Monthly Archives: January 2014

Bring it On, CBU

All this week, the CBU campus was alive and buzzing with students going to and from their student leadership interviews. Interviews for fall positions are done early to allow time for training before the next school year begins, which is a plus, because returning students know early that they will have an on-campus job waiting for them in the fall… and a great one, at that!

At CBU, student leaders are highly valued and a core part of CBU’s community feel. Because of this, it is a privilege to be given one of those positions. Opportunities for student leadership positions range from admissions host to International Center intern, FOCUS leader, resident advisor, Office of Spiritual Life intern, as well as community life intern. For the music student, the Office of Spiritual Life offers a chance to play in next year’s chapel band; for the student with a passion for teaching, FOCUS offers excellent opportunities to lead new CBU students in a classroom setting.

As for me, I’m bent on a few of them and am really struggling to choose just one! But I know that God will send my passions in the direction that I am most well equipped for.

The Bible encourages God’s people to use their talents to serve others, and I believe student leadership at CBU is the beginning of embodying that commission. Students often underestimate what they are able to learn while in the process of leading others. It’s a beautiful tradeoff, and a God-thing for sure!

Besides student leadership opportunities of the week, College of Architecture, Visual Arts and Design students have also had the chance to experience a real treat! CBU brought in Michael Cioni, the CEO of a post-production film company, to give us a lecture on what it means to succeed in his industry.

While at dinner just before the lecture with a design friend of mine, we were called over to another table by one of our professors. Unbeknown to us, a group of fellow design students and professors had formed a gathering around Mr. Cioni to chat with him and get to know him a little before the lecture began – what a neat opportunity that was!

All in all, this week at CBU was definitely full of new opportunities – some expected, some a happy surprise! A family friend smirked at me a couple weeks ago as he said (sarcastically of course), “So it seems from your blogs that you’re not enjoying your time at CBU at all.”

Oh, what a silly thought! It seems that every day, I’m introduced to another beautiful chance to grow and develop as a designer, but also as a woman of God… and for that I’m very grateful!

So as classes become more challenging and schedules get even tighter – I say, bring it on CBU!

Reaching for Monday

Do you ever have one of those weekends where you can’t wait for Monday? Or is it just me? Well, this past weekend was one. Things happened, events were missed, and all I knew is I just wanted Monday. I really wanted the weekend to be over. So, Monday I rolled out of bed, put on a killer outfit, ready to conquer the day.

Yeah, it’s slightly crazy and doesn’t quite make sense, especially when my first class on Monday is at 8 a.m. However, it was not the getting up for class that I was excited about, but what was going to happen after class. This week, I started tutoring. As a liberal studies major, I have to do many hours of tutoring and observations in classrooms. This has always been my favorite part of classes, because it is what gets me inside the classroom doing what I really want to do.

This semester, I have to do more than 20 hours of tutoring and observation. Monday I starting my tutoring hours and worked in a sixth grade classroom. When I walked into the classroom, the teacher asked me to tutor some students in math. My first thought was, “Really? You want me to tutor sixth grade math?” You see, I love math, and it has always been one of my better subjects, but the last time I took a math class was a few years ago. Needless to say, I was slightly nervous that I would confuse these students more. I did forget one little detail! I was the teacher, so I got the teacher book that had all the answers.

One of my favorite parts about tutoring is working with students and observing the process so that I understand what they are struggling with. It’s not even something that can be explained, but it is amazing to watch. There was one student who was struggling with ratios and fractions. As I worked with him I could see the wheels inside his head turning, trying to figure out the correct answer. I could see that he really wanted to understand the math problems. By the end of the hour he was still struggling, but he had grown just a little.

After a long weekend all I needed was a good Monday to start the week!

Letters to the Past

A friend and I were recently talking about the odd progression of time and how different everything looks in retrospect. There are so many things we wish that we could say, as we are now, to our past and future selves. I distinctly remember writing a note to myself the night before I graduated high school that was meant to be read after my first year of college. Confession: I lost that note. But the point remains that it can be enlightening to look at time as if we are not bound by it, if only for a moment, and think about what we would say to ourselves if we had the chance.

It is so interesting for me to look at where I am at now as compared to where I was in high school. Allow me to use this post as a bit of a reflection, and say that if I could go back four or five years, I would be sure to tell myself something akin to the following:

 

Dear Aubrey,

You are still dyeing your hair blonde! I forgot about those days.

