Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Mysterious Alaskan Easter Basket

On Friday, I came home to this mysterious box at my door. It took me the longest time to figure out why someone named "Pizza Tale" was sending me a package from my home address. I then realized Peter Cottontail had sent me an Easter basket all the way from Michigan! 

With great willpower, I waited until Easter morning to open it up. I thought maybe that at the age of 22 I'd be able to get a full night's rest without excitedly waking up hours before my alarm rang because I was too amped out to sleep, but alas, perhaps next year.
The best of the best.
And how did Bunny know I can't afford beef jerky- nice call on the slim jims!
I'd had many questions since the box arrived. Why didn't Peter just drop it off like the rest of the baskets? Is Alaska too far of a hop? Does he not have a Canadian passport? Does he do the same thing for Hawaiians? Why did he spell his last name incorrectly as 'Tale' instead of 'Tail'?

I received my answer to some of these conundrums in this note:

This was strange, because 100% of the kids I encountered at church today had received Easter baskets. They weren't even shipped! This led me to believe that either Peter is just a lazy liar, or the kids' parents are making the Easter baskets, which is a ridiculous idea. If a bunny is offering to pass out candy every year, let him do it!

I called my parents to let them know of the epic haul I had received in my Easter basket, and I thanked them for mailing it for Peter.
"We didn't ship it. He probably just wrote our home address in case there were any mailing problems," they said.

This blew my mind. How did Peter Cottontail ship all of those baskets to Alaska without rousing any suspicion? Does he have someone on the inside?
I think the answer lies below:
This is how the Easter Bunny actually looks!
My parents called me again telling me to double check the fruit snack eggs. "Your sister received a special surprise in one of the eggs. Maybe you did too. Maybe you should open all of the eggs. Maybe there's something special in there for you."
I wasn't sure what they were talking about, but for some unwarranted reason, I had a sudden urge to open all of the fruit snack eggs.
For every Alaskan child that doesn't believe in the Easter Bunny, he gives me $1.
I quickly texted my sister to relay the message to my mom and dad.
"$50 in the Easter egg! Righteousss!"
"What?! I only got $20!"
"That's what you get for living at home!'

After the Easter service at church, we dined on resurrection tacos, righteous rice, bean (raised from the dead) dip, and holy guacamole, catered by Sirrano's. Really, Pastor Levi just loves Mexican food and wanted an excuse to eat it.
Anne and Krista sang the song "Alive" by Natalie Grant, and the lyrics are really awesome (I linked the song, but Krista's version was so insanely good I wish I'd recorded it). Also, the book Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo has been coming up in quite a few sermons lately, including today's Easter sermon. His story makes the reality of heaven seem a lot more tangible. If you haven't read it yet, do it RIGHT NOW! 
Happy Easter from Alaska! 

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Adventures in winter sports and not dating

My friends invited me cross country skiing. Of all the winter sports, I thought this one may be the most in my favor. Ice skating is one crack away from being that scene in "It's a Wonderful Life"; I once snowboarded down an entire hill because I realized too late it was covered in ice and I'd maul my face if I fell; and the worst as of yet was my adventure in downhill skiing.
The first time I went downhill skiing, I got tangled up in the bunny hill pulley and the operators had to turn it off while they waited for me to right myself and ski down on the wrong side of the line. I managed to make it down the hill and find my way back to the car where I had an extraordinarily good nap.

But perhaps cross country skiing would be different, I thought. We'd be on a flat bike path with poles to lean on while cruising at a steady 5 mph.

These dreams were quickly dashed as we set out at Kincaid Park, where we accidentally embarked on the Advanced Skate Ski trail. This meant instead of a peaceful glide through the woods, much of my time was spent falling, trying to get up without accidentally bending my leg into a broken limb position, sliding down uphills while yelling "NOOOOO!", and thinking, "Maybe this time I'll make it down the hill without falling!"

