Friday, May 25, 2012

Cold Blooded Murder Part 2

We all have to face our fears eventually. Some day there will be no one to help you, no one to hear you scream. You're just going to have to survive on your own.

In this post, I discussed my three month long battle against one of the most disgusting and formidable creatures I have ever encountered: a huge, impossibly speedy, leg-flailing beast known as a centipede. It stalked me for 12 weeks, jumping out from nowhere and scaring me out of my wits. I hunted it, watched for it, and even tried to poison it, but even if I had found it, I probably would have been too scared to kill it, which is why my roommate did, finally. She's my hero.

Some time after this ordeal, I got to thinking. What if someday I was home alone and encountered one of these horrific creatures on my own? I would probably keel over and die. I hoped that would never happen.

I went to live my sister after I finished school, and she neglected to tell me something very important that I discovered one dark night a few days ago. I came home from working on a film shoot (I'll probably talk about that in another post) late at night after a Sonic run, and Katie wasn't home yet. So I pulled off my shoes and socks and headed into the kitchen to get some water.

Just as I was reaching for the fridge door, what did I see? I saw a huge, black, many-legged miscreant speeding across the floor. Before I could scream, throw up, or even move, it had passed my feet by just inches, its nasty legs flailing.


I was in too much shock to scream. The last two times I've seen a centipede, I've made one my friends kill it. But now I was the only one here. I was alone.

My sister had neglected to tell me that she'd seen this beast weeks ago, and it had been in the house ever since!

How could I just go back into the living room, knowing that awful thing was skulking around my house? The answer is that I couldn't. There was no way in God's green earth that this apartment was big enough for me and that THING.

I ran to put on some shoes and came cautiously back into the kitchen. It was hesitating halfway across the floor, so I threw a rug at it, jumping atop it and hoping to crush it underneath.

No such luck! The centipede sped from beneath the rug and headed for the closet. Good gosh NO! NOT THE CLOSET! There were so many bags and boxes and clothes in there that I'd NEVER find it! I grabbed an empty box of oatmeal and, hands shaking, approached the evil creature.

Instead of going in the closet, it sped under a shelving unit that held the toaster and some sodas. I knew it was there. I knew it was still. I knew it was right next to the entrance to the closet. I knew this was my last chance.

I grabbed the shelving unit and violently pulled it away from the wall. There it was! In a panic, the centipede spun in a circle and tried to take off toward the closet. With a shriek of horror, I plunged the empty box onto the writhing miscreant and saw its legs explode in every direction, still twitching with latent life.

IT WAS DEAD! I had hunted and killed my very first centipede!

I felt like there were things crawling all over me. I ran to the living room, jumping and twitching spastically, while throwing off my shoes and jacket and checking myself for other crawling specimens.

I left the decimated carcass for my sister to dispose of, but not before spraying the house with Raid.

A PSA to all centipedes within a ten mile radius: "You have been weighed, and you have been measured, and you have been found wanting. I have a special set of skills... and a weapon called never-ending-supply-of-oatmeal boxes. Your days are numbered, and this town ain't big enough for the both of us."

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Is God Fair?

Is God fair? Is it fair that some people will go to Hell?

This is a question that really bothers a lot of people.

Those who have accepted Jesus into their hearts and become His children will spend eternity in Heaven with Him when they die. Those who have not accepted Christ will spend an eternity in torment in a place called Hell. This is because we are sinful beings and need Jesus to save us from these sins. God and sin do not mix; so without Christ's blood to cover our iniquities, we can't go to Heaven.

"But that's not fair," some people say.
Who are we to require the God of the universe to be fair? (Even though He is.)

What about people who haven't heard?
Matthew 24:14 says, "This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come." Everyone will hear before He returns.

Who is God to tell me I have to make this choice? Who is He to make the rules?
Well, since He created the universe including you, He can do stuff like that.

Some people seem worse than others. Some people seem like they've lived pretty good lives.
Sure. But all sin is equal in God's eyes. That's like saying, "Oh, it's just a little cyanide. I'll be fine." Sin is sin.

