Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Ugly

Have you ever gotten really frustrated at someone or something? The kind of frustrion that all of a sudden exposes this vicious monster that has been dwelling in the innermost pit of your being? It's as if is is finally bursting through the barrier of its lair, suddenly transforming your outward demeanor and appearance into something resembling the character of a classic horror film?

Your expected response:
"Yes, Raphaela, doesn't everybody?"

That was me this evening. All over a stupid battle between me, a plug and a wall outlet. See, my phone charger is of the ghetto, walmart, generic variety, and that being said, this means that the plug wobbles and is quite unstable. Of course, the wall outlet is hiding behind a large and awkwardly-shaped piece of furniture, making it nearly impossible for me to fit my gargantuantly proportioned ogre hands behind it and because ogre hands do not come with inbuilt ogre strength, I cannot move this obstacle.
So, two minutes into my somewhat calm and logical negotiation with all parties involved, the beast in me reveals itself. Pure rage surges over me as logic vanishes and the only thing left is aggression. Everything in my wants to pick up the dysfunctional plug and break it in half, sealing in my victory over the man-made object. But what do I do? I break it, but not triumphantly, because instead of abolishing its pitiful existence with my bare hands, I continue in a more violent and frustrated attempt to continue plugging it into the wall. I am not doing this gently, however, and, in an abrupt move, I channel so much force into my arm and wrist in order to adequately insert the plug into the socket that I miss the outlet completely and the two metal prongs that were previously attached to the plug, break off.

brilliant.

It is at this denouement that I catch a glimpse of my face in the mirror. Ugly, is the only word that I have to describe my reflection. The anger shows in my eyes, mouth and forehead, all of which are emphasized by wrinkles that I am sure I acquired mid-charger battle. It is then that I realized that I, once again, let my temper get the best of me. The monster came out and the gentle, kind-spirited woman I want to be known as dissapeared, all because I could not humbly seek after help when I needed a couch moved. Stupid plug ;o)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Walk Down This Mountain

Two weeks. In two weeks I will make the last 12 hour trek to Liberty University. I am filled with what can only described as a mix between nostalgia and butterflies. I am excited, but scared. I am overwhelmed and yet a little more wisened. God has shown me a little more of, well, me these past three years, and I can only imagine what he will teach me over the next six months of playing mommy to 48 girls.

Wow. 48 girls. forty-eight, beautiful women of God. I can only dream of the problems and joy they will bring my life. I can only pray that what they seek is a deeper relationship with Christ, but one can only hope...

I cannot wait till I am driving towards those mountains that have greeted me every morning for the past three years. I cannot wait to see the sunset once more behind that extravagant painting God crafted. It is always such a reminder of His beauty and Grace, and I miss it so...

I know that, once more, I will come face to face with those that find Christianity to be a trend, and that I will have to stretch myself to be in a rich relationship with Christ. I know that there will be days where I won't feel like spending time with Christ, there will be days when I get caught up in the motivational speaking that ends up being just that, a speech. Some days I will choose talking over doing, but I pray that God prepares my heart to truly listen to Him when He speaks to me, to listen to Him when he tells me to reach out, to get out of my comfort zone...

I'm excited to learn. I am so excited to use my brain again! I look forward to the days I can spend overlooking the gorgeous skyline while studying. I am so excited to see what God has in store for me... True, I am a little sad that this is my last year, but this is just the beginning, right? Who knows what he has in store... Who knows, maybe I will be up in Lynchburg for another three years...

Nah.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

She's a Trip! - Part One

I am a clutz. I have always been a clutz, and I will always be a clutz. I am completely comfortable with this fate, and accepted it long ago when I woke up in the hospital after attempting to kick a soccer ball. You would think that this prospective destiny would make me a little more cautious as to where I step, or what direction I take, but rather, I suppose that subconsiously I believe that because I have survived many of these intimate meetings with the cement, one more friendly chat couldn't hurt. Thus, an incessantly clumsy Raphaela Torman.
To shed light on my various experiences "biting the dust" I have compiled the highlights into a series. And as this is part one, I will begin with the earliest memory of my clutziness:

