Friday, May 31, 2013

What I'm Into (May 2013)


It's almost June. Holy holy holy cow.
Summer!
I'm currently lying low around the house because I had all four of my wisdom teeth extracted on Wednesday. I feel alert, which I'm thankful for, but I've got a golf-ball sized lump on my right jawbone, and it hurts to eat. The one benefit? I get 10 days off of teaching, a good break before I jump into summer schedules.
Here's what I've been up to this month.

 Bookwise

 
I finished a grand total of seven books this month, which was a little lower than I would like, but still pretty good. Two of them were re-reads, so I'm not sure they count (Harry Potter 1 and 2), but I did get through quite a few good books this month. Here's what I read:
 
The Merchant of Venice, William Shakespeare
Love. I absolutely loved this Shakespeare play, which was a first for me, because usually I'm just slightly disengaged when I read Shakespeare. The plot kept me reading and I loved the poetry of it. Favorite Shakespeare play ever.
 
A Lantern in Her Hand, Bess Streeter Aldrich
A story about the daughter of Irish immigrants, I didn't think that I loved this book, and then the end made me cry. I have mixed feelings about it.
 
The Penderwicks, by Jeanne Birdsall
I love some new children's fiction every once in a while, and this was superb. Four sisters, one mysterious boy, a mansion and a summer cottage, this book kept me engaged to the very end. I finished this in a day. I'll definitely be checking out the sequel.
 
The Mysterious Disappearance of Leon, Ellen Raskin
By the same author as The Westing Game, which I happened to love, The Mysterious Disappearance of Leon just sort of annoyed me. It might be better the second time around, but I'm not sure I'll ever get there. It was funny, and sort of witty, but overall just kind of ridiculous.
 
The Dangerous Act of Worship, Mark Labberton
This was my third Urbana read that I have finished, and well worth the two months it took me to read it. The Dangerous Act of Worship is all about our worship moving us towards justice and compassion, and awakening from the slumber of the American dream. I underlined, wrote in, and copied down parts of this book. Definitely a keeper, and I'll certainly be re-reading this at some point, after I loan it out. ;)
 
I'm still in the middle of Tale of Two Cities and The Once and Future King (almost done with this one!!) and I also started Jayber Crow and Macbeth. I'm determined to finish The Once and Future King before I start teaching again, but I'm not sure that will happen.
 

TV and Movie-wise

 
We watched a few movies this month; I went out and saw Ironman 3 with my dad one weekend and loved it, and then we had a family trip to see Great Gatsby on Memorial Day. I haven't read Great Gatsby in a while, but I did enjoy the movie and thought it definitely did justice to the themes of the book. I just watched the season finale of Elementary yesterday, and am still trying to get to the last episode of Sherlock which I haven't seen.
 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

on abiding

Abide.

     It's one of those words that keeps coming back to me this year, a word that returns to me again and again. I think I get it, I understand, and God shakes his head and crinkles his eyes and smiles at me and I know that I'm still in the shallow end. I'm hardly wading yet.
     Every time Ally and I get together to plan a worship night, we ask the same questions.
"What's been on your heart?"
"Do you have a theme for this one?"
"What has God been teaching you?"
     And each time I came back and I had two words that wouldn't go away. Obedience. Abide.
We never used them for worship nights. I kept coming back to abide, but it wasn't the right one, it wasn't the right time.
     Abide is the word which gages my relationship with God most effectively. Am I abiding? Am I not abiding? When and how and why am I abiding?
    It's one of those things that I drift in and out of; one week I am, the next week I'm not. Last month I was taking the dog for a walk in the mist and the rain, and I was thinking about and mulling over things that  I wanted to be done dwelling on. And there was the word, out of the silence "Abide."
 
