Thursday, February 28, 2013

Dress Accordingly

Alissa and Betsy introduced me to the concept of "dress accordingly" Fridays. How you dress on Friday determines how your weekend is going to go. Every Friday, is of course, important on some level, especially if you are at a less-involved kind of track meet that weekend, but there are certain Fridays that mean more.

The Friday that means the most is New Years Eve. No, it is technically not always on a real Friday, but Friday is the end of the week the way NYE is the end of the year. How you dress on NYE determines the spirit of your year.

Tomorrow is a very important Friday. It is the Friday before the last spring break ever. And it is also the day that the commencement speaker will be announced. This meant that I came over to Betsy's house to help her fold laundry so that her wardrobe would be at its full potential. We debated about lucky pink headbands and zebra spankies.

In case you're wondering, I'm wearing a black sweater dress with tights and gold flats. And the gold scarf with the glitter knowledge I'm going to style my hair in the way that makes everyone think I got it cut.

Also, I'm on track to finish a journal tomorrow. Which means I get special Kate and Jesus time and I'm so excited about that!

Now that you know, you have no excuse.

Dress accordingly.

Respect Your Own Experiences

Dr. Joanne Terrell from Chicago Theological Seminary was the second speaker in the series I kicked off on John 14:6. She and I were theologically incompatible; I found much of what she said to be unbiblical and a twisting of text to fit a certain goal.

That being said, she said something at dinner that I found very meaningful.

Respect You Own Experiences

Appreciate what's happened to you, the good and the bad and the in between

Dare I say, euchariseto?

Respect where you came from, the road you took, the people who walked with you, and the place you are right now.

Respect the bumps on the path, the times you've fallen, the times you've been pushed, the dark clouds overhead, and the times you felt lost.

Respect the hands that steadied you, the grace you received to carry on, and the transformative power of life's lessons.

Respect what you know and what you don't.

Respect your failures and your mistakes and everyone who's told you no.

Respect your successes and your blessed accidents.

Respect who you were, are and are becoming.

Respect your own experiences, because they are the only ones you have.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Almost Break

I finished the only thing I had to do that could possibly be mistaken for a midterm. I don't know why, but I rarely have to take real midterms. Two weeks ago, I had an exam? That almost counts, right? Thanks to #lockdown2013 I finished all my other homework already so I'm going to coast through the next few days.

I canceled my thesis advising meeting because I don't think it would be that helpful right now and I don't want to waste my very busy professors' time.

Friday, we find out who will be speaking at graduation. Betsy and I talked about it, and at this point, regardless of whether or not we win, it was a good thing for us to do. We got to talk about how we felt about Beloit a whole lot and what it's meant to go through life together. And, if we don't win, we're just going to throw our own little party and give the speech to our friends. Good plan, right?

And then, it's spring break. I'm pretty excited for this one, and have begun prepping by doing important things like checking the weather forecast, making a packing list, and buying lifesavers for the flight.

I wish I could just go ahead and skip the next three days of classes but unfortunately life doesn't work that way.

I also feel like a jerk because everyone's really stressed and I'm not at all. That's not my fault, though, I guess.

Almost break, emphasis on the almost

Monday, February 25, 2013

All I Ever Did

Readers who've been around the block a few times know how I feel about the woman at the well in John 4. I am blown away every single time. I am currently reading Arthur Pink's commentary on the book of John, going ever so slowly through my favorite Gospel.

Today focused on the woman's questions to Christ, and the revelation of His character to her. As I read, I saw myself.

I cried as I read the woman's testimony,

Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. (verse 29a) 

I cried even now, typing right here.

All I ever did.

That's terrifying.

Every lie, every moment of anger, everything.

All I ever did.

Jesus knows all I ever did, He knows all I am, and He still invites me to drink from His living water.

Jesus knows me - He yadda-s me - and He still loves me with an everlasting love.

I have always loved Genesis 16:13-14, and the name Hagar uses for the Lord.

So she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, "You are a God of seeing," for she said, "Truly here I have seen him who looks after me." Therefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi (Well of the Living One who sees me); it lies between Kadesh and Bered. 

The Living One sees me and knows all I ever did and loves me still.

Yalla Baax Na

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Ugly Beautiful

Conference weekend can be full of excitement, but also disappointment. I watched, stunned, as Matt exited early from the pole vault competition - when he could have had a record and a medal - and instead barely placed. I stood rubbing Sara's back as she threw up over and over again after her race, crying tears of frustration and pain and embarrassment. I moved slowly, eager for the ice that would ease the sore achilles, tired and weary and sore, so very sore. I sat with Maddie in her room as her eyes brimmed full about her stress with her boyfriend that had haunted her while we were gone. 

