Wednesday, December 31, 2008
So many things happened in the span of just twelve months (no wonder it went by so quickly!) and thinking back on them I'm amazed at all the experiences that can occur in a short amount of time!
I wouldn't have changed anything about 2008. I didn't stick to everything I said I'd do and there are lots of things I regret but a lot of the things that weren't so great about this year are so closely intertwined with the best parts of the year or made parts of the year the best that I couldn't trade them. I learned more about myself by doing things I didn't expect from myself (nothing bad, just out of character). I learned that life is made by the small things, the decisions and the thoughts, the good and the bad, and stopped worrying (almost) about things not going as I thought they should. I realized that mistakes could be just as good or even better in the long run than doing things without messing up (and I realized that realizing that made me a tiny bit more humble too!).
I went on a lot of trips, I moved, I flew around the world (literally! across the Atlantic to Ukraine and then from China, across the Pacific!), I saw snow, I taught, I learned, I played, I had fun, I cried, I made new friends.
So many things for one tiny year. And we have a new one starting tomorrow! I'm very excited to see what the next year has in store because as I look back, each year has been so much better than the one before.
Until next YEAR,
Monday, December 29, 2008
It was very different from my most recent skating adventure because my nose wasn't freezing off, there was no chance of snow, and I wasn't outside.
I had a lot of fun though. I tried to learn how to skate backwards and though I still need to practice next time I go, I think I've got the hang of it (many thanks, patient teachers). Brooke and I went to the middle of the ice (like when we were little!) and tried to remember our old spins and little routines. Not much success there and I have a huge bruise on my knee to prove it. Oh well!
We were still wide awake afterward - ;) - and so we went to see a movie. Got back kinda late. It was so great spending time with Beaufort friends! I love being around people I've known for forever because we go back further than four months and there are all sorts of things to talk about, not just profs and papers :)
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Wow, the girls have changed! I'm so excited to see so many of the younger girls really stepping out in their relationships with Christ in the 6th and 7th grade! I bet they have no idea how abnormal and how amazing it is... and how much of an encouragement. I can't tell you how many times Jillian and Erin and I prayed for them and for motivation for ourselves - a year ago, they were a hard lot of girls, the class had cliques, and people kept leaving because nasty things would be said between groups (I think this is the reason people steer clear of working with Junior High groups... there's a LOT of drama and it's really hard!).
Anyway, over this past year I've been praying Colossians 1:9-10 for them and I shared that with them today. It's been so great to come back over this break and see them living for God. Over the summer, FLOW brought an end to a lot of the disunity between the girls (they ended up hanging out a lot because all of them were in the same group) and perhaps instigated some growth. The majority of them seem to be "walking in a manner worthy of the Lord" and it's refreshing to see. I know I wasn't even close to that maturity in Junior High... I didn't get the relationship aspect of Christianity.
The lesson itself wasn't great. I'm not the most wonderful of teachers but I also didn't feel like I got to say what I was trying to say. The high school class joined ours because both their teachers were out and though there weren't many of them, they disrupted the class by ignoring whoever was speaking or playing with phones or cameras. I'm hoping that the younger girls provided a good example to the older ones and were able to influence them positively. Though I don't know them very well, I know that I'll be praying for growth in these seemingly quite hard hearted young ladies. If what's happened in the past year is any indication, God can do some really big, amazing things.
Friday, December 26, 2008
Sunday, December 21, 2008
We want world peace, peace of mind, peace and quiet, peace in our homes... I think that it's both great and ridiculous that we would want peace. We live in such a crazy world that it's funny that we hope for order and harmony.
It all started in Bethlehem which was not exactly the greatest place on earth. I imagine that peace was the last thing on anyone's mind at the time. The people were probably grumpy, having walked or ridden donkeys and such to "render to Caesar"... whoopee. I'm sure Mary and Joseph weren't the only ones looking for a place to sleep for the night. Mary went into labor and I'm sure THAT was pretty stressful. Then the whole shepherd thing - how'd you like to be awoken in a field by a chorus of angels? There was panic, fear... then He was there. Peace. The Prince of Peace was born. The Savior of the world.
