Sunday, December 12, 2010

What I'm doing here

What am I doing here?
Too often, I'm struck by this question and it throws my life off balance. I want to know what I'm supposed to do to make my life worth living. Count 'em: three references to me being in control of my life. Not only that, but deciding the worthiness of my life by my own actions and fulfillment and satisfaction. So many problems going on in that last thought!
I have a confession: I didn't go to church today. Shock. It is the strangest feeling to not be with a body of believers. What I did do was pull up the internet (a very hard task some days!), log onto The Village Church website and listen to a Matt Chandler sermon called "What Are We Doing Here?"
I love Matt Chandler. His sermons, no matter when they were originally given, always speak to a place in my life that I am struggling with. I love (and hate) that they usually hit me right between the eyes, that they help me see my sin where I didn't recognize the sin. He would probably be upset with the semi-rock star status I give to him, so let me clarify a little more. He is so quick to say how fallen he is, so I'm not under the illusion that he is perfect. I get that. What I so treasure about his ministry is how open and honest he is. He doesn't sugar coat things and calls out the problems the Christians of the Plastic Church without apology. I am a member there some days and it is refreshing and liberating to know that being a "messy Christian" is not something to be ashamed of. We are all hopelessly flawed. In Christ, we have perfection, yes. But we still live in a sinful world and we can't and won't get it right this side of eternity.
One of the things that spoke to my heart and the way I live my life this morning was this: that the glory of God is weightier than anything I find important. He is ultimate reality. If I don't understand God as the ultimate reality, I understand him only as a concept. A concept is not hard & fast--I can change and adjust it to my understanding. And this is what Matt says about that: "When you know God as a concept, you are heavier than Him. You say 'I have more glory than God. I'm smarter than God as He's revealed Himself to be for over four thousand years.' [But] when He becomes our ultimate reality, that changes everything. "
It's the glory and grace of God that allows me to be called His child. He has extended the gift of eternal life to me for His glory. So all my questions about my purpose and future? They mean nothing because it's not about me. It's about the weight of His glory.
Why am I here? For the glory of God. What am I supposed to do with my life? Anything--everything-- for the glory of God. Will I go back to school? If I do, it's for the glory of God. What if I never get married? If I don't, it's for the glory of God.
My identity as a student, daughter, sister, friend--this doesn't define me. It won't last. But understanding God as ultimate reality? Knowing that He doesn't change, won't change to accommodate the whims of my sinful life? That because of His unchanging nature I can cling to the fact that "Even in this, God is good"? That is going to change the way I live my life, for the glory of God.

"And it’s only the weight of God, the reality of God that sustains that, not the concept of God." ~Matt Chandler

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

C-r-i-s-p. Crisp. What does crisp mean?

The weather is rainy and cold. Is it really fall? Where are my crispy* leaves? I'm having a hard time believing we haven't skipped that and gone straight to the dreaded "W" word. Shiver.
Things continue in nearly the same way the have over the past few months. I'm still getting used to the library. I feel more at home in it every day. There are moments when I think, "I remember how scary this place look when I was here for my interview." Nothing is nearly as scary as I thought it would be back then. There are times when I think that I've "arrived" - which is to say, that I've been here long enough to know slightly more than the student workers, but not as much as an actual staff member. Don't worry. Any pride associated with the thought of "arriving" is usually knocked down shortly after.
All of this rain is good for something, though. The water-table was greatly depleted in my hometown leading to the request from my mother that I NOT bring laundry home with me on the weekends. Let me just say that I am super glad that water problem is over! The copious amounts of rain seen in my local town revealed a leak in my apartment. Joyous. But, better now than later when it's a leak made worse by snow. It was supposed to get fixed today, but my guess is that it hasn't because it rained last night/ this morning. The workers might complain that there is, again, too much wet to do any work. Maybe I will be surprised when I get home today. Add that to the joys of being in charge of one's own living space.
Living alone, however, isn't horrible. Many people ask me if I have a roommate and are shocked when I reply, "Nope. It's just me." I'm usually glad it's only me. I'm not the "domestic goddess" that loves to entertain or keep a spotless house. However, the more I get used to my place and the more I start to realize that I am finally (becoming) the grown-up I always "wanted" to be, the more I try to keep my house in better order and cook well for myself. I bought herbs the other day. My pasta dish would have been just fine with out some basil. But the fact that I had some, made me enjoy it more.
I'm sure I still don't do everything right. I'm sure I still waste time, put off cleaning, cooking and generally tidying up because "I can." But I think I'm doing a better job. And for today, that is enough.
* I was reading a book about fall with one my favourite six-year-old girls this past Monday night. She got to this word and stumbled a bit, with the attempt sounding more like "crips" than "crisp." We finally got it right...which prompted the question, "What does "crisp" mean?" I looked out the window to the dark, rainy night. Nothing out there said "crisp" to me. I think I told her something like, "You know when the wind is blowing, and it's only a little bit cold? And there are leaves on the ground that crunch when you walk on them? That is crisp."

Monday, September 6, 2010

Weekend news and Zumba

Another delightful weekend home. I was seriously busy all weekend...and that is the reason there was no update. I helped my big sister move into her new, big girl, soon-to-be-married apartment on Saturday. Things went well, at least, I thought things went well. Everyone is still alive, no feelings were hurt and the wedding is still on.
Sunday was church with my beloved FBC. A very timely sermon reminded me that this earth is not the end. The people I've lost over the past few months aren't lost forever. I get to see them again. I forget that. I forget that the joy of reunion will far out weigh the loss of death. I forget that...I find I forget a lot of things. Things I should remember. Things that should be second nature to me, like breathing. Maybe it's not that I forget, because that isn't always the case. I remember that Christ is over all. I remember that the hurt from this world doesn't last. But in the heat of it, my pain is so excruciating. Was there ever a time when I wasn't hurting? I can't remember one. A friend told me (more like reminded me) that grieving is a process. Even though I feel like I'm on my way out of it "you may still have some rough days; that's how grief is. And that's okay," my friend told me. I'm so glad it's okay to NOT be okay all the time.
Today over lunch, I went to a Zumba class. For those not in the know, not to worry. It's just an exercise class. (You may laugh for 2 more seconds, then snap out of it!) It's a Latin dance-inspired work out that is SUPPOSED to be fun. It is also challenging and sweaty. BUT. It really is fun. I won't admit it to my mom (Hello, mother!), but I think it really helped me with my day. I didn't have the traditional 2 o'clock nap time yawns at my desk today. I feel awake and actually ready to grocery shop after work tonight. I will also not admit to my mom that I had fun and that I'll probably go again. But maybe there is an extra beginner class I can attend...? That would be great.
Well, my reference desk shift is almost over. It just so happens, that my day is almost over too. What fun!
(PS: Anybody out there try a Zumba class? Do you like it? What else do you try to stay fit?)

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

First week in User Services/ Reference & FYE

This week, though only Tuesday, has been full of craziness! So much so that I probably won't get a decent blog post in. I promise I meant to do a full on Monday night (my first day in new departments AND a day that I stayed an extra hour helping students do research because they came to the desk close to the end of my shift...) but by the time I got home, I was so tired I crashed! Today/ tonight we had a session for first years to help familiarize them with the library and how things work. I left the library around 8.30p. So yeah, it's been busy.
I'm not sure when I can even promise a proper update! I have FYE Wednesday and Thursday night of this week, then going home for the weekend to help big sister move. Crazy week followed by crazy weekend! Hopefully by Sunday I can get some rest and do a full update for you.
I will say this: I'm really excited to be in Gettysburg, to be at Musselman Library and to be learning under such a great group of librarians. Far and above anything I ever imagined. Some of it is out of my comfort zone, yes. I would normally protest that. Like talking to a bunch of students. Ew. (Haha. Not really "Ew." just too many undergrad presentation flashbacks!) But why not? Why not try something new? I think it will turn out that I'm not too terrible at presentations/ group talks and that I just nee more practice.
You learn something new about yourself every single day.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

c is for cleaning all saturday long...

