Junior Year- where’d it go?

One week from today, my little trusty Toyota will be Pennsylvania-bound, packed to the brim with a year’s worth of dorm-room clutter.  Driving towards summer vacation (well, a “vacation” full of summer classes) will be a glorious feeling.  But a long drive to one place inevitably means that I’m leaving another behind.  It’s always a little bittersweet.

This year has been a good one.  My hardest yet, I’d say with certainty.  It’s been chock full of so much.  So yes, I’m certainly ready for a break.  But that only means it was a year well spent!  If I wasn’t exhausted, I’d know I wasn’t living fully.

So here’s to junior year, almost over and full of so many highlights.
Let me share a few glimpses:


My reslife staff dressing up as senior citizens..   Watching the sunrise on the beach..


My junior recital..                            Running my second half marathon!

I hope your year has been filled to the brim as well.  Blessings as you look forward to summer!

On Praise and Thankfulness..

A good friend of mine wrote an article for the Gordon Tartan about having an attitude of praise.  I have it hanging on the wall next to my desk because I love what she says here:

“Thankfulness and praise are not natural to us, but it is imperative for us to practice praise.  In choosing praise we do two things:  The first is that we acknowledge that our ability to see and make judgments is not the height of understanding.  Secondly, praise fundamentally changes us.”

I believe that if we practice thankfulness, praise is the natural next step.  When I stop to think of all the little ways God has been showering me with love lately, I can’t help but praise Him.

A few things I’m thankful for today…

-After a long day of classes and a dreary trudge through the rain, I walked back to my room to find these beautiful flowers and card on my desk!  There was no occasion, just a sweet friend letting me know they were thinking of me.  I felt so loved!

-I was just approved to live in an apartment with five of my friends next year!  We’ll be in Tavilla.. which means air conditioning, elevators, and a beautiful view of Coy Pond.  I’m moving up in the world. =)

-There are just five days of classes left in the semester.  That’s right, five.  God has been faithful in seeing me through!

-My parents suddenly decided to drive up for my orchestra concert on Saturday! They drove through the night just to spend a few hours here.  They’re crazy.. and I love them.

The list could go on.. but I’ll leave you with that.
What are you thankful for?

A Rainy Sunday

As the saying goes, April showers bring may flowers.   So I won’t complain about a little rain.
In fact, every once in a while a rainy Sunday afternoon feels just right.  Take this past Sunday for example…

A few girls on my floor and I made a trip to ClayDreaming Pottery Studio.  It’s a simple idea- choose an unglazed piece of pottery to paint however you fancy, then the friendly staff fires it for you and handles all the details.
Easy.  Craftsy.  Fun.
  

It was the perfect break to all the craziness of late: a cozy studio, a mug of (free on Earth Day) Starbuck’s coffee and the chance to let some creativity flow.
Here’s a preview of some of our pre-kiln masterpieces…

  

A rainy Sunday, well spent. =)

Tea with Jan

Jan Carlberg, wife of former Gordon College President Jud Carlberg, is known as a master story-teller.  Before her husband retired last year, the student body loved to hear her speak in chapel and special campus wide events.  She easily captivates any audience with her charm and wisdom.

For our last res-life women’s event, we invited Jan to come share with us.  (“Tea with Jan”.. a spring iced tea party!)  We didn’t give her any theme or topic to speak on.. and yet she knew the perfect things to say.

Life is short.. don’t miss a chance to be close.
Amen.  As I am wrapping up my Junior year (ahhh!), I’m becoming acutely aware of how little time I have left here at Gordon with my friends all so near.

Use what you have to make something beautiful.
She brought along some towels that her grandmother had given her as a wedding present.  They were simple and thin, but her grandmother had lovingly embellished the edges, making something plain into something special.

Jesus walks alongside you.. no matter what you’re wearing on your feet.
How silly we are to put so much value in our possessions and appearance.  Jan told the story of her mother’s embarrassment at wearing a pair of hand-me-down high button shoes.  We’ve all had these moments.. but they matter so little when viewed in light of eternity.