In the middle of chaos, peace. It was probably indescribable. Can you even imagine what Mary and Joseph felt, looking down at the tiny baby and knowing that He was God's Son, sent for them to raise? I'm sure they were completely humbled by the favor and responsibility that was now theirs. But think of the peace! Think of what it must have been like 33 years later, as the tomb was found empty and Jesus returned. The first Christmas was when the peace entered into their lives and just a few decades later, it was understood.
Jesus is peace. That's why it's so neat to say "Peace on Earth"... Jesus was just that. The fullness of God in human flesh. His coming to earth is the reason we have hope. His death and resurrection sealed that. Jesus is alive. He came to earth to die so that we might live. What indescribable peace I have knowing that.
The world may be a terribly messed up place. But there is peace. It's not in zen and neighborly attitudes... it's in Jesus Christ.
Peace. On earth. How neat is that!?
For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
Friday, December 19, 2008
One of my favorite words is JOY.
Joy is fulfilling and satisfying. It is calm and quiet and content. I always thought "joy" meant being bouncy and having a constant toothy grin on your face. Nope.
It is hard and painful at times but it brings peace. You know, the type that surpasses all understanding.
To me (and I'm not sure how this works out theologically... we're talking personal thoughts here), joy is a reminder of God's presence. We can rejoice and be glad because He will bring us through the trial. Joy is increased in the presence of God - spending time seeking Him and reading His word. The closer we keep our God to us the more joy we should experience because we realize Him in the middle of our circumstances. I think of the first Christmas and the scary things that were going on in the middle of it (There were so many odd things that would have completely freaked me out if they had happened to me - angels appearing, Mary getting pregnant, Joseph's confusion, no room in the inn, Herod...) and the joy right in the middle of it. Joy existed before the birth of Christ since He was God all along but it really manifested itself in Jesus and it has only grown since His birth and death on the cross.
God is just so FULL of joy! I like these verses that illustrate JOY even in rather confusing situations:
When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. Matthew 2:10
And they, after worshiping Him, returned to Jerusalem with great joy... Luke 24:52
And they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy and ran to report it to His disciples. Matthew 28:8
The truth in the carol "Joy to the World" gets me every time. Read these words!
Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven, and heaven, and nature sing.
Joy to the world, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.
No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.
Joy to the World :)
Monday, December 15, 2008
The last adventure: Thursday night after studying for finals and finishing up last minute papers, Molly and Nick and I went to Crossover's drive-in nativity ( -so good! I love that church!) We saw little flakes of snow on the windshield on the way back and had to get first snow ice cream for them since they totally missed the snow during Thanksgiving weekend. It snowed for about five seconds but it counted to us (remember we're from AZ, SC and FL). After the snow, we went on the hunt for Christmas lights. Didn't find many, sadly. One house was completely decked out though - someone had obviously been collecting decorations for a long time... his yard was crazy with them and the gate was open for visitors. So we pulled the car over and toured the little light show. We went home satisfied.
Home: I left Spokane at 7 Saturday morning and arrived in Savannah at 8:30 that night (with a time difference that's 10 hours). Sadly my plane arrived early and I had to call my family to ask them if they had forgotten. I was in the baggage claim when they came up to me... I didn't recognize Scott at all. We went to Ruby Tuesday after finding out that my checked bags didn't make it (glad for carry-ons and sister's clothes!) where Jillian and Brandon surprised me. I was so happy to see everyone... nothing here has really changed. It almost feels like I never left... so weird *not bad though!* And it's really warm!
Christmas things: Since Thanksgiving, I've wanted to make a gingerbread house but it didn't really seem like a good idea because of the 6 weeks of not living in my house (to dispose of the thing... pretty sure I'd have a big bug problem upon my return - ew). So I mentioned it to Becca today and we decided to make one. We made the gingerbread and icing ourselves and it was a 4 hour process. Here is the finished product and all three decorators (Dad took it upon himself to instruct us in his gingerbread decorating expertise). It's a gummy bear house... you'll see them in the convertible to the right and in the hot tub to the left.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
"Oops, there goes your lung!" - me
"Yeah. God, make a new human!" - Molly
[pause as I begin to cover my face in laughter]
"Oh wait. He created man out of a rib, didn't He?" - Molly
[we fall on the floor laughing]
[discussing what year Clinton was elected]
"Well, I just know that I was born when Roosevelt was president" - Molly
"Um. Roosevelt? Are you sure?" - Me
"Oh. I meant Bush. Yeah, Bush. I just knew there were two of them" - Molly
We're packing today!