"You would be very ashamed if you knew what the experiences you call setbacks, upheavals, pointless disturbances, and tedious annoyances really are. You would realize that your complaints about them are nothing more nor less than blasphemies - though that never occurs to you. Nothing happens to you except by the will of God, and yet God's beloved children curse it because they do not know what it is" Jean-Pierre de Caussade

This is a hard truth.



Pointless disturbances

Tedious annoyances

I complain about those things. About people not being on time. People not understanding my needs. Poor communication. Lack of organization. Kinks in the schedules. Wrenches in my plans. People intruding on my time, disrupting me, just generally bothering me.

Caussade's quote turns bitter as I turn it over in my mouth.


I, as God's child, curse His will because I do not recognize it.

I am Job's wife, a foolish woman who only wants gifts from God that I like and that seem pleasant to me, and not ones that I cannot understand. I don't want to thank the Lord for crazy head coaches and track meets running late and uncomfortable buses and horrible movies I can't avoid and loud people I don't agree with and friends who are far away.

But His ways are higher (Isaiah 55:8-9). His ways are higher, and His plans are to prosper (Jeremiah 29:11) and He is making all things work together for my good (Romans 8:28). All things, all good, all the time.

And again, I remember Job. The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Blessed be His name.

Can that really be true?

Can I live like it is?

"That Serpent, he's slithered with the lie that God doesn't give good but gives rocks in the mouth, leaves us to starve empty in the wilderness and we'll just have to take lessons from Satan on how to take the stones of the careless God and make them into bread to feed our own hungry souls...{But the Son of God says} there is only one way to live full and it is 'by every word that comes from the mouth of God' ...And it's the Word of God that turns the rocks in the mouth to loaves on the tongue. That fills our emptiness with the true and real good, that makes the eyes see, the body full of light" Ann Voskamp

The promises of God are what turn our ugly chaos into a display of perfect peace and beautiful sovereignty.

God's will is for the ultimate good, and as I learn to love His will, I can be thankful for all things at all times. I can thank God in everything, no matter what the circumstances may be, I can be thankful and give thanks, for this is the will of God for me in Christ Jesus, the revealer and Mediator of that will (my take on 1 Thessalonians 5:18, AMP).

O Lord, let me love Your will. Let me recognize all of Your gifts, even the ones I am least inclined to like. Let me sing praise just as loudly when You take away as when You give. Blessed be Your name.

"One act of thanksgiving, when things go wrong with us, is worth a thousand thanks when things are agreeable to our inclinations" Saint John of Avila



There may be a slew of posts coming. I was in the fun towns of Galesburg, IL and wherever Monmouth College is (Monmouth? who knows) all weekend doing sports. I had a season best, which is the same height I jumped my sophomore year of high school. Meh, but it's fine. In any event, I didn't bring my computer because I hate traveling with my computer in general, and especially to track meets. Not worth it. Plus with a smart phone and a kindle, it's overkill for a two-day trip.

This is the background on my computer. I see it copious times per day, and though I've heard the quote a thousand times, I was reflecting on it in my journal on Friday 

Maybe this quote is over done, and maybe I think about it too much, but I love it. I love thinking about what it means to be satisfied in the Lord. When I am satisfied in Christ, I am not afraid. God is glorified in my trust in His faithfulness. When I am satisfied, my heart sings praise. God is glorified in worship of spirit and truth. When I am satisfied, I can love my neighbor because I have no other needs - I can meet theirs. God is glorified when His commandments are obeyed. The more satisfied I am in my Savior, the more His glory is revealed in and through me. How amazing the grace that's brought me here. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

A Taste of Understanding

I wrote last year about some of the shootings that seem to be occurring more frequently, saying that we can never understand what it might feel like to be under attack.

Today, during my lunch/study time, Beloit put its emergency text/call/email alert plan into action. They told us:

"Beloit College is experiencing an emergency situation on campus. Stay where you are, lock your door and stay away from windows until further instructions are provided.

This is an automated message intended to quickly warn you of this threat. Specific details are coming ASAP. Until then, TAKE COVER. Do not open your door for anyone unless they can positively identify themselves as law enforcement officials or emergency responders. This is NOT a test. More information is coming" 

It was pretty scary. I had been alone in a room in a central building - and I stepped outside as an entire body received that information. We didn't know what to do or where to go; we had questions - what is this emergency situation - and our hearts leapt to the worst. 

Could there be a gunman, here? 

Is that possible? 

You don't want to think so, but then again, 

Why Aurora? 
Why Newton? 

Did they ever think that it could be them? 

Texts came pouring in from my friends, as we all wanted to make sure the other was safe and give assurance that we were all in this together, confused and a little afraid. 

I cancel my 1:00 with our staff worker. He says, be safe. He'll pray. Keep him posted

After what felt like far too long, we were told: there is a person wandering a few blocks from campus, believed to be armed. Remain where you are. 

