Saturday, December 31, 2011

Harder Lessons, Deeper Love

It's been awhile since I posted something. School and life just consume me and my time. I've had too much fun goofing off with Maggie to find/write meaningful things.
That said, the past month has been incredibly difficult. Full of struggles and confusion, weariness and heavy boots (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close reference. Go read it. Now.).
I am still doubting and questioning. But so much of my doubt these days is directed at myself.
I am constantly asking whether or not I am good enough. For Davidson. For my family. For my friends. For anyone to love.
It consumes me. And I become fearful and anxious.
In the midst of a lot of turmoil this week (the details of which I will spare you), my heart was wrung and broken and frustrated and angry and so many different things. Old wounds and new wounds, opened and torn, exposed and ugly, hurting and bleeding.
I told a friend that these wounds never really seem to heal.
I probably sound really dramatic right now (which I am), but this is my heart, and it's the best way I know how to describe what I feel.
In times like this when I am so vulnerable and am just aching for some reassurance of hope and love, I am so hesitant to run toward Christ.
What is that about?
I won't ever understand it, except to say that my broken and sinful heart is untrusting and unfaithful. I cling to the hope that I will be good enough to fix things.
Tonight I grieved over my inadequacy, and that before everyone, and especially before God I will never be good enough.
And yet--as inadequate as I am--He loves me.
Purely. Simply. Completely. Perfectly. He knows I cannot return this love. Not in this life. But He loves me anyway. Beyond my comprehension.
And in Christ, I am made perfect. My inadequacy, my shortcomings are no longer a thought because He makes me righteous.
How quickly I forget these truths. I actually run away from them. But like the perfect Father, Husband, and Spirit that He is, God pursues me. I know that He loves me as a Father--I am a beautiful daughter, one whom He created lovingly. I know He loves me as a husband should--I am part of the beautiful body of Christ, His bride. And I know that His Spirit, that Being which knows God's innermost thoughts, loves me and interceded for me tonight when I could not move my heart to pray. He spoke to me in my weakness and reminded me of the immeasurable, unrestrained grace and love of God. A dear friend reminded me tonight (praise God for faithful friends!) that "the love of God is stronger." He is stronger than my weakness, His grace is sufficient in my weakness, and His love preserves me.
So humbled and grateful.

"As for you, O Lord, you will not restrain your mercy from me;
Your steadfast love and your faithfulness will ever preserve me!"
--Psalm 40:11

Sunday, December 11, 2011

"Nothing so clears the vision and lifts up the life, as a decision to move forward in what you know to be entirely the will of the Lord."
—John Paton

Thanks, Kristin.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Today I am grateful....

...that my bestie has a car. And that we can get out of Davidson when we need to.

It's the little things, right?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Spirit

"For who knows a person's thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God."
--1 Corinthians 2:11-12

I rediscovered this passage on Friday, and it blew me away. The past month or so I have been reminded that my God is three persons--the holy Trinity. I feel like I focus so much on God as my Father and Christ as my Savior, and I just sort of acknowledge that the Spirit is there, but don't really pay much attention to what He does or is doing.
Praise God for grace and that He reveals himself to us.
I am seeing the Spirit work in so many ways in my life and in others. I am seeing people lead Spirit-filled lives. Every sermon at church has talked about the Spirit and His work in us, His presence in us.
So when I reread these verses in 1 Corinthians, the Spirit had already prepared my heart. I was so encouraged. Who knows a person's thoughts and heart but his own spirit? So God's spirit knows all of his thoughts, his whole heart. And God graciously, mercifully, lovingly gives us His Spirit--the One who knows Him best. He gives us the Spirit, and He lives in us, revealing the Father's heart to us.
What a glorious gift! And I know that is just the surface of the power of the Spirit.
Grateful to be learning.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

"Terrible and Beautiful"