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
I finished a paper today in three hours. Three. Do you know how good that feels? I'm in amazement at it. I hadn't really even brainstormed because I had one to write yesterday too.
Amanda and I rearranged the living room on Friday night when Molly and Maddie went somewhere. Not that you know how it looked already (go back to posts from August/September to see), but we flipped everything - and we like it better. We put an extra comforter of Molly's on the couch and it looks bright and happy as well as cozy. Now we're not always crammed in our rooms to study :)
This crazy week is almost over! One final tomorrow morning and one Friday at 12 and I'm done with school. Packing tomorrow, date with Haley tomorrow (while packing... we'll see how that goes), live nativity tomorrow night, Maddie's dinner party Friday night, Erica and Maila spending the night Friday, leaving for the airport at FIVE Saturday morning (Erica and Mark's flight is at 7:10 and her dad wants her there two hours early. Good thought but you should see this airport. It's decidedly not huge.) Fly out at 8:30 to Seattle, Seattle to Charlotte, Charlotte to Savannah, Savannah to... people I know! Woohoo!
Sunday's high here is 15 and the low is 5. The temperature will really drop in the next couple days and it's been said that we could be getting up to 18 inches of snow in the coming week. As this is all going to start getting pretty bad late Friday/early Saturday, Dad's prediction about me not coming home due to weather is probable. Would you pray about all that? I really want to come home and not be stuck in some airport somewhere.
One of my friends was over this afternoon, studying for tomorrow's exam in my apartment. We're both planning on going to Chicago next fall and were talking about it:
Isn't it crazy that we're at Moody? It's seriously like the best ministry school in the country.
Yeah, I know. I still can't believe it. Do you know how many people get in every year?
Out of 2,000 that apply, 400 get accepted to Spokane and Chicago.
Woah. Are you kidding me? That means that we're one of...?
Wow. God really has a plan for us, doesn't He?
I know! He so does! I just can't stop thinking about how amazing it is that we're here!
It's insane. We'd better get back to studying but I just want to cry about how good God is.
So we did go back to studying. Our heads are filled with dates, six key elements of inspiration, and the goodness of God. Good things, I think.
Monday, December 8, 2008
It's Ultimate Frisbee with a cow tongue. I don't know about you but I don't really love the idea of any type of meat flying toward my head. Molly bought a cow tongue and put it in the fridge (it was packaged and then wrapped in like 5 plastic bags).
So today dawned, bright and... no, scratch that, we haven't had a bright day in a really long time. Today dawned, cold and overcast. Ideal weather for hot chocolate and a good book. Too bad we weren't doing that. As the high was 35 and didn't even reach that (it got to 32 today), we bundled up and headed for the park to meet all the brave souls who would play this fine sport with us. Molly and Nick, the only two brave (or stupid) enough to touch the tongue, opened the package and began to toss the tongue around. After 20 minutes, Memari showed up, completely disgusted by the cow tongue. She came for moral support. Shortly after, David and Craig pulled up with a real football. They were grossed out. Kori, jogging by, stopped and stuck her finger out to touch it before getting back to her run. I eventually touched it and discovered that it does indeed feel like a real tongue. Skyler was next. Then the other guys. We all touched it and I even held it and threw it once.
After being at the park for an hour, we realized that we couldn't feel our hands or feet and that our hands were covered in cow, so we left. We dropped the tongue off at David's house for a prank they're going to pull at The Compound tonight (those poor girls!).
