Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Our Deepest Sadness...Our Deepest Joy?

Brief musings on some of the paradoxes of the Christian life... life in a world of dying-- itself a paradox. "And the music of the mountains is still keepin' me awake,/ Yeah, but everything that rises falls asleep!/ We are not alone/ We are more than flesh and bone./ What is seen will pass away/ What is not is going home..." (~"Lay Me Down [To Die]," Andrew Peterson)

Had this thought-line at the concert-- "Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!!" (John 1) as Handel set it to music is very different from how John the Baptist first said it... So, which should it be? A dirge? A herald-cry delirious with joy? Both?

Our sadness is redeemed.

"Sing out with joy for the brave little boy
Who was God, but He made Himself nothing
When He gave up His pride and He came here to die
Like a man." (~Andrew Peterson)

That song is so happy-sounding, and we all think of Christmas as sooo joyful-- the wisemen rejoicing with "exceeding great joy," the shepherds hearing "good news of a GREAT joy," a sweet new life beginning, a little family safe and warm, "the one born, King of the Jews...." But He came to die. That isn't so very happy, is it?

Then again, none of us were meant to die. When mankind was made, they were meant to live forever. Death is wrong, but it's the way to Life...

Nothing polished, just some thoughts.

Friday, December 15, 2006

The Lawless

I mentioned in my last post that I've been feeling strange lately...out of sorts... like there's something not quite me rattling around in my body, or maybe in my heart. I think it's the old man, not so at home in the new man-- sin isn't natural to a new creation. I was talking about some of this to Val the other night, and she asked "Do you think you've been being disobedient?" I answered in the affirmative. And she answered, "Hmmm...aren't we always?"

Hmmm indeed. While there are periods of more obedience, I think she's right. Sanctification is a "work" not an "act" of God's free grace. It takes time. So, I think that my own thoughts on the matter are worth a post; I like what I post to be at least somewhat widely applicable.

Have you ever hesitated to pray because you weren't worthy? Or wondered how to even start repenting, because you don't feel sorry enough? It's like you have to make yourself feel bad enough before you dare approach... but the problem is that the longer you wait, the more guilty you feel, and so the more reluctant you are, so the longer you wait... Is this ringing any experiential bells for anyone else!? I've a sneaking suspicion some of that's been at work in my heart the past while, and this passage in 2 Chronicles is one thing God's been using to draw my heart back to Him:

This takes place after Israel and Judah split, after Israel's been mostly wiped out by the Assyrians, but before Judah is plundered by Babylon. Judah, while blessed with at least a few good kings, certainly better at keeping the Law (aka a heart for Yahweh alone) than Israel, hasn't exactly been a paragon of righteousness either, and the temple and the religious calandar have fallen into disrepair. The new king, Hezekiah, however, loves the God of Abraham with all his heart, and has led Judah in a moral and religious reform, repairing the temple, re-appointing priests & temple singers, and finally, re-instating the God-mandated schedule of feasts and sacrifices. He sends messangers throughout Judah and what remains of Israel, calling all who are able to come to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover, for the first time in several generations. The Passover, you might remember, was given to commemorate the time God delivered the Israelites through MANY miracles from the Egyptians, judging them while sparing the Israelites, who had painted blood of lambs on their doorposts. There were specific rules surrounding how the meal was to be eaten, who was to eat it, how it was to be prepared, etc. Ok...all that was context for this passage:

"For a majority of the people [...] had not cleansed themselves, yet they ate the Passover otherwise than as prescribed. For Hezekiah had prayed for them, saying "May the good LORD pardon everyone who sets his heart to seek God, the LORD, the God of his fathers, even though not according to the sanctuary's rules of cleanness." And the LORD heard Hezekiah and healed the people. And the people of Israel who were present at Jerusalem kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with great gladness, and the Levites and the priests praised the Lord day by day, singing with all their might to the Lord. The whole assembly of Judah, and the priests and the Levites, and the whole assembly that came out of Israel, and the sojourners who came out of the land of Israel, and the sojourners who lived in Judah, rejoiced. So there was great joy in Jerusalem, for since the time of Solomon the son of David king of Israel there had been nothing like this in Jerusalem. Then the priests and the Levites arose and blessed the people, and their voice was heard, and their prayer came to His holy habitation in heaven."
[II Chron. 30:18-27]]

Did you catch that!? Lots of the people didn't keep the Law even as they tried to start keeping the Law!! They started to obey, aka they ate the Passover which was commanded, but they hadn't been able to obey all the laws surrounding how they were supposed to eat it. And God didn't strike them dead! Rather, He was pleased! Their prayers reached His Heavenly Jerusalem, and the people were filled with joy such as they hadn't seen for hundreds of years. It seems that God deemed it more righteous for them to hurry to come to Him, hurry to obey, than for them to hang back and wait until they "had it all together." Hmmm. Do you see how this was encouraging to me?!

Over coffee yesterday, Grant Beachy, associate pastor at Redeemer Pres in Traveler's Rest and our interim RUF campus minster at Furman (of sorts), reminded me that "You can never need, or get, more grace than what you have." What was it Dustin often would say? "On your best days, you're not above the need for grace, and on your worst, you're not out of its reach"? Something like that.

Even Law-breakers may approach the Holy One, in humilty & repentance. Even a disobedient child like me may pray-- approaching the Throne of Grace in confidence because it is just that, a Throne of Grace.

"Let not conscience make you linger, nor of fitness fondly dream;
All the fitness He requires is to feel your need of Him
This He gives you-- 'tis the Spirit's rising beam!"
("Come, Ye Sinners," Joseph Hart)

A Face in the Crowd

Well, Ashley's officially poked me into posting again. The intense pressure-cooker the adventurous among us like to call Furman Fall Term has finally given up the ghost, leaving us euphoric, shaky, and FREE!!! =D

So far the most welcome change has been sleep.

