Took these pictures as I went for a little walk in the country yesterday.
Things have been going really well these past few days. School has been super interesting, and every day I’ve looked forward to the next class. We are now into our second week of school; we just finished reading and discussing Augustine’s Confessions and just today we discussed Augustine’s understading of the Trinity and of the Will, whether creeds and confessions are an important thing to have in the church (we’re reading part of The Creedal Imperative by Carl Trueman for that), etc. So many topics in one class period! It was so interesting though.
To provide context for future posts, I might as well add that hey, so I’m actually not a junior. I would have been, but last year the stress, the workload, the late nights and minor depression (from all of this) got to me, consequently last year things didn’t go as well as I’d liked, and I didn’t exactly pass. I had taken my fall sophomore semester, but couldn’t take the spring one until I caught up on some things. So I focused on my Greek, aced it, enjoyed a lighter workload for a season, and now I’m back as a Sophomore, 2.0. While this is hard in some ways going from one class to another, it’s been great being a part of this new class. From the start I immediately felt like I belonged, they were all so welcoming. Last year I had gotten to know some of these people, and became good friends with them. Now I get to be in class with them, and hang out with them all the time. It’s pretty sweet. Besides the people I already knew, I got to know the people I didn’t know very well. At this point I know everyone’s names and have talked to nearly every one of them, and they all are super awesome people. I left a great class, but I entered one that was just as equally great.
Now that I’ve provided some context, I can talk in the future about themes we’re studying without you all being confused – “didn’t you go through that material already?”
Besides academics, life has been good these past few days – exceptionally good.
- The LORD has been so full of grace to me, as always, particularly now by giving me joy in him, which I’ve felt somewhat lacking before and had to fight for it. I feel like these days my prayers have been less self-focused and more gospel-centered, which is good. Besides that type of joy (which surpasses all others), I’ve been laughing so much these days, haha. There are a few people in my class who are absolutely HILARIOUS, and they have been a source of much humor in our classes and in the times we hang out together.
- Some days the weather has been slightly chilly – an indication of fall weather. You guys, I cannot wait. The colors. The smell of dead leaves, and the sound of them crunching under my feet. Actually having to wear sweaters and wool socks and use blankets. Being able to drink tea without overheating myself. Pumpkin, cinnamon, squash… guys. I bought a butternut squash a few days ago. YES.
- I’ve been learning the pleasure of listening to entire albums at once. I used to not have the patience for that. But I’ve been realizing that albums sometimes have a big picture, and certain songs sometimes build off others in the album, or a hidden theme develops that I would have missed had I only listened to select songs at random. Even if not, I’ve found listening to entire albums pleasurable in and of itself. A few albums I’ve been listening to, start to finish, are
- Ghost of a King by The Gray Havens
- Where The Light Gets In by Jason Gray
- Posters by Strahan
So that’s a bit on how things have been going recently! I could say so much, but time is limited, and I’ve got to make supper and get to my reading (my reason for blogging was to wake myself up – I kept dozing off mid-sentence while I was reading, and would end up dreaming ends of sentences onto ones I had started while awake! So strange, haha).
A lot has happened since I last posted – so many lessons learned, memories made, things enjoyed. I cannot believe how fast this semester has flown by; in a few weeks it will be over! Here is a portion of what has happened within the past couple of months:
We’ve had a really warm, sunny fall over here, and it has been gorgeous. I love fall so much. =) It’s been pretty decent teperature-wise up until this week, where the temperature dropped and the chilly winter winds picked up. I’m excited that it’s time to break out the coat and mittens. Bring on the snow! (And I mean it; I love snow. Until around February when it turns dirty grayish-brown from all the street sludge and car exhaust. Then I can’t wait for spring.)
I finished a lettering project recently for a publishing house for a friend of mine. I designed the logos, and I’m really excited how they turned out. Can’t wait to see them in use!
