Monday, December 28, 2009

how was your Christmas?

"How was your Christmas?" - gear up, because if you didn't hear it over the weekend, that's going to be the question you hear for the next week :)

Mine was actually wonderful. A really fun, slightly overwhelming, but still wonderful day. I went over to the west side of the state with Carson's family. We spent Christmas eve and Christmas morning with his dad's side whom I'd never met but greatly enjoyed meeting (and I think I remember all the names!). After that we went to his parent's house where we hung out (and I met more people!), had a big meal similar to a Thanksgiving meal and then opened gifts.

The day after Christmas, we slept in, went around the lake, and went to return a few Christmas things. Some of us girls got our nails done and then seven of us piled into a five-seater car to return back to the house. We played games after dinner and watched a movie. After church on Sunday, we made lunch, ate, then I watched a movie with the girl cousins. Last night we went back home to Spokane.


A lot of people say that Christmas is about family. Ultimately, it is not. But family is a huge part of Christmas! Christmas all alone just couldn't be the same. You can thank God for what He has done, for coming to earth, meditate on those things, but the holiday celebratory part would be rather sad all by yourself. I love spending time with family at Christmas - it's one of the best things about it. It's why I was sad not to be in South Carolina!

But I discovered something this Christmas. It is that families are not just biological. They aren't just people you have known your entire life. I know this because I felt like I was with family this Christmas, like I was one of them. Yes, I will soon be be one of them by marriage, but they have already included me. I don't know of a better family to be included in.

Christmas in Washington was very different, but not a loss at all. I gained a new perspective on the people I'll now know for the rest of my life. I gained more of a relationship with those people. I gained understanding of what it means to be hospitable and to welcome others into your life. I gained a lot. This new family is such a blessing. I'm excited to be a part of their lives. I'm thankful for who they are and how they interact. I'm thankful that most of them are believers and are my sisters and brothers in Christ. I'm thankful for the fellowship.

So how was your Christmas? Mine was great.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

He's Wonderful.

I like to think that I'm wonderful. Not outright, of course, because that would not be wonderful, but I give myself quite a few pats on the back now and then. The center of my own world, the main character in my own feature-length film...

However, I am not wonderful, and the Christmas story shows me every year that God is.

The first words to describe wonderful on dear old are "excellent; great; marvelous; of a sort that causes or arouses wonder; amazing; astonishing." Clearly, I am none of those.

When I think I'm great and wonderful, it's because I'm being great and wonderful all on my own; it's a charming characteristic. But when I read about the things and specifically the people in the Christmas story, I stop thinking about myself and am just amazed at how wonderful the Lord is.

Zacharias didn't believe the angel - he was troubled and afraid at the visit by Gabriel and thought he and his wife Elizabeth were too old to be parents. Yet, Zacharias was the father of John, the forerunner for Jesus Christ. Mary was a virgin. She was engaged but not married, and told that she would become pregnant by the Holy Spirit. To me, that's a stranger thing than an old couple having a baby. She demonstrated complete trust in the Lord and praised God. Joseph didn't really understand it at all either and almost divorced Mary but after a visit from the angel, he changed his mind. Joseph was not the father of Jesus but he was the man on earth who raised Him - now that's a privilege! Then there's the shepherds who were... shepherds. In a field, at night, with sheep. And a host of angels told them about a baby born in a manger and it says that they went straight to Bethlehem. They believed also.

Simeon had waited his entire life to see the Messiah. Finally he did, and his satisfaction in that was evident. Anna also was devout toward the Lord all her life. She praised God when Jesus the baby was brought into the temple. The Magi followed a star for a couple of years, leading them to a toddler aged Messiah. They not only followed the Lord's leading there but when they were told not to return to Herod, they listened to God's leading and obeyed.

All of these characters and the things that happened to make this story so multifaceted make me think "God is wonderful". He wrote this story. He orchestrated the incarnation. Throughout this story it's "God did this" and "God did that". And then we have to go back to prophecies and forward to the death and resurrection of Christ. God did that too.

He is wonderful!
Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

It didn't start in Bethlehem.