God isn't just fair—He's offered us grace. We could never have been saved if He hadn't died for us. I came across this quote by C.S. Lewis a week or so ago, and I've been thinking about it ever since:

"God, in the end, gives people what they most want, including freedom from Himself. What could be more fair?" - C.S. Lewis

Think about it. You have a choice to spend eternity either with God or apart from Him. It's a big decision, so choose wisely.

You might be wondering why the "God-less" option is, or has to be, so awful. The following is just my perception, but here goes:

Whether you're a believer or not, everything good about your life is from and because of God, and it's just a loan.

James 1:17 says, "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."

Let's think about this. In the beginning, God created the universe and the earth and everything in it, and it was very good. Then man sinned and brought evil, sickness, and death into the world. God didn't create the world with those things. Adam and Eve's sin brought it into the world.

All that is good comes from God. Life is a good thing, breathing is good, family is good, food is good, the animals are good, trees are good, work is good, beauty is good, laughter is good...

ALL that we have that is good is a gift from God. Even the people who choose to ignore God, some even saying that He doesn't exist, still get to enjoy the gifts God has given the people of this world. Non-believers experience the joy of love, learning, education, travel, creation, and fellowship. The reason ANY of us has those things is because God is alive and at work in this world.

However, we do not own any of these things. That's why the Bible calls us stewards of this world. We are supposed to care for the Earth, love one another, accomplish the tasks he empowers us to do, and spread His Gospel. That is why we're here.

Jesus is going to come back and crush Satan once and for all. When He came to earth thousands of years ago, He defeated sin and death to give us the opportunity to accept Him. When he returns the second time, He'll come get all the believers. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17) Then, after a battle that's described in Revelation that I'm not going to get into, God will defeat Satan once and for all, throwing him into the lake of fire.

Now where do we get off thinking God should loan us all this goodness forever?

Unbelievers, be thankful that you get to enjoy God's gifts, including your life, even for a short time. You wouldn't even exist if it weren't for Him. Who are you to say that you should be able to go on enjoying these gifts forever or that you should be able to enjoy them after you die in the way that you please?

Hell is a place where there is no joy. There is only suffering, sorrow, extreme agony. That's because it's an existence apart from God.

Earth is a place we can experience the joy of Christ as Christians and can enjoy the things He's given us, but we still have to deal with the imperfections in the world because of the sinfulness of humanity.

Heaven is a perfect place where God and people redeemed by Christ will spend eternity. There will be no more tears, pain, or sorrow. That's because we will be in God's presence. What could ever be better than that?

So my point is: Everything that's good about your life is from God, and it's only a loan. This earth is going to pass away, and the unbelievers and the redeemed will be separated.

Have you chosen an eternity with Christ or an eternity apart from Him? The choice is yours, and it always has been, but you don't have forever to decide.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Stuff I Actually Have Time for in the Summer

1. Blogging. Last May I wrote one post every day, but when school started, I wound up writing one or two per month if I was lucky. Back to frequent blog posting!

2. Walks. My version of "walks" during the school year was speeding from class to work to lunch and back to my room on my scooter. I love my scooter, but always rushing around takes away the simple joy of a leisurely walk.

3. Movies/TV. I don't watch much TV as it is, but during the school year, I watch practically no TV shows and barely any movies. Now I watch multiple movies per week and may even finish watching the Chuck episodes I never got to.

4. Sleeping. During the school year, I sleep an average of 5 hours per night, sometimes less. Friday night is the only exception—usually I sleep 'til noon on that day, but not always. During the summer, I go to bed around 1 or 2 and sleep until about ten, unless I have work or a road trip, of course.

5. Eating. Yes, I still eat during the school year. But that's usually the caf, which means a strict diet of salad, cereal, and ice cream. Outside the caf, I usually eat out or consume large amounts of Ramen noodles, oatmeal, and Pop Tarts. During the summer, I eat a ton of peanut butter sandwiches, salad, apples, and of course, home cooked meals.

6. Baking. I don't have a kitchen of my own at school. Or money for ingredients. Or time to bake. At home, however, I make some stinkin' good cookies, cakes, brownies, and sometimes pies.

