhaps take a screen shot, and then the photo disappears.

Or, we spend far too long crafting our posts. We wait for the lighting to hit our face just right, form a smile that we’ve perfected for the camera, and take at least three pictures before we come up with one we’re willing to post. We write and re-write our captions, trying to create something that will capture as much attention as we can get.

A recent song by The Chainsmokers called #Selfie makes me incredibly uncomfortable.

Can you guys help me pick a filter?
I don’t know if I should go with XX Pro or Valencia
I wanna look tan
What should my caption be?
I want it to be clever
How about “Livin’ with my bitches, hash tag LIVE”
I only got 10 likes in the last 5 minutes
Do you think I should take it down?
LET ME TAKE ANOTHER SELFIE

What makes me most uncomfortable about this song is the fact that this is a conversation that is similar to the ones that happen with me and my girlfriends weekly. If you’ve noticed, I’ve used the pronouns “I”, “me”, and “we” throughout this post. This is something I have a problem just like so many other people in our culture today. It’s how we’ve grown up as millennials.  I’m sure you know what they say about us. We’re all about instant gratification and living with a very narcissistic attitude. If a picture gets only 10 likes in 5 minutes, we take it down. We snap and upload, snap and upload, snap and upload, and the most thought that goes into these photos are what filters to put on them.

I’m not asking for a revolution to end selfies.  It’s a lot of fun to make silly faces with friends and get a good laugh out of them every once and a while. But these pictures aren’t always necessary for the whole world to see, and they usually aren’t worth more than the 140 characters they are allowed.

What I’m asking for is for us to start thinking about these thousand-word-pictures . . . to hold off with being so quick to take a picture of a moment, and spend more time living in that moment.

That photographer that I mentioned earlier probably had to let a lot of photo-worthy moments go by. And you know what? He lived. He walked away with pictures that come to life through stories and mental imagery. That’s all I ask of our generation today. Take time to set the iPhone down, and instead of snapping the moment, live it.