Wednesday, December 24, 2008
I don't mean to suggest that the event is any less holy than it has been portrayed in years past, I just think, shouldn't holy moments inspire the most emotion, or motion? When people come in contact with the holiness of God in the Bible, we see them removing shoes, covering their faces or falling on them, even dying. I know it's for the sake of the pictures, but I just don't think that when people encountered Jesus, even as a baby, it inspired them to have a seat.
Luke 2 says, "So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told."
[I have bolded all the action words, for your reading pleasure.] Even Mary, who might have been quietly sitting, had an active mind, full of wondering.
Matthew 2 gives us the account of the wise men saying, "When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh."
Jesus inspires action and emotion once again. May Jesus inspire action and emotion in your heart this Christmas. May Christmas not be dull and the same, but so fresh and life giving.
currently listening to: Dean Martin, Christmas with Dino
currently baking: pecan pie
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
When my family first moved to North Carolina, Mom started bringing us to the nursing home. We adopted a grandma, someone who had no one to visit them, someone who needed friends to visit. We didn't have any family here so Mom decided that it would be a good idea, I guess. The first grandma that we had was "Grandma Johnson" and the second one was "Grandma Smith". I always have had this terrible sinking feeling when I go to the nursing home. I just get so sad when I see how people can become, if that makes sense. And I feel so sad that they are just left there, instead of cared for and treasured in their old age. I am certain that there are reasons for people to be there, and I am certain that their being there can't always be avoided. We played for them, accepted requests and when it was done, I gathered my guts together and went out to talk to the residents. I probably hugged 15 little old ladies. 15 treasures. 15 women who have seen and done incredible things, and now are just sitting and waiting to die. One lady held my hand forever. She was so tiny and precious. Another lady, named Miss Dorothy was very excited to tell me all about what she'd gotten for Christmas. She told me that she was from Boston and that she was hoping it would snow for Christmas here, just like it did up there. She told me that her husband of 'I forget how many years, but I should be so lucky' died last year, and she was lonely. And then I had to leave. I always tear up when I leave. But I blinked my tears away so I could smile my biggest at the residents sitting by the door. That's the way it always is. My heart breaks as I leave. Earlier I wrote about caring for widows. I'd always begrudged going to the nursing home because I know the emotional distress it will cause me, but today it took on a different light. It was no less difficult, no less causing me to stare death in the face, no less smelly and full of strange sounds, but today I realized that it is something that Jesus would have done. Jesus would have walked into that nursing home with a big smile on his face and he would have held those little old people's hands, listened to their words and treasured them.
currently listening to: The Cafe Hotel Presents Winter Songs
I'm in the warm corner of a coffee shop, namely Starbucks, since I'm in Raleigh, listening to the conversations melting together around me. Two women are catching up on their families, two men are talking about ideas and poetry and their favorite columns in the New York Times (if I could pick a conversation to join, this would be it.), Two women are talking about church. They have with them a little girl who is coloring and who every now and then looks up from her organic apple juice box to stare at me. I smile back. She hasn't smiled at me yet though. This is why I love coffee shops: connection without knowing anyone in here but the barista. This brings me to what I have just finished reading- Jesus wants to Save Christians by Rob Bell. He writes of redemption, community and service. He writes about a plot. A plot that you might know well, where over and over God redeems his people. And over and over, his people forget. We, as Americans, forget the marginalized- just like the Israelites. More terrible than that, I settle into my Christianity, forgetting the price paid for my soul, and I forget that I have been blessed to be a blessing.
Rob Bell says, "If we have any resources, any power, any voice, any influence, any energy, we must convert them into blessing for those who have no power, no voice, no influence."
God is a God who hears. From the Israelite slaves in Egypt, to the widows and orphans and refugees. When we open our hearts and ears to the hurt around us, we are acting as God would.
Rob Bell calls Christians "a living Eucharist,allowing [their] body to be broken, and [their] blood to be poured out for the healing of the world." He calls the church to "feel what others feel, to suffer what they suffer, to rejoice when they rejoice. To say 'me too'." But so often the church does not live this way. Bell says "the church must cling to her memory of exodus, because if that memory is forgotten, the church may forget the poor, and if the poor are forgotten, the church may forget what it was like to be enslaved and that would be forgetting the grace of God. And that would be forgetting who we are."
I asked God to remind me last night of the beauty of Christmas, of its purpose.
Christmas occurred because once, a very long time ago, people decided that their ultimate worth was found outside God. They decided that God was not good or trust-worthy, and that they could do things better on their own. They sought life elsewhere. And for some, crazy reason, "it appears, from all the records, that though He has often rebuked us and condemned us, He has never regarded us with contempt. He has paid us the intolerable compliment of loving us, in the deepest, most tragic, most inexorable sense. (C.S Lewis)" So God sent his son. Because he so loved us. Because through giving his son, we are able to have faith and we are able to have eternal life. Christmas is so much deeper than a cute baby in a cold stable. It is so much more meaningful than a fat man in a red, fir trimmed outfit miraculously sliding down the chimney that you may or may not have.
I guess I challenge you, as I challenge myself, to grab hold of God's heart for the world, for God's heart for the world, and figure out how you can join him where his heart is beating.
Merry Christmas; rejoice in the wonderful heart that God has for you, and the world.
Currently listening to: my free Starbucks download of the week, Stuck to you; Nikka Costa. She will be replaced with Sufjan Stevens' Christmas album.