It was such a good time together.  What’s not to love about iced tea, pink lemonade, and good stories?

New Life.

In Chapel on Wednesday, I accompanied the women’s choir as they sang, “Ah, Holy Jesus.”  The text to this hymn is beautiful yet haunting;  a meditation on the life that has been given to us so freely, but that is so undeserved.

As I contemplate this, I can’t help but notice the new life that is all around me.  This is one of my favorite times of year; spring has come!  The flowers are popping up everywhere, trees are covered in blossoms, the grass is finally green again, and my winter coat has been returned to the closet for good.  The beauty of the earth is a picture of our redemption.  Just as the first buds of spring have broken the spell of winter, Christ’s sacrifice has broken the spell of death.  Our death.  He has taken our guilt and we have been redeemed!

My friends, may you have a blessed Easter, celebrating what Christ has done.. and remembering that it is finished.

Ah, holy Jesus, how hast thou offended,
that we to judge thee have in hate pretended?
By foes derided, by thine own rejected,
O most afflicted! 

Who was the guilty? Who brought this upon thee?
Alas, my treason, Jesus, hath undone thee!
‘Twas I, Lord Jesus, I it was denied thee;
I crucified thee.

 Lo, the Good Shepherd for the sheep is offered;
the slave hath sinned, and the Son hath suffered.
For our atonement, while we nothing heeded,
God interceded.

For me, kind Jesus, was thy incarnation,
thy mortal sorrow, and thy life’s oblation;
thy death of anguish and thy bitter passion,
for my salvation. 

Therefore, kind Jesus, since I cannot pay thee,
I do adore thee, and will ever pray thee,
think on thy pity and thy love unswerving,
not my deserving.

Human Rights Week.

It’s “Human Right’s Week” here at Gordon.  That means the campus is abuzz with lots of cool events: lectures, panels, documentaries, etc…  While I don’t have time to go to every event, I’m thankful, at least, for the opportunity.  Topics such as these are important and multi-faceted and definitely deserve our attention.

The keynote speaker is a guy named Mike Yankoski.  He’s the author of Under the Overpass which tells his story of choosing to be homeless for 5 plus months.  This guy intentionally devoted half a year to living the ignored and underprivileged life.  That is serious dedication.

As I listened to Mike speak in chapel, I was reminded of the many Saturday mornings I’ve spent on the Boston commons with Gordon’s Homeless Ministry, spending time with those we meet, sharing conversation and a cup of hot cocoa.  I’ve met some fascinating people and I’ve made some dear friends.  But most importantly, I’ve learned about human dignity, which is at the very heart of human rights.  What makes me so different than the lady dressed in a trash bag with not a cent to her name?  Well, not as much as you’d think.  And that’s what Human Rights week is all about.  Sure, much of the goal is to provide opportunities to partner with an organization, support a charity, buy a certain brand, be more responsible in a certain area.  But at it’s heart, it’s about realizing everyone’s humanity and everyone’s need to be loved.

May a focus on human rights last much more than this week.  May we seek out ways to love our brothers and sisters.. whoever they are, wherever they are.  (Luckily, many people at Gordon are actively doing this.  Here are just a few examples.)

Recipe for a Successful Spring Break

Ingredients:

  • A day in Philadelphia: walk around the city, see a concert, and pay WAY too much for parking.
  • Time with family!  (Ladies and gents, I introduce to you Lane Charles, my beautiful newborn nephew..  Born on leap year day!  Isn’t he precious?)
  • At least one drive to nowhere in particular.. windows down, Coldplay blasting at full volume.  (Regardless of your opinion of Coldplay’s new album.. it’s great driving music!)
  • One thrifting adventure and a super cute sweater for only 50 cents.  Boom.
  • A cup of homemade hot chocolate.  (I’m not talking hot cocoa.. none of that powdered stuff.  Melt some REAL CHOCOLATE.  Like so…)
  • A good dose of baking.  A clean, well-stocked kitchen is a very special place for a college student like me.
  • Two trips to Lancaster Central Market.  One of my favorite places, hands down.
  • Read a good book with your mother.. or start one, anyway.  1,000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp.
  • Host a St. Patrick’s Day dinner.  Complete with peppermint patty brownies!

