Busyness, The Weekend, and a Fall Party

It seems that every week has been hectic—constantly rushing around; going to classes; printing assignments (usually one printer is being used by someone else so I have to find another printer on another floor); sitting hunched over, staring at a screen, trying to make something beautiful in a limited amount of time (or something satisfactory, if I am running out of time); trying to do so much in one day. I’m so busy that I hardly have time to make friends, which is sad. (I am making friends, slowly but surely… I just haven’t had the time to be intentional about getting to know them better these days.) And I’ve found it necessary to prioritize my health. My heart has been causing me trouble. It’s felt weak, and sometimes, when I’m really stressed and have a lot on my plate, it feels almost tingly. All I know is that I NEED to take care of it. I need to take care of myself. What is the point of getting a degree in order to get a well-paying job, if I am slowly working myself to death in the process before I can even get the job? I’m speaking hypothetically here, don’t worry. I’m noticing my health is poor, and doing what I can to care for it. I’ve only got one life here on earth, and I want to steward it well—it is a gift from God, after all. That means every day (if possible) forcing myself to stop all homework for an hour (or two, if I really need it) and get out in nature, be silent, quiet my mind and heart from all the stress and tension in life, and just trust the LORD. He’s got me. He will provide. Even if I spend this hour doing nothing but taking in the peacefulness of the trees, the grass, the lake, and the breeze, while I could be doing homework instead… I’m going to give myself a break because my body needs it. Even though I have so much to do, I’m going trust the LORD, take a break to care for myself, and have faith that He will give me the strength to get everything done. And every week, I take a sabbath—24 hours of no school-related work—to just rest, sleep a lot, and do fun, life-giving things I can’t do during the week. This all helps me to survive.

I have this Wellbeing class. I’ve been enjoying it, it’s a really chill class—since stress is “not good for our wellbeing”, my professor tries to keep it as relaxed and calm as possible, sometimes by keeping relaxing piano music in the background, always opening and closing the session with a call-and-response sort of prayer, and doing fun activities like sitting on blankets outside, or watching videos on how food affects the brain, etc. Currently we are doing a 21-day sleep challenge, where we have to try to get 7 hours (at least… more is ideal) of sleep a night, track our hours of sleep, and write down how we feel the next day (physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually). It’s been really good. I wish I could get more sleep. In my perfect world, I would go to be at 9:30 or 10, but homework keeps me up till 11 or 12, and on some days, 1 or 2. (Awful, I know.) So you can safely conclude that I am very tired all the time. But I’m trying every day to be as efficient during the day as I can, and go to bed as soon as I can.

Well, the weekend is here. Friday night—Saturday night is my designated sabbath every week. No, I am not Jewish or Seventh-Day Adventist, if you’re wondering why I do not choose Sunday as my day of rest. The answer is, I’m still trying to figure out what it means for someone under the New Covenant to keep the sabbath holy (one of the ten commandments), and if we’re still required to keep it at all. I know, from my understanding that specific things like only eating clean animals and not getting tattoos no longer apply to those of us living under the New Covenant, but what about the basic ten commandments? Stealing, to this day, is still wrong. So is lying. And coveting. And adultery. So what about the one about keeping the sabbath holy? Does it still apply to us, as it seems that the others might? And what does “sabbath” mean for us? Does it still mean Friday at sundown until Saturday sundown like it did for the Israelites in the Old Testament, or does it mean Sunday, since Jesus rose from the dead on a Sunday? I’m still trying to figure all of this out. For now, I’ve chosen Friday evening—Saturday evening as my sabbath, though that may seem strange to some of you. This is only until I discover the answers to these questions on what “sabbath” means for a follower of Christ living under the New Covenant. All this to say, I am currently enjoying my weekly sabbath, not letting myself think or stress about school; reading my Bible, blogging, scrolling through social media, listening to calm worship music, and… (yesterday)…   going to a party!!!

