Living Sacrifice

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

So, working at Kofenya is going to be really cool.....but challenging as well.....not in the sense of the workload, but in the sense of relationships with co-workers and customers. Naturally, majority of the workers and customers are college students, and I just can't help but feel I am a little on the outside. I'm having trouble relating, or maybe even caring I guess. Not really sure. I struggle with connecting with people, allowing people into my life and also being interested in theirs. And though I just graduated from college, I feel like I am in a totally different place in life than the people with whom I am working and interacting. I know it will be good for me, but it's not going to be easy. I just don't quite fit in anywhere right now.....but I am learning to be ok with that, and trying not to fall into the trap of earning or gaining people's approval (social acceptance). Though I still battle that, I feel like I should be beyond that by now. If I am loving and serving as I know how to do, then people can chose to like me or not like me based on many other different things if they like, but I need to be ok with that.

I don't know. I just feel very strange lately. Like I should be somewhere else or doing something different. Like this isn't really my life that I'm living. Kind of weird. But I am enjoying my jobs, and enjoying playing music and living with Spen. :)

But anyway, to elaborate on the coolness of Kofenya....the atmosphere in there is amazing. It's not very often you can find a place where God is openly invited into a business, and it makes such a difference. You can tell He is welcome there, that people are loved and accepted, that God is working in the hearts of the people who come to do something as simple as buy coffee. I see amazing, sweet things happen just about every time I work. Connections. Love. God. I see Him working. Could I ask for more from a place of employment??

To end, I'd like to say that there is definitely one thing I am extremely extremely happy about.....and that's not having to study!!!! It's so freeing. When I am home from work, I can either hang out with people, or enjoy my time....playing music, recording, reading a book, enjoying the weather. Whatever it may be.....but I DON'T have to study text books if I don't want to. :) I don't know if I'll ever be able to go back to school.....

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Tonight I feel very empty and alone. Most of the time, I feel like I'm stuck between the 5th and 6th stage of Erikson's psychosocial stages of development. Those two stages are identity vs. role confusion and intimacy vs. isolation. I also think my memory is getting worse, and I am starting to wonder if I am going crazy and starting to hallucinate. Most of the time, I just kind of brush off my poor memory, but when I am known now by my boss at work as the mindless one who forgets everything, it's starting to get to me. In most respects, I am a very dependable person, but I have to write everything down or I forget, and there are other things I am forgetting now, too.

I really wonder if I am on my way to losing my mind....I feel like I can't think or use my brain anymore. It's all very strange. So is this post. *laugh* I'm going to bed now.

Sunday, August 28, 2005


I wish there were more people like Professor Dowd.

Professor Dowd is a prof I had freshman year here at Miami...second semester I believe if I recall correctly. He made class so much fun, and he always seemed to have the perfect way to draw your suck you into the lesson. I remember being excited about going to class, wondering what was next to come, what inspiring or incredible piece of life Professor Dowd was going to share. I think that's the way any psychology class should be....fascinating and exciting. And Professor Dowd is so good at what he does.

But his teaching skills are only part of what makes Professor Dowd so amazing. He is a very very thin man, which is enough to make anyone suspicious of some kind of disease of one sort of another. As her told our class toward the end of the semester, Professor Dowd is dying from AIDS. He lost his brother a few years ago from AIDS as well.....I remember him saying that his brother weighed 60 some pounds. He and his brother were both diagnosed with a blood disorder and had to have blood transfusions in the early 80s, right before the AIDS epidemic exploded.

Professor Dowd was told he would die within 5 years of his diagnosis of full blown AIDS, and yet he continues to fight (it's probably been about 14 years now), and is on all kinds of outlandishly expensive medications to keep him alive. I never once heard him complain, feel sorry for himself, get angry about it, or anything of the sort. He was always a very compassionate, energetic, fun-loving man. I know his life has touched many in the psyche department, and I'm sure he has touched many people outside the department as well. And there is no doubt in my mind, Professor Dowd is a man of God.

