some encouraging Bible verses I keep on my desktop
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"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." - psalm 139:13-14

"for me to live is Christ and to die is gain." - philippians 1:21

"Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies." - 1 corinthians 6:19

"oh God you are my God, i seek you. my soul thirsts for you, my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water" - psalm 61:1

"Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity." - colossians 3:12-14

Dub Keeee!
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Tonight we had our first DUB --DePaul University Bhangra-- practice... it was aiite. Rina warned me that I ought to lower my expectations in terms of professionalism, punctuality and focus (just to name a few) but I was really hoping she was wrong... she was definitely right. The e-board members came late, we started late, we learned only five moves, there was a lack of focus AND, to top things off, the e-board doesn't have the majority of the dance choreographed. Although that is a little frustrating, it makes me more nervous than frustrated. Our deadline to turn in our audition video is in two weeks and the dance isn't even done...YIKES.
The personalities on the team are interesting. Everyone loves Bhangra and that's obviously what has brought us together...but there are some very dominant persons and few quiet ones...I'm in the latter group. Additionally, its a little hard to work on a team where everyone is at a different level... it will most definitely take some time for everyone to be on the page, but I hope that happens sooner rather than later.

Despite the issues/frustrations/insert-more-appropriate-word-here, I am extremely thankful to finally be a part of a Bhangra team! Thank you Lord for giving me a venue to do what I love on a regular basis and with people that also share a passion for it! And, I'm excited for the upcoming months, particularly to see how things come together! 

To end this entry I have two videos:

The first is this awesome Punjabi dude called "Violinder" who plays the violin to Punjabi music, Punjabi MC's Morni to be specific - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6ChvnXTiko&feature=related.

The second is a recording of a free Bhangra workshop offered weekly by Bhangra Empire, an amazing dance group from California - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MXenjlM8Sas&feature=related


Chak de phattey! :)


second OCF meeting
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Tonight for OCF, we took at trip to St. George Greek Orthodox Church, about a 10 minute walk off-campus. After dinner served by the women's ministry, Father George gave us a tour of the church and told us a little about the history of their community...very interesting stuff. Then we came back downstairs and two lovely ladies, Louisa and Demi, split us up into two groups and guess what we did? Learned to may prayer ropes! Initially, it was quite challenging and everyone had to start over, time and time again. Only a few of us really grasped how to do it. Thankfully I was one of that few - hooray! I made two knots there with their help and after coming home, I'm at seven! Although I know how to make the knots now, I need to learn how, I need to learn how to finish it. Hopefully either those ladies or Saju Semassen can show me how to do it sooner rather than later... I'M SO PUMPED!! :D To top things off, the string I got to practice my knots was orange... HOLLAR.

I've ALWAYS wanted to learn how to do it... and now, I feel special to be able to do so. The only others I know that know how to make it are Kuttan and Saju Semassen, so yay! Maybe this will be a part of next year's OVBS arts and crafts :) 

What a fabulous way to start the week and to end the evening!

People's Gas!
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For roughly two weeks, we haven't had hot water or gas at the apartment due to some issues with the gas company. We've been relying on a pancake griddle, microwave, toaster over and take-out for food and either cold showers, hot water from the laundry room or friends' apartments to get clean! This morning the People's Gas dude came, and boy, was I grateful! It takes an hour for the water tank to heat up, so we have yet to experience the hot showers, BUT we turned on the heat and for the first time in a long while, the apartment wasn't frozen! Hooray! Annnddd, we now have gas! Hooray again! 

Lessons learned: Even though we don't pay for water in the city, don't waste it. And definitely don't take the gas for granted!

Guzaarish...and euthanasia
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I came home from school today with a desire to watch a hindi movie. I know I shouldn't have considering the amount of work I need to get done, but of course, I did it anyway. I stumbled upon the movie Guzaarish, and Urdu word for 'request'. The movie was beautiful, captivating, thought-provoking and very well done by Hrithik Roshan as Ethan Mascarenas and Aishwarya Rai Bachan as his nurse of 12 years, Sofia D'Souza. I didn't come on here to blog about the story and write a review, but rather to share some thoughts that have been floating around regarding euthanasia, as that's what the movie is ultimately about. (If you care for a synopsis of the movie, go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guzaarish). 

