Wednesday, October 18, 2006


I am gettin' pumped, y'all...

The Senior Voice Recital of
Christina Thompson, soprano extraordinaire, and
Lori Beth Hedrick, la diva alto

will be held on November 15th (Wednesday), 2006
in Daniel Recital Hall, Furman University
at 8:00 pm

We will be assisted by:
Miss Jessica Horton, piano (soon she won't be Miss Horton anymore!)
Ensemble: Todd Arant, baritone; Travis Burch, tenor; Christina DeCiantis, soprano; and Leslie Edwards Jowers, alto

Reception following.
All welcome!

[I'll be doing sets by W. A. Mozart and Ned Rorem, as well as a set of madrigals-- thence the ensemble. I'm not sure what all LB's doing, but then we're closing with a duet selection from Wicked!!]

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Relationships & Community

So I've been thinking a LOT about community lately-- everything from lessons learned over the summer (yes, that post SILL will come!), to my experiences as an Intern Chaplain at Greenville Memorial Hospital, to life in the local body of Grace Baptist church, to the teaching on the Church I'm getting (and LOVING) during RUF Core Group (student leadership) on Mondays, to the conversation Chad, Melanie & I had last Monday night late into the night. Oh yeah, and that whole "significant other" thing. =D It's like God REALLY wants me to get this, or something!

For those who may not know it, I'm an intern this year at the hospital as a part of my participation in Furman's "EVM" (Exploration of Vocation & Ministry) Program. It's through our chapel, which, yes, actually DOES in many ways point people to the only Savior. The program's geared towards preparing students for a lifetime of vocational ministry, whether as a pastor, medical missionary, Christian counselor, non-profit organization CEO, whatever. We intern at one place around Greenville per year (first year at the chapel, one year at a mercy ministry, one year at the hospital, one year in a local church), meet every Tuesday night for group discussions, fellowship & speakers, and have to turn in weekly "theological reflections" on our experiences. It's a good way to force us to look at everything in light of our Calling-- to line up our lives with the Gospel, and to worship in everything that we do. This is from a "reflection" I just turned in:

"As you may have guessed from my comment in EVM large group tonight (on God using community as a way to strengthen us; we can’t do every aspect of ministry alone—we need others!, a la Moses, Aaron & Hur), one of the truths that’s being hammered into me on all sides right now is the absolute need I have for community. God didn’t just send words as truth; He literally embodied them as the Living Word; a Man who calls Himself Truth. He sent relationship. And He didn’t send His Spirit into individuals, He sent Him to a Church. [...] While the group with whom I travel weekly down to the hospital is not my "church" by any stretch, we do form at least an aspect of each other’s community. It’s a benefit I’ve never had before in EVM (and if I’d had it, I wasn’t willing to open myself up to it, or invest in it), and one I didn’t expect when I decided to pursue the hospital internship. [...]

The Gospel makes relationship—community—possible like nothing else, because it abolishes pride, and pride is what keeps people separate. If we really are so bad that it took the Cross to save us, and yet really so loved that He WOULD die to save us, there’s very little to hide, and very little to fear! Praise Jesus!"

My Sandra CD hasn't left my car CD player since Katie gave it to me last Saturday, and I often play it off my computer at home, too! She just sings my heart so much-- Ash & I agree that if we could write songs, they'd sound a lot like "Sandy Mac"...but we just aren't that talented. But why would I complain!?-- I can live off borrowed words no problem! This CD (Best Laid Plans) is all about relationships-- failed ones, refining ones, ones that are worth working through, and the Ultimate Relationship with the One who never lets go. I can understand them so much more after this summer, after having close friends in my face and in my life, like Chris & Val and Ashley & Trin...or like having those relationships that go way back (so they know EVEYTHING about you), like I have with the Donells... and most recently and differently, after dating a godly (and sweet!!-- even Helen Sarratt agrees =D) man. (As a side-note, I never realized that dating would show me just how FAR from Christ's image I am...urg...)

I'm willing to bet just about everybody (especially you married or dating folk) can identify with this song! It's honest but full of hope...which real honesty is, because the Gospel is true! And it applies to SO much more than dating relationships...

