Saturday, December 30, 2006

Just over nothing exists something

Warning: following is the most abstract, vague, non-committed post I have ever written. Do not expect to understand. Do not expect anything to mean what it looks like it means. If you can decipher any of it, congratulations—you know me better than I thought you did. If you do not understand it, don’t feel bad. After all, everyone must have their secrets.

Colors, sometimes bright and intense, sometimes fading into a state of near non-existence spread across the canvas of time, adding pigment to mere thought. When the brush first made a mark, it struck perplexingly. The artist should have known, should have had some concept of the finished painting, should never have made such a wayward stroke. But it seemed the brush had moved of its own accord, irresponsibly marring the image. The first mark was careless, but easily remedied, easily painted over.

The artist painted twice, three times, a forth. Each time on the same canvas. Each layer of paint concealing the previous. And when he was finished, discovered to his alarm that the painting he had hidden was more beautiful than the one that remained uncovered. The painting is framed now, hanging inconspicuously out of the way. To those that find it through effort or by mistake, it is as it appears, simple, a child’s effort made valuable only by the cost of the frame. To the artist, it is a secret, concealed for all eternity. He cares nothing for the visible product, despises it in fact. But he sees the truth. For behind the clear sky lie vibrant colors of abstract design. Between the hills now covered with trees, is a daring image he never intended for human eyes. In the depths of a still lake is the remnant of that first brush stroke. And in every other crevice are the pictures that never left the artist’s thoughts. He sees them. They are as real in his mind’s eye as if they had actually met the canvas. But alas the artist’s skill prevented them their moment.

If only. If only the artist had not doubted his work. If only he had not cared what others thought. If only the others knew what to look for. If only…but the if onlys are endless. So, as the boundaries of reality and fantasy meet and overlap, the only thought that remains is: if only the artist now had the heart to destroy the painting. And the title of the painting is as unrevealing as the painting itself: June uncovering secrets through invisible noticing.

Thursday, December 14, 2006


Life is like a dot-to-dot. Monumental moments, the ones that fill the pages of the baby book, the ones that send the grandmas scurrying for their cameras, are connected together by the mundane, day to day of everything else. You know what I'm talking about--graduation day, bringing home a blue ribbon, the first car, the first kiss (okay-try to keep this checkable). The first paycheck, the first time you successfully distinguish between left and get the idea.

Last night, I knew a monumental moment. I experienced my very first Oahu Frappe. It was a moment I had long awaited, and I was not disappointed. Let me just say--the descriptions I had heard contained no exaggeration. And today, my life feels a little more complete.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

I really wish I could think of a good title for this post.

I love to write. Call me selfish, but most of what I write is for me. If I can get my thoughts on paper (or computer screen as the case may be), I can either organize them and hopefully make some sense of it all or eliminate them, thus freeing my mind from the trivial task of analyzing over nothingness. (A true analytical will appreciate that last line. The rest of you are free to roll your eyes).

All that to say: this post is not for me. It is for you, my reader; an audience which I have come to believe is rapidly diminishing. As much as that stabs at my pride, I thank you, the faithful few, who remain.

While people accuse me of being quiet, of having nothing to say, of being….horror of all horrors…amiable! I am merely observing. These are a few of my observations. I have removed all names because, well—it might be you.

People-observing ranks rather high on my list of preferred entertainments. It doesn’t get old. People are unpredictable (and predictable). People are different (and the same). The frustration with cliques is that their members only associate with their own kind. The fascination with diversity then is isolated not so much to those who observe the differences, but those who can appreciate them.

There are numbers of opposing parallels that all people posses which are simply too self-explanatory for me to expound on. For example, there is the introvert and the extrovert, the serious and the giddy, the perfectionist and the haphazardist. The list goes on. But a more intriguing pair is the profounder and the shallower. Please understand that none of these descriptions are meant to question anyone's intelligence, depth, sincerity, or motive. They are merely my observations, and thus observed through my biased perspective.

Profounders may be identified by a facial expression, but are usually identified when they speak. Few people say exactly what they mean to say, exactly when they mean to say it, exactly in the way they would say it. If they did, conversation would be dull. Instead, we have a lovely contrast of communicators. There are the few that don’t care what they say as long as they are noted for saying it. There are those who say only what everyone wants them to say. There are others who say exactly what everyone does not want them to say, which oddly is precisely what they do want in a round about way. (Yes, I know that nothing can be precise and round about at the same time. That is why I put them both in the same sentence). There are those who know they are profound and flaunt it, those who wish they were profound and try to force it, those who do not know they are profound but accidentally do it, and those who know they are profound but try to hide it in order that others might think they are more profound by hiding how profound they profoundly are.

Shallowers have a depth all their own. They are a misunderstood people, accused of being void of original thought, of being unable to think for themselves. Though many of them are highly intelligent (and many Profounders for that matter are not), they are often cast aside as intellectually unworthy. Profounders will speak of the trivial in an intellectual way. Shallowers speak of the trivial as trivially as it actually is. But Shallowers have a perspective that is unclouded by abstract logic. They have a solid understanding of what is real and what actually matters.

By the way, Shallowers are scared to death of Profounders. And though they would never call it fear, Profounders do not know the first thing to do with the Shallowers. You will seldom see these two groups mingle. But should you find yourself in the dininghall sitting at a table with a large group of Shallowers (if you are a Profounder) or Profounders (if you are a Shallower), you will need to know the difference so that you can properly appreciate the opposite group. Profounder comunication is based on content. WHAT is said is important. You can't blank out and still be part of the conversation. Shallower communication is based on the manner in which the content is expressed. It's not WHAT is said, but HOW it is said. I am convinced that a Shallower conversation can take place entirely without words. Grunts combined with expression are sufficient to have the entire table rolling with laughter.

So, may you all break out of your comfortable worlds and get to know the "others." You might be surprised what you find.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

It feels good to breathe

I have this tendency when I'm talking to people to try to put myself in their shoes and view the world through their eyes. It's good in some ways, I suppose. Helps me understand people a little better. Helps me change perspectives. But, it's kind draining when all my friends are going through rough stuff. Seriously, all of them. Is it just me or has this been a hard year all around? And all the stuff they're dealing with is different. I don't mind, really. In fact I love it. I love being around. I love that people know they can share their heart with me. I like that they trust me. And to be honest, when I've tried to be supportive and encourage, I find that I end up being the one encouraged by the very person I was seeking to minister to.

Anyway, I've walked through the past few weeks (especially the last few days) knowing their hurt, feeling their pain, and yes, holding my breath. May I say? It feels good to breathe again.

I used to work as a camp director in San Francisco. Some of the best summers of my life. Kid's are the same all over the place. Kids like to hold their breath when they go through a tunnel. My kids were a little different because they liked to hold their breath when they went over bridges as well. None of them knew why they did it. They just did. I had a few who swore they could hold their breath the entire time crossing over Golden Gate Bridge, which by the way, in traffic, is definately impossible, without traffic, is still quite impossible. I had van drivers who would actually slow down on a bridge just for the fun of watching them turn purple.

Anyway, why did they do it? We weren't under water or driving through poisonous polution. Honestly, the van didn't smell THAT bad. I thought about it last week as I was holding my breath, waiting for the verdict, knowing that what God would do would be good, but not knowing by waht means He would work good, not knowing their response to the outcome, not knowing what my role would be as far as rejoicing with the rejoicer or weeping with the weeper, but wanting to direct towards truth, praying for wisdom. And all the while God was gently saying: Breathe in, breath out. Relax, I have everything under control.

Friday, November 10, 2006


I know I haven’t written in forever, and I know that this doesn't count because it's not my own. But i found this quote by Spurgeon, and I like it.

"Weeping is the eloquence of sorrow. It is an unstammering orator, needing no interpreter, but understood of all. Is it not sweet to believe that our tears are understood even when words fail! Let us learn to think of tears as liquid prayers, and of weeping as a constant dropping of importunate intercession which will wear its way right surely into the very heart of mercy, despite stony difficulties which obstruct the way."


Friday, October 13, 2006

Circumstances Crash About Me

Circumstances crash about me, and my wind struck vessel breaks.
All my thoughts are left adrift while this heart within me quakes.
Master, still my troubled mind
As you stilled the storm at sea.
Speak the words, “Peace be still,”
That from fears, I’ll be set free.
Master, still my troubled mind
As you stilled the storm at sea.
As the tempest turns to trusting,
Let me rest alone in Thee.