Second is not having to write up any more REFLECTIONS!!!

And I just want you to doubters to know that I talked with one of my Furman-alum friends in grad school, and he said that it's MUCH easier than Furman was. That made me feel a lot of relief.

Enough about me and my sense of being an overwhelmed underachiever. I need to savor some of that sleep I was just talkin' about, so this will brief. I just got back from the last stop on the Andrew Peterson Behold the Lamb Christmas Concert Tour-- a free concert (packed out!) at North Hills Community Church in Taylors. It was wonderful music...a great portrayal of the most compelling, meaningful "tall tale" ever told. God incarnate. The Unslumbering One of Israel lulled to sleep by an exausted teenage girl. Prophecies unfolding left and right, but in was that NO one expected them to occur. Every "type" fulfilled: the exodus, the exile, the prophets, the cry of every human heart, all crying one word: Deliverance!! And God answers with the cry of a hungry peasant-baby... where is THIS story going?? The angels didn't even understand. The page-turner of all history.

If you haven't heard the CD, I highly recommend it! The True Tall of Jesus the Christ, set beautifully to music. And you can even memorize all His ancestors (Matthew's Begats)! But I digress.

---Edit: Where this post was actually going... =D----
I stayed around a little afterwards with Gloves (aka Joseph Dowsley), Britt & Sarah (and Joseph's buddy Patrick), to talk to the artists. Andy Gullahorn is quite hilarious. So while they're happy to sign whatever we shove at them (CDs, posters, small children), and to smile & talk to us for a while, I know we're just faces in a crowd to them. I don't much like not being memorable. However, I am acknowledging that reality-- if I met Derek Webb on the street tomorrow, he wouldn't know the difference between me and a Viking (minus the pointy hat).

The past week I've been struggling with feeling "left out" of relationships-- whether it's running into that same old music-major-clique-brick-wall at the Singers Party, or enduring yet another class devoted to discussing Tour (which I did not go on), or getting the shaft from friends, or realizing that sometimes people aren't willing to change, or finding among old papers collaborations between myself and those I once counted so dear... people who have moved on and moved apart... it all's fallen into the simmering discontented sadness of my soul. I've felt off-kilter all week, unsure of why I feel what I feel, or even what exactly I'm feeling. Only that something isn't right. So I've been primed to pick up on the the sense of alienation, of separation, and therefore know better than to put too much stock in it. I don't like not being memorable, though. I don't like being expendable, excludable... worse! laughable. I want to be remembered, admired... made much of.

And I find myself another face in the crowd.

What do I do with that? Do I go the route of Rosamund, and whisper fiercely to myself that "I am Somebody! Quite likely the ONLY Somebody in the whole kingdom!" (George MacDonald's The Lost Princess)? Two things I think of, summarized into one: I want to be remembered? Let me remember who I am-- a sinner, saved by grace. I amn't memorable, really... in the grand scheme of things, I'm pretty expendable, except, oh yeah- for the level of ignonimity I aquired in taking part in the slaying of God's Son. Not exactly the memorability I wanted. Reading through Chronicles has impressed on me the dangers of pride-- of thinking higher of myself than I ought. I'm a sinner. What have I done to be proud of?

It's that second part that I treasure: "saved by grace." Sandra McCracken sang tonight "take all my regrets, give me grace instead." How well she sings the human heart! Oh for more humility to admit that I have regrets, mistakes, shortcomings, and ask only for grace, not some way to fix it all and come out the hero! Why do I worry about being "left out" when I've got Heaven promised to me!? Why do I wonder about feeling "unloved" when He pursues me every day, and pours out grace on me? How can I wonder where to fit in, when He's put me in covenantal communities where they HAVE to make room for me? (the church) A face in the crowd? Maybe. But He knows my name, and He is writing my story. Let me live for His glory.

"...and as you stand there shivering with your hands bunched in your pockets suddenly you remember that you're standing on a rock in the middle of space. Suddenly the notion that there's a Someone who made it all and knows us all no longer seems quite so far-fetched; indeed, it seems too good to be false."
--Andrew Peterson, liner notes to Love & Thunder

Friday, November 17, 2006

You Know You Want Somma This!

CDs from the Recital of the CENTURY (ok, ok...term...) are IN, and they are HOT!! (not quite as hot as the live performance, but you know, you can't have everything...). If you'd like a copy, they're $2, and you can either get the entire program, or just the songs I'm on. =D OR, just the ones LB did, for that matter...

Oh my cookies, y'all, I have never had a better night with music. My friends were there, I loved the music, my accompanist rocked my socks off, and my friends & family were all in the audience or were supporting me with prayer around the country. It was SO MUCH FUN!! And I think the audience enjoyed it, which is my goal for that kind of performance... to bring joy, because our God is a joyous God-- Amen!?

Las Divas... I would have cropped this, except I wanted y'all to see the dress.

The Whole Cast-- everyone who's ANYONE in the Furman Music Dept., lol

Catching Todd as he falls... long story... ;D

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


One more thing about Dustin...

Please, please pray.

Leigh Anne said that's the most encouraging thing to her: hearing of all the people praying for Dustin literally all around the world. It's all around Furman for sure.

Google his name, and you can get more than one beautiful glimpses at the love people have for Dustin, and the confidence they have in a God who hears prayer. A couple: http://emlevenhagen.blogspot.com/; http://uconnruf.blogspot.com/; http://rmfo-blogs.com/stephanie/; my friends Kevin & Emily Smith and Ashley; our own RUF site and the blog Redeemer Pres has set up specifically for Dustin-updates.

