Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I Was Going to Go to Bed Early, But Then I Discovered the Bible

The Bible is really, really, really awesome.

More awesome than I can comprehend.

All the doubt I periodically struggle with disappears when I realized that Jesus really does fulfill the Old Testament. It is way too complex to be a hoax or anything of the like.

I have grown up going to Christian schools. Ever since I can remember I have had the Sunday school answer in my mind that Jesus fulfills all the prophecies. Kudos to Jesus. But I never really comprehended the amazingness of it until now. It's not just the prophecies that are fulfilled. It's the entire Law! Everything is laid out so clearly in the Bible! God gives the Law, and Jesus comes and fulfills everything the Law hints that we need: Passover Lamb, shepherd, scapegoat on the Day of Atonement, Bread of Presence, lamp, and temple/tabernacle. Jesus does it all.

Why have I never seen this before?!

Actually, I have. I remember reading about this during the Old and New Testament History class my sophomore year in high school. I just didn't really get it until I had to read the Bible for myself.

Oh, man.

News Flash!

-I don't follow current events anymore. Which means these are just random clips of info from my life that I would feel narcissistic posting as Facebook statuses. So...

-I don't know what I want to major in anymore.

-Apparently I'm a sophomore by credits. When this semester is over, I will technically have 32 units, but I didn't know that until today, which means I missed the earlier registration block. But it also means I caught on soon enough so that I could still grab classes before the rest of the freshmen have at it tomorrow morning. But it also means some of the classes I wanted were closed, so I'm at 16 units for next semester with a hope that I can crash a volleyball class when classes begin in the spring.

-I used an example involving a dead cow in session today.

-I'm done with all of the Torrey reading for the semester. That long list of books I saw at the beginning of the semester and started to get really really worried about? Now complete!

-I have read: the Iliad, the Odyssey, the Aeneid, Beowulf, Dante's Divine Comedy, Book I of Faerie Queene, Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, and Hebrews. For one class. In one semester.

The end.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

You Know You're Irish When...

...Your father puts Guiness in his chili verde recipe.

...Your favorite song when you were eight was "What Do You Do With a Drunken Sailor?"

...All your mood swings and stubborness are attributed to your "Irish sass."

...You know that there is a distinct and important difference between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

...You know more Irish freedom songs than Christmas carols.

...Making fun of the British is an acceptable past-time.

...There is an Irish drinking song with your name as the title.

...Everything is made better with bagpipes and fiddles.

...You know practically every legend out there about St. Patrick.

...You eat potatoes at almost every meal.

...The first book you received (the day you were born) is entitled Jamie O'Rourke and the Big Potato.

...You entertained your economics teacher with stories of how you had a leprechaun named Liam in your pocket.

...When you needed to hit a pinata with extra force, your friends would yell, "Pretend it's Oliver Cromwell!"

...You have smiling Irish eyes that will steal a heart away.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What Goes Down at Home When I'm Gone

Apparently very little. I walked into the house and literally cringed at the sight of the kitchen floor. With a mother usually wheelchair-bound and one man and one teenage boy in charge of the chores traditionally done by women throughout the centuries, everything is handled in a very time-efficient manner.

They just don't do chores.

Granted, my brother is a three-sport athlete at his high school and also a straight-A student. And in Boy Scouts. And my dad works his heart out to provide for my family and tries to spend quality time with my brother doing whatever Boy Scouts do at those weekly meetings. I know they're busy.

But in four months, couldn't they find one day to wash the floor?

So I got to spend my first day of Thanksgiving break running errands and washing the kitchen floor. I'm not complaining. Cleaning is very therapeutic for me, provided I don't have to do it too often. But sometimes it amazes me how they can stand to live in a house with a filthy kitchen floor.

Then I remember. They're boys.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What's Been Up

I have been so stressed for the last few weeks. Don't ask why. It's a long story. But, when you're stressed, you appreciate a sense of non-stress much more.

-Like how I got a good laugh out of watching Dr. Campbell. She was walking down the stairs in Sutherland Hall muttering to herself. "Okay," she said, "try not to fall down the stairs."

Always a good first step.

No pun intended.

-And when I managed to get all but one of my pull questions done before leaving for Thanksgiving break. I had just finished stapling the sheets together when my phone rang. It was Jessica Carter calling to say she was ready to leave. Perfect timing or perfect timing?

-And when I realize I have great friends who grab me and command me to read Mara: Daughter of the Nile over break.

-And when I discover a copy of Surprised by Joy by C.S. Lewis sitting under a pile of books in my bedroom at home.

-Or when I realize how incredibly funny old TV shows are.

-Or even as I see mountains for the first time in four weeks. Not just the dinky little mountains visible if I look out my dorm room window at just the right angle between the tree and the Facilities Services building. Big, majestic, green mountains with beautiful clouds as a backdrop.