Mix together over the course of 10 beautiful, seventy-degree days.  Don’t worry about calories or to-do-lists.  Season with above-average amounts of sleep.  Enjoy with friends!

Half at the Hampton

Since being in college I’ve started a “bucket list” of sorts.. it’s not so much things to accomplish before I die (that seems like such an abstract time-frame) but rather things I want to do while I’m at Gordon.  It’s a pretty miscellaneous list (which seems to describe my life in general) and includes things like “go sledding on the big hill at the seminary,” “log 200 practice hours” or “eat Kosher for a week.”  This year I added running a half marathon to the list.  My friend Maggie and I decided to train for one together (running is so much more fun with a buddy!) and today we accomplished our goal!

Here we are, pre-run..

It might seem a little crazy to sign up for a race in… February.  In… New Hampshire.  (I’ll admit that I grumbled through several rather snowy/cold/slippery training runs).  But as I’ve mentioned before, this winter has been strangely mild.  And today was PERFECT for running!  The sun was shining, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and it was a good 10-15 degrees warmer than what a normal February day probably should be.. awesome.


And here’s a post-race photo.. by the beautiful Hampton beach.

I’m happy to say that we beat our training time by 20 minutes.  And it feels great to be able to check this off the list.  Now on to the next goal!

A Well-founded Hope

One of the great things about my job as an RA is having weekly one-on-one time with my RD.  (In college lingo, an RA is a resident assistant and the RD is the Resident director.. aka my boss).  We use this time to discuss reslife “business” but it’s mainly a time for reflection and mentorship.  While this meeting looks different every week, more often than not it involves a cozy coffee shop and honest conversation.

During my past one-on-one, our chatting happened upon the idea of hope.  I have a lot of hopes for my college career, for my floor, for my friendships, for life after school, for Spring.. heck, I even have hopes for finishing my homework by the end of the weekend.  But recently, I’ve been barraged with countless reminders about where my hope should really lie.  

Put your hope in God (Psalm 42:5)..  Be strong and take heart,  all you who hope in the LORD (Psalm 31:24)..  We wait in hope for the LORD; He is our help and our shield.  May your unfailing love be with us, LORD, even as we put our hope in you ( Psalm 33: 20, 22)..  Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful (Hebrews 10:23)

Etc. Etc…  But what does this mean?

I think it means that above all, my hope must be in God.. in His steadfastness, His unfailing love, His constancy, His wisdom.  When my hope is firmly there, it is then that I can hope in other things.  I hope, in the Lord, for ________.  Fill in the blank.  And regardless of how the latter pans out, my hope, which was first and foremost in God, will be secure.  Will such a hope every prove to be in vain?  Nope.  I don’t see how it could.

And this, I believe, is how “hope will not disappoint us”  (Romans 5:5).

Six More Weeks of “Winter”?

Well, the groundhog saw his shadow.  Six more weeks of winter, huh?

I’ll admit it.  I’m not much of a winter person.  (Then why  would I ever choose to live in New England, you ask?  Good question.  Sometimes I wonder that myself.)  So naturally, when good ol’ Punxsutawney Phil (who hails from my neck of the woods, by the way–  Three cheers for Pennsylvania!) supposedly sees his shadow,  I’m not normally thrilled.

But this season has yet to live up to it’s name.  In fact, there’s hardly been a winter at all!  While the native New Englander’s are hankering for a snow storm, we’ve barely seen any of the fluffy white stuff.  And the last few weeks have been downright balmy!  Though it’s just the beginning of February, we’ve already seen temperatures in the 50′s accompanied by the most brilliant sunshine.. it seems that winter is having a bit of an identity crisis.

New England may have a reputation for it’s harsh winters.. but I’m glad that didn’t keep me away from Gordon.  I would have missed out on so much.  Especially views like these:

  
Besides, if anything is unpredictable, it’s the weather.

So, Mr. Groundhog, if this is what you mean by winter.. I guess I can take six more weeks. =)

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