Someone just walked by, in the hallway outside my room, appropriately enough, "The Spirituality Room", saying, "I think I heard a gun shot" 

My heart leapt a little. 

I wanted to know, where is this person? What is going on? If he/she is near me, then Betsy and Alissa are safer. If this person is near them, I am safer. 

29 minutes have ticked by, fast and slow all at the same time. 

Betsy just said - Near kappa delta. Definitely a gun. 
Far from me. 

Close to her. 

She said her and her roommate are sitting near the bathroom, feeling like puking. 

And even if there are no causalities, none wounded, none killed, violence has won, because in these moments, we do not feel 100% safe. 

I text my pastor's wife, remembering she works here. She left work early today. She is praying from home. 

It is now 39 minutes since the first text, 18 since the second. 

No more information. 

If it were just one gun, with the Beloit Police, wouldn't it be ok by now? 

Is this a precaution; how real is this? 

We sit and wait. Texting. Refreshing our emails. Watching. Waiting. 


Maddie is very upset. I texted her Romans 8:31 awhile ago. We've been connected through our phones, rejoicing over our Father's ultimate goodness. 

Alissa thinks there is some follow up going on - just to be sure. 

Betsy asks if I heard sirens. 

I didn't. Did she? 


So it's a quiet emergency that is speaking volumes in its silence. 

46 minutes in. Still remembering that instant visceral worry concern fear. Hoping to receive the all clear soon, and go back to normal. 


Because we have a much better chance of that than the communities in which innocents died. We faced the potential, so maybe we have a small taste of understanding, but I hold to my original sentiments that we will not know what it is like to be ravaged by senseless violence until we are. When the potentiality becomes an actuality, we might know. 

52 minutes in, a reminder to stay put. Details to come. 

Another text from Betsy - twitter is getting real funny. 

It is. 

We all feel pretty ok at this point, so we're making jokes. 

Will those with 2pm class still have to go? 
Will we have to run outside this afternoon? 
Nap time
Drinking time
What kind of food do I have in my room time. 

1 hour in

This is not a terribly interesting live blog. I'm hoping this is over by 2, because I have stuff to do outside the spirituality room. My laptop battery also only has about an hour and a half of juice left. 

70 minutes in, I remember to be glad I brought my laptop with me at all this morning. 

I suddenly just want to take a nap.

You would think if you couldn't do anything else, you might actually do your homework. This is proving is be only a half truth for me. Clearly.

76 minutes. I'm getting bored. I have one more chapter of my Ethics of Evangelism book to annotate, food hole supplies to buy, neon outfits to select, conference to pack for, nails to paint purple and sparkly. I'm assuming, of course, that the lack of further information means that things are getting less serious and not more. Also, we are getting dangerously close to my 2pm mark here.

I guess my strange Monday was only the beginning of an even stranger week.

80 minutes in, Betsy says that the gun guy is in the apartment complex next to the sorority. She doesn't have to go to her class.

We're going to present our graduation speech at 10pm on Monday. How strange. But we weren't available Friday or Saturday or Sunday or any other time Monday. I wonder if Justine, the class officer with whom I communicated, realized that I always used the "we", only needing to consult Betsy for one of the half dozen questions. It reminds me of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants character, Lena, saying that "We...are us"

95 minutes in, converted the word document of our speech draft to kindle. I'm not bringing my computer this weekend, and I just learned how to do that thanks to amazon tech support chat yesterday. It looks just like any other kindle book. It's pretty cool. You can also do things like make pdfs of the library book chapter you need and send those to kindle. SO COOL.

I'm really impressed with technology.

I'll let you know when this lockdown sitch is over.

Just realized that I had a handful of lockdowns last year. Weird.

100 minutes in, we are now free to move around whatever building we're in. I wish I were at home (read: my room). Hopefully this means we're closing in on freedom.

Oh, and I did finish my book. 46 minutes remain for my laptop.

114 minutes in, and now my laptop has 1:10. This is weird.

We have now hit the two hour mark. I might stop telling you the time frame in minutes now.

2 hours, 25 minutes in. Received word from good old Beloit College to stay indoors on lockdown. Laptop battery has 36 minutes left. Trying to conserve. Doing my reading for Tuesday class. The pros of having your fully loaded backpack with you during a lock down. I still wish I'd been in my room, though.

And so, 2 hours and 40 minutes in, we received the all clear sign.

Lockdown over.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Yadda and Braids and Light

Betsy and I sent out an email asking for help with our graduation speech. We asked people to describe us as individuals, and us as us. We have garnered some responses, mostly not terribly helpful ones. Like Betsy's roommate, who used the same words to describe both of us (but in ways that are different from one another), and then said the two of us together were really smart and pretty. We've been called the odd couple and the square peg that defies all odds and fits into a round hole. We've been told to orient our venn diagram vertically.