Why, if I had him as a professor my freshman year, am I writing about him now? Well, it seems he has given up teaching on more than one occasion, and then ends up coming back to teach another class. I would imagine it's just because his passion is for students and teaching, and he just can't give it up. I was in the bookstore the other day, and I noticed that he was teaching a senior capstone. And for the class, they were reading one book.......Tuesdays with Morrie. If you know anything about the book (about a relationship between a dying professor and one of his students from many years ago), you will also realize how appropriate it will be for the class, and I know Professor Dowd will stretch it to the max. I don’t doubt that the student’s lives in that class will be changed forever.....and that they will see life (and even death) in a whole new light.

When I saw that Professor Dowd was teaching the class, it just reminded me of what an amazing man he is, and also how I take so many things in life for granted. I, my friends, my family, my enemies, my co-workers.....we could all be gone in an instant. Life should be so much simpler, so much less complicated, and so much more valued than it is. I barely survived 4 years of college without quitting or giving up, and I couldn’t wait to get out, but I’d love to take that class. I even came home and looked on the Miami site to look for openings. It’s full, of course, and that’s ok. I figured if it was meant to be, there’d be a spot.

But I also remembered that for the longest time, I wanted to write a letter to Professor Dowd to let him know how much his class meant to me. It was a lecture hall, so he’d never know who I was personally (introduced myself once), but I’d still like to write. I always told myself that he probably gets a lot of letters from students about the amazing things he’s done for them, but I wonder if maybe everyone thinks that, and then no one really writes or lets him know. I don’t know. But I decided.....I need to just sit down and do it. It’s not too late. So, I hope, within the next few days, to sit down and write a letter to Professor Dowd. After all he’s done for me and what he’s doing for the lives of others, that’s the least I can do.

I’d encourage you to do the same.......take time to write a letter to talk to someone who has meant a lot to you, or who has changed your life in some way, or who has seen you through a hard time or challenged you to see life in a new way. I guarantee you won’t regret it.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Cool things going on in my life right now:

1. I have a really sweeeeeeeeet tripod so I can take pictures of lightening WITHOUT my car roof in the picture (hehe), compliments of David Dotson. I'm really excited to get to use it. :)

2. I just got a job at Kofenya, which will be part time, looks like mostly Tues-Thursday evenings, with the possibility of turning into a salary, full-time job later on in the fall.....

3. School starts tomorrow, which means I now have the possibility of being called to sub. Yessssssssssss! ;)

4. I have the coolest roommate ever (don't worry, Christi....he won't ever be able to steal your title of "Forever my Roomie"). This roomie is my brother, for anyone who didn't know.

5. My neighbors rock! The ones to the east have 2 kids, one plays drum set, and they have a cool dog. They brought us over a plate of muffins and hot chocolate mix and stuff. Awesome. And the neighbors to the west....well....what can I say. It's like a band room over there! We haven't formally "met" the neighbors on that side yet, but we certainly hear all the random instruments that are being played constantly. I even observed our neighbor yesterday....sitting on the front lawn, playing his didgeridoo. I should have taken a picture!!! Dang it! But, anyway, it's all very awesome. Musicians on both sides of us!!!!!!!

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Today was a pretty darn sweet day, except for the fact that I got pulled over for speeding, and was then told that my car smelled like alcohol, which was proceeded by many questions, an ID check, and a finger test (back and forth to see if I was drunk). When he realized neither I nor TJ was intoxicated, he gave me back my ID and let me go. Yep. I couldn't believe it. TJ and I were cracking up about it the rest of the way home, so I guess even that wasn't so bad.

But anyway, I drove to Springboro today to visit a friend who is moving back to BG tomorrow, and who's been wanting to hang out with me all summer, but as many things, I have trouble following through with things or just getting myself motivated (even if it's something cool like hanging out with friends). I had a blast....we went waverunning, which is so much fun, even though I only did a few donuts this time because I was being a chicken. I can already feel my legs and arms getting sore. :) It was great, too, to just get to hang out with my friend, whom I haven't seen in probably 6 months. It's nice to just laugh and play sometimes.

After that, I came back to Oxford and picked up TJ to head out for the SKILLET concert, which I believe makes at least concert 6 for me. They never cease to amaze me, because it seems there aren't as many rock bands out there any more that are really really good musicians. Yet, Skillet takes the cake, because ALL of their members are extremely talented musicians. It was good to see them again.