Arise, shine; for your Light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For behold, the darkness will cover the earth and deep darkness the peoples; but the Lord will rise upon you and His glory will appear upon you. Nations will come to your light, and kinds to the brightness of your rising. Isaiah 60:1-3

A star over the birthplace of Jesus was not the only light that came into the world over 2,000 years ago. Salvation entered. Salvation for the forgiveness of sins; a light in the dark world polluted by sin. The words "hope" and "peace" swirling around this time of year are appropriate. Because Christ came to earth, we have no need to live in darkness but have the hope of eternal life with Him. Because Jesus came to die, we have peace. These aren't just words, it's true and real.

Christmas is my favorite time of year for a lot of reasons. One of the biggest is that I really love thinking about the Incarnation around this season. Jesus being in a manger is only a small bit of it. It's a whole big story, climaxed at His coming to earth. The prophecies of the Messiah promised by God to Israel, the waiting and anticipation all seen in the Old Testament progress to the new.

I've pondered Simeon, the man who had been literally waiting for the Messiah to come. God promised Him that he would not die before seeing the Christ:
"Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, A light of revelation to the Gentiles and the glory of Your people Israel." Luke 2:29-32

Christ's coming to earth meant a lot more than a manger and a star. The baby grew up, became a man, and lived a sinless life on earth. Three years later, He died for the sins of everyone for all time. He brought hope. He was the Messiah, though His own received Him not. And after He died, He rose again. He stayed on earth for a few weeks and then went back to His Father.

The point is, that this didn't start when He was born, and didn't end when He left. That was NOTHING in the realm of time. The whole thing hasn't ended yet. Instead of living for the hope, the light in darkness promised in the Old Testament, we live in hope, because the light has come.

We are privileged to rest in the hope brought by God. How wonderful it is to think about His life, death, and all that led up to it this time of year! How thankful I am for what He has done.

Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, "I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life." John 8:12

You were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light. Ephesians 5:8

Thursday, December 17, 2009

My Tree

Here's my tree and my wonderful 10 ornaments (I think I'll buy more after Christmas when they go on sale and just keep them for next year)... 3 from Mom, 3 styrofoam balls covered in yarn/ribbon made by me, 4 clay ornaments made by me, and 1 penguin ornament given to me by my roommate. I have colored lights that aren't showing up in the picture (nothing would show up without flash so I had to choose: see Christmas lights or see ornaments), and white lights around the window. The water bottle on the floor isn't there because I was lazy and didn't clean - it's what I use to water the tree.
It's been interesting watching Christmas arrive in package form this year... I got Nana's box a week ago and put it under the tree and Granddaddy and Grandmama's today. The other boxes of presents on the far left are the wrapped gifts for Carson's family that we'll see over Christmas. I'm keeping them here because I have a tree, and he doesn't :)

Friday, December 11, 2009

o christmas tree

I have a Christmas tree!

When I found out that I'd be staying in Spokane for Christmas, I knew that I wanted to get a tree. My hopes were for a small, artificial one that could sit on the table. Just a small thing. Nothing special.

Carson and I went out today to find one to cut down. The place selling U-Cut trees doesn't open till tomorrow so we stopped at another place. They had trees that we already cut down which was a little sad, but not horrible. Not to mention that the price was really good!

So now I am the proud possessor of one very fat, very full Christmas tree. And five ornaments. I started out with three this morning (thanks, Mom!) and made two this evening... and will make more this weekend. The colored lights help fill it out, I think.

It's like a temporary puppy... water it, be kind to it (turn the lights off), talk about it to your friends, show it off, take pictures of it... it even leaves messes (needles) and smells up the whole house (this is a definite positive over a puppy)!

Pictures are self-explanatory, but I'll explain anyway... the Christmas tree with lights and three out of the five ornaments. Carson tying the tree in the back of the Civic. The tree, when we first saw it. Me expressing my affection for the tree. The tree in the back of the car. The frozen waterfall at the place we got the tree.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

an era has ended.

Today, I took my last final of the semester.

...was that the Hallelujah Chorus I just heard?

That makes me a Junior and a half. Or something :)

It's a huge relief to be finished with the semester. Sixteen weeks I sat here on the floor next to the window (it's where I always sit, not sure why) and wondered if I'd make it to the end. Now I wonder where the time went. It's been a rewarding semester for sure.

Of course I'm tired and beyond thrilled to be done. Saying goodbye to a semester is rarely a sad thing. I'm sad to see friends leave and not return to Spokane because they're transfers or just don't love it out here, but I can't say I'm shedding tears over not having to study for exams anymore.