Currently drinking: a salted, caramel hot chocolate
Currently eating: pumpkin loaf
Current scarf: light blue and very shed-y, but a nice contrast to my dark jacket.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
I love that, and I long for it.
currently listening to: Bonnie Prince Billy, Cursed Sleep
Monday, December 8, 2008
I sat here, tearing up a little, not really knowing why, wondering why God would have that happen. It was too random to just be random. I spent the entire weekend working on school work. Today I had a research paper due, a final exam and a unit plan due. I have a Critical Performance this week and I have to prepare for that. I also have a case study and a Multi-genre research paper due on Thursday. I was just feeling very overwhelmed by everything, and I am worrying about my GPA because if I don't get excellent grades, I won't be able to student teach and that is a lot of pressure. I also am waiting for financial aid to work itself out or I won't be going to school next semester anyways. I think that it is God's way of reminding me that I am not forgotten. That he knows where my heart is, that I am worrying, and that he has thing under control. He even can still pay off shirts from last fall that are seemingly forgotten by the rest of campus. He can have a stranger walk up and give you ten dollars, even though that stranger has no idea you'll actually give it to the right person. He orchestrates life and he is in control of everything.
God is so strange, and his ways aren't mine at all. For that, I am grateful.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
I just ate a waffle + frosting + whipped cream. I am now drinking water to detox, but man, it was good.
Yesterday Greg talked in church about authenticity. He read a quote from the paper that said that we have a "cultural obsession with a perfected surface". I cannot stop thinking about that. Greg talked about how when we encounter God, our smallness is exposed, and our identity becomes that we are loved by God.
I wish that I could step out of my neurotic self, and embrace who God has made me to be. I wish that I could remember that what is taking place in my heart is what matters so much more than my looks or the way I appear to people. I wish that I could be genuine and authentic, loving people in a real way. And I wish that whatever I did wasn't somehow all about me. I am so self-centered, and so inconsistent.
I suppose I will turn those wishes into prayers.
Oh Christ, evaporate my false identity. Let me find myself only in you.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Yesterday Dad came up and took Ann and I on a date. We went and saw the "Boy in the Stripped Pajamas". It was an amazing film and I cried several times. I don't want to give anything away, but it is such a beautiful, tragic story about the son of a Nazi officer and a Jewish boy in a concentration camp who become friends.
Today in my reading for Sunday School tomorrow I was looking over Numbers 13 and 14.
As I read, I just really got a sense of God's heart for his people. He provided for them a wonderful land, and they get caught up in logistics. They cried and wept all night. They demanded that someone take them back to Egypt. They questioned God's heart for them. As I read, I got more and more sad. It's my own heart that is just like that. I don't trust God as I should, I assume that he doesn't have my best at heart. Joshua tells the people not to be afraid because God is with them, and they pick up rocks to stone him. God grows angry with his people and Moses still pleads on their behalf. By the end of the 14th chapter, the people have realized their sin, and ask for God's forgiveness but they can't go into the promise land, but they try anyways, and they are defeated. What a sad story.
Please tune my heart to yours. Help me to realize that you are leading me with my best at your heart. Help me to trust you, even when it seems crazy! Help me to be like Moses, focused on you always and a advocate for people.
Currently listening to: Bright Eyes
Currently reading: The Great Divorce
Currently eating: Mac and Cheese
Friday, November 21, 2008
I think that God made snow because it makes everything stop, and take it slow. We are all in too much of a hurry to get to the next place.
This is how we feel about snow here in the Green House:
This is how Ann feels about the snow melting:
Also, she looks like a babushka.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
currently listening to: the working title
Monday, November 17, 2008
I am wearing a strange sweater. I'm always worried to wear it, but today I decided to put on my Lorelei Gilmore sense of being and just wear what I want to. Proudly. But, believe it or not, this sweater, delightful as it may be, is not the reason for my blogging today.
Whenever the Israelites had something they needed to remember, God would have them build an altar to be a physical reminder of what He had done in their lives. Sometimes I think of blogging as a linguistic altar, of sorts. I would like to take a moment to record what God has done in my life over the past four years to bring to where I am today, as a Senior.
When I was a Freshmen, I began to tutor across the street in a neighborhood called Glenwood. This neighborhood isn't as affluent as other parts of Greensboro, in fact many people are afraid of it. I had friends warning me not to go to Glenwood. Fortunately, I didn't listen because I really didn't know any better and if I had, I have no idea what God would have done differently. God doesn't write stories of would beens, so I will never know that. ALL I know is that I found myself in a room full of children, vastly different than I am, and so completely alike. I fell in love. As began to tutor, I began to realize that so many of the kids had trouble reading. Originally, I came to college to get a degree in Psychology. I was going to become a psychologist, or a lawyer, or a librarian and make my parents proud with my brains and money making capabilities. God changed my heart, and after working with the kids for a few months, I changed my major to English, secondary education. (I am cooking lunch and I most definitely cannot find a single cooking spoon, I have no idea where my roommates have put them, so I am definitely cooking noodles with a whisk, which is ridiculous and so funny.) As I went along, I had more and more experiences with the neighborhood and spring break Sophomore year, we spent the week in the neighborhood. My friends, Nicole and Veronica and I decided that when we graduated, we wanted to move in. Jesus modeled a life of simplicity and gave up Heaven to come and live among the poor in spirit, and well the physically poor, because let's face it, He come from Heaven. If you read the Bible, and take it seriously, you see how serious God is about justice and how we should care for the poor. Cities are such unique places where people are forced to come into contact all the time, how much more a neighborhood. And when you live in a place intentionally, people want to know why. I have this vision of sitting on the hypothetical porch and having conversations with neighbors passing by, and children* sitting at the table doing homework, and taking walks to pray for the going ons of Glenwood. So now, I am graduating in May and I actually can move into Glenwood and I can finally get a teaching job.