These days God has been teaching me a lot. I say that every week, but it’s true. And I’m thankful that he keeps teaching me a lot. =) For a while until about a couple weeks ago I was worn out by school and because of this, really overtired and depressed. In case I haven’t before, let me clarify: I love my school SO MUCH and and am so blessed to be studying here under such a wonderful curriculum and amazing professors. I love what I’m learning, but the workload is pretty strenuous, and it’s easy to feel like I’m drowning sometimes. Though I tried to fight it, I constantly was under this cloud of gloom and negativity, like I am not doing well. I am going to fail. There is no hope. And if I caught myself telling myself this, I would stop and try to tell myself, NO. Those are lies, Madeline. I mean, even if you do fail, that is not the end of the world. God has a plan for your life. Trust him. Ask him for strength. Don’t worry about the future. But I couldn’t really shake it for a while. However, looking back, I see God’s grace in helping me through the rut. I had a few really good conversations with a couple classmates about this, and I found that I was not alone; that I was not the only one who felt weary and overwhelmed. After that, God basically shoved two verses in my face – ones that really spoke to me. I only remember what one of them was, and I heard it in Greek class. My Greek prof opens every class period with a verse – in Greek, of course – which we read and translate, and then he unpacks the verse. Well this one time, he chose Philippians 4:6-7:
do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7 ESV)
And I’m sitting there listening to Professor Matt explain the passage as I start to tear up and am like, Wow, God. THANK YOU. For the rest of the week, that (as well as one other verse that I found which I can’t remember) was recalled again and again as I preached to myself: Don’t be anxious, Madeline! Ask God for help! He is Your heavenly Father who loves to give good things to his children! Ask him for help with this seemingly impossible assignment! He is able to help me do this! Besides those verses, one Sunday our pastor preached a sermon that was just PERFECT. The gist of it was this: “Where you look tends to control your outlook” and “What you see by faith is more decisive and more defining than what you see by sight.” It got me thinking, OH! By sight, I see an overwhelming task ahead of me, and it’s weighing me down. I’m letting it ruin my life because I’m not looking at it from faith – instead of looking at it with the mindset of “okay, God put this task before me, and it looks impossible. But! He is able to help me do this! Okay, LORD, help me!” and tackling it, trusting in his strength, I’ve been looking to my own strength and realizing my insignificance, forgetting that I have a God who I can ask for help. Lord, forgive me! Teach me to look to you in this, and give me the strength and endurance to do it faithfully! So I was really blessed by that sermon. Then, what do ya know! I then went downstairs to help out in the youth group, as I do every week, and the lesson the youth leader taught was ALSO on faith. What. I went home that day, and I was just marveling. Okay, God. I have no words. You are AMAZING. Thank you for teaching me this. Forgive me for my doubtfulness. May I learn to trust You! After that, by God’s grace, the nervousness, the panicking over the schedule ahead of me, the sobbing on my bunk as if there wasn’t any hope (how embarrassing…) and all that… pretty much ceased. God gave me a more positive outlook. I still felt overwhelmed, but I realized this: God is in control. He has a wonderful plan for my life. Even if I don’t end up doing well in school, that doesn’t mean I’m stupid, and it doesn’t define who I am; my identity is in Christ, and Christ is what matters most. HE is the reason why I live and move and have my being; I live to honor HIM. Grades do not matter as much as he does, and I should not let this ruin my joy. Things have been a lot better since then.
Over the summer, I started a notebook which I titled “Myriads of Graces”. I write down the many things things God has done in my life, things he has blessed me with, and things that simply make me smile. Two things inspired me to do this: the first being Psalm 103, which starts out with “Bless the LORD, O my soul”. Recalling the millions of things he has done for me is one way that causes my heart to praise him – Wow, LORD, thank you! You are such a loving Father, and you have blessed me with SO many good things I don’t deserve! The second thing that inspired me was a message that one of the professors at my school spoke to some of the students, which was on the importance of cultivating a heart of gratitude towards God for all that he has done – and ultimately, for who he is. Gratitude leads to worship (it should, anyway). He defined gratitude as “a glad-hearted reception of God’s grace through his gifts”, and told of ways he exercises thankfulness in his own life. He mentioned that one way was by making a list of a things that bring him joy – two of his examples being “wool socks” and “peanut M&Ms”. (Those are some pretty solid examples…) So this past summer, I started my own thankfulness notebook, and it has been wonderful. Here are just a few things I have written:
- God’s love for me.
- The ability to create.
- Healing from migraines.
- The way sun shines through trees and illuminates the leaves.
- Friends that you can have inside jokes with, tell anything, laugh or cry with. You know, the best kind of friend.
- Hot chocolate.
- Hugs – long ones.
- Happy memories.
- Water when you’re in desperate need of it.
- Fall colors.
- Corporate worship.
- The book of Romans.
- Reading for pleasure.
- Wearing pretty dresses.
- Texting long into the night with sisters and laughing about inside jokes that only we understand.
You should start your own thankfulness notebook – it’s pretty fun. =)
Greek, as usual, has been super enjoyable. I love the satisfaction of being able to read verses in Greek and knowing what they say! It is definitely hard work though memorizing all those paradigms and vocabulary words. Wow. Currently we are trying to memorize the Imperfect Active Indicative forms of λύω, and I’m still trying to get my prepositions down. A couple months ago I started writing whatever I needed to memorize down and placing it where I would see it – First Declension forms on the whiteboard in my room, prepositions in a plastic bag stuck to the wall of the shower, etc. All the work memorizing pays off though. Greek is pretty awesome.
I used to avoid sugar, preservatives, and unhealthy things in general, because I would get really bad migraines – like the kind that would sometimes cause temporary paralysis in some parts of my body, such as the right arm and sometimes the tongue, and would, on rare occasions, affect mental clarity (not in a weird way, but just that I wouldn’t be able to figure out the answer to six times four, or not be able to read words on a page.) Once I would get them, the only thing I could do was sleep it off; I wasn’t comfortable using medication. I started getting them when I was about 11, and then at one point when I was about 12 or 13, I started getting them pretty much on a daily basis. It was a trying season of my life, but I did find that if I took fish oil and avoided sugar and anything artificial, they wouldn’t happen quite as often. So I avoided sugar, dyes, preservatives, artificial flavors, and chocolate like the plague. Then God chose to heal me. A doctor found out what was wrong with me, and did what he could, and eventually the migraines became lesser and lesser, until instead of getting them daily or even weekly, I got them only about once a year. I’ve been almost completely free of migraines for a few years now, and just recently have been introducing previously avoided things back into my life: sugar, chocolate and certain types of preservatives – not to intake on a regular basis, but just as a treat every now and then. It’s awesome to be able to literally eat a gluten-free cookie, or pop an altoid in my mouth, and not worry about getting a migraine from it. Last Tuesday I literally ate REAL ice cream, Breyers mint chocolate chip even (my favorite kind!), and it was THE BOMB DOT COM. It’s so awesome to be able to have things like this again. =) FREEDOM!