Enshrouded by the shadow of the valley dark and gray,
Wondering in confusion, my thoughts roam far away.
Shepherd, soothe this hurting heart
As you did with David’s song.
Whisper melodies of comfort
As the night watch stretches long.
Shepherd, soothe this hurting heart
As you did with David’s song.
Taking captive all my feelings,
Set my thoughts where they belong.

A child so small, uncertain, afraid to call your name,
Afraid to call you Abba, yet pleading just the same.
Father, take the broken pieces;
Draw me into your embrace.
Hold me close and stop the trembling;
Let me see your loving face.
Father, take the broken pieces;
Draw me into your embrace.
As I give you every heartache,
I am kept within your grace.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

A Lesson in the City

I don't really know what made me think of this, but I was remembering back to a Saturday afternoon several years ago, when I carried a violin case all over downtown San Francisco. The reactions I received were priceless.

I walked up and down the pier with the case slung over my shoulder. Random tourists walked up to me and asked me if I was studying at the conservatory. Not this year, I would respond. I didn't bother to tell them I never would.

I juggled that thing on and off the cable car. The brake man teased me about needing to purchase a ticket for the instrument, and when I refused, told me I would have to play a tune for the ride. Several passengers joined in. I just laughed. The case never opened.

I wandered passed street musicians with an assortment of pan pipes, guitars, and native drums. A little further a small band managed to drown out the sounds of city traffic. Further, a solitary musician poured out his soul in a haunting tune on the sax. As I walked by the musicians, each noticed me. Their eyes would dart to the case and then to me, and there was an unspoken appreciation, some sort shared camaraderie that no one else was even aware of.

The whole day went like that. The whole day, I was the only one that knew that the case I carried was empty. No one ever challenged me to open the case and show the instrument. No one ever asked me to play a few notes to prove my musicianship. They just assumed.

Before you think I'm completely crazy: No, I am not in the habit of carrying empty instrument cases through the city. It just so happens there is this cute little music store in San Francisco. It's called "Lark in the Morning." I needed a new case, something that would protect my instrument a little better than what I was currently using. And that purchase had been my first stop that Saturday afternoon.

The thing that struck me though, is that I liked it. I liked the facade. I liked that I was held in a higher esteem than I deserved. I liked the association, however superficial. But carting a case doesn't make a musician anymore than attending church makes a Christian.

The truth of the matter, I do own I violin. I have studied for a couple of years, but the illustration rings true even among the saved. We are so concerned about what other Christians will think of our spirituality. If someone asks me, I'll tell them I play the violin, but I won't play for them. I don't want them to hear where I'm at. As I write this, I can see the pride screaming back at me, and I think of the verse, "Comparing themselves among themselves, they make themselves stupid." (my translation) We'll tell people we pray, but we're hesitant to pray out loud lest someone hear our fumbling words. We'll say we have a close walk with God, we can't remember when what started as a sincere relationship drifted into a ritual. We'll claim we love God, but beg God not to put us to the test to prove that love. We'll grow frustrated at the slow process of sanctification in our own lives when we see how far we have to go or when we look at the work God is doing in someone else.

It was so easy to carry the case with confidence as long as no one knew the truth. But it wasn't real.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Psalm 16:11

Someone shared this verse with me yesterday, and I was blessed by it.

Psalm 16:11
You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

I won't comment on it. The verse speaks for itself.

Monday, September 18, 2006


Ever sit through a convicting message and not been convicted? Ever pick up your Bible with confidence and think things are basically going okay so devotions shouldn't be too "painful" this morning? Ever sung about Christ's death and not been moved? Don't leave me out on a limb by myself. I think we've all been here at some point. Slowly our depravity fades away and we grow complacent in our supposed self-righteousness.

Two verses come to mind. Paraphrased: "let everyone who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall." and "search me O God and know my heart and see if there be any wicked way in me."

I was thinking about this all week. It's not a pleasant thing to have known sin in your life and go through the humbling process of giving it over to God, of confessing it before Him, and if necessary, before others, of letting go of the idols you cling to. Unpleasant as it is, nothing frightens me more than searching my heart and not knowing what sin to confess. I don't want to grow callous towards sin, and I certainly don't want to become stagnant in my Christian walk.

Praise Him! That He who began a good work will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

I prayed

I prayed, "God give me wisdom."
And He said, "I did. It's there in your hand."
All the wisdom I'll ever need is pressed within this leather cover.

I prayed, "God, teach me."
And He said, "I am. Are you listening?"
I waited for a shout, but he spoke in a still, small voice.

I prayed, "God, make me like You."
And he said, "I will. One day, one truth at a time."
And when I see Him, I shall be like Him.

I prayed, "God, be glorified."
And He smiled.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Just Listening

Tonight I held music--touched it, felt it, tasted it, saw it. Sitting on the floor of a practice room, I listened as the piano come to life, singing a thousand emotions that I do not have the skill to express nor the desire to minimize with words. The music became a duet, and interplay, an exchange of expresion between the one who pressed the keys and the one whose keys were pressed. Every vibration seeped through the floor, and I felt them, and none escaped. Those of you who can hear should cover your ears sometime and hear was music really sounds like.

Thank you, Brittany for your music.

One of my favorite quotes:

"To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury; and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable; and wealthy, not rich; to study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly; to listen to stars and birds, to babes and sages with open heart; to bear all cheerfully, do all bravely, await occasion, hurry never; in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious grow up through the common. This is to be my symphony."

William Henry Channing

Sunday, September 03, 2006


This has been the topic of numerous dinner conversations, countless room debates, and many unresolved, opinionated discussions. I don't intend to resolve it, only to discuss it.

Consider the matter of carbonated beverage (termed intentionally thus to remain neutral). We have the many that call it soda, the rather equal number that call it pop, the few that call it coke, and the handful that call it sodapop. I can deal with soda. I can deal with pop. (We won't talk about coke). But it's the peacemaking, compromising, fence-walking, standard-bending sodapoppers that need to be addressed. As Kathiann so aptly put it, "It's like theistic evolution. They can't both be." Let your yea be yea and your nay, nay. This attempt to please everyone, this willingness to merge the vocabulary that so distinguishes our culture and the regions of our country is a violation of who we are. So in defiance to this battle of words, may we all drink milk.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

The First Note

The concert master has already entered. The oboe has given the tuning note. The conductor has been honored. The audience has quieted.

Watch the orchestra.

In the last moment before the first note sounds, instruments are poised and ready. The brass comes to attention. The reeds are dampened. The violins find their first string. All that remains is a signal from the conductor, and the whole room will burst forth in music.

The sun has already risen. The birds have chirped their repetitive sequences. The battle between the snooze button and my alarm's tone has carried on as long as I dare. Already, people are coming and going about their day. As I rise, I have the opportunity to stop and to prepare, to search out the Scriptures, to linger in prayer, to line up my heart's response to His leading. I want to be ready. I want to find that first string so that all that remains is to wait for the signal from God.

And the transformation occurs from a day as it might have been into the orchestrated beauty of His direction.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Black Miracles

When we think of God's hand moving in a miraculous way, we think of the beauty, the earth taking shape at his command. We think of the majesty, mountains and valleys carved out by rushing waters. We think of the sufficiency, a multitude satisfied by one boy's lunch. We think of the joy, a cherished loved one restored to life, a dreaded disease or impairment gone.

But what about the other miracles, black miracles if you will, the miracles that we didn't choose, the miracles that make us question and doubt. Miracles like Joseph being sold into slavery. Like David watching his infant son slip into eternity. Like Paul with a thorn that wouldn't go away.

Sometimes God moves in a miraculous way to do exactly what we didn't want. A lack of finances keeps that dream from becoming a reality. The boyfriend or fiancé that seemed to be God's will calls it off. The friend that was such a spiritual encouragement moves away. The job that was everything thing you ever wanted is no longer yours. The doctor's diagnosis drastically alters your future, crushing hopes and dreams.

None of these events would have taken place without a supernatural intervention form God. Can they be any less miracles? They are the miracles that move beyond our comprehension into the mind of God. And His thoughts are not out thoughts.

But, if we truly believe that all things work together for good, can we be any less thankful for the black miracles?

Friday, August 18, 2006

My Goals

Call them New Year resolutions if you will. I personally don't make New Year resolutions because they've always been a joke with me. I find the guilt trip on every 31st of December inhumane, and making a practice of setting myself up for failure every year seems needless.

I do however believe in setting goals, of making a plan, of evaluating my life in light of areas to change. Maybe that's the same thing as what a New Year resolution is supposed to do, but for me, doing it on a day other than the transition between December and January somehow makes it seem a little less doomed.