So, overall, a sweet day. I look forward to what tomorrow brings.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Alright, so I thought maybe I was going to go to bed, but instead of sleeping at 4 in the morning, I decided to go out and enjoy the lightening from the approaching storm. Wow, that was sweet!! And.....I decided to take my camera and put that adjustable shutter speed to good use. So, I got my first half-way decent picture of lightening. Check it out:

Bottom left hand corner, you can observe a little bit of the roof of my car: a nice addition to my lightening picture. :) Well, without a tripod, I have to use something, and since it's dark, it's hard to see what I'm really taking a picture of......or maybe I'm just making excuses. I'll get better as I get more opportunities. :) Regardless, it was sweet being out in the middle of rural Oxford, listening only to the occassional beeping of my camera and all of the little critters outside while lightening and thunder crashed around me. Oh...and I've decided that I don't like deer anymore, because they always seem to find my car at night (almost hit another deer). They need to do nice things like eat food out of my hand and let me pet them and stop sitting along side the road at night waiting for me to drive by and freak out. I think they like it....freaking people out, especially me.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Laughter late into the night is always a good thing......thanks to Kara. :)

Besides laughing into the night, I hung out with Mom, Lace, J, and Spen for a bit today, and then got to hang with McKenzie. We decided to have a water balloon fight in the backyard, which was great fun. I need to do things like that more often.

Beyond that and still unpacking in the new place, I'm still trying to figure out what I'm going to do job-wise. I should hopefully hear from the hotel tomorrow, though I'm not really sure that's what I would like to doesn't sound all that challenging or exciting to me, and now I've got a job opportunity laid before me from Kofenya, which would be great fun and great experience, but I'm just not sure yet. I don't know how long they will wait for me to decide.....I think I will ask them if I can have until Monday, so I can really think about it over the weekend. I don't know if they can wait that long, but we'll see.

That's about it. Oh, and I get to go jet-skiing and also see a Skillet concert on Friday. Yessssssssss! :)

Monday, August 15, 2005

After over 70 hours of work over the past 7 days, I'm more than ready for the next few days of relaxing. I will be unpacking more into the new apartment, meeting with some friends, and maybe even disappearing for a day or two to an undisclosed location for a short get-away....maybe even a small spritual retreat, which God knows I need horribly. Just really looking forward to the next couple days. :)

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Hey pepples! This is for anyone who reads this blog or for anyone who finds out otherwise:

I am planning on just hanging out at my apartment on Tuesday evening.....sipping tea or coffee on my back porch, enjoying myself, playing cards or guitar, and/or whatever else I feel like doing because I won't be working! lol Sooooo.....feel free to join! I would say any time after 7 should be cool. Email if you need my new addy!

Friday, August 12, 2005

I've decided that job interviewing is not my forté, which stinks for me because you need good interview skills (knowing how to sell yourself and tell the employer what they want to hear) to get a job. It all seems like a big game, and I don't like playing it. I wish I could just go into an interview, look the employer in the face, and say "Look, I don't want to play interview games to see if I can say exactly what you are wanting to hear, becuase I can't read your mind. I just know that I need a job, and no matter what job it is, I will work hard, be dependable, and do good things for your company."

So you can probably guess I've been through a few interviews (I think today made #4). The first interview was a while ago, and the lady called me and told me I did well but needed more experience. The secod and third interviews, I was told I would be called in a couple days, and I heard from neither. This last interview, I was told I will be contacted next week, Wed or Thurs, but based on my track record, I won't hear from her, either. It's all just a bit frustrating. The last couple interviews, I walk out and immediately start pounding myself: "Duh! Why did I say that?" or "Dang it. I should have said this." For example, today the lady asked me, "Where would you rate your personality and energy?" and I said "8.5" and so she said "why?" Well, it's obvious she wants to hear about the good things about me....why I have energy and about the good qualities of my personality. It's always easy before or after an interview to know what kind of answers they are looking for. But in the middle of it, it's hard to think about it. And so, of course my mind immediately thinks "Give the reasons why you are NOT a 10" which obviously caused me to focus on the bad instead of the good. DUMB!!!!! Rrrraaarr.