* Here's a visual aid of the children I love so dearly.
But of course there was a wrench. And the wrench was me. (That sentence is epic.Like "I am the Walrus".) Let me explain. Senior year rolls around, and I am living it, and so I began to make lists of all the things I could do. You know, teach in Kenya, go on staff with InterVarsity, Go hold orphan babies somewhere. All my life I have been interested in missions and ministry and I just wasn't sure where God was leading. Then I remembered something that I'd found last summer when I couldn't go to Kenya for the summer and I was looking for alternatives. It was called the Pink House, in Fresno, California through InterVarsity and it was a ten month internship in Urban ministry. I was in California for fall break and Fresno is 30 minutes away from where I was born/where I was going for a wedding and so Mom and I dropped by the Pink House. It was very spur of the moment so they didn't know we were coming, and after asking directions from firemen and other such upstanding citizens, we found our way. Perhaps you know that I am not a spur of the moment girl. I am a planner, and I lists. We pulled into the parking lot and I wasn't prepared to go knock on the door, because it wasn't in my planner, and I sat there for a minute when I realized that I will never be in Fresno again and so I went and knocked. No one answered the door, so Mom and I proceeded to the wedding. At the wedding, Mom mentioned to Kim (Mother of the bride, Mom's best friend.) that we'd been to the Pink House and Kim got excited because the who was emceeing for the wedding had just finished his internship year at the Pink House. Perhaps you know that I am very reluctant to talk to boys that I don't know. I have two sisters, and I am really good at talking to girls, and I just have never seen the need to branch out. I guess I've gotten better since coming to college, but that is beside the point. The point is, I didn't want to talk to this boy. So I didn't. But when I got back to Grandma and Grandpa's I printed off the application and filled it out on the plane and I was certain that I would get the internship.
But then I made a pro/con list. Fresno, California vs. Greensboro, North Carolina. Do you know who won? Pokey, dear Greensboro won by a landslide. This made me very confused. I went home that weekend and I was very quiet, which worried Dad, so he asked if I wanted to talk. I pulled out my pro/con list and held it out to him. Dad looked it over quietly, and said, "Well do you want an adventure, or do you want to stay where you are." And I realized in that moment that no matter what I chose, it would be an adventure. I realized that out of all the people in InterVarsity that shared about the mission trips they went on over the summer, that when Joey shared about living in Glenwood for the summer and how around 11 kids accepted Christ this summer at Glenwood camp, I had tears falling down my face then because my heart is with those people and my heart is in this city. God has set me up so beautifully for next year, I have an internship where I will hopefully get a job teaching and I have friends who want to room with me in Glenwood, I have relationships with people in the neighborhood already blooming, and I have a church here. I realized that in California, I didn't want to knock on the door and I didn't want to talk to the boy and if the Pink House had been something that I really wanted to do, I would have. I started tell all this to Dad and he looked me in the eyes and said, "Well...why can't you just trust God?" That question has rolled in my mind. Why can't I just trust God?
When I was a little girl, I guess middle school, I was so sure that God had called me to be a missionary in China. I don't really know about all that anymore. I do know that God has called me to be a light wherever I am and that America is just as needy for God's heart as any other country. Maybe in a few years, God will finally allow me to go overseas, but for now I am so excited to see how God will move. I just try to think of it as a year at a time. For next year, you will find me down the road. There are things I need to trust God about for next year and I cannot wait to see how He will move to provide all that I can imagine and more.
I don't know where you are right now, or what you're struggling with, but I challenge you to talk to God about it. He is trust-worthy and He will make Himself known if you seek Him with your whole heart.
currently listening to: The Pernice Brothers, Clear Spot
real time: 11:53 AM
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Enough exposition on such. I need to write some lesson plans. I have finished the poetry lesson plans, and I need to write three writing assignments for the Odessy, and I need to write a week of plans for a short story called the "The Sniper" and I need to write a paper on Chaucer. Yes.
Word of the day: dragooned: to coerce
Currently watching: Gilmore Girls, Season 7.
Friday, November 14, 2008
I was very frustrated today. One of my ninth graders got a zero on his vocabulary quiz. I just can't imagine why that is because he had the words all week, he had to do activities with the words and he had five minutes before the quiz to review. How do you cause a student who doesn't care about grades to care about learning? I am certain you cannot force a child to learn.
I decided to explore this concept further by looking up some words, as I like to do.
force: "strength or power exerted upon an object"
cause: "end or purpose for which a thing is done or produced."
To cause a student to learn is to give them a purpose. Today I sat in a chair and knitted after I was done at the high school and prayed for my students. And I prayed that God would teach me to connect with them, and that God would show me what makes each child excited. I know that God cares deeply about our minds. And I know that God has connected our hearts and minds. I think that if I can get students' hearts that I will be able reach their minds. And I am certain that only God knows how to do that. I am so excited to see how He will use me.
currently listening to: Lydia, This is Twice Now.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
I am in a fairly expositional, thoughtful, people watching mood. Also, I have a lot of thoughts running around in my head, so hang on to your hats.