Another difference--I'm not looking at the year as a whole. These are my goals for today. Tomorrow, they will be my goals for tomorrow, and as God enables me day by day, I pray they become a habit that will last through the year and then another and another. For now, today will suffice.

  • To depend daily on God, to seek Him as my only sustenance from moment to moment, to never stop needing Him (Psalm 63).
  • To daily meet with God, to be in his Word that I might know Him, that I might obey Him, that I might grow to be more like Him (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
  • To make Him my delight (Psalm 37:4).
  • To be obedient in prayer, to learn how to pray according to His will, and to make prayer a discipline in my life (Philippians 4:6).
  • To choose daily to be thankful, knowing that when I cease to honor Him and cease to be thankful, it is the turning point away from Him (Romans 1). For me, it's making a literal list of thankfulness and keeping myself accountable in it.
  • To submit to the divine authority of those who hold me accountable, to approach accountability with honesty and without preconceived prejudice (Romans 13:1-2; 1 Peter 5:5).
  • To honestly ask God to search my heart and point out areas of idolatry and unconfessed sin (Psalm 139:23-24).
  • To be sincere in my motives (Colossians 3:23).
  • To rest within God's sovereignty (Matthew 11:28-30).

Friday, August 04, 2006

Making Changes

I begin by saying "God is good." That has become the phrase with which I've prefaced nearly everything I've said of late. And it's true. It's so true.

This summer for me has been a time of serious searching and a time of difficult decisions. God has been working in my life, bringing to my attention a lot of things that I needed to see and a lot of things that I really don't want to see, but important nevertheless.

I'm not coming back to Maranatha as a dorm sup this fall. To be honest, this came as a very difficult change for me. I loved dorm suping. I loved Gould. I still love every one of my girls. But God has been redirecting, and I need to respond with obedience. He has very clearly closed one door and seems to be clearly opening another.

As I look at the coming fall, I still plan to live in Watertown. I will be working. And I plan to use this time to pursue my masters. I know what God is doing and teaching me through this is good, and I trust Him, not only for the outcome, but the process as well. I have seen Him do some truly amazing things in the past few weeks. I've had to trust Him in ways I honestly didn't before. And I know that this God that I serve will continue. He will continue to provide as He has provided before. He will continue His work in my life. I have that promise from Scripture. He will meet each and every need of the Gould girls. Of course He will; He is the only one equipped to meet those needs. I can only fall short.

My God is enough. May He be praised.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Brothers Grimm turn KJV

And it came to pass that a young maiden in scarlet raiment with her head covered in cloth of crimson did sojourn in the wilderness. And she did purpose in her heart to carry loaves and fishes to the grandmother and there to sup with her.

And so it happened that while she was there she came upon a beast who did hiss and gnash his teeth and who moveth his tail like a cedar. And out of his mouth issued all manner of vile speaking. And the beast said unto her, whither goest thou? And she answered saying, I go unto the home of the grandmother there to sup with her. And the maiden of scarlet raiment did sojourn unto the house of the grandmother.

And it came to pass that when the maiden did draw nigh unto the house of the grandmother, the beast having arrived ahead of her didst consume the grandmother and lay in wait seeking whom he may devour. But the maiden knowest it not.

And when the maiden saw the beast, she was moved with compassion and she said unto him, Thine eyes are as doves. And he answered her, the better wherewithal to see thee. And she said unto him, Thine teeth are as a flock of shorn ewes. And he answered her, The better wherewithal to chew thee. And she said unto him, Thy tongue is as a horse's bit. And he answered her, the better wherewithal to taste thee. And with that, the beast swallowed her up. And the maiden spent three days and three nights within the belly of the beast. And after three days and three nights, the beast spat her up and the grandmother with her.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Psalm 37:4

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart”

I have heard this verse quoted a hundred times by people who are seeking to know God’s will. I have heard it as a promise that as a Christian, God will give me what I want. I have even heard it held to desperately by those clinging to the idols of their heart.

“If I…..than God will…..”

—this verse does not justify manipulation!

What’s the difference between the word “delight” and the word “desire?”

  • Delight is what makes me happy.
  • Desire is what I want.

Should they not be the same thing?

This verse has nothing to do with material gain.
It has nothing to do with getting my way.
It has nothing to do with snaring the guy I want to like me.
It has nothing to do with a promotion.
It has nothing to do with miracle healing.
It has nothing to do with the American dream.

It has everything to do with a promise,
The promise that God is enough,
That He is sufficient,
That all of this really is true just as we were told.

It is possible for Him to satisfy our desire—all of it. And He offers that, not teasingly with the intention of snatching it away the moment He captures out interest. But He gives it, unhindered, unrestrained.

The focus of this verse is not that WE delight in him, but that we delight in HIM. We delight in Him, and He gives us the desire of our heart. Quite simply—He becomes the desire of our heart.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Little Pirate

Had to post a couple of these because my niece is just too cute for words.

Walk the plank!

Ship ahoy!

Is this gold real?

Sunday, July 23, 2006

All she could give

As those gathered watched in wonderment,
She slipped into the room.
Her head was bowed in humbled shame
In her hands a small perfume.
Her eyes locked on the Savior's feet;
The murmuring began.
As she fell before Him kneeling,
Pent up tears now freely ran.

All she could give were her tears.
All that remained were the tears.
Forsaking sin and wasted years,
Denying guilt and binding fears,
All she could give were her tears.

As the others scorned her offering,
She wept without restrain.
Her anguish spilt before her Lord
Became a sweet refrain.
Her eyes bent with sorrow
Could not look into His face
Till with undeserved forgiveness,
She found worth within His grace.

All she could give were her tears.
All that remained were the tears.
Forsaking sin and wasted years,
Denying guilt and binding fears,
All she could give were her tears.

Then I the vile offender come
To seek the Savior's face.
My life is filled with shameful sin
Not understanding grace.
Till kneeling there before my God
With nothing left to give,
There through His love and in His strength,
Victorious I live.

All I could give were my tears.
All that remained were the tears.
Forsaking sin and wasted years,
Denying guilt and binding fears,
All I could give were my tears.

All had been given in the blood,
Washed in the all-cleansing flood.
My tears of shame were wiped away,
His grace sufficient for each day.
All had been given in the blood.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Hey Grandpa

I just found out that I'm related to this guy. He's my great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandfather. I sort of stumbled across him by accident. Some relative told me I was a direct decendent of Sir John Hawkins, and I was looking up some information to see if it was true, and next thing I knew, I was tracing names through the house of Tudor straight back to Henry VIII. It's kind of cool because I can actually trace all the names in between. I think he's funny looking. I hope there's no family resemblance. Apparantly in 1509, people thought differently. Someone said of him,

"His Majesty is the hansomest potentate I ever set eyes on; above the usual height, with an extremely fine calf to his leg, his complextion fair and bright, with auburn hair, combed straight and short in the French fashion, and a round face so very beautiful that it would become a pretty woman, his throat was rather long and thick"

Then again, I'm not certain any validity can be taken on such a comment considering he executed anyone who disagreed with him. What a charming man! So, it's kind of fun to trace your heritage. And it's kind of scary some the characters that show up.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Profound, isn't it?

And isn't that to an extent why we write these blogs? To somehow show people that we have something to say to be worthy of our readership?

Maybe I can say something profound. Maybe I can impress people with my word choice, with some new insight that they had never considered. Or the ultimate accomplishment--maybe I will say something so profound that it would actually cause them to add me to their links list!

I am not endeavoring to be profound. Honestly, I can't. Profound has already been done, and it won't be matched. Profound is when I try to understand God's love in terms of the cross. Profound is grace.

So there you have it--simply stated, but in Him, profoundly accomplished.
Him be praised.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

My prayer

This is my prayer.

That God would remove from me my selfishness and my pride,
That I would not be blinded to His will.

That God might take control of any emotions
That would hinder me from thinking on truth.

That I might catch a glimps of His love,
That I might know how to love others.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Empty Vessels

When did the miracle take place? Have you ever wondered that? The wedding was in progress, and something horribly embarrassing happened. Right at the peak of the celebration, they ran out of wine. The host was about to be humiliated, but God intervened and instead, the wedding guests were about to witnesses Christ’s first miracle. Our Lord began with instructions. That was often the case. Not always, but often. Take the six stone water jugs, and fill them with water. Why? Because they were empty. Profound isn’t it? Not really. But what He was about to do was. The text doesn’t answer my question, but I’m still curious. When did it happen? At what point exactly did the water change its properties from water to wine? Was it at the instant they were filled? Did the servants carry wine back unknowingly to the feast? Did some transformation occur within the well before it was dipped? Or was it not until the first sip met the lips of the master of the feast that the water became wine. I wonder, but it doesn’t really matter. The point is, at the start of the first miracle, the barrels were empty, just as with creation, the Master began with nothing.