//"You are to me/A wildflower and a loaded gun:/ Oh, we blush and we bleed/ and change our colors with the rising sun./ Nothing ever goes as it should/ So I will lay it down…

//[Chorus] I’m gonna find you out/All I meant to say, all the time we waste,/ we can work it out./ Let’s rebuild this house/ ‘Cause when it’s come and gone/ we realize what matters/ anyhow…//

//Like water on fields/ We drink this love like a desert land./ After the famine years/ There’s a harvest of labor and understanding./ Nothing ever goes as we plan/but I will lay it down/…so I can find you out…(Chorus)//

//Bring the truth out in the open,/ I don’t wanna lose this moment/ Here before the sun goes down…

<Words and music by Sandra McCracken and Chris Pelcer>
...lots more where that came from, but the phrase "it was late and i was tired" is becoming the theme of my life. and that's probably NOT a good thing!
Thankful for the Church, and for community!!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Random and Fun!'s late and I'm tired...but I just got this CUTE picture from MaryScott & Matt Foreman, of their daughter Katy. She just turned FOUR!

How cute is she!??

And this is just...something that always makes me laugh. Especially when Anna & I re-create it.

Pictures from when Ryan was here a while ago, that are also fun...

(Ryan & Lyd had Ashley, Craig, Ryan & I over for dinner and games...most enjoyable!)

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Happy Birthday, Mommy!

Today my sweet mother turns 48...
I pray that I age as gracefully and graciously as she has,
and that in 48 more years, MY children,
and THEIR children
will be gathering around her,
delighting to listen as she tells
of God's sustaining faithfulness
and persistant glory
in her own story.

Katie [Lewis] gave me Sandra McCracken's Best Laid Plans for my birthday, and I've been listening to it over and over again (great driving music-- both easy to listen to, and thought provoking...singeable, and forcing me to listen). I'm sure I'll post more about it later, but the last song applies to my desire of "rising up and calling blessed" my mom today:

"Age after age
Of heroes and soldiers
It gives me sight and makes me brave,
Standing on their shoulders"

I am truly priveleged to be able to say that I am standing on my mother's shoulders; she has taught me so much, and still does everyday. I would not be who I am today were it not for her faithful teaching from God's Word (I remember reading through the Bible, Chronicles and all!, a little more every day when we went home for lunch in France-- my sisters and I were 4- 10), her countless ways of encouragement and service (the best cards EVER, gluten-free goodies, my lamp on every night for me when I get home), her example of service and hospitality, her correction and counsel (she's always giving me great snippets to read) and her persistant prayer-- I don't think there's a day in my life she hasn't prayed for me. This past year has brought us closer than I ever thought possible, and it is with amazed thanksgiving to God that I say she is one of my closest friends, and one whose counsel I value highly.
"Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children is their fathers [or mothers]." (Prov. 17:6)
I thought this captured the way I want to think of and relate to my parents, especially my mother, and their hearts toward me and my sisters:
"Listen to your father who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old. Buy truth, and do not sell it; buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding. The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice; he who fathers a wise son will be glad in him. Let your father and mother be glad; let her who bore you rejoice.
My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways." (Prov. 23:22-26)
I love you, Mom, and God is getting glory from me for His gift of you today!!
tu hija,
la Cristinita


Nicole, this is for you: it's Grease meets maxed-out Education Majors! ...except, while they certainly would be spazzed out enough to come up with something like this, they certainly wouldn't have the time to do it!! hehehe...enjoy

Monday, October 09, 2006

Brighter than a Bonfire

Before dinner on Saturday night, my dad prayed that mine & "the other Christina"'s birthday party that was to follow would be a testimony to me of God's grace and love in my life. With my mom, dad, sisters, the Whaley crew (cousins, aunt, uncle), and Ryan around me, that seemed quite an apt request.

And it was. I felt the warmth of it brighter than the bonfire we had in our backyard. God got the glory as I reveled in the grace. He's always loved me. So many people show me grace and mercy every day of my life...and a lot of them came out to show me Saturday night. Pictures and more to come, but I thought I'd testify of that while I had this second. At the "get to know you" first session of our Italy Study Abroad trip, they asked us to complete this sentence 5 ways: "I am..." One that I chose was "loved." I'll stand by that.

