Hairspray, a Weasel, and me

Recently, K and I went to see the musical movie Hairspray at our local theatre. It’s been so long since the two of us went out, and we need to take advantage of every opportunity we get, so we were really excited for this movie. We decided to go at the last minute, which meant we were throwing on lip gloss and deodorant in the car on the way into town. K had to pick something up on the other side of town, so she dropped me off at “the show” so I could buy us tickets and save us seats. Little did I know I had chosen poorly.

The show was starting when K arrived, then I went to get us some chocolate bars. When I got back, we had to whisper a little bit to decide who got which chocolate bar, and if the seats were okay, and if K had any water to wash down the chocolate, etc.

Such minimal and necessary discussion before the movie had even gained momentum was apparently abominable to the lady in front of us. Not one minute into the movie and without giving us a chance to get settled, she turned around to give us a big, loud, and rude, “SSSHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!”

Taken aback at her testiness, we giggled, and tried our best to do it quietly. However, apparently she had a zero tolerance rule, because she gathered up her purse and left.

We looked at each other, amazed that someone could seriously be so uptight in a big room chock full of people out for a social evening!

K was so surprised that the movie was a musical and the opening scenes were of a, er, bigger girl, dressed in 50’s clothing, dancing through her city, and enthusiastically singing, “Good Morning, Baltimore!” that she (K) was shaking in near-silent laughter. I, however, had a funny feeling… that Weasel Wench hadn’t in fact left the theatre, and that any moment she’d be back with another person in tow.

Sure enough, seconds later, W. W. reappeared. As she haughtily took her seat in the dark room, the burly manager materialized at my side. He leaned over and said in a voice loud enough for half the theatre to hear, “Ladies, we’ve had a complaint that you’re making too much noise.”

I sort of cynically laughed in response and said, “I’m sorry, but we were hardly making any noise at all!” He told us to keep it down anyway and walked away.

I was in disgusted, embarrassed shock. As if! Did this woman not have children? Had she never enjoyed herself with her friends at a movie or elsewhere? Was she not aware that this was a social outing? She was obviously jumping to conclusions about us, too. I’m an uber-responsible person that can’t handle upsetting people! How dare she assume that I was a trouble-maker? And K is a great mother that keeps her 3 sons in a respectful line… she’s a TON of fun, but she’s aware of proper public protocol. Geez!!!

Weasel Wench definitely dampened the movie experience for me for a while. I wanted to move out of her range of hearing, but the theatre was pretty packed.

K and I tried our darndest to keep quiet, but the movie was absolutely hilarious (picture John Travolta as a big, self-conscious, frumpy laundrywoman with a funny accent, married to Christopher Walken!!), and it was difficult not to laugh out loud the whole time. We only allowed ourselves to giggle as loud as those around us were (John Travolta as a huge, self-conscious woman dressed in pink sequins and dancing around).

After writing all of this and experiencing none of the emotions I felt that night, it all seems kind of anticlimactic, but I was outraged that we had been treated unjustly by the clueless and anal Miss W.W. I hope someone shows her such a good time that she won’t ever be able to keep quiet again in her whole shrinking lifespan.

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Maybe? Man? Might? Missions?

As I’ve ranted before, this time in my life, too, shall pass. I won’t have to live with my mother forever, and this cancer phase will cease to be The Way It Is. Question is, “then what?”

Everyone, somehow without even knowing who everyone is, agrees that being home is the best/right thing for me now, but what’s the best/right thing for me then?

Or the questions I almost dread to ask, “What if the Next Thing isn’t ‘ministry’ or ‘missions’? What if it’s going to school and working? What if it’s moving to another country, for a guy, and even maybe marrying him?” Do I cease to be a “missionary”? Will I have given up my calling? How do I retain the feeling of sanctity, or holiness, when I regard my life’s path, as I have in the past several years? Is it important? Is there something I might be missing?

I’m confident that with these impending decisions, as with many major ones before them, I’ll know which path to take. Yes, it seems mystical perhaps (Jimi certainly thinks so), but it’s what I’ve grown into over the past several years.

