The Beginnings of Summer

My life, since I finished my last final:

Hung out with my classmates. Laughed a lot. Went to Chipotle with some of them. Was tired, so I tried to take a nap in an empty classroom (didn’t work). Did absolutely nothing yesterday morning and afternoon. Went to a swing dance, saw some friends there and danced twice. Hung out with some classmates some more, went for a walk with some of them around the city, going to the top of a parking garage and admiring the view (I didn’t go very close to the edge…heights. Ya know?). Went to bed at midnight. Tried to sleep in, but couldn’t (had this dream—a good one—after which it was impossible to go back to sleep). Journaled. Recounted the previous day’s adventures to my sister.

And my school’s commencement is tonight, so I’m really looking forward to going to that and cheering on some of my friends who are graduating.

It feels so good to finally feel alive again. This past school year was wonderful, and I am so thankful for the memories made, the beautiful souls I’ve gotten to know there, and the lessons I’ve learned, academic and otherwise. But it was hard, sanctifying, exhausting, and very draining. It’s good to have all of that behind me, and to finally be able to relax, recover and have some fun, and not have to worry about the next day’s assignments.

Life – 08/29

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Notes on our “Confessions” class

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).

Maddie

 

Summer Recap

And just like that… Summer flew right by.  Now I only have a week left until college starts up, and while I’m eager to get back into all the school stuff, I want to enjoy and make the most of this last week of no schedules.

This summer has been a good one.  A quick recap of what happened:

I spent a couple weeks home, hanging out a lot with good friends and making a lot of awesome memories.  Then…

I spent several weeks working in the kitchen at a christian camp.  It was great; I’ve worked there before and know most of the staff there really well.  In the evening, when we weren’t working, the staff played games, or watched the Olympics together, or just hung out some evenings, which was fun.  Some other evenings I just spent in my room having some down time, as I was so tired from that day’s work that I needed to get off my feet or spend a little bit of time alone (I love people, but I’m just a bit introverted and need a little time by myself every so often to recharge), and would read my Bible, or answer emails, journal or do handlettering.   When we were working, we often played music to make things more fun.  We played For King & Country, Rend Collective, and Phil Wickham many times, as well as “Geronimo”, “Baby Baby” (the contemporary version featuring Tori Kelly), “Gone Like A Freight Train” (a classic in the camp kitchen), and “Brother” by NEEDTOBREATHE (one of the best songs ever).  We washed so many dishes.  I burned my fingers repeatedly while stacking hot plates.  I made nearly all of the gluten free baked goods.  Sometimes they turned out well, and sometimes they didn’t, so they didn’t tempt me (a good thing; I can always use fewer carbs and sugars in my life).  One of the best things about this summer was on the weekends, during staff meetings, when we would tell and hear stories of how the week went and how God worked in the lives of the campers that week.  Oh, so good.  In short, it was a good camp season, and I am thankful and blessed to have been a part of it.

Now I’m back home, and it feels nice, although not a ton is going on these days.  I’ve been setting up my new room, which has been fun (I switched rooms, due to old roommates moving out and new ones coming in).  I’ve been putting artwork and handwritten quotes all over the walls, unpacking and such – and sometimes just laying in front of the fan.  We don’t have air conditioning, haha.  I don’t have an actual bed frame yet, so I’m sleeping on a mattress on the floor (which isn’t all that bad, but once it gets cold and I start seeing mice, I’ll want to be off the floor).

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When I haven’t been setting up my room, I’ve been reading for my first class, early.  Or helping my friend address wedding invitations while watching olympics and seeing that 1st place tie happen in men’s swimming.  Or going with a couple friends to “Targhetto” (a Target in the ghetto, pretty self-explanatory) and then to a used bookstore (I found so many classic children’s books that I had read in my childhood, and I wanted to buy them all!  I totally would have if I weren’t a poor college student trying to be frugal, haha).  Or biking to a coffeeshop and then (currently) waiting for the rain to stop so we can go home.

Later!

Maddie

 

Life – 05/23

Hey everyone!  How are you all?  I am doing pretty well.  So far, this summer has been quite structure-less and full of socializing.  It’s been really nice.

