Saturday, September 22, 2012

Turtle Shells

I was praying today, asking God to speak to me about how I was feeling. He got me thinking on turtles. Often I get strange images from God. Lat night I got a frog while praying for a friend. Anywho, I was thing about this recent episode of "The Office" that I just watched. In this episode, Kevin runs over a turtle with his car. He feels bad so he tries to glue the pieces of the turtle shell back together. However, he's not very good at puzzles so he takes different things he finds around of office to fill in the missing parts. As he is gluing the pieces on, he steps on the turtle, again breaking the shell more. But he is determined to build it back even stronger than before. Despite his efforts, he realizes that the turtle has died.

Its a pretty funny clip, but as I was praying this morning I realized that I feel like this poor turtle. I have been broken by my sins, by pain, by disappointments. Sometimes I feel like I operate with this broken shell full on pieces in the wrong place and trying to fill in the gaps with things that don't belong. And despite my best efforts, there always seem to be somethings that breaks my shell again and I have to find a way to try to glue the pieces back on. And the shell is getting heavy with these random objects glued on it. Ultimately, if we live like this, it does lead to death. We can not fix ourselves and the more we try the more we will just continue to break it. We can not live with a broken shell forever, it will kill us. In the same way, sin has that hold on us. If we try to fix it ourselves or patch it up with other things it will only lead us to death.

I need a new shell, that I can only get from the Lord. No amount of glue can fix the brokeness in me. As I was praying about this, the Lord gave me this image of the turtle being burdened by this hodgepodge of a broken shell. The turtle curls inside the shell. On the inside is a perfect strong shell, smooth and clean. The Lord was reminding me that this is how he sees me. My sins have been wiped away and he gives me a strong smooth shell that can not be broken. There is no need to glue myself back together or try to fix myself, because he provides a brand new shell. There is still healing to be done but he does not see me as the turtle in the picture above.

Below are some more pictures from the episode.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

East Coast Trip

These posts are a little late but I am trying to catch up. This summer I took a trip to the East Coast. The motivation was 2 fold: visit family that I haven't seen in a while, and check out some grad schools.

Grad schools
For about a year now I have been considering going back to school to get my Masters in Educational Theatre. Unfortunately, there are not any of these programs in California. In California you can not get your teaching credential in single subject theatre, like you can for music or visual art. High school drama teachers have their credential in English usually. However in some other states like NY and MA you can get your credential in theatre. I figure that if I am going to spend a lot of time and money on grad school I better study something I am really passionate about. And its just a really bad time for CA teachers right now anyway. However if I were to get my credential in lets say NY, I would prob need to teach there because it would be hard to transfer it back here. So I have had these things in mind as I have been looking into schools.
The three main schools that I was considering and wanting to look into was, NYU, The City College of New York and Emerson which is in Boston. I happened to pick the worst time to visit, it seems. It was after summer school and before fall semester so I was only able to schedule a time to meet with a NYU professor. I didn't get to see much of the other schools other than the outside.

It was really good to be back in my old childhood summer home. We spent some times with cousins. It felt really relaxing, which is what I had needed after an exhausting school year and busy summer. I even played Monopoly with my cousin, can't remember the last time I played that game. It was a bit surreal to see them all grown up as I haven't seen some of the in like 5 years.

 New York
We started north and walked around City College of NY. Then we headed down to Central Park. It seemed close at the time but it retrospect we should have taken the subway.

 We walked A LOT. Passed Columbia on the way and walked through the library. I love parks so I was very excited to spend a lot of time in Central Park. We were trying to get a good recommendation for somewhere to eat lunch and got very lost trying to find the Shake Shack. (When a New Yorker tells you its a 10 minute walk, really its like 30 min). We were totally exhausted but finally found it and enjoyed some delicious burgers.

 We were trying to find the middle of the park after that. I had this fountain in m mind from Enchanted but didn't know what it was called. After some negotiating, we talked one of those bicylce cabs into a good deal to get us a ride into Shepard's Meadow. (Or something like that). But then it closed. Bummer. Thankfully after walking around a bit more the Lord somehow led us to the fountain I was looking for.
My family has this tradition on making silly music videos. My sister and I decided to film one on this trip. So we filmed some shots in Central Park and even asked some strangers to be in it.
Then we headed onto Washington Square and NYU. We had some time to kill before meeting with the professor so we rested in Washington Square and asked some sailors to be in our video.

 We had dinner in Little Italy and then stayed the night with a old friend and his wife in Brooklyn. They were amazing hosts. It was great to hear about the church that he was pastoring in Brooklyn. The next day his wife took us around the city a little more. We went to Chelsea Market and Highline Park. This was one of my favorite things in NY. They converted this old railroad track into a garden that stretches about 2 miles long. Then we caught a bus in Chinatown up to Boston.