Major decisions have often been accompanied by anxiety, but usually it’s just a matter of time before I get to a place where I’m confident of the direction I should take. Yes, it’s possible I had already opened the door and simply stepped along the path, but still.

After a few months of deliberation (granted, it’s not much in the grand scheme of things), I’ve decided that I definitely do want to marry Jimi (and the heavens opened and a mighty host of angelic beings descended and lovely harmonies were heard resounding throughout the earth). He is an amazing, unique, indescribably perfect-for-me man (See my other Jimi blogs for more girl-sigh-fodder). I don’t want to lose him, hence my decision to move to Indy, hopefully in a handful of months.

The thing I haven’t totally reconciled in my heart/mind is how moving to Indy in order to be near the man I love affects my “calling” and my otherwise “missions-y” bent in life.

When I left after having served only 6 months of a 2-year commitment, having previously been sure I’d stick around for 3-5 years, I never thought my path home wouldn’t turn me right back around towards Kona, missions, and YWAM; towards a life of living by faith and donations, continent-hopping, and great teaching.

I miss it, obviously, and I’m not ready to write it off. Not sure I’m even comfortable with a “maybe” I’ll go back to Kona and/or YWAM. I’d kinda like to know for sure before I make any truly binding decisions (“Till death do [me] part” from a dude).

Might it come down to laying it aside (and trusting God with it, hoping he’ll give it back to me) in favour of the man and a few years of work and school, even if it’s in one place (drudgery, drudgery, drudgery), that place possibly being the beautiful Indianapolis?

This decision, too, shall pass, and other, scarier ones will takes its place (To buy a house or not? To have a kid in 2 years or not? To get a loan or not?) Meanwhile, I continue to deliberate.

It’s My PMS and I’ll Complain if I Want To

That’s right. PMS!!!! Be afraid. Be very afraid! Run far and don’t stop until there are no thundering footfalls behind you or huffy voices ringing in your ear. If there’s a hint of a whine in any voice, tune it out. Come back in a week–I promise all will be well.

If only there were a way to put a ban on PMS. “Warning: All Pre-Menstrual Syndrome symptoms are hereby prohibited from approaching any female body in the country of ________. Violators will be electrically shocked, then incinerated. Females suspecting PMS attacks may use whatever means necessary to defend themselves.

Or maybe some sort of internal system that warns anyone about to have a conversation with a PMS-prone woman, “Please be advised: This woman is subject to hormonal circumstances beyond her control and is not entirely sane at this time. We advise you to either send her an email or try again in a week. Thanks for your cooperation.

Why must raging hormones translate into raging emotions? Why must the natural and otherwise relatively quiet process of eggs being transported out of our ovaries, then flushed out of our uteruses be accompanied by so much ANGST?! Angst that not only makes us our own enemies, but lashes out to attack everyone around us, too, except maybe that hot delivery guy at our door. Him, we adore! Where was I?

If I’m PMS-ing, I don’t like to be surprised. The audacity of you to not think about giving me notice! If I’m PMS-ing, it’s always your fault, until I realize I’m PMS-ing. Then I’m too embarrassed to admit to it. Why, oh WHY can’t I control. These. HORMONES?

There’s a pill for everything else–why isn’t there a pill to cancel the effects of PMS? Or is it kept on the down-low, away from us “small-timers” (that’s what they think)?

Am I ranting? Sorry. Internal warning device must be defective. Sanity will return in a week. I promise.

The Crazy is Me!

If you’ve found yourself wondering if your life would ever turn itself around into something you actually enjoy, you might be able to identify with me right now. This is one of those times in which I really do think I have issues that need professional help.

I feel trapped in a place I don’t really want to live, without the resources or the timeline to look for something else (but, deep down, thankful to not have to pay rent).

This is the first phase in my life in which I’ve really needed to win my own bread, but the things that I love doing (writing, singing, crafting) aren’t making me any money and I’m not sure how to turn that around, especially without formal training or experience or anyone jumping on my bandwagon to help me. And I’ve never had to put much effort into finding a job–they’ve always come to me. I don’t want to believe that getting a decent job requires working my butt off, but I’m getting the feeling that I’m delusional in other areas, so perhaps I am in this one, too.