Classes at Gettysburg start this coming Monday and part of me is glad I don't have to go! (To class that is. I still have to go to work...) Yes, some of me misses class & learning things, but the other part of me is glad to have my after-work times an evenings free to do whatever I want. For the last few weeks, "whatever I want" was watching Seasons 1-3 of Gilmore Girls. I know, big plans. Last week while indulging in one of these nights (Season 3, the one with the Dean&Jess fight over Rory), the guys below me decided to have a pretty loud band practice. Well, not just that night. It's been happening a few times a week ever since I moved in. I usually don't mind too much, but sometimes they really are quite a bother. I mean drums, electric guitar, bass, amps and mics--it gets really REALLY loud. Like so loud it vibrates the floor. Concert loud. Well anyway, last week while watch GG and listening to band practice, I thought I heard a knock. Of course, it's so loud, what with my show on and band practice, I dismissed it. However, the knocker was persistent and tried again. I wasn't expecting anyone nor could I imagine who it could be. I looked out the window as a cop walked out of the foyer to my building! Oops! I guess I should have actually gone to see who it was! Anyway, they went around the corner to the guys apartment and knocked on their door until they answered. All I can say is, after that, it was a quite night in Gettysburg! They've kept it down mostly since then. Though when I started this post, I was being serenaded, rather loudly, by band practice. Though now it is quiet. Maybe they only needed to practice one song? Here's to hoping!
On the weekends I get to travel home, all of my cleaning gets postponed. Pushed back. Ok, pretty much ignored. So today was super cleaning day. I think I finally got caught up. I hope. I will now live in one room for the rest of the week so as not to dirty the cleanness! (No, Mom. I'm just kidding. That would be plain silly...)
When I'm not watching movies or cleaning (ha!), I'm reading. A lot. This past week I think I read 4 books start to finish, and I just finished a book I started a few weeks ago. It's really nice to be able to read whatever I want, whenever I want with no deadline or class pressure. Having the staff privilege of getting books check out for a semester at a time (the books I got today? Not due until February 24, 2011. 2011! Oh yeah!) is quite nice too.
Tomorrow I'll head to Hanover Valley for church. Not quite the same as my beloved FBC, but a nice community just the same.
Hmm, band practice is still going on, 20 minutes later. I really hope someone calls the cops on them again. Maybe I will this time...
...don't worry. Just kidding.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Three months and counting...

Greetings, dear readers. I call you dear because I am hoping I still have your love and devotion even after not posting for almost a month. Pretty pretty please?
The last few weeks have been filled with scanning for special collections. Mindless scanning. So much scanning that I think the computer screen is giving me a headache. This week, however, all of that changed. I was on reference desk training for four days this week. Basically, I learned that I knew nothing about reference materials, in print or online. I'm not even sure how I made it through undergraduate! The things I knew (or thought I knew) barely scratch the surface of the materials available out there--if the price is right, of course. The availability of all these different research materials makes me want to completely re-research my senior thesis. I'm actually seriously considering this. (Those of you who remember the hell that was my senior thesis research & writing saga, please talk me out of it!!!)
Monday is my first day in Reference and User Services. Reference includes a shift at the desk just about every day of the week, plus FYE (First Year Experience) events next week and the odd project here and there. My very first is to make a poster for our Browsing Room, which I will probably print Monday. User Services includes ILL (Inter-library loan) and Circulation. I think. I was actually just made aware that I would be in User Services an hour before I left work today. The shift is coming at a really good time for me. Even though I am Anti-Change Girl (don't be fooled, the super hero costume is so worth it), I've kind of been itching for a change of pace.
I've been in Gettysburg for about 3 months now. In London, I was on my own (with a roommate) for only 2 months. That I can handle. There is something about slightly past that 2 month mark that makes me sit back and say, "
Hmm...I don't think I can treat this like a vacation any more. This is life and I should probably do something with it." I must say, easier said than done.
The time here hasn't been without excitement, however. Two weeks ago, I had a bat in my apartment. How's that for excitement? I think it's enough for a really long time. Anyway,
I was just minding my own business, washing the dishes, when I see this shadow out of the corner of my eye. I let it go, because you know sometimes those freaky stink bugs fly around a light a cast shadows when you aren't really expecting them to be around. But then it happened again. The third time I saw the shadow, I looked back. And screamed like a tiny little girl. The shadow that wasn't a stink bug was a bat! Every time it came into the kitchen, I screamed. (Yeah, I know it didn't help anything. But in the moment, it felt really good.) Every time it left, I stopped. I wanted to call someone--anyone & everyone! How does one get rid of a bat? What do you do?? My cell phone was on the table, but I would have had to walk right into the flight path to get to it. So I sank onto the floor and waited for a break. I finally got my phone & called my house. My dear sister didn't have too much advice, except to open all the windows so it could fly out. Wonderful idea--except my windows don't stay open unless something is propping it up. And I currently have screens in all of that would have taken ages. The next call was to my father, who was the sweetest, kindest man ever at that moment. I think he laughed a little at the situation, but since I was so freaked out, he toned it down a bit. He suggested closing all the doors in the apartment to get it trapped somewhere. After closing all the doors in my house, especially the one to the bedroom, I had to look for the dumb thing. I finally found him in the bathroom. I was totally ready to just give him the bathroom (with the shower, clothes, face wash, contact stuff, hair stuff, etc.) and go get new stuff at the store. My dad, being the gem he is (really), was even in favor of this for me. My mom, on the other hand, was all "Go in there and kill it. You don't have the money to buy all that stuff." Very practical, my mother. Not particularly sympathetic when I needed her to be, but there you go. It took me 3 hours, from first sighting to dead bat in a bag, but I finally got up the courage to go in the bathroom and try to kill it. I had a plan, carefully talked out and organized by my mother, father & myself, but thankfully I didn't need it. I walked, er, skulked into the bathroom with a broom as my weapon. I knocked it off the window sash and it just fell. It didn't fly or try to escape. My super heated bathroom must have given it heat stroke! I was able to sleep in my bed after a shower that night...though I was really skittish and slept with a blanket all around me, just in case, even though it was like 90 degrees out. Now, I still am wary going into a room in my apartment. I turn the light on and wait a few moments before going into it, just in case. Now, weeks later, the wary bit has worn off some. Typing all of this out makes me remember and bring back some of the weird fear, but I'm hoping that will all go away soon.
I hope that has caught you up sufficiently, dear readers. I promise to update more often.
Next time, I'll tell you about the night the cops shut down band practice in the apartment next to mine.
Life in Gettysburg is, at least, never completely boring!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Death Comes in Threes...I hope

Five months ago, I sat with my youth group as we mourned the loss of one of our own. Loosing a peer hits hard. Two weeks ago, I sat in my apartment crying over the loss of a member of my church family. He was a daddy, a husband, a friend. I called my dad that day, just so I could hear his voice. That night, I thought, "Dear God, I hope death doesn't come in threes, because I just can't bear the loss of another friend." Yesterday, I got the news I didn't want to hear: death number three. He wasn't even a year old, sick from birth. I'm not a mom, don't have children--but this loss hit me just as hard.
Today, as with most days at work, I've been listening to some Matt Chandler sermons from a few years ago. He's in Ecclesiastes, which is really great for feeling good about enjoying life, right? Wrong. Even through that difficult book, Matt speaks truth about what God thinks of me and God's purpose for me in suffering. It doesn't make the pain go away. I go from laughing to crying to sobbing in seconds these past few days. But the reminder that God is in every part of my life is like a hug from a friend.
I'm trying to figure out what I'm supposed to be learning from all of this pain, and I can't help but wonder, "What can I learn from losing a father and a baby that I can't by losing a teenage boy?"
Death is no respecter of person, age, or situation in life. I know that. But I wish it would pick on another person. I'm afraid that the next loss won't hurt as badly, that I won't care as much. I scared that I might lose whatever feeling I have left.

Faith is believing that God is here, and that Everything comes from His hands, even sorrow.
We want to believe that God gives us all the candy and that the devil's there to take it. But that's not the devil I read in Scripture. He's no bishop that can float about the board as he pleases; he's a pawn that always needs permission. So, has God caused your sorrow? No. Has He allowed it? Yeah, the full brunt of it and has not abandoned you to endure it alone. Nor is this about His wrath towards you but His mercy, that your suffering just might be the mercy of God for you.“Why? How could He allow...? What kind of God would allow...?” A God who loves you so much that He refuses to let you become Verruca Salt. (That's the “I want the golden goose” girl from “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.”) Maybe because He does not desire that you be this anemic, weak, spoiled, self-righteous believer in self.
Maybe because the only way to convert and remold is to hammer and hurt.