Consider the widow of Zarephath who gave sacrificially to Elijah. This story is a little different. This time the jars of flour and oil were not empty. Almost, but not quite. She was just about to spend the last of it, to make one final cake for her son, and then they would die. Along comes a stranger, and her plans were interrupted. She poured out the last of her flour and oil for God’s anointed, but the barrel didn’t go dry. For days, it didn’t go dry. And it wouldn’t, not until it had rained. She didn’t know. She thought she was giving all. She didn’t know she would be spared.

One more picture and it’s my favorite. I love this story because it’s such a perfect example of a sinner in the hands of a merciful Father. It’s the story of a woman who was an outcast, unworthy, undeserving, with noting to give, but her tears. This vessel, tarnished by her shame, dared to touch the incarnation of holiness. And I assure you, she gave it all. While onlookers scorned her boldness, she annointed His feet with her tears, wiping them with her hair.

I’ll share my application because it’s somewhat vague and I want it to be clear. My heart’s desire—and it’s the desire I’m sure that reflects the heart need of many Christians—is to be used. I want to have something to give, something to offer. As God confronts me with the areas in my life that need to change, something holds back. Something fears that if this vessel is emptied, it will have nothing left to offer. And I fail to recognize that I never had anything to offer. There was nothing I did at the point of salvation that assured my forgiveness. There is nothing I can do now to ensure His love or to confirm my worthiness to be His child.

Until I recognize that it is Him and not I, I remain the water jar half full, confident, unaware of my need to be filled. I remain the widow’s pitcher, knowing I’m about to be spent, but hesitant to give up the last little bit. I remain a vessel with nothing to offer but tears, but somehow wanting to hold back until I can spill out treasure at the feet of my Savior. But it is not treasure He demands. It is all—even though my all is nothing.

And while I foolishly wait, the Master patiently waits.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

My Canoeing Adventure

Once a favorite activity, I haven’t been in a canoe in at least 11 years. So when my parents asked, “What do you want to do?”

Let’s go canoeing!

I have wonderful memories of taking a boat out with my sister. And before that, I remember when all five of us fit in one canoe. There we sat in the boat like five orange bumps on a log. Peering over the edge looking at the fish. Chasing a blue heron around the lake. Paddling down a river between majestic mountains, singing “How Great Thou Art” at the top of our lungs. It’s been a few years, but canoeing is like riding a bike right? You never forget.

Tim and I shared one canoe. Mom, Dad, and Janice Williams (an old family friend) took the other.

The adventure began when Tim and I found a little tributary curling out from the lake. We were no longer vacationers in a rental canoe. We were explorers. Who says imagination dies when you get old. Never mind that the water was only about 18 inches deep and we were using the paddles to push ourselves up and over sandbars, rocks and logs. Never mind the stream was so narrow and the bushes so dense that I kept getting whacked in the face. Never mind that our beautiful lake had become a rancid smelling bog, and we were stirring up swarms of insects that were making it very clear that they preferred not to be disturbed.

What do you do when you find a bridge in the middle of nowhere? That’s easy. You go under it. Uh…we got stuck. So the water was increasingly becoming shallower. My head was scraping the bottom of the bridge. Yeah, there were spiders under there. And I was in the front trying to navigate around protruding logs. Didn’t work.

Plan B: We’ll carry the canoe over the bridge and lower it down on the other side. Never mind that the two of us were carrying the canoe uphill. Never mind that the path was not wide enough to support two people and a canoe. Never mind that on the other side of the bridge and around the corner, that water dried up and there was nowhere to go. Never mind that jumping in to a canoe from a bridge is a pretty likely way to topple it.

This is Tim gracefully lowering himself into the boat. Hmmm, for some reason the boat did not remain stationary for him. And as the boat carried his legs under the bridge, he held on for dear life.

I don’t have a picture of me falling in the lake. Good thing too. If he had sat in the boat snapping pictures while I struggled to get in a wobbly boat, I don’t think he would have lived to tell about our adventure.

I don't know. Something about me and water....I always seem to fall in. So yeah, I was wet for the rest of the day, but that's okay. We had fun.

And no, we didn't tell the rental people what we had done with their boat.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Things Change

Every so often I meet someone who has lived in the same area most of their life. Even after they go to college, they come home on holidays and see old sunday school teachers who have known them since they were two. They return to homes where they have spent a dozen Christmases. I find it intriguing because I don't understand it. I organize my life, my friends by continent.

I'm in Sayre, PA. A block away is the hospital where I was born. I'm sitting in a room in my grandma's house where I used to play hide and seek as a child. It's strange, a lot changes in 8-10 years. This room used to be a lot bigger. The wallpaper wasn't faded and pealing then.

The last time I went to a family reunion, I was one of the kids. We played tag in the backyard. I carried the little ones on my back when we hiked in the woods. Suddenly I've been promoted to the adult table and I feel like on missing out on all the laughter coming from the card tables set up in the living room. There's a new crop of kids running around only none of them have a clue who I am. But it's more than that because we're old enough now to have developed our own belief structures. We have different worldviews, different doctrinal convictions.

I spent last weekend with my cousins. Jay felt it too. He said "Seems like we should go play monopoly or something." Of corse we should. Last time we were together we did. He was in fifth grade I think. It was a great game. Now he's making plans to do his grad work at Oxford. Maybe it will be another 8 years before I see them again. And the strange thing is, it won't be today that I think back on. It will be those days when we stood outside on barefoot summer nights with jars lit up with lightning bugs.

I keep running into people I used to know. I went back to see my old schools. Funny, they used to be a lot bigger. The lockers were still painted the same sky blue that I remembered. I remember where I used to line up with my second grade class. It was strange seeing it after so many years. It was strange that Mr. Pitcher was still there. I went back to my public high school too. Mr. Twigg gave me a hug when he saw me. He had only had me for one semester, but he remembered my art project. He asked me about it in detail. It was important to him that I was still doing art.

I saw Chris Vough. She was my first violin teacher, taught me the first six months. She was pleased to hear I was still playing. I kind of want to go back to the hopital and see if some of my old doctors are still there. I wonder if Dr. Hudock remembers me. He used to give me suckers and play games to try to make me smile. I want to see the doctor who took care of me when I had meningitis and told my parents I wasn't going to make it.

Every day seems to bring up more memories, things I haven't thought about in years, but I have so many other memories that aren't part of this town at all. I think I'm glad I haven't spent my whole life in one area. It's nice to be able to spread out the memories a bit.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006


There are a few things that are completely, entirely amazing. And everytime I think on it, I am again caught in the wonder of it. I've had a lot of time in the past few days just to think. These are my thoughts:

1. God's Word is simple. This is not to say that He is simple. His thoughts are higher than mine, and I wait in anticipation for the moment I will see him face to face and finally know..... But His Word is simple. Everything I need to know is accesible. I don't have to be confused as to His will because it could not be stated more clearly. His will is that I be saved. His will is that I be filled with joy. His will is that I seek Him.

2. God is enough. My mind, my desires, my circumstances argue this point, but the truth is unchanging. he is all-sufficient. He is enough.

3. There is always hope. This too is cause for joy. It is my existance. It is the propelling motion that moves me from one day into the next. It is why I smile. It is why I sing. It is why I anticipate what is to come. There is alway hope.

4. God uses sinners. My comprehension stops here, but faith chooses to accept it. I do not know why he uses sinners, but I rejoice that He does. He has used sinners to touch and minister to my life in amazing ways. And somehow in some ways, He has used this sinner.

So you see. my thoughts are not profound, but they are cause for joy that will not be dimmed. They are things I have always known, but yet I experience them new every morning. And then there is renewed joy.

Isn't God good?
Isn't He so, so good.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

and what remains?

What if I were stripped of everything?

~Take away the job. I'm no longer dorm sup. I never was. I don't work food service. All past employment never happened.
~Take away the abilities and interests. No more writing. No more music. No more art.
~Take away the education. There is no Maranatha, no degree. No A's or awards. I do not have the ability to think critically or even to read.
~Take away my background. No godly family, no America to call mine, no past accomplishments or experiences.
~Take away my friends.
~Take away my ministries.

What is left?
Well, I still have a soul. I have a will. I have a mind. I have a body.
I still have a sin nature.

Stripped of all that I am, all that remains is all that Christ died for. It is what God loved and gave His Son for. It is what He made a plan of escape for. It is what He wants to seek after Him.