Our teammate said, "I know you're pretty religious. And Betsy - well I bet she says things that I offend you". I said, "I say things that offend her".

He laughed, like maybe I was joking.

I wasn't.

It's true.

I think a better way to describe it, though, is that we say things that would be offensive if we didn't respect and value one another.

It's yadda.

Yadda yadda yadda

That Hebrew word that means infinitely more than its English homonym.

To know, to be known, to be deeply respected.

When you yadda and are yadda-ed, the script writes itself. The differences don't cease to exist, but they cease to be a game-ender.

Ann Voskamp wrote this on her blog today,

"We are sisters and we may be cut off and broken and we may be beaten and we may be voiceless and we may be forgotten, but sisters find hands that speak louder than words and sisters find ways to say what isn’t said and grace is the cosmic language and Christ is the soul translator" 

Sisters find ways to say what isn't said. 

That resonated with me in a profound way that I, appropriately enough, do not have the words for. 

She adds, 

"It’s always from the frayed and broken edges of ourselves that we can tie heart strings, that we braid our lives into light." 

From the edges of ourselves, we tie heart strings. 

We find ways to say what isn't said, and tie heart strings between us. We do not have to explain ourselves to anyone because the braid is our business. The braid is our expression of yadda. Our yadda creates light and maybe we don't even understand it so how can we expect you too? But I don't know how any light really works anyway except that it's there and I use it to see.

I use our yadda braid to see. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Tick Tick Tick

Yesterday was such a weird day that I could not even grace it with a blog post. Track team will be gone all day Friday and Saturday, so that was an obvious source of stress - missing class, and study time, and having to pack. Betsy and I made the cut to present our graduation speech to the senior class officers, which meant we actually had to turn our outline into a draft. I got my paper back and I have another one due next week and the thesis momentum is building and I'm on worship team this week. And yesterday, it was all catching up with me. All of the things I had to do, and the expectations I had to meet. And as I was ticking them off, I remembered where I was a year ago.


Where people take 5 minutes each to greet the dozen people in the room, on the street.
Where "I'm coming" means they'll probably be there within an hour. Maybe.
Where a 10-minute break stretches into half an hour.

I remember going to gymnastics camp; my roommate was Lauren. We thought being 5 minutes early was late. That was me.

And then I went to Dakar, where being 5 minutes early was more like being an hour early.

When I first came home, I was slower. I would leave for something at the same time it started. I wasn't concerned about the minutes ticking by as much as I was making certain I would be present. All there, even if I was late.

And now, a year later, I've sunk back into the familiar. I am so early all the time. I finished the research for a paper before our professor asked us for our topics. I was this close to stress vomiting because I handed my zero draft in at 9:13am and it was due at noon.

I am throwing my time away. Oh that I could slow down and remember Djiby and Pape Samba and Ismaila. In less than three months, this will all be over, and what will I be left with?

That time is not nearly as important as the people you spend it with.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

If You Hate Running...

Don't aqua jog.

Aqua jogging is the single most boring cross training activity for runners. It is less dull if your entire team is doing it and people are yelling obnoxious things across the pool and committing other acts of tom foolery, but when it is Sunday afternoon and you are the only person in the entire pool and it is dead silent, that 25 yard pool gets old fast. You also look like a moron when the prospective students come for a tour of the sports center and you're working really hard to continue to slowly "jog" your way back and forth across the pool.

Because I am injured in such a way that even biking is uncomfortable, I had the joyous experience of replacing the 65-minute run today with a 65-minute aqua jog. I can't imagine a runner running up and down the same 25-yard strip for 65 minutes, but that's what I did today. How did I survive such an event?


I endlessly repeated that verse, the one about the pleasant lines and beautiful inheritance, because it's true. The most mundane can be pleasant and the most monotonous beautiful. Lap after lap after lap, the minutes ticked by, falling in line quite beautifully indeed.

I ran the list of gifts from the day through my brain

-sleeping in
-quiet morning showers
- Sunday morning breakfast
- donut holes in my coffee
- Bible reading with breakfast dessert
- friends to join me
- hard boiled eggs and salsa on toast
- sweet sweet Maddie
- hymns before church
- hymns at church
- 200 tongues singing O For A Thousand, one of my favorites ;)
- friends running to catch the church shuttle
- hugs from the oldest and the youngest members of our body
- Natalie telling me to do purple nail polish next time (planning on it!)
- our sassy old guitarist, Dan
- Bianca's shenanigans during church
- Kelsey ratting out Bianca
- Casey's "cocktails"
- Carolyn's eager eyes
- Nathaniel's high fives
- Miss Patty's glitter
- helping a friend flip pages in the Bible
- my Sabbath
- chicken pot pie
- feeling home
- Isaac and Taylor and rapping at the lunch table
- the first 3 chapters of Hebrews (I'm memorizing that book, and Scripture is a great way to occup your brain during aqua jogging)
- lacrosse balls to massage sad achilles
- gratitude for the moving help
- homemade ice cream with oreos and sprinkles
- sweet tears at the end of the sermon, reminders of grace
- my yellow veil from senegal
- getting a workout in without pain
- the moment when our pastor says, "Can we get that map up here?" and all the college kids look around and smile
- hospitality
- faithfulness
- Sundays

