Saturday, November 28, 2009

Keane & Kristkindlmart.

"I don't want to be adored,
Don't want to be first in line
Or make myself heard.
I'd like to bring a little light
To shine a light on your life
To make you feel loved

Will you see me in the end
Or is it just a waste of time
Trying to be your friend?
Just shine, shine, shine
Shine a little light
Shine a light on my life.
Warm me up again.

...Say a word or two to brighten my day."

Friday, November 27, 2009

Ready or not.

I have 2 more weeks of classes before FINALS, and then, finally: Christmas.

I just got back from a Christmas-infused Starbucks date with this one... (Skim pumpkin spice latte for me, peppermint mocha for her.)
Now: I think I'm ready for these next 3 weeks. I'm readying my mind for the 4 cumulative finals that are staring me down. (Cross your fingers.)

I'm readying my heart for caroling in Howard while Travis plays the piano, wearing mittens to classes, trudging through the snow, watching Christmas movies on weekends, listening to Josh Groban's Christmas album non-stop, spending Christmas Day with these two...
And I'm readying my heart for the coming of Christ. I'm ready to celebrate Advent. I'm ready to put this uncertainty behind me and get in on the joy of Christmastime.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Tell me when you hear my heart stop.

I'm in Chicago listening to Lykke Li and expressing my thoughts through Wordle:
(There’s a possibility that all that I had was all I'm going to get.
There’s a possibility that all I'm going to get is gone with your step.

So tell me when you hear my heart stop.
You’re the only who knows.
Tell me when you hear the silence.
There’s a possibility I wouldn’t know.

Know that when you leave,
By blood and by mean you walk like a thief.
By blood and by mean I fall when you leave.

So tell me when my sigh is over.
You’re the reason why I’m close.
Tell me when you hear me falling.
There's a possibility it wouldn’t show.)

What does this mean? I'm not quite sure yet. But despite that familiar aching loss, I'm feeling safe in the knowledge that God is good.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Give thanks, O weary hearts.

I'm thankful for:
Shannon Odell.
Black coffee.
Mary Wiggins.
Cozy sweaters.
My western heritage reader.
Chocolate milk.
Empty practice rooms.
Eric DeMeuse.
My amazing roommate.
Studying next to windows.
Philosophy with Schlueter next semester.
Theological discussions with AOD.
Taylor Gage's hugs.
Travis Lacy.
Ben Maddock.
Dr. Stewart's yellow couch.
iChatting with my little sisters.
Shelby Kittleson.
Jack Hummel.
Upper Left.
Anna Wilke.
A new perspective.
Christ my Redeemer.
A holy God worthy of our praise even if He didn't save us.

This is grace: an invitation to be beautiful.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The disconnect.

Sometimes I get caught in the disconnect. That's when I throw my heart at the one Absolute.
"Trust in the Lord with all your might."

Monday, November 16, 2009


Aren't my favorite days.

So tomorrow, this is going to be on my heart:

Saturday, November 14, 2009


Row away, row
O'er the waters so blue
Like a feather we'll float
In our gum-tree canoe.

Today is the one-year anniversary of the day I found out I don't have cancer. One year today. And I couldn't be happier.

Happier about being alive for this:

Or this:

Or this:

Or this:

But especially this:

Tonight, I'm just happy to be alive.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Blessed by a bad day.

Today was a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day.

It was raining when I woke up.
The apple that I had at breakfast was icky.
I forgot to bring my Spanish homework to class.
I literally walked into my favorite professor and mumbled an apology, only realizing later who it was.
I got a little bit discouraged and intimidated by calculus. (I study so much and memorize so much, and then on tests I make THE stupidest mistakes.)
I accidentally fell asleep when I had wanted to go for a run.
I have a headache.
I'm arguing with a friend.
Deadlines are looming.

But, from the beginning, this day had nothing to do with me. Today had nothing to do with how I was feeling, how well I performed, how well I enjoyed it, how satisfied I am at the end of it. It does not. God loved me as much today as He did yesterday! And tomorrow He'll love me just as much. Even when I don't feel it, even when I don't want to admit it, God is worthy of my wholehearted praise even on the bad days.

So for now: I'll put on my favorite sweater, make chai tea in my favorite .:yellow:. mug, turn on some Whitley, pray for my friend Jack as he crams for a test, get some instruction from some saints on loving my friend Anna better, talk to my roommate Sarah about her day, do a little yoga, and try to remind myself who I belong to.

Who I belong to.
Who I'm living for.
Who loves me more than anyone.

Even on days like today.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Be kinder than necessary.

This week I've just been overwhelmed by the weight and beauty and disconnectedness of this mass of souls with whom I'm living here. I want to love them as I ought.

Sometimes love is:
A full pot of strong coffee.
Making paper snowflakes.
Post-it notes on a window.
Sharing a secret study place with a friend.
Prayer 3 minutes before you go up to speak.
A pinky swear.
Your favorite photographs.
An oversized coloring book.
Breakfast at 2 in the morning.
Asking "You okay?" when you know they're probably not.