You'll Get a Kick Out of This

Let's begin with my kickball experience previously alluded to. Now, as background, I must say that this was an accident in the making. My after-school (most days I was a latchkey kid) program had quite an interesting array of child supervisors. Miss Kelly was our supervisor that day, and decided that the 15 children in our after school class needed to get some fresh air and exercise. To our dissarray, Wishbone was removed from the VCR, and a "refreshing" game of kickball was arranged. Unfortunately, that day, the kickball field was taken by another afterschool class. Shouting our hallelujahs and hoorays the fifteen of us started towards the school building, but Miss Kelly had a more brilliant plan. Because exercise was a requirement she had to fill as a supervisor and weather was not an excuse, she decided it would be best if we played the game on the basketball court.
Now, I wasn't the most brilliant eight year old at the time, but even then, knowing my tendency to get into accidents, I knew that this venture was one that would have many a consequence in the near future, but, of course, the game commenced. Of course, I would love to tell you that it was in the process of blocking the ball from my opponent, or diving in to make the last base that I acquired my minor concussion, but rather, it was much more embarassing and and much less heroic. There I was, it was my turn to kick, the pressure is on, I run and, with as much force as I can muster, bring my foot out to make, what I could only be hoping was a shot to make David Beckham jealous. To my horror my foot, with all the pressure I had applied to the kick, scuffs the top of the ball and my entire body flips. BAM! Next thing I know I am in the hospital having stitches applied to my head, hands, arms and knees. I still have the scar, and more vivid than ever, the memory.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Breakfast Conspiracy

I'm not normally a breakfast eater, but recently, upon the insistence that this is the "healthiest" and "most important" meal of the day, I ventured to add breakfast into my daily routine. The result? A very uncomfortable, bloated and unhappy me. What's worse, is that I am ravenous for the rest of the day. Why is this? Perhaps it's the magical starting of my metabolism which should help me in the long run, but truthfully, it doesn't. I spent my life not eating breakfast and being perfectly comfortable... Why is it that those that advocate a healthy lifestyle insist on this unhappy venture to eat when one is not hungry at all? After some thought on the matter I have decided that it is all a conspiracy. They tell you to eat breakfast, thus you eat more throughout the day, thus you obsess about how much your eating and think that you need to go on a diet because all of a sudden you're gaining weight. So you buy a diet book, and what does it tell you? Eat breakfast. And thus begins the cycle once more.

Breakfast is why the world is fat.

The End.




Monday, July 14, 2008

Whole Foods Market

Yesterday was "Raphy Day," as my family calls it. It wasn't my birthday, but it was the day in which the whole family is forced to be together, give me gifts, and potentially have a good time. Key word here is potential. Yesterday had the potential to be fun (and it was at the beginning) but one of my sisters left grumpy and my mom cried because, and I quote, "we're never all five of us together!" In the midst of this mini emotional hurricaine, I decided that I wanted to pay a visit to Whole Foods Market.
Whole Foods has had a rise in popularity recently, due to various current events. Let's discuss the recent obsession by our culture to suddenly purchase everything in it's natural and organic state. The idea of Whole Foods is to have a place where one can go and have a "Garden of Eden" experience. It's all about absolute raw. No pesticides, no hormones, no chemicals, and thus, no mercy on your shopping budget.
Another contributor to the rise in popularity is a result of the popular reality T.V. show, and one of my current obsessions, Top Chef. Whole Foods Market is the supplier for the majority of the food that the chefs in this competition work with. It is the store that they're given a certain amount of time to run around in and find the freshest fruit, the most peculiar animal products (such as lime-tequila marinated sardine heads) and the most unique condiments (try cashew butter).
Because of this rise in publicity and popularity, a Whole Foods Market moved right around the corner to my house, about five minutes away. My first impression as I walked in through the sliding glass doors that boldy displayed their "guaranteed organic" mantra, I felt out of place, and very... toxic. I felt as if my processed-food consuming body was contaminating the air in which these frequent shoppers breathed. I was ruining their oasis! Frantically, I attempted to blend in, and wishing I had worn earthtones instead of my bright blue dress, I quickly picked up a basket by the door and walked with determination to the juice shelf of the produce section.
I am positive the look of sheer confusion must have crossed my face, because instead of the comforting familiarity of Tropicana, I was faced with some clear liquid labeled a word I knew all the linguistics training in the world wouldn't help me pronounce. I watched as a tall skinny man in earthy clothing that resembled a potato sack woven together to make a flowing pair of pants, frantically grab as many of the clear liquid bottles (that were currently buy one get one free and at the bargain price of 3.99) and place them into his shopping cart. As my curious nature took over my body I reached for the bottle and read that this was a somewhat "mystical" Chinese tea, capable of healing and rejuvinating the body. I started laughing as I continued to read all the benefits that this herbal remedy boasted. The man that was grabbing these teas looked at me with a belittling expression on his face and in a tone as if I was the most ignorant human being asked, "I take it you don't know what KUM-Ka-Cha is?" His long, dirty, blonde hair shook as he pronounced the name of the drink. I looked at him and responded, in my smart aleck way, "Is it magic juice?" I must have sounded incredibly rude, because he did not respond and continued to grab the bottles and place them into his cart and walked away with an indignant look accross his face. I figured he himself probably didn't know what it was, and I continued on to the unrefrigerated juice section.
As I was walking past the 100% fruit juice boxes for kids, the most peculiar sight crossed my range of vision. A mother, with two children in her cart was grabbing juice off of the shelf and placing them in her cart. It wasn't the mother, however, that caught my attention, but rather the children, who were calm, quiet and seemingly sedated. As I watched them silently looking around them with a behaved curiosity I couldn't help but mention to the mother that her children were extremely well-behaved. Her response: processed foods never enter their body.
As I walked through the "make your own almond butter" section, I had visions of me with a leaner body (because, in this day dream, I did yoga every day) a plant based diet, and a glow in my presence because I drank wheatgrass and whey protein. I had two gorgeous children who never screamed or cried, but rather who developed a fondness for protecting their environment. Still in the midst of my day dream I walked towards the wheatgrass section and looked at this "superfood" mix that one could place into their morning protein shake. It was gluten free, soy free, whey free, lactose free, nut free, and environment friendly. I had forgotten all about my day dream and tried hard to decipher what exactly was in this powder. Confused and slightly distraught, I walked toward my final destination.
The "Naked Juice" section. This amazing juice cures the common cold in about 5 hours and has a week-long shelf life. I grabbed as many as I could and determined, I walked to the cash register. As the cashier rang up my juice I fell back into my daydream of living a disciplined and healthy vegan lifestyle and living to be about 90 years old while drinking my daily shot of wheatgrass. As the total of my 6, 15 oz juice bottles rang up to an astronomical amount, the dream once again evaporated, along with the fleeting thought of abandoning meat and oreos. And as I walked out into the Florida sunshine, and breathed in the polluted air, I came to the happy realization that everything was as it should be, processed, toxic, and I was, once again, living my blissfully ignorant life.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Excuses