Pictures included for your viewing pleasure :)
Saturday, December 6, 2008
For the last little bit, I've been sitting here thinking about the past semester. Sixteen weeks ago, this was all new to me. Now I sit here in my quite-familiar apartment with my familiar roommates doing the very familiar "I-know-I-should-be-doing-homework-but-I-had-this-thought" thing. Sixteen weeks doesn't sound like a long time anymore. I remember the first day of each class, my first chapel, the first time I actually made friends at school. Of course I remember it, it wasn't that long ago but it's so funny that this is life. I actually feel that I've lived a lifetime in just sixteen weeks.
I marveled earlier today at how well I know Molly. I know that she's tired or upset or stressed when she says certain things or responds in a certain way. I know quirks about her and pretty much her whole life story. I know that she will speak up if no one else will and that she's very decisive and takes initiative. I was there when big things happened in her life. I've seen her cry. When she wasn't here during Thanksgiving break, I was sad. She's one of my best friends.
I can tell Madeline is on the phone when I hear her pacing the house. She wanders through every room in the house. I know that when she says certain things, she doesn't mean them that strongly; she's just being dramatic. I know her first thoughts about this place were that she couldn't wait to leave. Now she dreads going to Chicago in a month. I know she's cooking whenever the house gets smoky.
It took me awhile to get to know Amanda because she's not like anyone I've ever met. But I know that she loves to laugh and often wishes she could go to the movies more often. I know she likes to play Roller Coaster Tycoon when she finishes her homework and loves junk food. I know she's indecisive and likes to plan like me. She likes to be by herself but she loves personal conversations.
My roommates are three of the best things that have happened to me this year. From their fear that they couldn't handle the homework load to their anxiety about finals, I've known them. I'm so thankful for them.
The first day of each class was really stressful for me. Reading over the syllabi, I remember being completely overwhelmed and wondering if I could do this. With finals looming, I still have a few doubts, but overall the semester has been wonderful. Yesterday I laughed along with my Bible Intro class as James presented the project for our group that I'd been a bit stressed about at the beginning. I thought it was the best :) Dr. Lewis is a great professor. He explains dates of Latin translations and amazingly, it's interesting. He reminds us to study and prepare heavily for our exams but yet curves the grading a little bit if everyone missed the same question.
Today I sat between Kari and Theresa in Psychology laughing at Dr. Hamilton's corny jokes and stories. My first assumption about him - that he was kind of strange - was correct. I smiled as I read one of the essay questions we have to answer for our Psych final: "What have you learned from this class which gives you a better/fuller understanding of Psalm 139:14?" Every single week, about twice, he gets serious for a few moments. He'll scrunch up his forehead and say "This is evidence that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Don't you forget that!" I don't think I will. And though I've had moments of hating that class, I am very glad I took it. When I think of Psychology with Dr. Hamilton I will always remember that I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
We had Lifetime Fitness on Wednesday morning. Oh, I do not like that class. It's the only class where my perception of it has changed from good to bad. We haven't had it very often, thankfully but I really don't like it. The professor, Mr. Clark, I do like. He seems like a really great guy. Too bad he has to teach that class!
Dr. McMath teaches my Acts class. He used to be a pastor and he's really really good. So thorough with the study of the Book of Acts in fact, that he's only gotten us through the first twenty chapters. We did maps and chronologies of the book early in the semester and I feel like I've gotten a really good grasp on the book and have read the whole thing multiple times, researching. I know it's helped me personally. It's an upper level class so it's pretty diverse. There are two married couples, multiple seniors and juniors with all of us lowly lowerclassmen. I like that everyone is from completely different walks of life in there. We've had some pretty good discussions too, as McMath likes us to bring up questions and arguments.
My favorite professor is Dr. Orr; I have him for Intro to Ministry and College Writing (they aren't my favorite classes but he's my favorite professor...). He's so cute - he'll clasp his hands and smile at us and the day just doesn't seem right without his "On your way rejoicing!" at the end of the class period. He's funny but very understanding and has a way of making us all feel like his favorite children. Apparently he thinks of us this way too because on our last day of Intro to Min on Wednesday he choked up a little bit telling us how much he loves being here with us. He was sent here from the Chicago campus and it's his first year here too so it's neat that he can share in the struggle of finding a church and getting to know people.
Next week will be filled with studying. I have two papers due in Acts on Wednesday and quite a few exams. I'm really looking forward to finishing my semester up though and I can't believe it's my last week!