I know that you feel on the brink of something big, and you are anxious to leave home and let your life begin. Please know that you do have so much ahead of you – there are countless places to see, things to learn, people to meet, and experiences to be had. Just realize that there is still so much to do where you are at now as well. Treasure your time at home and really pour into every single person you encounter day to day. They will end up shaping you more than you could imagine.

Stop worrying so much about which college you’ll choose to go to. You have countless options, and you will find the right the one you feel at home with just as soon as you set foot on campus (I’ll give you a hint – it is in Southern California, has an amazing cafeteria, and is filled with some of the best people you’ll ever meet).

You have so much to look forward to! You will keep the best of friends, meet people who will shape you beyond belief, and see firsthand exactly how big God is. I need you to know that all through your life now and onward, you will be surprised by the abundance of beauty in the world. The best thing you can do to appreciate this is to share it with others and see how much your world will be changed – always for the better.

Allow the notion of the vastness of your life ahead to excite you rather than intimidate. Life is a series of changing circumstances, and you will never have everything completely figured out – and that is absolutely okay. The only thing that matter on this earth is that you are loving the One who made you and you’re loving the people He put in your life. Live like everything you do is on purpose, and value each opportunity to grow and invest in eternity in any way you’re led to.

Dearly yours, and with much love always,

Aubrey (Five years from now)

My 18 Pairs of Shoes

This week, I learned a little something about what it really feels like to be an adult, rather than just a “college kid.” While my time was primarily consumed with classes and homework assignments, I also continued the process of learning how to juggle school responsibilities with life responsibilities – and, how to distinguish between the two.

The older you get, the farther along you’ve made it through your education, the more your education becomes a life responsibility as well. But there are still other important responsibilities, like nurturing your relationship with God, keeping in touch with family back home, scheduling doctor’s and dentist appointments, filling out resumes and job applications, and contemplating new, massive life decisions.

Suddenly, I am realizing how my career as a “college kid” is gradually shifting into that of an adult. Monday through Friday, I am a student with a full load of 18 units, and the foundation to keep up with. On Saturdays, I am a music teacher, breakfast through dinnertime, and often a babysitter in the evening. Then on Sundays, I become a leader for my church’s 4th and 5th grade girls. But 24/7, I am a daughter, big sister of five siblings, girlfriend, board member, student, roommate, teacher, and friend.

When I’m dangling by a thread, my mom says to me with an empathetic smile, “You’ve inherited my sickness. I always fill my plate with too much stuff.” And some days, it definitely feels like I have.

But you know, growing up, and battling this “sickness” of overloading my plate – are those really such bad things? I’ve always said, “I’m better off busy than bored,” and it seems the busier I get, the more I believe it.

Sometimes, I’ve had such a busy week; at the end of it I’m too fried to remember exactly what happened. But never in my memory have I reflected on my week with the guilt of knowing that I wasted this beautiful thing that we humans call “life.”

To me, there are two extremes of this concept – there is the person who commits to only one pair of shoes, knowing that this will make life easy for them, and an enjoyable, riskless ride. Then, there is me, the person with about eighteen different pairs of shoes in my closet of commitments, whose ambition and passion for learning and adventuring tempts me, every day, to add another pair.

As I’m growing up, I’m finding myself often stumbling across the latter extreme. But in truth, my life and my heart are full. God gave us this beautiful gift of life so that we could use our time to both learn and invest in our passions, and to then share those investments with others.

So for now, I think I’ll keep my eighteen pairs of shoes, and should my closet of commitments expand some, I’ll probably add a nineteenth.

After all, this is a “sickness” I’m not interested being cured from.

Lancer Pride

This is the year of Lancer basketball. Since this is only the first official season for Lancer athletic teams to compete in NCAA Division II, I was not expecting anything spectacular this year. Last year I attended a few games, but only to receive a free shirt or compete in half time half-court shots. I knew nothing about the team’s standings or names of the players or anything beyond the location of my favorite seat. I felt no shame in walking into the gym, saying “hi” to a few guys, and then leaving without checking the scores.

Believe me when I say things have changed this year. To start things off, I became good friends with Bryce Oldham who joined the team just last semester. He’s kept up to date with where the team travels and game results since the start of the season, which is more interesting coming from guy on the sidelines. Since he’s in most of my classes this semester, I know when to plan for home games and what teams to watch out for. It was one of these home game suggestions that ended up becoming one of the craziest games this year.