We have mice. And it’s disgusting. I hear them scutter around and squeak in the walls at night, and I wonder how many there are in this house. I saw one run out of the bathroom once (what on earth was it doing in there?), and hear them in the kitchen every so often. Sometimes I can’t help thinking about that scene in Ratatouille when the ceiling comes crashing down and the old lady finds out that a whole rat colony has been living in her attic. Ughhhhhh. *shudders* Thankfully, one of my housemates has stocked up on mousetraps (16 of them, to be exact). I hope we find some dead ones soon. (Ooh, I heard one just now. Sick.)
These days our class have been studying Catholicism and the Reformation (woohoo!). Because of our recent study of Catholicism, our class went on a field trip to a beautiful cathedral, where we attended the mass. You know, if you’ve been studying Catholicism, it makes sense to see it in action, right? It was my first time attending a mass. When we walked inside the cathedral, I was like, WHOA. It was so beautiful! I wonder how much money – and TIME! – it took to build that thing? When mass was over we walked slowly around, admiring all the elaborately detailed architecture. I kind of felt like Lizzy Bennet walking through Pemberley, in the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice. When we left the cathedral, we went to an Italian restaurant and had supper (well, I only had some pineapple, haha) while we fellowshipped, talked about the mass and what we thought about it, and enjoyed each other’s company. We had such a good time. Ah… I love my class so much.
Other various enjoyments:
- Ask Pastor John podcasts. Desiring God’s got an app for it, and you should download it. =) Each podcast is about 5 minutes long, and there are ones for almost every topic imaginable, and you can submit a question for Piper to answer.
- Dancing around to Rend Collective’s new album while I cook or clean my room.
- Occasional leisure time (such as right now, as I am typing this post!).
- Writing out passages of the Bible and sticking them to my wall. I’m realizing more and more that to fight the fight of faith well, I need to be well-versed in God’s Word, so I’m working on memorizing a few passages, like Ephesians 2:1-10 or 1 Peter 1:3-9.
- Bacon. I found some natural bacon (though I can handle some types of preservatives, I avoid those found in meat. Thus, bacon was off limits for me) at Target yesterday, and fried some up almost as soon as I got home. Guys, it was the first bacon I’ve had in years. Wow.
Now that it’s getting a lot colder, I’m more in the mood for soup and basically anything warm. A few days ago I got some raw organic beets, and had the idea of making borscht. My mom had made it a few times growing up, and I wanted to try making it myself. (This would be my second time successfully making soup… I’m still learning how to cook.) So that day I looked up a recipe and decided to make it, making a few alterations. I got this recipe off epicurious, but changed it a bit to make it my own. So to be honest, I’m not even sure if the finished product is legit borscht. All you Russians/Poles/Ukrainians out there can tell me if there is a specific way of making real borscht; I would love to know. =) Anyway, here is, if not real borscht, the recipe for some really good soup. I could literally eat it every day… which is obviously what I did as long as I had leftovers! The day after making it, I took some to school in a glass pyrex dish, heated it up in the microwave in the student lounge, and enjoyed it while I studied. It’s better a day old, or two days old (which is a very cliché but true statement about pretty much every soup out there). =)
1 package of chicken breast, cut into smallish pieces (beef would be good too, but chicken was what I had, and it turned out wonderful)
1 tablespoon olive oil
4-5 garlic cloves (I could definitely taste the garlic, which I liked. However, use less garlic if you’re not keen on a strong garlic-y flavor.)
1-2 large potatoes, diced
2-3 carrots, sliced
1/6 head of cabbage, cut into bite-sized pieces
salt and pepper to taste
5 beets, peeled and diced
1/2 a lemon’s worth of lemon juice
In a soup pot, cook the cut-up chicken breast in about 8 cups of water, until fully cooked. (I let it simmer on medium-ish heat for about an hour after that to let the water get more broth-like (I didn’t have any chicken broth, so I made do using this method. It turned out well, I think). Remove chicken and put in a bowl to be added later. Add beets, potatoes and carrots to the broth. Simmer for an hour or so. Add cabbage. Simmer for another hour or two (you may want to stir it occasionally, to avoid any possibilities of stuff sticking to the bottom of the pot and getting burned. We wouldn’t want that, would we?), then add salt, pepper, olive oil, and lemon juice. Let simmer for a while longer until you think it’s about done. Taste it. See if it’s actually ready, or if it could use a while longer. Enjoy.
This makes about 4-5 servings; my soup pot is rather small, hence the interesting ingredient portions, such as 1/6 of a head of cabbage. =)
Hey everyone! How are you all? I’m doing well. =) Right now, I’m enjoying a little bit of free time, and it feels great. I’ve been so tired, and have been working hard trying to read a lot and memorize what year the Vandals attacked North Africa and cut off what was left (East or West, I can’t remember) of the Roman Empire’s grain supply (I wrote a poem about it! Just a second…), and memorize the forms of the Greek word λόγος (there are 8 of them!), and write on what I think Augustine’s understanding of the self is. Whew! It’s been wonderful to learn all the things I have been learning, but wow, I’m a bit exhausted, and it feels good to do something leisurely and restful. I must be lacking in a year’s worth of sleep… I think I’ll go to bed early tonight (pshhh… we’ll see if that actually happens).
