Problematic Dreams – Part I

ArsenalThe most recent time I’ve experienced an otherworldly connection with someone just happened a few weeks ago, and I’m still reeling from the after effects.

My a cappella choir sang in a talent show at the end of October, and since it was Halloween-themed, everyone came in costume. I borrowed a wig from one of our altos and went as a rather convincing Anna from Frozen (the innocent look comes naturally, but that whole chipper, cheerful thing took some work). #introvertproblems

Between performances of bagpipe playing and baton twirling, I marveled at the wide array of talents and also the creativity of some of the costumes. One guy in particular caught my eye, but not because of his costume. He was dressed as an archer of some sort (Arsenal, I found out later), but what really drew me to him was his aura. He radiated confidence and virility, leaning casually against the wall of the auditorium as though oblivious to the attention he garnered.

Michael and his roommate were slotted to close the show with an upbeat duet, but just before they took the stage, the archer uncrossed his arms, pushed off from the auditorium wall and strode forward. As he took a ready stance at the solo mic in the front of the room, I glanced down at my program to discover his name – Cory. As I looked back up to where he stood just twenty feet in front of me, his pianist began playing a moving ballad, and the archer opened his mouth to sing.

For the next four minutes, I sat transfixed as Arsenal/Cory belted out a humorous parody of a love song. His voice was flawless. He was clearly classically trained, but he didn’t let his perfect choral techniques get in the way of putting on an accessible and entertaining show. Even the high note at the end was sung beautifully, and I remembered in passing something that my mom whispered to me a decade ago in the back of my high school auditorium: “You have to be careful with boys like that, Aurora. You’ll fall in love with their voice and think you’re falling in love with them.”

Once the talent show had ended, all the performers mingled for a bit. One of my fellow sopranos, Noelle, has similar taste in men to me, so I was not at all surprised when she ran up to me, eyes wide, and gushed, “Did you hear that Cory guy? We have got to talk him into auditioning for our group!”

It’s true that we are in desperate need of more tenors and basses, so with my encouragement, Noelle hurried off to recruit him. She returned just a few moments later looking disappointed. “He says that he’s already really over-committed,” she told me in a dejected tone.

“Hmm, we’ll see about that.” I gestured for Noelle to accompany me as I walked over to introduce myself.

Cory looked up as I approached, and I reached out to shake his hand. “Hi, Cory. I’m Aurora. I sing with Noelle, and we both loved your performance tonight. You are a really gifted vocalist.”

“Thanks,” he replied casually, seeming to know what was coming next.

“We’d love to have you audition for our group. We meet on Tuesday nights,” I began, but Cory was prepared to tell me the same thing he’d already told Noelle.

“You know, I love singing – and I miss it – but I’m already really over-committed. I’m a first year med student, and I’m also currently training for a Triathlon with a running club on Tuesday nights.”

I raised my eyebrows. “Wow, that is a lot. Well, disregard then. Singing is supposed to be a fun, creative outlet, but it sounds like you’ve got a lot on your plate, and singing with us would just be an added source of stress for you.”

I started to step away, wishing him the best of luck with everything, but he took a quick step forward. “Wait – I mean, would anyone mind if I came late to rehearsals? Or came sweaty, straight from my running group?”

I turned back toward him and shrugged nonchalantly. “No, I don’t think so. We technically start at 7:30, but we don’t usually actually start singing until around 8:00, so that shouldn’t be a problem.”

“Okay,” Cory paused, gaze locked onto mine. The air between us sizzled momentarily as he peered into the depths of my eyes as though searching for something. Whatever it was, he seemed to give up on it because I blinked, and the intensity of the moment passed. He glanced between Noelle and me. “So who would I talk to if I were interested in joining?”

“Let me introduce you to Michael,” I told him, leading the way toward our director and attempting to hide my smile. Choir would definitely be more interesting with Cory in the group!

Once Cory and Michael had been properly introduced, Cory took his leave, and Noelle and I gave each other a quick high five, grinning ear to ear. Best recruitment team ever! Little did I know what I had just gotten myself into.

That night, I got what I thought I wanted. The attractive and mysterious Cory was considering joining our group, my crush Michael volunteered to walk me back to my car, and all seemed like it was going according to plan. But sometimes what you think you want isn’t what you actually want. In fact, sometimes what you want is exactly the opposite of what you need and what would be for your good.