7. Reading. If you know me at all, you'll know that I am ALWAYS reading something. Unless I'm driving or running, I'm reading a text, Facebook, random articles on the internet, notes, textbooks, or emails. What I don't read, however, are fun books. Like...never. Over Christmas sometimes I read a few, but other than that, I save my fun reading for the summer. Last May I read a book per day for two or three weeks. I'm talkin' real, thick, heavy books. I just read for like six hours per day. Good stuff.

8. Writing. I write books. Usually during the school year I'm too busy writing articles and papers and improving other people's writing at my various jobs to do any writing of my own. This year was kind of an exception since I started writing my latest book, 'Notherday, in January. But now I'll have much more time for it. :)

9. Beach. Obviously there isn't a beach in KY. There is one at home. Therefore, I spend as much time there as I can. I'm really good at boogie boarding (it takes skill; trust me), but I've never tried surfing. I'm going to try to do that this summer.

10. Soccer. I play pickup soccer at school, usually on weekends, and yeah, I've played intramurals. But during the summer, I really enjoy going to my old high school and playing indoor with all the high school kids. In fact, it's one of my favorite things.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Life is a Lot Like Taking a Class

1. Sometimes the answer is so simple you don't even have to finish reading the question.

2. Sometimes you have to make a quick decision because you're running out of time.

3. Usually your gut feeling is right.

4. When you're losing hope, remember the Teacher is always quiet during the test.

5. If you ask the wrong person for help/advice, you end up failing.

6. It's always best just to ask the Teacher.

7. Knowledge is power.

8. You might be confused for a long time and suddenly have an "aha!" moment.

9. At times it may seem unfair that the person next to you doesn't try and still does better than you.

10. A lot of the work seems pointless.

11. You lose some sleep over it.

12. At times it's a group project.

13. Sometimes you can't choose your (family) group members.

14. Sometimes you CAN choose your (friends) group members.

15. If you get it wrong the first time, occasionally you're lucky enough to get a retest.

16. You can't trust just anyone to take notes for you while you're sick.

17. It's important to have the right Book.

18. Even if it doesn't seem fair right now, it usually comes out in the wash.

19. It doesn't last forever, even if it seems like it.

20. Occasionally you have to sit next to someone you don't like.

21. Friends make it endurable when it's difficult or insufferably boring.

22. Some days it doesn't make sense at all.

23. It's too difficult, so you hope for a break. Then it's so easy you get bored.

24. The Teacher wants his students to succeed.

25. If you have a good attitude and work hard, things will go better for you.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Scare-able Katie and the Bushman Throwback in Target

Okay, that was long title. But anyway, my sister Katie is very scare-able. Maybe that's because my mom has always taken great delight in jumping out at us any chance she gets. In past years she has hidden behind trash cans, in the shed, under beds—anywhere. Don't worry; we get her back sometimes. But those are entirely different stories.

Bottom line is, my sister gets startled very easily. Five years ago when my family and I were in California, we walked the streets of San Francisco for the experience of hearing the the street performers sing, seeing them make awesome paintings and likenesses of passersby, and even observing some break dancers. They were all talented and entertaining, and they all placed a can or bucket or some sort out in the open so observers could make donations.

The most interesting money-making-street-livin'-dude we came across is actually considered by some to actually be a tourist attraction. The guy has really made it into some pamphlets and websites about vacationing to California. They say: "If you go to California, you have got to meet the Bush Man."

He's real. Trust me. I've seen him with my own two eyes.

Yeah, we were all walkin' along the walkway when suddenly, through some harmless looking branches along the path, sprung the Bush Man, yelling, "ROAARRRR!" He jumped right into my sister's path of travel, and boy did she scream! I laughed so hard, because she had gotten the brunt of the scare, and my mom, of course, thought it was hilarious.

That's really how the guy earns money. He hides behind some eucalyptus branches and jumps out to scare people. They pay him because it's so darn hilarious to see people scared out of their minds. He's been doing this since 1980. It's for real. Check it out.

But anyway, the other day my sister and I were at Target. You know, just killing some time waiting for our dollar movie to start.

