Inexpressible Joy at 1:00 AM

Rain falls outside the window of my new bedroom, complementing the silence of the night. I am restless, I can’t sleep. But this is a good kind of restless. Though my body can’t fall asleep, my soul is so perfectly at peace. I’ve been praying and have been absolutely IN AWE of how beautiful God is. These past few days have been so joy-filled, and the LORD has really blessed me in so many ways, that looking back on this past weekend and today, I am amazed at this God that I serve and that I get to call my Father. I am so overwhelmed by His goodness, and I must recount some of the many, many things He has shown me and that He has done or given me these past few days:

  • A new home in a new town. It’s quieter. It’s safer. It’s more peaceful. I go to sleep and hear crickets, not people yelling at each other. I wake up and hear birds twittering peacefully, as I look out the window and see the golden glow of the morning sunlight. After years of not feeling very safe, I now can rest.
  • Friendship, fellowship, and community. The other day I was able to hang out with a dear friend of mine. We bought art supplies at a craft store and then painted together, while listening to worship music and talking about what God has been doing in our lives. The next day I got to attend my small group for the first time in forever (I had been out of town over the summer) and spend time in prayer with the people in my group, and then discuss Revelation 1 and what it says about Christ. Then yesterday I was able to meet a friend in person who I had met online, and spend some time with her and her family after church. Fellowship and community are such beautiful things. I am so, so blessed.
  • I have seen the power and reality of the gospel more clearly these past few days. That though there is so much darkness in this world, Christ is stronger. So much stronger. That since I am in Christ, no weapon formed against me shall prosper. That persistence in faith in the promises of God makes the enemy flee. That Jesus is victorious and that all authority has been given to Him. I have seen struggles with fear and with sin, I have seen heavy battles over the course of my life, and I have seen God’s grace in giving me firm faith and His peace even in the midst of those battles, and persistence to keep on looking to Christ… until at last satan gives up even trying to discourage me and all I know is God’s peace. I have also seen other people’s lives completely changed—I have seen one girl, who had once been in spiritual bondage and recently was set free, get baptized yesterday. I was weeping tears of joy—people, the gospel changes lives! Jesus Christ changes lives, and the powers of hell cannot stand a chance against Him! The reality of the gospel has been so real to me these past couple days—Christ has conquered my sin, the fullness of it, and I bear it no more! In Him I am a child of God, free from condemnation and counted righteous, although I had deserved the complete opposite. Friends, trust in Jesus Christ! In Him is real, lasting Peace (the peace I feel so much right now); in Him is inexpressible and overflowing Joy! In Him is fulfillment and satisfaction and contentment! He is everything I need!
  • It’s so good to be back at my home church again. Today my former youth pastor visited our church and preached, and it was one of the best sermons I have heard.
  • And then right now, as I was lying here in bed, I was just thinking about God’s goodness to me, about all that He has done for me, and of what Jesus went through for me, because He loves me, and was overcome by the fact that He is very real (which I always have known and believed, but now I could really feel it), and that He loves me… and, more than I ever have probably felt before, I longed to just be in heaven with Him—worshiping Him, learning from Him, seeing the wounds in His hands with my own eyes—the wounds that He took for MY sake—I cannot wait for that day when I will be with Him forever.

The LORD is so good.

 

One thing have I asked of the LORD,

that will I seek after:

that I may dwell in the house of the LORD

all the days of my life,

to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD

and to inquire in his temple.

Psalm 27:4, ESV

 

Life. — 07/14

I’ve been wanting to do a life-update post for a long time, but haven’t gotten around to it until now. So, here it is, finally!

Life these days has been good… lots of rest, which my tired body needs to heal. Lots of time outside in the country, away from the city for a while. (I love the city, but sometimes you just need to get away into nature a bit and get a change of pace.) Lots of sun (I’m starting to get a tan.) Lots of time in my hammock. Lots of time alone… sometimes it’s nice, but I’ve recently been seeing the need to be intentional about being with people more—being alone for long periods of time is never a good thing. A couple of walks, during which I would enjoy the trees, the flowers, the grassy plains, the clouds, the butterflies that would leave me when I would try to get near enough to get a picture of them…

Other than all of this, I’ve been doing a cleaning job on the weekends. It’s been a pretty okay job… it’s great when you have music to listen to. Last week I was cleaning a shower, and my arm accidentally bumped the faucet handle, and it sprayed water all over me. Thankfully I had enough time for it to mostly evaporate before people would see me all wet. Haha.