I have nothing to impress God with, yet I am not desolate. Stripped of all else, all that remains is hope.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Top Ten ways to convince people to comment on your blog

Number 1, comment on theirs—okay, a little obvious I know, but hey it’s only the first tip. Maybe they’ll get better. (That was not a promise).

Number 2, don’t post for at least a month—granted the only comments you’ll receive will be something along the lines of “Why won’t you post?” But that is something, isn’t it?

Number 3, call up your friends and threaten them—okay, that’s a little extreme, but I have to come up with ten of these. Oh yeah, this would include questioning the intelligence of your readers or the subtle, unspoken, I just won’t comment on yours till you do (see number 1). On a side note, promising not to post if they don’t comment has not been proven effective.

Number 4, debate something controversial—everyone likes to argue. A caution though, it needs to be something people care about. “I hate blogs!” is a little too overused and probably won’t earn you anything more than a few rolled eyes. “I believe The Message to be the leading authority of inspired Scriptures,” however, might draw some attention.

Number 5, Mention names—for some reason everyone likes to see their name in print. Or perhaps they just feel duty bound to respond in light of the recognition. At least it worked with Josh, Rebecca, Valinda, Chelsie, Brittany, etc.

Number 6, write a very short post—it works for RuthAnn anyway (see number 5).

Number 7, be somebody important—okay there’s not a whole lot you can do about this if you’re not, but it’s inevitable, the blogs that are read most widely are commented on most frequently.

Number 8, use big words—I’m not actually convinced of this being the case, but Clint (see number 5) seems to think so, and Chelsie (see number 5 again) tends to comment excessively on word usage.

Number 9, write posts that are not even remotely related to anything “normal” people would find blogworthy, and then make your entry interactive. Post about parenthetical usage, trash, hair gel, starburst, abstraction, swedish fish, blog definitions, bulletin boards, and bald heads. (Can you match the random topic to the owner of the blog?)

Number 10, and for some reason the most popular. Give people an opportunity to talk about themselves—something along the lines of “what is your opinion of….?” Or “what is your favorite….?” What self-absorbed people we have become, but think about it.

And now it’s your turn, what do you think should be the eleventh tip for securing blog comments…..

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Shall we try this again?

This is for the handful of you who were astonished to hear that I have never read Pride and Prejudice. And for the few of you who have been rooting me on through all my vain attempts. It started two years ago when my high school English teacher found out. I'm told this is intolerable--especially for an English minor! With the best of intentions, I bought a copy (for a quarter). I think in my first attempt, I made it as far as page 7 before I got sidetracked, and the book found itself back on the shelf. So over the past 2 years, I have tried at least 6 times to get into that book, each time resulting in increased failures. I never made it past chapter 3. Understand, this is not at all like me. I love to read just about anything I can get my hands on. With each attempt, I grew more proud and prejudiced toward this exasperating book.

After all, this directly defies the "Rules of Readership Satisfaction" #1. which of course states that the first few pages of any book should immediately draw the reader into the story. I fear the second rule was also in danger of being violated. Any book that prompts a reader into a slumber on more than one occasion is thus vanquished to the new function of 'doorstop.'

However, due to the number of gasps I received at the neglect of this precious classic, I am giving it yet another chance. Drum roll please.....I am past chapter 10 and could scarcely put it down in order to write this post.

Those of you who are loyal to the end to this book, please don't have me drawn a quartered for not appreciating it from the start. (I think that is also somewhere in the "Rules of Readership Satisfaction"--something about the proper recourse towards those who refuse to pledge their allegiance to the value of good books).

I will blame my original perception of the book, not on its character which I had thought boring, but on the fact that I must have been too busy. Thus any book of substantial length would have received the same treatment. For all intents and purposes, I am sufficiently hooked and will see this book to the last page (at least once).

Monday, May 15, 2006

The End of the Beginning

One of my favorite kid books is a book by Avi called "The End of the Beginning." If you haven't read it, you need to. But if you haven't read the Phantom Tollbooth, read that one first. They're similar, but Phantom Tollbooth is better. Back to the other book which is the one I actually wanted to write about--It's the story of an ant and a snail and their journey from the beginning to the end, or rather from the end to the beginning.

The two adventurers were going along. Avon was singing.
"Stop!" cried Edward. "We've reached the end of the branch."
With great care the two creatures edged to the very tip.
"The end of the branch," said Avon.
"The beginning of the sky," said Edward.
"Which is it?" asked Avon. "The beginning or the end?"
"It depends what there is more of, the tree or the sky. Think of all the things that get in your way along the branch--leaves, bark, other creatures, a million things to slow you down. Now look at the sky."
Avon looked. "There's nothing there."
"Exactly. Which means it will take longer to climb the branch. And if it takes longer, the branch must be bigger. And if the branch is bigger than the sky, that means we're at the sky's end, but only at the beginning of the branch."
"You mean," asked Avon, quite amazed, "that after all this time, we're just beginning? I had no idea how far you have to go before you can start. Almost makes me want to stop."
"You can't do that either," said Edward severely.
"Can't very well stop if you haven't started, can you?"
"Edward," cried Avon. "I never knew how important it was to start before you begin."
And turning around, they began.

("The End of the Beginning" by Avi)

Bear with me—how many times have I thought I was at the end, when in fact it was only the beginning? The end of high school, the start of college. The end of college, the start of the rest of my life. The end of a semester, the start of the summer. I could go on, but that’s only the surface of what I’m trying to get at.

When God brings us to the end of ourselves, it is the beginning of His work. And what hope! “That He which hath begun a good work will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”

My work, futile as it is, stops where His begins, and His work is perfect. He will not leave the job half finished. He will not cut corners or neglect details. He is thorough, going beyond every expectation. When I have drained all of my resources, if I have not yet tapped into His, I have not yet begun. At the end of my weakness is the start of His strength. When I come to the end of myself, I have at last begun to see what He can and will do in His power alone.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Abba Father

This may be the only time I ever post a picture that qualifies as "uncheckable," but please don't miss the purpose. I do so for a reason.

Have you ever realized that human comforts are insufficient?
Have you ever needed someone to understand but discovered that such understanding is not earthly?
Have you ever crawled onto the lap of God, and with childlike dependency, begged Him just to hold you?

"And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."

When I consider the omnipotence of God, it seems beyond my reach. It is the attribute of God that most sets Him apart from me when I realize how big He is and how small I am. It is the trait of which I am most fearful. But when I consider the role that His strength plays in my weakness, it becomes personal.

Though He is omnipotent, He is not distant.
Though I fear Him, it is not with terror.
Though I cower, it is in awe.
Though His arms are mighty, they are open in an embrace.
I run to Him.
How can I not?
He's my Abba.

Friday, May 12, 2006

He is Sovereign

I have no choice but for the moment, to set aside all trifles and meaningless thoughts, to put on hold all the cares that have suddenly lost significance, and consider the soveriegnty of God. When my heart cries "Why," alongside of thousands of other why's, the question turns to a plea. Please, show Yourself sovereign. Please, prove Yourself sufficient even in this. He will. He always has, but for the moment, I do not like this course. I wish to see it undone, but it cannot be.

I heard one faculty member say to another, "It will be interesting to see how God will work." It will, won't it. What hope Christians have with that one truth. He has not drawn back His hand. He will continue. He is soverign.

Today it hurts. Today there is confusion, emotion, questions. But today, by choice, I must find thankfulness and rejoice in my God. That and pray. Pray for those who hurt far more than I. Pray for those who are thrust into new decisions and change. Pray for those I can reach by no other means than prayer.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

for the Love of God

Lord, what will you do with a soiled heart?
Soiled with sin, slid through the mud of complacency, splattered with the filth of my wrong. You cleanse it, exposing the dirt and wiping it clean of the grime that has built up over each year. You replace my sin stains with your blood stains, making me as white as snow. But I am proud, and I would cleanse my heart myself. Yet all I have done is smeared the dirt.

Lord, what will you do with a cold heart?
This heart that has chosen not to feel at all rather than feel the anguish of its guilt. This heart that will enter sin willingly accepting the pleasure of the moment with the excuse that confession can come later, knowing forgiveness can be called for when the deed is done. Oh twisted heart and perverted mind. Cease!

Lord, what will you do with a cracked heart?
Held together with weak adhesives, fearful of being broken, yet unusable in its present state. Lord break this heart, but if you will break it, restore it.

I am touched, Lord, with the knowledge of your love, but I would know the realization of it. I have experienced your love, yet I cannot hope to comprehend it. I loved you in return, yet I cannot hope to match it.

