Monday, June 30, 2008

Intro to Religion

I woke up today very excited about going to class. I can't really explain why I get so excited when I begin a new class. I think I love the idea of learning and the possibility of new knowledge gives me a strange rush.

My professor today in Intro to Religion, I think was so bent on making himself seem objective and distanced, "intellectual" about religion, that he came across as angry and religion hating. He has a phd in religion, he can't hate it.

I think it's very strange to approach religion as a social phenomenon.

That's all for now.

Oh but my professor's name is Timothy Luckritz Marquis and I sat in class making a list of nicknames for him. Timmy, Lucky, Lucky Tim. The possibilities are endless.

I also drew a picture of him. Maybe I'll show you later.

real time: 11:19 PM, bed time.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Sunday Thoughts

Church today was good. Greg's on sabbatical but Dave Plank (my friend Lauren's Dad) talked today. He tried to condense ... a million sermons into one, but I was able to take away some good things, with my finely honed note taking skills.

One thing that I took away was that my value as a child of God is not based on my impact. I think I forget that God just loves me. I feel like I have to serve God in a large way. One of my favorite quotes is by Mother Teresa and she says to do small things with big love. I love that concept, but even still I get unfocused and forget that God doesn't need me, but is willing and pleased to use me.

Mr. Plank talked about Jacob and how through his struggles with God he gains his true identity. I began to think about how, for us, it seems like things happen so quickly in the Bible. For example, Jacob loves Rachel and a few verses later he's married to her so it seems simple. But really it was 14 years later. 14 years of hard work and learning. Imagine how much Jacob must have struggled and questioned and longed in those years. And for 7 of those years, he was married to pokey ol' Leah instead of the woman he loved. (I mean, don't get me wrong, I feel sorry for Leah, but think about it from Jacob's perspective too.) What seems long to us is nothing in the end. I am too tired to keep writing.

I worked for 3.5 hours at the inn today cleaning rooms, and despite the belief of certain Osborne boys, it is hard work. And I will babysit tonight.

Gosh, I wish it would rain.

currently listening to: Sufjan, Size Too Small
currently reading: Three Musketeers
currently feeling: worn out and sickly.
real time: 5:28

Saturday, June 28, 2008

I'm taking the praxis today at 12.

Dear Lord Jesus,

I'm taking the praxis today. I'm a little nervous because I'm not very good at math and I haven't passed the past two times I've taken it. Can you please give me Albert Einstein's brain or Blaise Pascal's brain for just about an hour today? Or could you just make my brain really awesome. I know that I know math, I just need you to help me solve for the right answer, or guess really well. If I could get the chance, I think that I could be a really good teacher. So please, calm my nerves, give me confidence, and help me to do my best. Or better than my best, so I can actually pass. I love you a lot.



1:55. I PASSED.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Hi, from the Green Bean!

I can't get internet at Dayna's so for some reason, instead of going home, I came here, to the Green Bean.

I was at Dayna's earlier this afternoon to take Sugar on a walk. We walked to the park where the beautiful community garden is. It's so exciting to see plants growing there, since spring break GUPies in 2007 helped begin to get things ready for it. There were kids playing and as soon as they saw us, they yelled, "A puppy!" and ran over. I never realized what a kid magnet dogs were. So anyways, this little girl came up to me and was standing very close to me carrying on a conversation. I don't have personal space, so I didn't mind, I just notice when other people don't either, if that makes sense. I asked her her name, and she told me about 3 names. I don't remember her actual name, which was really pretty, just the nicknames, "Pooh Bear" and "Samantha". She told me that when she grew up she wanted to be an artist. She told me that I should put a picture of my Grandma in my locket. (I'm sitting here smiling in the coffee shop while I write this. I can't help it.) One little girl showed me how to hoolahoop. She could do 3 at a time. I can barely do one. Something to work on, I guess. One tried to get me to play ping pong with her, which would have been no fun for her...or me really. I missed the day in school where we worked on hand eye coordination. One little girl was afraid of Sugar, which was the craziest thing ever to me, since Sugar is rather small as dogs go.

There's really no point to this, only that my park excursion made me pretty happy and I thought I would make note of it.