“‘Who are you?’ asked Shasta. ‘Myself,’ said the Voice, very deep and low so that the earth shook: and again ‘Myself,’ loud and clear and gay: and then the third time ‘Myself,’ whispered so softly you could hardly hear it, and yet it seemed to come from all round you as if the leaves rustled with it.
Shasta was no longer afraid that the Voice belonged to something that would eat him, nor that it was the voice of a ghost. But a new and different sort of trembling came over him. Yet he felt glad too.
The mist was turning from black to gray and from gray to white. This must have begun to happen some time ago, but while he had been talking to the Thing he had not been noticing anything else. Now, the whiteness around him became a shining whiteness; his eyes began to blink.
Somewhere ahead he could hear birds singing. He knew the night was over at last. He could see the mane and ears and head of his horse quite easily now. A golden light fell on them from the left. He thought it was the sun.
He turned and saw, pacing beside him, taller than the horse, a Lion. The horse did not seem to be afraid of it or else could not see it. It was from the Lion that the light came. No one ever saw anything more terrible or beautiful.
Luckily Shasta had lived all his life too far south in Calormen to have heard the tales that were whispered in Tashbaan about a dreadful Narnian demon that appeared in the form of a lion.
And of course he knew none of the true stories about Aslan, the great Lion, the son of the Emperor-over-the-sea, the King above all High Kings in Narnia.
But after one glance at the Lion’s face he slipped out of the saddle and fell at its feet. He couldn’t say anything but then he didn’t want to say anything, and he knew he needn’t say anything. The High King above all kings stooped toward him.
Its mane, and some strange and solemn perfume that hung about the mane, was all round him. It touched his forehead with its tongue. He lifted his face and their eyes met.
Then instantly the pale brightness of the mist and the fiery brightness of the Lion rolled themselves together into a swirling glory and gathered themselves up and disappeared.
He was alone with the horse on a grassy hillside under a blue sky. And there were birds singing.”
–C.S. Lewis, The Horse and His Boy in The Chronicles of Narnia (New York: HarperCollins, 1954/1994), 281-282.


Thanks, Nick Roark for this post.
We serve an awesome God.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Confession

The church I've been going to here always has a confession of sin that we read together as a congregation.  I've really valued this in my experience at this church--I cannot hide my sins from those around me. They cannot hide their sins from me. We confess publicly; we confess together. And after we confess, we read an assurance of pardon--we have abundant grace and the constant promise of forgiveness from Christ. It is such an encouragement, and I love that I am able to go through this process of confession and assurance with my congregation.
This was the confession from last week. The Lord used it to convict me of what I've been struggling with lately:

"Heavenly Father, we lack faith. Our faith in your will drifts.

We doubt the perfection of your plan for the world and for our lives. We grow skeptical of the goodness of your will. We struggle to believe you truly have a good purpose, [working through] every evil thing that has happened, or ever will.

Holy Spirit, we lack faith. Our faith in your power wanes.

We doubt your ability to make real change in the world and in our lives. We grow skeptical of your ability to work miraculously. We struggle to believe you can penetrate the hearts of our lost friends and family.

Christ Jesus, we lack faith. Our faith in your grace fades.

We doubt the scope of your redemptive work in the world and in our lives. We grow skeptical of your real and present intercession on our behalf. We struggle to believe that you will return for us.

Forgive us, God, for we lack faith."

I would emphasize that I doubt God's goodness. Constantly. As I consider the struggles of my life, the struggles of the people I have met around the world, God's goodness, His perfect love become less and less real. Less tangible, less true. I wonder if I am placing my faith in empty words and promises. I desire to simply run, to hide, to cling to my efforts to be something and do good things.
I lack faith. I am faithless.
But I was so encouraged by the assurance of pardon. It comes from part of 2 Timothy 2:13. Normally, I'm not a fan of pulling parts of verses out of context, but there is so much truth in this statement:
"Even if we are faithless, He remains faithful."
God is constantly pursuing my doubting heart, running after me, even as I run away from Him. He waits patiently, even when I am impatient with Him. He loves even when I do not love him. He loves perfectly, as my Father, my Savior, my Rock, the Founder, the Perfecter of my faith. A sweet friend has been encouraging me that He will be faithful to complete the good work that he began in my life (Philippians 1:6).
I am grateful for this today.
Praying for grace to be continually thankful and to remember God's constant goodness and love toward me.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

College Adventures and Pictures.