-Or getting a good laugh out of turning the radio on and realizing that we must be close to Bakerfield since every other station is playing country music.

-Driving past miles and miles of farmland. Such a beautiful thing.

-The only thing left to make me any happier is to see real, true, bright stars again. And to get that paper turned in and my major decided on.

But we're not going to think about that right now.

Friday, November 19, 2010

What Cheers Me Up

In no particular order...

-Matthew 6:33
-Libertas girls (the girls who live on my hall in my dorm)
-Bakersfield (believe it or not)
-Johnny Cash
-Old hymns
-Anything Celtic or Irish
-Erma Bombeck
-Mix CDs with indie music on them
-Homemade bread
-Hot tea
-Nerdy Torrey jokes
-Peanut M&Ms
-Knowing that I'll see mi tio Danny on Thursday at the ungodly hour of 5 am.
-Knowing that I will see my dear friend Cassie Barritt next week for the first time since August 14th.
-Walk to Remember
-The framed picture on my desk of me and Maddie taken last September.
-Anything by C.S. Lewis or Elisabeth Elliot
-The soundtrack from Prince of Egypt
-Having my name said in the special Quadratus way
-Singing Disney movies at Biola (No one gives you weird looks for singing songs from Mulan in the middle of the caf or for dancing down the road singing "A Spoonful of Sugar.")
-Sweaters and scarves

Thursday, November 18, 2010

In the Last Two Days I Have...

-Completed four pull questions (that actually occurred within the last 24 hours)
-Drawn a timeline for one of my pull questions, complete with color-coded motif tracking. My Biblical Lit and Old and New Testament History classes from high school came in very handy.
-Gotten my first Torrey paper back for revisions. It is a mess of red pen, black pen, and probably a few of my tears.
-Almost scheduled a ride back home for Thanksgiving.
-Laughed, cried, smiled, thought, prayed, stressed, and stared at my bookshelf.
-Been reminded that I am not the only one freaking out about her major.
-Received more hugs than I probably have a right to.
-Realized how blessed I am.
-Gotten a whole new outlook on the book I previously viewed as the most boring book of the Bible (Numbers).
-Realized that the majority of the book of Numbers really can be sung to the tune of "The 12 Days of Christmas" (courtesy of Mary Kate Reynolds).
-Gotten cast as an extra in a film shoot.
-Proclaimed my Torrey nerd-ness by wearing a T-shirt that says "Aslan is on the Move" all over campus.
-Had chills go up my spine when I heard Matthew 6:33 read to me in the middle of a crazy mass of people in the caf.
-Promised myself that I will finish my Brit Lit essay by Saturday.
-Watched "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed." At Biola. (For those who have forgotten, Biola is one of the places Ben Stein visited on his travels to understand Intelligent Design and its implications).
-Eaten lasagna from the Knotts Berry Farm restaurant and realized that it looks and tastes remarkably like the Stoffers lasagna I used cook for my family.
-Been thoroughly encouraged by the presence and attitude of my dear friend, Juliet San Nicolas.
-Realized that one week from today I will be eating bar-be-qued turkey and stuffing, pumpkin pie, crock-pot green beans and bacon, and, of course, potatoes.
-Tried very hard not to be jealous of Austin Smith and his copy of the complete letters of C.S. Lewis.
-Realized that almost exactly one year ago I was visiting APU and wanting to go there...and now I thank God for putting me at Biola.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Prayers of the Past

Sometimes, I'm so stressed that nothing from this century seems to make me feel better. Sometimes words from those who lived out the Christian faith at its most trying times are the perfect dose of perspective. A peek into their hearts through their prayers always reminds me that Christ is so much more important than anything else.
Prayer from the Breast Plate of St. Patrick
Christ be with me
Christ before me
Christ behind me
Christ in me
Christ beneath me
Christ above me
Christ on my right
Christ on my left
Christ where I lie
Christ where I sit
Christ where I arise
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me
Christ in every eye that sees me
Christ in every ear that hears me
Salvation is of the Lord.
Old Irish Prayer
Dear Lord, Give me a few friends who will love me for what I am, and keep ever burning before my vagrant steps the kindly light of hope...And though I come not within sight of the castle of my dreams, teach me to be thankful for life, and for time's olden memories that are good and sweet. And may the evening's twilight find me gentle still.
Prayer of Saint Augustine
Look upon us, O Lord,
and let all the darkness of our souls
vanish before the beams of thy brightness.
Fill us with holy love,
and open to us the treasures of thy wisdom.
All our desire is known unto thee,
therefore perfect what thou hast begun,
and what thy Spirit has awakened us to ask in prayer.
We seek thy face,
turn thy face unto us and show us thy glory.
Then shall our longing be satisfied,
and our peace shall be perfect.
Prayer of Jerome
Lord, thou hast given us thy Word for a light to shine upon our path;
grant us so to meditate on that Word, and to follow its teaching,
that we may find in it the light that shines more and more until the perfect day;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Prayer of Patrick
Lord, be with us this day,
Within us to pruify us;
Above us to draw us up;
Beneath us to sustain us;
Before us to lead us;
Behind us to restrain us;
Around us to protect us.
Traditional Celtic Prayer
You are the peace of all things calm
You are the place to hide from harm
You are the light that shines in dark
You are the heart's eternal spark
You are the door that's open wide
You are the guest who waits inside
You are the stranger at the door
You are the calling of the poor
You are my Lord and with me still
You are my love, keep me from ill
You are the light, the truth, the way
You are my Saviour this very day.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Catch-All Post