And as I clock in at 1:07:24, I think maybe, just maybe, I can be thankful for solitary aqua jogging.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Distance Team Bonding: My Favorite Quote

Tonight, our distance ladies will be doing some good old team bonding. I am glad, because our team has been less than unified, and I think this will be nice.

We were all asked to pick a favorite quote, write it on an index card and bring it with us. Romans 5:8, Lamentations 2:19, 2 Corinthians 5:21, Hosea 14:4, and a thousand others came to mind.

Not to mention,

God is most glorified in me when I am most satisfied in Him (Piper)

Life is brief and it is fleeting but it is not an emergency (Ann Voskamp)

Why do bad things happen to good people? It happened once, and He volunteered (RC Sproul)

All of these are good, but I have landed on a verse that has become an integral part of my life. It holds the power to calm every fear, doubt, anxiety, and negativity. It soothes my storms and snaps me back to reality every time - the reality that I am alive because Jesus lives, and that God is good, all the time. It keeps my mind and heart captive to Christ, and brings me perfect peace. It reminds me that,

The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; 
Indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. (Psalm 16:6)

It is a promise that I cling to when things don't appear pleasant - when the lines appear to be falling jumbled and crooked and helter-skelter. It lets me look at the uglies and say, my God says these are my pleasants, and my beautifuls. You may mean this for evil, but God means it for good.

It brings infinite reason to praise. In Christ I have inherited grace upon grace - salvation and life and best friends and snow days and cookie making and freedom and cuddles and joy and sunrises and peace and long runs and room-filling laughter. And love. So very much love.

I have these words tattooed on my soul, so that it has become a part of me when I'm

in class
on a run
at worship practice
on the pole vault runway
meeting with friends
between classes and meetings and practices
answering hard questions
in the early waking hours, searching for joy
on the bus
on my floor before the Lord
in the library
at the Johnsons'
in line at the mail center
at dinner with my noisy teammates
at an extra credit lecture
doing homework at my desk
earnestly seeking the beautiful

everywhere. everything.

A hundred or more times a day, I say, thank You, Lord. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places. Indeed I have a beautiful inheritance.

Thank You

Thursday, February 14, 2013

When Lent and Valentine's Collide

I have come to deeply cherish the season of Lent. There is an inherent increase of intimacy when you take Lent seriously. This is a time of realizing that your God has died for you, that you could not do it on your own, and that you were in need. The cross was ugly; it was meant to condemn. But it redeemed. It glorified. It made new.

And, on this second day of Lent, it is also Valentine's Day. The joy in my heart has far exceeded capacity. And not just because I have the most talented, beautiful, encouraging, inspiring, funny, bright, supportive, passionate friends in the entire world. But because I have a Savior who has awakened me to His love, and to His life.

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:6-8 

Christ didn't love us because we were easy to love, and He didn't die for us because we were worth it. We were rebellious and impossible, and utterly unworthy. 

In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 1 John 4:10 

Not that we have loved God but that He loved us. 

He loved us 

Oh, that we might dwell on those three words today. 

He loved us enough to leave sacrifice His Son, to leave His Father in the heavens. 

He loved us enough to be criticized and called a demon and a blasphemer. 

He loved us enough to be beaten and mocked and spat on and harassed. 

He loved us enough to hang, bleeding, struggling to breathe.

He loved us enough to take our sin and give us His righteousness in exchange. 

He loved us enough to raise us to new life with Him. 

He loved us 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Ash Wednesday

On last year's Ash Wednesday, I sat on a rooftop in Dakar, Senegal, and prayed and read the Bible with Addie and Debbie. I can still feel the wind and the sunshine and almost taste it. I remember choking back tears as we talked together about Jesus, and this season of preparation.

This year, I kicked off the morning with the Journey to the Cross devotional, day 1. I love the season of Lent -what it means, how it builds. Today my attention was drawn to the specific scriptural significance of the ashes. In the Bible, ashes/dust represent mortality (Gen 18:27); mourning (Est 4:3); judgment (Lam 3:16); and repentance (Jon 3:6).

Today, it is good to ask the Lord to reveal the patterns of wickedness in our heart, so that as Easter approaches, we can come with our sin to the cross, and behold our risen Savior. Lent is about seeing our own unworthiness and our deep need for Christ.