Friday, December 5, 2008
This advent calendar which hangs on the back of a door (it's huge!) and in each pocket contains a treat of some sort (hot chocolate, bookmarks, iTunes gift card...)
And for the first day, we got a little (foot tall) Christmas tree and ornaments for it (they're pink, purple and aqua so we're considering making it a Valentine's tree when that comes around).
The second day, we got a plug-in that smells just like a Christmas tree.
I love it!
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Like being up.
I know it's God because in case you didn't know, I don't usually have a problem sleeping. I sleep on planes, I sleep in the car, I sleep whenever I can because I usually stay up quite late doing last minute things. If I'm in bed with eyes open for over five minutes, something's usually up.
I finished my paper (woo-hoo!), finished getting ready for bed, and walked into my room. I felt like reading my Bible so I pulled it open and opened it up. A random paper in the Old Testament made it open to Judges 10. Who knows, maybe God has something to say from there. He did. I was reminded of His never-ending mercy and grace to me.
So I thought about bed after that. But then I started thinking about a person who really needs encouragement and I don't usually do this (I'm pretty good at putting things off) but I decided to write her a letter.
Still no bed.
My last attempt was an hour ago. I think I'm going to spend some time talking to God because thankfully, my mind is quite alert and I'm not super tired.
So much for going to bed early. And thank goodness for naps after my 7:45 class :)
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Monday is my housework day
(which reminds me! I still need to take the towels out of the dryer!)
In a list of ordinary things, "world hunger" stands out, doesn't it?
In very happy news, Dustin and I picked Molly up from the airport last night.
I am so very happy to have her back.
I missed her oh so much.
And guess what? She brought a little Christmas tree back with her.
We're going to do more decorating this afternoon.
Monday, December 1, 2008
I can't wait to see you (12 days!) and give you a belated birthday hug. I hope you'll accept a long-distance one for now :) I'm so thankful for your worry and concern (and apparent love in it all). I love that you call to ask my opinion on "silly" stuff. I love that you send me toothpaste and cough drops randomly. I love that you love the puppies so much more than anyone else but don't seem to notice. I love that you have one room that's completely crazy in an otherwise normal house. I'm thankful that you had us memorize verses when we were little - I still remember! I'm so glad that you're my friend. I love you and hope that you have a great birthday!
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Saturday, November 29, 2008
I say "home" in reference to my apartment, but it's not HOME.
Home has a hound dog with sad eyes and two Jack Russells. Home has a sister who rearranges her room monthly and a taller younger brother with a man-voice. Home has a dad with a "waffle dance" and a mom who stays up till 4am just talking with us. Home has brick floors and a view of the marsh. Home has had one white Christmas, 20 years ago. Home has grandparents and people I've known since I was a baby. Home has fresh seafood and rednecks. Home has the beach and the Sands and the waterfront. Home is salty and humid. Home has random parties with dancing in the backyard and for music, someone's car pulled up with the stereo really loud. Home has a riding lawnmower that's older than I am. Home has a Night on the Town in December and a Water Festival in the summer. Home has the best potato salad ever, sweet tea and Frogmore Stew. Home has kayaking and jumping off Granddaddy's dock. Home has the best downtown ever, even though there's not much to it.
Home to me is not Spokane. When I say home, I really do mean Beaufort.
And I'll be there two weeks from today.
Friday, November 28, 2008
There's first-snow ice cream
(Dustin and Skyler and I went to Ben and Jerry's to get some)
(and I didn't mean to cut Dustin's head off... he's just taller than my arm can reach)
And Christmas lights in cute little downtowns
(Micah, Ian, Erica and I went to Coeur d'Alene for the light show)
Thanksgiving was fun.
But now it's super exciting...
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Mashed Potatoes (Amanda)
Green Bean Casserole (Me)
Chicken and Wild Rice Soup (Skyler)
Table setting (Danny)
Skyler all ready to dig in!
After the table was partially cleared...
(we found that cooking so much made us less hungry... we didn't eat very much... oh! and that's GRAPE JUICE)
The leftover roommates. Maddie's in Kansas and Molly left this morning for home!
