Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Return of Notmyown

Greetings from Texas and a belated merry and blessed Christmas to you all. :-) Yep, I finished finals the week before Christmas and arrived home in Texas that Friday. After a day of rest and doing very little, we got busy on Sunday making candied pecans and strawberry jam - on Monday we made 2 batches of fudge (:-D :-D), on Tuesday we made 3 batches of bread, and on Wednesday we made pumpkin cookies and chocolate chip cookies. And no, those weren't all for us...In fact most of it was for other people. ;-) Anyway, all that to say that I've been super busy even when home (I've noticed most of y'all seem to be quite busy with the rest of life right now, so I'm sure you understand :-P) but Christmas was absolutely wonderful and relaxing . And guess what happened on Christmas? My dad got a Facebook! Finally. :-D Haha. ;-)

It's been so nice to be home again - I'd like to catch you all up on the previous semester (and what I'm doing at home) if time allows; since it would take a VERY long post to do so, I'll just do shorter posts and see how that updating goes (if it happens at all). ;-) I'll be home until the 11th of January, when I'll leave for Arkansas again...

Oh, and by the way: I saw this on Spencer's blog a while back and thought it was a fun idea, so I'm incorporating it. Ask me any and as many questions as you like on this post (about anything, as long as it's appropriate and won't endanger anyone's online safety) and I shall do my best to answer them in a later post especially for the purpose (I do, however, retain the right to choose to not answer a question if necessary - but if I do, I'll probably give the reason why). Perhaps I'll make it a Christmas tradition if it's used. :-P

One more thing for you music lovers - if you haven't discovered and yet, go look them up!! I've heard that doesn't work in countries outside the USA yet (they're working on it), but perhaps Grooveshark does...

More to come soon, hopefully - if I don't post again before the turn of the year, a very, very happy and blessed New Year to you all. Can you believe 2010 is already almost here? Time goes so quickly...I'll be twenty in less than 6 months!! I'm not sure what to make of that.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Adventures of JBU: Chapter 1

Hello from Siloam Springs, Arkansas! Yes, I'm alive and finally am posting again (thanks to Adam for the prompt earlier - you gave me the reminder and drive to finish a post quickly!). Technically I should be doing homework right now, but you make time for what's important to you, I guess. ;-) And I've been thinking about y'all lately...Sorry for the long break between posts in the past month or so. :-(

To say JBU is wonderful would be a slight understatement. It's such an incredible community. Oh, and my roomie and I get along grandly! I should clarify something though - contrary to how she described herself, she is not a sanguine. We're actually rather similar in temperament. :-) And we both praise the Lord for putting us together as roommates! It truly is a blessing (No, it's not perfect, but two random girls being chosen as roommates who HAPPEN to get along so well?). Whether it's music tastes (well, there's not much music she DOESN'T like), decorative tastes, bedtime/rising time preferences, etc., we find that we agree on a lot of it. We're even similar in height and build (so sharing clothes is easy!). Our schedules work well together (i.e. we get up at around the same time, eat meals and get finished with school at around the same time, go to bed around the same time, etc.). Both of us are musically inclined, artsy, dreamers, deep thinkers, athletic (to some extent or another), and lovers of laughter. We've gotten to where we occasionally end up wearing similar shirts by accident, set bedtimes for each other, leave "I love my roomie!" notes, and even play pranks on each other. And whenever I get packages, I leave the "air cushion" packaging for her to pop (which she loves to do). ;-) Besides all that, our first names are very similar. Go figure. :-P

I very much enjoy my classes themselves, and overall really like my professors. I'm taking Honors Old Testament Survey, a required Gateway Seminar, Honors Orientation, Intro to Photography, Color Studies, and Visual Arts Foundation class. The Old Testament Survey is giving me a whole new perspective on the Old Testament - the professor that is teaching it is...brilliant. I love it! The art classes are going well, too - in the past 3 months I have come to discover that there is a lot of homework involved with art classes. Maybe you wouldn't think so, but there is; and it's not the normal "Read thus-and-such and be ready for a quiz." It's projects; taking a photo every day, journaling in a photography journal, project for this concept, project for that concept...I think a lot of people underestimate the college Art major. :-P Anyway, the Gateway Seminar is a class every incoming student to JBU has to take - I'm in one that's focusing on C.S. Lewis and specifically the Narnian Chronicles.