Ok, i'll admit it, I am the queen of excuses. I have an excuse for absolutely everything that makes me uncomfortable, stretches my limits or requires me to go above and beyond. Take fasting, for instance. A spiritual discipline, not commanded, but highly suggested. "When you fast..." I feel like Jesus must have added a "hint, hint, wink wink" facial expression... like "this is what you should be doing." But naturally, we have excuses. True, some people, for medical reasons cannot eliminate food from their diet completely, but there are other ways to fast. Fasting can be done for several different reasons. I think that the elimination of food, especially to eliminate it completely, is true sign that one is depending on God. As humans, we are, of course, required to function on food. And what do we do? We panic when we miss a meal, or two, and freak out when we're told fasting is a great way of drawing nearer to God. We come up with the ultimate excuse: "I won't be able to function properly."

Silly humans... God is so much bigger than what we require for bodily function. Don't you think that in the days that you have committed to fasting for the Lord, God will give you the strength to go about your daily activities? Oh wait... it's not the fact that we won't function properly, it's the fact that we just plain don't want to give up our food. We don't want to be uncomfortable.

I am just as guilty of this thought as anyone else. When I work a nine hour shift, constantly running around, the last thing I want to have to think about is my growling stomach, but that's actually the beauty of it. That growling is an intermittent reminder of how we need to depend on God for our strength. It is a reminder to pray for those that we would not pray for otherwise. It is a reminder to draw near to the one who is the true Life Sustainer.

Alive In This Moment

Just as background, I chose the name "Alive in this moment" after a song by Starfield. It's a song about how many times we run away and then at some point, some moment, God pulls us back torward him. When everything falls apart his arms are open wide (as they were when we chose to do everything our own way) and he meets us in that moment. It's about remembering how amazing God is, how beautiful the aroma of his love. This song is a mirror of my life, and the life of several others. Grasping for control in so many aspects of our life, we either don't want God's help and guidance, or just believe that we do not need it. I wish it wasn't the case that so many times it is when I fall flat on my face after abiding by the flesh that I realize that the only thing I need, the only thing that should take precedence in my life is the ONE.
The song is about how our hedonistic desires cause us to forget the One who will give us our deepest and truest desires. Dead in our sin, Alive with God.

Because Brittney Told Me To...

This is my blog. Welcome. I suppose I could begin my posting experience by posting a blog in which I WOW your brain with my eloquent words (which I will, undoubtedly, have to look up in the Thesaurus) and fascinating introductory topic, but since I have to be at work soon, and quite frankly, that's not me (unless i am arrogantly trying to impress... hey, i'm honest), I will instead leave my initial post, as is. I think this is a perfect reflection of my personality thus far, so it will suffice...