The biggest treat of all was that it snowed! I videoed the snow falling. You can barely see it but it's there! Everything was so white and frosty.
We're thinking of watching a Christmas movie while eating our pie tonight - we were just too full to eat that earlier :)
I am so thankful today.
I miss my family very much and I'm thankful for that.
I'm thankful for the "family" here, the brothers and sisters in this apartment and the one above me, three of whom I'm feasting with today (everyone else went home).
I'm thankful that I'm out here in Washington and that I know that God has me here.
I'm thankful for school. I love our little set-up in the church and that I know just about everyone.
I'm thankful that I will be home in two weeks and two days.
I'm thankful for cold weather, and the tiny bit of snowfall on Tuesday (yes! it snowed! and then it rained but I'm still thankful for snow!)
I'm thankful that Haley is out here too and that she has such an amazing, encouraging heart.
I'm thankful for my roommates who cooperate when I make them make turkeys.
I'm thankful for my roommate to be, Erica, who has such an enthusiasm from her that it's so obvious who her joy is in :)
I'm thankful for swing-dancing and crazy dancing with Molly.
I'm thankful for my grandparents who I'm missing a lot and can't wait to see very soon!
I'm thankful for real sisters and brothers... Scott and Becca.
I'm thankful for so many puppies at home.
I'm thankful for friends at home who send letters and emails and Facebook wall posts.
I'm thankful for friends who make plans for break and take squish pictures over Skype and for friends who call weekly just to say hey.
I'm thankful for friends here who give me rides and study really hard for tests with me and invite me to have Thanksgiving with them so I won't be alone.
I'm thankful that I don't really have any needs. The right amount of money always seems to come in just when I can't pay rent or need food. I really can't say enough about that.
For all these things and more things I can't think of right now, I thank God. He has blessed me so much!
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
It was 29 degrees outside so we layered like crazy.
Ten of us went... the boys upstairs, us girls downstairs, Erica (the roommate to be) and Haley.
Haley didn't skate so I don't really have pictures of her :(
It was cold but so much fun!
Also, it snowed.
Just a little bit and then it rained and then there was sleet
but it HAS now snowed in Spokane.
The roomies and Erica!
Just about everyone... except Dustin
(he kinda tore his pants and had to go home):
(Mom said I needed to post...)
Saturday, November 22, 2008
First time holding/touching snow. Very exciting.
We got back in the car and went to find some "good snow". In my opinion, any snow was good, but THIS is what they meant:
A little winter wonderland :)
Then we built a snowman.
It was good snow for snowboarding, but not so good for snowman building (Skyler is an expert on all things cold-weather) so we made a midget snowman, just the base and head.
The snowman was also redheaded, having accidentally landed in too much pinestraw... this is why he is pictured with the other two redheads.
We took a picture to remember him because he is no longer with us: Skyler thought it would be fun to dropkick his head off. The rest of his body was thrown down a hill.
The snow was fun. It was amazing. The air wasn't as cold as I expected but after a couple hours of walking through the snow and playing in it, we realized that we were not only freezing cold, but also wet. My clothes were soaked from not knowing how to walk in snow (in other words, slipping and falling) and from making the snowman.
I definitely now love snow but I am very thankful for warm showers :)
Friday, November 21, 2008
This is what a typical College Writing class looks like during break. Papers are everywhere and at least one person is sleeping (that class is at 7:45).
You may be pleased to know that Haley and I had our second date since we've been out here. We realized as we sat at the table in the cutest coffee shop ever that two times in three months is not good. We barely see each other but are making an effort. Since this picture was taken (two weeks ago, during Missions Conference week), we have gotten together once and have plans to get together this coming week for ice skating!
Remember Charles from a few days ago? The mail came today and apparently, he's not as imaginary as we thought! Molly and I found it very funny that a real Charles apparently did live here at one time.
