Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Random Post

With all the traveling I've been doing the last few years (not an outlandish amount, but definitely more than the rest of my life) I thought I'd share a few weird slightly off things I wouldn't dare leave home without.

- Athletic tape. I've been an athlete all my life, and athletic tape can really help you out, whether it's soreness in your knees, ankles, wrists, arches, achilles, or just a blister that won't quit rubbing.

- Stamps and envelopes. You could buy them anywhere, but bringing them along gives me no excuses not to write.

- Starbucks Via. You just never know when you'll need some good coffee.

- Umbrella. I bring one everywhere! Megan made fun of me on my GOV internship for being the first intern to bring her own umbrella. And guess what? When we were stuck running through the pouring rain, that umbrella served us well.

- For a longer trip, journals for the last year of my life. They serve as such strong encouragement, and even entertainment.

- A set of different colored pens or markers. When I was 8, I read in American Girl Magazine that you should not write in your journal in the same color every day. I have faithfully stuck by this principle ever since.

- Leg warmers. I'm a freak, what can I say? I became known for them at track meets, because I absolutely detest pole vaulting in pants, but leg warmers still keep your legs warm while allowing your coach to see your body better (and what it's doing). Plus they're super easy to take off over spikes. They're also good for buses or other times you randomly get just a little bit cold.

I think that about covers all the odd stuff. Anyone else?

Bonus: one thing many people bring but I NEVER do.

A pillow. I don't use pillows; in fact I toss them right off the bed, so that's one item that's never made it to my packing list.

One Way Ticket

My bags are more or less packed, errands have been run, and now I await my early morning departure on Saturday. I have never purchased a one way ticket like this, not knowing exactly when I'll be coming home. I thought it would make me stressed and nervous, but it's so exciting! In all likelihood, I will be returning here around Thanksgiving time, but not knowing for sure has put me in a place to rely on God and trust in His timing. I will cheer on my cross country teammates from afar and stalk all their results compulsively. It's nice that even though I'm not on campus, I'm still stateside this time. It makes communication much easier and cheaper. I do have some international stamps with Liztowne's name on them though, and my mom gave me a stationary kit she found and has no use for. I love writing letters, so if you want one, shoot me your address/box number (Beloiters) and I'll try to write you at least once.

I am so beyond excited for this semester, and for the opportunities and blessings the Lord has bestowed upon me. I've never been to upstate New York in the fall, and I've heard awesome things about it, so I'm pumped for that, as well as the time to work on my thesis, and to minister to young adults. Of course there's also the typical excitement about being a senior, and I'm a nerd so I'm looking forward to picking out my last classes the first week of November. Then there will be applying for jobs, and before I know it, looking for housing and all those other details that come with graduating. But for now, I'm going to try to take it one day at a time, and enjoy the spirit of adventure that my one way ticket has given me.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Job 28. Good stuff. I'm just going to go ahead and post the whole chapter. Enjoy

“Surely there is a mine for silver,
    and a place for gold that they refine.
Iron is taken out of the earth,
    and copper is smelted from the ore.
Man puts an end to darkness
    and searches out to the farthest limit
    the ore in gloom and deep darkness.
He opens shafts in a valley away from where anyone lives;
    they are forgotten by travelers;
    they hang in the air, far away from mankind; they swing to and fro.
As for the earth, out of it comes bread,
    but underneath it is turned up as by fire.
Its stones are the place of sapphires,
    and it has dust of gold.
“That path no bird of prey knows,
    and the falcon's eye has not seen it.
The proud beasts have not trodden it;
    the lion has not passed over it.
“Man puts his hand to the flinty rock
    and overturns mountains by the roots.
10 He cuts out channels in the rocks,
    and his eye sees every precious thing.
11 He dams up the streams so that they do not trickle,
    and the thing that is hidden he brings out to light.
12 “But where shall wisdom be found?
    And where is the place of understanding?
13 Man does not know its worth,
    and it is not found in (J)the land of the living.
14 The deep says, ‘It is not in me,’
    and the sea says, ‘It is not with me.’
15 It cannot be bought for gold,
    and silver cannot be weighed as its price.
16 It cannot be valued in the gold of Ophir,
    in precious onyx or sapphire.
17 Gold and glass cannot equal it,
    nor can it be exchanged for jewels of fine gold.
18 No mention shall be made of coral or of crystal;
    the price of wisdom is above pearls.
19 The topaz of Ethiopia cannot equal it,
    nor can it be valued in pure gold.
20 “From where, then, does wisdom come?
    And where is the place of understanding?
21 It is hidden from the eyes of all living
    and concealed from the birds of the air.
22 Abaddon and Death say,
    ‘We have heard a rumor of it with our ears.’
23 “God understands the way to it,
    and he knows its place.
24 For he looks to the ends of the earth
    and sees everything under the heavens.
25 When he gave to the wind its weight
    and apportioned the waters by measure,
26 when he made a decree for the rain
    and a way for the lightning of the thunder,
27 then he saw it and declared it;
    he established it, and searched it out.
28 And he said to man,
‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom,
    and to turn away from evil is understanding.’”