A closing quote that expresses my thoughts quite well:

"Love forever suffers when the loved one suffers. I sometimes think that the difference between God's love and my love at its highest lies just there. I love, and if the one I love is untrue to me, I suffer. Why? Because I have lost that love. God does not suffer in that way. He suffers because the one who ceases to love Him is suffering. There is an element of self in our love. There is none in Gods."

("Hosea-The Heart and Holiness of God" by G. Campbell Morgan)

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

bits and pieces

This is called I'm so tired I can't think straight, definitely too tired to sleep. So I'll post a nonsense whatever. As of today, the dorm is starting to feel empty. I don't mind. I'm not one of those people who prop a chair against the door and sleep with a baseball bat. I'm the one who forgets to close the door at night. Monday, I spent the day moving furniture in the dorm--getting rid of the old bunks and replacing them with the ones that were in the houses. Today and tomorrow I have meetings all day with the deans and other dorm sups. Yesterday, my meetings were canceled and I had the whole day to myself. I'm not ready for boredom yet. There's too many things I like to do. I managed to get about 3 hours of practicing in yesterday. That was a happy thing. Hope I can keep that up this week. I haven't been able to do any serious practicing in a couple of months, and I miss it. Then I had time to start reading a commentary on the book of Hosea. That has been rather fascinating. I'll probably write a post on it once I've had time to compose my thoughts. It's strange being in the dorm and not having someone peak their head in every few minutes. It was strange not preparing for devos Monday night. It's strange doing an entire project in one sitting without being interrupted. I've decided I like things better the other way. I miss my girls. I'm sure there are plenty of interesting thing I could have written about tonight, but my mind is kind of a blur. I'll probably read it tomorrow and wonder why I even bothered to record my thoughts. So, there you have it--a look into my mind when it is not fully functioning. And I promise to write something better next time.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

My family

These are the most important people in my life. I love them dearly. I don't claim to have a normal family, but who wants to be ordinary when there are so many other options.

These are my parents, best parents in the world. And they're cool enough I think I would say that even if I wasn't required to. My dad is the most humble man I have ever met. He gets cuter the older he gets. I think he looks very distinguished. He's as steady as a rock. He taught me what it means to trust God. Mom is my friend. She's about the best preacher I ever heard. She doesn't...but she could. Probably the only person I've ever known can pull any Bible reference out of her head, and weave difficult, in depth theology into everyday conversation. My parents are missionaries to St. Vincent in the Caribbean. Yes, the very same island where Pirates of the Caribbean is filmed.

This is my brother. I think he wanted to be in the mafia when he grew up. Or maybe it was the secret service. I hope not or I just blew his cover. Oops. He's really not as dangerous as he looks. And some of my girls who have seen this picture haven't stopped drooling yet. Sorry ladies. He's a confirmed "bachelor till the rapture." Tim is amazing. With only a year between us, he's my little brother who wishes he was my older brother. We've been pretty inseparable since he was like two, I think. I hope that never changes.

This is my sister. She's two years older, but we never let that come between us. She's the one I can talk to about anything. She is friend and confidant. I go to her for advice, and for some reason she comes to me for the same. Anyone who can put up with an annoying little sister (and I did the annoying sister thing well) deserves a lot of praise.

This is my wonderful brother-in-law. We like him. Stephen can fix anything so we break things on a regular basis for him. He takes such good care of my sister. I'm not quite sure how we got along without him before he was part of the family.

And this is my niece, Michelle. For some reason she's obsessed with the violin. I'm sure I had nothing to do with that.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

By His Name

A new form takes shape as ribbons of wood shavings curl away and fall unheeded to the workshop floor. The maker slides his hands over the smooth texture of the wood, cradling his creation--a masterpiece in the making. He expertly shapes the scroll, joins the seams, attaches the fingerboard, aligns the bridge, and fits the pegs.

Nearly complete, he sets the instrument on his bench and moves the tools aside. Then he dips his pen and with a flourish, signs the fragment of parchment. For centuries, the name has denoted the value. Names like Stradivari and Guarneri have made their creations priceless. Yet this name has claimed the creation for the highest worth. With precision, he affixes the title to the belly of the instrument, and it reads--I AM.

The work is perfect in its creation, owned by it's maker's signature, its beauty enhanced by time. As the instrument is passed form the hands of the maker to the hand of the master, the song begins. The bow touches the strings, and the music erupts as the instrument conforms to the master's command. Every string responds to the bow's urging. The notes are rich, vibrating in a prayer of submission, praise and exaltation. Heaven welcomes the sound.

Monday, May 01, 2006


I wonder what it was like for the blind man, blind from birth. His life void of light, void of color. As he was led about by the arm, he had no images to fill his memory, no comprehension of the sights his companions spoke of.

To him, yellow was the warmth he felt on his face on a summer afternoon. Blue was the scent of the dew in the early morning. Pink was a kiss pressed against his cheek. Orange was the sound of laughter. And black, the only color he had ever seen, was the color he knew the least. With nothing to compare it against, it had no meaning. Black was a question.

And then his life was transformed by an encounter with the Savior. His life was never the same.

I wonder what it was like for him the first time he saw a sunset, the first time he witnessed a bird in flight. I wonder what he thought when he saw a person's eyes light up with laughter. I wonder if in those early days, he spent hours gazing into the flickering flames of a fire. Imagine the excitement, the overwhelmed amazement.

Do you suppose a few days later the blind man sat with his eyes closed, his hands cupped over them, trying to block out the light. Do you suppose sometimes he walked the streets with his eyes closed? He would have known his way be every other sense, but not sight. He had no visual landmarks. He would have no work. No one gives alms to a blind beggar that can see. I'm sure he loved the sights, but they were so strange, so unfamiliar. Do you suppose he found his comfort in the darkness?

It seems extreme and unnatural that he could for a moment desire to give up something as precious as underserved sight in exchange for the old darkness to which he was captive. Why then do we? Why do we, who have seen the Light, forsake it for sins committed in the shadows? Why do we, who have known the safety of the Shepherd, wander to the cliffs? Are we just curious? Why do we trade the feast He has prepared for stale crumbs? It seems unnatural, yet we do, so often choosing the familiarity of the old nature.

Saturday, April 29, 2006


While Leland enjoyed their cookout last night, Gould dorm began what may continue as their own tradition. Living up to their name, “Ghetto Gould” tagged the sidewalk and parking lot around the dorm. What had begun with 2 or 3 girls looking for something to do became 22 girls, psyched up, on a mission, and looking for trouble. Between 11:30 and midnight, we “decorated” guy’s side, substituting the easier to clean chalk for the traditional spray paint.

When I arrived on the scene, Brittany and Chelsie were already going to town, drawing stick figure replicas of their favorite Leland residents.

Sarah adds hearts to the myriad of flowers that make up the girlie graffiti.

This was the most participation I've ever seen from a last minute planned dorm activity.

Kathiann prefers to leave her message in Greek.

When fourth grade insults still work, why replace the classics?

Undoubtedly, the most excitement security saw all night.

The grand finale was a huge GOULD written across the parking lot which the girls promptly signed with the last fragments of chalk. Definitely a night to remember.

Friday, April 28, 2006

It's 2:00 a.m.

The dorm is quiet now

A few still linger in the halls, in a state of semi-awareness. Their intentions of pulling an all-nighter starting to wear away. The food meant to keep them awake has been gone for an hour, and the books and the wrappers litter the hall around them.

The dorm is quiet now

A strange contrast to the sounds I'm usually surrounded by.
Tonight there was the laughter. Someone being chased down the hall. Some rumor started about the dorm sup and (we won't mention who). Some silly ways of memorizing references for the prophecy test.
There was the singing. I stood on first floor as the music drifted upward from the basement and floated down from second floor. Two different songs, two different keys, but the same worship.
There was the steady stream of questions. Can I have late lights? Can I use your oven? Who will my roommates be next year? What is the Great White Throne Judgment? What do I do about...? Have you ever wondered...?" Would you pray for me? I just found out...
Followed by the advice. Study hard. Don't date your freshman year. You're going to make it. Start white glove now. Encourage each other. Let's pray.

The dorm is quiet now

I've just closed my door for the night, but now on my 3rd wind, I am wide awake and my mind will race for the next half hour as has become my custom until I fall asleep. I used to love mornings, a time of quiet, a time of pondering. But as my schedule changed this year, I was forced to trade my mornings for late nights. And now--I've found that same delight in the wee hours as the hush falls over the dorm just before sleep comes.