So here are some silly/fun pictures of college. (There's a lot. I couldn't choose just a few.) Enjoy!
 Making Flickerball Tshirts! We are the crazy crayons. Slash Rosie's ducklings. :)
 Every good southern girl needs a monogrammed Flickerball shirt.
 Field trip to the Mint Museum for Writing 101. We were looking the Romaire Bearden exhibit....but stumbled upon this amazing piece!
 "PLEASE, Ian, PLEASE buy me this $150 leather cow!?"
"Girl, you crazy."
 Some fun times were had at the museum and in the gift shop. :)
 3rd Cannon's resident models.
 Spencer and Alex.
Classy guys.
Just a late night Cookout run--which of course involved Maggie clambering onto the Wildcat.
 Cat thangs on Rosie's door.
We needed her.
And this seemed like the most logical way of getting her...
 India pants romper???
 So I basically have the best friends in the world. These three drove all the way to Davidson for my birthday weekend. I am so blessed to have them.
 I'd say this is fairly typical.
 Maggie just takin pictures of me being ridiculous.
 This was on my birthday. We had a bestie date and she bought me dinner.
 We lead such foolish lives.
 Hello. We were made for each other.
Also this picture was at Davidson's club rugby game. Good times.
Taken on an absurd, but fabulous trip to Winston-Salem. Thanks to Daniel Padgett for this photooo.

Loving life.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Bosom Friends & College Adventures

So.
College.
Here we go.
It is so strange to think that I have been at college for over two months now. I am now two decades old, a freshman....I'm pretty much out of the house. It's just bizarre. (Don't worry, Mom. I know I'm not really out of the house yet.)
The Lord has been faithful in so many ways, but the main demonstration of his grace has been in my dear friend, Maggie. I creepily (but not so creepily) messaged Maggie this summer because I discovered that not only was she on my hall, she was a believer! We chatted about finding a church and a campus ministry to get involved in and found that we had a lot of similar interests. We got to school and started spending time together. And in Maggie the Lord has graciously blessed me with a friend for life. We are kind of the same person--similar interests, quirks, thoughts, hopes, struggles, and joys. It's a little creepy how alike we are sometimes....
I have been so fortunate to have Maggie as an encouragement in my faith as she seeks to love the Lord more. A phrase we've both found so important in these couple months here is "by grace"--we have realized how every good thing is from God's grace: our friendship, life, the ability to appreciate small things, our salvation, the love we have for people and each other...
We are so dependent on God's grace.
Backtracking a little: Maggie is incredibly talented in so many ways (Check out her photography site: http://maggiecaltonphotography.com/. She is amazing!). She is creative and original and she sees things in ways that just amaze me. She has always wanted a tattoo--something I've thought of for years, but never really thought would happen, cuz I just wasn't brave enough.
Anyway from the start of the school year we have talked about tattoos. Over fall break, I was inspired with a bunch of ideas while I was home--one that was really prominent was the phrase "by grace." I told Maggie and she said she had been thinking of the same thing. So. Last week we went to NODA (our favorite area in Charlotte) to Fu's Custom Tattoos and got our tattoos!
Now. Before you all freak out--know that I did NOT get a tattoo because of Maggie. These tattoos each mean something to us individually of course. But it made it that much sweeter to get this tattoo with a friend whose friendship has so amply demonstrated God's grace to me. So here's a picture of the tattoo:
Photo cred: Maggie Calton
So I've enjoyed taking random adventures with Maggie around Charlotte and the area surrounding Davidson. She likes driving as much as I do and just exploring random things. So we have a grand old time together. We are trying to discover all the cool things about each exit. NODA is probably our favorite place so far--there are tons of fun restaurants and cool little stores. So far we've been to Amelie's (an amazing 24 hour French bakery--eclectic, delicious, fun hipster-watching place), the Crepe Cellar, Cabo Fish Taco, and....I think that's it for food. We went to a fun concert at The Evening Muse, and the church we've been going to, Christ Central Church is right down the street from all these places.
So. If you're ever wanting to explore Charlotte, NODA is a fun place to start. Good food, cool people, fun place.
Maggie and I love to just do foolish things around campus as well. I'm interested to know what people wonder about us as we wander loudly around campus cracking ourselves up. We go to Toast and Summit Coffee and the cute little Main Street shop with the funky hats.
Basically we're ridiculous, and I love it. I am getting to know the area, myself, and lots of different people on campus, and it's been great.
I am blessed to be here.
God is good.
Pictures of college adventures/shenanigans to come soon.

