Monday, November 28, 2011

Heart, Soul, and Self Psalm

Another psalm! I originally didnt want to post these because I am writing them to the Lord and they are me talking to him out of our quiet times together, however, I have gotten a lot of positive feedback from others who say it brings them closer to God, so I decided I will continue to post them.

Inspired out of Psalm 52

Why, Oh Soul, must you run and hide?
Do not be ashamed.
Turn to the LORD, the Everlasting Giver of mercy.

Why, Oh Heart, do you not trust him with every beat?
Like a young vine, wrap yourself around His promises.
Let the fibers of your pulse-maker intertwine with His great love.

Why, Oh Self, do you disappoint?
Come cleanse me, God, so I may be yours!
Remove the spots of my sin, black like a Dalmatian’s, from my mind.

For surely, evil will not prevail in me!
My soul, heart, and self are captivated by your beauty, Oh LORD.
Allow me not to look away from your great face.

Friday, November 25, 2011


This entry has no music for it IS the music of my soul tonight.

I have been writing and reading all week...mostly writing. My short story is less than ten hours away from being completely d-o-n-e. (I am ecstatic!)

My inspiration to write this tonight comes out of a heart that is in love; in love with my Creator. I have been reading the book "Captivating" by J and S Eldridge and it has been "heart changing" (you know, like "life changing"...but "heart changing"). It has given me SO much to think about. Its one of those books where you can only read about 4 pages at a time because I would be in tears otherwise because of the way the Lord speaks to me through it. I love it. I've been reading it all semester, actually, its just that this week (4 and a half day weekend!) I've been on a little retreat with the Lord and we are having a delightful time. I am not at a camp, in fact, I am in an unexpected situation to be having a retreat, but it could not have come at a more perfect timing.

Anyways; my psalm to the Lord (inspired after reading Psalm 46 and 47)

Run, all you people.
You who are about to faint and die of exhaustion.
You who have no hope left in the world.
Run into the arms of God the Father,
The one who is our Refuge; our Fortress and our Tower; our Saviour.

When you are sick with anxiety and stress, run to Him.
His eternal love will fill your heart.
He will heal your soul and will revive your life.

When the door to your heat is falling off its hinges and so badly tattered,
Sleep with Him. Let His warmth spread through you.
Allow His heart to moisten your soul with His dewy words of deep adoration for you.
For you! 
You individually. 
For you, Oh sinner. 
For you, Oh redeemed child of the King.

Cast off all of your own strength and abandon your old self.
Your sins do not matter, for He loves you so.
Why do you continue to sin, though? Run with all your might away from your temptations. He will enable your feet to have jet packs and will deliver you away from your sin into His broad and caring chest.

God is one who provides. He is our Rescuer; our constant Lover; the One who will never harm us.
Run to Him, all you feeble and needy people.
Return to the One you love for His love will surround you like a blanket of humidity on a warm summer’s night.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Writing and Raindrops

Yes, writing and raindrops. It describes my last two weeks of life here in TN. You (who don't really know me at all) might think I would be sick of writing, but its not true. I love to write! Now, I need to say that this "writing" is creative writing, not essay writing. I do enjoy a good research essay because I am a nerd and love to learn. However, synthesis essays where your professor gives you the thesis and says "prove my thesis true/correct" come on, those are annoying.

Creative writing! My short story (yes, the allusive "short story" that many of you all have heard about). It is not "Elegant" (for those of you who have read that post in the past); its called (drum roll please!) "Ice Cream Monday". Yeah! My professor gave me the title and I said "I'll take it!" At first, it was awful. Simply awful. I had no idea what to do about it. Lucky for me, my story (like everyone's in the class) was distributed to all my classmates. They read it, wrote reviews, gave me feedback, and really helped me out a lot. I decided to completely change my male character and change the narration from limited third person POV to omniscient third person POV. I like it much better now. Needless to say, I spent 12 hours on the first draft and I'm working on the second draft and am about 4 hours into it. The first draft was 15 pages long, however, I feel like the second draft will be closer to 20-22 pages long. Hey, I had a lot to revise!

The "raindrops" part of this post is the least simply has been raining quite a bit here in E. TN. Yesterday, while I was walking to the caf, I noticed some moss growing on a stone wall. I thought it was fake. Then I remembered that moss is real and does grow in real places such as TN...simply not in CA...and certainly not along any old stone wall! I took in the image of the vibrant green juxtaposed with the steely grey of the stone wall and returned to that image several times throughout the day. It was beautiful, really. I am not sure what to do with that image, but I would like to at least sneak over and take a picture of the moss and that way I can remember what it looks like for forever (and then I possibly could have moss in sunny SoCal).