~Matt Chandler~

If death does come in fives however, as I've
also heard , I've got that one covered too. Five deaths in 10 months time. I am REALLY ready for some good times...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The thing about loss

Matthew 24:42 -Therefore be on alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming.

Death is a part of life. It is as sure as birth, but that doesn't make it hurt less when it happens to those you love. In the faith community and for followers of Christ, the loss of a loved one or family member is soften because of our assurance of their destination. I do find it hard to be 100% sad when I know that they are with Christ, free of pain and the earthy struggles "that flesh is heir to." But for this anti-change, semi-plan oriented girl, the thing that gets me most is the loss. The empty space at the table. How do you live your life from here on out, minus one? The landscape of life shifts. And I find that to be most painful. The initial grieving period hurts. But after that--is there really an "after"?-- how can every day not hurt when it reminds you of the empty space in your home?
I know we are meant to live our lives with our eyes on Christ and His heaven. And I do, sometimes. But it is so hard to comprehend our living space as a tiny dot on the eternal time line of Christ. Loss just reminds me how small that dot really is.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Oh me of little faith

Another Sunday here in Gettysburg...and I'm missing my FBC family again. But I took what I knew, that God has me here for a reason, and drove myself to a church in Hanover (about 20min drive) that a friend recommended. I did not get lost this time, as I did two weeks ago, and sneaked in the back row a few moments before service began. I opened my bulletin to find a quote from C. S. Lewis's "The Last Battle":

But for them it was only the beginning of the story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no on on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.

Every time I see a Lewis quote somewhere, I feel a little bit at home. Today was no exception. As I began to meditate on the path that God has for me, I looked up and saw, what looked like, the back of my one supervisor's head three rows in front of me. I thought it was just coincidence, but prayed through the service that it wasn't. As the service came to a close, I finally got a better look. I was right! It was my supervisor and her husband! After church I went over to her, surprise written all over her face. "Do you go here too?" I asked. "Yes, this is my church!" she replied. Relief washed over me and I hugged her. Someone I knew -- a believer! And someone who is also my co-worked! God is good. We spent a while chatting and just talking like friends, like good friends, instead of someone I hardly knew. Pastor Tim says there is a piece of historical documentation that non-believers would poke fun at Christians, saying that they act like brothers towards people they don't even know but who shared their faith. I say amen to that. I am so thankful and grateful for the faith community that I belong to that exists across the ocean and across town.
Driving home I was listening to a song that talked about God's forever presence in my life and how even though I walk through the shadows, He will guard, guide and defend me. I loved being reminded of that. I was also struck by my lack of faith over the past month. Did I really think God would dump me in Gettysburg and leave me all alone? Maybe not, but I think I was expecting him to work the same way in my life now like he did in London. Yet I should have known, as Aslan says, things never happen the same way twice. If they did, would we have any kind of faith at all?

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

As promised...

As promised, this post contains the video of our book cart drill team routine!

Well, it was meant to contain the video, but I'm afraid all I can give you is a link to the video of the competition.

This is the video taken by a "Gett Down with your Funky Shelf" fan (a.k.a. the husband of one of the women on the team.

This video was taken by Demco (I think), the sponsor of the event.

As you saw in the last post, I am wearing a pink shirt and grey leggings. In the first video, unfortunately, you can see a lot of close up of me. My costume is now cleaned and put away in a dark corner of my closet, never to see the light of day again. Never, that is, until Halloween when we perform in the Halloween parade. Oh help.


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

6th Annual Book Cart Drill Team World Championship Winners!

Okay okay! I'm long over-due for a post. I know. But see, I put a picture up! That should make you all very happy. This is Liz and I after winning the beautiful bronze book cart award at the 6th Annual Book Cart Drill Team World Championship. (I kid you not. That is the name of the competition.) Everybody see the ginormous bow in my hair? And the plastic bangles? And what about the super cool yellow fishnet, fingerless gloves? Yeah I know. I'm pretty awesome. Don't worry. We can still be friends.

Sunday was a super amazing day--but oh so long! I crashed (almost) as soon as I got home that night. Then I remembered I had to go to work the next day. Ugh. I crashed after I got home from work Monday too. I took a nap. On the floor. Anyway...Liz had asked me to go to the gym with her, but she canceled because she too was exhausted. (As a note, she invited me again tonight, but I was just waking up from another nap--not on the floor this time--when she asked to meet. I love me some naps...) I did, however, do some yoga before heading to bed.
I'm so out of practice! I will do a little more tonight, even though I'll probably only last about 10 minutes! Some of those poses are just so demanding!
I've been in Gettysburg for almost a full month now. Can you believe it? It feels like moving day were yesterday...though I'm really glad it wasn't! I'm still getting used to the apartment.
Not sure which dirt is mine or which was left, which noises are old noises and which are new, was that stain always there? I still feel a little behind the learning curve when it comes to tasks in the library and co-workers names. I know it will come in time and things are going really well already. I just hate being the new guy.
This post feels a little disjointed to me and on a normal day I would scrap the whole thing and try again tomorrow. I'm keeping it for a few reasons. One: It's been a bit since my last post. The natives often get restless and yell when there hasn't been a new post. Two: I may not look like it or act like it, but I'm too much of a perfectionist. I think introducing a few of my mistakes, a few less than thought out posts, will humble me a little bit. And if the pictures don't do it for me, this will.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Button maker, Extraordinaire

Over the past few days, I have become an expert at button making. That's right--button making. When you all ask me how work is going, I don't know what to say. I have been working on my finding aid for a special collection I'm working on, but with my supervisor being sick these last few days, progress has slowed to an almost imperceptible crawl. Also known as a stop. Today, however, I got to perfect my button making skills. And, if I do say so myself, I'm pretty good! It took me awhile to catch on at the beginning. Miranda showed me how to do it last Friday, going slow for the first two steps, then (accidentally?) speeding up for the rest of the process. As she showed me the finished product I said, "I hope there are printed instructions for this thing too!" There were, and she showed me how to do it again. I produced maybe three good buttons that day, one of which I think ended up in the Director's office. This makes me smile when I think of it, because I was (and to a certain extent, still am) frightened of her. There was nothing about her to make me scared; it was the overwhelming fear of not measuring up to the Big Boss. However, as I took my peace offering of 80s themed buttons, I discovered we were both Anglophiles. This clinched it for me. Before I knew it, we were talking about the joys of England (my love) and Australia(her love) in a conversation that surpassed the depth of a first conversation, which is what it was.

Yesterday, Kate and I made buttons. Mostly, it was because we were bored :) What with Karen, my supervisor, not being in and NOT having Book Cart Drill Team practice (who knew I would miss it?) we were ready for a change of scenery. Once you get the hang of it, you really can make a button in a minute, which is the company's tag line, though they spell it "minit." That bothered Kate. But not me. (Okay, so maybe it bothers me a little...) Frankly, I didn't care what it was called or how they spelled it. the whole processes was soothing. Insert disc. Put image face up on top of disc. Place plastic Mylar cover over image. Lock into place with gold ring. Flip. Grey disc. Green plug. Press down hard, but even. Pop. Remove both grey & green parts. Flip. Press down with red plug. Flip. Put the back in. Put green plug in. Put in button press and smoosh it down. Remove perfect button. I think it was having something "perfect" to show for all the work. Every now and again, when you pressed on the green, no matter how careful you were something went off center and the plastic cover didn't turn out so pretty. Sometimes, everything goes right, but when the button comes out of the press, there is a portion of the button where the plastic didn't get folded right. Some of these were salvageable. Many others weren't.

There is something about this process that I love. But now, as I write these words, I can't help but see a parable in the job of making a button. Sometimes, no matter what we do, things don't turn out right. Sometimes they do. Sometimes it looks like nothing good could come of a situation, but in the end there is a beautiful outcome that we couldn't have predicted. When the bad buttons came out of the press, I made sure I worked harder and more carefully on the next one. Sometimes this still didn't work. But after string of bad buttons, that good button makes you feel like you've accomplished something. Like all the time you put into the duds, you're patience and attentiveness to detail helped you form a better button. One bad situation will show us where we need to be more careful next time. And when the next time comes, hopefully we can make a better button.

