The Power of Chopping

      Chopping vegetables, or fruit in my case, can be very inspirational. This past Saturday I found myself with a disconcerting amount of spare time. I turned to food (preparation) to stave off boredom.  In a moment of brilliance I realized I could slice up the small, older apples that no one was eating and create apple crisps by dehydrating them. Why my mom has a dehydrator is a tale for another day.  
      Consequently, for an hour or two I stood at the counter top drinking coffee and slowly slicing apples to the humming fan of the dehydrator. As I arranged the pieces on various racks, my mind silently churned. Earlier that day I hit a writing block while applying to scholarships. Yet, here I was,enveloped in chopping apples and composing the winning opening to my essay. Suddenly, I seemed to get a rush of inspiration and wanted to photograph everything in sight. Of course, the problem was, my hands were sticky and wet. So for the rest of my chopping time, I alternated between being absorbed in thought and washing my hands so that I could write something down.

If you are having trouble with an insolvable problem, I would recommend food preparation. 

Veronica A.


So There's This College...

     I think college searching is a bit like online dating. You're not always sure what you want or what you're getting. But nevertheless you take all the necessary precautions. You try not to get your hopes up too early, but you check off on non-negotiables. Then you go on a date and test out the waters.
     Last month I visited Gordon College in Wenham, MA. I admit, I went with low expectations and didn't think my mind would be easily swayed by seeing the campus. A small, Christian,  liberal arts college on the borders of Boston, Gordon was so different from where I envisioned myself going (a big, secular university). But as I sat listening to the welcome address for the Accepted Student's Day, I found my feelings turning in a very different direction. The professors seemed eager to help the students accomplish their goals and send the out into the world. It seemed like a place where I could marry my mission as a Christian and my vocational direction as a journalist. As the weekend progressed, I found myself wishing I wouldn't have to decide between Gordon and another school. Essentially, I was in love. 
      In the end, God graciously and providentially made Gordon my clear destination. But I'm beyond thrilled for this new adventure and this past week, I made it official! You could say I tied the knot. 

Veronica A.


Old School

     Back in the day, when my family drove an unfashionable Ford Aerostar mini-van and when we all lived under the same roof, those were the golden days when my siblings and I didn't have adult-y appointments to interfere with the regularly scheduled, family, beach vacation. Those were also the days when we listened to my dad's extensive cassette tape collection. A tradition, which I insisted upon, was to play the Beach Boys on our way to the beach. My dad would extrapolate on the history of the Beatles as "Hey Jude" blared out from the tape player which was always propped up in the middle seat.
I was going through a tom-boy phase--I was also, apparently, against the use of sunblock.
     I've started to return to some of those old-school, classics. My renewed interest may be in part due to my fascination with swing dancing, but I think it is also due to the nostalgia creeping up on me as packing off to college becomes more and more a reality.
     Here are some of my favorites:
  • "Under The Boardwalk" by The Drifters

  • "Fly Me to the Moon" by Frank Sinatra

  • "Here Comes the Sun" by The Beatles

  • "Lean on Me" Bill Withers

  • "Son of a Preacher Man" Dusty Springfield

Veronica A.


Being a Single, Independent, New York Woman

     When I was six and riding on the subway with my family, I insisted on sitting a little ways off. It wasn't out of spite or annoyance with anyone, instead it was in an effort to assert that I was a single, independent, New York woman. Although I often roamed the streets of NYC alone over the years of growing up there, it wasn't until this past weekend that I experienced what it was like to be truly independent. Most of my friends were out of town or busy and I wasn't staying with anyone. My brother and his wife had plans at her parents so they left me their studio to crash in. From Saturday afternoon to Sunday evening I was on my own. Here is what I did:

     Exactly what it says. I trekked out to Brooklyn bookstore and relished the feeling of being intellectual and booky. And then I bought a romance, fiction novel. (Me before You by JoJo Moyes, who brutally betrayed me with the ending of the book)

     I bought coffee and further lived out my dreams of being a hipster. The cappuccino was delicious, although the barista looked as if she saw someone throw a bottle in the trash instead of recycling it. 