The homework load is steadily growing. Our professors know how much we love to write papers and study for exams and have graciously given us more assignments than we think we can bear. I have a group project for Bible Intro due the week after Thanksgiving (can't wait for our presentation... we really do have good ideas). I just wrote a paper on Behaviorism for today's Psychology class, probably the most stressful paper I have ever written. Next on my paper list is one about the debate over the King James Version being the only inspired version of the Bible for Bible Intro. Then I'll have an Apostolic Church Planting Principles paper for Acts. I have a cause and effect on world hunger due this week for College Writing but that won't be hard - we have papers every week and they're short. After all the papers have been marked in red and graded, I'll study for finals. Three weeks left!
To end on a happy note (homework is not a happy thing), here's a picture of Amanda and I. The other girls were at Bible Studies for their churches the other night so we left the house to do our own thing. Had a nice little date.
Please send mail. All we got today was the utility bill and that letter for Cha(r)les. That was the first mail in four days.
I can see snow from my house but it is not snowing at my house. Mount Spokane is covered in snow. I am saddened by this.
My Thanksgiving plans are not exciting: There will be only four of us out of the eight in my apartment and the one above me - Skyler, Danny, Amanda, and Me. (Molly will at home in AZ, Maddie will be in Kansas with family for her sister's volleyball tourney, Nick will be in Michigan with family, and Dustin won't be leaving Spokane at all... he was invited to someone's house for the day)
Since we do nothing in a well planned manner, we have just a general idea of what we'll be eating: turkey, cranberry sauce, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, and probably a couple other things. This will be way too much food for four people but that's okay with us.
I'm thankful for socks. And for boots. And for anything in general that keeps me warm.
Oh... and I come home in 22 days - three weeks from tomorrow!
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Neither do I, I thought quietly to myself.
"I just want God to tell me and He WON'T!"
I know! I wish I knew!
He does have a plan. It's higher than I can imagine. It's beyond my comprehension. Sometimes I'm not okay with that. Most of the time I say I am, I say I'm trusting. I put on that strong Christian smile and pat people on the head and tell them to just trust. Who am I kidding anyway?
Nobody just trusts. As I've heard the stories of how people got out here, I've become more and more certain that trust is something that doesn't come naturally. We've all learned about it in some way or another during this whole Moody experience. People who were deferred and had to wait a few months more to find out. People who got accepted two weeks before school started. People who didn't have a place to stay when they came here. People living on rice for a week.
I think the problem really is that we don't stop as often as we should. Seriously. When I was talking to my friend on the stairs today, it required me to stop instead of passing by. It required me to take a deep breath and ask God what I should say to help her out. I realized today that I don't stop nearly enough to think about what God is doing in other people or in myself.
I've really heard a lot of neat stories since I've been out here. The guy who gave me a ride to school who got saved at Bible school in New Zealand of all places, the person who didn't have enough money to pay her rent and almost went home when someone randomly put $100 in her box. I don't know everyone at my school but the stories I have heard make me realize the amount of amazing testimonies out there of God's providence.
Those stories make me stop and think for a minute before heading to class or to check my box in the computer lab. I'm in awe of God for about two seconds before I rush to find out the grade on my midterm. I say "God, why am I here?" when my grades aren't looking so great and when I have a rather crushing paper coming up.
I got home from school today, overwhelmed by the Psychology paper due tomorrow, the exam I need to take over the weekend, the homework for Tuesday that I've only glanced at. I wrote about a page of my paper before I had to stop. I wasn't at a loss for words, but something made me go back to my old blog to read what God had done.
Two years ago (it doesn't seem like it's been that long) I had the biggest test of my faith yet. I thought I was going to some Bible school in Chicago. I didn't get it. I was told flat out that I shouldn't re-apply. I did school online for a year. I reapplied the following year, pretty sure that God was leading me to do so. I didn't get accepted to the school in Chicago; I got accepted to its branch in Spokane, Washington. Otherwise known as the other side of the world. I went. I thought about it in chapel today. That I'm here. I'm in Washington, studying the Bible.
Moody isn't the best thing that ever happened to me. As I read my posts from the past year, I realized that the past few years have been some of the best ever. They have been hard. They have been challenging but so great. Instead of last year being really terrible like I thought it would be, I loved it. I loved my Junior High girls, my Frontlines girls, my friends, my family, going through the Old and New Testaments, learned so much more than I thought I would about God's Word, about myself, and about who He is. Being there prepared me for being here.