We were walking down one of the main aisles when all of a sudden, this girl jumps out of one of the aisles yelling, "BOOOooo!!" And of course Katie shrieked.

I started cracking up. The girl's two friends, the ones she was actually trying to startle, didn't even seem fazed, but they gave her a really hard time for scaring my sister.

"Girl, that is how you end up on twitter!" one of them said.
"Yeah, see you scared that poor girl? Just look at her!"

The girl who had done the scaring apologized profusely to Katie, saying she hadn't meant to scare her. I told the girl I was going to write a blog post about her.

But I didn't tell her that the experience reminded me of the Bush Man. Heh.

Katie always seems to be the one to get scared. I was just a little startled when she started screaming bloody murder in the middle of Target. But other than that, I was unfazed. Ohhh Katie.

On a totally unrelated note, I'm more than a little obsessed with California. I want to go back.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

What Hath God Wrought? A lot.

Okay, you had to know this was coming. Today is May 8th! What is May 8th, you ask? May 8th is the day I started this blog exactly one year ago. And as you might have guessed, the title of my very first post was What Hath God Wrought?

I didn't know what would become of this blog or what would happen in my life in the next year. When I started, I had no idea what I'd write about. Now I've written 67 posts. No one knew I was writing a blog. Now I have 20 followers. No one read it. Now almost 3,000 people have viewed at least one of my pages. This includes people from Russia, Germany, Canada, the United Kingdom, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Ukraine, and Australia. Amazing! Now when you type "Melissa Landon" into Google, a few things about my blog show up in the first page of results. I thought that was pretty cool.

I started this blog because my sophomore year of college had just ended, my sister had just graduated, and I was staying in my little college town for a few days longer than everyone else. I'd had a class about news blogging, and I longed to write just for the sake of writing... about whatever I wanted to write about. I was feeling creative and sentimental. Thus, blog. Now, a full year later, I just finished my junior year, I watched one of my best friends (and other good friends) graduate from my college, and I'm staying with my sister in my little college town for about a month. I find it absolutely amazing how many things have changed in the past year.

When I started the blog last year, I had about a month at home, so I wrote a lot. Then I was at camp for two months, so I didn't write much, but those were probably the best two months of my life. Then I went back to my University for semester 1 of my junior year. I've dubbed it the weird semester. I enjoyed it, but parts of it were really hard, and it was REALLY WEIRD. Then I had Christmas break. I wrote a lot of "looking back" and reflective posts about Christmas and the year. Next came semester 2, which was really hard but still infinitely better than semester 1. I met new friends, started to see where I could practically, occupationally, and helpfully apply what I have learned in college, started to dream bigger, and started thinking about graduating.

Here are the top five most popular posts I've written:

1. Christians are Narrow-minded?
2. Your Thoughts During Finals
3. Who Gets 80 Dollar Library Fines?
4. "'Ello, Beastie"
5. Things That Drive Me Crazy

So here I sit, a full year older than when I started writing this blog, wondering where 365 days went. So much happened, and yet it went by like a day. This year I'm turning 21, traveling to London for over a month, and beginning my last year of college. Within a year, I will likely have a college diploma, a car, a job, and an apartment. That will be such an adventure! But as you know, for me, adventures never begin next year, next week, or even tomorrow. The adventure is always right now.

I can't wait to see what God is up to for next year, for next week, and for today. I am so blessed.


It's a thought she can't nail down
A memory she can't remember
An idea she can't define
It's overcast.

It's an alternate reality
One that she thought would be
Something of a mystery
It's overcast.

It's a friend she once had
A person she once knew
A smile she once saw
It's overcast.

It's a place she almost went
A scene she never saw
A plane she didn't take.
It's overcast.

It's a word she didn't say
The time she didn't take
The call she didn't make
It's overcast.

Her imagination runs away
To a place that might be safe
Seeing things that can never be
It's overcast.