But anyway, last night, I found myself being rather frustrated with the whole job and interview thing, especially about the fact that people GIVE ME THEIR WORD that they are going to call me and then don't. So.....I wrote a letter. haha I don't think I will send it to either people who didn't call me back, but it helped me a little with my frustrations, and so I figured instead I would post it on my blog. So, here 'tis.

To _______:

I recently had an interview with you for ____ position. As I left the interview, I was told that I would hear from you in a couple days. I was just wondering why I never heard back from you. I actually decided the job wouldn’t work out for me anyway, so it’s ok that I obviously didn’t get the job, but I was writing to see why you never called, since you told me you would. It’s kind of upsetting for someone to give you their word, especially a prospective employer, and for him/her not to follow through with it. Please don’t forget that the people who come in and interview are real people, not just emotionless nobodies, you know what I mean?

Am I upset? Yes, a little bit. It makes me feel less like a person and more like something inanimate that gets shoved around without much thought. But, I guess my main reason in writing is for the sake of future prospective employees who come in for interviews. You are in charge, so you can do whatever you want, but I would like to challenge you to think about the people you are interviewing and remember they are nervous, excited, and hopeful, and when you give them your word about something, I think you should keep it. Regardless of whether they are getting the job or not, if you say you will contact them, then it seems to me that is exactly what you should do. Otherwise, you are not only leaving them hanging, but you are turning yourself into a liar by not keeping your word.

My hope is that down the road, when you are interviewing, you will think twice before you tell someone you will call them, especially if you have no intentions of doing so.

Thank you.


Kim Birchfield

I know it sounds a little mean, but I was really frustrated, and I still am a bit. Job searching is much harder than I anticipated. I know I need patience, but my wallet doesn't like the sound of that, and my nerves don't like it much either. The fact that I can't get jobs at places that pay $6.00-$7.00 an hour really scares me. What else am I supposed to do? I'm doing the best I can. I think I have a good resume......I think I am capable of any job that is thrown at me.....and I am willing to do whatever it takes.....and I'm honest. What else do they want from me?

ANSWER: The right words, the right look, and the right expressions during an interview. It just doesn't seem fair.....that would be like basing much of college entry on one standardized test or something. Oh wait....they do that, too.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Central air, two stories, 1 1/2 baths, a wonderful back porch, a beautiful back yard, a garage and driveway, sharing with my "little" brother, 3 lovely bedrooms, 2 doors down from some super cool new apartment. :)

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

The Great White of the Oxford Sea

To the Great White of the Oxford Sea
At thee I turn and stare
For when the summer comes around
I see thee everywhere

Asphalt is your blackened deep
As you swim with rubber wheels
Around the town you go with ease
Knowing just how good it feels

Your glistening back and shiny snout
All sparkle in the sun
Your presence is the greatest sign
That summer has begun

Sometimes your skin is white and plain
Showing your true heart
Other times your pale white coat
Is tattooed with words and art

Often times atop your head
Different colors you wear
A fashion statement of its own
Some ladders for your hair

You cruise around the Oxford Square
And visit people’s houses
Sometimes bringing plants alive
Or killing bugs and mouses

Patiently the people wait
It’s you they long to see
Bringing joys into their hearts
The Net and MTV

Sometimes to us you even bring
Some paint to do our walls
Or tools to fix a dishwasher
Or AC to fill our halls

Oh what a desperate tragedy
If summer wasn’t seized
By you, oh dazzling sharp Great White
To help us in our need

How sad it is when summer ends
And back the students come
For only briefly you will be
Then soon after, you are gone

You swim away back to your hole
To hide for winter’s season
Camouflaged and wrapped in snow
To winter, your grandest treason

But once again when leaves turn green
And the summer heat turns on
Tis then I’ll see you, oh Great White
Around from dusk til dawn

To the Great White of the Oxford Sea
At thee I turn and stare
For when the summer comes around
I see thee everywhere

Friday, August 05, 2005

Am I the only one that finds it a bit disturbing that any 'ol college graduate with any 'ol degree can get a substitute teaching certificate and begin subbing....with no interview?? It is very interesting where education fits onto the list of priorities in our country......