Friday, October 21, 2011

A Blessing

I've been a terrible blogger, for those few of you who read this thang.
At the start of the school year, and even throughout the summer, I was able to be a resource for the students going on this year's Global Gap Year (GGY) with Thinking Beyond Borders. There are two GGY groups this year as well as a Gap Semester group in Ecuador, which is so exciting! More driven and bright students who want to learn about creating change on a local and global scale. Anyway, some students emailed me with questions and concerns, and I attempted to allay those concerns and answer their questions from my experience with TBB. It was such a neat thing, reflecting on my journey and really beginning to understand the gravity of what we did.
I did a huge thing.
I took a trip around the world! For eight months! It's amazing how quickly I make that seem like no big deal.
But anyway, I keep receiving emails and updates from Robin, and my TBB group has a thread going on Facebook that's particularly active right now. I am just realizing what a rare community I am a part of: people who genuinely care, who work and think hard, not for themselves, but for the sake of others.
What a beautiful picture of God's grace and how we are created in His image! 
I am so blessed to have had this opportunity. And it just makes me more excited for whatever it is that I end up doing in life. The Lord has made it clear in the past few weeks that I can use my passions and talents as a way to give people a voice--to share their stories with the world in ways that will affect lasting change.
I don't really know the details surrounding that yet, but the Lord is gracious and he provides, so I'll figure it out eventually.
Basically, I'm just thrilled to be a part of something like TBB. That trip truly changed my life in so many ways. I think differently now, I question everything--but not in a maddening way. I question the way things are done because I am always wondering if there is a better way. And I find that I am more willing to take on a challenge; if I believe in something, I'll stop at nothing to get it done. That is all attributed, by God's grace, to Thinking Beyond Borders. TBB stretched me, pushed me, infuriated me, and ultimately allowed me to see exactly what it is I am capable of: anything I put my mind to.
So. I'm excited to say I've found some students here at Davidson who are like-minded; they believe in the power of youth creating change and of real, grassroots level work. We are beginning a youth-service initiative here in Davidson, and things are moving fairly quickly. I don't want to spoil anything, but once we really get things up and running, I will post something more in depth about that project.
(Get excited. It's gonna be awesome.)
Also. I'll be posting soon about college in general and the adventures I've had the past couple months.
Thanks for reading this long, rambling post. And I have to say thanks to Mrs. Dougherty, who found TBB for me and encouraged me to take a gap year--I would not be where I am without you! Thanks to Robin, Chris, Andrea, and my awesome PLs for your vision and everything you do to serve all the TBB students. Just know that I am so grateful to be a part of such a passionate and inspiring community.
Blessed.

Also. I was looking through pics from TBB. Here are some highlights:
 Me and Colin
 Ecuador host family and Alex
 Inca Trail budsss
 This was a random Indian family who wanted a picture with us at the Taj!
 The girls with Scott at the top of the cathedral in Quito. I miss them!
 First ride to Los Naranjos--in the back of the truck. Yes please.
 You know, just jumping on the Great Wall with the girls.
 Laughing at a fort in India. Love these girls.
 Looking ridiculous on the Inca Trail on Halloween. Raynie, I miss you!
Sweet friends. In freezing cold China.

Thanks for stopping by! :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Moving



MOVE from Rick Mereki on Vimeo.

Thank you, Mr. Moore.
Goodbye, Raleigh.
Hello, Davidson, world, and the rest of my life.
(Don't judge me for being overly dramatic!)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

"Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense."
--Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, August 12, 2011

As Mary Bryan would say....

...
....this friend speaks my mind.
Mary went to a Quaker school, and informed all of us on TBB that when someone says something, and you agree, have nothing to add, or couldn't say it better, you say, "This friend speaks my mind."
I love that phrase. So thanks, Mary. (Btdubs, you should check out Mary's blog. It's awesome. I love the way she writes.)
Anyway. My good friend, Jaron, sent this video to me. So thanks, Jaron. All of that to say (again), this friend (Sir Ken Robinson) very much speaks my mind.

