Out of the Box

Getting creative with Christianity, crafting, cooking, copious usage of alliteration, and the rest of my life

First Weeks Back August 29, 2010

Filed under: Adventures at School — Grace @ 11:01 pm

Wow, I’ve already been here for two weeks! It’s been even more awesome than I expected. Or maybe that’s just the back-to-school euphoria talking. Either way, things are good.

In fact, I’ve already been categorized as a “cool senior” by one of my juniors because apparently I’m one of the few who socializes with our dear new underclassmen. Well, why not? After all, I was one last year. And juniors have just as much potential for awesomeness as the rest of us. And besides, last year wouldn’t have been nearly as much fun if my seniors hadn’t talked to me.

Class assessments! Robotics: very cool. Who knew you could build a functioning robot out of Legos? Chinese: excellent. Calculus: mathtastic, sort of, but it’s kind of enjoyable retraining myself to think math again. Music Comp./Theory: it’ll be fun, whether I level up or not. Sociology: seems interesting and hopefully not too hard. French: I think I’ll actually survive, though I’ll have a better idea when I get my first quiz back. Pilates/Yoga: very relaxing and keeps making me want to sleep. Maybe it’ll even motivate me to exercise. Hey, stop laughing! It could happen! 😛

Also, and possibly best of all ;), I have two double sleep-ins! (For those of you unfamiliar with our school language, a double sleep-in means having the first two blocks free. See also: awesome, enjoyable, life-saving.)

(And my third trimester schedule looks amazing, by the way!)

Last weekend was epic. Two friends and I serenaded people from an elevator and then baked cookies and handed them out dressed as ninjas. This weekend wasn’t bad either. I learned (or learned of) several amusing new songs, as well as a game called “Pterodactyl” – fun stuff. Also, Friday night was the first time I’ve seen anyone ride a unicycle in a gas mask. 😛

Did I mention that I love it here?!?

In short, the year has gotten off to a good start. Let’s hope this continues. 🙂


Schedules August 17, 2010

Filed under: Adventures at School — Grace @ 8:50 pm

I just did something very stupid.

So. Since I love foreign languages, I signed up for two this year: Introductory French and Intermediate Chinese. When I got my schedule, I was very disappointed to find that I had gotten the Chinese class, but not French. I discovered that the two classes meet at the same time. (Yes, that would explain it. They teach us well here. :P)

I thought I could solve that problem by dropping to Intro Chinese instead, since I only speak a little Chinese and was feeling less confident after a summer with little practice than I had been during last year’s Chinese seminar. Then I went to Intermediate Chinese class today – and it was fine. I understood most of what was going on and loved the challenge.

However, that left me in a tricky situation. I already knew that I couldn’t take both Intermediate Chinese and Intro French. I also had come to realize that I liked my Chinese class and dropping down a level would probably bore me to tears. But I still wanted to take French. So there was only one thing to do…

I requested Intermediate French.

I do not speak French.

I still don’t know whether I’ll get the class, but if I do, it’s certainly going to be interesting.

But hey, think of it this way – it’s like doing a language immersion program, except I don’t have to go to a foreign country. That’s a good thing, right?

I hope so.

I also hope, insane as it may be, that I get this class.

So maybe this was a stupid thing to do – but still, somehow, I feel like I won’t regret it. 😀


I’m Back August 15, 2010

Filed under: Adventures at School — Grace @ 9:28 pm

…At school, that is. And I’m so happy to be here.

This evening has consisted of an awesome Potter-loving baking roommate, a rather vicious bed, some delicious pizza, and games of ninja with part of our brother hall, among other things.

Oh, and SENIOR YEAR! 😀

I don’t have much to write yet. I believe that will change. Soon.

Bring on another year of awesomeness.


Drawing is fun! August 8, 2010

Filed under: Artsy-Crafty Stuff — Grace @ 3:38 am

While I was Facebook creeping recently, I stumbled across a photo of one of my friends with his sister. And I suddenly thought, “I WANT TO DRAW HIM!” …What? That’s not weird. Don’t tell me that’s never happened to you. Haha.

Anyway, tonight I actually obtained paper and pencil and made a sketch of the photo. And – here’s the amazing part – it worked. It looks just like him. (And his sister seems to look a lot like herself as well, but as I’ve never met her, I’m not as good a judge of that.) I don’t know how it happened, but I caught the essence somehow. I never thought something I drew would turn out like this. I’m so excited.

I think this achievement is one of the best possible birthday presents I could give myself. 🙂

Now I just need to find a scanner.

UPDATE: I spoke too soon. The longer I looked at the drawing, the less it looked like the person in question. After examining the original photo for a while, I finally realized that his face was at a completely wrong angle. I’m now redoing his entire face. This should be interesting… and an excellent method of procrastination. 😀 Hopefully I’ll remember from now on to check the position of every feature before I start bragging!


Great, another crappy situation August 7, 2010

Filed under: Adventures at Home — Grace @ 1:00 pm

So being home hasn’t been the relaxing time I wish it could be. I’m trying to work on my summer service project, which I have to complete if I want to be able to go back to school, and it’s not going well. As if it wasn’t hard enough motivating myself to do the work, my youngest sister has decided to try to sabotage me. She doesn’t want me to go back to school and is doing her best to make sure I can’t.

So I thought, “Hey, if my sister keeps interrupting me during the day, I’ll just stay up late and work when she won’t bother me.” Well, so much for that theory. It’s after 3 AM and she’s knocking on my door and won’t go away.

So what do I do? I can A) let her sleep up here with me, like she wants, which would make my dad mad at her, B) try to reason with her and get her to go downstairs, which I tried – it didn’t work, C) ignore her, which I’m currently trying to do and which makes me feel like a jerk, D) well, you tell me.