I've been to visit my friends from my hometown (that now live just down the street from campus) several times already and they've become like my home-away-from-home. Speaking of home - I get to go home to Texas and see my family in less than a month (for Thanksgiving)! I talk to them almost every day on the phone and sometimes Skype them. And guess what?! I've met three people that are going to JBU that I knew from childhood. There are my friends who are twin sisters - they were in a homeschool girls' group with me when I was about 12; then they moved away and I didn't hear from them again until earlier this year when I found out that they were attending JBU! They're Juniors and actually are leading the Bible study (called "Passion group") that I'm in right now. :-) During orientation I also met someone I knew from one of the few years I attended a private elementary school (first and second grade)! It is such a small world in some ways. Wow.

While I am enjoying college, as those of you attending college/university can attest it's not all easy-sailing, either...There have been some major struggles. And if you think of me, I'd appreciate your prayers. The stress the past few months has been intense; not only with academic requirements, but with college life in general, wise decision-making, how to balance schoolwork and everything else in my time...And there's my walk with the Lord, too. He's been working on me lately in various ways, and (relating back to my "With a Will" post) I am learning more and more (I hope!) to choose to trust Him even when my emotions don't want to do so...And to continue seeking His face, no matter what.

{Note: This was written before Fall Break, which was October 17-20...} Fall Break is coming up next weekend, and it is SO needed! Counting down to the 5 day weekend. :-) Then maybe I'll actually have time to get ahead in homework, complete some more things on the "to do" list, play the piano and guitar, decorate our room some more, and that sort of thing. I could possibly be convinced to post some pictures of my dorm room if y'all are interested...Speaking of pictures; I'll probably post some soon that I've taken so far this semester.

And while on the topic of photos...

Margaret Feinberg, a speaker and author (who especially talks about listening to and hearing God) came to speak at JBU. At one point while she was on stage during chapel, she decided to take a picture of us students from where she was, and she posted it on her Facebook and twitter accounts...( So I'm somewhere in there! That day I was sitting closer to the back of the Cathedral. ;-)

She also posted this picture. ( Look up the "Cooper Memorial Chapel" on Google images for more photos. I haven't visited it (yet!) but I love this chapel, and as soon as I saw it, I thought it would be such a perfect place for a wedding. It's a perfect blend of indoor and outdoor...simple, elegant, natural, and so lovely!

Ah, I have so much more that I would like to share with you in this post...*sigh* I shall use self-control and spread it out between several posts. I've already given you a lot to read, so that's probably enough for today...Thanks to those of you who do read and comment - I really appreciate it.

God bless you all, my friends. :-)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Today... someone's birthday!

Happy, blessed, and wonderful birthday and coming year to you, Adam! :-) Does it not feel a little strange to no longer have a "teen" at the end of your age?

Hope you have a very special day. :-)

Another post to come soon, by the way...Tomorrow, probably. :-)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Just a quick note... let you guys know that I'm moving on Thursday...We (most of my family and I) will drive part of the way to JBU on Thursday, and then arrive at the campus on Friday, at which time I'll get my things moved into my room and such. So this weekend I shall most likely be very busy, as you might imagine.

When and if you think of me, would you please pray for me? (And for my family.) I would SO very much appreciate it. Thanks. :-)

Lord willing, this blog should considerably increase in activity soon, once all the "hustle and bustle" of moving and such is finished.