     We've been going through John in college group this semester, chapter by chapter slowly making our way through it. I taught in college group last semester once, but I hadn't done it again this semester. I didn't have the time or the energy to think about it because of auditions. Then last week, a friend texted me: "Hey, would you want to lead college group this next week? John 15."
 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

In calamity

Today is a day when He says, "Speak", and I would rather be silent.
This morning I woke up tired, from a hectic day yesterday and a splitting headache and thunderstorm last night, and then I walked downstairs and saw the newspaper, and it only took one picture and a few words to make me cry.
Today compassion means "weep with those who weep".
     Today I wanted a Sabbath, a day of rest. I wanted to play violin and practice piano and go for a run and spend some time being still, and instead I have ahead of me six hours of teaching, when I will ask students how they are today, and when they ask me back, I will say, "Good!" and smile, even though it's one of those days.

This morning when I woke up, I prayed that God would give me poetry to speak, and He did, but it wasn't what I had in mind.
His mercies are new every morning, and some days they are hard and they are heavy. Today is one of those days.
Lord, have mercy upon us.

In Calamity

           If you had been there, O Lord!—
   you have words to calm a storm
      to turn its frenzied terror to a calm.
You have hands to heal, to touch the torn
    and bring new life to broken flesh.
Where you walk springs hope, light, life
   but we forget that the earth trembles and melts
   at your touch, that you have wrath
       which consumes utterly and causes
 kingdoms to fall to their knees,
     that you speak and mountains are
 moved, that you have terrible and mighty power.
     We forget that you have mercies
which are sometimes more severe
       than we can understand.
But, oh, Lord, if only you had been there!

  And I am hearing the panicked cries
Cries of children in the dark as the sky
     itself is rent and terror comes down,
Imagining their shaking and their screams
   their great fear when air is more
powerful than brick and mortar and steel.
   When foundations of stone are not strong enough.
When the world collapses on
     their frail bodies.
         Your house is left to you as desolate.
Rachel is weeping, weeping, weeping for
      the desolation that is come upon her,
she will not be consoled, she refuses
      to be comforted, she is weeping for
    her children, the children who are
                    no more.
She weeps for you, for your children, the
    children of Oklahoma, the children of Boston,
 the children of Bangladesh, of Sandy Hook,
         of Africa, of Haiti, of Japan.
   For the children who are no more,
for those who have known terror and fear
        and loss, those from whom the shining
of wonder has fallen from their small sweet faces.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Outcast: 1 Samuel 22-24

 

Always running,
always hiding,
you must never be still.
If you stay too long, linger,
the word of you will
trickle through the cities,
down the hills to the valleys,
into the ears of the one-who-pursues.
 He will come. He will not
stay away.
Anger, jealousy, fear
are his demons
and by them he is driven:
to find, to kill. To destroy all
threats to the throne he once
denied.
You may honor him—must
honor him—but never trust.
Never entirely give up the life
of sojourning:
every week a different desert
every month a different battle.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

shaken together, running over

Annie Dillard says that life is made up of pennies; that if out of our simple poverty we can delight in the smallest things, then we can build for ourselves a wealth of days out of our poverty. The world is planted in pennies; small things which cheer and encourage, which build up.
 
                    They are words, and they are images, they are trees turning before the fading sky, they are violets in the grass.
 

"He hath never failed thee yet,
Never will His love forget.
O fret not thyself nor let
Thy heart be troubled,
Neither let it be afraid."
~Amy Carmichael


"And for me, I've realized that I used to be afraid of failing at the things that really mattered to me, but now I'm more afraid of succeeding at things that don't matter."
~Bob Goff

 
 
 



"Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup;
you have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me
in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance."
~Psalm 16:5-6
 
"Freedom is the world's water and weather, the world's nourishments freely given, it's soil and sap: and the creator loves pizzazz."
~Annie Dillard

Sunday, May 12, 2013

to my Mother

Sonnets are full of love, and this my tome
     Has many sonnets: so here now shall be
     One sonnet more, a love sonnet, from me
To her whose heart is my heart's quiet home,
     To my first Love, my Mother, on whose knee
I learnt love-lore that is not troublesome;
     Whose service is my special dignity,
And she my loadstar while I go and come.
And so, because you love me, and because
     I love you, Mother, I have woven a wreath
          Of rhymes wherewith to crown your honoured name:
          In you you not fourscore years can dim the flame
Of love, whose blessed glow transcends the laws
     Of time and change and mortal life and death.