Please be specific and bold in prayer...for Dustin, for Leigh Anne, for their children Jacob (9), Nathan (7) and Meredith (2), for Grant B. (the Associate Pastor at Redeemer Pres) as he steps up to fill in here at Furman while Dustin's unavailable, for the students struggling to reconcile this with their view of God, for Rob Hamby (our former campus minister who "switched" campuses with Dustin-- now he's at Texas Christian University in Dallas) as he feels stretched between 2 campuses, and for Taylor (our RUF intern) as she's got to keep going.

God will not let His Bride be lost. He will not let His Kingdom fail, and He will not let His righteous ones go begging for bread-- oh, those are sweet to rest in.

"One thing God has spoken; two things I have heard:
That You, O God, are strong,
and that You, O Lord, are loving."
(ESV: to You belongs steadfast love)
[Ps. 62:11-12]

Steadfast Faith in Steadfast Love

I haven't posted about this yet, but many, many have... my campus pastor-- a man I'm coming to respect, trust, and love, and who has already taught me many things in the short time I've known him-- Dustin Salter, lies unconscious in Greenville Memorial Hospital's Neuro-trama ICU, his breathing regulated by a ventilator, his heart rate recorded on screens around the unit.

I spent two hours or so there this afternoon-- a handy benefit of my chaplain intern badge... the morning had been a heavy one for me, working through things in my own life that are discouraging and confusing, and feeling the pain of all who love Dustin. Sure, we Furman RUFers are feeling the loss, but we've only known him 4 months at the most-- in the ICU waiting room, I met men who've served alongside him for years, students at TCU (where he used to be the campus minister) who owe him so much of their spiritual health, the brother who invented the superhero Lobsterman (arch-nemesis of the evil Dr. Deepfryer)... these are the ones my heart breaks for the most.

Let me say that I left encouraged-- in some ways it felt more like a PCA convention than a hospital waiting room... =D All those godly men, godly women, leaders in their churches, caring for one another...the hospital staff was complaining about the number of "pastors" they were having to let into the ICU to see Dustin, lol. The atmosphere certainly was different than the one I've been in with other families. You know what it was? It was their theology serving them well. Talking with Leigh Anne (Dustin's wife) cemented this in my brain. She hugged me so hard when she saw me... and her heart immediatly turned to ministry "how is___ handling this?" I looked into this woman's eyes-- these gentle, laughing eyes, now rimmed with fatigue and strain, and I saw a bedrock assurance that God is good. Dustin's wife is scared, she's tired, she's without half of herself!-- but she's unshaken. At one point, news seemed bad with Dustin, and her immediate request was prayer, through tears, through fear-- prayer. Because she knows that God is sovereign-- unshakable in His purpose and will. And that He is good, unshakably good. And that confidence in His unshakable faithful goodness, His love and care is what has made her own faith unshakable.

Thoughts related... Martha comes to Jesus with that question that rangles so deep down within us that we often don't know it's there--and God Incarnate's answer isn't straightforward:

"...Lord, do you not care?..." (that's always the question-- wondering at the goodness, the kindness of God. It's what Eve doubted at the beginning.)

But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion (nearness to Christ), which will not be taken away from her."

[now, these are the same characters, a little later in their story, when Martha & Mary's brother Lazarus has just died:]

"When Jesus saw [Mary] weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in His spirit, and greatly troubled. [...] Jesus wept. So the Jews said, 'See how He loved him!'" [Luke 10:40-42; John 11:33-37]

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
"For as HIGH as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His steadfast love to those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does He remove our transgressions from us. As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust. As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him. [...] The LORD has established His Throne in the heavens, and His KINGDOM rules over all." [Ps. 103:11-19]

What sweetness to know that Jesus cares, that He weeps, that He is compassionate-- steadfastly so. The GOOD portion that is Him He will never take away. And He is able to keep those promises, because it's His Kingdom that rules over all.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Comin' Up...

A little fore-taste of my recital...

Madrigal Set-- Me, Trin, Les, Travis & Todd

The Mozart Trio-- what Dr. Schoonmaker terms "Our Game Faces"

Me w/ LB and our marvelous accompanist, Jessica Horton

...I had fun messing with the wash on this one... I think it looks cool...


Anna (my "baby" sister...now a senior in h/s) is interested in the University of Kentucky's College of Design (Architecture & Interior Design), and Lexington's about an hour and a half from Louisville, so against all odds, between recitals, play rehearsals, classes, and exams, we two chicks packed it up and trucked it to Kentucky, leaving at 4:00 am on the DOT Friday morning. Anna slept until about 7, when we hit Knoxville-- there's a Starbucks right off of 75 that's become our half-way stop. It was WONDERFUL driving that early in the morning. CLEAR ROADS!! We had a college visit and tour, then met some RUFers for lunch. Anna spent the night with 2 of them, and got to go to their Friday Freshman Bible Study.

[[the girl to Anna's left is Liz, the RUF intern at UK-- she went to Clemson!!]]
I got her situated, then headed to Louisville. I stayed with my Shueys... did I mention that all of this was a complete surprise to Ryan?? I was rather tired after my early morning drive, and the caffeine I ingested to maintain a semblance of wakefullness as I drove through yet another traffic jam to Louisville combined with my intense excitement to be not only seeing Ryan but also SURPRISING him...let's just say that I was literally shaking with anticipation by the time I got to the Shuey's!