[Sunflower from the community garden]

currently listening to: Peter, Bjorn and John, Young Folks
current real time: 5:00
currently feeling: sickly
currently eating: raspberry muffin and coffee of the day
currently about to: study for the praxis which I take on Saturday

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Trust and a Kitchen Table

On Sunday Marc Cockerham gave his story in church, along with Lindsay and Gail. They all were really brave to get up in front of the church and tell about their less than perfect lives. Something that stood out from Marc's story to me was that he said this, "If I let God be in control of my life, what will he allow to happen." I think that that is a question that we as finite creatures ask. We can't see the future, we are afraid to trust in God. It's not safe to trust in a God that is not one of your creation. In "The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe", I think C.S. Lewis says it best, God is not safe, but He's good. Sometimes though, it's hard to see God's goodness cause we get bogged down by looking around us at the world.

This morning, I was reading in Hosea, as I have been doing, and every time I read though there is this one verse that just stands out so much to me. Hosea 11:8, "How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I hand you over, Israel? How can I make you like Admah? How can I set you like Zeboiim? My heart churns within me; My sympathy is stirred." God's love for us is so...big. He lays out this entire case against Israel, how they've sinned and turned their backs on Him, and then he begins talking about how He loved Israel as a child, how He taught Ephraim how to walk, and He says again how they are backsliding people and then this verse, this question. How can I give you up?
That is some intense love.

And it is with that in mind that we can revisit Marc's question of, "If I let God be in control of my life, what will He allow to happen?" I don't know what He will allow to happen, but I know that I am deeply loved and from that I can take courage that whatever happens, was permitted by a God who loves me dearly and I can trust that in the end, somehow it will be for the betterment of my soul and His Kingdom.

Let's shift gears here. I think that there are two things that I think are very important to a house. When I grow up and get a house, I think that having a porch is imperative. (if we're really going to dream big, I think a screened in porch would be the most delightful thing ever.) If you have a porch then you can sit there and invite people up, or talk to people that are passing. A porch is relational. I have also decided that the kitchen table is the most important piece of furniture in the house. Just think of all the good things that happen around a kitchen table, eating being one of them. That was completely random but I'd been thinking about it.

Here's something else I've been thinking about. Last night a friend and I went to watch her Dad play softball in Glenwood. I was completely comfortable, felt absolutely safe and at home. I didn't even think about how she felt. When we left, there were some people from the neighborhood watching the game. I made the comment that they were watching some white people play some ball. She laughed and said, "Well that's good. Then they'll know it's a church group..." In my mind I began to process through this. I didn't know what to say. That's not the way I'd viewed it all. To me, it seemed like just another bunch of middle class families, using their park and then leaving, church group or not. They had no interest in the neighborhood, or the going ons there, they just wanted to play ball and leave, hoping that they wouldn't run into any of the Glenwood inhabitants, hoping their cars wouldn't get broken into, hoping nothing dangerous would happen. My friend then proceeded to talk about how she didn't feel safe and how I needed to be careful staying at Dayna's this week. I just felt really, really sad. People are afraid to drive through Glenwood because they've never interacted with the people that live there. They've only heard stories. Glenwood isn't a good neighborhood, but it is full of beautiful people and wonderful families, just like any other neighborhood. But wait, you say, Glenwood is also full of crack houses, and prostitutes. You're crazy to think that your neighborhood doesn't. Maybe not like that, but you are not safe anywhere, because people are everywhere and people are sinful. The crazy thing is that this goes back to what will God allow to happen to you, if you are following Him. If something happens to me because I am following God and loving people in Glenwood, then he allowed it to happen and He will provide for those it effects.

current time: 12:13
currently listening to: the everybodyfields

Friday, June 20, 2008

This sermon was given in March, and I still think about it.

In March, Greg gave the best sermon I have ever heard. I really do still think about what he said, which is crazy, because it was in March. Katie and I had a conversation about people in her Religion class who think Christians just want to go to Heaven so they can watch everyone suffer in Hell. (As if we will have nothing better to do than sit there and watch them.) I've heard other views too. I don't even really think Christians have a right doctrine of Heaven. I guess that's why this sermon was incredible to me. And actually applicable to my life.

March 16, 2008 - Greg [Spring Garden]

Revelation 21, 22

We long for something better.
This impacts our lives now.
Should not make us live small lives.

Heaven is the fuel that makes us live radically and passionately.