My favorite class this semester was Philosophy. I loved being able to work my brain and think through things that I didn't really get. Reminded me of lots of great conversations with amazing friends from home. I'm not super intellectual (something those same friends could agree with - love y'all!) but I really do like to reason logically though things. It's kind of fun in its own way.

Intercultural Communication comes in as a close second because it's one of the things that I really love to study - interacting with other cultures. Plus, our class has only three people so it's great. Friday mornings with Meagan, Nick and Dr. Repsold are some of my favorite things :) Psalms is another great class. We started the semester off with poetry and then went through the poetry of the Psalms. I really enjoyed that and can look at them differently now. The papers for that class were beyond my usual reasoning for paper writing so I even got to spend some quality time with the library.

Gospel of John was a good class too. I loved our class discussion times (even though it usually made us get out of class about 10 minutes late) and really liked that we each had to study and write about a chapter of the gospel and then present on it - I went last week on John 20 (and I did well on both paper and presentation which is a bit unexpected and so great!).

The last class to be mentioned (yes, I only took five classes/15 credits... I know, I know) is Linguistics. I want to tell you that I loved this class. I want to say that it was practical, that it made sense and I want to be a linguist now. Sadly, I would be lying if I were to tell you this. Linguistics brought my GPA down. I studied the most for this class and got the worst grades. I understood about 25% of the things taught this entire semester, and wanted to quit.

That said, it was a good class. I did learn. I liked the people in my class... there were only six of us! I like the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) and though I can't tell the difference between a fricative and an affricate, I know what sound the symbols make and enjoy writing in that "code". It wasn't all bad, just very hard. Finishing yesterday brought great relief.

The semester had many other wonderful things too: people! Meeting the freshmen, getting to know other people who came in when I did, taking trips, being silly, hanging out, movie nights... those are the things I love best about each semester. I know it's not why I'm here but it's so why I love being here. People really make or break any kind of situation for me (and probably for everyone on the planet) and so I'm really happy for the memories of wonderful things we've done this fall semester.

And so, an era has ended.
Goodbye fall semester 2009!

ps - The picture above was taken yesterday. 5/6 of our linguistics class visited the class next door before finals began and wrote a message to them in IPA, even going so far as to sign our names in it. Since it's not super likely that you can read them, it's Lindsay, Nick, Anastasia, Sarah and Harmony. We were so proud of ourselves.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

staying put

Usually, I like change. I can move from one place to the other quite easily and just accept the fact that things are the way they are. I adapt and change as necessary.

Usually is the operative word here.

Lately, I've balked at the change. Really, just hated it. I didn't realize I was doing that and didn't really understand why I was acting a certain way toward certain events.

Interviewing a friend from school, a missionary kid from Africa, I really took to heart one thing she shared. She said that the shift from life in Africa to life in America was difficult but fun for the first six months. From six months to a year, she pretty much wanted out. Just got tired of it. It took her two years to realize the life that she was living in America, in Spokane, was the life she had and to really be happy and really be excited about that.

I think that a little bit of that is what I've been thinking over. Because this is my life. I'm in Spokane and Spokane is the place I'm supposed to be. In one sense, that means my old life in South Carolina is dying. It's "home" to me but I'm only there for about three or four months each year. I don't live there. I live here. And "home" to me isn't going to be the way it once was.

Just being honest, it's kind of hard right now. Not in a will-you-feel-bad-for-me kind of way, but it's difficult to just sort things out. This seems different from culture shock to a different country, because it's the same country. It's so much the same, yet so completely different. Different scenery, friends, church, weather... and I do like it. I don't have to shake off those old memories, friends or things in my life that have been so familiar, but they're in figurative moving boxes, while I rearrange my mind.

Funny to have an adjustment like that when it's been a year and a half. I guess it's part of the process.

* the picture is of a summer meal at Granddaddy and Grandmamma's. mmm... shrimp!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

deck the halls

I love decorating for Christmas. Thus far we've made decorations out of what was already there - paper and mirror art with dry-erase markers (plus a countdown in the corner of the bathroom mirror). I found some sparkly Christmas trees at the dollar store that added to the festive-ness. Can't wait to get a tree. We'll have to make a lot of ornaments and buy really cheap ones so that process will be fun also. Twenty days!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

thanksgiving weekend

There has been much to be thankful for, as of late (as in, this year).
My Thanksgiving didn't seem destined to be that great, but it turned out to be so good.
Enjoyed time relaxing and enjoying time with friends, talking to family on the phone, and being thankful.