A) I am so at peace and restless all at the same time. I have such a confidence that God is going to work things out. But I think that it's normal to also feel a little restless, I know that I am in God's heart and in His hands, but I am always wanting more.
B)I think that kids have to challenge you to know your love. It does make sense. You don't know that you can trust someone to love you until you give them opportunity not to. I really need to internalize this.
C)I want to live a life of open-ness. Open to God, to people, to opportunity, to new-ness. And yet I hate change. But God asks us to live open handedly. I don't know how to, maybe. Or maybe I do and I'm afraid to.
D) I have been struggling for ever so long with reconciling how Jesus' burdens are light and easy while at the same time He tells us to take up our cross. In my mind it goes something like this, Jesus' burden = cross, we take Jesus' burden = we carry the cross, which does not = easy or light. Everything within me revolts against cross carrying. I know that carrying the cross is a part of discipleship. Bonhoeffer says, "God is a God who bears. The Son of God bore our flesh, He bore the cross, He bore our sins, thus making atonement for us. In the same way, His followers are also called upon to bear, and that is precisely what it means to be a Christian. Just as Christ maintained his communion with the Father by His endurance, so His followers are to maintain their communion with Christ by their endurance. We can of course, shake off the burden which is laid upon us, but only find that we still have a heavier burden to carry- a yoke of our own choosing, a yoke of our self. But Jesus invites all who travail and are heavy laden to throw off their own yoke and take his yoke upon them- and his yoke is easy and his burden is light. The yoke and the burden of Christ are His Cross. To go one's way under the cross is not misery and desperation but peace and refreshment to the soul, it is the highest joy. Then we do not walk under self made laws and burdens but under the yoke of Him who knows us and who walks under the yoke with us. Under His yoke we are certain of His nearness and communion." [Well, Detrich, I'm not sure I get it.] Only I think that Bonhoeffer is saying that somehow the yoke is lighter because Christ is carrying it too. I guess even if I don't get it, I'm in good company because Luther says, "Discipleship is not limited to what you can comprehend." I do not comprehend this, quite.
I wrote more in my journal, but I will keep a little to myself.
currently listening to: the get up kids, overdue
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
Love's like a hurricane, I am a tree
Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy
When all of a sudden, I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory
and I realize just how beautiful You are and how great your affections are for me.
Oh, how He loves us so
Oh, how He loves us
How He loves us so.
Yeah, He loves us
Woah, how He loves us
Woah, how He loves us
Woah, how He loves.
So we are His portion and He is our prize,
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes
If grace is an ocean we're all sinking
So heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss and my heart turns violently inside of my chest
I don't have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way
That he loves us,
Woah, how He loves us
Woah, how He loves us
Woah, how He loves
He loves us,
Woah, how He loves us
Woah, how He loves us
Woah, how He loves
_ John Mark McMillan
Sunday, October 26, 2008
I suppose I will begin with something that I've been thinking about concerning the election. There's been discussion about the idea of distribution of wealth. I think that wealth should be distributed. I think that we are given wealth so that we can in turn bless others. Here's the catch though. I think it's one thing for the church to be distributing wealth and another for the government to be distributing. It's one thing to be distributing wealth because it's on your heart, and another to be distributing wealth because it's mandatory.
Just something to think about.
currently listening to: postal service
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Today I went to Northern. I began to interact with students as they did work in groups and I loved it.
Yesterday at tutoring, Lesli said "Can I ask you something? Where were you last week?"
I was like "Lesli, Marshall told you that I was sick." She got very quiet and focused on her math and I said, "Lesli, I will not be sick again, if I can help it." She looked back up at me and said "Thank you." She was dead serious.
I love that kid.
That's all for now, I guess. Only that it's getting cold and my body temp is plummeting and I will be frozen until the weather gets over 75 degrees again.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
2. I'm still taller than them.
3. They're funny.
4. They think I'm funny.
5. High school is still new.
6. Short stories are part of the curriculum.
7. They're awkward but still manage to think that everything's about them.
8. School is still cool.
9. They are honest.
10. They think yearbook pictures are a conspiracy.
I feel like this will be refined as the year goes on.
Sunday, October 5, 2008
I still am not sure 100 percent what I will do when I graduate, and that's okay because it's only now the beginning of October. I've also realized that this is only for a year.
For some reason I always forget how much I love high school kids and how excited I get when I just walk into a high school. I walked into the classroom to meet my cooperating teacher on Wednesday and I felt surrounded by electricity. I was so excited! As the kids came into the classroom, I got even more excited. I love my kids. I've met only half of my students, but I absolutely love them. My kids are funny and bright, and because they're only Freshmen, I'm still taller than most of them. Then I became afraid. Afraid because Northern is whole 30 minutes away from the UNCG campus/ Glenwood. Afraid because what if Northern offers me a job; it's not a very diverse school. Afraid because what if I love it; I'm not big on change.
