Thursday, December 30, 2010

My Favorite Places

It sounds corny, but there are some place that make me happy, just being there. Here are some of those...
  • The couch in Sutherland right next to Dr. Reynold's office.
  • The Torrey office. (Seriously, I love that place. The books, the decorations, the knick-knacks, the music, the atmosphere. I am always hesitant to go in there, though, because I feel like I might disturb the aura.)
  • My church.
  • The Sigma third-floor lobby right by the floor-to-ceiling windows.
  • My family's ranch.
  • "Four Fireplaces" in Northern California somewhere off the Avenue of the Giants between Fortuna and Eureka.
  • The general store in Ferndale.
  • The Reynolds' living room.
  • Almost any bookstore, especially a used bookstore.
  • Country Rose Tea Room.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

What My Family Says...

Mom: You can make broth out of anything, even vegetables.
Brother: You can even make rat broth!
Mom: Thank you, Mr. Delicate.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Torrey Quotes: The Best of 2010

My Torrey Friends say the funniest things. Here are my favorites...
Note: For anyone who reads these quotes and doubts the character of my friends: they are all good, upstanding, Christian men and women who just say the weirdest things sometimes.

"Mary Kate Reynolds...needs to read the Iliad like the Muses are her homeboys." -Mary Kate Reynolds' Facebook status

"Why do we read Beowulf? Because Tolkein told us to." -Dr. Sanders

Dr. Reynolds: "What's wrong with Homer?"
Cale Wright: "He's telling us to put our heads in a meat grinder?"

"Snogging to church music is weird." -Dr. Reynolds

"That was blind-mowing!" -Rachel Harris

"A daaaamn shoot!" -Rachel Harris

"What the heck are 'sandal buddies'?! Is that a subtle way of saying we're playing footsies without shoes on?" -Sean Tosello

"What do you do with guys? You marry them!" -Elizabeth Bush

[Context: when two people try to talk at the same time in our group during class, they do rock-paper-scissors to see who gets to talk. Some have been known to do this when two people volunteer at the same time to pray for someone...] "Did you just cheat at rock-paper-scissors so you could pray for someone? That sounds like something Dante would do!" -Sean Tosello

"I'm gonna have the biggest ripped esophagus ever!" -Sean Tosello

"Great. Now I'm an Irish gangster." -me

"You're a hot Irish nerd, and I love you." -Elizabeth Bush to me

"There's nothing better than a Biola bad boy. It's like an Azusa Pacific Christian." -Dr. Reynolds

"Dante PWNS Milton." -Juliet San Nicolas

"Real men love Jane Austen." -Juliet San Nicolas

"I have a thing for male vocalists." -Sean Tosello

"R.A. Torrey scared the crap out of me this morning!" -Rachel Harris

"Did you just pray, 'Thank You, God, for his lightening-fast haircut?'" -Dr. Henderson

"It was published posthumously. Of course, it wasn't written posthumously." -Dr. Sanders

"It is impossible to look manly while drinking out of a straw." -Sean Hansen

"How is it that all the good-looking guys are in Torrey?!" -Elizabeth Bush

"Blessings are like the lovechild between fate and destiny." -Dave Martin

"My mom liked Simon and Garfunkle and the Monkeys, and my dad liked the Romanovs. What can I say?" -Mary Kate Reynolds

"Bam, Milton! Suck it! You just got pwned by the Bible!" -Rachel Harris

"I pray that You will make them smart at some point." -Nick Conrad, praying about my Torrey group

Friday, December 24, 2010

Tid-Bits of Information You Should Know

If you like reading my blog, you should check out One of my fantastic friends from high school made her own blog after reading mine, and I'm so excited that she liked mine enough to make one of her own. (Mostly because I was encouraged to start actually using my blog when I discovered a bunch of Biola friends who write amazing, thought-provoking blogs. So, I'm happy to get to be the encourager instead of the encouragee.)