     After returning to my brother's ridiculously cool flat and eating all his chips, I played Mass Effect 2 on his Xbox. The night was going well as I had discovered that Thaddaeus and Daphne also had some ice cream. But after laboring over level after level of the space set video game, I inexplicably lost all my progress. I took that as a sign that it was time to go to bed. 

     Sunday morning I relished the late hour at which my brother's church began. 10:30 a.m. meant that I had time to get ready and rush out for some breakfast. It has been ages since I've had a proper New York bagel. The experience was glorious. 

     I then set off for Sunday worship. Unfortunately, I was attending sans brother and sister-in-law, but I didn't mind. Everyone who greeted me beamed when I mentioned Tad and Daphne. I ran into some old acquaintances and talked for a while after church. 
     Being independent and on my own time was extremely refreshing, but I don't think I will always want to be alone.

Veronica A.


Thoughts on Turning 19

     Although this picture makes me look old and sophisticated, I've reached 19 feeling less sure of who I am than when I turned 18. This past year was filled with very high highs and some quite low lows. Now, I'm faced with my last 365 days as a teenager with college on the horizon and new responsibilities creeping into picture.
     I may not understand who I am, but that doesn't mean I haven't learned about how to navigate steadily growing relationships or about what it means to actually trust in my Creator.
     I'm ok with not quite understanding myself yet. While I'm confident that it will come with time, my real security lies in the reality that my life is not about me. God has established his will already, and I am only asked to love and obey him, not necessarily know everything. So that's what I'm going to do.

Q. What is your only comfort in life and in death?
A. That I am not my own, but belong—body and soul, in life and in death—to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil. He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven; in fact, all things must work together for my salvation. Because I belong to him, Christ, by his Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him. (Heidelbeg Catechism, Q. 1)

Veronica A.


The Pleasure of Reading Before Bed

      I don't often get to sit under the light of my precariously perched bed lamp and read something other than Nietzsche or my Physics Textbook, but when I do, it feels like order has been restored to the universe. My mom had picked up a New York Times the previous day, so I spent Monday night, in the hour before I nodded off, reading articles and basking in the tangible goodness of a wrinkling over-sized paper.
      Nahum, our ever napping, canine family member, occupied his usual place at my feet. I then proceeded to make my way through the pages of news and opinion articles, pulling out the ones I wanted to revisit later. While relishing my moments in conscious rest I remembered the scenes of John Adams and his wife reading in bed from the masterpiece T.V. series with Paul Giamatti.
      While I may consume prose in the comfort of my sleeping place out of pleasure, I cannot deny it makes me feel intelligent as well.

Veronica A.


Something I Underlined this Week

     I find it difficult to enjoy school assigned reading. Even when the book is a novel or adventure story. I'm always checking the time or glancing at my planner to make sure I'm still on track. Once in a very long while I find myself read away an hour effortlessly. I treasure those moments. Because during those periods of story immersion I know that I am learning and absorbing material.
     This past week, I fell into the prose of Erich Maria Remarque and his engaging account of the German's side of World War I in All Quiet on the Western Front. The book is less an argument for the German aggression and more a homage to the Lost Generation and the way that war shaped them.
     In this passage, the main character, Paul, is on leave and is sitting in his room. But he is tormented by his memories of being at the front lines. What Remarque describes are the effects of Paul's distress.
 "I feel excited; but I do not want to be, for that is not right. I want that quiet rapture again. I want to feel the same powerful, nameless urge that I used to feel when I turned to my books. The breath of desire that then arose from the coloured backs of the books, shall fill me again, melt the heavy, dead lump of lead that lies somewhere in me and waken again the impatience of the future, the quick joy in the world of thought, it shall bring back again the lost eagerness of my youth. I sit and wait." -All Quiet on the Western Front, Erich Remarque

Veronica A.