In the course of one hour today, I made 150 buttons. While I was busy being the button making queen, one of the reference librarians comes out of her office and starts talking. Two seconds into this, I realize she is taking to me. I start to pay attention. "Cathy said she would be in to see me at 3.30 but she never showed. If she comes in, tell her I'm in the stacks." I told her I would. As soon as she left, I quickly got up and went to one of the women I've gotten to know fairly well. I bent down close and asked in a conspiratorial whisper, "Do I know Cathy?" Thankfully she didn't laugh (or did she? I don't remember. I think I would have. I'm smiling about it now, anyway) She told me who she was and that, yes, I had seen her earlier that day. I returned to my button making, slightly deflated. I can make buttons like nobody's business, but it looks like I need a little bit more practice with getting to know my co-workers!
Last practice for Book Cart Drill Team tomorrow, complete with costumes and an audience. Maybe I'll post the video when we get back from conference :)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Mail, dinner and a new Sunday school class

I'm going to try to get a quick blog post up whilst I have some internet access here at the apartment. Sometimes it doesn't last long! (You should just see the funny way I'm sitting at the table just so I don't have to move my laptop in case that should knock the signal out!)
Second week of work is shaping up pretty well. I just finished all my reading for special collections. Karen and I will go down to the extra storage shelves on the bottom floor of the library and pick out a "cool" job for me. I am a little apprehensive about this, but over all excited to get out of my second floor closet, I mean office :) Speaking of my office, I now possess a Gettysburg College email address, network log-on information and an account on CNAV (where the timesheets live!). The only thing left is pictures and a photo ID. Maybe by the end of the week...
I got my second piece of mail today--a DVD that I ordered last Monday. I'm super excited (it's the movie "Possession") and to celebrate I am making spaghetti and meat sauce. Well, I'm making the pasta and heating up the meat sauce. The cool thing about dinner is I didn't have to buy any of it! My dear friend packed a care package for me last weekend when I went home. I was blown away by her kindness and care for me. I guess I take people for granted when I see them every day. I'll add that to the list of things I need to work on.
Another thing I've been meaning to work on is my Bible reading and study habits. They have been horrible. I will admit freely, but with shame. I thought now that I was "away" I would magically find the discipline to do it and be glad to do it. Week one passed with no such plan in place. I started a new Sunday School this past week at my dear church, FBC. Monday, for some reason, I didn't get a chance to look at the first weeks "homework." I made the choice to do it last night and WOW! I am really loving this new plan! (It helps that I have a teacher who is excited about the lessons!) But really. Yesterday, I looked up a bunch of verses about Galilee and the important things that happened in Jesus' life there. I was blown away! I'm sure I knew it in listening to stories, but I actively was tracking important events--calling of the first disciples, Jesus' baptism, the prediction of his death AND resurrection, where Mary heard she would carry Messiah, where Jesus grew up , the place he would go after his resurrection. I think it was then that I realized studying my bible means more than just reading the passage for the day. I'm actually excited to see what "new" things I can learn. And now, because I know it's something I need to be doing and want to be doing, I'm asking myself "Okay, after shopping but before dinner can I make time?" and not just figuring I'll get to it "later."
Dinner is ready and I am hungry!
~Luke 12:41 Peter asked, "Lord, are you telling this parable to us, or to everyone?"
~Matthew 13:9 He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Weekend catch-up & Sunday joy

I meant to blog last Thursday. Honest I did. There hasn't been too much happening during the week. I'm at the library all day, but since we have mold in the Special Collections I am just hanging out on the second floor. I mean, I'm doing work. Of course I'm doing work! I'm finishing up an online workshop on archiving and then I'm reading a book called "Keeping Archives," which is about keeping archives. (Sorry...had to. Oh and it is also and Australian book, so I get to see lots of "organised" and "analysing" which makes me smile on the inside.)
Book cart drill team practice again today. Everything is coming together nicely. I promise as soon as convention is over, I will post the youtube video of our routine here.
Since it was Sonya's birthday this weekend, I made the drive home Friday night to spend the weekend with my family. It was a totally hectic weekend! But hectic in a good way. I got to spend time with my family, watch movies with my sisters, hang out with my friend (who packed me the BEST care package ever! Mini-oreos and extra cheddar goldfish!), shop with my mom (on a Sunday!) and hang out with my dad. Perhaps best of all, I got to see my church family (both related and non-related family). I know I've only been "gone" for a week, but I missed them. I miss Christian fellowship. I didn't realise how much until Sunday morning came. (And can I just say to those people who say "Oh, I don't need to go to church. I'll just read my bible, pray and worship by myself. Jesus can teach me that way.": HOGWASH! There is scripture to back me up, but I won't put it here. There is nothing like spending time with God's people. Watching people who have had a rough few days (or weeks or months) worshiping beside you, worshiping with all their might because they need to hear from God makes me so thankful I found a church like FBC. [ok. rant is over now...]). I got to spend time with some of the graduating high school seniors last night. What touched me most about this bunch of students was their burning desire for a continued closeness with God. I'm sure somewhere in their heads, they want to do well academically, make friends and achieve great things at their school. But more than that, the thing they verbalized, was their desire to find groups on campus, friends or clubs, that would help them stay focused on God and on His plan for their lives. I'm not ashamed--I cried when I heard it all. Many youth group kids come to me like I am the keeper of knowledge. Now, I want to point them to the graduating seniors. "Do you hear what they are asking for? To be always close and closer to God as they grow up," I will ask them. "Do what they do. Put that desire first. Everything else will fall into place if loving, honoring, and following God is the first desire of your heart."
It was so hard to me to leave after the little ceremony we had for the seniors last night. I suppose it's what comes from living at home during school. I see so many people I want to talk with, catch up with, laugh with--just be with. But I can't because I have to drive 2 hours back to Gettysburg. Maybe I'm whining just a little bit. Someone reminded me of this last night: You are where God wants you to be. I can't believe I had forgotten that. Heck, I WANTED this position! I prayed for it. I should be glad to be here. I AM where God wants me to be right now. I need to stop thinking, "boy things were so great back in Egypt..." I can *almost* understand those Israelites thoughts. Need to keep myself out of the wilderness!
In other (happier) news, I brought another box of books home this weekend. AND I got Vol. 3 of the Letters of C.S. Lewis. It is so super cool. I can't wait to start them! That box, however, is still in my car. That will be the first thing I do when I'm done with work today. And then I'll organize my bookshelf all over again... :)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

First day of work and book cart drill team practice

I survived my first day of internship! Yay! It was so crazy! First, I met with the woman who hired me. We went over an internship binder full of information about my first day, first week and other things like time sheets, voice mail and email access. Then I got the grand tour of the library where I met all the staff members. Now I love small town-y-ness. I picked Alvernia because it was a small school. I was used to small. Gettysburg Library is HUGE! Seriously. I will get lost at least once a day. I was up on the fourth floor (I think) where special collections is housed talking with Karen, the special collection librarian. When we were done talking I asked, "Can you tell me how to get back down to Kate? I'm not sure exactly where she is from here..." Slightly embarrassing, but truthful.
From 11 to 12pm I had book cart drill team practice. I was not sure what to expect for this thing, but I was NOT expecting the level of intensity that was my first day of practice! This is serious business. Go google it. They have videos posted from past conferences. It is total madness...I'm really dreading the 2 hour practice that is planned for tomorrow...yikes!
After practice, Meggan took Kate, Jessica and me out for lunch at The Pub in the square. It was super yummy food, really great fries. Oh, I also got a campus tour. Again, very so much bigger than Alvernia!
I have a meeting over my lunch tomorrow (don't I sound fancy?!) and book cart drill team practice. The really good news is that I get to work on my archives workshop while I'm at the library. I was also given about 6 chapters to read in a book about archiving. Hm, does that sound like fun reading to anyone?!?!
I have a few odds and ends to take care of tonight. Stomping on the floor will be one of them if the bass/drum combo (plus vocals!) doesn't stop practicing by 10pm! Oh, the joy of neighbors...

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Not so lazy Sunday

Forgive me, dear readers. I have intentionally not updated you on the move that happened this weekend. I couldn't. I promise I tried, though. I had the 'new post' tab opened all day yesterday and a little bit Friday night. But every time I went to start a post, I got scared. Like somehow if I did post about the move and my spacious apartment, it would make it far too real for me. As I was sitting on my love seat this morning, drinking my coffee, I thought that it would be okay to blog about everything now. I'm not sure what kind of difference a day or two makes, but I guess in my head it mattered.