Last Wednesday I went swing dancing.  The event was held at a really nice park pavilion overlooking a lake.  I went with my friend, and we had a ton of fun.  I danced three times.  Dances are great, because when you aren’t dancing at the moment, you can people-watch.  There’s always that one girl there who’s wearing an absolutely crazy outfit, and that one guy who is determined to find himself a girlfriend by the end of the evening.  Also, watching people dance who know what they’re doing is quite pleasurable.

Yesterday my friends and I had a cookout at a park by a lake (a different park by a lake).  It was really nice – the weather was perfect.  A little ways off, there was a hispanic family probably having a family reunion or something – the occasion was probably pretty important, because there was literally a mariachi band playing for it.  That was pretty awesome.  After a couple hours, one of my friends and I went for a little walk, which was fun.  During which, I happened to look down at my feet at one point, and I found a little inchworm crawling on one of my Toms.  Ah yes, I had forgotten that this is the time of year where there are caterpillars, of which I have a quasi-phobia.  So I flicked it off.  At least it was tiny, and not one of those big, fat ones with extravagant designs on them.  I mean, they’re pretty amazing creatures that point to an amazing God – but they make me shudder.  By the time we walked back to our picnic spot, it was getting dark, and we parted ways.

When I haven’t been hanging with other people, I’ve been…

  • reading.
  • working on my novel a little bit.  I’ve got a few ideas in my head about how this storyline is going to go, and I’m excited.
  • brushing up on Polish.  I’ve been using Duolingo and Busuu for that.  They aren’t Rosetta Stone, but that’s okay; they have some handy features that Rosetta Stone does not.  On Busuu, for example, people who speak Polish can correct my Polish exercises (in which I have to write sentences using the limited vocabulary I have learned), and I and other English speakers can correct people’s English exercises.  It’s pretty great.
  • hand-lettering, of course.
  • painting, for the first time in a while!  I painted one of my favorite quotes on a canvas:

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Later!

-Madeline

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life – 04/21

Hey everyone! How are you all? The end of the semester is coming up so quickly, with only 3 weeks left! Gotta finish strong, get all those verb paradigms hammered into my mind. I’ve got pretty much all of my vocab down, so that’s good.

These days have been very mellow, most of them spent at home. If you’d ask me what I do all day, I would say, Greek. Read my Bible. Journal. Wash dishes. Text my sister. Listen to music. Do some hand-lettering.

Speaking of music, I’ve REALLY been enjoying The Gray Havens’ new album, “Ghost of a King”. Their music is so fun, and the lyrics are so cleverly written, and many of the songs have Gospel illustrations worked into them. It’s pretty cool. I really like “Shadows of the Dawn”, “Diamonds and Gold” which has a really catchy tune, and “This My Soul” whose lyrics are wonderful.  Besides The Gray Havens, I’ve also been enjoying Jason Gray’s new single, “Sparrows”.

Now that it’s officially spring (it has been for a while, I know), I’ve been really enjoying all the springy things I’ve missed: birds singing, the windows open, rain pattering outside, sleeping with the fan on (YES), wearing skirts, and all that.

I’ve been asked to do a couple lettering projects recently, and it’s been pretty fun. I got to design my roommate’s wedding invitation, and just yesterday someone else asked me to work on a project for them. Um, YES.

Greek has been fun, as usual. Last week my professor led us all in a game of Greek Jeopardy and it was great. The category titles were pretty funny – for example, “Just Do It” for Imperatives (commands and prohibitions), “To Be Or Not To Be” for Infinitives (“to be” verbs), etc. Haha. I love Greek class. We’ve started calling the letter xi (ξ) “the squiggle”, ever since one of the guys in my class called it that, forgetting its actual name.  So whenever we review the Square of Stops (a very hard-to-explain system in which certain consonants in Greek, when followed by a sigma, produce either phi, xi, or sigma), “when κ goes before a perfective aspect market σ, it will yield what?” We won’t say “xi!” but rather, “the squiggle!”  Also, some of the mnemonic devices some people use crack me up.  There’s this word, εγώ, that is procounced “eg-OH”, and it means “I”.  A few weeks ago in class, when one of the guys was trying to remember the word, another guy whispers to him loudly, “What are your favorite waffles?”  At which the first guy I mentioned lights up and says, “Eggo!”  And then my prof says “Those are BARELY waffles, guys.”