Doctrine of Heaven

- Gives us a reason to live "better" now.
God will redeem and heal creation (not do away with it)
22:2 tree of life regenerated
Makes us become agents of healing, allows us to live/ love radically.

- Gives us hope and strength for this life
21, when John describes Heaven he says, "like", because Heaven is infinitely better
We know that something better is coming

-God as the Source
21:22-23, 22:5, God gives everything
God is not someone to get things from, what we really want at the core of it, is Him

What does it mean to begin to see God as the Source? How will that be reflected in my life?

And speaking of Heaven, Noah (age 3.5) and I had a conversation before he went to sleep last night about Jesus. He insisted that we read the story from his children's Bible where Jesus gets nailed to the cross. He told me that Jesus really got nailed there.
So I said, "Noah, why did Jesus get nailed to the cross."
Noah: He died for everyone.
Emily: Why did he have to die though?
Noah: For everyone.
Emily: Yes, he died for everyone, but he had to die because we're sinners. What's a sinner, Noah?
Noah: People who love God?
Emily: Noooo. Have you ever done something bad?
Noah: No.
Emily: Have you ever hit Joshua (age 1.5)
Noah: No, but this one time Joshua hit me in the nose with a baseball bat.
Emily: Okay, well have you ever gotten angry at your parents?
Noah: No, but this one time Joshua got really mad.
Emily: Okay well, if you'd ever done something bad, that's why Jesus had to die on the cross.
Noah: If we love Jesus, when we die, we will live with Him in Heaven, but where is Jesus now?
Emily: Well, if you love Jesus, he lives in your heart. (Right about now, I had the thought that Christian theology is crazy.)
Noah: How does he break in there?
Emily: Well, it's not really like that. You just know He's there....
Noah: I don't feel Him.
Emily: You don't always. Good night, Noah.

I was trying so, so hard not to laugh because little Noah was so serious and I didn't make any sense and his answers and questions were so funny. Oh man...

In all my summers at camp, I never had such a precious, simple conversation with a child.

currently listening to: Hey There Delilah
current time: 10:20 AM
currently watching: three cats out my window and a boy stuffing all his early belongings into his coup. yesterday he was trying to fit a desk.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

This is a happy post, I think.

Last night the air was delicious and we opened the windows. It was so nice to sleep with the windows open and it gave me the opportunity to take pictures of the gorgeous moon.


And since I was at the window it gave me the opportunity to watch this man put flyers on everyone's car. I wanted to yell out my window, "HEY don't you put that on my car!" I was too afraid. I'm not sure what I expected the man on the ground to do to me on the third floor, except run up the stairs and and kick down my door and drop kick me...Last time someone put a flyer on my car, it rained, and it got stuck to my windshield. It's okay, I took incriminating pictures.

Oh but the fireflies were finally out. It's like waiting to see someone every year and when you finally see them, it's so exciting. I don't know what friend that would be, but it's exciting. It was the best surprise ever, I walked into the park and there they all were, waiting, glowing. I caught one and it lit up in my hand. I can say with some certainty that it is summer.

Sometimes I'm moving so quickly that I don't get to notice everything that's so wonderful all around me. Oh Greensboro, you're lovely. [The rest of the world is lovely too, but I think I like Greensboro the best from what I've seen.]

currently eating/drinking: Funfetti cake and Chai tea, mmm.
current real time: 3:31

currently watch: Gilmore Girls (shocker...I know...) Season 3

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I am watching soccer with Josh (he's using me for my cable)

I guess really this is a follow up to my post yesterday. God is so gracious. Last night I got a phone call from Taylor and Oceana and Asiaha. Taylor called and was like "Hey Emily, what are you doing?" I cannot tell you how excited I got. She was like, "We're all here (minus my little Lesli)." And little fifth grade voices yelled, "Hi Emily."

I got off the phone and cried because God was very gently reminding me not to give up. The timing couldn't have been more perfect. Those kids are the whole reason I want to teach. They called me up and I was reminded of how dear they are and how absolutely excited I get to spend time with them and hear about their lives.

I went and talked to the education department today. We'll see what happens.


If you debate for a second when God has spoken, it is all up. Never begin to say, "I wonder if He did speak?" Be reckless immediately, fling it all out on Him. You do not know when His voice will come, but whenever the realization of God comes in the faintest way imaginable, recklessly abandon. It is only by abandon that you recognize Him. You will only realize His voice more clearly by recklessness. - Oswald Chambers, June 18.

current time: 3:45 PM

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I do not deal with my own failures well.