Friday, May 4, 2012

The Third Lap is Always the Hardest

Back in seventh grade, the worst 9 minutes of every week took place on Wednesdays in the afternoon about 2:00. That was when we all had to run the dreaded mile in gym class. A mile isn't a big deal. I understand that. I played soccer for most of my life, so I was generally fine with running. But that particular year, I had these weird sharp pains in my achilles tendon that no one could explain, and I also for some reason got the worst side stitches imaginable. The main thing I remember is that the third lap was always the worst. The first lap I always felt fine. The second was a little harder, but I still kept my head up. But by the time I got to the third lap, I usually had stabbing pains in my ankles, and at times I would be coughing from the pains in my rib cage from side stitches. During the fourth lap, the end was in sight, so all was well.

By the time I reached high school, I figured out how to prevent side stitches, I'd played soccer for years, I ran for fun (worked out obsessively is more accurate), and I finished the mile first most of the time. That's not really much to brag about, though, considering there were fewer than 20 people in my class.

But regardless of how much I enjoy running now, I still remember how much I used to dread Wednesdays and particularly how much I hated that third lap.

Interestingly, people say similar things about the third year of college. "Oh, that's when everything gets INTERESTING," they say. Apparently most people get into their major classes at that point, work more, study more, and socialize less. Some people even say that because of all of the stress, people often have more trouble getting along with each other and often have friend problems and cause drama. At least, that's what most of my older college friends have told me. 

I like to say that every subsequent year after my senior year of high school is the new best year of my life. Freshman year was fantastic; sophomore year was better. Would junior year measure up? I thought my classes couldn't possibly be harder because of the almost inhuman amount of time I put into my classes sophomore year. So it couldn't be that bad, right? Junior year was hard... and I learned SO much. Can it still be considered the best year yet?

I think yes. I think yes because I wouldn't trade it for anything. I'm fairly different from the girl who leaped from working at a summer camp in NY back to KY for round three of college. You know, I swear I learned more this year than freshman year and sophomore year combined. I made a list of all the things I learned last semester. I'm not going to do that now. Instead, I'm going to focus on a few main things I've been thinking about.

I've learned that there are certain people in this world that when I'm with them, everything is all right. No matter what. I haven't figured out what it is about them yet. There are only a few people I know who are like that, and I don't think everyone else necessarily feels that way about them. I'm not going to list who they are here. But I will say that I think they're a gift from God. The three I'm thinking of now are all close friends of mine, one of whom I met this year. Maybe they have the gift of peace or something. I don't know. But just sitting and talking with them is like breathing fresh air, understanding the right perspective, and resting in God's presence, all rolled into one. I love these people.

One thing about me is that I am very calculating. Sometimes that has negative connotations. But what I mean is that I like to analyze things, and I need to have ALL the facts before I make a decision. When choosing a college, that's what I did. When choosing a major, that's what I did. But more and more, God has called me to make decisions based partially or fully on faith. This has been what I'd refer to as "going out on a limb semester" for Melissa. At one point, I had no idea where or with whom I was living next year, I had to apply for a job without knowing whom I'd be working with, complete multiple projects that just thinking about literally scared me, and have some pretty hard conversations with people that I won't go into. I feel like God was calling me to trust Him. "No, Melissa—you can't have all the facts. Just do it," I feel like He was saying. For several weeks, I was praying about a certain issue, and all God would say to me was "Be still and know I am God." I did. And He worked things out in ways I would never have expected. God's ideas are better than mine. Maybe in another post I'll discuss one in detail.

I've spent a great deal of brainpower considering the concept of time. I discovered last year that when I was regularly sleeping for only four hours per night, I actually lived an extra day every two weeks than the average person. Obviously that wasn't healthy, but I still thought it was interesting. But anyway, time is really interesting. Ten years ago, I was less than five feet tall, I had never heard of the college I now attend, collecting Beanie Babies seemed really important, and we still had dial-up in our house. What do I spend my time doing? I've started examining every moment I live and wondering if what I am doing is the best thing to be doing. I've noticed how much time I need to spend sitting around doing nothing in order to recharge from the day. I've learned that I'm an an out-going introvert. Oxymoron? Actually, no.

Okay, now I feel like I'm rambling. But I wanted to get all that stuff out. My next few posts are going to be various stories about what has happened in my life recently. It's been kind of ridiculous, mostly amusing, and above all, totally unexpected.