Hehehehe... Ryan was surprised. =D

Saturday was a complete adventure in and of itself-- Ryan & I went back to Lexington to pick Anna up, planning to make it back to the U of L volleyball game with Sina & Morgan. We were slightly delayed, but that's a long story involving a mysterious tire blowout, a rusty useless jack, a stubborn rim, Mace, strategic car-flagging-down, WalMart, fix-a-flat, a phone call to Uncle Steve (450 miles away)...and a very nice lady named Diane. God was very good to me!! And it made for a great story...
[[Cassie, Me & Anna at Synergos-- Rob had a little coffee-house concert...way to go Rob!! total rip off that they tried to make us pay $3 to get in though...]]

[[Ben & Sarah's daughter Carys...soooo cute!]]

[[They're so weird...]]

[[the best I can make of the pictures Ryan & I took together. Next time I'll get some better ones!]]

Monday, November 06, 2006

Where I've Been...

I was supposed to share my testimony at RUF Core Group . Anyway, the RUF Core Group "testimonies" are more life-journey stories, including where we are now, and how we got there. In an effort to make my story a little more cohesive, I tried to pull themes out...so it's been an introspective sort of day--but not in a bad way: it's led me to praise God for everything He's done in my life. (ok my sisters are filming each other dancing to Hindu music...it's a little sketchy, not gonna lie. I'm throwing things at them. And pretending to blow them away with a fan. Side note over.)

One theme of my life isn't so much a theme, but more a recurring struggle. The struggle to be driven by love and joy, rather than guilt and fear... I had to face it again on Sunday... the past weekend was crazy, between work, studying, concerts, church activities, and chaplaining. Despite all that, I'm still glowing from Fall Break, which is at least a whole separate entry, not to be cheapened with inadequate snippets

...but these are some thoughts I've had tonight...

Since coming back things are busy as ever...I feel once again like I'm on the treadmill, and barely ahead of it! Yesterday morning in church I felt pretty overwhelmed and guilty, looking out over the congregation and remembering how many people I WANT to keep up with, but don't, or all the people that I know are struggling, but don't do anything to help... There's a lot of people. I knew that was guilt and pride talking-- as if I were the Savior of the world, and the ONLY representative of Christ on earth, when I'm sitting in the middle of CHURCH for crying out loud! But I had to work through it and talk it through with some sisters in Christ.

There's a hymn that often convicts/encourages me; this isn't the whole thing, but here's the parts that God's Spirit often brings to mind when I'm feeling rather ... "Martha"ish. "Weary, working, burdened one,/ Wherefore toil you so?/ Cease your doing; all was done/ Long, long ago.// ...Cast your deadly "doing" down—/ Down at Jesus' feet; Stand in Him, in Him alone,/ Gloriously complete.//" (From the hymn "It is Finished" by James Proctor) I know that hymn's more about striving to attain our own righteousness before God...but really that's what we're doing when we try to be all and in all...when it is CHRIST who is in all and through all, right? "For from Him and to Him and through Him are all things; to Him be the glory forever and ever, Amen!" (Rom. 11:36)

I just read this this morning in a book I'm skimming to judge its "goodness." =D So far it is pretty good! "But we get it all backwards. We think that the Christian life is made up of people, people, and more people! In fact, it seems like we're always with people-- people at home, people at school (and after school), people at church. ...On and on the people list goes. Yet, here's the truth: "The greater proportion of your day-- of your life-- spent in quiet, in reflection, in prayer, [in study], in scheduling, in preparation, the greater will be the effectiveness, the impact, the power of the part of your life that shows."" (A Young Woman After God's Own Heart by Elizabeth George)

anyway...that's the part of the path I've walked today... maybe it will encourage someone out there. ...lol in class this afternoon our teacher was warning us of the dangers of blogging... hehehe...

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Answered Prayer

I went to Kentucky for my fall break, and had a WONDERFUL time...the best part of my trip, though is not included in this picture. One guess what his name is-- I'll give you a clue: it starts with an R, and rhymes with Brian!! ;DMonday lunch in Southern Seminary/Boyce College's cafeteria. Toto isn't in the picture, and he was definitely there, but oh well...you can't have everything, right? This is my roommate from the summer (Ashlea), Lauren (who works at Southern), me, Kyle, and Cassie...all people I love in Louisville! We had lunch (breakfast for me) at Southern, and it was SUCH a blessing. I was so glad to get to see them!

There is SO much more to come, and pictures too, but since Amy's havin' a heart attack over there...figured I'd throw SOMETHING newish up here. I no longer have a camera, so I had to use others' for this trip, and so still don't have all the pictures I took/didn't get to take as many as I would have if it were my camera. =D

--Edit: PICTURES!! --

Sina. I think this is a sweet picture of her. =D Well... most of them of her are...

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!

Ok...it'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. So...at 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

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Long-Awaited List

It's 9:30, my hair is down, my glasses are on, my earrings are out, and my eyes want to close. Why am I even venturing to post, you ask? Because I've started to post three times and lost it every time, and I'm a determined woman.

It was a chilly walk across the mall after my 8 pm class in Furman Hall-- fall is on his way. I do love South Carolina's Indian Summer, though. It's a slippers-and-hot chocolate kind of night, but since I'm not at home, and I have abandoned white sugar, I'm contenting myself with hot licorice tea, and socks-- one mine, and one Katie's. (long story) I'm crashing at her place tonight, since she has one roommate in France this term (so I get an actual bed!), and since I've got to get up uber-early tomorrow so I can get my workout in early, so she & I can get up to Seneca as early as possible (We're going to Seneca, SC, an hour away, where Katie is doing her teaching internship, as part of getting our required 20 hours of classroom observations in. It'll be fun going together. =D).