~(Christina Rossetti)~

To my own mom: I wouldn't love poetry if it hadn't been for you teaching us how to read it and helping us memorize it. Thanks for giving us all a love of learning from the very beginning and taking such good care of us. We certainly wouldn't be the people we are today without you!

Friday, May 10, 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday

Sometimes I feel like weeks barely happen they go by so quickly. Just a few weeks ago I was waiting for my first Thursday student and telling my mom that it couldn't be Thursday already because I just saw that student yesterday. At least it feels that way sometimes.

1.

Today the festivities begin because Allison is graduating from college tomorrow with her Bachelor's degree in something-or-other!!!!!!
Yay!
(I think it's something like Christian ministries and Intercultural Studies and something else but she changed it and changed it back a few times so now I'm always confused.)
My grammy is flying in from Colorado tonight, and my grandma is driving up from Peoria tomorrow, so it'll be a little party tomorrow afternoon, but in the meantime, it's a mess of who is moving into which room and "shoot, there's not enough space for two people in this room".

2.

I'm so excited for my friend Allison Marie who competed this week in the NCFCA regionals and got 1st place in her open interpretation speech and 2nd place in her persuasive speech. She's crazy good, and I can't wait till I see her so I can make her give me her speeches, even if they are ten minutes long. She's graduating high school this weekend too, and I'm missing it because of the other Allison's graduation (sister trumps friend, that's how the world works), but I'm just so proud of her and excited for her, and I feel so blessed that I get to call her my friend.

3.

I'm so thankful for everyone who commented on the Song of the Land post on Wednesday, because I typed that post up and didn't publish it right away. I wasn't sure it was any good, and wasn't sure I liked it, and wasn't sure it was the worth the work of wading through almost six years worth of photos to include. Every time I would log onto blogger I would get that uncomfortable nudge from God that I was supposed to publish it instead of letting it sit in my post list as a draft, and so I finally gave in. And God is faithful and he is good, and I knew that fire in my bones from holding it in.
I'm so grateful for the encouragement.

4. 

Have you heard this song yet?  

         (Ignore the weirdly colored waves and such in this video, just listen to it while you do something else.)
I heard it on Saturday when my friend Kelli sang it for me and made me want to cry because it was so beautiful.

 

5.

I've been trying to buy it on iTunes, but it is under some delusion that I've never bought anything on this computer before (I definitely have) and keeps asking me security questions which I don't remember ever filling out.
I'm pretty sure I'm not going to be able to buy anything on iTunes until I give in and call Apple's customer support to reset the questions.
The really annoying thing is that I can see everything in my account and even edit it, but I can't actually buy anything.

6.

 Pet peeve of the week: people who drive ten miles per hour under the speed limit.
Yesterday I had to pick up Kelsey from work, and there was terrible traffic getting there, but on the way back I got stuck behind people who kept going 30mph even when the speed limit was 35 and then 40. This is when I start praying that they'll either turn sometime soon or start driving the speed limit.

 

7.

Last Saturday I started making some postcards using this tutorial but I haven't had a chance to finish them because since last Saturday I haven't been able to get to the store to get Modge Podge to seal them. I'm excited to make some, because I've got more than half of a sheet of postcard stamps left over from when I was travelling and sending them to friends and family, and I don't want them to go to waste.
Does Target carry Modge Podge?

Happy Friday!
What are you up to this weekend?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

a Song of the Land

     Spring is suddenly here, this past week. The weather warmed up on Monday and the trees put out their buds and their tiny new leaves. The woods now are misted over with green and the grass is growing thick and tall; even the dandelions are out in abundances.

     How can Spring be so new a miracle each year? How can she surprise us and awe us every time around as no other season does? How can a world so quickly be changed from bleakness and bareness to color and life and song?

     I am thinking lately of how I will be moving to California in August, and how much I shall miss this, miss the sudden and welcome coming of spring, the bitter, cold winters with drifts of snow and sharp icicles, the gay and colorful autumns, the blazing hot summers.