I’ve recently discovered this song, and it’s literally been on repeat until I started to grow tired of it. I think it’s pretty fun:

These days I’ve been feeling rather distracted, as I talked about a couple of posts ago. I want to wholeheartedly seek the LORD, but I so often get sidetracked, trying to find satisfaction in other things. Not that these other things are bad in and of themselves—they are good gifts created by God for us to enjoy—but when I start to put my hope in or base my identity upon these things, that’s idolatry. My constant prayer is that I would love the LORD with my whole heart, soul, and mind, and learn to enjoy His gifts rightly, enjoying Him ultimately. God is the Source of all good, truth and beauty; therefore, I should find my refreshment from the Source, not the stale, stagnant pool to which it leads. (That may be a cliché analogy, but it totally makes sense to me, so I’ll use it.) Ad Fontes! (Latin: “To the fount!”)

This gluten-free, dairy-free, grain-free, egg-free, happiness-free (just kidding… sort of) diet has been good, kind of hard, and very helpful. Although I REALLY miss cheese, yogurt, ice cream and butter, cutting out dairy was one of the best things I’ve ever done. I feel a lot better. I’ve been trying to eat things that don’t ferment very much in the gut (I have this list of foods that do and don’t), so yes, my diet is rather limited. However, I’m doing this so I can heal. Once my gut has healed well enough, I can start re-introducing things like brown rice and sweet potatoes (I am REALLY looking forward to that day).

What have you been up to these days?

-Maddie

Intense Gratitude

My heart is so full right now. God is so good. SO GOOD.

Firstly, I’ve been thinking recently about and marveling at how much God has done in my life these past few weeks, and how much better my life has been. I have no words. Some of you who know me well have heard from me how things have been going for me recently, and those of you who don’t know me but have been reading my posts from this past spring have an idea of how hard things had been. But it’s gotten so much better since then. Praise the LORD. (So to those of you out there who are struggling so hard and don’t see any hope for the future… hang on—it WILL get better, believe me.)

  • Mentally/emotionally, I feel great—so much more joyful and hopeful; so much more at rest—I actually enjoy my life more. I wake up nearly every morning feeling feel so much happier to be alive (not that I ever wasn’t happy to be alive).
  • Faith-wise… you know, it’s always a journey, I’m always learning; I’m a sinner in need of God’s grace. I mess up, I run to Him, He shows me mercy. By His grace, I keep running, learning to hate sin and love righteousness. So things aren’t perfect in the slightest (how could they be, on this side of heaven?), but He’s been teaching me so much, and blessing me and showing Himself to me in so many ways. I’ve experienced so much more joy in Christ, and God has been answering my prayers that I would enjoy Him more (shoutout to Jonathan Edwards’s Personal Narrative for the idea to pray this… Edwards did, and I thought, good idea!).
  • Physically, I feel better. I’m still not a perfect picture of health, but I have seen improvement. A significant example of this is that my hair is growing back. About 3 weeks ago I got it cut short (at about chin-length), and since then the amount of hair I was losing slowed down to a halt. Which is a serious answer to prayer. I am convinced that the reason for hair loss was mainly intense stress, while nutrient-deficiency also was a factor. (I get enough to eat, but my body can’t absorb enough nutrients.)

Which segues into the next thing that I am SO happy about: I had an appointment with my doctor today. I had gotten so many different tests done, and during this appointment we went over the results. And—praise the LORD!—the results came back with very pleasant news. I don’t have the possible conditions that I had been wondering whether I had. There was one test I did for “cross-reactives” (foods that the body reacts to as if they were gluten, even if they are completely gluten-free things, such as dairy, potatoes, etc.), and according to the test results, the only cross-reactive that my body can’t handle is dairy, which is kind of sad. On the bright side, all the other cross-reactives were negative (which means I can have things like potatoes and brown rice again! Praise the LORD.) In short, he concluded that things look very hopeful. I can start introducing those “cross-reactives” back into my diet, and I will still have to keep taking supplements, and continue doing exercises that help stimulate the left-cerebellum and brain stem. Anyway, I am so thankful that God helped me find this doctor, because I have NEVER been helped with my Celiac/Horner’s/Traumatic Brain Injury issues to the extent that he has helped me. Ever. My life makes so much sense—how these three conditions totally build off one another and cause all the various symptoms I’ve been having. I now know why I am this way, and have so much hope and confidence that things will only get better.