On Wednesday night we went ice skating at Riverfront. Here's Angela, Jamilla and I... Carson went too but there wasn't a group picture of all four of us.
Thursday was, of course, Thanksgiving. Angela spent the weekend with me so we turned on the Macy's Parade when we got up and began to cook - she made lasagna and I made a pumpkin pie. Both were delicious!

We took our creations to Scott and Wendy's for dinner, where they joined other yummy foods:
Scott and Wendy were so kind to open their home to some of us family-less Moody students. It was so good to fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ and share some of what God has been doing this year, to share what we're thankful for, and just enjoy time with these people.

After we ate, we played Balderdash for awhile, then retired to the den to watch "Up" (very cute movie) and eat all the desserts.
It was definitely bittersweet not to be with family this year, especially since my dad's side of the family was all over there, but it was a wonderful time of relaxing and fellowshipping with one another over here.

Hope your Thanksgiving was a blessing to you as well!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

And yet, the end is near.

We were overwhelmed.
Scared for our lives.
Afraid of getting buried under a pile of books.
Stretched to brain capacity.
And now?
The feeling of accomplishment is undeniably... delicious.
Philosophy paper done, only one more to go.
Last week of classes is next week (we're still wondering how it went by so fast), then finals.
Then... break. NO papers. Christmas. Sleep. And no more tests.

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Little Road Trip

Lion King

We saw the Broadway performance of The Lion King last night! It was great!

Here are some tips for seeing The Lion King:

#1 - verify the time to arrive for "student rush" tickets. If you arrive at 11am for the 1pm showing, only to find out that there are no matinee student tickets, you'll have to make use of the time until 4:30 when the actual tickets come out for the 6:30pm show.

Needless to say, we visited most of the shops downtown, ate out twice in one afternoon, and were pretty frustrated. The mall was all pretty for Christmas though!

#2 - You will have to wait in line for student tickets. They become available at 4:30 on the dot, so bring some form of entertainment (it was convenient that our previous stop was a bookstore)
#3 - Get excited!
#4 - Mimic the Lion King promo posters

#5 - Definitely take nice pictures with the person you're going to marry in six months too :)
#6 - Don't take pictures during the show because it's not allowed. Let your friend take one with your camera though if she wants. She'll get yelled at by the usher but you'll have a nice shot of the "Circle of Life" scene.

Friday, November 13, 2009

first real snow

We've been waiting all week, seeing 80% chances, 90% chances,
and finally today, 100% chance of snow!
It's out there! Soft (wet) white flakes making their way to the ground.

At 2:30pm there was not much to be seen:
But by 5pm, it was covering the ground:
Nice, crunchy, icy, very wet stuff:
After my time outside tonight, I went inside and folded the blanket I'd been napping under. Perfect weather for that!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Target Sweater

Something interesting happened to me today.

This evening, I went into Target to buy a couple things. I left with 2 sweaters, the makeup I came for, and some pens. Every time I go to Target, I seem to remember something else that I was going to get and so I end up with a few more items… and tonight was no different.

I’m not a receipt-checker normally, but I remembered the total for the purchase being a lot less than I thought it would be so when I was at the light before my complex, I checked the receipt. Only one sweater was listed on the receipt with the other things I’d bought.

A debate began in my head:

Should I keep going home? Should I just come back tomorrow? (I was two minutes away from my cozy apartment and hadn’t been home for 12 hours) Should I turn around and return it? Maybe they were having a buy one get one free on the sweaters and it would be a waste of my time?

I decided to do what I didn’t really want to do and turned around. Target was a few minutes from closing so they weren’t super happy to see me walk through the doors as I made my way to customer service.

Sure enough, no “buy one get one free” on the sweater. The Target people thanked me for coming back and then asked whether it would be debit or credit. I had to turn around, be inconvenienced and spend more money.

I share this story because:

1. I have heard of these things happening before but they’ve never happened to me – so I’m glad I checked my receipt!

2. I realized how stinking selfish I was in the moment of debate in this situation. My FIRST thought should have been to go back, not think about how much I wanted to go home, or to reason myself out of paying for the sweater.