Whenever I've attended conferences, retreats, seminars, workshops, pretty much any church event where there has been a Q & A session in which euthanasia has been brought up, I've never paid much attention. I always thought, "why are people asking about this? Isn't it obvious that as a Christian, it is wrong? Is it not known that God gave us life and He alone can take it away? Why are we wasting our time on this?" Interestingly enough, after having seen this movie I don't know what to think anymore. Watching this Ethan character's story unfold has made me question my thoughts and beliefs on the subject.

Yes, I believe God gave us life and He only can take it away...but what about those extreme situations? How does the Church handle such situations? Is it a case-by-case basis OR is it a simple "that's not allowed no matter what" type of thing? 

Just thinking about this stuff gives me the chills--not to mention the lack of heat in our apartment, but that's another story. 

It is my prayer that God may grant strength, comfort and peace to all those who are suffering from things in life that cause them to even consider euthanasia, and that He may guide them to do the right thing in accordance to His will.

OCF at DePaul
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Tonight was the first meeting of the Orthodox Christian Fellowship group on campus. I'd say roughly 15 to 20 students were there, plus the spiritual adviser - Father George, vicar of Saint George Greek Orthodox Church. The president and vice president, Penelope and Nick, were super nice and welcoming...the priest was SO welcoming too! He welcomed us to his parish for a meal, for worship on Sundays, and made himself 100% available to us...I just wanted to give him a hug! But I didn't. Anju and I did introduce ourselves though and we look forward to getting to know him...yay! 

Praise God for this ministry. Penelope said she'd been trying to get OCF up and running for three years, since her freshman year at DePaul, but with no luck. Tonight's meeting was the first one in six years! Amazing. How awesome to see God working in the hearts of these dedicated students on campus!

Especially from knowing how wonderful OCF was to Saju Semassen at UIUC, I am ecstatic to see how things unfold at DePaul. I cannot wait to be able to fellowship with believers of the same faith that are outside the four walls of our Indian church! In the words of Saju Semassen, we'll get to really know Orthodoxy and be a real Orthodox - not just a Malayalee Orthodox...how exciting?! Even though it is on a very small scale, I think this mingling of believers will be a good start to break down barriers between the Eastern and Oriental Churches. That was a pretty bold statement, and it makes me a little nervous, but I think my level of excitement outweighs my nervousness to see the fruit of the ministry.

"As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.  Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called;  one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all." - Ephesians 4:1-16

(no subject)
ervarghese
During high school, I was a freakishly frequent  blogger - updating this thing at least once a day. As time passed and I became lazier and lazier, that diminished to once a week, to once a month, to once in a blue moon. Especially as I saw myself getting more plugged into Facebook, I didn't have the time, energy or interested in updating my blog. However, in recent weeks, I deactivated my Facebook and I find myself with a plethora of thoughts that I'm eager to share with anyone who is willing to listen...without Facebook status updates to let the know how I'm feeling, what I'm thinking or what I'm doing, I thought of good ol' Live Journal. This initial thought was born in my head a week or two ago, but of course, I am just now coming to write about it. If it took me this long to write about my "return to blogging", just imagine how long it'll take me to get ALL my thoughts on here! Ever since the new quarter at school as started, I've had numerous thoughts, ideas and revelations--whether it be about the Bible from my New Testament as Literature class, relationships from current or very recent experiences, or miscellaneous insights regarding life in general, my mind has been moving at a mile a minute trying to process everything. Although it's gonna take a while, I cannot wait to get everything on my mind on this screen! 

To start...
This fall quarter at DePaul has been nothing short of wonderful, thus far. All but one of my classes are fabulous and I enjoy attending them...pre-calculus, however, I could easily do without. My New Testament of Literature class is phenomenal...we're learning about the gospels and each time I read a passage and hear my professor speak about it, something new is revealed to me. Don't worry--there are MANY posts on that to come. I recently secured at job through school where I'll be working part-time as a data entry clerk. While it isn't much, it is still a job...and I'm thankful that I'll be able to lighten my parents' load, even just the slightest bit. Finally, I made DePaul's bhangra team! Ever since high school, it has been my desire to go to a college or university with a dance team that I can be on. CLC definitely didn't offer that, and once I got to DePaul in January, it didn't have that either. Although, Dhamaal has always been an option...but I just can't imagine myself doing crazy action packed dances like they do! SO, I tried out for DePaul's first ever bhangra team a little over a week ago and found I made it just last Friday...and boy, am I PUMPED! I am nervous about my knee injury from 2004 and hope that doesn't effect the dancing too much.