I loved this quote from the devotional, "Lent is not about your faithfulness, but rather about the faithfulness of Jesus on your behalf" Anything we give up during this season of fasting, mourning, is making room for more of Christ, not less by showing we can do this life on our own.

I also had a meeting in the chapel to really start hammering out how the worship service will work for Easter. I am so excited!

Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my thoughts. See if there is a wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24

Purify my heart
Let me be as gold and precious silver
Purify my heart
Let me be as gold, pure gold

Refiner's fire
My heart's one desire
Is to be holy
Set apart for You, Lord
I choose to be holy
Set apart for You, my Master
Ready to do Your will

Purify my heart
Cleanse me from within
And make me holy
Purify my heart
Cleanse me from my sin
Deep within 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Boston and Milkshakes and Hymns Oh My

The question of what to do for spring break is always a good one. At Beloit, we also have fall break, which means that if you actually spend all eight semesters on campus, you have eight trips you could potentially go on. Here's my history: 

Fall 09: Half at home, half at school because we had a cross country meet.
Spring 10: Track Break in Jacksonville Beach. This was probably not a good choice, but it was also kind of a rite of passage. 
Fall 10: I think I stayed on campus for no good reason. I probably claimed something lame like the need to do work.
Spring 11: Memphis/Cinci/Normal with Generations of Virtue. Pretty much the opposite of Spring 10.
Fall 11: Colorado Springs. This was great; I got to do real research for my first serious paper and hang out with some great friends. 
Spring 12: Senegal. Kedougou/Dindefallo. I ate my first mango and experienced true dehydration and learned how to be patient. Kind of. 
Fall 12: New York semester. But I was in Colorado during Beloit's fall break. 
Which brings us to the last break: Spring 13

This is the confirmation of the tickets I bought to go to Boston. Why Boston, you ask? Well, it pretty much started when Betsy was offered a job interview there. We casually discussed going together on Saturday, figured a few details out, and bought our tickets during COO tonight. We've never been to New England, but a friend said we could stay with him so we figured, why not. It surprised me to find out Betsy's never flown by herself before (but her asking how buy plane tickets was a whole lot less entertaining than this freshman asking me what it's like to have a job. Maybe that's just because I've had a job since I was 11, but seriously? You're 19 and you've never had a job before?! Number one on the ridiculist for today). But then I look back on some of my solo flights and realize they probably weren't that normal of experiences to flying to Senegal, alone, at age 20 when you've never been out of the country before...yeah. We're also not staying for the duration of break. The first draft of my thesis is due the Monday we resume classes, and I'm planning on hanging out with the Johnsons before I begin the track/second half of senior year chaos. 

On to the next order of business

This is a raspberry malt with whipped cream and happy Valentine's Day sprinkles. First off, Valentine's Day is my third favorite holiday. I love it so much! Secondly, this malt was free. Yes, I said free. It also came from the building in which I live, which meant I didn't even have to put a coat on in order to get it. This is because the substance free club invented an event called "Milkshake Monday", where milkshakes in a variety of flavors are served to the student body. The best milkshake I ever had was when I brought my own caramel via and had them add it to my shake along with chocolate sauce. Pure excellence. When they first started, they were not very popular. They were also not advertised at all. I think it was a beta type program or something, just to see if it would work. A girl on our track team had to convince us that they were real. But at some point they took off, and they have become a defining part of campus life. 

Finally, I've had one part of O For a Thousand stuck in my head all day, my favorite part: 

Hear Him ye deaf, His praise ye dumb
Your loosened tongues employ
Ye blind behold, your Savior come
And leap ye lame for joy 

I love this whole hymn, but especially this verse. I like it because in Christ, we finally get to experience the fullness of God's presence and joy. Praise the Lord! 

Sunday, February 10, 2013


Today at church we sang Healer.

I was sick. 



- Facial conversations with Bianca during worship 

- Dillon. Just Dillon

- Eating cake with Natalie 

- Actually everything about my morning with Natalie: red hair bows, and her telling me her favorite foods (mac n cheese and strawberries, but she doesn't put the strawberries in her oatmeal), and looking for Grandma ("Her name is Grandma Kris and she has hair like mine") 

- The grace to make it through the whole service, awake 

- Lecrae winning a Grammy 

- 6 hour naps 

- Leftover sub for dinner 

- Lily's brownie delivery 

- Figuring out if it was morning or night when I woke up (night) 

- Learning that red wine can help you get over a cold 

- Brunching with Kelsey 

- Changing out of my dress and tights and into soft leggings and a hoodie

- The fact that Lily had put the brownies in the fridge and it made them extra delicious 

- Only one class tomorrow, no meetings, just practice. Oh except COO 

- COO being pointless and totally a great place to do your homework or other menial tasks in 

- Realizing I actually did have cold medicine, and that's why the first part of church/morning was easier at the beginning than the end...the stuff I have only lasts for 4 hours. I took it at 7:15, which meant that as the sermon went on, it was wearing off. My life makes sense now! 