About two weeks ago Bryce showed up to class Monday morning and asked I would tell all of my friends to go to the Saturday home game against Dixie State. I like hanging with my friends and screaming my lungs out as sporting events, so I agreed to spread the word. By the time Saturday came around I noticed that I wasn’t the only one telling people to go. The basketball team had already set a winning streak record of 14-0 leading up to the big game and people obviously wanted to see that number grow. I served food in the ADC that night of the game, and I saw more Lancer Basketball shirts and alumni than anything else. That just psyched me up even more to finish serving mashed potatoes and join the fans.

I booked it from ADC to my apartment, changed into my “Lance Up” shirt, and found my way over to the gym. I could feel my body bracing itself for a night of fist pumping and vocal straining. I couldn’t keep it together much longer, and that’s when I found a line leading outside the door. Before the game even started the gym was at max capacity. I waited patiently to enter as I loudly voiced my discontent with the entire situation. I waited with some friends for nearly half an hour until finally surrendering to the disappointment of fire safety regulations. I wasn’t giving up though. I told Bryce I would cheer on the team on and that’s exactly what I’d do.

Luckily for me, my friend Scott was feeling the same pressure of Lancer pride and found an apartment in the Colony streaming the game online through the Lancer webpage. If I couldn’t be there in person, I would just have to obnoxiously scream at small tv screen instead. We actually had a good number of people watching the game that night, and the microwaved popcorn with salsa added a little more flavor to the mix. By the time I started watching, CBU was up 55-33, which is amazing given that Dixie State was ranked 12th in Division II. Our boys kept up the 3 pointers and possession throughout the rest of the game and won it 100-90. I couldn’t have been more psyched to watch a basketball game, even a live stream version of a game being played literally across the parking lot. Expect to see me losing my mind at the next home game.

How Deep The Father’s Love For Us

L.O.V.E. – We talk about this little word with big underlying principals often. We all have thought about its implications on our lives, and more often than not, this word is one that is thrown around without consequence. For example, I’ll readily say that I love coffee, the same way I love books and movies. This week, I have started to rekindle my reverence for the word, and have seen where my thoughts have taken me.

Throughout my short life, I’ve seen love defined a number of different ways. It’s attributed to anything from a parent, movie, clothing item, or plate of pasta. We all recognize the difference between the lighter loves to the richer emotions and actions, however the ways in which we define LOVE in its purest form may be in need of attention. In a search for meaning and belonging, I’ve seen falsified versions of love used as a cheap substitute for a deeper craving. We can look to other people, entertainment, academic or career success, or a number of other things to try and gain acceptance and a taste of this love we are all designed to crave. I, like countless others have come to a point where I have to form my own beliefs about this – and in reflecting on this lately, I’ve boiled down my thoughts to words.

Love is clearly a force that comes from a place separate from selfishness and imperfection. We crave it because we know it is good, and we need it in order to be fulfilled. Love is bigger than us, perfect, and the greatest thing we can experience in this life. Saying all of this, let me clarify: GOD = LOVE. He created everything, and is goodness and perfection defined. He embodies and sets the standard for love and all things good.

Knowing this, it’s clear to me that, because God shows love perfectly, no lasting bit can be found without Him in it. Since we are made in His image, we are designed to love Him and others. Our desires point us back to Him, who made us to want Him in His goodness. He is jealous for our commitment to Him, because He wants the best for us – and He is the very best.

All this said, there are many ways of experiencing His love. Lately, I’ve been increasingly aware of His love displayed in the littlest things – pristine skies, a gust of wind, a delicious bite of food, or a gorgeous song. Beyond these, I’ve been frankly overwhelmed with the way God show His love through the people in my life. He’s given me a dream family, the best of friends and an insanely wonderful boyfriend who are all dedicated to the Kingdom, and excel at letting the Creator’s love flow through everything that they do. Each element of this creation He deemed “good” is a cause for thankfulness and a way to experience the Creator. All good things point back to Him, and there is so much good to be found.

With that, I am pushed once again to really love and show reverence for this act. When I push away anything that keeps me from loving and experiencing this love, God just steps in and does His thing – and it is astonishing. He wants us to experience and give out His love, and seeing as no one can sum up my mind better than Mr. C.S. Lewis, I’ll leave you with his words:

“In God there is no hunger that needs to be filled, only plenteousness that desires to give.”

Friends, I’ll see you next time.