This past week, we’ve been learning about Islam: its history, its religious and political significance, and what Muslims believe (studying its doctrines to what the Bible teaches). It’s been very interesting. For example, did you know, that their god (Allah) has 99 names that signify his attributes, but not one of them means “love”? Learning that made me so thankful that the true God, YHWH, is full of love, and that by giving His Son to atone for my guilt, I, who once was black with all my errors and pain and regrets, have been made clean and set free from my sin, and become His adopted daughter, to love and serve Him in joy forever and bask in His glory… not because of anything I’ve done, but because of what HE did, out of His love for me! I mean, seriously, what a gift! No other religion teaches news like this.
Greek has been super hard, but fun. I prefer the class sessions over the individual study time, because our Greek prof makes the classes fun and interactive, calling on us at random to answer questions (“Madeline. Say this word on the board, tell me what it means, and parse it for me.”). To parse a word is to identify its qualities, such as its case, gender, number. For example, λόγος (logos – “word”) is in the nominative case, is masculine, and singular. Greek is as hard to learn as I imagine English as a second language would be. But it’s definitely interesting and fun! It’s so cool to actually be able to read the New Testament in its original language.
I’ve been biking pretty often. It’s been fun… biking in the city is kind of a new experience for me, so I’m getting used to that. I have had a few awkward moments while doing it though… such as trying to cross a street but taking a while to get my bike to actually get moving, because the pedals are inconveniently situated, so I can’t push on it to get it going very well (while the guy in the car by me has to wait a second until I’m out of his way. sorry dude). This has happened a few times. Or the time when I was biking with a friend, when we happened upon one of those ramps at the end of sidewalks, and I, having just been going rather slowly, had some trouble actually getting up the ramp, and had to kind of assist my bike along using my feet. (Smooth.) Meanwhile, my friend is several yards ahead, and looks back with an amused expression, probably wondering, “what’s taking her so long?” Yup. Haha. But it’s been fun.
For the past few days, we’ve been studying for a history quiz. Some of my housemates and I made a timeline on our dining room wall out of different-colored baker’s twine, pinning on index cards with names and dates with clothespins. It’s pretty awesome. A few friends and I went to a coffee shop to study, two days in a row. The second time was originally the morning of the quiz, so we all got up at 5-ish in the morning and got there while it was still dark. And then as we were studying, we all received an email from our professor that it got postponed until Friday (so, this morning). I’m not sure how everyone else felt about that, but I was relieved: more time to get the facts cemented into my brain! I didn’t mind a bit that we had to get up at 5. By the way, I found a fun way to study facts and dates: write little poems or haikus about them! Everything’s easier to remember when it’s put to rhyme or a tune. Here’s one I wrote yesterday:
Near four hundred thirty the Vandals took Africa
Stopping the import of wheat to the Empire
This was a blow to the economy,
They then had no choice but to eat gluten free.
Obviously that last line isn’t historically accurate; I’m sure the victims of this catastrophe possibly could have grown their own wheat if they wanted to, and they probably did, but I added it just for the fun of it. (YOLO.) Anyway, all that poetry writing paid off today; I think I did rather well. =)
These days God has been teaching me to take every hard situation – be it a hard assignment, or a life problem, or a day where I’m feeling a bit overtired, or a time when life isn’t going according to what I’d hoped – and “count it all joy”.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4 ESV)
What does it mean to “count it all joy”? Well, the verse is saying that when hard times happen, I should know that God is using it to strengthen my faith, to teach me to trust him. It’s sanctification. So when I’m feeling not-so-joyful and wondering why on earth, or looking ahead with intimidation at a hard task, or whatever, God is teaching me to say “well, LORD, this isn’t pleasant, but I know that You have caused this moment in my life to happen for a reason, to teach me to trust You more. So thank You, and help me to take this moment with joy, knowing that You are doing this for my good, because You LOVE me.” If life were easy, I would be a spoiled brat. Thank You, LORD for discipline.