On memories/images getting stuck in your head:
Is there a certain image that has fingerprinted itself onto your memory and you will never get rid of it? I have one. Its quite pleasant actually and I like to think about it. I once dated this boy who wore this cologne that drove me crazy; it was phenomenal. This memory involves this particular cologne. It was about a year ago and I was freezing in my dorm room (...we didnt have heat...our room was about 42 degrees all winter long. Burrr!). This particular young man had just gotten off work and came over to see me for just a quick minute before heading home for the day. I don't really remember much more other than the fact that I was wearing several layers of clothing and a bright red pea-coat. Every time I remember this image, this pea-coat stands out staunchly in my mind. The image is simply that he gave me this awesome hug, we talked for a minute, and then he left. The idea here is  that the image in my mind that has stuck is the red pea-coat and his cologne. Its strange what your brain will pick out in a moment of everyday life.

(this is a picture of me in my red pea-coat) 

To give you some more images, we did this little "exercise" in my creative writing class today that involved sitting and thinking of the best simile for the word/concept "white" and "black". We carried on in silence for about 3 minutes and I think everyone was amused with what their clever brains had come up with.
A few of my favourites that my classmates came up with were: "white as a nun's stomach", "white as memory" (...not one hundred percent sure what this means, but its one of those things that goes without explanation...abstract) and mine was "white as newly budding Magnolias".

Here are a few I came up with for black:
"As black as..."
A Nigerian's braids
A mourner's wail
A piano's "c" sharp
The bottom of the sea
A Dalmatian's spots
Fresh acrylic paint
A thief's motives
A sinner's soul
A button
A zipper
A black man's pupil
two-day-old coffee grounds
lake sludge
A tuxedo (or bow tie...I couldn't decide which one worked better in my mind...I like both, actually.)

So, if you are ever in need of similes for black or white, feel free to snag one of these. The hardest part of this assignment is that you first have to conjure up an image in your mind's eye before you can create a simile. Close your eyes and try it. (If someone can create an effective simile for cologne, I'll love you forever.)


Saturday, November 12, 2011

A Little Bit of German

For my History of the English Language class were required to write an etymological paper on one of our three names (first, middle, or last). I chose my last because I think it is by far the most interesting. Take a look at what I found! Its really fascinating and maybe this will help you gain a little more insight into yours truly: me.

I have grown up always hearing stories about my Amish relatives with the last name Zook. In fact, Zook is a very popular name in the Amish community, and over the course of my life, many people have given me fictional books about the Zooks and the Yoders (along with Esh, these are the three most popular Amish names). Before writing this paper, I did not, however, know why Zook was such a popular name among this religious community.
After doing research both online and by interviewing family members, I have discovered that the original Zooks can be traced to the Zouggenrids who lived in Bern, Switzerland. There is a record of this family in 1380 in this region of Switzerland (Harry D. Zook). The Zouggenrids were also commonly called Zouggs (pron. [tsowk]) as an abbreviation of their last name. This abbreviation remained and fractioned off to many other last names such as Zaugg, Zogg, Zug, Zuck, Zouck, Zook over the course of time ( During the time of the Reformation, the Zouggs suffered great religious persecution. As a result, they fled to Germany. “When the Zaugg’s fled Switzerland and migrated to the Palatinate area of Germany, the spelling of the name changed to Zug” ( Their religious ties were with the Anabaptists who, of course, are the parent group of the Amish and Mennonite sects.
Years later, my direct relative Moritz Zug (pron. [zux] where /x/ represents the “ich” sound in German) traveled from his home in Germany to England in order to travel by ship to America. This journey took place with his two brothers (Christian and one other) in 1742 (Harry D. Zook). When these brothers moved to America, they settled in Eastern Pennsylvania. Moritz Zug is the founder of the first Amish church in America. Moritz had a son named Johannes. Johannes had a son by the same name, Johannes Jr. When Johannes Jr. was born, the last name Zug (pron. with a very “hard /g/”) was changed to Zook. The reason for this orthographical change is because the Zugs wanted an English spelling and pronunciation of their last name. Thus, with the birth of Johannes Jr., the Zug last name was changed to Zook as the /g/ in Zug was really pronounced more like a /k/ which is reflected in the modern, English spelling of this last name. To this day, there are many Amish in the regions of Pennsylvania and Indiana with the last name “Zook”.
My uncle, who has read Harry D. Zook’s 900+ page book containing history about our family and family’s name, told me many reasons how and why my relatives split off from the Amish church. To briefly explain, with the expansion of individual Zook families and their descendents, they began to intermarry with non-Amish women. The Zooks did, however, retain their conservative religious beliefs. My paternal grandfather considered himself “Old Mennonite” meaning he retained many of the religious beliefs. There is a close theological connection (yet not a strong life-style connection) between the Mennonites and the Baptists. My grandfather belonged to a Baptist church and my father is also Baptist (as am I). My grandfather, father, and I uphold the Amish/Mennonite belief of nonresistance (also known as pacifism), among others.    
Literal Meanings
There is no direct meaning associated with Zouggenrid or Zougg, however, the last name Zaugg is a derived last name from Zougg. According to, the etymology for the name Zaugg is as follows: “Swiss German: from an Old High German personal name Zougo, perhaps related in meaning to ziehen ‘to pull’” ( When the Zouggs/Zauggs moved from Switzerland to Germany, they took on the name Zug. To this day the word “zug” means “train” in German. The etymology for the name Zook comes as a “Respelling of Swiss German Zug, a habitational name from the city and canton so named in Switzerland. This is a frequent surname among Amish and Mennonites in the U.S.” (               Essentially, my last name is an Americanized version of the word German word “zug” which means “train”. I asked my uncle if he knew any reason why our family would be associated either with the terms “to pull” or with “train” and he said he did not know why as he never found information that lead him to believe our ancestors had any connection with the train industry.