In my devotions I’ve just finished Romans, and am starting 1 Corinthians and Acts.  The Epistles are SO good (the whole Bible is… and by the way, I know Acts isn’t an epistle, haha).
Ahh, this sound of rain is wonderful.  Some people hate rainy days, but I think they’re one of the best things ever.

Well, bye!

-Maddie

On Corporate Worship, Baptism, Holy Week, etc.

Hey everyone!  How have you all been?  Yesterday I turned in my final assignment, so since then I have officially been on Spring Break!  I hope to use my time to get a significant amount of reading done, catch up with some friends and family, and also write my testimony, because… I may be getting baptized very soon!  I am so excited to finally take this step in my faith.  At our church everyone shares their testimony with the congregation before their baptism (it is recorded as a video and played before each person gets baptized).  I’m looking forward to writing this and looking back at what the LORD has done in my life.  He has done so much in my life to bring me near to himself, and I am only aware of a very small fraction of it all.  

Last night, in an apartment in our city, I and several 20- and 30-somethings from my church got together in an apartment to worship and pray together.  It was awesome.  Corporate worship – worshiping the LORD with other people – is so great, isn’t it?  It’s one thing to worship him and pray all by oneself, but it’s a whole other thing to worship him together with other believers. When we sitting around the room, sharing prayer requests, praying and singing hymns, I was so filled with joy as I was reminded yet again of God’s love for us… us sinners who deserve his wrath, but instead know his grace, lavished upon us in Christ, and are called his children… seriously, what love he has for us!  And as the night went on, I thought:  this little gathering here is a little foretaste of what is to come.  This is what we will be doing for eternity: God’s elect, from every tongue and tribe and nation, worshiping Him forever.  It was so cool to think about that.  I can’t wait for that day.

Holy Week is coming up!  I am looking forward to focusing on what Jesus willed to go through on behalf of sinners such as myself, in order that we, who were dead in our sins, far from God, can be brought near to him, have our guilt removed, have our hearts changed and our wills bent toward God’s will, be adopted as his children, be counted righteous… none of this could have happened if Christ had not absorbed the wrath of God in our place.  If God had not sent his Son to die, we would still be under God’s wrath, and rightly so, for we have rebelled against him!  But…

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ-by grace you have been saved-and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. – Ephesians 2:4-7

The Gospel is so amazing.  All you readers out there who aren’t trusting in Jesus, I pray that you would, that God would open your eyes and see how glorious he is, how better and more satisfying he is than anything this world can offer!  The world pales in comparison to him!  Anyway, I am really looking forward to enjoying Jesus this week.  

Wow, I was up SO LATE last night.  It was great though.  We worshiped till about 10 or 11, and then I and some of my friends there stayed until about 1:30 afterwards talking, laughing, telling hilarious stories and such.  Got home at about 2:45ish, and ended not getting to bed until 5 (I was texting someone and we were having a pretty great conversation).  Wow, 5 in the morning.  I definitely pulled an all-nighter.  Worth it though.  Haha.  I’ll have to go to bed super early or something to make up for that.

Bye!

Maddie

Life – 02/08

Hey everyone!  It’s been a while, hasn’t it?  A lot has been happening these past few weeks, and for a long time I haven’t really felt up to blogging.  But today I finally did.  It probably wasn’t a good idea, though, because it looks like I’ll be up late prepping for my Greek test tomorrow.  Oh well.  Anyway, here’s a bit of what’s been going on in my life this past month or so:

I went ice skating with some friends (only once).  I didn’t fall on my rear and get injured this time, thankfully.  The skates made my feet hurt though, and I had forgotten most of my skills.  I stayed very close to the edge most of the time.

I started a new semester.  Only I’m taking a year to focus on a few subjects, and plan on jumping back in the original program I’m taking, next spring, and getting my associates degree.

I have been having a bit of time to slow down and relax (see above).