Monday, August 08, 2011

This Fall

Stuff I'll Learn:
-Literary Analysis
 Designed for majors. Emphasizes theoretical approaches and critical strategies for the written analysis of poetry, fiction, and drama. Writing intensive. Required for the major.
-Intensive French (101 and 102)
  Beginning French. Learn conversational French quickly. Meets every day for 6 class-hours per week plus meetings with an assistant teacher (AT). Completes two semesters of French in one semester. Equivalent to French 101 and 102. Counts as two courses and prepares for French 201.
-Seeing Images, Writing Texts: Writing Studio
  A Writing 101 course designed to teach writing that draws upon both your intellect and your imagination. This course seeks to open up new ways of seeing and channels of creativity that will enable you to read, analyze, and communicate more effectively. Our inquiry will focus on texts that crow genres and disciplines, draw upon the arts and sciences, and combine words and images in innovative ways. Writing assignments will invite you to draw upon your own creative and critical faculties, using both words and images to create clear and compelling arguments.

Summer Reading:
In the Sanctuary of Outcasts, by Neil White.
Excellent read, totally worth it. A memoir about a prison sentence and the US's own personal leper colony in Carville, LA.

Where I'll Live:
Cannon Dormitory, 4th floor

Roomie:
Ellie from LA! She is interested in Biology and Art, and I am so looking forward to getting to know her.

What I'll Be Doing:
Right now the only definitive plan is changing the world with my new friend Aric. We have a legitimate plan, and I'll be keeping ya'll updated on that. It's gonna be awesome.
I'll hopefully be getting into a campus ministry and some sort of singing group, whether it's choir or acapella or something else.
And having a blast with my new friends.


Excited?
Absolutely!!

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Life

"The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man." --Ecclesiastes 12:13


Thank God for friends who can understand me, affirm me, and encourage me to love Christ through everything. I am blessed.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Home

Thank you, Davidson Odyssey for introducing me to this song. 

And I've posted a lot of music lately, so here's a few pictures for your pleasure. These are all from Odyssey which was a service trip I took as a sort of preorientation thing at Davidson. 

 All dressed up for a "night on the town." (aka a Harris Teeter run--sooooo epic.)
 Aric. So fierce.
 "There are no more hummus samples!?!"
 I'm naming my second child after him. And he'll be godfather.
Basically we're gonna change the world together.
 We love Erwin Lodge! (Where we stayed the whole week)
 Hampton is an epic elbow licker.
He's like a ninja.
 The girls! Me, Cidney (who is on my hall!), Ana (one of my leaders), Jessica, and Christina!
 This is Ian. He's from Jersey and he makes me laugh so much, I can't even handle it.
 Crew Siete! Me, Blake (my other leader and hubby), Christina, Ian, Cidney, Jess, Hampton, Aric, and Ana.
And this is Hampton. Not Ben Folds. However, he is at least as cool as Ben Folds.

But the main thing about this post is that video. Watch it. Or rather just listen to it. It's SO GOOD.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Overheard

Waitress: So do you guys want this check separate or together?
*simultaneously*
Guy: Together.
Girl: Separate.
*awkward pause*
Girl: No just make it separate, it's fine!
Guy: No, no, no.
I got this.
*hands waitress his card*
Girl: Okay well I'll get it next time.

Cue me and SB laughing conspicuously two tables over. Awkwarddddd.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Never Let Me Go

"I was weeping for an altogether different reason. When I watched you dancing that day, I saw something else. I saw a new world coming rapidly. More scientific, efficient, yes. More cures for the old sicknesses. Very good. But a harsh, cruel world. And I saw a little girl, her eyes tightly closed, holding to her breast the old, kind world, one that she knew in heart could not remain, and she was holding it and pleading, never to let her go. That is what I saw. It wasn't really you, what you were doing, I know that. But I saw you, and it broke my heart. And I've never forgotten...
You poor creatures."
--Madame, Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Extraneous Lyrics

My friend Emma posted this on her blog--priceless.
(PS If you aren't familiar with popular songs, this won't make much sense to you.)