Today though I was thinking. I have two classes of CP students. My CP (college prep)English 9 kids are really overlooked at Northern. Northern is a very idealistic school, which I love, but there isn't much room for lower preforming students since the high school wants to be in the top 10 high school in the US. There are many honors classes and AP classes but not all kids are ready for those higher level classes, so they're put in CP, or as we call them at Northern "pre-honors". I have patience for those kids, I want to work with those kids. I never really thought about the fact that someone has to love those kids at Northern too. The kids that have been displaced and pulled from wherever to boost diversity. For now, that person is me. I am really excited about it. I can't really say, but I think that working at Northern would be a great fit for me. So my plan is to work hard and see if I don't get a job offer in May. I am praying about it. God will open doors where He wants me to go, just as He's opened my eyes and heart to the kids around me. We'll see where I end up and instead of worrying, at least today, I am excited to dig right in, see how God will use me and see where He puts me for next year. 30 minutes isn't that long of a drive, after all.
real time: 4:32 PM
currently listening to: Secondhand Serenade
currently reading: Geoffrey Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde
PS. I have had to change my profile due to the fact that I now also have a blog that my students can see. It kinda makes me sad that this blog too has had to become a bit more starched and professional. But... go Nighthawks!
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Move into Glenwood and teach- I guess this option seems the most viable. I could live with my bff, Nicole, in a neighborhood that very much has a place in my heart. I would love to build relationships with neighbors, and continue to love the kids in that neighborhood. I envision nightly pray walks and my kitchen table full of children doing homework. I could also teach, as I will finally have a degree to do so. I would be very excited to teach. I could also save up money for grad school, or to go overseas.
Fears involving option one: That I am too in love with where I am to move on; that I am simply wanting to stay because of fear of the unknown; that if I stay, I'll never do anything else.
InterVarsity Staff- I have been very involved with IV for the past several years and I love the way that it has the ability to impact people's lives to help them grow in their walk with God. I love the idea of building relationships with students and empowering them to serve God on their campuses. I would be very excited to continue being involved and in different ways than before.
Fears involving option two: That I am too attached to IV and can't move on; that I would have to leave Greensboro and I'm not sure I'm ready; That I wouldn't be able to raise all the funds I would need.
Go to Africa and hold babies- Ever since I can remember, I've wanted to go to Africa and work with an orphanage. I still haven't done it. Post-graduation would be a great time to go, so it seems. I don't quite know what it would entail, but it would be an adventure that I'm sure would break my heart and challenge me to go deeper into God.
Fears involving option three: I'm not sure I'm ready to leave Greensboro, as I've said; I would have to raise funds; I'm not sure how this would play out in actuality.
currently listening to: The Everybodyfields
currently reading: Reading, Writing and Rising up: Teaching About Social Justice and the Power of the Written Word
real time: 11:07 PM
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Sunday, September 14, 2008
This has been a weekend of relationship building and hard conversations. I hope to continue to understand God's unfailing character.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
My roommate, Amanda and her boyfriend, Sam got engaged tonight!
I'm really excited. Let me tell you how much I love this couple. Sam knows Amanda's parents so well and hangs out with them all the time. Sam and Amanda helped with the youth group this summer and hang out with people together in their church all the time. When Sam comes to Greensboro to visit Amanda (and me and Ann), he doesn't stay at our house and he doesn't expect to. AND he comes over and just hangs out with all of us like he wants to know us and like he's not just there for Amanda. I actually get excited when Sam comes to visit (Amanda). I think that together they will be able to serve God better and I love them.
When I got off the phone with her, I danced around my room.
I am so giddy, and totally excited. And it just keeps sinking in.
Interview with Sam post-engagement:
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
When Dr. Cooper first said that she thought she'd send me there, I emailed her and asked her to not put me there. She put me there. I assume she has more wisdom than me. Mom said that God had me there for a reason. I think that's true. I think that I need to learn that privileged kids are just as precious as non-privileged. God loves them all as dearly. I struggle with that, but it's funny because I AM a privileged kid. Why do I struggle with loving kids just like me?
I don't know the answer to that yet, but I expect that God has many lessons out there for me. Oh, that I have a willing heart.
Monday, September 8, 2008
God redeems time. He also is a God of purpose. I know that my summer happened on purpose. I did what I needed to do to go to school and to graduate on time. He knew that I would need to do that when He shut the door to Kenya. I loved taking classes, I loved reading and spending time in Greensboro. It was good, it just wouldn't have been what I wished for. Imagine that.
currently reading: Inside Out: Strategies for Teaching Writing
currently listening to: The Avett Brothers
real time: 11:20
Sunday, September 7, 2008
I was also talking to some girls this weekend about how we're afraid of living alone when we grow up, how we feel like we could do anything if we knew we'd have a buddy. When I stayed in Dayna's house in Glenwood this summer, if I felt uneasy and went into the house, there was nobody to tell me it would be okay or to keep me safe.
I have such a precious community of believers around me now. I have no idea what will happen come the spring semester when I am no longer on leadership and no longer on campus or when I graduate, come May. And I am reading through Joshua and God tell Joshua over and over to be strong and courageous. [Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.] I hope that I grow in my dependence on God this year. I know that it won't change loneliness into something that's fun or enjoyable, but it will perhaps turn it into something more bearable, more of a friend even. Who knows what will come after graduation, but for now Nicole and I plan on living in Glenwood and that is something that will bring a different kind of loneliness altogether but we will have each other and lots of papers to grade.
[Tune in next time for Emily's startling revelations about her summer.]
(Senior girls on leadership. <3)
(Tooth brushing club. <3)
Thursday, September 4, 2008
[the view out my back window.]