 

Every year my former school has a fall party. You probably remember blog posts in the past about it. I’ve gone every year when I was a student, and was really disappointed that I would miss it this year… or so I thought. Well, a dear friend of mine invited me (THANK YOU!!!), and so we together to the party last night. It was so. much. fun. I had been hesitant about going yesterday—my health felt fragile—but I realized… I needed fellowship. And a cheerful heart is good medicine. I needed some joy in my life. So I went, hoping I was making the right decision. And I think it was. It was so great. The drive to the farm (where the party was held) was about 45 minutes long, so I got to talk to my friend all the way there about our lives. It was so good to catch up. When we got there, it was raining, and so we spent the first 30 minutes or so in the half-basement of the barn (it was built into a hill), talking with people, saying hi (“It’s been too long!”), catching up, and then soon went to the main floor of the barn to watch a few rounds of tug-of war (boys vs. girls, sophomores vs. freshmen, etc.). The barn-dance instructor was late, so we talked/played games until then (I didn’t participate in any games, because I wanted to conserve my limited energy for dancing). Finally she came, and the dancing started. A couple of my guy friends asked me to dance, so I danced with them. I danced with my friend Bailey. We did a couple line dances such as “Popcorn” and the “Cha-Cha Slide”, then continued regular barn-dances. I was going to dance with my friend Claire but my gut feeling was “sit this one out, you’re overworking yourself”, so I did. I was surprised there wasn’t any actual square dancing, but that’s okay. The last song played (while the instructor was packing up to leave) was “Footloose”, and several people knew the dance, so that was really fun to watch. After dancing, there was—now get this—Reformation Trivia. (That’s this school for ya… haha… also, Reformation Day is coming up, plus it’s the 500th anniversary, so why not, right?) We played as teams, according to grade. I got to play as an honorary junior with my former class, and we only got 2nd place, but oh well. (In my defense, our team was the only one who got the spelling of “Huldrych”, as in Huldrych Zwingli, right (and I was the one who knew how to spell it, not to brag or anything, haha). After that, we closed the evening out with some worship and prayer. That was awesome. It made me miss wednesday chapels at my former school, with these same people, and the joy that was so present during those times. (I never go to chapel at my new school—my current school hasn’t proved to be very theologically sound, so I haven’t really bothered to take time out of my already hectic schedule to go to chapel. Also, I heard something that made me sad and frustrated… about them apologizing for a guest speaker who had, from my understanding, spoken the truth… because some people got offended by it. This makes me sad, and kind of increases my disinterest in going. Is that too cynical? I’m not sure. There are probably good chapel sessions sometimes, I suppose. I don’t know, because I’ve never gone. Truth is sometimes offensive to our sinful human natures, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t speak the truth out of fear of offending people. I’m thankful for the times I’ve been confronted by truth and felt offended—though I’m ashamed to admit my offendedness… what a sinner I am! Praise God for his mercy and grace—that offense turned out to be a wake-up call for me to believe what is true, and to be free. That said, I believe I’ll just stick with church every sunday. Anyway, that was a long tangent. Back to the party.) Soon we went home. It was 9:45ish, and completely dark. I rode home feeling very content and happy. What a time. That was just what I needed—to see my old friends again… both the ones I never get to see anymore, and the ones I still see every sunday at church; to be able to talk and laugh with them as if we had never been apart; to enjoy myself with this family as if I had never left the school. It was so wonderful. This season at this school was a blessing. These friends are a blessing. I’m so glad I got to spend yesterday evening with them.

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Life – 10/22

These past couple of weeks have been pretty nice. The fall colors are absolutely gorgeous, and I’m trying to enjoy them before all the trees lose their leaves. Yesterday as I was walking home from class with two friends, we collected red, pink, orange and yellow maple leaves. I might hang them somewhere, not sure what to do with them yet.  Ahh, I love fall.

We haven’t had a ton of homework other than the usual reading.  The professors cancelled a major paper that we were supposed to do, which was SO wonderful. Now things are starting back up, as we have a quiz on Monday.