All right, to make it onto the "10 Best Love Songs Ever," the songs have to be all-around wonderful. Not too mushy, not overly idolatrous ;D, something musically appealing, and lyrics that sound somewhat more sincere and less jaded from use than a Hallmark card. Three rules (eheh I'll even alliterate I'm so tired):
1) Memorable lyrics; poetry, people!!...sincere sweetness said in an original, non-mindlessly-repetitive way
2) Melodic/Harmonic quality; none of this "alternate between two chords (and one line) for 3.5 minutes" crap
3) Minimally idolatrous message; nothin' sketchy, and as little displacement of God as possible ...which is why, much as it pains me, I don't think Chicago's "Inspiration" can make it...

[[drum roll, please!]] In no particular order, after compilation and communal consideration by committee and category (ok, ok I'll stop ;D), we have:
1. Springtime Indiana (Sandra McCracken)
Why? "Never been good with my thoughts/and even worse with my words/but you read like familiar poetry that I have never heard.../" and "you came in without notice, settled all around my heart/took up residence in the places that were vacant and dark..."
2) For My Love (Bethany Dillon)
Why? She captures the godly female heart's longings SO well throughout the entire song. Just take the chorus: "...let me know you'd fight/thousands, for my love/slip your hand in mine/ ask me to dance with you tonight/ just ask me/ for my love."
3) She's My Kind of Rain (Tim McGraw)
Why? Besides the fact that the music video shows him with his wife and children, the line "She's the sunset's shadow;/She's like Rembrant's light..."
4) Sweet Afton (Nickel Creek's version)
Why? The Celtic words catch so beautifully, but it's Chris Thile's melody-- lilting, tender, and a little haunting-- and Sean & Sara Watkins' harmonies that rank it here
5) Beautiful Soul (Jesse McCartney)
Why? Read a little of this refreshing break from shallow, lust-over-love pop: "I don't want another pretty face/ I don't want just anyone to hold/...I want you and your beautiful soul/ You're the one I wanna chase/ You're the one I wanna hold/...I want you and your beautiful soul."
6) If You're Not the One (Daniel Beddingfield)
Why? I was first taken in by the sheer sweetness in his voice, and impressed by his musical virtuosity (great falsetto). The lyrics are a cheesy enough to make you grin, and then he has to go and be ready to commit on top of that ;D: "If you're not the one/ why do I dream of you/ as my wife?"
7) All I Ask of You (music by Andrew Lloyd Weber, lyrics by Charles Strouse & Richard Stilgoe, sung by Sara Brightman & Steve Barton)
Why? Ummm...it's from Phantom, for one. I love the irony, too: demanding everything, longing to give everything, and saying "that's all I ask." "Say you'll share with me one love, one lifetime/ Say the word, and I will follow you/ Share each day with me, each night, each morning/ Anywhere you go, let me go too./ That's all I ask of you."
8) For the Longest Time (Billy Joel)
Why? The music is certainly quality. Then there's the famous "If you said goodbye to me tonight/ there would still be music left to write/ What else could I do?/ I'm so inspired by you/ That hasn't happened for the longest time." And you have to grin at the impudence of "I think you ought to know/ that I intend to hold you for the longest time!" At least he's letting her know... ;D

Also in the running are: Can't Hurry Love (first sung by The Supremes, lyrics & music by Doozer, Holland & Holland) , Front Porch Lookin' In, and I'm Already There (both by Lonestar), Better Than Wine (Derek Webb), Could Not Ask for More (Edwin McCain), You're Still the One (McGraw/Hill), That's When I Love You (Phil Vassar), Canaan Bound (Andrew Peterson), When You Say Nothing At All (Alison Krauss), Livin' On A Prayer (Bon Jovi), Everyday Love (Rascal Flatts), I Will Be Here (S. C. Chapman), Arise, My Love (Michael Card), Can You Feel? (Elton John), Tale as Old as Time (yes, the Disney), Alla Luce Del Sol (sung by Josh Groban), and Con Te Partiro (most recently sung by Sara Brightman & Andrea Bochelli, under the misleading English title 'Time to Say Goodbye.'). Ok...there you have our list-in-progress. Suggestions welcome, from any and all genres and eras. They just have to follow the rules! =D

You know, Christians should write the best love songs.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Looking Back on "Early Experience"

Looking back over my four weeks of Early Experience, trying to summarize it all into several neat “what I’ve learned” packages doesn’t come naturally. My experience was so varied—bulletin boards, instruction, a field trip downtown, faculty meetings, other meetings, play auditions, a lot of listening, watching, and note-taking, hugs from children, names on the board, setting out chairs and stacking them again, greeting the custodian and lunch in the teachers’ lounge—varied as teaching, I guess. But themes are there, and as I think about them, I realize I’ve already changed because of Early Experience and what I’ve learned through it.

I think the most important “lesson” I learned is to see the positive spin everything has. In teaching this is most obvious in the area of correction. I watched good teachers do this many times at Sue Cleveland, reinforcing what I’d heard at the Marcia Tate* workshop and read in Mendler’s book. Instead of telling a child or a class “Be quiet and be still!” I now hear myself saying things like “wow! Y’all have a lot of energy! That is great! I need you to put that energy into listening to me for the next few minutes. I think you’ll like what I have to say.” It takes a little more time, maybe, but it reminds them (and me!) of their dignity as human beings, and encourages the positive aspects of their behavior or idea (their energy) rather than merely shooting down the negative aspects (their inattention). What’s that old saying? “You’ll catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” Put another way, “it’s often more effective to affirm the right than to merely punish the wrong.” At the very least, I can avoid strictly negative, or accusing, words, even if I don’t have time to affirm the positive: “We use our feet for walking!” instead of “Don’t’ run!” I want kindness and mercy to be my default position: assuming the best, and ready to forgive the worst.