Thirdly, I’m just in awe over how God has just really blessed me with the friendships He has given me. I’m in awe over the wonderful sisters that God has placed in my life ever since starting college. I have grown so much because of them, and am so, so thankful for all the ways in which they’ve cared for me, listened well, offered wisdom and encouragement, and pointed me to Christ.  God placed the right people in my life at the right time. I’m also amazed at how God brings people together in suffering, and causes something beautiful to come from something unbearably hard. Or how real friendships will not cave under failures—I know that I have failed to be loving many times, yet by God’s grace, there is forgiveness, and the friendship continues on, stronger. Community is such a beautiful thing.

God is just amazing. I can’t say it enough.

—Maddie

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.

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

 

Thankful. 5/31

These days I’m thankful for:

  • God’s grace in dealing patiently and mercifully with me when I’m being a brat, and in helping me to see things more like the way he sees them.
  • Mint iced tea.
  • Gluten free pasta – a luxury.
  • Freedom from certain legalistic boundaries.  Legalism is the worst.  The earth is the LORD’s, and all that it contains, and when someone uses a thing God created, not from faith, that doesn’t make that created thing evil.  The evil thing is actually our sinful hearts.  It would be like saying, “So many people misuse food, being gluttonous.  Therefore, food must be evil.”  NO!  That is faulty logic!  The food itself is not the problem; the problem is the heart of man, who twists and misuses creation in a way the God did not design creation to be used.  Although hardly anyone would believe this (in that we need food to survive), many legalistic arguments follow this same logic, I’ve noticed.  We all need to realize (including myself) that all things are created by God, and he has created them to be enjoyed, rightly.  Alcohol is a good thing, but in enjoying it, don’t lose your self-control or ability to discern “should I say/do this, or not?”.  Food is good, but don’t be a glutton.  Friendship, music, writing, etc., are good things, but they can be used for good, or for evil.  When they are used for evil, that doesn’t make those things “off-limits” (i.e. “Dancing is bad, because sometimes people can do suggestive things while doing it.”  No, dancing is not the issue, the suggestive actions are the issue.  One can dance in a way that glorifies God).  The things that God created can be used for good (bringing glory to him), or for evil (using them not in the way he intended them to be used).
  • Life.  Yes, I am so thankful for life in general.  It’s awesome.  I mean, of course, there are those days when everything goes wrong and the day couldn’t be short enough, but there are also those days when it’s sunny out, and I get to go on adventures with my friends, and hilarious things happen, and good conversations are had, etc., etc.  Life is just beautiful.
  • Technology.  Seriously, it makes life SO much easier.
  • Words.
  • Friendship.
  • Forgiveness.
  • Salads.  They’re SO good.  Last week I made this salad (twice) out of baby kale (chopped up roughly), chicken, cherry tomatoes (halved, so they don’t explode in your mouth), avocado, and then olive oil and lemon juice for dressing.  AHHH.
  • Long, deep conversations.
  • Fresh berries.
  • Avocados.
  • A fan, when it’s super hot and the house doesn’t have A/C.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer Goals

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Summer has been going pretty well so far.  So far I’m still in something like the “newlywed stage” of summer, where all is sunshine and daisies – I have a bunch of free time, and I can do all the things I want to do – and the harder parts of summer haven’t kicked in yet.  I’ll cross that bridge when I get there, and enjoy the “sunshine and daisies” for now. =)