Friday, July 15, 2011

Part One: Life, VI

If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.
--Emily Dickinson

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The End of an Era

Today is the day.
Tonight I will be attending what is likely my last official Harry Potter event.
For those of you who aren't Harry Potter fans, you may not understand how big a deal this is. So let me tell you (and if you don't care to read my love letter to Harry Potter (ahem, Jon Horner. RUDE.) then just don't. and let me ramble in peace):
I remember my first Harry Potter experience vividly. I was in second grade, and we were in Grafton, Vermont for Thanksgiving. I had a fever and had to stay in the house all day, and, as was usual for me, I had completely run out of books to read. I was a reading fiend as a kid, and I went to my mom tired and bored. She was reading Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone. I looked at it, asked what it was about, and said, "Hey, can I read this?"
And so it began.
I was fascinated by everything. By Harry and his story, by the magical world of Hogwarts, by the friendships in the story....I could go on and on.
Harry Potter hasn't been a bandwagon thing for me. It's been a part of my life. I grew up with the characters, waiting for the midnight opening of each book, waiting to spend all night reading.
I think there are so many great things about these books:
The relationships between the many characters, whether it's Harry, Ron, and Hermione, or Harry and the Weasleys, Snape and the students, or Hagrid and the creatures he cares for--they are all full of ups and downs, but they are real. They're relatable.
The humor--sometimes I just laugh out loud when I read these books. There are these moments that are just priceless.
The way the characters grow. They are so imperfect. They make mistakes, they are tempted, they don't always do the right thing. But they learn from it, they apologize, they love each other through all the ugly things.
And lastly I love how good triumphs. It's an age old story, but J.K. Rowling does things in a way I absolutely did NOT expect. Don't worry, I won't spoil it. There's a really redemptive aspect to this story, and it isn't subtle, it's clear and for me it was shocking.
Call me dramatic, but today is a big deal. It's like a coming of age moment (for my 7th grade class, I'm having a Bildungsroman moment....thanks, Mr. Henderson!). My childhood ended awhile ago, but it's like I have to actually face it today.
Bittersweet.
Feel free to laugh at this post, I know who you are. :) I am laughing at myself! Books aren't normally this big a deal to people, but hey, that's why I'm becoming the Literature professor, and you're not!
And for those of you who haven't read Harry Potter--give them a chance! Clearly, I think they're wonderful. :)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Quality Chinglish

For your entertainment! :)

"Caution, slip"
"do not be scared funny movie scared children"


"movie free feeding yor safety"

Reminder

Life has been weird lately.
I haven't exactly felt like myself for one reason or another, and I'm pretty complacent about it these days. I am kind of okay with this fading into the background of life, this feeling of apathy.
It's a sort of numbness, to be honest.
And then God, using my friend Alex, who by the way is not a believer, wakes me up.
He does it subtly. He hasn't yelled at me through Alex. He has just said, "Hey. Remember me? I made you. I have loved you. I died for you. And I have redeemed you.
Remember me."

I don't usually like talking about God in such conversational ways or putting words like that in his mouth, because he is so much greater than just a "hey, remember me?" But something that he has graciously brought to my mind this summer is that I am his daughter. I am a part of God's family, adopted into his church, a co-heir with Christ. So while he is my Lord and King, completely sovereign, Creator of the world....he is also my Father. My friend. My strength and my refuge. My portion, deliverer.
But ultimately he's my Savior.
And oh how I need a Savior!

He is faithful and good.
What a beautiful life we have in Christ!

Sunday, July 03, 2011

I miss....

...a lot of things. But today it's these boys.
Ryan is the one down front, then Deacon in the grey, Nazim in the middle, Dino on the right, and Macwin up in the top left.
Oooh I love them.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Part One: Life, X

A precious, mouldering pleasure 't is
To meet an antique book,
In just the dress his century wore;
A privilege, I think,

His venerable hand to take,
And warming in our own,
A passage back, or two, to make
To times when he was young.