When I stopped to consider where I had been I remembered where I was going. The words of Dr. McMath on Orientation Day still ring in my ears "You were born to be here". I see the truth in those words again. When I look back and then to the present I see the purpose in God's plan. It makes me really excited and really ready for whatever will happen next. I don't know if I will be in Spokane or Chicago or Beaufort next year at this time but I know that this year, even this semester, has prepared me in some way for what will happen next.
"God wants you know know why you're here" I said. "He knows why you're here and has a plan for it. I'm sure of it; I've seen it in my own life. He's not ready to show you though. He's getting you ready to see what He has planned. Satan wants you to miss out. He wants you to doubt. Trust God to show you His plan. I know it's good."
We hugged and went to our respective classes.
God is good.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Charles is the house ghost for Apartment 767. "He" is slightly fictional in that he does not really exist. You see, Charles comes and goes at will. We know he has visited our apartment because he leaves lights on in rooms he's just left even though there's no one in them! He leaves clothes on the floor and dirty dishes in the sink. It's a mystery to us.
Charles was created by Maddie and Molly a few weeks ago. [Our utility bill had come and was higher than we had hoped so we made some rules to hopefully have a smaller bill this month. Changes like turning off lights when we leave the room, washing the "big stuff" by hand instead of putting it in the dishwasher so we don't have to run it so much, shorter showers...] One of our roommates insisted that she turned the lights off after herself when she left the room. So it was concluded that since she was turning lights off, and they somehow managed to be on after she left a room we must have some kind of ghost in our midst. Thus Charles the house ghost was born. We don't pronounce the "r"... it's "Chawles"... said in a southern drawl.
As I write this, Charles has just left the lights on in Maddie and Amanda's bathroom and dishes he's used have been discovered piled up in the sink. That silly ghost.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
I've been thinking about the meaning of the word redemption.
I've been thinking about the Cross.
I've been thinking about what it means to be a disciple, and to disciple others.
I've been thinking about what it means to be in the world yet not of it.
Lately, I've been rethinking a lot of things.
And writing a little story about one of them.
Maybe I'll post it soon.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
We were on I-90 for a long time. What we found most interesting about the drive was that it began hilly then settled into flat farm country before suddenly breaking into mountain ranges.
We saw snow on the mountains from a distance while in farm country:
And then we skipped ahead to Seattle. Here's the Space Needle. We didn't go up it (too expensive) but we did go into the arcade right next to it where Molly and Skyler had a mean air hockey game and Skyler and AJ killed at DDR.
Then we walked downtown and visited Pike Place Market:
Found this interesting cutout. Molly is an asparagus and Skyler's a corn cob:
Starbucks was born in Seattle, so we had to visit the original one!
AJ and Molly:
Molly and I:
In the summer, they throw the fish around here... but I guess it's just too cold this time of year (it is usually warmer than Spokane is though, in case you wondered)
We got frozen pizza and soda, rented a movie and went back to AJ's house for the night. No pictures because how exciting would pictures of us eating be, anyway?
In the morning, we got up, got ready and went downtown for more exploration. We went to Top Pot for doughnuts - really good!
Then we got on the ferry to go to Bainbridge Island. We were the very last ones on and made it as they were shutting the gate... look at the mountains!
It was very windy, so get ready to see some funny hair pictures.
Skyler, AJ, Molly and I with Seattle in the background
As always on boats, a reference was made to Titanic and Molly posed :)
The very cold tourists:
On the way back (nope, didn't take any pictures at our destination), the day was clear and sunny enough to see Mt. Rainer (about 200 miles away) in the distance. It was HUGE!
And that's it, actually... except for this last picture of fresh produce in Pike Place. Molly and AJ went off to have brother-sister time and left the rest of us to explore. More Starbucks and more Pike Place.
We left Seattle after dinner. I was quite tired and slept for 2.5 hours of the journey home. Apparently I slept like a rock because they kept turning up the bass and choosing loud music to wake me up and I don't recall a thing.
Oh, random fact: Seattle is the largest city in Washington and Spokane is the second largest.