I’ve been discouraged by the attempts I’ve made to make and sell crafty stuff, even with the addition of a “shop” at Etsy.com. I think my cards are cool, but they’ve landed with a resounding thud on the bottom of the Internet’s creative pile, apparently.

I was at first really excited about my potential for making some money with articles at Helium. com, but in three months, several articles haven’t even made me a dollar. A writing contest offering from $5 to a few hundred dollars to the author with the best ratings seemed like a great idea, one that I could enjoy putting effort into. Little did I know that there are people out there with NOTHING BETTER TO DO BUT SIT ON THE INTERNET AND MAKE UP STUFF FOR EACH AND EVERY CATEGORY, thus guaranteeing them a spot in the running. Being someone who likes to write about stuff I actually am familiar with, and feeling the moral or perhaps only anal retentive urge to write a quality piece, spinning off a few words (and making them sound like I know what I’m talking about) under every category is just not gonna work for me.

Maybe it’s blind arrogance that makes me think I may have skills worthy of the public, but I still think I do. I regularly see CD jackets, publications, articles, etc. that people are getting paid for but which even my untrained eye can plainly see are subpar and I, yes, I, Sarah Koopmans, could improve upon them, but are they hiring me, the one with the skill sitting around, waiting to be asked? OF COURSE NOT!

Perhaps I shouldn’t be posting momentary delusions on this site–I could be destroying my (however false) reputation for levelheadedness and maturity–but, if I’m going to be transparent, I need to be able to write blogs that aren’t balanced and sane, so I’ll take my chances. After all, these posts are juicy, and everyone knows that juicy-ness (and sex) is what keeps people interested. Tune in next time for my take on why women avoid sex, and what to do about it. There you have it: juicy-ness, sex, gunmen, cat lovers, ranting, and God–there aren’t many places you can go to get a combination of all of that!

After all this ranting, I should add that I took a proactive step this afternoon that should make me more hire-able: I rented the Smart Serve training kit (Ontario’s way of training people to serve alcohol responsibly). I’m now out $30, so it had better pay off!!

I think I’d better end this rant before I have to cite my own blog as the cause of my depression.

Offense

After reading Jimi’s “Boyfriend’s Rebuttal” to my post “My Cyber Boyfriend“, some of you may be taken aback by his use of some words (“ass” and “damn”). You’re wondering about my choice in men and you may even secretly doubt my own “Christian” values. Why am I with a guy that’s so open about swearing? Why did I not delete his post to prevent people from possibly being offended?

You’ll have to ask Jimi about his stance on swearing (yes, he does actually have something to say about it). I’m not going to either defend or debunk his use of different words (other than “o” instead of “au” when followed by “contraire“… that is just plain wrong).

As for me, I’m not offended. I’m likewise not offended when someone wears pyjamas to church, or spills their coffee on a Bible, or gets “Jesus is my homeboy” tattooed on their neck. I think the idea of “Christian” metalcore music is sweet (although I’m not a fan of the term “Christian” with regards to music and its genres)! I think Jesus would be willing to share a meal with his family in his house (your church) on Sundays, and I don’t think he’d quail at including wine in that meal. I think we could find Jesus at the movies and in the bars.

You may be thinking, “Sarah, this isn’t about legalism, it’s about your boyfriend’s potty mouth and your acceptance of it”.

I’d venture to say it’s about what really matters to us–someone’s actions or someone’s heart. People’s actions will often offend us, and if we leave it at that and refuse to dig deeper, that’s all we’ll see in life: violence, sex, drugs, porn, vulgarity, sin, sin, sin!

Yes, the enemy came to steal, kill, and destroy, and we should be on the defensive against him, but not against people who are different than us. Jesus came to bring full, abundant life. He came to bring redemption for “our” criticism and “their” confusion. He came to beautify people with salvation, not thrash them for petty choices of dress and wordage.

No, I’m not discounting modesty or respect. Good, honourable, desirable qualities, both. I’m simply asking you too look deeper. I’m asking you to consider a different code of behaviour than the list of Dos and Don’ts you grew up with. I’m suggesting that God looks at the heart, and seeks to make changes from the inside out.