I have been thoroughly enjoying Greek.  Well, the classes and the language in and of itself.  Not so much the program we’re using, haha.  But it’s been really fun.  We’re going to be memorizing lots of λύω paradigms this semester.  Last semester we did 2 of them, and this semester we’re doing 18.  #wow #bringit

I have been trying to keep my mind Christocentric – on Christ.  On who he is, on what he’s done, on who I am in him.  Spurgeon is known to have said something to the effect of “If Christ be anything, he must be everything.”  Yup.

I have been trying to make a point of memorizing Scripture.  Not just short, one-or-two-verse, Jeremiah 29:11 types of passages (though those are great), but also huge, 10-or-more-verse passages that describe the Gospel, or who God is, or who Christ is, etc.  Some huge passages I want to memorize are Hebrews 1, Ephesians 1 and 2, 1 Peter 1, among others.  I’ve just been feeling the need to have a very firm understanding of who God is, who Jesus is, who the Holy Spirit is, what the Gospel is, etc.  You know, important theological truths.  Stuff I already know, but want to have absolutely cemented in my brain.  I’ve got a little over half of Colossians 1:15-23 done, so that’s awesome.

I have been listening to a lot of The Gray Havens, Urban Rescue, Jason Gray, and Rend Collective.

I’ve been working every so often on handlettering.

God showed me that recently I have been giving into lots of negativity and self-pity, being discontented about certain areas of my life.  He showed me that he has placed me in the season I am in for a purpose, and I just need to trust him and see what he has for me there.  If things had gone the way my selfish self would have wanted, I would have missed out on that bit of grace he had for me in that time.  When he places me in a situation that isn’t what I would have wanted, he is doing that to test me; to sanctify me; to make me steadfast (James 1:2-4) and immovable in him; to cause me to remember how totally dependent I am upon him, and run to him.  He is good.  So good.

Have been realizing that life away from Facebook, Instagram and the like (for the most part) is so much better.

I’ve been journaling.  A lot.  It’s been great.

A lot of my friends are getting married and having babies.  It’s really exciting.

I joined a small group!  Since I go to a fairly-sized church (not exactly a mega-church, but rather large), our church does small groups, and I just became part of one.  I’m really excited about it.

I’ve been realizing yet again (for the millionth time) what a huge blessing friends are.  God has given me so many amazing people in my life, and has used them to encourage me, strengthen my faith, challenge me, and make me laugh.

I’ve been amazed these days at how God can use little, insignificant me to bless others.  When I look at myself, it’s sometimes hard to believe that he could use me.  But he can, and I’ve seen that he does!  Just today I was out with a friend for coffee, and when we were talking, she told me that what I had been telling her at one point in our conversation was an answer to something she had been praying about that morning!  What!  All I did was say words, but God decided to use them to bless her.  After she told me that, we just sat there, our minds blowing up.  It’s amazing how God works.

We still have a serious mouse problem.  I mean, okay, it could be a lot worse, so there’s a lot to be thankful for.  However, it’s pretty gross.  Thankfully, though, it might be getting better.  Maybe.

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Happy Monday!

Sunday Afternoon – Poem

Yesterday I got to spend the afternoon with one of my friends.  We went to a health food store and got lunch and sat in the cafe area for a while, talking and catching up on eachother’s lives.  It was wonderful.  So I wrote a little poem about it, just because I can.  Haha.

Over an hour
Spent talking together.
It seems like
We hadn’t done this in forever.
Talking of missions,
What this summer holds,
Of evangelism,
The will to be bold,
Of last year as freshman,
The good times we had,
How this year is different
(Which is rather sad),
God’s grace in our lives
(Wow, isn’t He good!),
And my name for my house
(“Little House In The Hood”).
Interrupted but once
By one employee
Who dropped glass on the floor.
“I’m so sorry!” said he.
The hours passed swiftly,
Our time had to end.
I had a nice time, dear –
I’m glad you’re my friend.

Break.