It was a Fri afternoon and raining so our bus was VERY delayed. We were bummed about missing out more time in Boston but it ended up being ok. We checked into our hostel and went to eat at the Bell in Hand, oldest pub in US. There wasn't much happening so we didn't stay to late.
The next day we briefly checked out Emerson, most of it was closed. We walked around some old cobblestone streets and illegally found our way onto a roof.

 We walked around Boston Commons and Boston Garden. It was really beautiful. I really liked the town of Boston. It's small enough to walk and doesn't feel as chaotic as NY. I actually think it seems too comfortable and suburban for me though. We filmed a bit more of the music video. We took a tour of the freedom trail and I was embarrassed at how much history I have forgotten.
 We took the "T" out to Fenway Park. We were very disappointed at how little there was to see and do. A guess it's only happening if there is a game going on. Then we caught the bus back NY. We wondered our way around the city to take the PATH back to NJ where my uncle's car was parked.

We ended the trip back in PA where we had a lovely dinner with my Grandmom and more family to celebrate my birthday.

It was a great trip. A good mix of relaxing and fun. After the trip I decided that I am not ready to apply to grad school right now. None of the schools wowed me. I still would love to go back at some point but I don't think I can make such as big move right now.

If you want to see the music video that we made, its on google +

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Suburban vs. Urban Living

When I go to visit my mom and sister in Phoenix a few things always stand out to me. My life in LA is very different from their quiet residential community. The small things always catch me. My comparison here is two very specific houses, so I am not trying to generalize all of suburban and urban living.

In suburbia there is great lighting in the bathroom in which I can clearly see myself.
In suburbia there is a lot of counter space in the bathroom to put my straightener, toothbrush, toothpaste, face wash, and anything else I wanted to put in arms reach. In my bathroom we can only hold hand soap.
In suburbia there are not ants and cockroaches meandering around your sinks and cabinets.
In suburbia you can leave dishes in the sink overnight without worrying about finding a swarm of bugs invading the next morning.
In suburbia you don't have to hold down the handle for 30 sec to get the toilet to flush.
In suburbia, there is walk in closets to hold all your clothes.
In suburbia, there is counter space in the kitchen to chop multiple vegetables at the same time.
In suburbia, there is still a lot of driving time, but its over a longer distance with less traffic.
In suburbia you can't walk to the nearest grocery store.
In suburbia there is garages to park your car.
In suburbia there is air conditioning (well I guess you would die without it in Phoenix).
In suburbia there is usually not anyone outside in front of their houses.
In suburbia all the houses look the same. (So much so I parked at the wrong house on this last visit).
In suburbia there are flat screen TVs and movie channels.
In suburbia the streets are very clean yet there are no street cleaning days.
In suburbia there are lots of spots to park in that do not cost money.
In suburbia there are beautiful sunsets (well there may be beautiful sunsets here but here are hidden by the buildings and smog).

I don't regret living where I live or even want to live in suburbia, its just an interesting world to enter into every so often.

And a picture of my nephew and me because we are so cute!

Saturday, September 15, 2012


What do you think is happening in the picture above? This the question that I posed to my students as I was using art to help them analyze character development. Some said they are arguing, yelling at each other. None of them saw that the little girl lost her tooth and was showing it to her friend. Interesting that none of them got that from the picture.

I am very behind on my blogging, I realize. I feel less motivated to update.

The school year has started very similar to last year. I was hoping to be in a different position this year or have a better schedule but it seems as though the Lord would have me stay put for the time being. I feel better about being at my morning job this year. The time doesn't seem to go by quite as slowly. It can only be the grace of the Lord because not much has changed.

At my afterschool job I requested to not work with the kinders this year. I got a bit burnt out on my very difficult group from last year. I still get them in a rotation but not all afternoon. I am mainly with 2nd and 3rd graders. They present their own unique challenges and joys. The start of the year felt like it was going to be better. We had a new staff team, one in particular that worked really well with the kids and whom I got along with very well. But due to some family issues he had to leave. It has been really hard on me since. I am saddened for a friend who is going through a painful time, saddened to loose someone good with the kids, and saddened for the kids to loose a male staff. It is amazing how quickly I see their behavior change when a staff leaves, especially a male staff. It may just be in my head, but I really think it affects them. Lessons in patience are never ending for me in this job. But I am teaching theatre 2 days a week so that's good. I am taking it really slow and teaching a lot of fundamentals of acting that they really lack.

Overall I am still tired but not as drained as last year. Ready to take on other things in my schedule. Last year felt like a year of purely survival for me. This year I hope to be a year or more growth and joy.