Will you be like him?

Rumours of God

Those that have any knowledge of the Good Book know that every time the word “church” is used, it is in reference to the group of people that have decided to gather for the purpose of following God together, and never to buildings or customs used by said people. It never used to imply a set of rules or expectations. Condemnation wasn’t an original side effect.

I was one of those people that used to think that if you didn’t go to a certain church, or if you didn’t go to church every Sunday, your salvation was called into question. I used to be one of those that would have told you to go to the Pentecostal church in order to be a “real Christian”. I used to think that it was more important for me to be in church twice on Sundays than to ask God if there was anything specific he’d like me to do that day.

I’ve heard that my church used to have a Rule Book which listed guidelines for good Pentecostal behaviour. No, I haven’t been fortunate enough to actually see one… I’ve only heard about it, as I said, from someone who has. Movie-going was frowned upon, as was walking on the same side of the street as the movie theatre (sinner! You know you’ve broken that rule!). Apparently church-goers were discouraged from eating in the church on Sundays, because it was the House of the Lord and should be respected for its holy significance. We all know eating is a fleshly indulgence and disgraces the creator of both food and our digestive systems! If women wore pants, their salvation was in question.

We’ve come a long way since then. Yet we still don’t know how to relate to addicts of any sort, the divorced woman, the handicapped person, homosexuals, liberals, pro-choicers, etc. Porn, lust, and masturbation scare us so much that members of our own “church family” suffer in forsaken condemnation.

All too often, there is a wide barrier between us and the people we’re trying to “reach”. We’re not willing to jump over to the other side or get our hands dirty in the process of shining a light of love and truth onto the life of another. We imply “come to us and all will be better”, “inside the church you’ll be fine”, then once they’re “in”, if indeed they fall for it, often their true needs are neglected because they “accepted Christ”.

Jesus-loving people, I don’t believe it’s about how many hands are raised to repeat a prayer at the end of a sermon. It’s not about how many people are in the sanctuary on Sunday morning and evening. It’s not about our stellar programs or how much offering we’re sending back to the denomination’s head office! Whether or not the board members have been divorced or wear ties to church does not reflect on our church’s holiness. A ring in soemone’s eyebrow does not negate the earnestness of their heart’s faith.

I realize that structure is of great importance to some, and there are certain ways that you learned a God-life should be lived. My challenge to you is to dare to reconsider them in light of God’s continual creativity–his approach to this age and generation are different than others. I dare you to ask God what he actually thinks about things instead of just accepting someone else’s opinion, even if it is informed (yes, mine included 🙂 ).

God forgive us for propagating and believing rumours of him which have stifled our identities, our freedom, our creativity, and even our ability to think.

Hello, Moto!

Etiquette, common sense, courtesy–all terms we recognize, and we tend to harp on other people when they don’t extend them to us. But do we, in fact, realize our own role in extending appropriate gestures to our fellow man?

Last week I sat in a meeting in a church basement at which about 70 people were present. Though it could hold twice as many people, the room has the sort of acoustics that make it possible, when things are generally quiet (as in when the chairman of the meeting was speaking), to hear from one side of the room, a conversation on the other side of the room. The meeting was a business meeting, and different people were standing up to give reports, new ideas were being shared, etc.

When the first cell phone rang and everyone heard it, you’d think most people would be reminded to turn their respective phones on vibrate, to save others the annoyance and themselves the embarassment. I know I was (yes, look at me, goody-two-shoes). But au contraire, mes amis! Likely, others were motivated the same way I was (or they haven’t caught the digital technology bug yet) but not all.

In fact, apparently some people aren’t embarrassed at all when their cell phones go off in a room where everyone can hear everything, and they think nothing of it. Or when their watches go off for a full minute at 9:45 pm. Daily BM reminder?? Not one, not two, not three, but closer to six cell phones rang during that meeting, plus the watch alarm.

Did these people end the calls or shut off their phones? No, my friends. Well, I guess some did.

One man, who was sitting in the front row, no less, couldn’t find his ringing phone for quite some time, giving some of us the pleasure of grooving to “Hello, Moto!” When he found it, he promptly answered it. I do credit him with keeping his conversation short and sweet.