3. When I was checking out the first time, I had a little conversation with the cashier. We discussed the slowness of the night customer-wise, the rain outside, and the South. She asked why I was here and I told her about Moody and answered her questions about the school. I didn’t share the gospel with her, but I know that she was interested in the school and such, and I know that she saw me come back to pay for the sweater. That was pretty neat. I just waved goodbye and left (they were closing, remember?) but I hope that really small thing made an impact for Christ. Who knows?

I left praising Him for the Target sweater.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Failure and Learning

This semester, it was so nice to be signing up for Intercultural Communication over College Writing and gen ed classes. So I was excited for the prospect of more classes dealing with my major and more classes that I was interested in. And the class I was least excited about (Philosophy) is now my favorite, so it's all good.

Except that I'm failing Linguistics.

I just don't get it. My mind comprehends the lecture. I get what the book is saying. I could tell you about it. I know random facts about linguistics. I think it's neat. I'd like to know more.
Yet I'm super frustrated with the fact that even though I study 800 hours per week (give or take), my average grade is, at best, a C.

We had a big exam in class today. I studied so late for it last night [note: this was a bad idea] that I got only 4 hours of sleep and fell asleep on my textbook while studying before class this afternoon.
How discouraging it was to flip over the test and realize that virtually nothing looked familiar. I ended up filling in the answers I knew (there weren't many), guessing on a couple of questions, and leaving the rest blank. I dread the result of the exam because I fear that it will be my lowest score yet.

The reason I don't like doing sports in front of people, speaking in front of people, opening up in front of people, and failing exams is because I'm a big comparer. "What do YOU think about that?" is a common response to any kind of question. Failure is not my friend.

However, it seems to be my shadow. The quickest way to make me humble is for God to knock the wind out of me and touch my pride.

I was reading John 17 this morning in my quiet time. It's Jesus' prayer to the Father before His crucifixion, for those that don't have a Bible open in front of them. I was looking at it and was a little astounded by the humility expressed in Jesus.

Of course He's humble - He's GOD! We say.
Yes, but think about it. The humility He expressed was nothing like the way we would express humility. That's because we are humble before God because He is over us, He knows more than we do, and He's, um, God.

Jesus humbled Himself before God as a human. He was God but also human and gave His humanness over to God for Him to do whatever He liked through the life of Christ. And then Jesus asked that in whatever God chose to do, that He would glorify Himself.

It's hard, but I guess I can learn a thing or two from failure.

Update on this class: I didn't end up failing, which truly surprised me. I got a C, and it's the only C I've ever been happy about because I worked SO HARD, thought I was going to be stuck re-taking and re-taking this class forever and, well, it wasn't as bad as it should have been. I now hate linguistics though, which I'm pretty sure was not an intention of my professor. Maybe it will make sense when I take part two in a year or so?

Friday, October 30, 2009


When you think "extravagant" what do you think of?

Gucci, Coach, Godiva, Porsche, Filet Mignon... the list could go on. I think of absurdly expensive things, completely-irrelevant-to-life types of things.

Here's an interesting thought: have you ever applied that word to God?

By definition, extravagant is spending more than is necessary, exceeding the bounds of reason, going beyond what is deserved.

How could you NOT apply that word to God?

The song, Your Love is Extravagant was playing through my head this evening. Seriously, I love those lyrics. I realized how true they are and how much they made me think of the Cross.

His love is extravagant; it is the most extravagant event to ever happen. No pricey purchase can top that one. Honestly, if we were going to confess the truth of it, there is no reason why Christ would have died on the cross. We were going right where we belonged: Hell, separation from God forever.
And yet, He did not leave us to our fate.

For God so loved the world THAT He gave His only begotten Son [an expression of His love!] that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16

The words "It is finished" on the cross meant just that: the sacrifice of Christ for us on the cross stands forever. If we choose to trust this and put our faith in Him, we will LIVE forever with Him. We admit that we are sinners in need of a savior.
We need something that is completely unreasonable because it's so undeserved.

And God extended that. To you and to me. It's more absurd than anything, if you think about it.

Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit. I Peter 3:18

His love is extravagant.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

if all the snowflakes were lemon drops and milkshakes...