I have loved living in the green house/ shmendenhall. It's so wonderful to be in a house, not an apartment. I would be okay if I went the rest of my life without ever living in one of those again. I love meeting neighbors. I don't knock on doors to meet them, but they're out and in their yards and it's so easy to just make conversation. I met a professor the other day and his granddaughter and I loved talking to them. I also love how close to campus we are. And I have super great roommates. InterVarsity has kicked off, and I look forward to another year of building relationships. Classes are also good, so I think that this semester will be a good one. It's my last one of classes which is a little surreal. It's strange to think that I'll be teaching and everyone else will still be on campus. I'm nervous about my internship placement. I want it to be somewhere where I could actually get a job when I graduate.
I guess Senior year is nothing like what I thought it would be and that is okay.
God has blessed me with wonderful things and I am happy.
currently listening to: THE KILLERS, When we were Young
currently reading: Beowulf, Comus by John Milton and various articles about education
real time: 1:30 PM
Friday, August 29, 2008
It might not be an adventure that I get to have, but there are other adventures to be had. If only I could think of it that way always.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Nevertheless I am continually with You; You hold me by my right hand.
You will guide me with your counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.
Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
For indeed, those who are far from You shall perish; You have destroyed all those who desert You for harlotry. But it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord God, that I may declare all Your works.
and a little Henri J.M for you,
"Keep deepening your conviction that God's love for you is enough, that you are safe in His hands, and that you are being guided every step of the way."
currently listening to: the dogs next door going crazy and Spoon
currently reading: New Bible Commentary, The Only Necessary Thing by Henri J.M Nouwen
real time: 10:04
Friday, August 22, 2008
listening to: When You Thought You'd Never Stand Out, Copeland
current time: 5:55
currently worrying about: lots of upcoming change, and how focused I will have to be on school this semester even though I'm a Senior.
currently looking forward to: Fall kick off and the IV booth on Monday and meeting with my Pastor Greg on Monday and classes starting on Monday. Monday.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
I am way too exhausted to write further. Things are crazy and busy. I hope that God will be honored by our efforts to love our campus and that we will love tirelessly. NSO (New Student Outreach) has just begun and classes begin Monday. Bring it.
Monday, August 18, 2008
Thursday, August 14, 2008
You are worth dying for.
Your worth does not come from your body, your mind, your work, what you produce, what you put on, how much money you make. Your worth does not come from whether or not you have a man. Your worth does not come from whether or not men notice you. You have inestimable worth that comes from your creator.
You will continue to be tempted in a thousand different ways not to believe this. This temptation will be to go searching for your worth and validity from places other than your creator...You are already loved...As the woman says in Song of Songs, "My own vineyard is mine to give." In the ancient Near East, a vineyard was a euphemism for sexuality. She is saying that she doesn't give herself to just anyone. She is fully in control of herself, and she is not cheap and she is not easy.
Your strength is a beautiful thing. And when you live in it, when you carry yourself with the honor and dignity that are yours, it forces the men around you to relate to you on more than just a flesh level.
You are worth dying for.
excerpt from ROB BELL, SEX GOD
I feel like I babysat my week away, which was excellent, but I pretty much don't want kids til I'm 80 this week. I'm not ready to be a Mom, as much as I hope to one day be one. Tonight, I lay in bed with Hudson (age 2) in his new big boy bed, until he stopped crying and until he fell asleep. I read a chapter of the Hardy Boys to Lawson (age 8), and two chapters to Riley of some book about a girl needing glasses and no longer being the class pet because of a new girl (age 10). I had finally settled into a chair in the living room and began knitting on the baby blanket I'm knitting when Lawson came into the living room and sat on the couch. He couldn't sleep. So he sat there and talked and talked. He asked me if I was knitting, what I was knitting and how big it would be. I let him talk because in all my life I have never wanted to go to bed. I felt his pain. Finally I pulled out my phone and said, "you have two minutes to say all you have to say and then you have to go to sleep." He made a face and then chatted and chatted. Two minutes were up. "Time for bed, Lawson," I told him. "Can I see it?" he asked. I showed him that his two minutes were up. He talked for a few more minutes.
"Lawson, believe me, I would much rather talk to you than sit here by myself, but you've gotta go to bed."
He reluctantly, slipped off the couch, and into the dark hall. Then I heard a whisper,"Riley...guess what." it was quiet for a second. "She knits!"
I couldn't stop giggling. What little boy is captivated by the hobby of grandmothers? It was all I could do to get some amount of stern-ness into my voice so I could say, "Lawson, get in bed."
note 1: dear downstairs neighbors, please do not scream because it really freaks me out. I also don't know whether to call the police or not. I'm sure you wouldn't want the police to come and break up your party all because you think screaming like you're dying is funny.
note 2: I think when I finish with the blanket for the McCluskey's, I will make a baby hat for Karen and Robert. It will be maroon and orange because it would be good for the Howe baby to blend into Blacksburg. Plus, it's really cold up there and so that baby can't possibly have too many hats.
real time: 12:12 AM
currently listening to: Switchfoot, Let That Be Enough
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
I went on my roof tonight and looked for meteors, but I think the street like messed that up. I do a lot of thinking on my roof. It's quiet and still and removed from the world. I can just be. I've been thinking about friendships lately. It seems like when I get close to guys, I end up just being frustrated with where I end up. I get jealous. I jump to conclusions and am paranoid. I say and do ridiculous things. Rob Bell in the first chapter of Sex God talks about lust. The type of lust that he talks about is more like physical lust, but I submit humbly and reluctantly that I too lust, though not usually physically. I lust emotionally. I desire someone to be there for me. I desire someone to prefer me over else. I want to be thought of as beautiful, smart and wonderful. I get jealous because I assume that when my guy friends hang out with another girl, they will like her better than me, and they will want to hang out with her more than me. I become paranoid because I suspect that there are always more engaging girls than I and that my friends would prefer to be with her.