- Class at 10 tomorrow 

- Just happening to have red wine in my room #willingtotryanythingatthispoint

- Singing My Faith Has Found a Resting Place (No Other Plea) at church this morning

Friday, February 8, 2013

Wake Up

I honestly haven't been sleeping well since I moved into college*. Well, really since I worked retail for the holidays. Sometimes I only want to sleep at 10am, aka the only time I have class. Sometimes I sleep from 10pm-12am, and then 1-4 and then just stay awake. Last night was the ever fun not able to sleep until 1-5, and then being awake for awhile before drifting back off until just before 7. At that point, I was still tired. I could have slept, but I really wanted to go to morning prayer at 8. So, to coax myself out of bed, I grabbed my journal and started writing what I was thankful for: 

- God as my exceeding joy 

- All white out the window 

- New mercies for this morning, and compassions that fail not 

- My crazy hair dictating the wearing of a headband for the day

- Starting a new book of the Bible (Ezra) 

It was a really nice way to start my day. It's pretty amazing to be just a few minutes into the day and be able to start naming gifts. Throughout the day, it's become a way of calming be down, or improving my attitude. It has slowed my pace and refocused my energies and thoughts. 

Who knew that embracing eucharisteo as a way of life would increase my fellowship with God like this? 

*This is not for lack of trying. I have done everything. I have scheduled my sleep in 90-minute increments, taken hot showers before bed, used the pillow spray, quit caffeine, shut down computer/phone usage an hour before bed, washed my sheets in lavender, drank sleepy time tea, not set an alarm (knowing an alarm is set causes me to wake up at least a half hour before it goes off), made myself super tired and then attempted to sleep in, set an impeccably regulated bed time. Theoretically, I should be getting the best sleep in the world. 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

When You Don't Feel Like It

Today, we were supposed to go to a concert, meaning I would miss practice. Due to inclement weather,  we decided to call it. However, I had planned out my day so that I would not be doing a snowy/freezing rain adventure. So I'm due to go to practice in just under an hour, and let me tell you, I DO NOT feel like it. Did you know that I have fleece blankets on my bed? And copious amounts of coffee and tea? And books I'd like to read?

But I'm going to suck it up and go for a run. It'll be dark, it'll be cold, it'll be wet. It'll be lonely, too, because Betsy won't be there and we usually do this stuff together. When you run when you don't want to, you gain this resilience, this strength. Sometimes they end up being the best runs you have. But even when it's bad, you realize that you can push past your (selfish) inclinations and accomplish something.

I was just talking to Jane about this last night - about continuing to pursue God and read His word even when you feel like you're not getting anywhere. God blesses obedience, and by digging in, gritting your teeth, and doing it anyway, you gain a whole new intimacy with the Lord. It's you saying, "I don't understand right now, but I'm going to trust you anyway".

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

He Ponders

It's one of "those" times. I can't do anything - go online, leave my room - without being reminded that I will be applying for jobs; I'm not sure I know what I want to do or even how to figure that out. I had my second thesis meeting, and it wasn't great. It made me feel a little confused, and just small in general. Based on my professors, I'm sure I don't have anything to really worry about. They want me to do well, and they're still excited to see what I'm going to come up with. In any event, it's the kind of season where you wonder what's going on.

I went back to a verse I read this morning:

For a man's ways are before the eyes of the Lord, and he ponders all his paths. Proverbs 5:21

The Lord ponders all the paths of a man. What does it mean to ponder?

1. to consider something deeply and thoroughly; meditate 
2. to weigh carefully in the mind, consider thoughtfully 

God considers the paths of of man deeply and thoroughly. Nothing happens without a purpose. There is a weighing of intent; every action and reaction carefully considered. How freeing that is!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Today is Tuesday

This morning, I went to breakfast. I usually eat on my own, but today I met up with friends.  One of them said, "Hey guys, tomorrow's Wednesday already".

But today is Tuesday.

It's before 9am on Tuesday, and you're already pushing forward to Wednesday? Do we not rush through life enough as it is? We press on to what is next without savoring what is right now.

"I cannot think of a single advantage I've ever gained from being in a hurry. But a thousand broken and missed things, tens of thousands, lie in the wake of all the rushing...Through all that haste I though I was making up time. It turns out I was throwing it away. In our rushing, bulls in china shops, we break our own lives" Ann Voskamp 

For how great is his goodness, and how great his beauty! Zechariah 9:17a 

For he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. Luke 1:49

The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. Psalm 16:6

The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places. Today is Tuesday, and the lines are certainly falling for me in pleasant places.