Secondly, I am really happy about how many people read my blog. Last night, I wrote out some randomness about books and such and the page views said 1,128. This morning, when I navigated to my blog, it said 1,147. Now, I know half of these are due to me clicking around on my blog to different pages, but it still makes me really happy that people actually read this!

Third, it's Christmas Eve, and I am going thrift store shopping. I also got Plato, Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, and Kierkegaard in the mail yesterday. I know you were just dying to know that.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

On Books and Growing Up

I grew up reading books. For Christmas one year, I asked for "a book with lots of pages." I was thinking dictionary-sized, but I was too young to know what a dictionary was. So my mom got me a children's books about a mouse that discovers the Bible. Not what I had in mind, but I liked it anyway.

Ironically, I hated learning to read. The books were hard to read and were boring when you could understand what the words said. The only thing that kept me going (besides the fact that I didn't have much choice) was my dad telling me, "Readers are leaders and leaders are readers." I wanted to be in charge of something when I was "all grown-up"- I didn't care what- but that meant I had to read.

In elementary school, I always had a book with me. I read when I finished my work, I read during recess, and I probably got in trouble for reading during class. Whenever my family went on long road trips (which was often), my mom would buy us a new book or two to keep us occupied in the down-time. The worst punishment in my family was "going to bed without a story." My mom would read aloud to us every night until I was eleven or so. Then, I would read books, then dress up and act out the parts of the female main character. My mom spent countless hours sewing dresses, bonnets, capes, and skirts for me. (Then I discovered thrift stores and my costume hunting took place there, instead. But I still haven't outgrown that urge to dress up in long skirts like the heroines of old). And it all stemmed from books. Even now, my room is full of not only school books, but also children's books, young adult books, and novels.

For my first two years of high school, I adored books. I always had one with me. I had my preferences, but I read almost anything. Then I discovered people. I realized that although books were wonderful, people were like living books to me. The "best friend" relationships in books could happen in real life. There were people who had lived exciting things and could tell me about with a twinkle of the eye and the expressive tone that I missed in reading. For that reason (and due to too much homework), I stopped reading for fun during my junior year of high school. I read philosophy homework, economics textbooks, and political articles for debate, instead. I still read the occassional fun book (and books for English classes), but the novels I usually carried to class to read during passing periods were gone. They were replaced by wonderful conversations and genuine smiles. But I still missed those books. Especially the feel of a book in my hands.

College brought back the wonder of books to me, combined with the joy of being with people. In college, I read stories again, instead of textbooks. I read fiction again for the first time in a long time. There were characters to relate to (and analyze, now that I was older). But the best part was that it was not just me reading the book. In college, I read it with people by my side, reading the same book, and enjoying it with me, and discussing it to no end. We bonded over books. We stayed up to all hours reading. We had "study parties" during which we read for hours straight. That feeling brought together my early years of loving books and my teenage years of loving people. I cannot think of a better way to end my childhood.

Quote of the Day

Mom: "What happened to your Christmas stocking?"
Brother: "I don't know."
Mom: "What happened to all the stuff you get in your stocking last year?"
Brother: "I ate it."
Mom: "What about the flashlight you got?"
Brother: "I didn't eat the flashlight..."

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

What I Get to Thinking About When I Have Free Time

When I have time to think about something that is not homework, my thoughts go in many directions. Such as...

Home isn't as restful as I had hoped. I was hoping I would have less worries at home. I don't have less worries, just different worries. I've been thinking a lot about God lately. I've been praying all semester that God would help me sort out what to do about my major, and I haven't gotten any definitive answer. Is that evidence that He isn't answering yet, or that I'm not listening hard enough? But what grounds have I to talk ask God for stuff like this? What makes me think He cares? After all, this is the God that created the earth and all that is in it in six days. This is the God who is mightier and holier than my wildest imagination. what makes me think He wants anything to do with me and my worries about what to study at college? Especially when I give Him lip service instead of an honest heart, and the cold shoulder instead of true devotion.