Well, there are many deep and otherwise genius topics that I could choose to discuss on here today. Like why is the sky blue, or what did I read about in my Bonhoeffer book today, or what we talked about in African History, but instead I will talk about my stupidity. I don't say that for pity. Let me tell you a story about my life.

Contrary to popular belief, I have not always been the lame study on Friday nights, get things done a million days in advance person that I am now. When I was a Senior in high school, I'd never really thought about college. I didn't know what I wanted to do with myself, I just knew that I wanted to do something with kids. To be honest, I didn't really want to go to college right out of high school. I want to travel, or do something adventurous. I would have liked to have done a DTS (Discipleship Training School) or something else missions related. I would have liked to go and lived in another country for a while. But instead, my parents thought that it would be best if I went to college. So I landed at UNCG (where I wanted to be, if I had to be anywhere in a public UNC school system school), and I'm so thankful that I did because living in Greensboro has molded my life in ways I couldn't have imagined. But my Freshman year I ended up on academic probation. It's not that I don't love to learn. And it's not that I don't like school. It's not even that I'm not smart. I love learning, and I even like school and I am a smart girl most of the time, but I wasn't motivated because I had no purpose. I have to know why I am learning things, especially when it comes to general ed stuff. When I started to tutor, I slowly realized what I wanted to do, and fell in love with those kids, and I began to do better in school. But now, here it is, time for me to apply to the Teacher's Academy and I don't have the grades. I am scrambling to take a class summer session number two, so I can raise my GPA. I just don't know how I'll pay for school because it seems like I will never get to work enough this summer. I guess I will sell my kidneys.

Also, I can't seem to pass the Praxis. I've taken it twice now, and the first time I didn't pass by three points. This past time, I didn't pass by one (one...) point. I even had to get up and drive to Hickory at 5 in the morning to be there on time. I'm not good at math. I can't tell you how bitterly disappointed I feel in myself. I have this way of having unearthly expectations for myself. I don't know how I expect to live up to myself. and I am very good at being gracious to others who make mistakes, but grace to myself is something not easily granted. I realized the other day that these expectations are solely mine. God loves me no matter what. Whether or not I believe that sometimes is another story. To be honest, right now I am freaking out.

It's just that these are two huge things that need to take place in order for me to get into the school of ed, and in order for me to finish out my senior year. If I'm not in the school of ed, I can't student teach. If I don't student teach, I can't teach teach, unless

I guess it's just another opportunity to trust.

Perhaps sharing failures was personal, and perhaps other people would be embarrassed by their not so stellar school record and lack of abilities to pass a math test. In a way I am, and in a way I'm okay with sharing. I'm not afraid for people to know about my life, especially if they can take something away from it.

Well, I'm not so sure this voicing of my worries has relieved anything, so I think that I will bike somewhere and study.

Oceans and oceans of love (and of grace too, I hear),


current time: 5:04

Monday, June 16, 2008

Dear Monday, no one likes you.

Productivity is calling my name, but I am going to stave it off (1-2-3) a little longer.

This weekend was so good. I loved going home. It consisted of shopping trips with the power shopper Lindy and surprisingly, Dad came along. I can't even keep up with Lindy at the mall. I don't really even like the mall all that much. But I went and so did Dad, so we kept each other while Lindy zoomed from rack to rack, store to store.

Oooh, we roasted marshmallows on the barbecue. I just really wanted a s'more. So I began by roasting it over the stove and Mom wasn't a fan, so she said, why don't we go outside. We did. My s'more was delicious.

I worked on my quilt a bit. I'm not very good at sewing. It takes me a long time and I spend a lot of that time ripping out seams, but that's how you learn, I guess.

When I got back to Greensboro, I went with Katie and Lindsay to Foust Park AKA, the Salad Bowl and studied while listening to live jazz. I love doing things like that. It was like Greensboro was welcoming me back.

Only a few more days of summer school; I will miss it, I think.

[I just made jello.]