A woman got up to leave the room when her phone rang, but didn’t wait ’til she got outside the room to greet her caller. We all heard the inquisitive, “hello?”

Another woman in the back row carried on a discreet conversation that was quite short, but still audible. As, of course, was the ringing of her phone.

However, the cake was taken by a final woman, who answered her ringing cell phone in what sounded to me like a resounding voice. She spoke at first as if she didn’t know who she was talking to, then said something like, “No, she’s at the house”. We all looked at the man giving the report as if he was wondering if “she” was at the house or not. Said woman continued on to give the phone number of “the house” twice, and of course exchanged some pleasantries before hanging up. The speaker did his best to carry on, but his train of thought was interrupted at least twice, and I definitely know I missed what he said during those few moments.

Up until then, I had never really understood why people freaked out about cell phone etiquette. Now, I’d like to steal that cute and annoying animation they have at the movies that reminds people to turn their cell phones on vibrate, burn it onto a CD, and play it at the beginning of all meetings I attend.

Seriously, people. This may be a small town, but ignorance in this case does not mean bliss for those around you. If I’m not there with my lovely video presentation, let the first phone that goes off remind you: you’ve got the “silent” setting for a reason. I’m available to give tutorials.

A Bit O’ Ranting

Today I drove my mother to the city (I live in a town of less than 10,000 people) to have something called a Port-A-Cath installed. It’s a semi-permanent port for drawing blood and injecting chemotherapy. Because my mom’s going to be undergoing treatments for at least 12 more months, which means every 3 weeks they poke around her veins to find one that’ll accept an IV (and sometimes it takes up to 4 attempts, leaving the failed attempts bruised and tender) and just as often having to have bloodwork done, she wisely opted for this procedure.

Have I mentioned my mom has breast cancer that metastasized to her liver and lower spine?

Though it’s a reality in our culture that kids someday grow up to “take care” of their parents, you never think that day will come before you’re middle-aged with a passel o’ tots of your own, and a home, and a minivan, and at least one life insurance policy. At 25 and single, without so much as a car to my name, it’s definitely not something I foresaw for this season, and, no offense, Mom, it’s not something I enjoy.

The worst part is, if I were to be brutally honest, I’m not needed as much as I thought I might have been. She’s doing heaps better than anyone could have predicted, and she only “needs” me the odd time, to drive her to an appointment, or make dinner or clean up the kitchen or do laundry. I’m not organizing visits to a sick bed, planning menus for someone who has no appetite, creating and maintaining a relaxing environment, taking charge of the care of my younger siblings, etc.

At the same time, I dread the thought of someday having more responsibility. I never asked to be the oldest of a single mother of six, and I don’t want to accept the “natural” role that goes with that birth rank. I’ve unnaturally stepped into responsibility beyond my years so many times in my life, and, though it became normal for a while, now I want to run the other way. I wish my dang siblings (all of whom I love, of course) would just step up and take the responsibility!!

Perhaps it takes me stepping out of the way so they’ve got their backs against the wall and they have to do something about it. If I’m there in the middle, why should anyone else do anything? Sarah will just take care of it all! Sure, she’ll gripe and growl, but it’ll get done!

I do have to admit that this whole feeling is magnified by the fact that I’ve come back from almost 6 years of living on my own in different countries to live in a tiny, sound-magnifying house with my mom and two of my brothers. This house is not big enough for the all of us! So what if there are four bedrooms? I can hear my mother snoring upstairs and the dryer running downstairs. I can hear everything that is said and done on the first floor and everything in the bathroom echoes painfully into my room.

Yet, it all seems to point to this being the right place for me for now. I’ve prayed about another place to live, but nothing has opened up. What I thought would be a few months turned into seven and counting. I got involved at my church. I got a job. I started a Bible study with some friends.

Just remember, family and friends… IT’S NOT PERMANENT! Sorry if that’s become a hurtful statement… I really love you all, but small-town Ontario is not my heart’s home, and I must move on when the time is right, whether my siblings step up to the plate or not!