Related to that commitment to positivity is the second resolution I have made: I am committed to enjoying what I do. The past 3 years, I have been plagued by a lack of confidence in my abilities as a musician, and this has hampered my own enjoyment of my art, and has made me quite fearful at the thought of teaching it. I was looking forward to Early Experience because I hoped it would be the key to me looking forward to teaching instead of dreading it. I learned that confidence and joy are, if not the same thing, then very closely related, so if I can have one, I can have the other. When I got up in front of a class, if I was determined to like them and to try and present the material in a fun way (no matter what their behavior was like), not only did I enjoy it, but they responded much better to me. Robin and I joked after particularly trying classes or days about how “the only person you can control in this classroom is yourself,” and that’s really true, but it’s empowering, not discouraging. I can determine to enjoy teaching and music quite apart from anyone else’s reaction to it (even my own—but that’s another topic. See 1 Cor. 4:1-4), and in that enjoyment, I also find confidence to teach it. I may not be the best singer or the best teacher, but I sure can try to have fun with what I have—and to get my students in on that joy.

Lastly, I learned a good deal about teaching.
I’ve been amazed at how much “little kids” can learn! Now I realize that that’s their “job,” after all—what they were made to do and do well at this point in their lives. How much, quickly, or well they learn, however, can be quite affected by how they’re taught. The best teaching comes through “stories.” Marcia Tate spoke of “narratives” and “chunking” (grouping materially logically into information clusters). A simple way to sum those techniques up would be to “find and tell the story in it,” be it in music theory, biology, history, or grammar. Stories make sense. They have beginnings, middles, and ends. A lot of times they have repetition. Anytime a lesson is logical, has important bits repeated, and has a rhythm to it, the chances of it sticking in a student’s brain are much higher. And stories are so much less boring than lectures! ☺ Another strategy, somewhat related, is how much children learn through games. My first week in Robin’s classroom, I was amazed at how much the children were learning and practicing through simple echo games: monkey see, monkey do. I think the reason these teaching strategies work well is that they capitalize on what children (and so all of us) naturally do: listen to stories and play games.

So...how has Early Experience left me richer? (Rich people make better teachers, because they have more to offer.) I'm taking at least three jewels with me: a view first for positives rather than for negatives... a determined commitment to enjoying what I will do...and (I hope) a teaching style that seeks to lead children as they most naturally would walk (story-telling, logic, and games). Maybe this'll even help me relate to you grown-ups better, too. ☺

*Dr. Marcia Tate is a teacher and noted speaker, and I got to attend one of her Teacher Workshops my first week as a Student Teacher!! Her best-known book is Workbooks Don't Grow Dendrites, and her catch-phrase is "the brain-compatible classroom" or "brain-compatible teaching." She's great!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Sustained by More Than Licorice

...if you thought that looked like the makings of an interesting title...

so did I.

I had a whole, nice, long, thought-out, re-vised post...which completely disappeared when I left my computer. Gone forever. I will try to re-create it...but I can't tonight.

I haven't forgotten, though, even if it's taken me a little longer than I'd hoped! Aren't you glad God ALWAYS keeps HIS promises, all the way!??

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Real Post

It's been long in coming... but understandably so. ;D For starters, I haven't had a chance to unpack yet, or even read much of anything or journal!, much less blog, since I left the quietness of my Kentucky summer, and hit the ground running full speed-- literally straight down the mountains and into a student teacher meeting. Back in the saddle. Back on campus.

Then, too, my thoughts, emotions, and experiences were so quick and layered one upon the other that it's taken this long to sift through them somewhat-- I've needed the two weeks of hindsight, just to be able to see the vague shape of the forest for all the trees! God is always at work...and sometimes to do His work justice I've learned that I have to wait (and pray!) a little, watching, before I can see enough to begin to think about it, and then I have to wait, with more prayer, before I've thought enough to begin to put it into words. I'm a muller-- gotta run 'em through the old mill a few times before things start to coalesce. Ryan's been witness to this, lol-- thoughts surface again and again, becoming veritable themes...but it takes a while for them to come out in coherent thoughts anyway.

Tomorrow, though, is Saturday. And I relish the thought of being able to sleep in, READ, pray, write a little, and sit down with my Tosha in my lap (that's my Apple computer's name) and post about the past 3 weeks-- the transition from Kentuckiana Summer to Greenville School Year...and I hope to post on the Lord's Day an even more "looking back" sort of reflection on the summer as a whole. God taught me so much-- it's a joy to sift through it all and see His fingerprints all the better-- they're just all over the sunshine, the Ohio River, and the songs...

But for now, I must sleep. I think my head will explode if I keep my eyes open one more second. Good night-- but Lord willing, I will return!!
PS- there's also another List Posting to follow...about the 10 Best Love Songs Ever Written (prompted [mostly, hehehe] by all the love songs I've heard in the past 2 weeks of being in a music classroom! ...nothing to do whatsover with personal experience, no no... ;D)

Friday, August 25, 2006

Lessons Learned... --Ongoing & Edited!!

In case you hadn't noticed, I am a classic "List Person." Especially when things start being pretty unstructured (which, life usually is...especially MY life, it would seem), my journals take the form of lists, more or less. Not the boring kind, for the most part-- just a way I organize my thoughts, try to find themes, or just get the clutter of things I'm trying to remember OUT onto paper, so I can free up some diskspace up there. Hehehe, I crack myself up with all my lists.

Anyway, this is one that makes a lot of sense, and that I'm sure many of my readers can identify with and add to.