And now, for what you've all been waiting:

"The Breakfast Peach"

current time: 3:13

currently listening to: The Wannadies, You and Me
currently craving: fruit salad and a hamburger, isn't that summer-y?
currently wishing for: a guitar tuner, rain storms and mail besides the electricity bill
currently reading: Marianne Moore, Anne of Green Gables, Hosea

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Let's call this something alliterative like: "Injustice and False Infinites"

Today in African History, we learned about the Soweto Uprising. In 1976, a group of South African school children were peacefully protesting apartheid law (a collection of systematic, hateful and racist laws made by white minority, white supremacist government officials) affecting them in school. The government sent in the police who opened fire, killing and wounding as many as 600 children. I kept tearing up when I first began thinking about it; in class, in the bathroom while I was re-fixing my hair, as I walked to the Salad Bowl/ Foust Park to eat my lunch. It was only after that uprising that the US government began to be concerned about the way the South African government situation was treating it's citizens. One lady raised her hand in class, saying that the media has changed so much since then, and that people in the US didn't even know what was going on over there. But how many issues around the world do we know about and simply turn a blind eye to? Then I'm torn though, because I don't really feel like the US should be in everyone's business. But in the face of blatant injustice, how can we ignore the going ons (er...) of the world? Always, always I'm asking, so how does this apply to me personally? While I am interesting in philosophizing, and great big ideas and concepts, I want to constantly be growing and taking action, not simply mourning the injustices of the past. How do I get involved in fighting injustices where I am now?

I am always blown away at how undervalued people seem to think prayer is in fighting injustice or anything for that matter. It's a last resort. Today Em Garrett and Katie Call and I walked through the low income neighborhood where our church is located, praying that our church would develop a heart for the neighborhood where it is located, for the people we passed, for anything we thought of as we walked. We were fighting injustice and who can say the ramifications for the prayers prayed.

And now on to the "false infinites" part of our post. Switch gears here:

[Hosea 2:5,7]
"I will go after my lovers, who give me my bread and my water, my wool and my linen, my oil and my drink."
"I will return to my husband, for it was better for me then now"

How I feel these two statements from Gomer (Hosea's wife, a prostitute) describe us as people. I realize that that is the point, but today in my Bible dwelling, those statements stood out. Greg, my awesome pastor and friend, talks about how CS Lewis, my nerd crush, talks about false infinites. For Gomer, her false infinites, or the things she thought could bring her life, were her lovers and their provision. But suddenly her lovers are gone, she cannot overtake them. She is left empty and wanting more. So she returns to her husband, Hosea, knowing that he actually loves her and will provide for her. I'm sure you can see where we're going with this (and I'm sure you've heard it taken there before). Metaphorically speaking: Gomer = people, Hosea = God.

This got me wondering: what are my "false infinites"? I think that mine might be people/relationships, plans and consistency. Those things aren't bad in and of themselves, but when I rest in those, instead of resting in God, I am placing the weight of my soul on something that cannot support it.

currently listening to: My Girlfriend, Working Title [Heart (unplugged)]
current time: 7:24
currently watching: the weather. to bike or not to bike?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

No one looks good in camp pictures.

Today I was thinking about camp. I realized that for the first time in four years, I haven't seen kids every day of my week during the summer. It's funny because a lot of my friends in the school of ed are like, when I get out for the summer, I don't want to see a kid. That isn't how I feel at all. I miss kids.

I loved the anticipation of campers coming Sunday afternoon. I loved sitting there trying to guess which girls would be in the Miracle (aka, cabins 7 and 8).

Camp for me was always such a place of rest. I slept better at camp, even though it was hot and sticky. I miss falling asleep to the crickets and the frogs at night. I miss having porch time where I could talk out all my frustrations and laugh my head off and share about how campers were learning more about life in Christ, or maybe just about how they did something funny. I felt at home there. This is the first summer since I was 6 that I haven't been to camp at all.

[Except that one summer where I had to go to California to visit family instead of going to camp. I cried.]

Life was so much more simple at camp. I knew true fellowship and felt love and support. It was a great time to grow and to learn. I always felt challenged to love my kids and fellow staff deeper.

When I think back to how little I was when I first started as a counselor, I think that it is insane that they hired me. I was a whopping 17 years old, which is so crazy. I was so clueless, and I refused to take my whistle off [power trip]. I love how comfortable I became and how I used to dread staff meetings because I was afraid of the staff, and then I grew to love them because every one one staff became my friend. At camp I learned that God doesn't need me, but is willing and pleased to and many other important lessons.