Today is the second full day I've spent in my new apartment! Friday we moved up and CLEANED! Unfortunately, the place wasn't cleaned properly/at all. Dad, Mom, Meagan and I spent almost the entire day (11am-9pm) cleaning. Some of that was used for unloading boxes and furniture, but most of it was for cleaning. Mom, Sonya and my cousin, Christi came up on Saturday to do some more cleaning and organizing. We made a trip to Walmart to pick up some more stuff for the place. I will probably make another trip out once I get my first paycheck. I need a lamp for the living room and possibly one for the dinning room too.
I went to Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church this morning. It's two blocks from my apartment so it's a lovely walk first thing in the morning. It is far more traditional than what I'm used to back at Fleetwood. I'm not sure if I'll keep attending or not. I will be home for 3 Sundays in June, so I have some time to do some research on other churches in the area.

I think I have plans for tomorrow that do NOT include me sitting in my apartment all day--YAY! Today, though, I think I will spend some time inside cleaning a little, doing some work for an online workshop on archives to prepare me for my internship, and maybe do a little reading for fun. It has been so long since I've been able to read for fun! I've been reading a book of letters by C. S. Lewis and I'm anxious to be done with it because I received a 2 volume set of all his letters for graduation that I want to read! I know I know, very exciting! Ha! I'm getting into his "Christian" letters now where he discusses theology and points of Christian living and developing a personal relationship with Christ with some of his fans. It is very insightful. I am always careful not to accept everything he says without actually thinking it through, but the more I think critically about what he has to say about our response to the forgiveness of sin and building a relationship with Christ, the more I understand that what he has to say is biblical and worded in such a way that it makes more sense to me. I think if I ever get around to reading for fun on a regular basis (the first book I read will either be Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman or The Bride Collector by Ted DekKer, by the way), I might start a book blog. Hmm... we'll see.

Going to change into some clothes for cleaning. Bathroom floor, I will conquer you!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Graduation, packing, and the two-week itch

Graduation went off without a hitch. Very possibly the most nerve-wracking day of my very short life, but pretty enjoyable. I was student commencement speaker and only had one tiny mistake in my speech. I deny people's praise and commendations, but honestly, I am very proud of my speech. I didn't realize it until I was on the platform looking out over a practically packed Sovereign Center, but I very quickly discovered that this was a special honor and I had every right to be proud of myself. I wish now that I could remember more than the fear and the nervousness I felt that day. Most of my speech in my memory is a haze of words. I suppose I would get very prideful if I could remember any more than the nerves.

Almost as soon as the diploma holder was in my hand (since, among other reasons, my grades STILL weren't in by graduation or even a week after graduation...), I found myself packing up my belongings. Packing up? Going where? Gettysburg. I got a year long internship at the college library. I got the phone call that said, "We want YOU!" Sometime between the funeral, Easter, and final papers coming due. I've had very little time to be super excited about this, but I promise I am. What's really been hard is the two weeks.Two weeks, almost to the day after graduation, I will be moved into my apartment. Does that seem fast to anyone else?!?! Whenever I have big changes or moves in life (remember London?), I have this two week crisis. I decide that I don't need to change, move, or otherwise disrupt my comfortable life to do something new and adventurous. I didn't have that this time, perhaps for the good.

However, I've had days where I wake up late and have zero motivation to pack. Absolutely none. Those days I hate. But I'm running out of those days, and even good packing days. Tomorrow is my last day. My last day to get all the important things, clothes, books and such into a box. And it's hard to do to that. For 22 years, I've never had to move anything. I still have notes from high school packed away somewhere, stuffed animals I don't miss, and playbills from my shows and friend's shows. Now, in two weeks, it is getting packed up.

New experiences are not all bad, of course. In fact C. S. Lewis thought that all experiences were valuable. He said of a temporary post in the philosophy department at Trinity College:
"It's poorly paid and temporary...but it better to be inside than out, and it is always a beginning. The experience should be valuable."
So tomorrow, I'll pack more boxes, prepare myself for the next adventure in my life. And, if nothing else, the experience will be valuable...

Friday, May 14, 2010

finally friday

It's here.
The very last day of undergraduate study.
One final stands between me and graduation. Is it just me or did this day seem like a fantasy four years ago? The mythical day at the end of four years of study that, in the moment, felt like it would kill me and THEN go to work on me. I never thought it would end.
I've been slightly emotional this week. A few different reasons for that, some of which have nothing to do with graduation. But mostly, I've been thinking about the friends I've made, the relationships I've worked on and how in a little more than 24 hours I might never see some of those people again. It's sad and depressing. I didn't have to go through the separation when I started college; it's one of the perks of staying local. I had a taste of it when I got back from London. I miss Rachel at least 5 times every day. I can't even imagine multiplying that to cover all the friends I made in the library and the Learning Center over the years, not to mention theater friends, classmates and club members. Saying goodbye is one of my least favourite things to do these days.
And of course, I can't make it through graduation without thinking of J. He was graduating from high school this year. He was going to go to college in the fall and have his own set of scary and exciting college experiences. Maybe it shouldn't, but it hurts me to know he doesn't have that chance. It hurts me to think of his parents and how they won't get to see him graduate. It still hurts, and it makes me wonder if it will ever NOT hurt.
If I know you and don't live with you, don't be surprised if I don't say "goodbye" after graduation. I can't. I'll probably say "See you later" because I need to believe I will see you again. Perhaps a bit dramatic and romantic, but hey! I'm an English major. It's how I do things.
One good thing about all of this is soon I won't have to fight for a parking space at school! That gets rid of about 50% of my daily stress!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Fresh bouquets of pencils and a graduation gown

Yesterday, as I was sharpening pencils for the Learning Center, I got a giddy feeling in my heart. Like I do in the fall when I get to buy school supplies. This invariably leads me to think of that scene in You've Got Mail when Tom Hank's character says, "Don't you love New York in the fall? It makes me wanna buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils..." So, as I'm standing by the pencil sharpener blissfully sharpening pencils, I quietly laugh and say, "Bouquets of freshly sharpened pencils!" The girl at the desk look at me funny and said, "Uh, did you say something?" I smiled and shook my head no. It was okay if no one else understood. It was for me and, in that moment, I was happy.

I'm having one of those moments right now. I'm working on my speech for graduation tonight. (And can I just say...WHAT WAS I THINKING?!? Sure, it's a great honor, but on top of my other papers, I have to worry about this thing...ugh. Darn me and my over-achiever tendencies!)But every now and then, I look over my shoulder to my closet. Hanging on the door is my graduation gown with my honor cords draped around the hanger. Every time I look at it, I get these little butterflies in my stomach. Not the butterflies like before a date butterflies or nervous butterflies. No, these are excited butterflies.And maybe, there are a few fear butterflies mixed in with the excited ones. That's okay. I seem to remember those fear butterflies from, oh, about four years ago when I first started classes at Alvernia. They seem silly now. Just as I know these little fear butterflies will seem silly when I graduate from my Master's program--whenever that happens!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Faith in Crisis

"You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth of falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you. It is easy to say you believe a rope to be strong and sound as long as you are merely using it to cord a box. But suppose you had to hang by that rope over a precipice. Wouldn't you then first discover how much you really trusted it? "
--C.S. Lewis "A Grief Observed"

I love the words to "In Christ Alone." I cling to the line that says "No power of hell, no scheme of man can ever pluck me from His hand," because of its promise to me. Today I heard it and wept because of the promise it meant for someone else. For him, it means that the poisoned words that satan tried to get him to believe cannot keep him from God. It means satan didn't win in the end. Though this was a very encouraging thought, it saddened me. Why couldn't he have understood the Love of Christ better? He knew, surely, that God was with him always. But then, maybe this is the wrong question. I still question, wrongly, if I could have done more. I know the answer. Knowing the answer doesn't make my heart hurt any less.
So today I saw him in heaven where he knows no separation from the Father and the Son who died for all of his sins. And that glimmer is going to have to be enough for me.
At least until God calls me home.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

As time goes by

Well, another year has almost passed. That infernal timepiece that doesn't stop until God allows it to is still ticking for me. I'm still waiting for my "what I want to be when I grow up" to kick in. I think I might revert back to what I wanted to be when I was a child: a nurse and a truck driver.
Sometimes it seems like I haven't grown at all. I was looking through my journal and note that I still struggle with the same things. But I also noticed that some of the issues I found monumental were so very childish. I like that I can see the difference now. I like the way that I relate to people now. I was always so aware of my own pains and problems. They were so very childish. But I find that the lessons I've learned from those hurts makes it possible for me to minister to others in a very special and unique way.
My future is still uncertain. Due to my fear and abhorrence of needles, I will probably never become a nurse. Due to my lack of depth perception, I would make a really horrible truck driver (coz I wouldn't be able to back up to a dock properly). I'm not done having problems in life, but they don't seem as insurmountable now. Like the song says, "It's still the same old time goes by." Some things change. But others...oh, they are the fundamentals. I still love coffee. (I secretly pray I never have to give it up. Ever. If I ever have children, they will be java junkies from birth.) The smell of books is almost better than flowers to me. I would rather own more books than clothes...but not shoes! I have a God who watches over me, even (and especially) when I'm faithless. His love for me never ends and there is nothing I can do to change that. When I remember He is the one that invented time and everything that goes with it, I don't mind that I don't know what I'll be when I grow up. I don't mind because I know that He knows. He knows coz it's what He has purposed for me.
And I like the idea of having a purpose.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Where do the years go?