"I can finally see that You're right there beside me
I am not my own, for I have been made new
Please don't let me go, I desperately need You

I am not my own, for I have been made new
Please don't let me go, I desperately need You"

~Owl City, 'Meteor Shower'

No matter what, I am claiming this truth: He is always right beside me, and 'the joy of the Lord is my strength.' For indeed He is moving, and I am so glad to see Him and His wonderfully exciting plan unfold. :-)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Here and There

I thought I'd give y'all another quick "life-update" post. ;-)

About three weeks ago I got an email from my "roommate-to-be" for the next year! She's a freshman, so she's probably a year younger than me (I being 19) - Ha, I just realized that I haven't asked her how old she is yet. :-P She's actually an MK from Nairobi! How cool is that?! She has lived there all her life so this is a pretty big transition for her, too - but 5 or 6 of her friends are also going to JBU, which is really neat for her. She's probably going into Sports Medicine with a minor in voice. She's definitely a sanguine, for those of you who are familiar with the four temperaments. :-) She hadn't heard of them, so I told her I'd explain them to her in person (my parents do entire workshops on the four temperaments, so I'm pretty familiar with them - and really enjoy them). We should get along very well! We have quite a few similar interests, too.

We got our room assignments at the same time of course. We're in the all-girl dorm (which is what I asked for) - and we have a SINK in our room. LOL Yes! We don't have carpet in it, though, so we'll have to get some. My roommate actually moves in a few days before regular move-in day for International Orientation, so I might ask if I can move in at the same time - it'd be really, really nice to have that extra time to get settled in and such.

Dorm room shopping has been...interesting. That's another reason I'd like to get there early, because until you actually see the room and the amount of space and such that's there it isn't easy to decide on which things to purchase for it. Being the planner and organizer that I am, that can be a bit frustrating. :-P But I am really quite excited. :-)

At the same time, however, I am already getting homesick - yes, before I've even left! Just thinking about leaving my family and not being around them every day hurts right now. Talking with them, reading with them, laughing with them, crying with them, writing, playing, driving, cleaning, shopping, listening, creating, growing with them...So, some may say, why on earth am I doing it? And they may not understand the answer. But it's because this is where I feel that the Lord wants me; I feel His total peace in this decision. I'm not saying that I totally understand the "why's" of it, but I don't have to know why God does all that He does (as much as I'd like to!) - which is much easier to say than it is to actually apply.

Anyway... ;-)

Meanwhile, here in Texas we are building an outdoor kitchen! Yes! No more grilling steaks on the indoor stove and making a huge mess. :-P Besides which, it looks quite nice. It's not finished yet, but the decking/porch is being tiled, so they are getting pretty close to finishing it. Maybe I'll post some pictures of it when it's completed.

One last thing - today through Friday Ajoyfulheart, one of my brothers, and I are going to be "guides" (basically camp counselors) for a VBS program at our church! It's just a morning program - not a "full blown" camp - but still... ;-) I'd really appreciate your prayers that we would be a blessing to the kids in the VBS program and that He would give us His wisdom. I have a group of ten 3rd and 4th graders (ages 8-10); seven boys and 3 girls. My youngest brother and sister will be in the program as well, which is really convenient because on Thursday our parents are leaving for a 4 day trip up to Idaho.

And I just found out a few minutes ago (via email) that I have been asked to be in charge of the music for the Saturday morning children's program at the Labor Day weekend family camp that I'll be attending with my family! I need to come up with 30 minutes of music and music-related activities for groups of kids from kindergarten age all the way up to 12 and 13 year olds. *deep breath* And I have just over a month to do this, even if you include the time spent preparing for/moving to/starting school at JBU. With God all things are possible...

More to come soon, Lord willing!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

With a Will

Ever felt like there's something that God is probably trying to tell you and you can't deny it because it pops up all over the place? Like He's trying to get our attention. It's as if He just keeps showing it to me in different yet undeniably similar ways until I finally realize that He really is speaking (even if indirectly). I had yet another experience like that this month. And since these types of blog posts really end up being something of a personal devotion, it seems like a good place to talk about it.