As I was out there, I realized that if I crashed into a moose and sliced off my finger with my wild ski, I was going to be doubly upset. Not only would I have injured myself, but it would have been done while doing something I didn't even like in the first place. If I tripped and fell while eating ice cream, I'd think, "Well at least I hurt myself doing what I loved." 
This was my view for most of the trip.
Mercifully, we made it back to the car in two hours.  Then suddenly, we realized we had burned like 3,000 calories. More like 5,000 if you count all the negative thoughts I turned into vocal energy.

We drove to Spenard Roadhouse, which is not a rundown biker bar as I expected, where we saw this:
Nazi Girl or Nate's Girl? Or $25 poorly spent?
And this:
And at that moment I knew, this was the best life choice I had made all day.

Seth: My dad always told me that hunger is the best seasoning.*
[*This quote is irrelevant to cinnamon sugar donut holes]
I wasn’t initially interested in going out for lunch because I am a broke, (recently-graduated) college student. That doesn’t have quite the same ring to it. A broke college student has no money because he’s spending it on a quality education to secure the job of his dreams. I, on the other hand, have no money because I bought health insurance and six pounds of fancy Gala apples instead of Braeburns because they taste like fruity Styrofoam. But Ryan, bless his heart, opened his wallet to the good cause.

Then the day ended with this exchange:
Waiter: Is anyone together?
Ryan: We are...she just doesn't know it yet.
Waiter: Haha! Are you feeling sleepy?
Us: Ha..ha?
[Waiter leaves]
Ryan: What does that mean?
Me: Wait, was that a date rape joke?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Did you know the papal race is actually a sprint race? Weird.

Mary: Welcome back to the first ever live telecast of the Papal Race.
John: Held every four years, just like the Olympics.
Mary: Not once has that happened. 

Mary: After three false starts, the crowd is anxious that the race for the papacy will officially end today. But with 115 elderly contenders who are known to throw a few elbows, we could very well be here a while longer. Today's race will be underway any moment now, and it will consist of, once again, a 200-meter sprint within the Sistine Chapel. 
John: We expected a long conclave but the turnover between the false starts has been progressing much more rapidly than expected. This is a great relief to the crowd in the Vatican, who have been distracted by a seagull most of the morning. Some were saying it was a sign from God, others…making their own assumptions.
Mary: Before the race begins again, let’s take a look at the conclave’s frontrunners.

Mary: In lane one, we have Brazilian Archbishop Odilo Scherer, who would be the first non-European pope in nearly 1300 years. 
Mary: In lane two is Italy’s Angelo Scola, who is hoping to return the papacy to Italian hands after 35 years under German rule. Scola was a hot favorite for pope in the last papal race eight years ago but was tripped up by eventual winner Benedict.  
John: Literally.
Mary: In lane three is Canada’s Marc Ouelett. Wait a minute, where is he? I see him now on the sidelines. It looks like he’s limping and trying to get out of the race. I’m not so sure that’s a legitimate injury, seeing as how Ouelett once said that being pope "would be a nightmare.2" Let's see if his dream comes true today.
Mary: Lane four features Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, who could become the first African pope in modern times3. 
John: We are being asked not to make a correlation between the 200-meter dash in the Olympics games, where seven of the past nine victors were black.
Mary: Whoa! Turkson just shed his cardinal robes to reveal a sleek tracksuit!
John: We still can't comment on that? Really? 
Mary: Americans are hoping for Sean Patrick  “Cappuccino2”O'Malley of Boston or Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York to come out with the gold. No American has ever won the papacy, and some cardinals worry an American pope's actions would be viewed as serving the U.S. instead of the church1.President Obama disagreed with this sentiment, but added that the pope can serve the U.S if he wants to because, "Hey, it's a free country, isn't it?!" 

Mary: Let’s go to the live picture.
Mary: The other live picture.

Mary: Close enough.
John: It seems our competitors are greeting each other with a good luck handshake. Let's get a closer look.
Scherer: Peace be with you.
Dolan: And also with you.
Scherer: GAH! I think you just broke my hand. That's my blessing hand!
Dolan: I have a confession to make. I'm glad.
Mary: Ha. Ha. I'm sure they're joking. Let's zero in on some of the other cardinals.
Scola: Have you thought about what your pope name would be?
Unknown Cardinal: Yes, I'd choose Saint Francis of Assisi.
Scola (mumbling): More like Saint Francis of a sissy.
Unknown Cardinal: What was that?