Also, I’ve been reminded that God is the giver of wisdom. Yesterday I was sitting in the school library trying to write the final draft of my Augustine paper. It was pouring outside (yes!), and I was listening to my playlist on Spotify titled “Chillax” (full of calm, wordless, relaxing music), and I thought I knew where I was going with my paper. All was going fine. Then suddenly… I don’t know what to write anymore. My thesis doesn’t work. I can’t come up with six pages’ worth of information to support my argument. Oh no. What on earth am I going to do? These are the moments where I break down and am like, “Okay, God. I cannot do this on my own. Any knowledge I have is a gift from You. Would you be pleased to give me wisdom for what to write, and help me to get this turned in on time?” And often in the past He has been pleased to answer this prayer. Last semester I was writing a paper that had to be five pages long, and I only had two, and it was due the next day. So I asked Him to give me the right things to write. And would You believe it? God gave me some grace. He helped me to think (more clearly, when it was midnight and all I could think about was “I want to go to bed”) about the topic I was writing about and calling to mind all kinds of biblical evidence for my argument, and soon I had 5 pages’ worth of “word vomit”, which I could sort through the next day. I was like, “WOW, God! Thank You!” Also, today my professor happened to read 1 Kings 3:1-15 to us as our morning devotional before class. This chapter tells about when Solomon became king of Israel, and God appeared to him in a dream and said, “Ask what I shall give you.” Solomon could have asked for anything he wanted, but what he asks for is wisdom – understanding to govern the people well, and to discern between good and evil. He realizes that he is only human, and cannot lead such a large nation of people on his own strength. God is pleased with his humility, and answers His prayer. Like, He REALLY answers his prayer, making him wiser than anyone before or after him. So. Moral of the story: Do you need wisdom? Ask God. =)
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. (James 1:5 ESV)
Lately, I’ve been enjoying: Tazo Passion tea // “Live To Praise You” and “Oxygen” by Lincoln Brewster // “Born Again” by Josh Garrels. This song. Wow. // Wearing dresses around the house because they’re comfortable, and why not. =) // Reading Beowulf. (It’s our assigned reading for this Monday. I’m only on the second page, but so far it’s enjoyable. I’m reading the Seamus Heaney translation.) // The occasional chilly, rainy days. =) Fall is coming! // The book of Romans (I’m going through it for my devotions. So good. Paul is the man).
During these past couple weeks…
I swing danced for the first time. A few of the freshmen and sophomores at my college had a dance on Halloween (or Reformation Day, which I observe instead). We swing danced, waltzed, salsa danced, line danced, and there was even this dance off at one point between two of the guys (which was quite amusing). But I’d have to say that the swing dancing was my favorite. I felt very 1940s for a good part of that evening and it was fabulous.
I started drawing again. All because the LORD miraculously shoved a sketchbook into my hands by the means of my roommate. Seriously, God is so good. A week or so ago my roommates and I were having a friend over at our place, and we were talking about art, handlettering, prints and the like, and I happened to mention “I’ve been wanting so much to draw these days, but I don’t have a sketchbook.” To which my roommate immediately responded, “I have a sketchbook! Do you want it?” To which I surprisedly replied, “Seriously?” And our friend was like, “ask and you shall receive!” So God provided a sketchbook for me that day. And from now on, that sketchbook will serve as a reminder that God provides for me, even things I don’t need, even before I ask for them!
I challenged myself to draw every one of my classmates. I’m about a third of the way finished. I posted a picture of the work in progress on our class’s Facebook page, and now it seems like a few people in my class are following the project to some extent. One of them said to me, “Man, I’m excited for this! It’s like watching the progression of a building!” I got an interesting request from another: “Madeline, I want my picture to be something cool, like of me being on a horse, holding a spear… with [another classmate] on the end of it!” How about no… haha :)
I finally did something with those two cans of pumpkin in my cupboard. I made pumpkin custard, and pumpkin french toast. It was the bomb.
I fell in love with three new songs: “Carry You” by The Native Sibling, “This I Know” by Crowder and “Old Pine” by Ben Howard. Search them out, they’re really good (if you like indie-folk music). :)
God has been so good, as always. He’s blessed me in so many ways… by all my amazing friends here, by providing me food right when my fridge was about to go empty, and so many others.
It’s getting colder and windier! So excited for winter, and I hope to see snow soon! Yesterday I wore flip flops for probably the official last time of the year. My feet were like ice. On top of that, it happened to be raining. Rain, cold weather and flip flops = NOT a good combination.
Yup, so that’s what’s up!
Until next time!
So today my college hosted a fall party for all the students, faculty, and their families. It was so fun. It was held at a beautiful farm. There was a baked potato bar, hayrides, a bonfire, and barn dancing. It was perfect in every way.
When I got there, I first hung out with my friend Emma. We decided to go for a little walk around the farm. As we had just gotten there, not much was happening just yet. We walked down a path into a little wooded area, and out into a fenced field, where there were lots of weeds and wildflowers. We discussed classic, girly novels like Pride & Prejudice and anything by Louisa May Alcott, along with a few other things. All was going well until I accidentally happened upon a thick patch of cockleburs. Not the huge, round kind, but the smaller kind that are a little bigger than flax seeds. They were all over me. Seriously, I hit their favorite hangout spot or something, and they all were attracted to my synthetic-material floral dress and leggings. So Emma and I got to work picking them off of me. It took a good few minutes at least. We both were apologizing right and left. We were like, “Well, at least we’ll have a good story to tell someday! ‘Remember that one time when Madeline walked through a bunch of cockleburs?'” Eventually we got about 98% of them off of me, and we walked back to where everyone else was.
Then another one of my friends, Chase, and I hung out for a while. We commented on how amazing the place was and talked about many different things, all the while avoiding the stray frisbees. I was able to talk this whole evening, thanks be to God. I’ve somewhat regained my voice, but I sound, according to Chase, like a “preppy cheerleader”. He kept teasing me about it. Haha. My cheerleader (or even chainsmoker) voice was pretty embarrassing, but I didn’t let it stop me from talking. (YOLO.) Then we all ate potatoes and discussed foreign languages, middle names and ghost peppers (let’s just say two of my classmates were recently feeling brave). I almost went on a hayride, but decided not to.