Children grow up. All of you adults are laughing at me now saying, "Uh, yeah well, that IS the point. And it's about time, too!" And I know. It's the way life is supposed to work. It doesn't mean I have to like it!
Over the past week or two, I've been noticing people more. Noticing that maybe I have more friends than I had previously thought, that those silly youth group kids weren't dorky awkward freshmen anymore, but seniors soon graduating. I'm noticing that infants and toddlers grow in leaps and bounds in WEEKS! I swear the little girl I babysit gets bigger week to week! She is holding her head up more and is more alert. It's so amazing to watch! See? I know not all growth is bad!
But there are moments when the years catch up with you, and when they do, they hit you hard. At our Good Friday service at church, we have a large cross in the front of the church. At the end of the service, we nail our testimony cards to it to remind us that Jesus took our nails and the punishment that was ours by right. At the start of service, two men carry a ladder in and a third climbs up to nail the sign at the top of the cross. Anyway, this year a member of the youth group and a member of the young adult group carried in the ladder. It doesn't sound like much, but it shocked me. That was a MAN'S job. Like, a grown up man's job. In my eyes, they were still boys. "When did they grow up?" I asked myself. Last week. Last week they grew up. When they carried their friend's casket to the front of the church. That is the moment they grew up. And I mourn their passing into adult hood, because I didn't even notice.
As the years continue to come and go, I realize how quickly they pass. Again, you parents will moan and say I'm talking crazy, but that's the way it is. I was reminded tonight that I am a bit older than the youth group members. Wait, am I? Didn't I just graduate high school? Are you sure I'm a college senior? Am I really five years older than these kids, I mean, young people? Where did the years go? I think I didn't notice they were gone because I still hold so many of my "little girl" insecurities. But maybe, it's better this way. Not noticing the years pass because I know I still have flaws keeps me from thinking I'm better than people. I like that I fit in with the youth group when I can, or adults when I need to. I guess it's really the best of both worlds.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Stages of Grief

There are five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Take careful note that they are not numbered. There is a very good reason for that. Grief, like so many other things in our life, does not ask permission to disrupt our normal routines. It comes in like a shadow, surrounds us, and the pulls the carpet out from under our feet. Or so it seems.
I'm not sure which stage I hit first. I might petition for a sixth stage to be entered: shock. This was possibly the first emotion. It's that incredible second that feels like hours between the question (Please tell me you are joking? Not him?!?) and the answer you are so dreading but somehow know to be true (Yes. It's true. No, I'm not joking. I know. I can't believe it either.). The shock was short lived that first day and I transitioned (quickly) into anger. The whole ride to school I yelled at God. And I mean I really yelled! I "explained" things to God, told Him the way I thought things should have gone, questioned why others succeeded where I failed/ lost where I won. How was any of it fair?

Tuesday night was full of tears and comforting. What stage is that, huh? There is no name for the full out mourning we had that night. People I didn't know clung to me as sobs wracked their body. Could they feel extra tremors (mine) through the hugs and soothing pats? Friends held me close as exhaustion and dehydration set it along with utter sadness as the tears came afresh and my body started to shake. There were moments of calm, when we all took a breath and were verbally comforted by a member of the pastoral staff. Then, another wave of grief hit one person. It was like a ripple effect, slowly touching every one until we were in another group hug, soothing backs, patting heads, wiping tears, comforting teenagers like they were children. And I'm not pointing fingers at an age group; it was hard to tell where child, teen or adult stopped, so widespread was our grief.

Wednesday was bargaining day. As I watched his best friend realize all over again that his life would never be the same, I wondered if I could have done something more. If I could have done anything. Not even "more," but did I do enough? Would I ever know? Maybe I did. But if I didn't? This whole week brought back my insecurities, my failings, my pain, my depression. It seemed like he was free of that suffering now, right? For about 10 seconds, I really believed it worked. But a youth leader, with tears streaming down her face, forced me to look at her and this is what she told me: "Don't EVER think that! Do you hear me? Look around you--does it look like the pain and suffering was avoided? " No. There was pain and suffering all around me. Could I have done more? Maybe. But I know I did what I was meant to do. I didn't realize it all then. But I think I do now.

I woke up Thursday morning with at least twenty people on my heart and mind. As I'm texting them all, telling them how much they are loved an appreciated, the anger set in. Well, technically it set in after I got to class late and found they had finished early and I had to wait two hours for work. The class bit I was okay with; the sitting for hours by myself, not so much. But anyway, I'm helping people through their grief, just being there for them, and I'm so angry I could spit. (Isn't that from
Little House on the Prairie? I forget.) I won't type the words I thought or names I called him. They were not Christian. All I saw was the suffering. And I was angry at him for leaving us to deal with it. Later that night, I was babysitting and my darling girl started to cry. Usually the hip-shake-sway thing works well, but last week I tried singing to her and so I thought I'd give it another go. I opened my mouth and spoke two words and stopped. I couldn't sing. I burst out crying, upset for my loss, upset that I felt it so keenly that I lost my joy to sing. So sprinkle some depression on top of that anger, and that was the day.
Then it came. The end to a very long week. Celebration of Life, we called it. Celebrate we did. I was finally able to sing, which was a gift given at the right moment. But we also mourned. I say "we" like I was in every bit. I wasn't. Friday felt off, but it was almost like every other day. Why were my eyes puffy? Why did I feel it was a crime to laugh? And then, I would remember. And it would hurt. A member of the pastoral staff used this illustration:
"think of [it] as being immersed in a 10,000 piece jig-saw puzzle. There is no box top picture to go by, and each piece of the puzzle has razor sharp edges. They’re (the youth group/young adults/ anyone involved) trying to piece the thing together and make sense of it while they are grieving,but every piece will punish and hurt them. " Yes, those razor sharp edges. I knew them well. But today, the day of "celebration," they were dulled. And it almost felt wrong. And when the service was over, what then? We turned around and had punch and cake. Told stories. Laughed. Was this allowed? Could it be allowed?
By Sunday, I had been to the church 5 days, 6 if you included Sunday, over the course of a week. My car could very well find it's way to the church by itself, and to my gas tank, this was not a happy thought. I attended the early service. I hardly ever do that. I sang. My voice was weak, my throat scratchy, but I sang. I saw through the service, listening to our pastor tell us that Jesus does care. He's in the boat with us, he knows the struggle and he cares. But all I heard was "the events of last week," "the tragic loss of a brother." And it felt wrong. It felt wrong to talk about the life that had been lost. It was almost as if talking about it in the past, somehow made it in the past, instead of so very near to the front of my mind. Almost like I should be happy it was "in the past." What a place to be, the past. Hidden behind moth-ball smelling quilts with holes in it. I wasn't ready to put it in the past. Not yet.
I walked through the next day in a fog. A haze. I could function, but my mind kept questioning: could I have done more? I know the answer. I really do. But sometimes I doubt myself. And until I can trust what I know God wants me to know, I don't think I will fully reach acceptance. It still feels like he might walk around the corner and make a face at me. Almost.
Anger, bargaining, depression, denial, acceptance. They don't all happen at once, and they don't happen in order. The repeat of one particular emotion (denial, and perhaps depression, in my case) throws you off. It's a nice guide to follow, to remind yourself your crazy emotional roller coaster does have validation. But what do you do when the immediacy wears off?
So now I hug people tighter, kiss them when I can, tell them how valuable they are and how much I really do love them. Then I look them in the eye and say, "Don't forget. But when you do, come back and tell me you forget. And I will tell you how much I love you until you can't forget again."
And I think, that is what Grace is. That is what Holy Week is all about. Jesus says, "I love you. But when you forget, look to the cross. It's my way of making sure you never forget how much I love you."