It wasn't perfect, but it was a bubble of safety and it has never been easy to leave it and face the real world. I know it's part of growing up. I can't ever imagine loving a job so much. If I could, I would be a camp counselor for forever. I won't ever get over camp, but I hope that I love teaching just as much. Sometimes I think that we want to keep going back to a place because we've met God there before. Part of growing and trusting in God is knowing that as we move forward, He has already made a way and will be there for every bit of it.

currently listening to: The Shins

Monday, June 9, 2008

tv time and the terrible bug.

Not the best photo ever, but the lighting was horribly off. Anyways, this was my project for the evening. It was great in concept, maybe not so much in form, but it's a little plant and I hope it will grow (over the duct tape...).

This bug is ugly and was on our ceiling. I have no idea what it is, but I took a picture from the ottoman and made faces while Katie killed it.

Way to be brave, Katie.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Today in church Greg said, "Jesus messed with the pharisees feng shui" and I laughed.

Today I woke up and I was very tired. I was planning on going to two church services: one at Grace so I could go to the Glenwood tutoring kids' bake sale and two at Spring Garden because I am so lonely for community these days. I decided to sleep in and just go to Grace instead because I really needed to rest because I've been working a lot and really, staying up much later then I've intended to. I finally got up at 10, dragged myself to the kitchen to start a pot of coffee and dragged back to the bathroom for a shower. Once in the shower, I began to wake up and I started thinking about all of the Glenwood kids and I got so freaking excited. I think the prospect of seeing the kids made me more excited than Christmas did this past year. I'm not kidding. I don't really know the middle schoolers because all the kids I've worked with have been fourth graders but I know a couple of the younger kid's siblings, and I was excited to see them. I hoped that I would see Julio, Lesli's older brother and Jason, who I drove to Grace for tutoring with his younger sister Jessica. I walked up to Grace and there was Jason. I was so excited and so, so glad to see him. And all the kids really. Even if I didn't know them, a lot of them I recognized. I wanted to hug every single one of them, but of course that wouldn't have been cool. So instead, I chatted with Jason. It was so good and so missed. Those children are so precious. I don't mean precious as in "aren't they cute," I mean as in so valuable and so dear to me. God has taught me so much about unconditional love through those kids. And so much about myself and who I am.

When I first began tutoring, that's when I really first began to find out what I was passionate about, and so I changed my major to Education and English. They are why I get up and go to school. I can't imagine my life without them.

I really miss them more than anyone else this summer and that is saying something.

(Me and Jason at the United Healthcare Marathon, bahaha.)

Saturday, June 7, 2008

"I'd live this life any day."

Life is so delightful right now. I think sometimes I never let myself admit that I am happy. Sometimes I think that I think that if I admit that I'm happy then it's like settling. Does that make any sense? So I am taking this time to say that I am glad for where I am. I am in the city I love best. I am getting to take classes, which for some strange reason, I am loving. It's wonderful to remember that you like to learn. I'm working, which I value. I've gotten to ride my bike a lot, drink coffee and read. I have good friends and a dear family. I am growing and it's summertime. (It's so much easier for me to enjoy things when I'm warm.)

I moved my my bed and the way it is lets me look at all my post cards on my wall from all sorts of places and my Andy Warhol posters, and I like looking at my room better this way.

Sometimes it's just good to bask in the glory of what a wonderful day you're having. We're so quick to move on.

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for where you have me no. And may I pray this same prayer even when life isn't as perfect.


Currently listening to: Dabney Morris and a very happy bird outside my window
Currently reading: I finished Rebecca last night and I will start The Three Musketeers today.
Current time: Nap time or 1:36 PM

Friday, June 6, 2008

Vunerability in Holding Things Loosely

One of my favorite authors is Henri J.M. Nouwen. In his book With Open Hands, he talks about prayer as an act of giving things to God and how this makes us feel vulnerable, because while we know God is trust-worthy, we don't know what will happen. When I think of open handed-ness, I think of Abraham and Isaac. Isaac was promised to Abraham. Abraham had waited for him, trusted for him, wanted him. Isaac was the Abraham's cherished and beloved son, his heir, the means through which God would make him the father of nations. That was what God required from Abraham, to see the posture of Abraham's heart.