I think today I was simply reminded how important it is that God gave us brothers and sisters in Christ, because otherwise, I think most of us would slowly lose sight of Him. I have felt over the past however long that I have been slowly drifting away from God, until I have finally gotten to the point of even questioning His existence, which has been a scary place for me, and a place I don't intend to stay and hope to never be at again. But anyway, I think my saving grace a lot of times are my friends, especially my brothers and sisters of the faith. Today, even a brief conversation with my little brother helped remind me of the importance of my life in the fact that I am here to share a love with others that is beyond myself and my circumstances. I was continually reminded today of the love of Christ through various interactions with others, such as Cathy and Andrea fixing dinner for me and Spen, Jason trying to look out for me and help me find a job, and David asking me how I am doing. I see Christ's love in all of these simple acts, and it encourages me to go on.

I was especially encouraged today when I met with a couple friends uptown. I was reminded that satan is real and is continually working to destroy my life and my love and my relationship with Christ, and I feel as if at this time, he is relatively sucessful. But I am reminded by the constant love from my friends that I am more than I allow myself to be, and more than how I perceive myself, because I am bound by lies and blinded by darkness a lot of the time. Today, we all seemed to share a very intimate moment, at least it seemed that way to me, about a subject that goes deep into the hearts of many people: self-hatred.

I may be at a bad place right now, but I am convinced that I will not stay here. Speaking with other Christians gives me strength and reminds me that I need to fight, that I have a mighty God who loves me NO MATTER WHAT and who is willing to help me push through anything. I am broken and hurting, but I am not defeated, and interactions like today give me glimmers of hope that I have the power through Christ to rip the veil from my eyes to see myself and others through God's light.

Monday, August 01, 2005

I have felt particularly alone the past few days, even despite the fact that I've been surrounded by family and friends and am currently staying with friends and family. I don't really feel like I belong, and I feel annoying to people...and useless. I feel like I bother people a lot more than I help them or add good things to their life. I feel like all I do is ask for things and never give in return. I feel like I have nothing to offer my friends or family or anyone else for that matter. Maybe this has to do with the fact that I can't/(won't?) find a job, which leads to many feelings of insignificance. Maybe it's because I am questioning God and my faith. Maybe it's because I feel I have nothing in common with anyone. Maybe it's because I see so many other Christians struggling and not experiencing freedom or joy and I wonder "Where is my God?"

I'm sure I've mentioned before, but I was diagnosed with depression on 2 different occassions when I visited psychologists, my junior year in high school and my sophomore or junior year in college. This leads me to believe that it hasn't disappeared and is not a "situational" depression. I it really a disease as the psychology people seem to be leaning toward....a "chemical imbalance"? Depression, so it seems, runs in my family. But....doesn't everyone get "depressed"? What constitutes "abnormal"? Is 5+ years of not experiencing life....not feeling....normal? Oddly, I noticed that when I went to King's Island with McKenzie, I experienced little or no emotion. I didn't get the little excited jitters I used to get when going to an amusement park.....I didn't even feel any different going up the hills of the roller coasters. No emotions. It's not necessarily like I'm sad all of the time....just on and off...but otherwise, it seems I experience nothing. It's strange to not experience emotions that I feel I should be experiencing. It's like I'm a walking brick wall that nothing can penetrate except sadness and despiration sometimes.

God has given me such a good life...with good friends and everything I could ever need. But I can't seem to find joy in anything. And without joy, without living for Christ, what is there really to live for?

One thing that has been an encouragement for me over the past few days and has helped me keep my sanity is a song called "Born" by Over the Rhine. I'll end with the lyrics. I hope to post a positive blog next time. I know there is more to life than this.

"I was born to laugh
I learned to laugh through my tears
I was born to love
I'm gonna learn to love without fear

Pour me a glass of wine
Talk deep into the night
Who knows what we'll find

Intuition, deja vu
The Holy Ghost haunting you
Whatever you got
I don't mind

Put your elbows on the table
I'll listen long as I am able
There's nowhere I'd rather be

Secret fears, the supernatural
Thank God for this new laughter
Thank God the joke's on me

We've seen the landfill rainbow
We've seen the junkyard of love
Baby it's no place for you and me

I was born to laugh
I learned to laugh through my tears
I was born to love
I'm gonna learn to love without fear"