So much has been going on, which is good...and bad. I am learning so much, but it is so incredibly exhausting.

So much has been on my heart lately. Worries. Thoughts. Lessons learned. Lessons that I wish I had learned earlier.

-I had so many worries about my major this week. Last week, I had the same worries, but I had zero time to think about it. I'm not sure what I want to do for the rest of my life. I'm a sociology major...but now I'm not even sure my dream job (opening a children's home in the country) is even going to work in so many different capacities...which makes me wonder why I'm majoring on sociology if I may not even use this knowledge. And I'm planning on getting my teaching credential, but I don't agree with many things related to public education, and I don't really want to teach in a private school, either...so I spent a large chunk of the last few days wondering and worrying about all of this. Until I realized that there are only two jobs I have had my heart set on at any point in my life: being a teacher, and being a mom...so maybe this course of work is right for me after all.

-Rest. It's something that I tend to do, but it is never restful. When I'm studying, I take little breaks, but these breaks are sometimes as busy as my time spent studying, so they are rarely restful. But if I take a real rest, then I feel like I don't deserve it because I haven't worked hard enough (because I've been taking all those little breaks).

All this culminates in very little rest for me. I've been trying this week to learn to be disciplined in certain areas. I think putting rest into my schedule is going to have to be one of those things that I am disciplined about: working when I know I have to, and taking a rest so I can do my best the rest of the time. Using Facebook less. Reading my Bible more. Setting aside time to do something where I refuse to let myself get distracted. God gave me time to spend in college, and I need to use it wisely. I need to do my schoolwork and do it well, even when I dislike the work. I need to invest in the lives of those I am with: the girls on my floor, my Torrey group, other Torrey kids, the students in my classes, my friends in Bakersfield and all over the world. I need to rest. Most importantly, I need to put God first. One reason why I felt like last week (Torrey-paper-frenzy week) was so horrendous was because my devotional times were non-existant. If I spent time with God, I would have been able to get through that week with significantly less stress. Instead, my friends had to sit me down and tell me that my health was more important than writing a paper.

-I had to read six chapters of Walt Russel's Playing With Fire this week before reading the Bible for my Torrey class. I was amazed at what I learned: It's not all about me. Fancy that.

I realized that when I read the Bible I look at in in the context of "What does this have to do with me?" as my primary motivation, when, this is not the true context at all. God didn't give us the Bible to help me decide what I should major in, or to give me a comforting quote every so often. He gave the Bible to mankind to reveal Himself to us. To reveal who He is, what He likes and dislikes, how He is involved in history, how He is using history for His glory, and so on. Reading the Bible is not about me! The fact that I made it is incredibly foolish and conceited of me.

This explains so many of the problems I have had recently reading the Bible. I have lost interest in it so quickly because I felt that nothing I was reading applied to me, and the verses that did apply to me were already memorized and in my head. Now, the Bible has a new meaning to me. I have the privilege of learning how God works in history...a complete story, not a sound bite or two.

Monday, November 1, 2010

"There's Grace for That"

Last week was probably the most stressful week I have endured since I moved to college. I don't know how I survived. Every waking moment for the last week has been spent writing my Torrey paper (then re-writing it the night before it was due), reading Paradise Lost and just trying not to freak out about all the work I had piling up. By Thurday afternoon I was more stressed that I could remember being in a very long time. My heart was pounding, I was exhausted, and close to tears.

I thank God for His grace because otherwise I would not have survived. His grace to allow me an extension on reading Paradise Lost. His grace to give me friends who spent the whole week encouraging me. Friends who sat me down and told me I was not allowed to work on my paper until I had sufficiently relaxed. Friends who edited my paper multiple times before it was due. Friends who sat with me at 3 am and helped me come up with a title for my paper. Friends who let me help bake cookies so I would take my mind off the daunting task that was ahead of me. Friends who post "Siobhaaaaaaaannnn" on my facebook because they know it will make me smile. Torrey tutors who make us go outside and think and pray before session.

Without those things I would not have made it through this last week.

All praise be to God.