I've been thinking so much about Africa lately. Partly because I'm in African History and partly because if all had gone according plans, I guess, I would be getting ready to go to Kenya. And because it's a place that I think about. It just seemed that God was opening doors right and left. I'd wanted to go to Africa for so long, several years, and it wasn't a quick decision. The time seemed right, it seemed like God was drawing my heart to that continent even more and that this summer was the time to finally, finally go. My parents were against it at first and over the course of the semester, I saw their hearts change and I was so excited. And then in December, I got a phone call telling me because I wasn't sure how I would pay for college in the fall, I needed to withdraw my application. The only thing I could think of was how I must have somehow been wrong even though I felt like I'd been earnestly seeking God's heart. If that was the place all of my wrestling had brought me, to a dead end, what else could I be wrong about? It was a scary place to be. Last night David said, "maybe God just wanted to see if you were willing?" I still don't know what I think, but what I do know is that I have to learn how to hold things loosely. Nothing is mine. It goes back to meekness like we talked about at Rockbridge. Being willing to give up rights. To give up what is "mine". No thing, no person, no idea or concept is mine to hold onto.

Nouwen writes, "you feel safer to cling to a sorry past than to trust in a new future. So you fill your hands with clammy coins which you don't want to surrender... How do I open my closed hands? Don't be afraid of Him who wants to enter the space where you live, or to let him see what you are clinging to so anxiously. Don't be afraid to show the clammy coin which will buy so little anyway."

Currently listening to: Emery acoustic
Currently reading: Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
Current time: 3:30
Next activity: eating lunch, taking a nap

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Isaiah 54:4-8

"Fear not; you will no longer live in shame. The shame of your youth and the sorrows of widowhood will be remembered no more, for your Creator will be your husband. The LORD Almighty is his name! He is your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, the God of all the earth. For the LORD has called you back from your grief--as though you were a young wife abandoned by her husband," says your God. "For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with great compassion I will take you back. In a moment of anger I turned my face away for a little while. But with everlasting love I will have compassion on you," says the LORD, your Redeemer.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Glenwood revisited

I am thinking today what a privilege it is that I can sit here in this day and not be afraid. There is such a subtle danger to this because I am so privileged and so unafraid that I forget...Today in African History, we learned the heartbreaking history of the Congo. It's complicated, but basically Leopold of Belgium won rights to the Congo as his colony in the Berlin Conference, where Africa was carved up by Europe into the sections that they wanted to control. Leopold allowed a concession company to glean rubber from the Congo. The concession company began to force the people to find rubber for them. Rubber was in demand because bikes were invented, and then cars were, so there was what's called the "Rubber Boom" from 1890 to 1910. The set up rubber gathering centers with armed sentries there force the people to do what they wanted. If the people couldn't provide what they wanted, they would kill them or hurt them in some way. We looked at pictures of people, of precious children whose arms and legs were cut off or maimed. While Leopold was in control, ten million people died due to violence, famine and disease. The people still divide their history by the time before rubber and the time after. Something happened though. People, missionaries, began to take a stand. They began to send reports home telling about the atrocities. This became an international issue which led to the Congo Reform Movement in which a British journalist went to the Congo to gather reports and photos of what was happening. If the missionaries hadn't been there, they couldn't have made that stand and begun to work for change. We have injustices here in our own cities. King Leopolds still cut off arms and legs, breaking spirits and hearts if we, who are Christians and who worship a God who loves justice, do not engage. Living in quiet, removed-ness beings a safety of one kind. It brings safety for your physical self, but I'm afraid that in that safety, another type of danger takes hold. You begin to think that that is all there is.

Let's not forget that "The Word became flesh and dwelt among us." I've been thinking about all week how Hebrews talks about how Jesus became like us and so He understands what we go through. It's very hard for us to love our neighbors when we don't know them. It's very hard for us to share people's struggles when, well, we don't. mmm. I might be babbling, it's hard to tell sometimes.


Here are my thoughts on English class:
A. People cannot read and they are in college. (I'm not kidding.)
B. People have an appalling lack of vocabulary and they are in college. (They don't know what simple words like sepulchre and boughs mean.)
C. I spoke two times today and I read. Good job, Em.
D. Wallace Stevens poem "Sunday Morning" makes him bff and soul sister with Nietzsche.
E. 2 commas doesn't equal "a whole lot of commas."

That is all for today.

