Monday, May 29, 2006

I am shifting...

It feels like every shred of who I have been these last four years is being stripped away, piece by piece by piece. Next week I am selling my car. I bought this car when I first began college. I bought it with scholarship money so I could to and from school. Today, I moved out of my apartment, the one place in the world that ever felt mine. It wasn’t my family’s home, it wasn’t a friend’s house that I happened to be living in, it was my home. A huge part of me grew there. A huge part of my roommate N. and my relationship grew there. It really hurt leaving that tiny little place with the last of my belongings this evening. It wasn’t the space, or the walls and carpet, so much as everything that went with it: independence, freedom, cooperation, ownership, and peaceful living. That was by far the most peaceful place I have ever lived. I would come home midday to find my roommate K. asleep on the couch or finding how many different ways you can stand up without bending your knees. Sometimes late at night N., K., and I would stay up late drinking wine or eating ice cream, just talking. We would talk and talk about whatever struck our fancy. Life, theology, philosophy, what it means to love, flirts, broken relationships, prayer, our families; no deep topic was without our scope. And now it is gone. I am off to a place that is not mine, where my independence will be reduced, and where I have to begin all over with relationships and friendships. No one there really knows me. I am an enigma to even those who have known me for a while. That said, sometimes I even confuse myself. Part of me is not excited to start over. Part of me is enthusiastic about the idea of a new adventure, rising like the mist from the warm pavement on a rainy evening. A feeling like the English moors with their dusky fog, not entirely pleasant looking and yet filled with an illusive and seductive mystery.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Nuart

I have been trying to find one example that would symbolize and signify what the Nuart has been to me. The idea of squashing all that has happened here into a few words or sentences feels like absolute carnage. God has done so much for me here that no one instance could encapsulate the entirety of all that God has gone and done. Needless to say, the Nuart has been like a second home to me, a place of community, ministry, and hilarity. The other volunteers have been and have become some of my dearest friends.

I have loved pouring into the other women here and helping them grow and learn.
I have loved the effect of the books on people who come in for coffee and randomly pick one up.
I have loved giving away books, especially when you find one that the person really needs.
I have loved talking to the drunks with groups of friends late in the evening.
I have loved talking with hurting women over Instant Messenger through the blessing of the Nuart’s wireless internet.
I have loved seeing myself used to bring love and compassion to women who have come to their rope’s end. God likes to hang out at the end of ropes.
I have loved random prayer meetings with Jim Wilson, seeing various Bible Studies, and viewing people visibly gasp at the low prices for the coffee.
I have loved training several members of the staff and trying to instill in them my enthusiasm for reaching people’s hearts through friendship and conversation.
I have loved.
I have been loved.
I have so many memories of hysterical laughter, meeting friends from all walks of life, seeing people ask questions, and exploring all God has done in my life.
I am so sad to be leaving it.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Imagining Thinking You Could Die

One of my students recently wrote a paper about the American author Gary Paulsen. In reviewing one book my student wrote, "Like Brian did in the first book the Hatchet, eventually he relaxes and everything is fine for a while but he always had that thought in the back of his mind that he might not ever be found and 'I could die out here'. Can you imagine thinking you could die? Wouldn't that challenge the hope and faith in everything you believe in?"

I was startled by his understanding of death. I realized that his rhetorical question about imagining thinking you could die was something I didn't have to imagine. I realize that going to the Middle East, I could die. It isn't something I have to try to understand. In addition, it doesn't challenge my hope and faith. This is because my hope and faith are in the knowledge of God's love and that I will die someday and be with Him.

On a more realistic level for modern Americans, we need to know that we could die any time on any day. For example, one of my pastor's favorite sayings is that you could walk outside and get hit by the 7-up truck. I haven't ever seen a 7-up truck, although it is fun to say (you should try it). Anyway, there are car crashes, wierd diseases, all sorts of accidents could kill you.Any of us could die. You really could die out here.

Sunday, May 21, 2006


“The only difference—that I see—
is that you are exactly the same—as you used to be.”

Graduations tend to make one reminiscent. I have been to five graduations this May, my own being one. The others belonged to the seniors at the high school that I taught at, a home-schooled friend, a local Christian college, and my younger sister L. Each one was different in it’s own way. Some were incredibly touching; mine was impersonal and boring. I loved seeing my sister graduate, but my home-schooled friend’s graduation was the most beautiful. There were two girls and both their father’s gave speeches and became all misty eyed. It was adorable. The other college graduation I witnessed was fun because one of the men I most respect for his life work was being honored.

Back on the issue of being reminiscent, however. I saw some of my old high school graduating classmates this weekend at my sister’s graduation. It was strange seeing them. Some I have continued to grow with here in college, but the ones who I haven’t seen for a while are kind of hard to be around. I am such a changed person and I suspect that they have changed also. But it is almost as if I become the same person I used to be when I am around them. I don’t know how to address them from the perspective of my newer self. Others I have seen grow and change, have also reverted into their older selves when around old friends. The question then becomes, did I become that person due to the people around me or is it just more comfortable, like the habits fitting into the old mold?