Speaking of sunshine, today I got to meet with one of my good friends, whom I haven’t seen since I was 17, and we took a walk around one of the lakes and caught up on each other’s lives.  It was great; the weather was beautiful, so sunny, and it was nice to get some exercise.  I’m so glad I finally got to meet up with her; we had been talking about it for a while, and now we finally did it.  =)  After that, I went home (with a nice little bruise on my cheek from whacking her car door on my face by accident when she dropped me off at home, and I was shutting her door), did some online shopping for shoes (I’ve been needing something comfortable for my feet; most of my shoes are those super poor-quality ones you’ll find at those trendy stores at the mall… they make my feet feel awful after a couple of hours), finally ordered a pair of Toms, had lunch, and took a nap.  I woke up, read my Bible (I’m currently going through Hebrews, partially because I’ve been wanting to read Tom Schreiner’s Run To Win The Prize, which was recommended to us at school during the class on Hebrews.  I thought maybe I should refresh my mind on Hebrews if I’m going to read it), and made supper (warmed up some curry lentil soup that my mom had made.  Thanks Mom).  So yeah.  Summer is going pretty swimmingly, I’d say.

Today as we were walking, my friend asked me if I had a summer bucket list.  I said I didn’t really, but later I thought that that was a good idea.  I need to make some goals for myself to accomplish this summer (when I’m not working).  So with that, here are my summer goals:

  • Get somewhere in the novel I started.  That’s right, folks, I started writing a novel (or a mini-novel, we’ll see what I have the patience for, and if I can come up with a good enough plot).  There is no guarantee I’ll finish it, but one day the basic idea of a storyline was formed in my head, and I wanted to make it a thing.  I won’t say much about the plot, except that there are the themes of fear, struggling with depression, lies, and then finding freedom and joy, and learning to care for and invest in others even when going through difficulties yourself.  These themes all take place in the life of a 20-year old girl named Sparrow Dellinger.  That’s all I’m going to say about it.
  • Read.  A lot.  I always have aspirations to read over the summer, but it doesn’t usually happen.  This summer, I hope, will be different.  Maybe I can actually finish one of the many books I’ve only gotten one chapter into.  I want to read books of heavy theology, as well as some good fiction (if you guys have any fiction recommendations, please let me know.  Until then, Pride and Prejudice, round two.  Or maybe some Louisa May Alcott).
  • Spend as much time outside as I can, and store up Vitamin D for the winter.  (That won’t be hard.)  Get really tan.  (That will be hard.)
  • Blog often (only if I have things to write about).
  • Be intentional about investing in the lives of others.
  • Saturate myself in the Word.
  • Keep up with my Greek skills.  I should make a habit of reading that old interlinear Greek New Testament I have.  I don’t want a year of hard work to go to waste.

What are your plans for this summer?

 

And just like that…

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It’s over.  Another semester… done.

My final final was completed, I turned it in, and I let out a huge sigh of relief, and let it sink in that now it had become officially summer.  (and oh, you know that that one song from High School Musical was then stuck in my head for a long time afterwards… “what time is it… summertime… it’s our vacation!!!”  I know.  I know.)  Friends got together to celebrate the end of another semester, with a bonfire, s’mores, and lots of laughter.  Commencement happened.  A few friends graduated with their Associates degrees.  A few final hours were spent together the next day before we parted ways.  Many goodbyes were said.

Many of my friends have packed up and gone home.  Most of them, God willing, I will see next fall.  Some of them, however (a few of the ones who graduated), I may never see again, and I’ll miss them.  But I’m excited to hear about what God has for them next.

I came home this evening, and went into my room… and it was empty, since my roommate had left for home.  So after getting emotional about how much I would miss her, I went to work rearranging the furniture, and took the top bunk, swept the floor, and put artwork and Bible verses and quotes in various places on the walls  –  it would be my room now.

Everything feels so strange right now.  But I’ll get used to it.  I’m thankful for another season of college life, and now I’m thankful for a summer, a time to finally relax  –  reading and blogging and writing and hanging out with people and studying the Bible and hand-lettering and doing other things to my heart’s content.  I’m also excited to work this summer, and to see people that I haven’t seen in a long time.  I’m excited to grow further in the knowledge and love of God, and to learn new things.  I’m excited to spend as much time as I can outside, and get all the vitamin D I’ve been lacking.

I can’t wait to see what God has for me in these next couple of months.

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

Sentiments Regarding Finals & Summer, etc.