Currently listening to: Badly Drawn Boy
Currently feeling: Quite happy to have gotten a note in the mail
Currently watching: The boy out my window walk his really small dog.
Current time: 5:34

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

I added to my things to do before I die list today.

Write a book
Go backpacking
Teach in another country
Go on staff with InterVarsity
Get my masters in Reading and get an add on in ESL
Live and teach in a low income neighborhood
Start a charter school for low income children
Have foster children
Have my own children
Go back to Mexico
Learn another language
Lead someone to Christ ( God willing )
Make straight As for a semester
Memorize a book of the Bible
Fall in love and learn to live it out for 70 some years
Learn to be not easily angered, full of love in every manner
Go on a road trip
Grow a tree
Be in a play (post childhood)
Go to Africa and hold orphans
See NY skyline

Added today:
See the Northern Lights
Ride in a school bus

I've never done anything on my list. And of course, I don't have to do everything... But here it is, so take note. Some day, I will have done some awesome things.

Monday, June 2, 2008

It takes a lot of creativity to come up with a good title sometimes...

So I'm taking this class about the history of Africa and lately we've been talking about the influx of Europeans during the 19th century due to colonialism, explorers and missionaries. We've been reading documents from those three groups of people and I've been very saddened to see how Africans were viewed by all three groups of those people, but especially those who went in the name of Christ. Here's a quote from a man, named Count Gobineau, who wrote an article called "Influence of Christianity upon Moral and Intellectual Diversity of Races" in 1856, "Intellect and learning are not necessary to salvation...I do not expect ever to see among [Africans] learned theologians, great statesmen, able military leaders, profound mathematicians, or distinguished artists..." How these thoughts must have grieved God. I know that people are flawed beyond belief, and God's people are not any different. This quote is from a European who is down playing and degrading Africans, but the truth of it is that people are always doing such things. Africans were enslaving Africans. It happens all over the world every day, but the thing that upsets me in this situation was that it was the church sending missionaries over to tell Africans to disregard their culture, telling them it had no part in the kingdom of Heaven and to preach equality while supporting inequality. Oh church, how do our heart stray so far from God's?

I was just thinking about that as I left class today.

Today I quit Caribou. I had worked there two days and got yelled at for things I didn't know to do, was belittled and made to feel stupid for asking questions, etc, all by my manager. Several times customers asked the manager to take it easier on us. The other boy that was training with me yesterday said, "If she yells at me one more time, I'm going to throw my apron at her, tell her I quit and got get high." I said, "Me too...Minus getting high." To which he replied, "To each his own."

So today, I called and quit. I was so excited about that job. After I quit, I felt so excited about life and going to school. Those two days were killer for my morale. I just felt so stupid and crushed and worthless. I cried both days when I got off. I realized that she wasn't a teacher, but those methods just weren't affective, nor were they professional.

I called the Inn to see if they still had a job for me, and I should start sometime next week. Not only that, but the family I've been babysitting is out of town this week and a family that I hadn't heard from to babysit in a while called me to babysit. This morning I had just prayed that God would still give me a babysitting job this week, and He did. OH, that reminds me. Oswald Chambers had a good point the other morning. (That makes it sound like we were hanging out.) He said "It's much easier to do something than to trust in God; we mistake panic for inspiration. That is why there are so few fellow workers with God and so many for Him. We would far rather work for God than believe in Him. Am I quite sure that God will do what I cannot do?" Smart, eh? Oh my gosh, and this one too.

Oswald, part two: "Supposing God tells you to do something that is an enormous test to your common sense, what are you going to do? If a man is going to do anything worthwhile, there are times when he has to risk everything on his leap, and in the spiritual domain Jesus Christ demands that you risk everything that you hold by common sense and leap into what he says and immediately you do, you find that what He says fits on as solidly as common sense. Trust entirely in God and when He brings you to a venture, see that you take it. We act like pagans in a crisis, only one out of a crowd is daring enough to bank his faith in the character of God."

Wasn't that good? You might want to re-read it several times. (Go ahead, I'll wait for you.)

Today was a wonderful day.

There is a man, on a ladder, right outside my window...

Currently eating:
Currently reading: Anna Karenina, Discourse on Colonialism, and Wallace Stevens
Currently listening to:
Leah singing in the shower; don't worry, she's taking requests. Lawn mowers, weed whackers, and the occasional train.