Tonight, I stood in my college president's backyard, surrounded by classmates, including an inner circle of close friends, and toasted to our last year at Beloit College.  Where else does that happen? It made me love Beloit so much, in all of its weirdness and unique challenges. President Bierman (Scotty B) said he will always share something special with our class, because we entered Beloit together. It was corny, but nice. I stood with most of the cross country seniors - people with whom I have shared library closing nights followed by morning practice 6 hours later, sweaty hugs, high fives, boowhooops, hard hard workouts that I can't believe I did, pink watches, dirty dinners (go directly to dinner, DO NOT shower, or even change clothes), tears, laughs, mental health days, birthdays, breakups, frisbee tossing, homecomings, wipeouts, rain storms, snow storms, windstorms, heat exhaustion, break downs, symposium days, and the occasional class ;) I'm going to be on of those thoughtful annoying seniors, and I'm just going to have to accept that (and you are too, if you wish to continue to read this blog).

It was appropriate that immediately following the toast, we jetted off for one of our classic workouts - hills at the South Beloit Boys and Girls Club. It wouldn't be BCXC without the B&G. Although I'm obviously not running this season, I was the moral support, and learned the freshmen's names, as we will be teammates come January. Our coordinator coaxed me into playing his game, and talking about all the opportunities Beloit affords you, like studying abroad, double majoring, and internships. And when a few friends needed just a touch more encouragement than I could give on the sidelines, I jumped in for a few repeats myself.

I gave my pink watch and blue bike new homes for the fall, and their owners were so happy. I said some final farewells, and now all that's left to do is pack up and head out.

Memorable farewells:

Jane: "There's something different about you; you just look so happy. You always look happy, but this is true happiness". The last time Jane saw me, I was pulling up to 18 hour days back to back to back. Of course I probably look much more refreshed and relaxed! Praying for your ministry, Jane!

Jason: "I love you. Thanks for the watch. I'll miss you. I love you" All accompanied by an enormous sweaty Jason hug. I went to high school with Jason so we know each other pretty well. He's a good guy, and looked like a beast on those hills today. Have a great semester, Jas, and run fast! It's going to be great.

Betsy: "Are we really doing this another 4 months? But at least now we both have unlimited texting that won't cost a million dollars. Texting all the time. Love you. Miss you. Love you" I love this girl, and I can't believe the number of times we've held each other in goodbye hugs. Too many lately, but that's life. Keep your hopes up, Betsy, and talk to me anytime. Love you, and have a good semester.

Maggie: "Hug me! I love you. I'm going to miss you! I'll write you letters and actually send them not like last time when I would write them and then they'd be out of date by the time they got to Senegal so I only sent that one (if it sounds like a run on sentence, good). But text me all your random thoughts. I love you, Kate" This one's special. She's not a freshman baby anymore, and she's full of passion and more energy than she knows what to do with. Love you Mags, have a good one.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Delight My Soul

Last night I had a very Beloit College minus class day - an ounce of work and hours of play - sunbathing and frisbee playing, swimming with friends, then a summer bike ride home to the sound of Jamie Grace, making dinner, eating outside, then back to campus for further shenanigans.

Today almost all of my fellow seniors are taking in their last first day of school. I sat last night with Betsy in her bed, staying up far too late for her 9am Molecular and Cellular something something Biology class the next day, talking about our lives and our future and all that is so unknown.