John: Enough with the cardinal chirping, let's get this race started! 
Mary: The gun is fired, and the race is on! 
Mary: Scherer is quick out of the gates, perhaps quick is too strong of a word. We’re hoping it’s not another false start, and no flags are raised! FINALLY! We will not being seeing black smoke after this race!
John: Cappuccino is hot on Scherer's tail going full steam in the "espresso lane", as he calls it. I wonder if those uniforms are tricky to maneuver..Speak of the cloth devil! Scherer is tripped up by his own robe! Oo, I don’t think he’ll recover from that one, Mary.

John: Scola, after easily edging into fourth, is trying strenuously to overtake Dolan on the first turn. Dolan is not even leaving enough space for Jesus! I bet Scola is wishing he had a pair of Dolan’s 63-year-old legs to beat him with!
Mary: That sounds morbid.
John: In the middle of the pack, we're seeing a not-so-surprisingly leisurely pace from Ouelett. It appears you can make him run, but you can't make him race.
Mary: I would not want to cross that man.
John: Well his pace would suggest that he doesn't want to be crossed himself.

Mary: Back to the front, we now have Turkson in the lead-
John: Big surprise. I mean, I am surprised, but also not surprised. He seemed equally qualified compared to the other competitors.
Mary: -with Scherer in second and….who is that in third?
John: I'm not sure; he wasn't one of the frontrunners we named earlier.
Mary: We'll find his name later. 
Mary: The cardinals are turning onto the home stretch! Turkson and Scherer are side by side with…Jorge Bergoglio it appears, breathing down their necks. 
John: They shouldn't make the elderly run like this. This is really uncomfortable to watch. 
Mary: Well, that's why it's not normally televised, John. 

Mary: There's 10 meters to the finish line. It's going to be Turkson! No, Scherer! Turkson! 
John: Is that the Holy Spirit?
John: It's Ber-go-go-goooalllllll with the win! Holy smokes! What a race! 
Mary: The white smoke is out, and the crowd is rushing the arena, trying to get to their new pope and hoist him in the air.

John: Oh goodness, No! Did he just fall down? I don't think the cardinals could handle another race! Oh, nope he's just Tebowing. 


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Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Bible Bacon Fest that never was

If you asked me the type of person I'd expect to meet when entering into a new city, the last guy I'd think of would be the guy Jesus encountered. The first person who greeted Jesus when he stepped off the boat in Garsenes wasn't a sweet old woman with a basket full of friendship bread and a twinkle in her eyes. Instead, he was met by a demon-possessed, homeless and naked, living-in-the-local-cemetery man, who seemed to be having a bit of an inner conflict.

Before the man even had a chance to say, "Help me, there's a demon in my body! ARGGHHH get away! Just kidding, I love you! NOOOOO I DON'T!", Jesus had already commanded the demon out of him. He just looked at the man and knew something was up. Or down, in this situation.

But the man wasn't filled with just one demon, he was housing a plethora of parasitic, soul-sucking hell-raisers, and the demons were none-too-pleased about the prospect of being sent home to papa. In fact, they were scared humanless. The mere sight of Jesus made them shriek and leave their host, knowing that their wild days of partying and mayhem were over.

Fortunately for the demons, there happened to be a large herd of pigs feeding on the hillside nearby. Unfortunately for the shepherd who owned the pigs, his herd was about to get dealt with.

"Please let us go into the pigs! Don't send us back to the underworld" the herd of demons cried. 
Jesus said ok, and the demons entered into the pigs. The entire herd of about 2000 demon-possessed pigs proceeded to bolt to the nearest cliff, fling themselves off it, and drown. If only someone had had the foresight to start a massive bonfire, the town could have had bacon for months.

(Luke 8:26-39)

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