Update: I wrote this at about 3 last night, but didn’t get to post it, because someone turned off our internet router. I thought it was my dad, so I didn’t go turn it back on. Just now I found out that it wasn’t my dad after all. Turns out it was my sister. I lost hours that I could have used to work because I had no internet to do my research.

At school this doesn’t happen. At school no one repeatedly keeps bugging me when they know I have important work to do. Hey, while we’re on this subject, at school I don’t have to listen to constant fighting; at school the people in charge aren’t constantly doing their best to inflict emotional damage on everyone within reach; at school I’m more likely to be able to do something if there’s an unpleasant situation. Of course, at school I’m generally overworked and sleep-deprived, but it’s worth it, both for the superior education I’ll get there, the opportunities I wouldn’t have anywhere else… and the escape.

Of course, it’s pretty pointless for me to long for school when it’s looking more and more possible that I’ll get kicked out for not completing my summer work. Thanks, sis. (And thanks, things-that-come-up-whenever-I-really-need-to-work. And thanks, laziness. And thanks, all-possible-forms-of-exhaustion-combined.)

…No. There’s no way I’m going to let anyone take away one of the best things that’s ever happened to me. I’ll get this done.



Thoughts on this summer August 2, 2010

Filed under: Adventures in Toronto — Grace @ 1:14 pm

Quick summary:

  • Four weeks – absolutely nothing.
  • Fifth week – Monday and Wednesday, taught ESL and was very excited. Later that week, found out that the CNBC was going to make me stop and transfer to a sports camp.
  • Sixth week – worked at the sports camp. That weekend, got the news. Came home the following Tuesday.

Of course there was more than that. So, lessons learned:

  • 24 is an awesome show.
  • Real Chinese food is (mostly) quite good.
  • Air conditioning is unnecessary.
  • You can find some pretty weird creatures in your basement.
  • Real maple syrup is a lot different from the gross flavored corn syrup we buy at the grocery store.
  • Horseback riding is fun.
  • You can never have enough watermelon.
  • Jiaozi dough doesn’t keep long.
  • There’s nothing like a theological argument to make things awkward.
  • I’m hopeless with a camera.
  • I’m a walrus?
  • Exercise is a good idea.
  • Seagulls can have an attitude.
  • I have no self-motivation. At all.
  • Having a good attitude makes things much better.

There are a lot of lists today. Oh well.

Despite all of the… difficulties… my six weeks in Toronto weren’t too bad. I met lots of great people and got to experience independent life (to some extent). I also gained a few pounds and lost a few marbles, but hey, you win some, you lose some.

Now that I’ve gotten burned, would I do anything through the Sojourners program or NAMB again? Maybe. At least, I might be willing to, but I doubt I will. Next summer will be my last summer before college, so I might stay closer to home to get ready and everything. And if I end up as a missionary, I would prefer to work with a nondenominational organization.

But anyway, to any of you who are considering doing something through Sojourners or a similar program – learn from my experience. Contact the places you’re going request; make sure nothing has changed since they wrote the job description; make sure they aren’t going to spring any last-minute costs on you. If it takes them over a week to get you doing something, complain. And if whatever convention you’re working for decides to mess with what you’re doing with no consideration for how you might feel about that – well, tough, because there’s nothing you can do about it short of going home. Or maybe you’ll be lucky enough to be under a convention that A) cares or B) listens, or hopefully both.

(If someone’s about to accuse me of having a bad attitude, well, maybe so, but there’s a different between making the best of things and saying that the people who put you in that situation aren’t at fault in any way.)

Knowing how things turned out, would I do it over again? That’s a hard question. The surprise fundraising I had to do gave me experience in baking, entrepreneurship, and sneakiness, the last of which will be useful if I end up as a missionary to a closed country. 😛 I got to experience international travel; I got to live on my own; I got to experience a different culture. I made a lot of friends. And I did get a small taste of teaching ESL, which was fun. So yes, I guess I would do it again. And maybe it was worth it after all.



Filed under: Theological Thoughts — Grace @ 3:57 am

Rules are not what Christianity is about.

I know it’s easy to get that impression. Even when people stress the fact that we’re saved by faith alone, they quickly add on a long list of rules that Christians supposedly should follow. We have to read-our-Bibles-daily-and-pray-a-lot-and-go-to-church-and-give-money-and-do-evangelism-and… the list goes on. Not that these things aren’t good ideas, but for goodness’ sake, are they really the point? Does it do any good to weigh people down with lists of commandments to keep that will supposedly make them good Christians?

This idea that following rules would make you right with God – isn’t that what Jesus spoke against?

Look – Jesus said that the first and greatest commandment was to love God with every fiber of your being. The second was to love other people as much as you do yourself. He went on to say that these two commandments were the equivalent of all “the law and the prophets”.

So tell me, where in there do you find the concept that pleasing God requires adherence to a bunch of rules? The answer: Nowhere. Jesus clearly said that those ARE the rules. Where in there does it say that homosexuality is wrong or that women can’t preach or that you have to be baptized a certain way or that you have to have the gift of tongues or that church has to happen on Sunday mornings with deacons and a choir and a half-hour sermon? Nowhere. So where did we get all of those ideas? Are we turning into Pharisees? God forbid.

Can it get any clearer? This is not about religion, not about rules – it’s about relationship. It’s not about laws, but about LOVE. Is this so hard to understand?

If you love God, you don’t need rules to tell you to spend time with him. If you love people, you don’t need rules to tell you to be kind to them. That was Jesus’ point. So why is it not ours?

Think about it.