It feels strange that they are starting school, but right that I am not. I prayerfully labored over this decision, and I know that God is sovereign. Despite all the stresses, and the heartache I am sure will come to me, I have hope. I know without a doubt that I will miss everyone, but I also know that going to Conesus is the right thing to do.

Yesterday I found out that I had straight As while in Senegal, and that I received 4 units instead of 3. My French major has been completed. I also finalized my internship/special project records, and will be receiving 3 units this semester. By December, I will have 30.5 units, and I only need 31 to graduate; the 0.5 will surely be my thesis, and Betsy and I are already looking to take at least one political science course together, as it's a mutual interest and would be a good way to finish out senior year. High on our list are the US Presidency, Constitutional Law, and US Political Thought. If I do indeed need another religious studies elective, I will also be joining Betsy (and Alissa) in biomedical ethics, with the hopes we can remain friends while taking that class together ;) She tried to tell me I should take chemistry so she could just do my homework for me (she's applied chemistry) but I told her 1) that's dishonest  2) she wouldn't be able to do the labs for me and that's the part I really loathe and 3) I actually did really well at the non-lab parts of chemistry back in high school. She also asked me what she should write her thesis on. How am I supposed to know?

It still hasn't hit me that by Saturday afternoon, I will be in New York, acquiring more experience and resources for my thesis.  I have to yet to solidify my thesis, but by the time I sit down to write it next spring, I will have been working on it for over a year and a half. Part 1 was Evangelical Identity and American Public Life. Part 2 was Evangelical Identity in Dakar, Senegal. Part 3 is Evangelical Identity and Youth Culture. Part 4 is going to be putting all that together. I really want to use my experiences abroad in a meaningful way, but I am not sure I have enough hard hands-on research for that. Maybe I'll just need to go back during winter break ;) (That's a joke. I don't have the cash flow for that one)

Tomorrow, I'll back up Beloit for Waukesha, where I will need to unpack, find winter clothes, re-pack for an undetermined amount of time (#onewayticket), hopefully see my baby sister before she heads to college (OH MY GOODNESS!!!! This I cannot believe!), spend time with my parents, and duck out again Saturday. It's insane, but the comforts of God delight my soul.

In the multitude of my anxieties within me,
Your comforts delight my soul. Psalm 94:19 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Jesus Sympathizes With Us

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:15-16 

A lot of chaos in my life right now...home things...not being at home things...moving messing up things...sister things...parents things...friends things...goodbye things...packing things...planning things

So things are a bit crazy. 

Pastor Tim asked me this morning how I was. After another poor night of sleep, I could only reply with one of my favorite Tozer quotes, 

“As long as Christ sits on the mediatorial throne, every day is a good day and all days are days of salvation”

But more importantly, I've been burying myself in God's word had the perfect verse of the day for me: 

You keep him in perfect peace
    whose mind is stayed on you,
    because he trusts in you.
Isaiah 26:3 

but you, O Lord, are on high forever. Psalm 92:8 

 Blessed be the Lord!
    For he has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy.
The Lord is my strength and my shield;
    in him my heart trusts, and I am helped;
my heart exults,
    and with my song I give thanks to him. Psalm 28:6-7

But he is unchangeable, and who can turn him back?
    What he desires, that he does.
14 For he will complete what he appoints for me,
    and many such things are in his mind. Job 23:13-14

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Saturday Night

I am lame


5pm Prep dinner. Butternut squash soup, green beans, sweet potato casserole, and turkey.

6:20pm Eat dinner, clear tables, etc.

7pm Read 2 Timothy, journal

7:50pm Play Boggle. Slaughter EVERYONE

8:30pm Go over Psalm 5 with Carolyn and Gabby

8:50pm Get ready for bed, say goodnight to kiddos

9:15pm Read Biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer in bed to relax before falling asleep

I turned 21 last week

I go to college

Most of my friends are back on campus

It's Saturday night

I am lame

And I love it

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Every Blessing You Pour Out

Today, I spent a few hours on campus, making myself available to see anyone who had time to spare. I've been hanging out with the cross country team pretty regularly, but not many others. I thought that I would have long blocks of time by myself, but that couldn't have been further from the truth! My computer and books sat in my backpack for the majority of the day, as friends kept stopping by to talk. I feel overwhelmingly blessed by these friendships, and know that God was so faithful to bring me to Beloit and provide me with all of these people in my life.