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Well everybody, I’m done with my 3rd semester of college.  And it feels so good.  I can hardly believe that I survived another semester.  It was really hard, but SO good; I learned so much.  When I was studying for my final interviews yesterday and today (instead of taking final exams, we have smaller exams throughout the semester, and then two 30-minute interviews with our cohort leader at the very end), it was so cool to look back and refresh on everything I learned.  This morning when I walked in to the classroom and sat down with my professor for my last interview, he said, “Well, Madeline, you’re 30 minutes away from freedom!”  When the 30 minutes were up, that wonderful feeling rushed over me of I don’t have any more assignments.  I’m free to do whatever I want.  WOOHOO!  I was pretty ecstatic for the next couple of hours.  =)

FYI, when I say “freedom”, I don’t mean that this semester was drudgery.  There were definitely very hard moments, and those were not fun, but they were definitely good for me, and I’ve learned a lot through those moments.  All that work, the sweat and tears and late nights and frustration (as well as the work that was more pleasurable, of course) was so worth it.  Because of it all, I have a greater knowledge of so many things, including but not limited to church history, European history and Greek.  It’s so nice to finally be able to know these things.  Besides the academic side of this semester, I made so many memories, and the friendships I’ve made during my 1st semester have gotten so much sweeter as we encouraged each other through the difficulties, laughed about things like ridiculous songs and strange words and Calvinist memes, had deep conversations, went on little excursions and field trips, and tried to be productive on those Tuesday study group nights, when 20 students would try to crowd into our house.  Often during this semester I would think nostalgically about last year and how much time we had to do more of those things, back when we all lived on campus or near enough to get together often, and take walks downtown or watch movies or have jam sessions.  But now that I think about it, though distance and a heavier schedule made us less social this semester, the times that we did get together were really sweet.  Overall, it was a great semester, and I’m happy to have a break.

So now I have 3 weeks to do whatever I want.  Wow, what a gift!  How am I planning to use all this time I have on my hands?  Well, I’m hoping to…

  • increase my knowledge in the field of language.  That means keeping up on Greek vocab, continuing my leisurely study of French, and reviewing Polish.  Today when I got home I laid in bed to “nap” and checked my social media and stuff on my phone.  I happened to notice my neglected Duolingo app, and decided hey!  I should learn a language during break, or refresh my memory on one I’ve studied before!  I found that Duolingo now offers a Polish course, and I started working on that.  I’ve taken Polish for two years, but then once I completed the Rosetta Stone course, I forgot a lot of it.  Now I can relearn it… and I think I like Duolingo a lot better than Rosetta Stone.  It’s definitely a different method of language-learning, but it’s free, and plus the app design is way more pleasing to the eye. I’m kind of choosy when it comes to design, I confess.  =)
  • cook.  Like, actually cook.  During the busyness of school, I would cook VERY simply.  Now I can have more fun in the kitchen and make more complex things, while not having to remember to leave enough time for homework.
  • draw.  I would every once in a while take “sanity breaks” and draw something when I couldn’t study any longer.  I wished I had more time to do it more often though, and spend as much time on it as I please.  Now I can.
  • read.  It’s funny how reading so much can cause you to desire to read even during a break.  Only I won’t necessarily be reading European history. ;)  Nah, a few books I’m hoping to read are Pride & Prejudice, An Old Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott, Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion (which I regrettably didn’t have time to read this semester, and was really bummed about that), and I’ll probably re-read Augustine’s Confessions.  And besides that, spend a whole lot of time in the Bible.  I need that.  I wish I could have had more time to do that this past semester.
  • be more social.  Like I said, I wish I could have been more social during school.  Maybe I can have more time to get together with friends now.  =)
  • do more things for others.  =)
  • write.

Whatever I end up doing during my break, I just want to make sure that I avoid frittering away time on things of little importance, and use my time for God’s glory and for my and others’ edification.  =)

-Madeline

Thankfulness, A Field Trip, Lessons in Faith, etc.

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:

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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.
  • Curry.
  • Bacon.
  • Hot chocolate.
  • Hugs – long ones.
  • Wildflowers.
  • Happy memories.
  • Water when you’re in desperate need of it.
  • Laughter.
  • Fall colors.
  • Jazz.
  • Dancing.
  • Corporate worship.
  • The book of Romans.
  • Art.
  • Reading for pleasure.
  • Showers.
  • 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.