It's 2:20 and the dorm is quiet now.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

A Choice to Rejoice

If joy is a choice, why do we sometimes choose pity?
If we complain of our woes, why do we tend to nurture our misery?

I was very logical as a child--foolish because I usually spoke before thinking, but logical. I believed anything could be answered by reason. I remember thinking as a five year old: Every day I'm allowed to be happy or sad. Happy is fun. Sad is not fun. I will be happy every day.

Kind of wish I could maintain that mindset today without trying to work in other factors.

Here is where I am confused. I don't understand human nature. Someone hurts us and we milk it. We feed it with the pity we draw from others, though we claim we don't want their pity. We feed it with our minds, reading between lines, creating a worse case scenario, inventing percieved motives. We feed it by shutting out the world trying to convince ourselves that we deverve to be unhappy. We even go so far as to correct ourselves should we accidently portray joy during that brief moment when we forget our pain.

Someone said to me: "Sometimes, in or misery, we don't really even want to change; as painful as it is, the place where we are is our comfort zone, the place where we feel in control and secure because it has become familiar." I think there is a lot of truth in that.

Then consider the timing, the biggest discouragements tend to follow the greatest victories. Yes, I'm sure Satan has a part in it, but I'm not usually willing to give him too much credit--especially if I'm to blame. So what is it about our sin nature that makes us most susceptible to discouragement right after a spiritual high? The examples are all through Scripture (Elijah, David, Jonah, the children of Israel). I've experienced it myself. I just don't understand it.

Monday, April 24, 2006

A look at blogdom

Everyone, it seems, feel they have a purpose different from everyone else. They each have a unique claim, a different slant. In their desire to be like everyone else and have a blog, they are determined to be different. Strange what individual replicas we have become.

Everyone made their vow.

You have Josh, who said from the start that he would not be random. Is it truly random-free or has he redefined randomness? You can attribute an intentional purpose and deeper meaning to anything. Thus, I could take the same argument and claim no one is random.

Then you have Brittany who vowed that she hates writing and will continue to hate writing. My question--will she admit when she stops hating writing? In her defense—Long live exclamation points!!

Then there's Chelsie who, whether she has verbalized it or not, has decided only to write when she has something profound to say. No one can be that remarkable. So of course, that is only going to work if, like randomness, you redefine "profound."

And there are a number who claim they have nothing significant to say, but inwardly they beg for someone to see what they have said as significant.

You have bloggers that vow they will write faithfully and bloggers that vow they will write unfaithfully.

You have bloggers that vow they will change the world and bloggers that have yet to determine what needs to change about the world.

Justin comes close to contributing an original slant with his blog. Unfortunately, people seem to run with his ideas. Then they write their own posts giving their view on the same topic. And what may have been an original idea is overshadowed by the masses. Maybe if he would speak up…

So, the pressure is on. In our effort to add something new and exciting to the blog world, we have all made promises we can't keep. We will be individual! All of us! Yet, in our own way, we are all uniquely the same.

And what about me? Well, I vowed I would never write about blogs. I'm not even going to make excuses.

I would have commented on RuthAnn's blog, but I honestly don't know what to say. Her post are so diverse (not only in content, but in tone and writing style) that I could easily be convinced she has more than one person writing on hers. I leave it there. I couldn't think what to maybe there is individualism on the blogfront.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Chocolate fixes Everything

As the semester draws to a close, it's been rather fun to be on the observing end of the chaos. Was it only last year I was pulling all nighters, cutting classes, and racing the clock to get the projects in by 5? Now as I'm surrounded by glazed and panicked expressions, my job is to pass out the chocolate and say "you're going to make it." And smiling because I remember when I thought I wouldn't.

Actually my work is piling up. I'm faced with closing up the dorm, organizing and planning for checking out and summer storage, and somehow communicating end of the year announcements girls whose minds are definitely elsewhere. Oh yeah, and I do have a 10 page paper I probably should start. Certainly nothing to stress over. After all, the chocolate isn't gone yet. All is well.

Speaking of chocolate--
If I eat chocolate when stressed...

C-lasses will be canceled
H-omework will write itself
O-smosis learning will kick in
C-omputers will cooperate
O-ne hundred percents will mark all my tests
L-ate work will receive full credit
A-ll the clocks will slow down and deadlines fade away
T-eachers will sing my praises
E-verything will be okay

May your chocolate supply, as the widow’s oil, never run dry.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Behind Burckart Hall

Late at night one midnight dreary
In the practice rooms a-weary
Pondered the musician

o’er the pages of some lengthy score
With the curtain softly flapping,
As her foot continued tapping
Suddenly there came a rapping,

rapping on the crooked door
‘Tis the metronome a-tapping
In the meter of four-four
Merely this, and nothing more.

Ah distinctly I remember
It was in the late November
With recital in December and so much to do before
Frantically o’er scales bemoaning
Suddenly there came a groaning
And her practice now postponing, this new sound she did explore
‘Tis the radiator moaning
As if banging an encore
Merely this, and nothing more.

And the silken, sad uncertain
Rustling of each drab green curtain
Distracted her from fingerings that she could not ignore
All at once she heard a stomping
As if heavy tread was tromping
And she wondered at the clomping just out side the corridor
‘Tis security come stomping
Here to check for unlocked door
Merely this, and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering,
Long she stood there wondering, fearing,
As she caught a glimpse of shadows she had never seen before
Then she heard a loud ker-plunk
That was followed by a thunk
And she quickly propped a music stand against the crooked door
Could it be she’d seen the monk
Said to haunt the second floor?
Ah, ‘twas nonsense, nothing more.

This poem is dedicated to all my music friends, to the few who fully understand this poem beacuse they've spent the countless hours in the little cubicle practice rooms.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Thankful--For the Ugly and the Beautiful

I'm thankful for the nails,
Hideous nails that pierced my precious Savior's hands, the nails that I don't like to think about because my mind wants to hold this gruesome reality at a distance, the nails that are pretty when woven into song, but in fact were cold and ugly. And then wondering--if He was thankful for the nails, if as they tore his flesh He could be thankful knowing the salvation He purchased with His death. Then wondering why I struggle to thankful for the little pinpricks of inconvenience that I think are too much to bare.

I'm thankful for the thorns,
Thorns that crowned His sacred head. He should have had gold. But gold was not precious enough. The throne He left behind, the heavenly crown He set aside. Leaving perfection, He traded paradise for pain, heaven for humility. And the Rose of Sharon embraced the thorns, accepting the mockery.

I'm thankful for the betrayal.
While my heart wrenches at the thought of my Dearest Friend betrayed by a kiss, while my eyes read the account and beg the outcome be somehow different. I cannot hear the story without my ears pleading to block out the truth, finding in the description my own betrayal.

I’m thankful for the resurrection.
His victory over death secures my hope. By His life, I have eternal life. When death was defeated, so was my sin. In the resurection, I find my purpose. I serve a risen Savior!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Remembering when...

This is for Tim and Vin, them being the best brother and sister in the world.

  • Tim, remember the rock quarry and arguing over whether or not we should tell Mom we had seen a cobra?
  • Remember the trips we made through the cemetery just because we thought we weren't allowed?
  • Remember when we would go to the park and not speak English because we thought it was fun when people started talking about us thinking we couldn't understand?
  • Remember the chicken that mom kicked during the invitation that started squawking got the deacons glaring at us?
  • Tim, remember all the clubs I started and dragged you into joining?
  • Remember the language we invented?
  • Remember the tortured scorpions?
  • Remember the fruit bat that got loose?
  • Remember Mom's screaming?
  • Remember when Valinda wanted to see Niagara Falls up close?
  • Remember Mom's screaming?
  • Remember the hotdogs Dad made that the dog wouldn't eat?
  • Valinda, remember the year I thought we should keep Christmas lights up in our room all year long?
  • Remember the night the three of us stayed up all night reading ghost stories by flashlight?
  • Remember going to MacDonald’s and ordering french-fry foam and a chocolate marlamo?
  • Remember the lady that swallowed her brains?
  • Remember eating lunch under the piano?
  • Remember the day we turned all the pictures in the house upside down and Mom didn't notice?
  • Tim, remember when I used to sneak into your room to watch scary movies after Mom and Dad went to bed?
  • Remember the day Mom decided to roast mini marshmallows?
  • Remember the red wagon?
  • Remember the lemonade stand--except we used our own nickels, thinking we had to buy our own product, and drank more than we sold?
  • Remember when Valinda scribbled all over my face with a magic marker and it wouldn't come off before school?
  • Remember the Little Black Kitty song that Dad would sing just to torment Vin?
  • Remember the log slide?
  • Remember riding our bikes pass the kitchen window and Mom giving us lunch "Drive-thru" style?
  • Remember when Mom and Dad didn't realize we understood Sango and we found out all our Christmas presents early that year?
  • Remember the more "creative" ways of eating spaghetti?
  • Remember the hours in the back of the truck singing at the top of our lungs?
  • Remember how much fun automatic doors were after living in Africa?
  • Remember going up all the down escalators?
  • Remember all the shop keepers that had no sense of humor?