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

my grief observed

"No one ever told me grief so like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid. The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning. I keep swallowing.
At other times it feels like being mildly drunk, or concussed. There is a sort of invisible blanket between the world and me. I find it hard to take in what anyone says. Or perhaps, hard to want to take it in. It is so uninteresting. "
~A Grief Observed by C. S. Lewis~

Grief. It's the moment of disbelief and, as Lewis points out, something close to fear. It's the moment where you think, "Dear God, it can't be true." The moment when your mind goes utterly, completely and totally blank. It's the half second between acceptance and rejection, when you pray the news you heard is a really, really bad joke because you'd rather forgive someone of their morbidity than actually have to believe the devastating news. It's the moment between breaths, after you gasp in shock and then exhale in a scream. It's moment when time stops. And you pray like hell it never starts again.
But it does. And then you realize those agonizing moments that felt like eternity were mere seconds. The real pain is only just about to begin.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

satan's favourite lie

It's one thing to learn something new from a sermon. For example, did you know that even the Christian's who bear fruit still get "pruned"? Yeah, I didn't know that and yes, it's in the Bible(John 15:2). But it's another ball of wax when your sin is called out by name.
"You say you are busy...but you really aren't as busy as you say/think you are."


I've been wrestling with this for a while now and I've been meaning to post on this. But satan keeps telling me how busy I am and how much time I don't have. And you know what? It works. He keeps using it because it works. I call it his favourite lie to me. He knows it will get me and cripple me into in-action. And that started to bother me. Satan knows me well enough to have a 'favourite' lie for me? He knows me well enough that he knows which buttons to push, which ones work best/better than others? Freaky thought. More freaky is the fact that he keeps using it over and over again. They say insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result; satan is not insane. He knows what works...but he won't get away with it for much longer.
Hearing it, out loud, from the pulpit was a huge deal for me. It's one thing to realize it in the car driving along, but something else entirely to hear it from someone else.

It's raining today and I have loads to do: laundry, paper stuff, homework stuff, cleaning stuff plus a car-ride to pick up lil sis (!!). I don't mind the rain though. It feels right. It rained in the beginning of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and look what fantastic adventures happened! I'm going to go make tea and be about my business. Lucy found the wardrobe easily enough, but was caught off guard by finding another world. I hope to be prepared, should this happen to me today.
Enjoy today...even & especially if it is raining where you are!

(ps. I sometimes read "Stuff Christians Like" blog. This caught my eye as the grammar freak that I am. " a lowercase s on the word satan is commonly known as “the middle finger of grammar.” I feel like we should make t-shirts or something...or something super hardcore, like start a grammarian biker gang. Well, maybe not so much on the last idea...)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Self-Centered & God-Centered

The sun was out again today! It sure did wonders for my attitude. I won't even go into it now, but yesterday was a crappy day. Start to almost finish, poo. I got mad at my "every day is a good day" friend and let him know about it. (Don't worry...I'm not still mad!) Whine whine whine whine. Basically, that's what I did all day. (I can't believe I still have friends!) Anyway, I got a swift kick in the pants at bible study last night. "May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart bless your name, bless your name, Jesus." That is the song we sang and let me tell you...that was NOT what was in my heart. So I sat and thought about my day and the words I knew I needed to say. I didn't completely understand everything until I hit my "Experiencing God" stuff this morning. I did work on the "wrong section," but it sure wasn't useless. I was looking at circumstances in the Bible where people were more self-centered than God-centered. When they were self-centered, things ended poorly for them. The people who were centered on God and his way knew enough to trust God's plan, even if they weren't 100% sure they believed it or understood it. What really got me though was what God said to the people he called. God was talking to Gideon, who was hiding from the Midianites. Gideon said, God if you are really with us, why is all this stuff happening? Where are the miracles, like the ones you did back in Egypt? "The LORD said to him, 'Go in this your strength...Have I not sent you? (Judges 6.14). Wow. Gideon knew the Lord's past, but was hesitant to trust His plan. God doesn't work on past or present, though. He doesn't talk about the great miracles He performed. No. He says, I sent you! This is what you are meant to do!
In the New Testament, people are still unsure of their call. In Acts 9, Saul/Paul is receiving his call on the road to Damascus. What I found most interesting in this passage is not the conversion, but the fact that God had a plan before Saul even planned his trip. The Lord is speaking to Ananias: Go, for he [Saul] is a chosen instrument of Mine. Chosen? He was just called! Yeah, but that means God had it in His plan always.
These people were experiencing their own self-centered moments. God came along and told them, Hey! This isn't about your safety or your plans, but about mine. To some, that is controlling and a loss of will. For me, I say Thank God! If my life is God-centered, that means I am not responsible for the events in my day, can't control them or change the outcome on my own. My day yesterday? In God's book, it went exactly the way it was meant to go. I didn't like it. So what? It isn't my job to control the day.
So I guess every day is still a good day. But you know, I've left out an important piece of the puzzle. Every day is a good day because God is in it, He has ordained it, I am alive to see it and to fulfill a purpose in it. Every day isn't a great day, but God is in every day and that is what makes them good.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Spring Break (aka Catch Up week)

This week is Spring Break. Sunday night I planned out what I would work on each day. Some days, I even planned things at a specific time! Not the Laura you all know, right? Yeah, well, I think God laughed a little at my plan too. It's okay, because everything worked out in the end. Like my pastor said this Sunday while talking about the supernatural peace that Jesus brings: everything works out in the end. If it hasn't worked out yet, it's not the end!
I've been working on Convention things (which reminds me, I need to finish reading/SparkNote-ing Billy Bud), though that hasn't been my main focus. I've been working on class stuff, and thesis/research paper stuff. I probably didn't get everything done that I wanted to, but I'm pretty happy with what I have achieved. School work stuff? A clue-no. I cleaned my room.

After you've all picked yourselves up off the floor...let me just say, I know. It's been a long time coming. I've been meaning to do it all week (for weeks) but I never made time for it. I think the motivation was simply a desire to NOT do homework. Whatever it was, it worked. I'm even impressed with me.
Actually, that might not have been the only motivation for it. I've had a pretty interesting week that's got me thinking about being a parent. (Don't worry--I'm not dropping hints or 'trying' to tell you anything.) I was 'super babysitter' (not 'super' coz I'm a great babysitter, but because I spent the night so it was a 'super' long job.) last weekend for some dear friends of mine. The whole family was home, I was just providing a break for the parents. So I put on my babysitting hat and read books until my throat was dry and I got tired of reading. I helped with meals and cleaning up the kitchen. We baked cookies and cup cakes, then decorated said cup cakes. (Overheard whilst getting ready to bake, one sister to the other: You look so pretty in your apron!) We watched "Little House on the Prairie" and "The Hunchback of Notre Dame." It was the best weekend. Coming home, I couldn't help but imagine what a full time job of mothering would look like. Surely it wasn't as simple as a babysitting job, but how much harder was it? I got a bit more of an answer when I went back midweek for a little extra help around the house. I was greeted by the girls with the most excited "Miss Laura!" you ever will hear. That's when I got to thinking the parenting thing might not be so bad. As I helped clean the house, I saw that (obviously) mothering was more than a full time job. It's cleaning up the house, cleaning up toys, putting things back the way they are meant to be, doing laundry, etc. I started wondering where being a woman figured in to/ with being a mother and a wife. I'm sure I will find that later, but for now, Parenting (yes, it gets a capital--it's a big deal) is one of those "it takes two" jobs that I'm just not ready for.
This view was further confirmed when I started my new babysitting job yesterday. I will be watching a 4 month old one night a week. Everything went really well! I'll be the first to admit I was a little surprised. It's been a while since I've been around a baby like that, let alone since I've been in charge of someone that small. There was one small crying fit, but I remedied it by a clean diaper. (I knew it had to be food or diaper. I used my deductive reasoning skills that since she had just been fed, it was probably the latter. Go me.) Relieved is the wrong word to use to describe how I felt when her daddy came home, but it might not be too far off. It was a good first day...but today, I miss holding her in my arms. It feels odd not to have her there, since I held her most of the time I was with her.
Maybe this is all crazy talk. All you Parents reading this are probably laughing. But I can't quite figure it out: what makes a parent? What makes a good parent? There doesn't seem to be a test to take (or pass) or a book to use to study. How do you know if you are doing it right? Mostly, I'm a romantic, but here I am a realist. Tell me how it works. Show me what to do.
I have the sinking feeling that Parenting doesn't work like that.