His quaint opinions to inspect,
His knowledge to unfold
On what concerns our mutual mind,
The literature of old;

What interested scholars most,
What competitions ran
When Plato was a certainty,
And Sophocles a man;

When Sappho was a living girl,
And Beatrice wore
The gown that Dante deified,
Facts, centuries before,

He traverses familiar,
As one should come to town
And tell you all your dreams were true:
He lived where dreams were born.

His presence is enchantment,
You beg him not to go;
Old volumes shake their vellum heads
And tantalize, just so.

--Emily Dickinson

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Monday, June 20, 2011

Photos

I spent a good 30 minutes just clicking through pictures on this website. Thank you, StumbleUpon...
I want to go there.

Lessons in Love

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries. Avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness.
But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken, it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.
To love is to be vulnerable.”
—C. S. Lewis, The Four Loves

My mom wrote this in my awesome journal recently (she made it before I left and had my friends and family write in it--something from someone for every day--Sept. 8th through April 29th!). When I came across it on the day she wrote it, I fully understood what C.S. Lewis meant and why my mom wrote it in my journal. This quote was so fitting for this entire year, especially from South Africa on.
I have met some truly amazing people this year, and I'm going to list all of them (mainly for my sake, so bear with me): Angelica, Carlos, Nayely, Andy, Shaxi host parents, Alek, Amit, Mohit, Marie, Sindiswa, Mandy, Dee, Katie, Shaneen, Angone, Shuerea, Lushea, Amonique, Ashelita, Angelique, Kattou, Susie, Francisca, Shanise, Lauren, Emily, Celeste, Deacon, Dino, Ryan, Eugene, Macwin, Nazim, Ricardo, Axhamile, Lucipo, Whitney, Anaschka, Imo, Analo, Yollo, Inga, Luciano, Victor, Abel, Aunt Letty, the sweet "thumbs-up" lady, Asenathe, Michael......not to mention my incredible TBB family--Alex, Mckinley, Kasha, Jon, Rayn, Connor, Mary, Rachel, Eirann, Lauren, Faith, Luisa, Maddie, Jessie, Lorena, Scott, Andrea, Robin....I think that's everyone but geez the list could go on!
I will have you know that I love, and I truly mean I love each person I listed. They are from all different countries and walks of life.
I'm having trouble articulating what I learned and what I want people to realize...
I think Lewis summed it up so well: love, and you'll likely be hurt. Your heart will be ripped, crushed, everything short of being destroyed.
I know this. We all do. It is becoming ever so clear to me this year, as I experience one heartbreak after another.
But at the same time, I've honestly realized that the most significant lesson I've learned over this year (I apologize if you think this sounds cheesy) is love.
To love is the most important calling I have in life.
What else could bring more glory to God than loving Christ above all and loving each and every human I encounter? What else could be more rewarding than sharing my heart, than giving to people? And what else could have more of an impact on me and those around me?
This is our calling. It's fairly explicit in the Scriptures that love is the highest command (Matt. 22:34-40). And Lewis' quote is not an original idea--Paul says as much in 1 Corinthians 13. And the gospel is love. In its purest form. And what a beautiful thing it is! Oh that we had a little more of that in the world!
And something I have been challenged with as a believer this year is having genuine love for people and allowing that true, deep, and Christ-given love to motivate my actions.
I believe that Christians often share the gospel out of obligation.
I know. I said it. It sounds awful. But stick with me here: I find myself thinking frequently that I should share the gospel with so-and-so. That I should be living a life of love toward people.
And that's true; I'm not wrong in thinking that. But I really don't think should  is good enough. Because when I should be doing something....well it becomes a matter of DOING something, and that is not the gospel.
I'm not entirely sure how clear this is turning out, but in the end I am trying to say to myself and to you, whoever you are:
Love. It will be difficult and exhausting. And your heart will be wounded; people will disappoint, betray, and hurt. But Christians and non-Christians alike--there is nothing more important, nor anything more beautiful than pouring out your life in love and service to those around you. That is the picture of the gospel. That is possibly more effective than any sermon, bible study, worship service, or mission trip.
Love. I can only pray that God will continue to give grace for my heart to be vulnerable, torn, beaten, and stripped bare. I would rather endure that pain (as Christ did out of his endless love for me) than anything else in the world because love is the greatest gift anyone could ever receive. And I can joyfully give thanks to God that I received the truest gift of love in Christ.
Praise the Lord.