Now that I have finally updated, even if it was a small slither of information, I feel much better! Time to be productive...and by that, I mean time for a nap followed by the first OCF meeting of the quarter :-)

burrrrrrrah!
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 Today was a good day. I had two classes today – Math and Business Ethics, both of which weren’t too bad. One exciting thing: Rina Soni’s in my math class! Hooray! That was a lovely surprise to see her =)
I ran into Suja at the computer lab….more like she saw me and called out “Muthhhh”…its really awesome to see her every once in awhile at Lincoln Park!
Nadia texted me – she was FINALLY in town! We met up at Potbelly’s in the Loop – Nadia, Alan, Maggie and moi. We had a jolly great meal and then came back to the apartment and straight up chillaxed for an hour or so…then they headed back to Gurnee and I headed to LPC for the first SASA meeting of the year. It was interesting…. I’m just looking forward to bhangra for the SASA show in April! BURRAH! I saw Simi there...and Jane from dance class from years ago…and Ashley…and then met a handful of other folks.
After I got home, I warmed up some chorr, beef and kadala with morr. Holy cow, it was delicious…mmmmmm…..SO glad for having Indian food here! “Athinu vendi – praise the Lord!”
I hope we’ll get internet this week. I’m only having internet now because the laptop detected someone’s free wireless…and therefore, here I am! But I don’t know how long it’ll last, so I’m eager to get our own!
I’m feeling very sleepy… we fell asleep watching tv last night…and I had to get up kind of early…and had a full day. Therefore I am ready to crash! After a little tidying up, I’m hittin’ the sack! Goodnight!

from the new place
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Today, Christy & I had a small apartment blessing… Abi Achen did everything but Shibu Achen and Ninan Achen came too. Mom & Dad and Christy’s dad were also here. During the service, I was like whoa – we have a place of our own…and its being blessed…crazy how fast time flys… I feel grown!
Two weeks ago, we got the lease and signed it the same day. We started moving in that Thursday and finished by Sunday. School started Monday. I’ve officially been a student at DePaul University for a week…thank you Jesus! What a feeling…there are not enough words…
I have homework to do for math and business ethics, but I haven’t touched it…not having internet at the apartment doesn’t help either. Oh well! We’ll see how things go…I still need to buy some books, too.
Dad brought the desk and the new laptop that I’m currently typing on today. I still need to arrange some things in the room and re-organize. I like the way its looking though…simple, yet sufficient.
For dinner, Christy’s dad brought Lou Malnati’s pizza and salad and we also ordered Chinese from Eat n Drink… I am STUFFED. We single handedly entertained 7 grown malayalee people…yay us!
Even though I’ve only been out of the house for a week, I can genuinly say that I feel God’s grace and presence everyday. He has been abundantly gracious to us in helping us find this apartment, figuring out all the things we needed to live here comfortably and for providing us the means to it all – the apartment, the education, the fellowship, the everything. What a blessing. Its kind of overwelming to think about actually.
I hope that we’ll get internet this week… its hard, especially to do homework and such.
I’m off to clean and do some reading – maybe. Then there’s an episode of FRIENDS at 11.30. OH. That reminds me. Christy brought an antenna from home and we get the basic cable channels, and don’t have to pay! HOW AWESOME IS T HAT?! Pretty awesome, if you ask me. We were absolutely thrilled…and still are!!!
Goodnight =)

DePaul
ervarghese
today after my microeconomics exam, i checked my phone to see that i got 3 new emails.
one was from the transfer admissions lady at depaul - I GOT IN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
i can't even begin to explain how happy i was to see that... i had to re-read the email just to make sure i wasn't hallucinating.

i start in january =) 

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