Living Your Purpose

I know what you’re thinking, am I really going to talk about living your purpose? I get it; it’s one of the most clique things that is said at CBU. For goodness sake, it’s on all of the banners around campus, everyday we are reminded to live our purpose.  Trust me when I say, I get it. Just hear me out because this week I was challenged by a four-minute video to examine whether or not I really am living my purpose.

As part of a discussion board assignment I had to watch a four-minute video of Francis Chan speaking. It is just a snippet from one of his sermons, but it is a powerful snippet. The video is titled “What Are You Living For” and it shows a demonstration that he used in his sermon. In the demonstration he stretched out a piece of rope and told the congregation to imagine that it went on for eternity and to imagine that it represented a time line of your existence, which is forever. He then proceeded to hold up the end of rope, of which was a tiny red colored section. The few inches of red represented our time here on Earth, where the choice we make affect where we are headed for eternity. He discusses how so many people only think about the red part, consumed with thoughts of getting to travel and worrying about what we are going to eat. He then says, “Are you kidding me? What about this?” Picking up the rest of the rope that represents eternity, asking why you would spend the small red part trying to be comfortable in this life. He tells us that what we do in the little red part, the time on earth, determines where we get to spend eternity. Chan references Paul when he said that he is going to be like a runner and looking for the moment that he is going to face God because once you face Him you do not have another chance on Earth.  Chan emphasizes that everything we do here on earth affects how we spend eternity.

Once I finished the video all I could think was, dang. It caused me to question how I was living in my “red part.” Am I truly living fully focused on the finish line, fully focused on God? I’m not going to go into a lot of detail about my answer but I can tell you my answer was simple, most of the time. Sure, I strive to live fully focused on God and his plan for me. I’m human, I’m sinful, and therefore sometimes I stray. However, this video forced me to look into what I am doing now, what I am pursuing and ask the question, am I living the purpose he has planned for me? With full confidence I can say that I am, but it requires a lot of prayer and seeking after Him to know that I am. Just because I am living my purpose now, does not mean I can just slack off and not worry about it for a while. It is something that I have to constantly strive for and something that I have to constantly pray about. So, what are you living for?

Here is the link to the video that I was talking about, take a look. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86dsfBbZfWs

Filling Up My Planner

Well friends, spring semester is officially in full swing. Classes have started, which also means homework. Of course, when school starts, life kicks into full gear. To be honest, I was ready to start school and for break to be over. Not because I was ready to start the actual school part and homework part but because I was ready to get back to my friends and, most importantly, a schedule. I love having a schedule–yeah I’m weird like that. I have a hard time functioning without a planner. I cannot make plans without taking a look at my schedule to make sure that I have that time open. My planner is one of the things that I am very particular about.

Of course as school started last week, my planner started to fill up. It filled up mostly with homework, which is not always that exciting. At the same time that I began to fill up my planner with school work, I also began to add social events. That means I had to change some things around in my planner, and I’m not the biggest fan of schedule changes because I like having a routine. Once school started last week, I found myself having social plans every night. That wasn’t exactly helpful when it came to finishing homework. The fact that senioritis has hit hard has not been much help either.

Anyway, last week I found myself hanging out with friends every night. From a going away party, to playing Bunco, to hanging out with some of my staff, being able to hang out with friends and just laugh all night is a great way to just relax and not worry about the things that are to come for this next semester. I realized how important it is to not think about what is to come because sometimes thinking of the future brings up feelings of worry. Getting out allows me to have fun, not worry about the future and what is to come.

One thing I realized from all those late nights hanging out with friends is that I am incredibly blessed to be surrounded by the people that God has placed in my life. At the end of the week I was thankful for the laughs and memories that I had made with the people that I truly care about. I was thankful to have changed things around in my planner and to have an irregular routine for the week, even if it meant I was staying up late to finish homework. I am, after all, making memories that will last a lifetime. 

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To Be a Vessel

You know it was a successful first week of school when you found all of your classes without getting lost, were able to collect your stack of textbooks without spending a Benjamin and discovered that you somehow have no classes on Wednesdays, even though you’re taking a full load of 18 units. Oh, the glory of three-hour digital media courses!

So because all of these are true, I say with confidence that, indeed, I had a very, very successful first week of school!