Things I've Learned as a First-Year Teacher...
- all solemn men in paintings are presidents. Most likely George Washington.
- glue guns and Post-it Notes are your friends
- the floors in primary classrooms are tile for a reason: summed up in one word, "moppable"
- the inventor of the laminating machine is worthy of a Nobel Prize
- they're always watching. Always.
- they always copy you. Especially when you hope they WEREN'T watching
- love the secretary and janitor. They are very important Friends to have.
- your first name is "Miss"
- Squidward plays the clarinet
- explosions and natural disasters are the best motivators for boys starting in 4th grade. maybe before...
This is from my friend & classmate Mary Margaret Hart, who worked as a preschool teacher at the Smithsonian over the summer. She said that in the "teacher bathroom" (aka the one with a big potty) there was a little tackboard with funny quotes and such, and this list appeared last week.
Requirements for Teachers (1915)
Teachers May Not:
Be in the company of men
Get married durring contract
Be out between the hours of 8pm and 7am
Go on more than one date per week (unless you attend church, in which case you can go on 2)
Partake in questionable behavior
Loiter in downtown icecream shops
Teachers Must:
Sweep the floors every day
Wash the floors once a week
Wear hair up in a tight bun
Wear at least 2 petticoats

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

For Real Now, Y'all

I just saw a picture of my friend Tara's which reminded me of a vow I made. Ok, not a vow per se... more of an item on my "to do before I die" list. I want to hike the entire AT-- Appalachian Trail. Yep. From top to bottom, north to south, start to finish. Inspired by my friend the crazy mountain-man, Jack (Patrick), I've been dreaming of it since December...and over Spring Break several of us worked out how it could be done in a summer (which is all I'll ever have off as a teacher or student). However, in Louisville, both in the mountains and away from them, I forgot... driving back through them, seeing the apple and peach stands all the way down the mountain (25 towards Furman) last week... smelling the wood-burning that hails the approach of Fall... remembering the Blue Ridge Autumn in all her resplendant glory... yeah. I'm gonna do the Trail one day.

(also on my List is learning to pour concrete, fly a plane, wire a house, horseback ride across Iceland, learn Greek & Hebrew, write a children's story, and visit all the countries that start with I, among other things. I already did check off "learning to drive a manual transmission," as Kaje, D-Sapp, and Nicole can attest. Tollbooths+ MackTrucks +rolling backwards+badly-tossed-change + Mom on the phone+ Minnesota...ahh the memories...)

Doesn't anyone else have such lists?? What are some items on y'alls? There is so MUCH we can do in our lives! Retirement with shell collections and golfing just seems so... tame! We are God's Image- Bearers!! There is dominion to be won! There is a Kingdom to advance, a whole world to explore! May all be done to God for glory!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Good Ol' Sandra...

Springtime Indiana
You are starting to wake
And I am laden with the thoughts
Of everything I mean to say
I wish I could tell you,
But I just can't find the words...

Thursday, August 17, 2006

I got tagged!

Mrs. Emily O'Neal, of Louisville, KY, informed me that she herself had "tagged" me across the recess field or nether-reaches of blogworld. Which would mean, apparantly, that I have to answer questions, post them on my blog, and in turn "tag" others. I think I've been tagged before, when the tendrils of my mind unfurled in the soil of xanga-land...but I didn't react. So Em, you should feel special. =D

1. One book that changed your life: Seeing & Savoring Jesus Christ, by John Piper

2. One book that you’ve read more than once: The Horse & His Boy, by C. S. Lewis

3. One book I’d want on a desert island: my Bible...with colored pencils with which to mark it all up!

4. One book that made me laugh: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (...and The Half-Blood Prince), both by J. K. Rowling-- Anna & I were literally rolling on the floor at passages in both of those books...still do every time I read them!

5. One book that made me cry: La Jeunesse d'Une Petite Reine (that was the first book to do that-- I was in fifth grade in France, reading about Mary, Queen of Scots, who grew up in the Royal Court of France, with Catherine de Medici as a mother-in-law. I'll never forget her story! It made me love history forever.)

6. One book that you wish you had written: A Swiftly Tilting Planet, by Madeleine L'Engle

7. One book you wish had never been written: A Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez-- uggh. biggest waste of summer reading ever.

8. One book that you are currently reading: just one? ok, fine, I'll go with the one actually in my backpack-- Your God is Too Safe, by Mark Buchanon

9. One book that you’ve been meaning to read: The Silmarillion (Tolkien)....The Fairie Queen (Spenser)...Eragon (Paolini)...Miracles (Lewis)

And TAG... Ryan, Ashlea, and hmmm....Amy Y'all are "IT"! =D

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

One of my favorites... on another favorite!

Hey friends--
I promise I'll really update soon. This is from Andrew Peterson's journal (he's one of my favorite artists), on poetry! (one of my favorite arts!). I thought it was a good word-- the whole three-read-through rule. Y'all can check out his actual poem at his website. =D
I'm off to Brushy Creek Elementary for "Marsha Tate Workshop," whatever that means, after a morning of computer-nerdiness (yay for being the computer-girl) and washing whiteboards and dusting keyboards.
--THE Sue Cleveland Elementary Teaching Intern

A Poem on a Plane
Aug 7, 2006

Well, folks, this one may be a little strange to you.

I've never posted any poetry before (except for all the limericks on the MySpace blog). Poetry intimidates me, and whenever I read it I spend most of the time feeling dumb.