I wrote on facebook, "I have some of the most wonderful friends on the planet. God knew what he was doing when he sent me to Beloit, and I can't be thankful enough" 

Beloit College isn't exactly the poster school for Christians to make strong, meaningful friendships with a large number of people. And on paper, many of my friends and I shouldn't be friends. The best example is Betsy, but there are so many others. Beloit is such a unique place, and maybe I'm just getting sappy because I'm a senior, but I honestly do appreciate it so very much. I've talked a lot before about the opportunities it's given me, but rarely about the fact that I've come to know and love so many people who are very different, yet similar to me. 

I came home this afternoon after such an enriching day, and was overwhelmed with gratitude. I wrote in my journal, "I am so overwhelmed by the Lord's goodness and provision. Jesus really has changed my life in the best way possible. I am so aware of my unworthiness, and it only makes His goodness that much more astonishing" 

I remembered a song that I come back to a lot, Blessed Be Your Name . Many times in my life, I've focused on the lyrics that deal with praising the Lord even when things get hard. But right now, I am so focused on God's goodness: "Every blessing You pour out, I'll turn back to praise" I devoted a lot of my afternoon to praising God. After my birthday last night, even Betsy, who's not sure about God, texted me and said, "I have to believe God arranged tonight and our lives for us. It's all too perfect" I responded, "God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good", and she said, "Amen"

I'm so happy right now, and am praying that happiness continues to glorify God for as long as He gives it to me. I read this passage this afternoon, and it expresses so much of what is in my heart:

I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. 1 Timothy 1:12-17

On a Rooftop Down in Senegal

Four months ago, as I was preparing to come back to the U.S. after four months abroad, my friends warned me. They said that, months later, I would still ache for this now not-so-foreign country with every fiber of my being. Little things would take me back, and the longing would be unbearable. I didn’t believe them. I’m one of those people for whom the phrase “home is where your toothbrush is” has always been true. When I am here, I am here, when I am there, I am there. I love being in the present, and have never been homesick. So it’s killing me to admit that I miss Senegal so badly right now. Today, it was Kari Jobe’s “Savior’s Here”. I used to stand up on the roof of my school (The Baobab Center), and sing that over the nation that welcomed me so well, the nation that is home to some of the most unreached peoples in the world. That rooftop was one of the most nurturing places of my whole trip. I can close my eyes and see it all perfectly; I can feel the breeze rustling my hair into unruly tangles. I can see the hundreds of men bowed down in the streets on a Friday afternoon to pray, and I can hear the mosque’s call to prayer.
This is still one of my top five favorite pictures from Senegal. I think this is its third appearance on this blog. Sorry, I'm a girl obsessed. 

I like this one because you can see the people milling around, and the sun is bright and the sky is very blue. That's pretty much how it goes there. 

That tall fixture in the center is part of the mosque; it's the minorette from which the call to pray is given, five times each day. 

I remember my worship and Bible study times on that rooftop as if they had been written into my very soul. One day, I was reading about how the blind would one day see (Isaiah 29:18, Isaiah 35:5, Matthew 11:8). I started thinking about how amazing God was, that Jesus could and would save people who wouldn’t have a chance without Him. I was in awe of how someone who had never heard of Christ, who should never be saved, would be rescued by Him. Someone who didn’t have a chance would be gifted with eternal life. And then I realized that living in a majority Christian country doesn’t make my odds any better. I didn’t have a chance. I wasn’t open to Christ. I shouldn’t be saved. God is bigger than any factors that might prevent others from hearing the Gospel, and will save whom He wills despite our stone cold hearts. It is only the Holy Spirit that can make a dead heart come alive. This line of thinking helped me bring missions into the deepest part of my heart. It’s one thing when it’s “us” and “them”. But it’s another when you come to know that it’s all “we”. We are human; we suffer from sin. The thing that makes me different from the Senegalese Muslim is not where we were born, but Jesus, only Jesus. In the song I mentioned earlier, Kari Jobe sings, “You opened the blind eyes… you opened my blind eyes”. It’s my favorite part of the song, and one of the reasons I miss Senegal so badly whenever I hear it. It reminds me that all that I have is because of the grace of God alone, and that He who opened my hearts, is able to open the hearts of the Senegalese who have become such a grand part of my life.