So! There you go! Just try to picture me (nose ring and all...) decked out in full Amish garb and you will get a glimpse of my past. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

#17 Run a 5K Race

Well, after nearly a whole semester of training (plus a summer of walking up and down mountain hills at camp), I am finally going to complete #17: run a 5K race!

You see, I have run one 5K before, but I was not able to run the entire thing without stopping. My goal for this race has been to run the entire thing, and I know that I can. I have successfully run the distance of 5K in training, but only once (this past Tuesday night) did I actually run the whole thing without stopping. Since I have done it once, I know I can do it again tomorrow morning. Take a peak at the course I will be running:

The most concerning part for me will be to run back over (and completely uphill) the bridge that stretches from the Ag. Campus back to the main part of campus. It will definitely be a challenging run and I am going to push myself to run the whole thing!

I am very excited! Wish me luck! I am hoping to complete the race in 34 minutes flat. On Tuesday night, I ran the whole 3.2 (...or 3.1...not sure which) miles in 35:28. We'll see! 

UPDATED VERSION! I completed my whole race by running the entire thing! There were two hills that were tricky, but I was able to finish strong with a time of 34:40. I reached my "within the 34 minute" goal that I had *originally* set, but I did not accomplish my goal of 34 minutes flat. Oh well! I still ran the whole thing and am super proud! Thanks for the support and a special thanks to my running buddies!

Date completed: November 12th, 2011

Graduate School

I really do not have a song that relates to this topic of "graduate school", and for that, I am sorry.

However, to give you a brief update, I am currently in the process of applying for graduate school! For those of you who say "Whatever happened with Puerto Rico?" let me explain. But first, for those who are saying "Puerto Rico? what?!", I'll back up a little bit.

For the past couple of years I have been supporting a missionary friend (JJ). She works at a Christian school for the Deaf in Puerto Rico. I have always wanted to visit her and see the school and meet her students. When I heard that JJ was getting married this summer and would not be returning to teach for the 12-13 school year, I thought "Hmmm! The school will needing a teacher, and I will be needing a teaching job!" After much communication, thought, prayer, and many conversations with my family, I decided to inquire about their teaching position that JJ would be vacating. The school said they would love to have me and that I was "highly qualified" (...debatable in my mind, but I suppose you get what you can take when you are a Christian school, right?). They responded saying they wanted a three year commitment. I felt like that was God's way of "closing a door" because I had decided I only wanted to take one year off of school in between my undergraduate and graduate work. This three year commitment, pretty much single-handedly, made me decide that I did not want to take so much time off of school before jumping into a masters program.

Thus, the search for graduate schools began.

The worst thing about deciding what school to apply to/where to attend is the fact that I have to decide where I want to apply/attend. With a masters program that feeds into a state teaching credential (such as the programs that I am looking at), I would be certified to teach in that state, and normally that state alone. CA, being the hob-nob island that it is, says that you can only teach with a CA teaching credential. TN, being the laid-back-welcome-to-all place that it is, says you can teach in 12 other states with at TN teaching credential (including Florida...think: "sun"). This being the case, I am forced to decide between TN and CA. AHH! Its been grueling and I have been having an awful time deciding where I want to live for the next 5-10 years after I finish my schooling. (Talk about a big decision!)