“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” -Proverbs 19:21

Authentically Aurora


A Wedding Toast

Champagne-Wedding-ToastThey say the secret to any good toast is:

Make ’em laugh…

…and then make ’em cry.

Yesterday, I achieved success on both fronts.

Howdy! For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Aurora, Patrick’s big sister. Having me for a big sister growing up, Patrick got really used to being bossed around. So Kristy, he comes pre-trained. You’re welcome.

Patrick and I used to both play soccer, so sometimes we’d play on the driveway, and I’d “let” him be goalie so I could practice taking shots on him. And at Halloween, I’d “let” him have all of my tootsie rolls in exchange for his Snickers bars. I know, I’m the best sister ever.

Actually though, Patrick was the one who trained me. I’m a quality time person, and if I wanted to spend quality time with him, I had to do what he was doing – which usually meant playing video games, as Kristy well knows by now. I remember waking up some mornings over the summer in high school and hearing the sounds of “Final Fantasy” come drifting through my bedroom. I’d tiptoe downstairs and snuggle next to him while he played. 

We had a really sweet relationship growing up. Patrick is a manly man, but he has a sweet heart. Now, this is top secret information, but all of the kids in our family are really chocolate covered marshmallows. We have a tough exterior, but if you crack that hard candy shell, we’re all gooey underneath.

I love my little brother, and I’ve always hoped he would find someone who would appreciate the duality of his toughness and his sweetness. And I’m so glad that he met Kristy, because she is one of the kindest, most selfless women I’ve ever met. She and Patrick are both givers, not takers, and I have no doubt they will be successful in their marriage because they will always be looking to the needs of the other and, more importantly, they have the foundation of Jesus Christ, and we know that a cord of three strands is not easily broken.

So let’s all raise our glasses to Patrick and Kristy. Love you both.

Authentically Aurora

Jamberry Review

Jamberry nailsJamberry nails look awesome. For the uninitiated, they are stick-on nails with fabulous patterns. The holiday ones are my favorite.

However, there are some mild drawbacks to wearing these fantastically eye-catching nails.

For instance, you should plan on not washing your hair at all during the two week Jamberry nail wearing time frame, unless of course you like ripping out your hair in the shower as strands get caught underneath the gooey goodness of Jamberry nail stickers.

Also, you should either plan to not eat for two weeks or infect all of your food with the salmonella that gets stuck underneath your Jamberry fingernails from the eggs you cracked while making pumpkin chocolate chip muffins for your Thanksgiving potluck.

Jamberry festiveAnd lastly, you should definitely plan to catch every disease carried by the small children you lead in the church kids’ ministry, because there’s no way those goobers or snot bubbles are leaving the safe confines of your Jamberry nails’ stickiness.

In summary, Jamberry nails look awesome. And they will look awesome for the entirety of the last two weeks of your life before you implode from the inability to do anything remotely productive while wearing them.

Authentically Aurora

Dia De Los Muertos

Photography is a great hobby for introverts. Hiding behind my camera and having an excuse not to talk to anyone? Yes, please.

Family vacation with crazy Uncle Mike? Sorry, I’m too busy taking photos of this breathtaking landscape to entertain your ramblings about the new flavor of Cheetos you invented by spilling salsa on yourself while watching reruns of “Frasier”.  

Clingy acquaintance’s bridal shower? Yes, I would love to hear all about how many hours you spent putting together those adorable centerpieces, but I need to step into the other room so I can capture all the details of your special day!

A photo-journalistic style is especially nice because then I don’t even have to talk to the subjects of my photos. I can just creepily zoom in on their conversations and click away. It’s fabulous. Sure, I might sound like a psychopath in describing my actions, but at the awkward coworker’s Halloween party, I just seem like that sweet girl who is selflessly collecting memorable moments to share with everyone else later. Via email, of course. No human interaction required.

This weekend, I spent four hours with fellow photographers, models and makeup artists at a Dia De Los Muertos photo shoot. Unfortunately, several of these other artists somehow got the impression that I wanted to talk to them. Fortunately, I had my handy dandy camera (read: social barrier) with me, so I managed to only exchange about ten sentences with other human beings during these four hours. Having models posing as dead ancestors didn’t hurt, either. Dead men tell no tales… or really engage in any semblance of conversation. Just the way I like it.


Authentically Aurora