It snowed today!
Not for long, and it didn't stick but it is certainly newsworthy.
Eleven months ago I saw my first snow.
This one isn't as exciting but it's so pretty and gentle, falling.
So funny to imagine what an entirely white winter will be like... first white Christmas!
(that I can remember - it did snow the year I was born)
I may or may not have had conflicting feelings when I saw that the low at home was 65 degrees.
Only for a moment.

October, in thirty seconds.

Pumpkin patch.


Carson's pumpkin.

Lindsay's pumpkin.

Yellow leaves.
Red leaves.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

but i'm thankful...

I miss
Warm nights camping at the beach

I am thankful for
Chilly nights with bright stars

I miss
Times after W class with my girls

I am thankful for
Fellowship over the phone, even from 3,000 miles away

I miss
Common Ground coffee/study dates with Brooke

I am thankful for
A friend who is pretty much the best unofficial long-distance wedding planner ever.

I miss
Harvest festival: candy shack and hayrides

I am thankful for
A true autumn: pumpkin patches and changing leaves

I miss
The place I grew up: Beaufort

I am thankful for
The place God has me now: Spokane

Fall things, now and then: Carson and I picking pumpkins at Green Bluff on Saturday;
Brooke and I (and THE hat) at Fall Festival a couple years ago

Monday, October 12, 2009

the week in review.

In the past week I:
  • Got a job - so happy! Thank you Lord!
  • Saw myself the way God sees me for a moment (remind me to tell about it later!)
  • Didn't get much sleep.
  • Researched for/wrote a paper on Sheol.
  • Experienced temperatures ranging from below twenty degrees to just above fifty. Tried to be okay with that.
  • [Therefore] Located my cold-weather clothing.
  • Went for a walk in the frigid weather this afternoon and greatly enjoyed the crisp air.
  • Enjoyed a fire in a fireplace (and took a nap... ahh!).
  • Finally went to the grocery store. Happy day!
  • Opened God's word and saw Him move through it.
Life is good. And God continues to be more than faithful!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

hello fall!

The month of October was REALLY ready to celebrate fall.

In other words, it's COLD here, y'all. And has been since the first of the month (It's 18 degrees tonight. Needless to say, I'm bundled up.)

October's my favorite month because of the leaves, the pumpkins and any other seasonal things so due to the cold making the leaves fall early, I decided to take a walk and take pictures of my them.

The walk was great and the colors didn't disappoint. Sunny, beautiful, and chilly. Hel-lo fall!

Notice that one tree's leaves are barely hanging on! That tree is what provoked me to go outside and enjoy those leaves while they're still there.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Philosophy, Pizza Rolls and Paper Chains: Pictures from the Past Month

(Does that count as alliteration?)

I really haven't been taking so many pictures lately. Pictures have been taken with me in them and of things I've been doing, but I don't have access to them. Still, I really enjoy sharing what I'm doing and what's going on so I'll share the ones on my computer and a few of the things I've been doing.

My mom and Carson's mom came out for a couple of days to go wedding dress shopping here in Spokane. It was great to see them, awesome that they got to meet, and terrific that we found a dress that all three of us love!
They stayed in my tiny apartment and got to go to chapel at school, visit Riverfront Park (they were excited to see the goat), little shops downtown, and more of Spokane than Mom and I were able to see when she helped me move up here. A very enjoyable (and also too short) time.

Mom and I at lunch, post dress purchase
Danita and I at Riverfront :)

We've already gotten a head start on the countdown to Christmas! Yes, it's only October but you can never be too early for Christmas! Ashley spent the better part of an hour painstakingly cutting out paper chains while I worked on a paper last night. We're excited to tear off a link each night. Only 80 days!

They have Christmas countdowns online! I took a picture of my screen to prove it :)

A study day at the Gonzaga library (it's only a few blocks from our campus and we have borrowing privileges there as Moody students)
Pizza Rolls and Princess Diaries II with Emily and Jamie after studying. My keys were accidentally left at the library so I spent the night at the girls' house :)
Went with Molly, Nick and Erica for their Cultural Anthropology assignment: breaking a cultural norm. Here they are sitting in an elevator in the mall. We also ordered ice cream and sat on the food court floor to eat it and walked around thinking of other culturally abnormal things to do. Not in that class but it was a fun assignment!
Philosophy homework! I'm really liking Philosophy but remembering all the theories and views and terms is a challenge. I think I'm getting it but I guess that will be proven as the semester progresses :)

That's it for pictures. I've been doing a lot of school stuff lately and a lot of things that just wouldn't make for exciting pictures. But I did go rock climbing for the first time a couple weeks ago (and lived to tell about it - it was fun!), met President Nyquist (who wanted us to call him "Paul" which was too odd and seemed disrespectful), started AWANA at my church for PCM... and that's all I can think of.