I think that lust is a form of idolatry. Wanting support, or love isn't bad, but when it becomes your focus, your false infinite and your god, it is.
We all have lies about ourselves that we believe. I have several. They all center on how I am not enough. Not good enough, not special enough, not beautiful enough; in every way imaginable, inadequate. I have freakishly high expectations of myself. I am completely able to be gracious to you, but for me, from me- there is no such thing as grace. I expect perfection, thus I will never be enough. It might be oldest child complex, whatever it is, it's crazy.
The truth about me? On my own, I am terrible and horrible. Through Christ, I am redeemed, treasured, beloved and enough.
I know that all I need is in Christ, but I still seek for affirmation from people, and from boys. It's like my soul is crying, "Tell me that I am enough!"
There's no life in that, no hope.
I repent from that. And I apologize for placing the weight of my soul on my brothers.
I don't quite know how to approach relationships with guys I guess, but I suppose I can begin by being more guarded. I don't know what else to do.
[Some day, maybe I will get married and it will be a little different, but Father, I ask that I never place anything over you. You alone will have my heart. Help it to be like yours. Help me to love you more. I'm sorry that my heart is so easily distracted and restless. I want to trust and love you. Help me to trust you with my life.]
Listening to: The Luckiest, Ben Folds
current time: 1:32 AM
Friday, August 8, 2008
Thursday, August 7, 2008
Last night I couldn't stop thinking about that precious, innocent little girl. I tried to tell myself 'it's just a movie'. But it's not. I couldn't stop crying. I can't remember the last time I cried that hard and that long; My eyes were all red and puffy and I looked crazy. My heart was completely broken over the complete and utter injustice and I just couldn't get over it, all I could do was cry and cry. I was /still am/ at a loss of what to even do. I kept thinking, "That was absolutely unjust. How could God let little innocent girls be raped?" But at the same time, I didn't question His goodness. It's a strange place to be, to know that God is completely good and completely in control, but to know that horrible, terrible things happen all over the world. And it makes me wonder why my life's been so good, perfect really. How is it just that 8 year olds, little baby children are abused and I have had a beautiful existence with no major road bumps to speak of? Not that I'm wishing for such things, but couldn't the horror be spread out?
I just don't know. I might never get over it. And I hope I don't because that would mean that I was desensitized.
currently listening to: Terminal, Foster; train sounds
real time: 1:23
currently needing to: fold laundry, and fill out my application for a street parking permit
Monday, August 4, 2008
Alex and Lydia. What a good wedding.
real time: coffee time, aka 11:09
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Summer school is over now. What will I do with myself for the next three weeks? I'm glad you asked. I started reading War and Peace which is 1636 pages long and I'd like to finish it before school starts. I also have my list of fieldtrips. And of course work. I think it will be a nice change of pace and I hope I don't get bored. I don't really think that I will. Oh, I looked up where the public pools in Greensboro are. You only have to pay two dollars and I am just dying to swim so I am pretty pumped.
Leah and Brittany and I have decided to celebrate Thirsty Thursday with half off lattes at the Green Bean. I think it's funny that now that we all can drink, we get a latte instead of a beer. I mean, I'm down. Half price it up.
Ann comes home from Kenya Saturday!
real time: 5:28 PM
listening to: 100 Portraits
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
We have to be out by noon tomorrow and I have my final at 1:20. Bad timing. I am ready for this week to be over and then this will all just be a happy memory. We have four weekends until school is in full gear. I have Alex and Lydia's wedding this weekend, Matt and Mary's wedding next weekend, nothing on the weekend of the 16th and then that last week before New Student Outreach kicks in with move in stuff, and I am more than pumped. That weekend we will have the Associated Campus Ministries pancake breakfast on Sunday morning so the Freshmen can talk to different ministries and maybe find a ride to church. And then the 25th is school. I work every day of the week until school starts, which is good. This month will fly by and my Senior year will begin before I know it.
Please pray that I will get an A on this final despite the distraction of moving. I made flashcards last week and I've been working on them. I really need to get an A in this class so my GPA goes up for school of ed. I got an A on the first final, I have an 89.8 on homework and I have no absences. If I get an A I should be fine. Come on flash cards, don't fail me now.
With love and nothing on my walls,
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Private Christians (p. 49):
Matt 28:19-20 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
focus: evangelism and personal holiness, not in the midst of the world but through withdrawal, purpose of societal activities is to convert/evangelize the individual so that they can find victory through Christ
-mistrust the world and encourage separation
Social Gospel (Walter Rauschenbush)- religious action on behalf of poor indicative of validity of a person's faith -> private Christians view showing interesting in social concern as suspicious
aproach to city: keep distance, pray and evangelize, but the city is not a redeemable place
-experiance of Gospel is powerful but thin, underdeveloped sense of the fullness of salvation, focused on battles against activities of a worldly culture and s0 more subtle values of culture have crept in I.E. individuality
- limited in range of impact, generally a white, middle class phenomenon
Public Christians (p. 53):
Matt 25:31-46 When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'
"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'
"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'
"They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'
"He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'
"Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."