I've been going through some tough things the past month or so. Don't get me wrong, God is good. I am so blessed. But like anyone else, I have my issues - things with which I struggle. In particular, lately the Lord seems to be addressing with me the issue of my will.

Over the past few years I have been reading (though off and on) The Christian's Secret of A Happy Life by Hannah Whitall Smith. It's so rich, such a spiritual feast, that you can only read a little bit of it at a time. I picked it up again a few days ago. A much marked-on piece of notebook paper (acting as a bookmark) was placed in a chapter titled "Difficulties Concerning the Will." In that chapter the authoress talks about how when we feel lost and helpless, like we'll never be able to totally surrender this or that to Christ and His keeping and His perfect plan, therein lies the problem. What we feel we can or cannot do or aren't doing correctly or whatever the case may be doesn't matter as much as what we WILL to do. It's what we choose to do. I don't know how many times I've said to my mother, "But it doesn't FEEL like I've [insert spiritual/emotional struggle here]." Whether surrendering something to Christ or any other issue...Emotions are not always totally truthful, especially in tricky, intangible areas such as surrendering things to God. Let me show you some clips from Hannah Smith's book explaining what I mean.

"And now, dear Christian, let me show you how to apply this principle to your difficulties. Cease to consider your emotions [in such spiritual uncertainties], for they are only the servants; and regard simply your will, which is the real king in your being. Is that given up to God? Is that put into His hands? Does your will decide to believe? Does your will choose to obey? If this is the case, then you are in the Lord's hands, and you decide to believe, and you choose to obey; for your will is yourself. And the thing is done. The transaction with God is as real, when only your will acts, as where every emotion coincides..."

"When, then, this feeling of unreality or hypocrisy comes, do not be troubled by it....Only see to it that your will is in God's hands, that your inward self is abandoned to His working, that your choice, your decision, is on His side; and there leave it. Your surging emotions, like a tossing vessel at anchor, which by degrees yields to the steady pull of the cable, finding themselves attached to the might power of God and by the choice of your will, must inevitably come into captivity, and give in their allegiance to Him..."

However, that is not to say that we are to ignore all emotion.
Thank God for emotions - they were created by Him and are a gift to us as beings created in His image. However, I don't always understand them and they don't always seem to know what they're doing.

Much in the same way, Smith says we still have a will.

"But do not let us make a mistake here. I say we must "give up" our wills, but I do not mean we are to be left will-less. We are not so to give up our wills as to be left like limp nerveless creatures, without any will at all. We are simply to substitute for our foolish, misdirected wills of ignorance and immaturity, the higher, divine mature will of God. If we lay the emphasis on the word "our," we shall understand it better. The will we are to give up is our will, as it is misdirected, and so parted off from God's will, not our will when it is one with God's will; for when our will is in harmony with His will, when it has the stamp of oneness with Him, it would be wrong for us to give it up."

A few days after reading this, I found the following quote on a friend's Facebook page.

"...the heart set to do the Father's will need never fear defeat." --Elizabeth Elliot

Anything is possible with God - never more so than when our hearts are totally given over to Him and His will.

And finally, during a sermon that I listened to online (we had been traveling that particular weekend), our pastor spent some time discussing our will and God's. He said that "God's will is inevitable..." (not talking about predestination versus free will - that's a different topic for a different time). Continuing, he explained further; if we keep our focus on Christ, if we keep Him in the center of our lives, if we are surrendered to Him, then we can just watch and see God's fulfillment of prayers and pleas, dreams and hopes...In His perfect timing, and in His perfect way.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

In the Meantime...

I've been working on a post that is quite a bit more substantial than this one - in fact I started it Thursday and have been adding to it and editing it over the weekend...Hopefully I'll complete it to my satisfaction in a few days. In the meantime, however, I thought I'd share this music video with you. It's an absolutely amazing arrangement of two very popular songs combined into a beautiful piece for piano, cello, and percussion (mainly).

I am definitely getting the piano sheet music for this when he releases it. :-)