And as I sit here thinking about these things, it comes to mind that I haven’t heard this CD of the Wallflowers in years. It was a class favorite the year I was a senior in high school.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Rosalind Goforth

I have been reading a book called "How I Know... God answers Prayer" by Rosalind Goforth a missionary to China in the 1900's. She tells story after story of how God saved them out of terrible things when they prayed. But one thing that struck her also struck me. She was speaking how her family was one of the families that was saved out of the Boxer Rebellion where they were killing all foreigners and certainly all Christians. She said this:

"Then too after all is said, we must believe God was glorified and God's purposes were fulfilled in the death of some as in the saved lives of others."

This struck me more and more as she casually mentioned in other stories the fact that at least four of her children had died while they were out on the mission field and yet God continued to draw them forth. I know that I sometimes struggle giving all to God and yet, I have never had to surrender my children; I have never had children. How much I respect this woman of faith. It is a faith I hope I have should I ever be put in a position where it is tested.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Wacky Church Video Found Online.

Ugh... and yet, sadly true in many places.

A Plantly Poem... perhaps?

This poem is entertaining although not really indicative of my own feelings and passions. I wrote it in perhaps a very violent mood.

A Plantly Poem

There are many plants in the world
Some beautiful, others plain or ugly
Some tease the sun and wind
Some display fantastic colors
Other flowers wink at the bees
Calling sweetly for those honey lips
And their pretty faces upturned
A perfect target for the buzzing flirts
But I am not of that kind
I am not the giggling miniskirted lilly
Nor am I the ditzy daisy
I am the Venus Fly-trap
And if those flirts dare near me
I will eat them and have no regrets.

Friday, May 12, 2006


So I just finished my last final. And when I say "last" I mean LAST! I am graduating tomorrow. And I won't be going back for classes ever again unless someday I go to another school, I guess. I don't really want to do that, but I am not one of those people who will swear that it will never happen. And there is much rejoicing! Just enough for me to go shopping and then go home and take a nap before the Honors Convocation and the Open House I am having with some of my friends. Then on to the morning tomorrow where I have to awake early to go buy my cap and gown and then in the middle of two hours of people marching across a stage, I too, will be allowed my turn to march across that stage. Oh, joy. If my grandparents were not coming, I would not be doing the whole hullaballoo. But, alas, to bless them, to make them happy, I would do many things.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The English Teacher's Dream?

There is a website called There is a link in my list of links below. Here is one I found personally entertaining.

Monday, May 08, 2006

A New Experience

Saturday morning I went to my first college party with alcohol as a main source of entertainment. I thought I had escaped this pinnacle of college existence because there is only one week left before I graduate. I went to the champagne breakfast for English majors and after only fifteen minutes, one girl was on her fourth glass of champagne and there was no sign of slowing. Near that time several of the English professors started taking shots of some strange Chinese liquor out on the porch. About half the company was also slightly groggy and maybe hung over from the celebrations the previous night for Cinco de Mayo.

And yet, I did have a good time. I was slightly entertained by my fellow graduating English majors who are strange enough on their own merit, but it was only enhanced by the little bit of alcohol. Even more interesting however, was gettin asked several dozen times what I was going to do with my absolutely worthless English degree. And surprisingly enough I and another guy who is doing missions were almost the only ones who had set plans. Not only that, but my plans opened up multiple oportunities to share my heart for God and what He had done in my life. I actually ended up sharing my whole testimony with one of my professors. Wow, that was freaky.

All in His Hands.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Truly “Born Again”

I know that almost everyone who has spent time with young children has been blessed by their fresh perspective. They notice things that we, as adults, take for granted. The sky is blue, the daffodils are yellow, and a myriad of other things are said that we know, but we do not think of. These are beautiful reminders, because realizing that the sky is blue is a beautiful thing. It is so encouraging to be reminded of these simple things because they are simple and wonderful.

Being around someone who is a baby Christian can make you experience the same kind of encouragement. It is almost like God knew what he was doing when he said we would be “born again.” It is such a blessing to reminded of those basic and beautiful things about God. So often we have begun to walk with God and have found it become normal, which it ought to be normal. But we forget that awe we had at discovering God’s goodness. We forget the first time we heard that God is our lover. We forget his death, burial, and resurrection. We forget how that simple, beautiful, and very strange story transformed our lives and our priorities.

By far that has been the most awesome thing. Watching someone grow in a relationship with God. It is like some sort of addictive drug. There is so much joy wrapped up in seeing a person stop feeling mean, beginning to understand what it means to love, figure out priorities, be excited about connecting with other believers, having conversations that are spontaneously and sincerely spiritual. The list goes on and on. And these are the kinds of thing I have stopped noticing and have become so accustomed to that I don’t revel in them the way a new Christian does.

I can’t wait to see more people hear the message that Christ came that we might “have life and have it to the full.” Life in a person who did not have it before is one of the most exciting and beautiful things I think I have ever come across. I saw it in Japan and here in the U.S. And every time it happens I wonder how on earth I had forgotten the glory of it all and God’s transforming power in the life of a person.

My Ever Present Help

Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;
My hope comes from him.
He alone is my rock and salvation;
He is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God;
He is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in him at all times, O people;
Pour out your hearts to him,
For God is our refuge.
Psalm 62:5-8