Be kinder than necessary.
For everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

"Do you believe in Providence?"

Every day, Hillsdale is becoming more and more of an adventure. Getting to know and getting close to the people here has been one of the best parts of the past 9 weeks. Last night Mary and I talked for a long time about who we want to be in 4 years. We talked about what we want to look like, what we want our college careers to look like, what we want our relationships to look like. We thought about our friends, and how little we know them now, and how much we'll love them in 4 years. We don't love each other yet, but we will. Mary and I sometimes get impatient about that, but I reminded us both that love is patient. There are so many conversations, road trips, late-night food runs, all-nighters, struggles, prayer sessions, jam sessions, shopping trips, runs, long walks, favors, arguments, introductions, confrontations, interventions, break-ups, misunderstandings, reconciliations, apologies, questions, and discoveries between us and the brotherhood we'll have by the time we graduate.

So I thank God for those little moments with people where I stop and catch my breath and laugh a little bit and think "Oh friend, if you can believe it, one day I will know you so well and hold you so dear."

Last night gave me one of those moments.

I ended up talking and praying with a friend of mine about some heavy stuff until 2AM. We said "Amen" and he rested his head on the table and asked: "Do you believe in Providence?"

I leaned back and thought and answered: "Not before I came to Hillsdale, I didn't."

"Yeah," he said. "Is it just coincidence that we both have tests tomorrow that we had to study for tonight? Or that we both hate Taylor Swift so we sat at a separate table from everyone else and talked about theology? Or how about the fact that today's mass in the Magnificat told you the one thing you needed to hear? Interesting stuff, huh?"

And I don't know if God really did perfectly orchestrate those details, or else maybe He just was very intentional about giving my sincere, wise, prayerful brother a heart for me and my struggles. Either way, I honestly do believe that God had a hand in last night. Oh friend, if you can believe it, God does work all things together for our good and His glory.

Monday, November 2, 2009


Usually it just hits me out of nowhere: "This is not where I want to be." That doesn't mean that I don't enjoy being here, but if I let myself think about it long enough it does start to frustrate me that I of all people am here of all places. I love Hillsdale's mission statement and its purpose and its staff: Hillsdale as an abstract. Yet, at the same time, Hillsdale in practice so often goes across the grain of who I am. That's not a criticism or a complaint; it's just a fact.

Sometimes I can't wait for grad school. A school so huge you get dizzy looking at the maps. A school so famous people cower at your resume. A school so prestigious, so historic, so busy, that I'll get nostalgic for my teensy-weensy undergraduate college. I can't wait to take classes that plumb the intricate depths of political science and economics. I get excited about writing papers with theses so specific that "what's your paper about?" becomes food for an entire dinner conversation. I get excited about being a scholar, not just a student. I get excited about digging into my field of study. I get excited about internships, real-world jobs, and new experiences where I doubt my ability. I get excited about awkward transition-to-adulthood moments where I excuse myself from important meetings to call my mom and ask her advice on what to do. I get excited about paying my own rent, even if I can't always afford it, so that I actually feel like a real member of society instead of an 18-year-old with a college dean for babysitter.

Adults tell me that the 4 years of undergraduate education were the best years of their life. I consider that a logical impossibility because undergraduate education is not real life. Freshman drama, free t-shirts, frat parties, parent-professor conferences... this is no where near what I know of real life.

But here is the thing. I am convinced that I am here for a purpose. And yes, I am going to struggle with frustration, discouragement, restlessness, indignation, and outright anger for the next 4 years. I will. But there are great professors here who refuse to let me coast through my default logical arguments. There are professors here who tear down my best work and make me work harder than I'd ever thought I'd have to. And there are PEOPLE here who pray for me. I told a friend of mine last night that I'm just. not. used to this: so many people are consistently praying for me, and praying with me, and keeping me accountable, and loving me. He leaned against my shoulder and looked me in the eye and said "Well get used to it." I'm going to go out to live fully, and learn to the best of my ability, and pursue, and invest, all with the hope that I will reap a harvest at the end.

Through God's grace and by God's will, I study to change the world.

To what end? For whose sake?

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecution, and calamities; For when I am weak, then I am strong." -2 Cor. 12:9-10

Maybe Christians are supposed to be really bad philanthropists. Perhaps we are supposed to only give what we are able, give it joyfully, and then, with joy and a sense of relief, let God take over. Yes, we are supposed to suffer for the cause of Christ, but that does not mean that we need to be crucified too. Suffering for the cause of Christ and suffering for the sins of man are very different things. The first is faith, the second is pride.

I need to repent when I start thinking I can save the world. I need to repent when I start thinking it's my responsibility to direct the pursuits of the people around me.

I can do nothing.
But God has already done everything.