A couple days ago I was low on groceries, and like they say, necessity is the mother of invention—I ended up making a type of paleo-friendly pancakes… you know that recipe on pinterest for “clean” pancakes that are literally eggs + banana? (I don’t like them, they just taste like banana-y egg, which is weird…) If you use canned pumpkin instead of banana, it tastes better.  I did 3 eggs to about 3/4 cup of pumpkin, with some honey and cinnamon, and they weren’t bad, actually. They obviously weren’t the texture of real pancakes; they were thin like crepes, but flimsier and lighter.  They were pretty good, though, at least I thought so. I did wish I had something like tapioca flour to thicken the batter a little bit, though (although I don’t know if tapioca is paleo-approved.  I’m not eating paleo, per se, just trying to go easy on carbs).

Yesterday in class we studied Petrarch, a medieval poet and writer. We had read his essay, “The Ascent of Mount Ventoux”, which I found very amusing—in it he tells of his adventures climbing “Mount Windy” with his brother, and then uses it as an illustration of “the soul’s climb toward blessedness”.  Also, I find it humorous that he carried a pocket copy of Augustine’s Confessions with him wherever he went. He must have really admired that guy (well, everyone did back then, but apparently Petrarch especially). We also had read some of his poems from the Canzoniere, they were mostly really sad, depressing poems about pining after his very DISTANT, unattainable “love”, Laura (whom he apparently only saw once from afar, and fell madly into this obsession over her…). My prof had people read them aloud, and let them do so in whatever style they wanted, which was pretty fun. Haha.

Yesterday was my school’s annual fall party, and it was wonderful.  It was sad to think that it was my very last fall party, as I plan to graduate this spring. It was held, per usual, at this really pretty farm with a huge red barn, in which we barn danced. I went on a hayride, then I hung out with 4 of my friends, we climbed a tree, and then I went on another hayride, this time with them. I talked to some friends that I hadn’t gotten to talk to in a while, so that was awesome. I didn’t dance a whole lot this time, other than the Virginia Reel with one of my friends, and three line dances. It was a fun evening.

Happy weekend!

-Maddie

 

 

Swing Dancing, God’s Provision & Cold Weather

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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!
:)

The Closet

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Welcome to my little living space, “the Closet” (also informally known as “the Batcave”)!  The first day I moved into my dorm, I saw where I was going to be staying and wasn’t quite sure if I liked it.  But I began to enjoy it, especially after I started taping pictures and artwork to the walls, and it started to look a little more like home.

Over time, I added more and more to my walls.  Artwork, Instagram prints, cute stamps, pressed leaves, inspiring quotes and Bible verses written in my fanciest handwriting, and posters.  Later I put up Christmas lights, which added a very cozy feel to the place.

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Just outside the Closet is a little random room with burnt-orange walls.  It’s like my own little living room.  :)  In the past, I used this part of the room to store all my extra stuff.  Not anymore.  Since then, I’ve cleaned it up and made it look a little bit nicer.

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It doesn’t really take much to make a room look decent!  All you have to do is use what you have (in my case, photos, two rolls of washi tape, my collection of sketches, Christmas lights, a few flowers, and any other odds and ends) and a little creativity.  :)

Potatoes, Cockleburs & Barn Dancing

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.

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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.  :)

Currently

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.

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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?

Deer Hunting

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.

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Have a good rest of the week!

These Days – 11/5

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!
M

These Days – 10/12

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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.)

Happy weekend!

Fall & Winter Excitements

Now that I have enjoyed a good summer, I’m really excited for fall and winter.  They’re quite cozy seasons, really.  I love fall and all it’s color.  The air gets colder and has this amazing smell to it, wearing flannel shirts, jeans, thick socks and hoodies are worn all the time, football season happens (I’m not really interested in football in itself, but football brings family together, and being with relatives is fun), things like pumpkin custard, hot cider, spicy baked goods and squash are made and enjoyed, the apples start tasting better, deer hunting season happens eventually (oh yeah), and then thanksgiving.  I am quite excited, let me tell you.  And then winter… snow (at last I am no longer tired of it; I’ll be excited when it happens), mittens, tea (I am such a tea drinker – peppermint & raspberry are my favorite kinds so far), cozy blankets, fireplaces, towns and houses decked out in christmas lights, Christmas, New Year, etc.  Oh yes.