 
   
 
 
     I am remembering my childhood here, in this land of old trees and rolling prairies, of old white barns, and falling-down fences, of hundred-acre parks and creeks and streams and ponds.

 
I am thinking of the mystery of a pine forest in summer, and late afternoon sunlight slanting through the branches and how like a cathedral it was, in its sacred stillness, and how as a child I dreamt of its solemn beauty and yet played, irreverently, on its needle-covered floors.

 
I am remembering early morning on the boulevard amidst the giant ancient oaks and how it was a whole world to me, I was so small. How in the stillness of the morning my child heart knew the hush of quiet within my breast and I was still with the wonder and awe of it. And the remembrance of it fills me with strange joy and lonely sadness.

Friday, May 3, 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday

It's Friday again, and I'm linking up with Jen at Conversion Diary.

1.

We had three amazing days of sunshine and warm weather; in fact, Wednesday was HOT! But apparently we're not allowed to be happy for very long because it's currently less than 40 degrees Fahrenheit, which means I am not going out for that early-ish morning walk I was going to take. 

2. 

I found the trick for getting myself up early!
I've been trying for months to get up at a reasonable time in the morning, and just couldn't manage it. I would set my alarm for 7:15, wake up to it, and then lay in bed in a state of groggy confusion for 30 to 45 minutes until I finally sat up around 8am, and then I would conclude that I might as well have slept until then anyway. 
Enter three-day streak of warm weather. 
Naturally, I slept with the windows open in my room. And, miracle of miracles, I woke up at 6:30am or 6:15am every morning. 
Warm weather, come back to me. I need you to get me up early every morning!

3. 

I'm currently reading Merchant of Venice, and I'm actually enjoying it. 
I'd previously read The Tempest, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet and Twelfth Night and they were just okay. I was always sort of confused about what was going on, and only half-way engaged in the story-line. They were also always side-by-side original Shakespeare text with a translation. 
Apparently I hate side-by-side Shakespeare translations, because I got Merchant of Venice from the library, and it has no side-by-side translation, and I'm actually following the story-line and enjoying the book. Maybe I like Shakespeare after all! 

4. 

I'm having a hard time remembering what I wear in the warm weather. This is not a joke. I've gotten used to long-sleeved t-shirts, my jeans and slacks, and comfy sweaters and cardigans, so that I had a bit of a hard time on Wednesday when it was over 80 degrees and I had to figure out what to wear for work. Cue plain purple dress with no accessories whatsoever. 

5. 

I've apparently established with my friends that I don't actually hang out with them because I like  them, but because (a) Geri gives me good facebook statuses, and (b) Ally gives me great awkward stories to pass along. 
Obviously, we have extremely functional relationships. ;)

6.

A friend sent me this video today: 

The unfortunate thing is that it's all too often true. Hence my tumultuous relationship with current worship music. 

7. 

I'm still trying to soak in the idea that I will soon be living in a climate which does not involve snow. This is a very strange concept to me, and I think I'm going to miss the seasons like crazy. When we were at Biola in February, they had flowers blooming, and it was really weird.
I love spring and fall, and there's just something about a crisp, cold winter night when sky is really clear, and you can see the stars well. Probably I'll get enough of that when I come home for Christmas, but we'll see. 

Happy Friday! And I hope that wherever you are, it's warm!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Why I'm Not Waiting Around Anymore

 
photo credit
'I still have the piece of paper—not surprising considering my sentimentality and that it was only two years ago when I wrote it. It is dated May 5th, 2011. I don’t remember kneeling down by the bed to pull out the prayer box and put it inside, but I must have. It is an odd prayer, especially for a barely-seventeen-year-old.
      "Dearest Lord—teach me to say ‘if I get married’ instead of ‘when’,” I’d written. I finished with an Elisabeth Elliot reference. “Settle my heart ‘where true joys are found’.”'

I'm guest posting today on Aubrey Sampson's blog. Head on over to finish reading!

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