Well, folks, it’s been a busy last couple of weeks, as the school year is coming to a close.  Yesterday we had our very last class (and our final Fancy Friday as freshmen!  How many F’s can you fit into one sentence?).  It was a bittersweet day… it was our last class with one of our professors, who will be teaching the new freshmen next semester while we move on up to sophomore status.  I’m going to miss his humor and the “skip around the room”s he had us all do on our birthdays.  He’s great.

Finals Week is next week.  Woo-hoo.  I’m actually pretty excited; I do find it fun to study for finals.  Especially if you study for it in a group setting; that makes it all the more enjoyable.  Last year 5 of us (I, my roommates and two friends) spent the whole day before an exam in our apartment, making a timeline of ancient historical characters, making those virtual flashcard sets on Quizlet, and doing whatever it took to stay awake, focused and sane – techno music, consuming much caffeine, wrestling matches (among the guys), pushups, me sitting in weird positions on the couch (upside down)…  It was a late, crazy, fun, semi-productive day.  (This time around, I intend to be way more productive though.)  :)

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These past couple weeks we’ve been studying the writings of the apostolic fathers, learning about Constantine and how his “conversion” (I’m still not sure whether he did it for anything more than political purposes) affected Christianity and the Roman Empire.  Very interesting stuff.

The weather has been beautiful lately.  Whether sunny or rainy, I’ve been loving it all.  Variety is a good thing.

Current music favorites:  Benny Goodman.  Ben Howard.  Jason Gray.  Jon Hopkins.  Royal Tailor.  And of course, good ol’ Rend Collective.

These days God has been teaching me to be to look to Him for strength (these finals, man!), and has been convicting me these days of pride/vanity.  So often I tend to think so narcissistically sometimes, caring about what I look like, what people think of me, whether or not they like me or appreciate who I am or what I do… and then I catch myself, realizing how stupid and selfish it all is to be so narcissistic.  Oh, LORD, forgive me!  I’m doing my best to turn my mind away from myself, and turn it to ways I can serve the LORD in caring for others (Phil 2:4), whether they be my brothers and sisters in Christ, my family, or the strangers I run into when I’m out and about.  I want to imitate Christ in the way I live, becoming a servant to others.

I’m thinking a lot about summer these days.  In a week we’ll be done with all academics.  No more papers, no more deadlines, no more 300-some pages a week (which will be nice!), no more school-related stress.  However, while a vacation from these things will be nice (and much needed), it’ll be kind of sad as well.  I do love having the blessing of being able to learn what I’m learning at such a stellar college.  I’ve learned so much, and I am so grateful for it all.  Along with this, I will miss everyone terribly.  My classmates have been such a blessing to me.  We’ve grown pretty tight over this past year.  These people have encouraged me, helped me grow in my faith, made me laugh (A LOT)… Awww.  I love them so much.  Thankfully, if the LORD wills, we will all be reunited come fall.  There are things, however, that I am looking forward to doing this summer.  I’m looking forward to doing some reading.  Leisurely reading.  And a lot of it.  I don’t want my mind to turn to mush over these next three months.  Right now on my book list I have Things of Earth by Joe Rigney, Notes From the Tilt-A-Whirl by N.D.Wilson, The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges, Salvation Belongs to the LORD by John M. Frame, and Augustine’s Confessions.  And of course, the Bible.  I also hope to blog more often: poetry, short stories, photos, bits of life and what God has been teaching me; also I hope to write on theological things, using writing to grow in the knowledge of this amazing God that I get to call my Father.  I hope to draw more.  Way more.  I hope to spend lots of time outside, enjoying the sun and getting some much-needed Vitamin D.  I hope to take lots of pictures and do a lot of baking.  I’m looking forward to doing everything I’ve longed to do, but couldn’t for lack of time.  I’m looking forward to a pretty awesome summer job, and being able to spend time with friends whom I have not seen in forever.  I’m looking forward to those occasional quiet evenings sitting alone on the dock, watching the sun set over the lake, hearing the waves lap against the shore.  I’m looking forward to serving others.  This summer job I’ll be having will be a whole lot of that, and it will be an awesome experience.  I cannot wait.  LORD, what do you have for me this summer?

