Thursday, August 27, 2009

An "A" for my Thoughts?

I've officially had all of my classes twice now, which means they're more than into full-swing. And I have to hurry up this post so I can go back to the one lecture hall that all my classes are in and retrieve the water bottle I neglected to bring with me. So along with watching an hour-long special on Sir Issac Newton, and reading about manufacturing systems, I was assigned to write an essay answering the question, "What do other people need to know to understand what it's like to be me?" It's for my Expository Writing 1 class, which I put off until this year, but figured I better take it now since it's a pre-requisite for my technical writing class. I thought it was pretty good, and post-worthy material, so here it is! Enjoy.

I left the house later than I wanted to this morning, but that’s usually the case, so I wasn’t too worried. There’s something about already having two years of college under your belt that makes you a little more lax about getting to class. It’s not that I’m lazy; I’m just less worried about a teacher ripping my head off or locking me out of lecture. Anyway, it turned out that I was several minutes early. I guess it takes less time than I remembered to get to Willard.

I was feeling a little self-conscious as I walked up the steps and saw the large crowd amassed in the foyer. I’m really not a big-group person, so I just smiled and tried to glide through the swarm of students. Growing up I was very shy, hardly saying anything at all. But my mom is quite persistent and she wouldn’t let me stay that way—she always encouraged me to speak up and step into the spotlight. In high school, cheerleading and theater really helped me break out of my shell, and now I don’t mind the attention once I get over the initial intimidation I feel.

As soon as I broke through the multitude, I found myself in the familiar comfort of Willard’s sanitarium-white hallways. I smiled as I thought about the art classes I’d taken there and the colorful characters I’d met—polar opposite of the guys in engineering, where I spend most of my time. In the end, I think it was a wise decision to double major in Mechanical Engineering and Art for my first two years. In addition to a GPA boost, I learned a lot about the subjects, myself and people very different from me. I realized that people are just people, and everyone needs a friend.

Walking into Willard 123, I was honestly a little surprised to see so many guys. If this was Engineering Physics or Calculus, I would have expected the ratio… but Expository Writing? I had the feeling you get when you bite into an oatmeal-raisin cookie thinking that it’s oatmeal chocolate chip. It’s not that you’re necessarily disappointed you got raisins, only that you thought it would be chocolate and it’s not. So, I decided to let go of my expectations and gladly accept what Providence had dealt.

Next, I did what any socially-adept person does when they walk into a classroom: I looked for the “safe seat”. A “safe seat” is one that’s in the front half of the classroom (but not the first row), preferably on the end, and even more preferably with a buffer seat between you and the nearest person. Seeing none, but noticing that the second row was full except for the end one closest to the door, I took that opportunity. With so many people sitting beside each other, I didn’t want to look like a loner. As much as I don’t like to be part of the crowd, I’d rather not feel like there’s no room for me if I need to be a part of it.

Sitting there, I found myself thinking it was nice to be back in Kansas again. After spending last year in Texas, it was nice to see familiar faces, to be somewhere that I knew well and to meet people from towns that I recognize. I am thankful that I had the opportunity to do a leadership internship, but it is hard to pack up and move two states away with hardly anyone or anything familiar. This small-town-Kansas girl found Dallas to be a little intimidating at times.

My thoughts were interrupted with the entrance of our teacher. As she began to get settled, I leaned over to get my pen and notebook and thanked God for such a wonderful morning…

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Wait... it's Already August?

How long has it been... I guess I forgot to look. I know it must have been a while, because today I looked at my watch and realized it's already 8 days into August. I'm not sure I remember much of June or July... you see, I've been at Pine Cove. In some ways it's like washing your hair 11 times in a row. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. You probably don't distinctly remember one wash from the other. You get done and you realize you're out of shampoo and you're wondering what happened... Well that's sort of like summer camp. I'm looking to be done with my last week of summer camp at Pine Cove. I feel a litttle nostalgic as I think back on my three summers + one year in the Forge. Tyler's definitely a second home for me... and in some ways it will always be I think.

Anyway, despite the blur of this summer I know that God has been at work! I've been blessed to see God multiply lessons that I learned in Forge in those around me. Since I'm a list person (thanks, mom!) I'll go that route:

1. There are some people you meet who are just easy to be friends with, but there are plenty of people in life who are not. At all. But if Jesus has Lordship in your life and you are his disciple, you can not only tolerate, or be friendly and kind to everyone, but you can actually love them. The love of Christ has no stipulations or preferences. A line from one of my favorite songs (by Phil Wickham) says, "Love with no conditions lives for holding nothing back." So that's just it, there's no excuse for not loving your neighbor! It is, after all, the greatest commandment.

2. You are not entitled to anything. You are a bond-servant to Christ and you must humbly take your portion from him daily. (Even if it's not what you want or think you deserve...)

3. You can choose joy. It is always your choice because the fullness of joy is available to you and it's not based upon your circumstance.

4. The battle against sin is first fought in your mind. You are not a victim of your sin. It is a choice.

5. To quote Tozer, "Sins are because sin is." The root of all sin is ungodliness... putting yourself on the throne of your heart that rightly belongs to God.

6. The gospel is for every day. It is not only for salvation, but it is also for sanctificaiton. The good news that Christ paid for all of your sin gives you the strength to continue in the battle until he comes again and the completion of your sanctification and glorification is complete. PTL!

Well, friends. I am sitting here in Cafe Tazza (for the last time, perhaps?) and getting very cold. It's time for me to shut this party down and work on prepping for school. TTFN!