Have a listen, if you'd like.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Jamie Grace

I've got 2 Jamie Grace songs for you that I've been loving.


I've always thought it might be fun to have born in another decade, but this song was especially perfect for my birthday, because of the lyrics about having been born in the perfect year, 1991, which is obviously a fantastic year in which to be born: 

Looking at the radio caught up in a dream
'Bout the days gone by when no one had a TV
Hopin' that the weather man would say good things
Like no rain on friday for the drive in movie

Little kids didn't have a care
There was love growin' up everywhere
But when I open my eyes and the dream stops playin
You can still find me somewhere saying

I shoulda been born in '45
In '54 I woulda been 9
Lovin' my record player by my side
That woulda been nice yeah, that woulda been nice

I shoulda been born in '45
My first pair of high heels in '59
White shirt, poodle skirt, silk hair tie
Dancing in the moonlight
That woulda been nice

Ooo ooh
Oh that woulda been nice
Ooo ooh

Boombox on my shoulder wit my favorite tape
I'm reppin my 8 tracks and my buckle up skates
How do I know about that you say
You say

You wear bell bottom jeans get a double take
From all the guys and the girls who look your way
Back then people didn't always agree
But the love goin round was revolutionary and

Even though the world was crazy
I'd still go if my dreams could take me oh
I shoulda been born in '65
In '74 I woulda been 9

Tryna' get home after playin outside
Racin' street lights, racin street lights

I shoulda been born in '65
I woulda been a teenager round '79
Teasing my hair so it looks just right
On a saturday night, yeah
That woulda been nice

Growin' up I never really had a care
There was love all the time and everywhere
And even though sometimes my world may get a little crazy
I find myself bein proud when I say

I coulda been born in '45
But the truth is I got here right on time
And I thank God for every day of life
It suits me just right, it suits me just right

And lovely 1991
That's the year that I come from
And I wouldn't wanna trade it for another time
I love this life yeah
I love this life

Ooo ooh
I love this life
Ooo ooh
I love this life

You Lead

I'm loving this one; it's upbeat and speaks straight to God's ultimate sovereignty and control over our lives. I've been running around singing, "You lead/I'll follow/Your hands hold my tomorrow" like you wouldn't believe. 

I've got waves that are tossin' me,
Crashin' all over my beliefs,
And in all sincerity, Lord,
I wanna be yours,
So pull me out of this mess I'm in,
Cause I know I'm wanderin'
Lead my soul back home again,
I've always been yours,

And this world may push, may pull,
But your love it never fails,

You lead, I'll follow, Your hands hold my tomorrow,
Your grip, Your grace, You know the way,
You guide me tenderly,
When you lead, I'll follow,
Just light the way and I'll go,
Cause I know what you got for me is more than I can see,
So lead me on, on, on and on,
Just lead me on, on, on and on,

As a child I heard your voice,
But as a girl I made my choice,
There is no other way for me,
I'm devoted to you,
You're my peace on the heavy days,
You're the warmth of an autumn blaze,
Your love carries me away,
And it's never too soon, no...

And this world may push, may pull,
But your mercy never fails,

You lead, I'll follow, Your hands hold my tomorrow,
Your grip, Your grace, You know the way,
You guide me tenderly, yeah,
When you lead, I'll follow,
Just light the way and I'll go,
Cause I know what you got for me is more than I can see,
So lead me on, on, on and on,
Just lead me on, on, on and on,

Sometimes when I wake up, I don't wanna rise up, Out of my bed, too many thoughts in my head,
Don't wanna be who I used to be,
Gonna take the back seat and let you lead,
And I...
Need to stop, need to stop,
Cause I'm going too fast,
And I...
Know my God is still God, And you got my back,

You lead, I'll follow, Your hands hold my tomorrow,
Your grip, Your grace, You know the way,
You guide me tenderly, yeah,
When you lead, I'll follow,
Just light the way and I'll go,
Cause I know what you got for me is more then I can see,
So lead me on...
Lead me on...

And I...
Need to stop, need to stop,
Cause I'm going too fast,
And I...
Know my God is still God, And you got my back,
You got my back,
I know ya got me, I know ya got me,
I know ya got me, Lead me on...