Someone (can't remember who) bought me an antique book called The Works of Tennyson, and I loved it, mainly because it rhymed. Call me simple, but being a songwriter, that's the poetry I like the most--stuff that rolls off the tongue in a way that just feels right. (Tolkien was a genius at that.) I'm also partial to Shel Silverstein's children's books. I practically memorized Where the Sidewalk Ends when I was a kid.

On a flight coming back from Denmark last year I finished Leif Enger's Peace Like a River and (after I wiped my eyes and blew my nose) I still had four hours of flying left to go. So I borrowed Ben's copy of Wendell Berry's collected poems. I downright revere the guy's writing, so I was excited to see how the poetry hit me. And? It fell flat. Until I read it again. And again. I sat there and made myself read each poem two or three times through, out-loud. (I was on a plane, so I could whisper them to myself and nobody noticed.) I even got out my Moleskine journal and scribbled a few of them down.

Approaching the poems that way completely changed the experience. With the ever-growing list of novels that I have piling up, I doubt I'll ever be a poetry aficionado, but I'm going to start squeezing it in more often. I bought Berry's Sabbath Poems last week, and the ol' triple re-read worked again.

So. I say all that to say that this poem is, by any poetry major's standards, LAME. I was on a plane to Florida (I think), alone, and wanted to use my time wisely. This is what came out, for better or worse. It was just sitting on my hard drive and I don't have time to write a full-on essay tonight (it's 2 am), so I thought I'd share it.

Hoo boy.

Here we go.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Copeland Home, Nolensville TN

Hello my faithful readers! =D

The past few weeks have been so busy; if you hadn't noticed that I haven't posted, lol. Anyway, I just wanted to write real fast and say that I have left Louisville behind... for now. Saturday my family came up-- all 4 crazy Thompsons (ok- 3 crazies, and one Mom; the token laughter of the Thompson comedy routine, as she's been called). We hung around Louisville Saturday evening...let them meet my roomie Ashlea, and Ryan. Then yesterday was a whirlwind of breakfast, Sunday School (as Ryan & Dad disassembled and packed my futon and bike-- a marvel of engineer's packing, getting that in the van!), then corporate worship at Immanuel Baptist, packing my apartment, lunch at the Shuey's (felt just like good ol' times!!), trampoline with ALL of the Thompsons, the Shuey kids, and the Ryan (Morgan & I finally knocked the aforesaid Boy over- yes! triumph!), saying goodbye to Lauren in her NEW apartment, small group in Indiana @ the Marshalls', and then saying goodbye to Ryan at the church...and driving the 3 hours to Nashville. Whew! All that...is it surprising that it all felt surreal? I got to talk to my heart-brother, Ian on the phone as I drove-- VOIP & cellphones are the most AMAZING things ever-- a free call from the road to Argentina. And I got to be the FIRST Americana to "meet" Claudio! I feel special.

Saying goodbye to Ryan wasn't nearly so bad as it could have been...more of a "see you later" than a goodbye, since I'll see him in 2 weeks (yay!). I've gotten so used to goodbyes in my "third-culture-kid" life; they lose some of their sadness, knowing that it's always just a "see you later!" for Christians. But it's also gained some sadness, because the miss-you ache that will come is well-known to me. But then again it's tempered by the knowledge that Love is everywhere where Christ's Name is known-- and His Glory WILL fill the earth as the water fills the sea.

I'm a little more sad now than I was yesterday, feeling the miles, waking up next to my little sister instead of the window overlooking St. James court that's become familiar...and no Ashlea :(. But I'm loving my cousins, my grandpa, my aunt & uncle... looking forward to the drive back with Nicole & CS Lewis, complete with my traveling indulgence of a Green Tea Frap.

More will come later. Many thoughts. But here's "so long" from Nolensville (Nashville suburbia); as Jack Lewis says-- "a Christian NEVER says good-bye!"


Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Happy Birthday, dear Nicole...

I'd like to take this li'l opportunity to give a shout out to my little sister, Lauren Nicole Thompson, who turns 18 today!!!

God is strong in you, and I get so much joy from watching Him work in your life. I'm your biggest fan and always will be-- there isn't anyone with a bigger heart than yours, especially for the lonely. Set your love on Jesus-- there's nothing more exciting than "remembering your Creator in the days when you are young." He is the Great Lover of your soul!! And He really does want your happiness...even when He hurts us, it's to make us laugh later. Keep dancing!

I love you!!

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Another One Checked Off! =D

So I wanted to go to a Bats Game while I was here, and tonight Ashlea, Ryan & I did! It wasn't much action...and we lost :(, but it's all about the experience, right?

Baseball games: smells of hot dogs, cotton candy, nachos, and funnel cakes, the huge blue icees that turn your tongue violent shades of azure, the smuggled-in apples, the itchy grass seats, the one brave cheeseball who proposes to his girlfriend over the wide-screen TV, the songs that play for a scant few seconds-just long enough to get you dancing, the clouds as the sun falls...

The more personal aspects, too: the roommate who looks great with blue teeth, the adorable little boys behind you who dance whenever we score, the boyfriend who unexpectedly flicks peanut butter all over your face and doesn't seem at ALL deterred by threats to never speak to him again, the guy at the concession stand who nearly falls over when the answer to "how old are you, sweetie?" is "20..." (he thought I was 14! FOURTEEN!!...maybe it was the ribbon in my hair...)

And then admiring the brave skaters [and often rediculously imprudent and stupid] at the skate-park on the way back to the car.

Yes, I'd say it was an enjoyable end to a very encouraging, full day. (the clouds looked very cool as we left)

Two non-baseball pics for my sisters. And all you other grinners. =D

(The short brown Asian-looking man is John Miller's long-lost-twin...John Letoto. Also known as Toto.)

(ps there are lots more where those came from!)