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!