But this week, for me, has been more than just a successful one. This week has been chalk-full of new beginnings, including the new beginnings of old passions that I have swept under the rug for much too long. As a belated Christmas gift, I sketched family portraits for my roommates, allowing me to fall back in love with a passion of mine that I normally don’t have the time for. I received a phone call offering me the Conference and Events job that I applied for last week (praise the Lord!), and I am excited to begin involving myself with that opportunity to serve the school… But most exciting is the new development which happened just days ago: I became a Vessel.

Vessel is an up-and-coming CBU program for CAVAD students who are interested in using their God-given skills and passions for graphic arts and digital media, to impact the world around them. As a team, led by CAVAD professor Dirk Dallas, we will meet every couple of weeks to discuss ideas for projects that could help our local community thrive – and, who knows, maybe someday we’ll go international!

Whether it is offering our skills to design identity packages for local churches, helping with community restoration, teaching local children about digital media, taking a weekend trip to assist in projects in San Diego or Los Angeles… you name it, Vessel would be willing to discuss it. Quite literally, we have been told that there is no cap on the ideas we bring to the table, and that we are only limited by our imaginations.

Together we will also be working through a book about designing for today’s worldly culture. Often, when a graphic design student is asked about what he or she plans to do with his or her major, the asker already has an idea – logos, business cards, product labels, etc. But what this book emphasizes to us is that the potential of designers is worth so much more than simply “selling dog biscuits.” As designers, our minds center around the creation of new things – new products and labels, for sure, but also new ideas, new endeavors, new tools, new plans, new adventures… with that kind of a mindset, in truth, designers have the potential to change this world.
My decision to come to CBU was one that took careful planning, questioning, touring and many other factors, as it was on the table for months against one other school that I was having a hard time giving up. Truthfully, I feared that after my first semester here, I might regret my decision, as I might if I had chosen the second school. But now, entering into my second semester as a Lancer, I observe the ways in which I have grown, and the opportunities that I have been given and I’m certain that I am in the right place.

After all, I couldn’t have been a Vessel anywhere else.

Have a blessed rest of your week! Until then,
Natalie

A Free Weekend

The first weekend of the semester will always be open. In the first three days of class, one of which is dedicated to the syllabus, it is nearly impossible to have any form of assignments due the following Monday. You might learn about upcoming projects and papers, but there’s usually nothing too immediate. Not even an accelerated class could steal that first weekend from you. Moving back to campus after a lazy winter break takes some adjustment time, which is exactly what this weekend is all about. You still feel the freedom of no immediate homework, except now in the learning environment that drove you mad studying for finals only a month ago. As the memories of notebooks and procrastination slowly prepare you for another semester of college, this first weekend is saved for those who want to start things right.

And when I say start things right, I mean do a bunch of fun things with your friends. I knew that next weekend even I would be filling out student leadership applications and writing up lab reports, so this was it. I knew I wanted to do something outdoors to enjoy the warm Saturday afternoon and be active. The best and only choice then would have to be volleyball. Freshman year, volleyball was our go-to sport since I couldn’t convince enough people to play soccer, and anyone can easily jump in. This time there were about eight of us passing the ball around and laughing every time the ball would fly in the wrong direction. With the sun just right, I could have stayed there for hours if my arms weren’t so raw. When you can’t use your arms, however, you move on to whatever is left. Biking was the next logical step. I’d been meaning to check out the Riverside area and actually use my bike for cruising. Rushing to the engineering building does not count. I rode by ripe orange groves and winding neighborhoods which made me curious to explore even more. I had no idea that all of these interesting places even existed so close to CBU. Saturday bike rides are definitely happening again soon.

After an adventurous and strenuous Saturday, I decided to take Sunday a little slower. By slower I mean playing hours of Risk with some bros. There is definitely a lack of interest for board games among college-aged males, so when four of my friends asked if I wanted to conquer the known world by rolling dice and moving plastic soldiers, I was all in. We set up the board and organized the pieces, and before long we realized that none of us even knew where to start. All I could see was that no one had claimed Peru yet, so it was my first pick. After a few dice rolls and rule revisions, my South American armies were trained and ready to wipe out North America and beyond. At least that was my vision, which became more of a hopeful idea, and then an impossible dream. Mike, who rightfully earned the title of “The Conqueror,” played just a little more strategically and developed a joint African/European Empire. He could have annihilated me before we even took a dinner break, but he decided on the slow bleed tactic instead of a quick finish. I didn’t know I could shout so much over a board game, but my allegiance to the Peruvian Republic was too great. My heart fell when that green plastic cannon finally knocked out my last blue soldier. I’m still a little distraught but I will manage.

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