Myths About Introverts

I found this on my dear friend Kristin's blog, but it's actually from my other dear friend Emma's blog. Anyway, they both have really fun blogs, and I love seeing what they post. This, however, I could really relate to as an introvert.
I found that it's all 100% true for me......eerily so.
Sooo yeah enjoy! :)

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Love

“Love is a temporary madness; it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of eternal passion. That is just being in love, which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Those that truly love have roots that grow towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossoms have fallen from their branches, they find that they are one tree and not two.” ~Louis de Bernieres (Captain Corelli's Mandolin)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Friendship is the Perfect Blendship

I'm home. In Raleigh (Rah-lie-juh, according to Rayn).
But first, let me back up a little. My mom, dad, and Josh all came up to Boston for graduation from TBB which was awesome. I am so grateful for each of them, and I'm glad they were able to come. But let me just tell you how blessed I am with amazing friends--Sarah Beth Moore, Kristin Martin, and Annetta Kinton all flew up to Boston to be with me during graduation weekend....WHAT! Kristin still had exams!! They are so incredible, and I'm really in awe of how fortunate I am to have them as friends. And the cool thing is, I know had other friends at home who would have come to Boston if they could--so THANK YOU for loving me enough to even consider that!
Here's the whole group--except Josh I guess. But even Todd Moore came out! He's awesome. We always enjoy time with Todd. :)
Sisterhood of the Tracelong Pants (long story haha) :)
Me and the J-Man (who is now OBSESSED with my dear friend Jon Rosenthal haha)
Anyway. So Boston was a fun weekend. It went by so fast, and I was so conflicted when it ended! Even now, I am torn: I was so relieved, from the moment I drove away with my family to the airport, but at the same time I miss my friends....SO much! And of course I am glad to be home--incredibly glad. Still, I find myself wishing I could go to the farmer's market with Rachel, Mary, and Honi. I wish I could make balloon animals with Eirann, and sing with Kasha and Mckinley. I want to snuggle with Rayn, listen to Rosie's impressions, and watch LOST with Connor. (I really have missed that!) I want to laugh with Luisa and talk with Maddie. I want to go to Monticello with Faith (aka TJ). I'd like to listen to Alex plan her entire life out. I want to reflect and deflect with Lorena, write with Jessie, and be sarcastic with Scott.
This is most of the group--(L to R) Alex, me, Rosie (Jon), Mckinley, Kasha, Rachel, Luisa, Connor, Rayn, Maddie. Silly friends. :)
With the boys!
Girl Band--Rach, me, Kasha (our awesome manager/agent/photographer), Mary, and Mckinley. We're SUPER talented. And gorgeous, of course.
Such awesome girls. I love them to pieces.
And these boys. Oh they are wonderful and I love them dearly. :)
I miss these things. And don't get me wrong--I am so grateful to be back with my friends here at home. The fellowship I am enjoying with the believers in my community is amazing, and I will not take it for granted. I am so blessed.
But after spending 8 months with these people, I obviously miss them. It is interesting to see how each person on my trip taught me something or several things. I love that the Lord uses all sorts of people, believers and non-believers alike, to teach us. It reminds me that we are all made in His image, all precious to Him, all loved by our Creator. We all feel and love and laugh and cry and yell. What a beautiful thing that we are all connected in that way--through the image of a perfect and loving God! He is so good.
So. Those are my feelings right now. I am in a place where processing what I learned isn't coming naturally to me. I'm going to have sit down and force myself to think about things. Typically, I'd write about those things, but today when I sat down to write about being home, this is what came out. I wrote about my friends. They are great people, and I know that they will change the world. I can't wait to hear all their names and use all the blackmail I have on them. :) I love and miss ya'll!
PS--Helloooo mah deauh. Veryyy tireddd todayyy. Sorrrryy mah deauh, I wish I could see you todayyy. Maybe we could listen to Whitney Houston, nay??? :)
I couldn't resist.
PSS--Thanks Cole Porter (and my mother) for the title idea.
PSSS--Jaron Moore, what was the last PS/PSS/PSSS you wrote??