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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.

Happy weekend!

Madeline

Life – 09/18

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).

Happy weekend,

Maddie

ἡ ζωή (life)

It’s been a while, I’m sorry.  I’ve been so busy these days that I haven’t had much time for things like blogging!  But I have a little bit of leisure time, so I’ll do a short-and-sweet post to make up for lost time.  =)  I’ve just finished my 3rd week of my sophomore year of college.  This year is a lot different than last year in many ways:

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Now that I’m a sophomore, I no longer can live in student housing (which is reserved mainly for new students), so I now live in a cute old house with 5 other girls (3 of them classmates).  It has been so much fun!  I love my housemates so much, and the house is really nice.  We even have one of those old, creaky, cobwebby attics, with floorboards that give when they’re stepped on (which is a bit sketchy).  Going up there makes me think of Nancy Drew or A Little Princess; it’s rather adventuresome.  =)  The best part is that there’s a little space by some windows, with a carpet and some retro mattresses, where one can sit and read a book or do whatever.  I went up there for a bit to do some homework, until I thought I heard faint squeaking (which I couldn’t tell whether it was a mouse or just old-house-noises), so I gave up and went downstairs.

Life has been really good.  We are currently going through the “Dark Ages”, medieval church history (Augustine, Saint Patrick, Pope Leo I), and the like.  We’ve been studying doctrinal issues that the church wrestled with during that period, and monasticism, and European history after the fall of Rome.  It’s been fun.  We recently read through Augustine’s Confessions, and WOW.  It is definitely one of my new favorite books.  It’s so beautiful.

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Also, we’ve been studying Greek!  It’s been really enjoyable.  It’s very complicated (the grammar is INTENSE), but I love the way it sounds.  We’re studying the modern pronunciation rather than the academic one, and I actually prefer the modern way.  We’ve been going through the original text of John 1, and learning vocabulary verse by verse, and translating it into English.  It’s been really cool.

Weather is getting colder, and I am so excited!  I noticed as I was biking to school today that my hands were getting really cold, and when I got home from school I was eager to put on a comfy sweater and make a cup of tea.  I think fall is my favorite season… I suppose I like winter a lot too, though.  But fall… fall is really nice.  Not too cold, but cold enough to wear sweaters and boots and drink tea or hot apple cider.  It’s also the season for squash and pumpkin-flavored things… which I am looking forward to.  =)

More later!

-Madeline

Dear Former Freshmen

Dear former fellow freshmen,

It’s over… year one of college.  Can you believe it?  It all flew by so quickly.  And what a year it was.  It seems as though just yesterday I was looking around at all your faces during orientation, and only saw 27 strangers.  I thought it would take forever to get to know you all, but not so.  Before long you “strangers” became very close, dear friends to me.  I have so many fun memories of all the things we did over the year – playing ultimate frisbee at night, then taking a walk in the rain to Starbucks (only to find it closed).  Or playing countless rounds of “Signs”, “Psychiatrist”, ” The Fishbowl Game”, and “The Dreams Game” (good times!).  Or the time when, one rainy day, I had hurried into the student lounge from the library, a little bit wet and in a hustle to get my paper turned in, and one of you was concerned and asked if I was “going to be okay”.  (Apparently the combination of my wet appearance and hurried nature made me appear just a little bit crazy – but I wasn’t; just a little stressed.  Haha.)  Or that one time when a few of us went to that one ice cream shop where they served RIDICULOUS amounts of ice cream, and I was the only girl.  (It was fun watching you guys trying to get it all down.)  Or all those little debates concerning how to pronounce certain words (“bag” vs. “bayg”, “pillow” vs. “pellow”).  Or that one time when 5 of us walked around the city, taking turns closing our eyes and being led around: “okay, you’re approaching a mailbox; let’s go toward the left a little” or “we’re coming up to a curb”.  Or that leaf fight a few of us had, one warm October day.  Or the study groups we had, when we would fit 11 or 12 people into our living room/dining room area, and more talking than studying was done for the most part.  Or the jam sessions every Thursday that we did for a while during the first semester.  Those were fun.  Or the time when we went ice skating and I fell, spraining my left arm and tailbone.  (It took a long time to fully heal.)  Not to mention all the funny things you said, and the inside jokes that happened between us.  I may be just a little bit biased, but I think we have the best class ever.