focus: transformation of the world by creating institutions in the city
- due to concern with pragmatic (of or pertaining to a practical point of view) results over precise doctrine = weakening of theological distinction -> loss of credibility, taking cues from intellectual culture rather than any unique Christian perspective
aproach to city: feed hungry and provide social services, doesn't necessarily represent churches well, notice and invest in the city
- failed to acknowledge limited role of the kingdom in building the ultimate scope of things
- failed to realise battle for Kingdom takes place in the individual's heart
"private Christians see people in the city and public Christians see abstract institutions." (p. 57)
"a good place for both to start would be to recognize cities and how God might be already using their cities for the purpose of redemption." (p. 56)
Jay Clark(e) is Emily Jackson:
Friday, July 25, 2008
The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your soul in drought, and strengthen your bones; you shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.
Those from among you shall build the old waste places; you shall raise up the generations of many generations; and you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach, The Restorer of Street to Dwell In.
currently listening to: Iron and Wine
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
But whoever has this world's goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?
My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.
[1 John 3:16-18]
I am ready to move. I will be closer to campus and will have lots of windows in my room. I will also be so close to Tate St Coffee. I am ready for a change. Part of me is ready for never moving again. David came by tonight and we said goodbye to him since he's going to Mexico for the semester. Laura Jo called and told me she was engaged at last. I am ready for the future. I love where I am. I hate change and I want it. I am probably confused.
Today I got a new journal. I got a sketchbook because all of the journals had lines in them and I hate that. I also sat in an aisle at Barnes and Noble and read art history books for a bit. I stole flowers from campus today. I figure that I pay enough for tuition that I can steal flowers every now and then.
I might get a hair cut. It can always grow.
The days when you realize things about yourself are hard sometimes. Today was one of those, I think. I guess I'll leave off with this.
Psalm 4:8 "I will both lie down in peace and sleep; For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety."
currently listening to: Nichole Nordeman, Brave
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Leah and I played with the camera in the dark tonight. I now have my own version of Da Vinci's Vitruvian Man, which we made on purpose. Although the moon is blurry, which means my hand moved.
That is all, really.
Friday, July 18, 2008
Weatherspoon Art Museum [check.]
Grasshoppers game [check.]
Greensboro Arboretum [check.]
Greensboro Bicentennial Garden [check.]
N.C. Zoo [check.]
Greensboro Historical Museum
Greensboro Children's Museum
Guilford Courthouse National Military Park
Greensboro Opera Company
Natural Science Center
Tannenbaum Historic Park
Walking tour of downtown Greensboro with headphones
That's all for now. I think that could keep me busy for a while.
Today I went to the Weatherspoon Art Museum. I loved it. I'd been there once before but that was for class and I had to go, plus they change up the art work, so I had to go check it out. My favorite piece that I saw was quite possibly an untitled piece by Jonathan Herder. It was made out of postage stamps, in essence a stamp collage. I seriously stood there forever just looking at it. I was in awe.
[This wasn't the one, but this is an example. You can't really see it like you could in person.]
The exhibit upstairs was called TRANSactions and it was contemporary Latino and Latin American art. There was this one photograph and it was absolutely stunning. It was this woman at the beauty parlor (for lack of a better word; I feel stupid saying "beauty parlor") and she was having her hair washed. It was just so well shot. There was dye on the towel that she had on her lap and you could see her wedding ring on her hand and her facial expresion. Again, I just stood there for what seemed ages. There was also a photo shot in Uganda in one of the refugee camps and it was of this girl who'd just found out that her parents had been killed and the photographer was rushing to take this photo and it didn't come out clear but it looked like an impressionist painting and it was amazing.
My favorite gallery was one of photographs by Dawoud Bey. He took portraits of high school kids and next to the kids was a short biography that they'd written about themselves. I will be the first one to admit that I cry easily but some of these photos with the bios had me tearing up. It was kinda crazy. These kids talked about their struggles and their dreams and who they were and who they wanted to be, who they wanted to be like, who they didn't want to be like. They were beautiful. I loved it.
And that my friends is my assessment of the Weatherspoon Art Museum. But know that they do not like you to take in water, so if you bike there, expect to die of thirst.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
I've been thinking about Elijah in 1 Kings 19 lately. I love that story. Elijah is so discouraged and he's afraid for his life and so he runs away and he ends up in this cave and God asks him what he's doing there. And he tells God that he has been serving Him and that he's all alone and that they're going to kill him. So God tells him to go stand out on the mountain and first a wind passed by, then an earthquake and then a fire, but God wasn't in any of those things. Then, a still small voice comes and God is in that. And God asks Elijah again what he's doing and Elijah tells God how he feels again and God says, go back.
I don't know why I feel compelled to keep reading that story. I just know that God will show up, and somehow speak comfort. I feel like in this story Elijah looks for God in showy, distracting things and that's easy to do. But in the end, God is whispering to Elijah.
I guess I feel like in a way, mentally I am Elijah and God is whispering, "Why are you here?"
I would have to reply, "I really don't know. I just want to serve you and do what's right according to you and I just don't even know how I got to this place! What am I doing here?" and God whispers, "Go back. Try again. Tomorrow's a new day."
currently listening to: everybodyfields
real time: 12:55 AM
weekend plans: working at the inn from 5 to 9, home, and Sammie Jo's baby shower.