This semester here in TN has left me homesick and missing my family like crazy. Slowly, but steadily, the Lord has been drawing my heart away from TN and the Southeast and back to CA. I love living here in TN and am so glad I still have about 8 more months to live here. Nonetheless, the idea of returning home to CA has been pressing on my mind and I cannot ignore that there are 2 nationally-recognized schools for deaf education in my home state (one in my home-county, even: San Diego).

So, the choices have slowly been narrowed down. When I applied for undergraduate school, all in all, I applied for 26 different colleges and universities. I have attended two universities and one community college all within the 4 years of undergraduate coursework. (You can see why the idea of choosing a graduate school is slightly frightening and overwhelming.)

Thankfully, because deaf education is based on many different philosophies, it makes it a little bit easier for me to decide on which school solely based on their school's philosophy on educating the deaf. I am only interested in a "non-oral" approach to educating the deaf (ie: I want to use ASL with my students vs. spoken English). I was looking at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN but then found out that their method is strictly oral. Woops! Won't be applying there. 

After a few conversations with one of the deans of the deaf education department here at UT, these are the schools to which I have decided to apply:

University of California at San Diego
California State Univeristy, Northridge
Gallaudet University, Washington D.C.
University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN (where I currently attend for undergrad.)

I would appreciate your prayers over this (lenghty) process of applying, playing the waiting game, and making a decision about where to attend graduate school.


Friday, November 4, 2011

#93 Starry, Starry Night

93. Star gaze in the Smoky Mountains (TN)

Two weeks ago I had the privileged of going to visit some friends who live in the Smoky Mountains. Seeing that I do not have a car, and am from the other side of the country, I don't get the opportunity to get off campus very often so this was a real *treat*. I grew up amongst the avocado trees of my family's small grove in a rural part of San Diego County (...ok so its not Middle-of-no-where, Kansas, but its still rural). I absolutely love spending time outside and have taken up running out-of-doors in order to get off campus and be outside (my theory is the faster you run, the more of the city you get to explore farther away from campus).
All this to say--I completed #93 on my list--star gazing in the Smoky Mountains. It was a crisp October night and me and several friends stood around a home-made campfire ring while being overwhelmed by the vastness of the heavens and the stars. Someone had a smart-phone and you can use an app. to identify the constellations you see; that was pretty amazing. I don't know anything about stars or astronomy, but I sure do love to look at them! It totally brings me back home to my avocado groves when my sisters and I would lie on our trampoline and look at the stars on chilly summer nights. 

I fell in love with this song last year when my then-roommate Natalie introduced to to me. I personally love the Josh Groban version better than the original, so that's why I chose to post this particular clip. 

Starry, starry night... 

#80 Creamers and Lattes and Boys (oh my!)

#80 learn how to make really good coffee drinks:

Well, after all these years (...meaning nearly 4 years) I've discovered the key to really good coffee! 
1. Its all about the creamer
2. If you don't have fancy creamer, Starbucks is normally just a few blocks away 

Now, some of you may be thinking "that's the cheater version", and I agree, however, it is my secret to really good coffee. My roommate and I love the "International Delights" creamers because they have all different flavours like "cinnamon bun" and "dulce de leche" and "white chocolate mocha". All you have to do is a) brew a pot of coffee (Hayley and I like to use these flavoured samplers of coffee such as "gingerbread-man roast" and "bold cinnamon") b) add about 1/8 cup of sugar to your cup c) pour in the creamer d) stir and e) enjoy!! 
Pretty good, eh? 
My body responds really well to coffee and will keep my blood pumping well past midnight if I drink it anytime after 2pm. If I know I have a paper to write or a large assignment that needs to be completed, I will follow steps a-e and be good to go for several hours. ...Its an awfully good thing that rich, brown, liquid keeps me going because I have an 8am lecture on "The Grammar and History of the English Language". Let's just say, for the past two weeks we've been studying 18th century English dictionaries (*YAWN*!!!!!).

If all else fails, like I said, whip out your smart-phone and use the "coffee finder" to locate your nearest Starbucks =) 

For your musical enjoyment and entertainment, Kristen Chenoweth has a little something-something to say about "Latte Boys". Check it out. 
(Kristen Chenoweth is a famous Broadway star who played the original part of Galinda/Glinda in Wicked)

To hear what Taylor the Latte Boy thinks about all this, listen up:

Date completed: November 4th, 2011