Soon a few friends and I went up to the barn to watch the dancing. The barn was decorated all over with Christmas lights. It was really pretty. I wasn’t sure yet whether or not I was going to dance, so I just watched for a few minutes. Then one of the seniors walked up to me and asked if I would like to dance. I politely turned him down at first, but then I thought to myself, come on, Madeline, you don’t just chicken out like that… do it. So I took him up on his offer, and we square danced. And though I was horrible at first and got confused between “do-si-do” and “promenade”, tripped over someone’s feet, and accidentally let go of my corner’s hand two or three times (sorry Austin), I improved over time, and it was great fun. I had to take breaks every now and then between dances when I felt signs of overheatedness (it happens easily, regrettably), so during those times I just watched and recorded some video. Then as soon as I felt better, I would get back out there, grab a new partner, and keep on dancing. We did square dancing, line dancing, circle dancing (is that what you call it? ha), some Irish dance that was rather complicated, and even some non-hoedown, dance floor kind of stuff. Haha. It was SO much fun.
After the dancing, the party was over, and I and a few others left in one of the vans. It was about 8:15, and we were all tired and probably really sweaty. (I definitely was.) We had a really good discussion on the way back, about our classes, what we’ve been learning so far, our heavy workloads, and which past lectures were our favorite.
Yup. It was a VERY good day. :)
Hey everybody! Just a quick post on my life…
College life has been pretty stressful at times, but really worth it. My classmates are so fun and so hilarious. One of the things we’re learning these days is argumentation. Sometimes somebody will say something, and then somebody else will reply, “that’s a fallacious argument; you just did a false generalization.” Just today we were studying the book of Judges. After a bit of discussion, our prof suddenly said, “and now we’re going to break up into groups, and each group will form a skit based on a story in Judges, but with a modern-day twist.” Wow… didn’t see that coming! So we got to have some unexpected fun that day (I’m NOT saying that normal class days aren’t fun), using our creativity and laughing at each other’s skits.
Over the past few weeks I’ve been gradually adding things to my “dorm room” to make it more homey. It’s not actually a room; it’s a little closet just off the living room, consisting of a loft that one of my friends refers to as the “Batcave” (haha… a very feminine batcave at that), and a desk and a bunch of shelves underneath it. Though it’s small, it’s cozy. The walls surrounding my loft are covered with photos, drawings, written Bible verses and quotes, song lyrics I find inspiring, Rend Collective and Moriah Peters posters… you name it. There are Christmas lights and a fan (I turn it on for white noise at night), and even a little shelf built into the wall (which was there when I came) where my journal, Bible, a pen and a barely-started John Piper book stand.
I’ve been enjoying the beautiful fall scenery. The weather is currently warm and pleasant, and I hope to enjoy it as much as I can, because it will not be this way for very long! This afternoon a few friends and I went to a nearby park that is absolutely gorgeous. In the center of the park is a hill, and around the hill are lots of bright red maple trees. We climbed the hill and had a picnic, sat around and talked, and threw leaves at each other. It was ridiculous… but fun. :) For a while I just laid there in the grass and closed my eyes, taking in the warmth of the sun and the gloriousness of everything. God is so amazing.
My garb of choice has been mostly sweaters, plaid shirts and hoodies, jeans and my pleather combat boots (haha), all day er’day.
As far as technology goes, I’ve been loving Mac OS X Yosemite. Aw yeah. (I’m not as much of an Apple nerd as I was, but I still get excited whenever Apple releases something new.) Also I’ve been loving the Day One Journaling app for Mac. It’s really slick.
I’ve been enjoying chamomile tea, my mom’s creamy chicken mushroom soup (it’s the best), and homemade applesauce. I’m really in the mood for something pumpkin-y. Just bought two cans of pumpkin today at Trader Joes; maybe I’ll make some pumpkin custard soon.
Right now, these songs are my jam:
Wildfire – Urban Rescue
Sunshine – Tigerweather
You Brought Me Back To Life – Citizens
Rejoice – Dustin Krensue
No Turning Back – for King & Country
Oh How I Need You – All Sons & Daughters
My Beloved – Crowder
Steady – for King & Country
Fireproof – One Direction (yes, you heard me)
How has your life been these days?
Well, today was a gorgeous, sunny fall day, and some of my friends and I visited a museum. We had so much fun. It had been years since I had been to a museum, so it was quite the experience for me.
Firstly, I was very intrigued by the architecture of the building. It was so beautiful! At times I felt like I was strolling through Pemberley.
(this one’s a bit blurry; sorry about that)
My favorite exhibit was the one with REAL paintings. And by real, I mean ones that actually take effort, look realistic, and depict interesting scenes. The best part was hearing one of my friends make amusing comments about each one. “Wow, the titles of the paintings are intense! ‘Happy and Rowdy Peasants In the Streets’?” And of a portrait of a guy from the Shakespearean era, who had quite the facial hair: “I want to have a mustache just like that… but keep my beard.”
One of my least favorite exhibits was the modern art exhibit. Ugh. My friends and I were walking around, saying “Aw, really? Come on, modern art, come on!” We were a bit disgusted at the state of most art these days. It’s so haphazard, so postmodern, so “anything goes”, so effortless. Some of the things I saw there were pretty disturbing and strange, and some were just ridiculous. These below would fall under the ridiculous category:
Is that handwriting, or scribbles?
These are dog tags. Ha, how clever.