I'm hoping to add "looking at fall leaves" (when they finish changing) and "picking out pumpkins to carve" and "apple picking" to that list. I love fall. (Speaking of fall - it's been chilly! And not just for Southerners like me - it was 35 degrees this morning. Brrr! I'm excited about the hot chocolate and sweaters more than the winter that is to come but oh well).

Midterms start next week and I don't think I'm ready - this semester is flying past for real! Can we be in the middle of week seven???? Yes, I suppose we can.

So anyway, there's the glimpse (in 8 photos... haha) of life in the past month or so and a brief update.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Beautiful Thing.

It’s a shame that beauty has come to be synonymous with a perfect model in an advertisement. Beauty often has little to do with it. That kind of beauty is often disposable, faddish, and even debatable, contingent upon the job the Photoshop guy did to fix her nose.

Physical, outer appearance has a lot to do with how we perceive beauty but not a lot with how God sees it. This passage,

Your adornment must not be merely external – braiding of the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. [I Peter 3:3-4]

Does NOT say, “Don’t you dare care how you look because that’s bad”.

It’s saying that outer appearance isn’t even half of it.

Say what you will, but most people wouldn’t argue about a truly beautiful woman. It’s more than the outer appearance, better than any miracle makeup. Something inside sort of just glows and makes the rest of her so attractive.


She’s confident. This isn’t to be confused with prideful at all. Someone who is perfectly content with where God has her can’t be prideful because she knows that the glory belongs to the Lord. She wouldn’t even think about taking that glory for herself. She shows her confidence by expressing her freedom. She is free to be who He created her to be. Fear of what others might say or how they will look at her won’t influence her because her mind is renewed to the truth of God’s word. She is rooted in Him and is refreshed by that truth every day. And she shares that with others so that they can be encouraged in the Word and renewed by His truth!

She’s open about her failures. Beautiful people aren’t sin-free people. They’re people who can look back, admit that their past isn’t pretty, and use that to God’s glory. How? I think God must bring people into connection with one another because it always seems like He puts one person with “a past” into the life of another with a similar story to encourage and challenge. Failure in the past is often an open door to a glorious future. No one can be branded by their past sins without their consent. And God is faithful in the life of a person willing not wanting to be branded by where they’ve been. He uses that openness in the lives of so many people.

She has perspective. Her life is not hers to live and she lives in active knowledge of that. Her life is not a mere nod to the idea that she has been bought with a price; she actually lives from that perspective. Everything she has is hers to give. Because she has no “right” to her life, no valid claim on even the next breath she will take, God has every right. He can freely shine through her because she is His. And because she is His, she is available to others. She loves His creation and the people He has created. She wants to know them, to serve them, to love them… because He loves her.

She knows where she’s going. Even if she doesn’t know the next step she will take, she’s following God with all she has. The direction of her life and the pattern of her heart are to follow Him. His word is a lamp to her feet and a light to her path. She is faithful to obey what she knows, stay true to Him, and trust Him with the outcome. The truth is that she may have a vision of where she’s actually going or she may not. She might be following blindly in regard to the plans set for her but with eyes wide open, focused on Him, the author and perfecter of faith.

So what makes her so attractive? It’s the hidden person of the heart, the person she is at the core, the person who loves God more than all others. That’s what reflects inside her and shines out, creating that glow. She’s a woman of God.

And it’s a beautiful thing.

[I’ve been thinking about all of these things lately, and much of what I’ve written has come from conversations with some exceptionally beautiful people in my life. God has been faithful to provide people who constantly encourage me in His word and in His truth and it has been wonderful. I am learning what it means to be a beautiful person myself and as I see myself in the mirror of God’s word, I realize how far I have to go. That’s okay because I’m not perfect and God is faithful to perfect. All the same, I thank Him for truly beautiful women who encourage me to follow Him with all I have.]

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