Well, anyway, back to researching. I left the two longest articles for last. That was smart. Maybe I can figure out what makes portals to magical worlds important. Or maybe I'll figure out that I need to do more research...

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Experience: the most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn ~ C. S. Lewis

I am attempting to write a speech for my graduation in May. Well, it's really a trial speech to see if the powers that be like my style and what I have to say. Before everyone gets excited, this quote is all I have so far. My rough draft? Due tomorrow. "But," you say, eyes going wild, "Laura, you don't write rough drafts." I know. "You spend weeks planning and thinking and mulling thoughts over and regurgitate a perfect piece into a Word.doc the night before." I know, I know! The thing about rough drafts is that people usually want to see 80-90% of the actual completed piece in whatever "draft" you give them. The changes to be made are THEIR suggestions, not your own tweaks to perfect things. This idea of a rough draft has me scared. Frightened. Terrified. I feel like I'm under this huge pressure to summarize my "education and experience" at Alvernia in a page, to condense my 4 very long years of undergrad into 4 paragraphs of a quippy intelligent commentary on higher education. Without being cheesy or lame.
But more than the fear of being cheesy and lame, I'm scared about what that might mean about the past 4 years. Can I really sum up all those experiences? Can I sum up my job at the library that spans 2 solid years and a smattering of summers and breaks? Can I sum up my job at the learning center and all the crazy, I mean, interesting people I've met there? Can I sum up my semester abroad in such a short space? The classes, the professors? It's not the capstone of my education (that honor is reserved for my ginormous thesis due at end of term and yes, I've changed topics. Again.), but I feel it must somehow represent EVERYTHING. That fact that I might be able to do this scares me and makes me feel like the months, weeks, days and hours that made up my undergrad can be grouped and packaged together in the box labeled "Experience" that sits on the shelf next to the box labeled "Memories."

On a less depressing note, I figured that dividing my thesis into three parts (three different books that I'm going to look at) means 3, 7 page papers in the course of the semester. Now that is do-able.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Double snow day

These last few days have been CRAZY! Who knew that the sky and the heavens could hold so much snow?! I don't have a final report for you, but it was at least up to my knees. And then, it snowed some more! And guess who got to shovel out the household? Yup. Me. I rock.
Things were going well, except for the snow and the cold. Wednesday afternoon came and took the electricity with it. In a flurry of excitement and consternation (pun, however unfortunate, was intended), mother and I hauled out the generator. On a normal day this is a chore. On a day that I had to shovel the path to the barn to get the generator out and pull it up the hill, well, I felt like SuperWoman when it all was said and done (and like I should have tied a rope from the house to the barn like in Little House on the Prairie). We ran the generator for about 4 hours. As the night wore down, and Mercy ended, we took care of our nightly routine (blanket? check, lantern and flashlight? check) in preparation for shutting down the generator. (Heffner girls: do ya'll remember those blue flashlights from Weaver's that we got at the Oley Fair ages ago? Yeah, mine still worked! Go me!) Mom unplugged the plug and unswitched the switches. I moved the generator into the basement, so crazies who actually made it through all of the snow to our back porch couldn't steal it.We get our lanterns and get ready to go upstairs, when mom stops. "Did the freezer motor just go on?" Click goes the light by the washing machine. Light. Oh well.
The weekend was full of shoveling, shoveling, cold, snow, and more shoveling. My dad and I did a lot of clean up work, part of which involved cleaning out George, little sister's car, who got buried in the snow, and knocking the icicles off the gutter. May I just add that I was TERRIFIED that I would be impaled by a falling icicles? I was! (I almost put a video link to it here, but decided against it. It brings flashbacks.) Needless to say, I pretty much stood back and watched for that one.
I should get working on something now...that would be good. A little bit of school work, a little bit of resume work. And I swear, if there is any more snow I'm moving to somewhere HOT. Or to London. Either way...

Monday, February 1, 2010

"He is already in tomorrow"

An hour after I posted my last entry, I read an excerpt from Mere Christianity that coincided almost exactly to what I was trying to express! I was completely blown away. I wanted to share some of what the great C. S. Lewis has to say about the way God sees time:

...suppose God is outside and above the Time-line. In that case, what we call 'tomorrow is visible to Him in just the same way as what we call 'today.' All the days are 'Now' for Him.

I find this thought to be extraordinarily encouraging. Why should I worry (or be concerned) with things that will happen tomorrow or today? If God sees our tomorrow's and today's as a great big NOW, why should I think He doesn't see every thing that came/comes/will come my way?

It means that the pregnancy my friend prayed for (and is finally experiencing!) was on the Time-line before she even thought about it! It means that the baptism of my (other) friend's husband that we had been praying for ever since I met them (and years beyond that) was already on God's agenda for this past Sunday! It means the thesis paper I am struggling to write is already completed! (And can I get a great big AMEN on that one?!?!)

You know what it means? It means that Matthew 6:25-34 is RIGHT!

~So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself~ Matt. 6:34

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Eternal vs. Temporal

I think one of the hardest things for me in life is wrapping my head around the fact that this life is not the end goal. It is so easy to forget in a world that promotes the "now" with no regard to the "later". I was reminded of this twice in two days. Repetition is God's highlighter--maybe if I hear it enough, it will sink in.
Today's sermon was about the worshiping disciple. We were reminded (I say reminded, because I think we all knew this in the back of our heads, somewhere. Anyway, it feels like I should have known it...) that God needs to have the place of glory in our lives. That place of glory is the thing we worship. Worship, we were told, doesn't stop when the music stops, nor does it need music to begin. I was struck by the notion that, like prayer, worshiping our Creator is something we should be doing all the time. The concept of doing anything 'without ceasing' is foreign to our minds. People talk a lot, but eventually they need to take a break. They need to sleep, eat, read--whatever. Breathing is something we do without ceasing, but that is even something we can't control. We could stop breathing tomorrow; that doesn't mean the worship stops. I think this is a struggle for some (myself included) because our time lines are so linear.
I'm sorta glad God's time line is different than ours. Though I would love to know just what is coming, when it is coming, and what I need to do in order to be prepared for it, believing and trusting that He has everything perfectly planned takes the pressure off of me. It sounds like a crutch, and maybe it is. But I honestly would rather that than have to worry and plan and force my (tiny) linear plan any where near God's perfect plan.
I was reminded yet again of God's plan and His timing in my devotional Experiencing God Day-by-Day by Henry & Richard Blackaby. On 16 January (for those who might have it), they talk about the story of Abram. God made Abram a promise that his name would be great and that all the families of the earth would be blessed through him (Gen. 12:1-3). Abram had no children, but a promise from God is a promise from God, right? And so, Abram waited on God. The Blackaby's said over the course of 25 years, God shaped and adjusted Abram's character so that it would be exactly right for the task that God had called him to accomplish. A promise that took 25 years?!? Excuse me! That does NOT fit on my time line! Abram had some troubles remembering what God had promised him, but I think when he heard Isaac's first cry he remembered.
I have the same promises to hold on to. I am told I am a child of God, that He has a plan to prosper me, a plan of hope and not a plan to harm me, a way of salvation. He tells me He gives perfect peace, a spirit not of fear but of love, power & a sound mind. He promises to never leave me. I have trouble remembering to worship on an eternal time line; I have trouble remembering that God's time line is different than mine. But now that I am reminded of it, I have to wait. I have to watch. I have to see what God is needing to teach me before His promises come to fruition. Maybe that means waiting for a job, waiting for direction with school, waiting for relationships, waiting for travel plans.
But even now, in all the waiting, I am given another promise: If I wait on God, He will renew my strength. I will run and not get tired. I will walk and not be weary (Isaiah 40:31). Did you notice that the person is going from running to walking? Sometimes life slows us down. But the verse doesn't say they would sit around and not get bored or anything else resembling a noncommittal or apathetic response. The person waiting on God is ACTIVELY waiting on God. They are living in the temporal with their eyes on the eternal.