For a while we walked through the exhibits featuring artifacts from India and Ancient China. Though some of these artifacts were very interesting ceramics and intricately ornamented containers (boxes, vases, etc.), most of them consisted of statues of Buddha, Hindu gods and goddesses and Chinese gods, many of which looked very intimidating. Not to mention all of the ritual items and things that were considered “sacred” or capable of bringing good luck, etc. It made me sad to think that many people’s lives revolve around such a horrific mindset, and that people would do ridiculous things, thinking it would benefit them. These people probably lived in so much fear! I mean, the statues of their gods are not pleasant to look at! I saw these heavy gold earrings, shaped like coiled snakes. They were HUGE. Like, once a person takes them out, their ears would probably hang low for the rest of their life. Apparently women used to wear them in India, because they believed that they would protect them from harm or something. It made me so thankful that I have Jesus — all I have to do is put my trust in Him, and He’s all I need!
And then in one room I happened upon a very antique dollhouse. Or maybe it was just a miniature to show what houses in such an era were like. Whatever it was, it was the cutest thing. I wish I could have taken a closer look at it. I did get a close look at this one room…
Isn’t that darling? (Okay, now that I think about it, it looks to me like a gambling room. That takes some of the cuteness away. But all that miniature stuff… it’s so realistic. Did you see the little book on the floor titled “How To Stop Smoking”?) :D
I could have stayed there all day… there were so many exhibits. But eventually we all decided to leave, get Chipotle, go home, watch some Tim Hawkins on YouTube for a while, and get back to homework. Speaking of homework, that’s what I should go do right now. :) Until later!
Hey guys! It has been busy these past few weeks…
I recently had the pleasure of going to the Art of Celebration Tour and got to see and hear Rend Collective, Moriah Peters and Urban Rescue! It was so awesome! Moriah opened with a few of her songs, followed by Urban Rescue, and lastly Rend Collective. It was so awesome, singing at the top of our lungs, dancing around, praising God. :) Afterwards I saw Moriah Peters hanging around her merch table, talking to people, autographing CDs, etc. I got to talk to her and get a selfie with her (meeting her has been a dream of mine for quite a while). So that was fun. She is so sweet.
I’ve been enjoying everything about fall: apple cider, squash, the chilliness in the air, the colorful leaves, wearing sweaters, wool socks and boots… everything.
Obviously, I’ve been really busy with school. Though it at times can be super hectic and stressful, it’s been so amazing learning everything that I have been. Basically we’re going through the whole Bible, and studying God’s story of redemption, starting with Creation, followed by Noah, Abraham, and Moses. Our last class was on the book of Deuteronomy. As I’m learning all of this and getting a broader view of the big picture, I am just so mind-blown. God is such a loving God. Wow. I’ve been writing a few essays on Creation, the date of the Exodus, and Old Testament Law. Essays aren’t my favorite thing, but the feeling you have after turning it in is really satisfying. After writing our essays, we are required to read them out loud to two people (preferably classmates, though others also count) before turning them in. I really like this, because it’s really helpful to hear feedback from others and find how my writing can improve, and also familiarize myself with other styles of writing from others’ essays.
But even with all the studying, there’s still time to hang out and have fun. Last night I and some of my classmates walked to a nearby ice cream shop, then walked around the city for a while. It was really fun. Two of my friends and I walked around outside a theatre (while the rest walked home), where there were huge images of famous playwrights, and plaques near them containing a short bio about each one. One friend and I took turns reading them out loud in british accents, and acted as though we were giving a tour. It was pretty entertaining.
Also, God is teaching me to trust him, through all the stress, the sleep-deprivation, the times when the fridge is almost empty but no one can give me a ride to the grocery store that day, and when I’m feeling anxious. He’s always provided at the right time, and He always will. He is SO GOOD.
So basically that’s it! Until next time!
I tend to be a worrier, regrettably. I way overthink things sometimes. It’s a habit that I’m, relying on God’s strength, doing my best to break. Sometimes in order to not go down the road of negativity, I think of things I am thankful for, and thank God for them. Someone told me, “You can either worry, or worship.” I’d personally rather worship God for all the good things he’s done in my life, than imagine what possibly could go wrong. Such a scenario happened today. I found myself worrying, and was like, wait! these thoughts are not true! I’m going to focus on what IS true, and what is good. So I decided to write a list of things I am thankful for. Which then made me think, this might make a good blog series – “Thankfulness”! Everyone can use a little gratitude in their lives, am I right? I mean, with everything God has generously blessed us with, why not give glory to Him through our enjoyment of what He’s given us? So here goes. This is my first list of things I am very grateful to God for.
1. Fall. I do love fall. It’s probably my favorite season. Summer is nice too, but it can get awfully hot and humid. I like a bit of chilliness; not the below-zero freezing that winter brings, but just the right amount of cold that a person can wear jeans, sweaters and boots without sweating. I’m talking around 50 degrees fahrenheit. Yeah. That kind of weather. I love the colors of the leaves, the smell of the air, being able to drink tea all the time (now that I finally have a thermos, I can do that more often), things that smell and taste pumpkin-y and cinnamon-y, apples that actually taste good, campfires, plaid flannel shirts, and hot cider. Ahhhh yeah.