Off to a yearbook section editor's meeting, then Dustin Salter (our RUF campus pastor)'s house for dinner!
P.S. ...I miss my Ryan... but I'm so glad to have him to miss! :)

Friday, October 06, 2006

Happy Birthday to Me...

My parents got Anna out of school and met me for Thai food at Lemongrass downtown on Friday, Sept. 29th, to celebrate my birthday! (I had to work all day on my actual birthday, the 28th). Anna & I had spring rolls for lunch, because we were saving up for dessert!! I was so sad they didn't have sweet sticky rice with coconut ice-cream, drizzled with chocolate sauce, which Katie (Lewis) and I discovered to be delactable at ThaiCoon last time we went there. Anna's suggestion, we walked next door to the Marble Slab-- I got coconut ice cream, and it was soooo good.

Me and my "suitemate" =D
My gift from my parents was that string of "Singers' Pearls"-- my choir, Singers, doesn't allow girls to wear any jewelry during performances, except a string of pearls if we want to. So I asked for "Singers Pearls" for this year...and my sweet parents gave me beautiful ones. I wore them the other day, and they were perfect.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


This is lifted from a Facebook Wall-to-Wall conversation, but I think it speaks powerfully to, and about my generation. (those of you who don't know what Facebook is, google it. ;D),

[Rebecca Nigh is a friend from childhood-- she and the Osborne girls were the constants at my birthday parties and Christmas plans from age 2 up until 13 (when we painted my room together-- y'all remember that!?). Our families "matched up" perfectly: Me-Rebecca, Nicole-Katelyn, Anna-Jordan. And then there's Ian. He had no problem tagging along, though. Her family moved from our church in high school, and so we lost the constant connection, but those 14 years of shared experience don't evaporate. Add to that the fact that we still know a lot of the same people, and voila. You have one of those parallel friendships-- where you know each other, follow up with what's going on, mostly from a distance, but since you're going the same direction at about the same velocity, intersections are sweet and only carry momentum forward. SO... that's the background for this conversation, sort of like email...:]

Rebecca: thanks to blogs and facebook the other night I 'met' amy's claudio, and your ryan and i saw ryan and lydia's new condo, so yeah, i need to catch up in real life : ) i come to your fair library a lot, so i'll give you a call next time i'm there! [Amy=Amy D.; Ryan & Lydia=Ryan & Lydia Donell. Both blogs are linked to mine, over there on the left. Becca's at North Greenville University, just up Hwy 25, from Furman.]

Me: wow. it's taken you this long to get immersed in cyberworld? It's actually quite a help to reality sometimes. Like when I found out my friend Todd, whom I see EVERY DAY, is engaged. Somehow I missed the class announcement... it's what I get for being late to class, I guess. As far as the library goes, I'm there pretty much every day. John Wessel is, too. So come find us!! =D

Whole point of all that: Some say that cyberspace is an antireality...or at least an alternate form of reality for some people-- you have virtual friends, read virtual news, interact through virtual means, etc. And while I can see that as a potential danger...and actually do have friends that have gone off towards that extreme... most of our generation has, I think, managed to harnass the tremendous power of cyber-world to actually bolster reality. It's not called a "net" for no reason. It's interwoven, it's linked. How else could I see someone's name I remember from high school on Facebook, link to their blog that way, and then see pictures from their foreign study trip, linked to that site? It can be a great way to keep up with friends that are far away, to keep praying for them, and to schedule "get-togethers" quite apart from the phone or paper.

Another thought: Could that make friendships more "parallel" when they perhaps should be more angled, and thus more intersecting? I can get all the info on them I'd be interested in having; could get all "their news", without every talking TO them. Likewise, I can spill my guts on here, post pictures, express opinions, etc., without ever having to talk to TO them, or deal with their reactions? Maybe it feels more personal than it is... Maybe we're succumbing to the culture of the masses-- mass media?

Hmmm. Thoughts completely unrelated to the paper I was supposed to be writing, but oh well. =D Off to class!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Did you ever think about...