– Madeline

Life at Camp

Hey everybody! So during the summer I have been (and still am) working in the kitchen at a Christian camp. This camp is my favorite place in the world. I basically grew up here as a kid, and have been working here for the past couple summers. It’s seriously the best summer job ever. :)  The people here are so amazing, and so many priceless memories have been made.

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Some of my favorite things about camp are:

Sitting on the dock. That’s the best place to read my Bible, pray, or just think about things.  It’s the perfect place to spend your afternoon, get a tan, hang with friends and just peoplewatch.  :)

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The sunsets. This camp is not one of those woodsy, rustic camps. There aren’t a large number of trees, so one can see pretty much the whole sky. I have seen some of the most beautiful clouds and sunsets here.

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The people. Some of the most hilarious, sweet, God-loving, awesome people work here, and I am more than blessed to be able to spend every day with them. :)

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Writing on the whiteboard. Outside the dining hall, there’s a whiteboard, and I write the menu for every meal. It’s pretty fun. Sometimes little kids come up, crowd around me and try to guess what I’m writing, or sometimes we just have little conversations that usually consist of “Have you been enjoying camp so far?” or “Who are your counselors?”

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War Games. This is our legendary game that we play during the Junior High and Senior High weeks. It’s like a very epic rendition of capture the flag, We dress up crazily (think wacky thrift store clothes, ugly sweaters, wigs, and leggings), and take a couple school buses to a different location (usually a very woodsy park with lots of weeds and tall grass). The length of the game all depends on which team finds the hidden Bible and flag, which are worth a large number of points. If they find it, the game is over. This summer there has been one game that lasted about 20 minutes, and one that lasted over an hour. It was pretty ridiculous.

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Skit Night. On Friday evenings we have skit night. Every cabin comes up with a skit, and performs it for everybody. Skit Nights are kind of set up like Saturday Night Live or something like that. Besides skits, there are random games, and the showing of that week’s camp video. It’s one thing I look forward to every week.

The gluten free blueberry muffins.

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So there’s a taste of what I’ve been doing this summer!  Now off I go to eat lunch!

God bless,

Maddie

Drawings & Photoshop

I’ve been taking some of my sketches to Photoshop, tracing over them and sometimes applying color, patterns, etc.  It’s pretty fun.  :)  Here’s what I’ve accomplished so far:

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Shown below is the cover of a little book I’m working on.  It’s an informational guide (it’s supposed to be a joke) about hipsters and hipster-culture.  I made a rough draft in a notebook a few months ago while on vacation, soon after a relative asked me what it meant to be “hipster”.  I basically wrote it for him.  ;)

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Happy first day of June!

These Days – 05/17

Hello everybody!  It’s been a long time since I’ve last posted.  I haven’t found much to write about these days.  But a lot has happened in the past couple of weeks.  So here’s an update on my life.

During the past few weeks, I have learned so much about our amazing and great God.

I spent a few days out in the country, and got to enjoy the open space and fresh air.  Also I enjoyed being able to see the entire sky without obstructions (like buildings, etc.)!  You can’t do that in the city.  I saw some of the most amazing clouds.

I saw Hallmark’s When Calls the Heart series.  Now, I think Hallmark’s shows are super cheesy.  However, despite the cheese and unrealistic plot, I rather enjoyed it.  Does anyone else think that Jack sort of looked like Bear Grylls?  Haha :)

I took a few pictures.  Check my VSCO Grid or Instagram.

Started tweeting a lot.  Don’t worry, it’s for a good purpose.  :)  I started actually using my Twitter account for my other blog, Girls Who Glow (a blog for Christian girls), and I have been using it to encourage other girls, and have gotten encouragement myself.  Social networking is awesome!

Moriah Peters did a drawing for her painted boom box used in her video, and I entered to win it.  I don’t think I won, though.  The drawing ended yesterday, and I heard nothing.  Oh well.  ;)  Her new album is coming out on the 20th!  So excited!!!!

Remember when I had a very small (and sadly unsuccessful) design shop called Sparkel Works?  It’s long gone, but I think I might start it up again soon, God willing.

And last but not least, I am SO pumped and excited for this summer.

What’s going on with you these days?