Today is

- A worship schedule at last

- A goofy worship pastor's email

- Sensitivity to negative attitudes, my own and others'

- Matching bacon/peanut butter/apple sandwiches

- Friends talking over one another, because we can still understand each other and being slightly obnoxious is our love language

- Having your worship pastor tell you that you have a nice voice and will be singing more, when you are convinced that is false

- A 3 minute conversation somehow spread over 20 minutes

- Library run before class, for next class's homework

- Getting off campus to the land of godly women, precious, creative, spunky little girls, charming teen boys, and worship teams not afraid of laughter

- Burritos with fresh salsa

- Knowing your paper is just about done

- Being prepared to discuss your thesis at the next meeting

- I believe You're my healer/Jesus, You're all I need

- Friends who are like family

- Hours of gifts stretched out before me, waiting to be discovered

Today is Tuesday

Monday, February 4, 2013

Full and Slow

Today is a slow morning. It has been full, full of all the usual things, and the things that are becoming usual, and yet, I feel slow, like I am missing things or not fully participating in things.

This morning, I am thankful for:

- Waking up 2 minutes before my alarm

- Having clothes picked out the night before

- Snow snow snow

- Someone to walk with, who also enjoys the snow

- A boy's version of "making" a pie (putting an already made pie in the oven for an hour)

- A small group of committed students starting the day with prayer, together

- Being in sync with someone so that the next task is not even spoken

- Comfy couches at the school coffee shop

- Seeing our IV staff worker meeting with students

- Sitting on that couch and pouring hearts out, laughing fully

- Teachers who, were, after all, able to make it to class on time

- Hands being raised, then taken down, and yet, still called on

- The way Betsy plays with her rings with one hand while still raising it in the air

- Making philosophy somehow practical

- Standing in the doorway, discussing

- Calling a dorm room "home"

- Lunch date with a new friend

- Shared questions on assignments, for different classes

- Afternoons spent stretching thoughts into papers

- Realizing pole vaulting is a bad choice for today, and being ok with that

- Sierra Mist, left over from last night's dinner splurge

- Haphazard rearranging of desks so we can see one another better

- Using awkward time between class and lunch to write blog posts

- Knowing my day may be full, but that attitude and pace are linked

"Life is brief and it is fleeting, but it is not an emergency" Ann Voskamp 

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Worth It

I know I posted on worship leading earlier this week, but I have more stories. After Betsy live blogged her pre-game last night, I had morning live blogs in my head. This is what my morning looked like: 

7:00 Why is this time late on every day except Sunday?

7:12 I seriously have to get up. 

7:16 It is so unrealistic to have to look nice in front of the whole church when it involves Sunday mornings

7:18 Clothes. Clothes are hard.

7:24 I like my top half but not the skirt I picked for it. 

7:28 After trying on all my skirts that could possibly go with the top, I boldly put on flower print pants

7:29 Am I allowed to wear these to church? 

7:30 Especially on the stage? 

7:31 I'm going to anyway 

7:32 Flower headband to match. 

7:33 They almost look like dress pants

I then read my Bible for the next half hour, made a coffee, packed up, and left. This morning, I actually felt awake. I also really love all the songs we played (10,000 Reasons, You Are My King, What a Wonderful Savior, Thank You Lord, How Deep the Father's Love For Us, Rock of Ages, and Forgiveness - written by our worship pastor). I also had a lot of fun with the team this week; they're a bunch of goofs. Between practice and church, fellowship hour, I ate cake, because I didn't eat breakfast and there was cake. I clearly had a valid excuse to eat cake for breakfast. 

During the service, there was a little girl and her brother sitting in the front room, and I smiled at the girl. I said hello with my eyes to all the college students as well. I think. Apparently Jane thinks it's funny to watch me. I also managed to navigate the awkward "I'm on worship team, but I still have to take communion and I'm kind of playing guitar right now" time with relative success. 

Anyway, since this was only my second time, there are still a number of people in the church surprised to learn that I play guitar. I had that strain of conversation a number of times, but the best was having it with Jason, who was holding his 7-week old son and inclined to pass him on. Yes! 

As I was grabbing my coat, the little girl I'd smiled at was in her dad's arms. He said, "She never wants to talk to people, but she said we had to go find the girl playing guitar". She told me she was three, and that her name is Natalie. That was really special to me. We talked about her sparkles and her cool hat. When they left, she was running around, but she came around and hugged me tightly, fluffy pink coat and all. There was so much happiness in my heart. It's neat that Natalie and I both blessed each other today, and that when you lead worship, you don't know how God's going to move. You just have to be faithful to what you've been called to do and let Him do the work. 

It definitely makes all the inconveniences and jump-started mornings worth it.