In January, I will be heading to Italy on foreign study, with the Furman Communications and Religion Deptartments...neither of which contain my major. But the location (ITALY!!) and the subject fascinate me. We're studying "the interplay of rhetoric (or theology, or worldview-- they're really all the same) and space." The actual course title is lovely, intriguing (at least I think so. But then again my boyfriend was laughing tonight about how glad he was to be dating a nerd, so no one else may find it either of the above)-- Religion 95: Rome, Ritual, and Sacred Space. Hmmm...

We had to read 2 books in preparation, and write papers on them (ahem ahem, 'nother story); The Pantheon; design, meaning, and progeny (by George Macdonald), and The Geometry of Love (by Margaret Visser). So far I've chugged my way through the first one, and managed to find it interesting, after I got past all the technical stuff. Hey-- did you know "entasis" is when columns are slightly curved out at their bottoms? Or that domes are amazing feats of engineering? I mean, how does this stuff stay UP? But I digress... since I've been thinking about this on and off for the past 2 weeks at least, I figured I'd share some of it here. It's opening my mind to things I never even thought of before. Maybe it will you, too.

Do all y'all know what the Pantheon looks like? It's the temple-looking building backed by a dome. Apparantly, the temple’s porch filled the enterer’s view as he approached, which was common for temples in those times. The Pantheon was a temple built by the Emperor Hadrian in around 126 AD, dedicated to "all the gods" (thence the name). So you'd walk up to this building thinking it was a normal temple, but no sooner had you crossed the porch, when came the unexpected. The contrasts between out and in were many and swift, effected through change in architecture (emphasis on the vertical outside--aka columns, centralized space within--aka the dome), color, and lighting—“Thus what appeared from the outside to be quite traditional design led to its antithesis, a revelation of another world.” As if that wasn't cool enough in and of itself, the shift forms an allegory of history, as well: the new Roman, centralized world, had only arrived after the classical world of the Greek. That really fascinates me. Are buildings really that much like books; architects that much like authors or composers? Is everything really put exactly and only where it is, for a reason? Do buildings really have a plot to them?

The MacDonald book prepared me to visit the Pantheon, and any historical site, firstly by giving me a vocabulary with which to describe what I will be seeing in Rome. For someone who has never studied architecture, words like “entasis” and “trabeation” are powerfully liberating; tools allowing me to put into words, and so be able to sort and process, what I will soon experience. It's why language is so cool! (oh, that is a whole separate post)

I’ve toured great buildings before—scores of castles, monuments, and cathedrals, and I’ve admired what I saw, but I never knew to ask “why? Why did they choose to build it this way? Why did they choose these colors, that design, this order?” I think my understanding of historical man was somewhat stereotypical, assuming our generation is the deepest-thinking, with the most options available to us. But this book reminded me that we stand on the shoulders of builders, thinkers, and architects of long ago. They were quite capable of being intentional; quite active in their working-out of their ideas; quite wealthy and resourceful. Even if they had to only “use what they had,” they were able to make whatever was at hand bend to their purpose quite capably. Our thought processes are merely the tail end of the momentum wrought by minds far greater than ours. It would be a discredit to them not to ask their legacies—the buildings, roads, and sculptures they’ve left behind—questions.

Have you ever thought to try and discern an architect’s worldview and presuppositions from his work? Have you ever stopped to wonder "why I am moved or affected by a space this way?" Have you ever tried to figure out how the architect brought that about, or what he was intending to "say" by the space he created? Honestly, the concept of “space” had never been a question of mine…I never stopped to question how space was set apart or defined, much less why. A wall had always been a wall, a door a door, an archway simply there. I never stopped to consider that it could have not been there, or been there in a different way. Very little happens because it has to, I’m learning. We humans are far more assertive than that; we mold, we fashion, we seek to leave our mark, to make a name for ourselves—such is our nature as the Image of The Creator, such our nature as Fallen Glory-seekers, instead of Glory-bearers. It’s hard to tell what motivates us at times. All that to say that I’ve been reminded of the art that men put into the things they build to last, and have been reminded to be equally intentional about my touring of them as they were in the building of them.

Just some fodder for your thoughts! It's my goal in life to create more THINKING, especially in those whose neurons have been redeemed with precious blood!

--Christina...aka...Ryan's nerdy girlfriend. ;D