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Gould 104

First of all, my thanks to Keelin for providing me with this story. Not only did she give me something to post on my blog, she also supplied me with some great material to include in the article I'm writing for Journalism on dorm life.

A few things you not-in-the-dorm people need to understand:

1) Second semester incoming freshman are bottom of the totem-pole. Nothing against them personally. It's just the way it is. It's the way it will always be.

2) PC's are all-powerful. They cast the deciding vote whether they are right or wrong.

3) Dorm Sup's have the freedom to take whichever side they choose based on what seems most convenient or most fun at the time. (For the record, Dorm Sup is no relation to anyone in Stone Soup. Any similarities are purely coincidental).

It started when Keelin, innocently enough, asked to open a window.

4) Upper classmen control not only window openage and closage, they are the sole regulators of the thermostat, the designers of room arrangements, the dividers of closet space, and anything else that will give them a control boost.

Her request was vetoed. Not only by the PC, but 2 freshman roommates who qualify as upperclassmen roommates, being the only other roommates in the room. Further requests were not only denied, but got her banned from the room and locked out.

5) The property of a banned roommate is then divided among the remaining roommates at the discretion of the PC.

In this case, her roommates were generous allowing her to keep her green blanket. Her request for her pillow however, was denied.

Monday, April 10, 2006

She's a nothing...

I was insulted today.

Oh not just your typical snide remark--this was a full-fledged, jaw-dropping, I-can't-believe-you-just-said-that insult. The comment went something like his:

Unnamed individual: She needs to be more like Heather. She needs to be a nothing.

It might have been an honor if she were referring to my demeanor of humility which I so obviously personify... (Yeah right) But no, this had nothing to do with humility. I might not have minded if she had been referring to my servant's heart, of being willing to be in the background and not receive recognition. No, that wasn't it.

She was simply referring to the fact that during my college years I had been a nobody, a nothing, unassuming, unknown, no position, no recognition.

But the insult wasn't intentional. It was actually funny because she didn't realize what she had said till it was already said.

She's nothing but a zero with the ring rubbed out. A nothing.

So of course, I got to thinking...
And if you think about this wrong, it turns to misery. I am nothing, I am worthless, O wretched worm that I am. I’m not a promoter of building self-esteem, but watch out for the other extreme. Though I must realize that I am nothing, the joy comes when I linger, not on my weakness, but on His strength.

If I am nothing, consider the joy. He is everything.
If I am nothing, consider the responsibility. God has chosen to use this marred vessel.
If I am nothing, consider the privilege. I am redeemed.

If I am nothing, consider the hope. I am being changed into His likeness.
If I am nothing, consider the comfort. In my weakness, He is strong.
If I am nothing, consider the magnitude of the gift. Look what Christ came to save.

I was complimented today.

Friday, April 07, 2006

The Storm

I watched the firework display of God's storm last night. It was amazing--the flash of lightning, the smell of rain, the magestic roll of thunder...just to consider the hand of God. And yes, it resulted in the flooding of a few of the houses and the new dorm, but it was still phonomenal. Reminded me of another storm...

The lonely moon dominated the heavens as the primary source of light, granting recognition with its gentle touch of pale luminosity, and splashing its image against the black ink of the sea. The only sound was the smooth motion of the oars churning the surface of the water, interrupted by an occasional ringing as the rain joined the sea in the light drizzle. This backdrop seemed routine, setting the mood for the experienced fishermen; yet tonight was different. Tonight the Messiah shared their boat. He slept peacefully, rocked by the placid waves.
Without warning, the serene night betrayed them, forcing the calm from each man’s heart. A fist of clouds slammed against the tranquil sky, striking it into a blackened mass. The waves responded to the wind’s aggression with angry claws that tore through the sea, scratching against the tiny boat. The vessel was caught in the grip of the waters, torn back and forth between the wind and sea. A mighty wave pounded the waters, sending a gush of saltwater spraying into the sky. It mingled with the rain before whipping against the face of each fisherman, yet still their Lord slept. Lightning signed the sky like a death warrant, its finality declared by a thundering voice. Panic possessed the minds of even the bravest fisherman as the mighty forces battled on. A desperate cry sounded from one man’s throat. Frantically, another sought to arouse the sleeping Master. Christ calmly stood to His feet. Eyes of terror were directed towards Him as He gazed out over the rolling clouds, the slicing waves, and the trembling men.
Then He spoke. “Peace.”

How's that for reviving an old Comp. 1 paper?

Friday, March 31, 2006

Random Definitions

  • Contentment is when you can thank God for what tomorrow will bring
  • Trust is when you conquer a mountain in someone else's strength
  • Love is when you desire the highest good for someone else, even at personal sacrifice
  • Pain is the object lesson of learning by experience
  • Faithfulness is when the joy remains long after the task becomes mundane
  • Joy is when you can say "God is good" regardless of circumstance, regardless if you understand
  • Giving is being willing to inconvenience yourself
  • Sincerity is when the outcome is less than expected, but nothing changes
  • Patience is having purpose even while waiting

Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Front Row

With what force could I hold back the tides of the sea? When the storm builds, when the wave strikes the rock, can I hold it back with the palm of my hand? Could I build a wall that would keep the waters neatly tucked in?

With what force will the music be held back from these unhearing ears? Does the music need an ear in order to be heard when the sound penetrates through every other member? Dead ears will not bar out the sound when the music is pulsating through the floor, when I can even feel the vibrations in the air. The music would not be denied. I heard it. With every part of my being, I heard it.

If I can read lips to hear words, if I can read eyes to hear expression, can I not read fingers to hear music? As I watched the fingers skip over the finger board, as I watched the delicate balance between bow and string, my mind filled in the notes my ears had rejected. The unified sound took on its individual character unique to each instrument.

I'm not a brass person, but even I had to appreciate the experience of sitting not three feet away, staring up the bell of a trumpet, as the notes of Hayden's Concerto for Trumpet poured out.

The interaction, the concentration, the precision, and even the delight.

This is why I sit in the front row.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Are you the ruler?

There are a few things I can't get used to as a dorm sup. Primarily, the power that accompanies the title. Speaking of titles, I had a visitor stick her head in my apartment and ask hesitantly, "So, are you like--the ruler here?" A year ago, I was a student. A year and a half ago, I wasn't even on the approved chap list. And now, suddenly almost everyone knows my name. Anyway, about this power thing--I can walk through Old Main and couples respond like two northern poles of magnets and I wonder which one just got electrocuted. Girls are constantly fidgeting with their skirts to tug them the extra fraction of an inch below their knee. But the most remarkable though happened on the Calvary bus. (Yes, I ride the bus. I have a car, and I ride the bus because I'm a nerd, and I'd just as soon save on gas). So, I'm on the bus and everyone starts singing which is all good and well until the music they were singing was not even near checkable. I didn't say a word. Didn't need to. It's this power thing. So I just turned around and looked back. That's all. Midnote, the entire bus went silent. It was as good a cut off as I've ever seen Dr. Budahl make. So I'm not sure if I like this power thing. I'm certainly not used to it.

I do like the randomness. You never know what question you'll get asked next. It's not the easy questions--"how do I fill out a pass." It's more like--"how do I fill out the pass when I don't know the name of the place we're going and we're only going to be there a little while because then we're going to go somewhere else and yes we'll be in a mixed group, but half of them are off campus and half of them are meeting us halfway there. Some are driving, some are walking, and a few are hitchhiking. But half the guys can't fill out passes because they don't know we're going and it's supposed to be a surprise. Oh, we need a chap? Well, does so-and-so count? He graduated three years ago. No, he doesn't know he's going either."

When it comes down to it, I love what I do. I love the talks that continue until 3:00a.m. I love the mattress surfing down the stairs. I love the girls that come to raid the leftovers on Tuesday nights. I love the laughter and the hallway commotion. I love the weekend parties. I love the singing. But mostly I love the testimonies. I love to hear what God is doing and and how he is breaking the hearts of my girls to do it. I love to hear them proclaim the goodness of God. I love to hear their passion and their humility as they stand in awe of His majesty, as they learn to trust. Thank you ladies, your testimonies were a blessing to me last night.