We learned SO much in just one year: from Genesis and the creation views, to ancient near eastern history (“Shalmaneser Three, he washed his sword in the sea…”), to the Old Testament and the foreshadowings of Christ, to various world religions, to Greek literature and philosophy, to the New Testament, to Roman history, to early church history.  We covered a lot of ground.  And while at times it was hard to keep on top of everything, and was quite an endeavor sometimes to trust the LORD and stay calm rather than stress out, I think those near-crazy moments brought us a whole lot closer to each other; we saw the best and the worst in each other, and learned to forgive, serve, encourage, love and build each other up during those seemingly-impossible days.  I, for one, feel very encouraged by you.

And now look – all those hectic, late nights of studying (I’m not complaining) were worth it.  We pressed on, and made it to the end of our very first year.  Congratulations.  I’m praying that the LORD will bless you all richly this summer, and bring you all even closer to Him.  I’m going to miss you terribly, and am looking forward to, God willing, being back together with you this fall.

Madeline

Life Capsule – 04/13

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We are so close to the end of the semester, it’s crazy!  Trying to finish strong.  Studies are very interesting.  We’re studying early church history and reading through the Epistles.  Yesterday I read the entire book of Hebrews.  Such a good book; probably one of my favorites in the Bible.  God has been teaching me a LOT lately.  We’ve been wrestling with a lot of topics: doctrines, salvation, sin/grace… all sorts of things.  A few days ago we had a class on the five points of Calvinism, and it was very intriguing, though I didn’t fully understand everything.  Also we’ve been memorizing Romans 8, and we’ve gotten as far as verse 27.  Romans 8 is the bomb.  So glad that we’re memorizing it this semester.  Seriously, I just LOVE going to school here – every day I come away learning something new and amazing about this God I serve.  He is wonderful.

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Also, God is currently teaching me to give myself grace when I fail, as He gave me grace through His Son.  I tend to be a perfectionist when it comes to my actions, and sometimes feel guilty for even the smallest mistakes I make. Guilt is definitely something I struggle with, even with things I have already taken to the LORD, and I need to keep reminding myself that these feelings of guilt are not from God, for “there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1)” – Christ has forgiven me for everything wrong I have done, large or small.  Through Him, my slate is clean; I am justified!  I’m thankful that God has given me a hatred for sin, but reminding myself daily of His grace to us in Christ.  Wow.  What love, that Christ would take my penalty for sin upon Himself, and give me His righteousness instead!  He is so good.

And He is SO faithful, even in the hard days.  These days have been a little tough, to be honest; it’s kind of a fight for joy, with the workload and the sleep-deprivation, learning to every thought captive in obedience to Christ, and just the weaknesses that I’m not proud of (introspection, poor time-management, etc.).  But I’m learning to see these days as gifts; they remind me how utterly dependent I am on God for everything: life, breath, provision, faith, joy, etc.  If life were totally perfect, I wouldn’t see my need for Him, and that would be awful.  And through these trials, whether they be a massive paper I’m supposed to write, or the temptation to worry or doubt or complain about something, God is teaching me to look to Him for strength in these circumstances, and then supplying that strength abundantly.  His grace is totally sufficient.

These past couple weeks my friends and I have been enjoying going on little excursions around the city, taking pictures, playing games, going out for coffee, etc.  I’m so thankful to have such brothers and sisters as classmates.  I’ve been so blessed by the times we’ve spent, the laughs we’ve had, the jam sessions and game nights, the deep conversations about life, theology, Nichomachean Ethics, how to pronounce certain words, etc.  They’re amazing.  :)

Enjoying my new glasses and being able to see clearly again!  The first class I attended after getting them, I squirmed with delight at the fact that I could actually SEE what my professor was writing on the board, and could sit in the back of the class if I wanted!  (I still enjoy sitting up front though.)  :)  I wrote a cheesy little poem the day after getting my glasses:

O former glasses dead and gone,
We’re through (not sorry!); moving on
Not only ‘cause of your decease,
But time to start fresh, if you please.
Since you, I’ve found a better pair
That makes my face look twice as fair.
I chose you when I was thirteen,
My fashion sense was different then.
Now, I’m not saying you looked bad,
But getting new ones makes me glad.
For one can tire of red and blue
rectangular frames; let’s start anew.
So during my final teenage year
I left you for a more hipster
Type with slightly bigger frames
(Don’t worry, they don’t take o’er my face);
Brown; the tortoise kind. Sold!
Something fun but not TOO bold.
And so it happens, I confess,
That I couldn’t miss you less!
And so I hope that you don’t mind.
Thanks to the new ones, I’m no longer blind.

Haha  :)  Have a good week!

God bless,

Madeline

These Past Few Weeks

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After a rather hectic week, with a mid-term exam and an extended paper, spring break has finally arrived!  I am so overjoyed.  I keep having this thought “I have things to work on” and then remember “Wait!  I don’t!”  What relief!  :)  It’ll be so nice to have a whole week to just unwind and rejuvenate.  I’m planning to do some pleasure-reading (i.e. The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis and The Things of Earth by Joe Rigney), write (during regular school days I never have the time to let my thoughts flow on paper as much as I’d like), draw, sleep, spend time with friends and get in the Word more.  This will be fantastic.

I am LOVING spring.  It’s so good for the soul!  The warm and sunny days, the fresh air, hearing the birds, being able to use my porch again, the ability to not have to wear a coat and don shorts and sandals/flip flops… ah.

In class we are doing New Testament Survey and Theology, which I am enjoying very much.  We recently read through and compared the content, the literary styles, and the backgrounds of the four gospels, then read Acts, and now we are studying the Epistles  Just yesterday I finished a big paper on the Kingdom of God.  It was interesting to write, and made me look forward to Christ’s return and the coming of His Kingdom.

I’ve started making handmade cards.  I had my very first client about a month ago, who wanted me to draw a portrait of Audrey Hepburn, so I did.  I’m working on opening an Etsy shop soon and sell cards and art prints; however, those probably will be high-quality printed versions of original drawings.  I don’t have time or energy to hand-draw every single product.  I’m a busy woman. :)

A couple weeks ago our school did a dodgeball tournament.  It was pretty awesome.  There were some pretty hilarious team names, such as “the Darth Graders” (professors and faculty, who showed up in Darth Vader costumes), “The Beach Bums” (my team, who wore shorts, tees, bro tanks… summery clothing) and “The Church Dodge-matics” (which is so delightfully nerdy).  However, towards the end of the tournament, I got hit hard in the face by a ball, hurting the top of my nose, and… breaking my glasses.  Oh no.  So for the past couple weeks, I’ve been living in a slightly blurry world, unable to read words from a distance (especially on the whiteboard in class) or people’s facial expressions from far away.  It’s pretty sad, but I’m learning to live with it.  The night after it happened, I wrote an ode to my glasses:

O Glasses!  Dear you were to me,

For you enabled me to see.

But now you’re dead and gone, and so

Blurred vision once again I know.

A couple days later, I borrowed these obnoxious fake hipster glasses from my sister, and wore them to class the next couple of days to see what people would say.  I got some surprising “cute glasses!” compliments, a “Those are actually growing on me!  You look cute in them!”, and a perplexed “…how do you like your new glasses, Madeline?” (to which I replied, “They’re fake.”  To which my friend replied, “Are you sure?“)  Haha!  :D  Thankfully, I just got some new ones (which are pretty funky and hipster, though not in an excessive way) a couple days ago, and God willing, they will be coming soon!  It’ll be nice to have clear vision again.  :)

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This quote is one of my favorite quotes ever, and it’s played a pretty significant role in my life.  It’s been on my mind these past couple months.  God has been helping me improve in taking thoughts captive, recognizing untrue or sinful thoughts when they come, and replacing them with what is true and worthy of my thoughts.  He’s teaching me to set my mind “on things above, and not on things that are on earth (Colossians 3:2)”; to focus on Christ and make Him the center of my mind and affections.

God bless,

Madeline