2. Friends. I’m so thankful for the friendships I have.
3. Music. I’m so glad God made ears, and sounds, and people with creativity to make amazing things out of sounds! Music can be really good for the soul. My taste in music has definitely changed over the years. I always have been a Jason Gray fan. My first CD was an album of Keith and Kristyn Getty. My first iTunes purchase was an album by the Afters. I went through phases where I liked certain songs that now I am embarrassed to admit that I once liked. These days after trying so hard, I’ve finally come to appreciate indie folk, and have been listening to other genres, such as classical (Mozart, Chopin, Bach, Pride & Prejudice soundtrack…yes), jazz (for nostalgic purposes – my dad loves jazz, and listening to certain albums takes me back to my childhood) and spanish flamenco music. Yup. Haha. But I won’t touch easy listening. Not my cup of tea. :)
4. Chivalry. There just isn’t enough of it in this society. Oh, this society, where most men are lazy and weak, and women are aggressive and proud… but that’s a different topic. When one of my male friends opens the door for me, gives me their chair or offers me their jacket when they can tell that I’m shivering, I feel really blessed by that, and respected.
5. Creativity. We are made in the image of God, and one thing that we possess that God also does is creativity. I just love that. God gave us a world of possibilities, and the mind to do with them whatever we can dream up. You know that feeling of satisfaction after drawing a sketch, writing a piece of literature, or accomplishing a project that meant very much to you? That is a reflection of the way God felt when He finished creating the earth (Genesis 1:31).
6. Victory in Christ. We are sinners; we deserve death. But God, because He loved us so much, He sent His only Son to this earth to receive the punishment for our sins, by dying on a cross. But death had no victory over Him, He rose again; He’s alive! And now through Him we are free from our sins, if we believe in Him and trust in what He did for us! In Him, we are no longer slaves to our sins. We can come to Him and ask Him for forgiveness, and He WILL forgive us! Guilt and shame can be replaced by freedom! (Romans 6:23, John 3:16, 1 John 1:9, Romans 8)
7. Sunlight. There’s something about waking up to a sunny morning.
9. Food. God did not have to give us tastebuds. He could have made the practice sustaining ourselves a very bland and dull experience, but instead he decided to make it enjoyable.
10. Love. I love love. And I’m not talking romantic love. I’m talking the kind of love that makes people feel special and… loved. The kind that actually comes from loving Christ, and knowing His love for us. We love because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). That’s the best kind of love there is. The kind that can be expressed in a hug, a friendly text message, a smile, a “how are you doing today?”, an act of kindness, anything.
That’s only ten of probably thousands of things. I’ll continue the list in my next “Thankfulness” post. What are some things you’re thankful for?
My family got together last weekend to hunt and hang out with eachother. Four deer were shot on the first day! I only came along once the whole weekend, not to shoot deer, but to shoot a few pictures. :) They’re mostly landscape shots. I didn’t get very many hunter pics.
Have a good rest of the week!
Hello, everyone. I trust you all are doing well, and are enjoying the beautiful fall weather. I certainly have been. A couple days ago I took home a whole bunch of the most beautiful red leaves that I had ever found.
I had my first hot apple cider of the season last Friday.
We still have been doing a lot of painting. Thankfully, we’re almost done.
God has been teaching me so much, and has answered so many prayers. He is amazing.
I bought some delicious-smelling perfume recently. It smells awesome.
Excited for thanksgiving. I’m really thankful for being able to live in a relatively free country. I might do a “Thankful” post soon.
Deer Season is in a few days! More about that later.
Current favorite music:
“The Rest of Me” by Lauryn Taylor Bach (seriously, this girl has the voice I wish I had!)
“Making Me New” by Royal Tailor
“Remain” by Royal Tailor (I’ve recently kind of become a fan of Royal Tailor, as you may have noticed.)
“Overcomer” by Mandisa
“Run” by Charmaine
Also, I just saw that Jamie Grace announced the release date of her new album, “Ready to Fly” – January 28!
If you have any good (clean) music recommendations, please let me know! I’m always looking for good music.
Happy beginning of November!
It is officially starting to feel like fall.
More trees are turning red, yellow and orange. The weather is getting colder, windier and rainier. I saw my breath a few days ago for the first time in a while. Sweaters are being worn quite often. Flip flops have been traded for my faux-fur-lined moccasins, which soon will be traded for thick wool socks and sorel boots. Pumpkin custard, tea and squash have been enjoyed often. Deer season is a month away, which I am excited for. Fall is such a cozy season. I love it.
I have been painting a lot of walls and doors in our house. I’d have to say I don’t enjoy the process as much as I do the results.
I have been writing more often, and have rediscovered how fun it actually really is.
I am reading through “Wordsmithy” by Douglas Wilson. I highly recommend it to all you writers out there.
I’ve been finding holes in a couple of my dresses. The quality of clothes theses days is ridiculous.
I’ve been loving the smell of my Love+Toast Sugar Grapefruit Handcreme.
I have been enjoying iOS 7. I love flat design, and this iOS takes my fancy more than the previous iOSes.
IZZEs are delicious. My favorite flavors are grapefruit and clementine.
Current Favorite Songs:
“Ready Set Go” by Royal Tailor
“While We’re Young” by 1 Girl Nation
“All the Way” by Capital Kings
“All the Pennies” by Mindy Gledhill
“What Makes You Beautiful” by One Direction (though I am not at all a directioner, I do like this song.)