It's funny. I spent so much of this semester reading the Bible. Seven books. It gave me a brand new "ah ha!" view of the Bible that still astounds me. But I don't feel closer to god because of it. I feel more like I'm seeing more of God, or the bigger picture of God, but I have to step back to fully see it (or to see as much as has been revealed to me). On one hand, this feels right. I have to see God as the Bible portrays Him, not as I imagine Him. At the same time, shouldn't this understanding of God build a strong relationship, not make me feel far away?

I'm reading A Severe Mercy right now. At one point, one of the characters realizes that she is sinful. It makes her so upset that she shakes, cries, and cannot get over it for quite some time. I never had that. Is that bad? I grew knowing that I did bad things. I never had a moment of realization (at least not as serious as Davy feels) that I was a little dirty object, but God wanted a relationship with me anyway. I haven't felt the power of the gospel for a very, very long time...should I? I'm not a fan of the emotionalism in the church today (in fact, I almost gave up on my faith partially because of that), but is emotion necessary for a growing relationship with God? Or at least an excitement for the gospel? I know I haven't felt it recently, but every so often I do. If emotion is necessary, why is it so fleeting?

I want to be honest about what I feel and believe about God, but I am not used to it. My family is the type that gives Christian answers for everything, but doesn't really hold onto that. I don't want to start quoting Bible verses to myself that don't really help because I'm just reciting words, but I know I need to turn to God. I just wish I could express my feelings about God without using cliches phrases or ideas. I think that's what this whole rant is really about: not liking Christian cliches about emotions, devotions, Bible reading, Bible verses, or any of that.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Randomness of Being Home

It rained six inches at my family's ranch this weekend. That's about what we usually get in a year. And it's still raining. Good thing I really love rain.

Sufjan Stevens is excellent room-cleaning music.

I miss Biola and all the quotable, lovable, all-around fantastic people there.

I get to see Voyage of the Dawn Treader again this week. With Marie. And hopefully more high school friends.

I bought vanilla chai tea at the grocery store. So much excitement.

I don't listen to Christmas carols carefully enough.

I haven't had a seriously good prayer time since before finals. That should change.

My dad offered to pay for my books for next semester.

I found a face soap that actually works with my skin type.

When I buy my own house, I want my living room to strongly resemble the one in the Reynolds household.

My brother chipped a tooth while wrestling yesterday. I believe he is making apple cider right now. And those two statements have nothing to with one another.

My mom still doesn't know I "got lost" in Compton last week.

My brother told me, "I want to go away to college so people will get excited to see me when I come back like they do with you."

Friday, December 17, 2010

Going "Home"

One of my friends posted as his Facebook status something along the lines of:

"If home is where the heart is, then I'm leaving half of my heart behind."

Exactly how I feel. I'm sitting in my ridiculously clean dorm room waiting for my dad to come pick me up. My heart aches. I don't want to go. I'm torn between two homes. I love Biola and I want to stay, but it is quite obvious that I can't (they're officially kicking me out in five and a half hours). But I don't quite want to go home yet...I was there three weeks ago, and I don't miss it...but I do. It's a weird sensation. I want to be "at home"...just maybe not my "home."

It's more stressful than I care to deal with. I kind of like being the "independent" woman that I am, and I'm not sure if I'm ready to go back home and become the daughter I'm supposed to be. In my parents' eyes, I'm either perpetually younger than I really am, or significantly older. They either expect me to always be available and at home like I was when I was younger, liking the same things, being the same person I was when I was 12. At the same time, they expect me to be more grown up. To not be a kid anymore and always be hard at work in some form. That isn't who I am. I don't think they know who I am anymore. They don't understand college culture and how it has shaped me. They don't understand what I have been learning and how it has affected me...because they know the Siobhan of the past, not the Siobhan of the present. My friends here know me and understand me better than I know or understand myself. They know the struggles I have had with my major, my heart, my feeling of belonging, my definition of "home." They know my hopes and dreams, what angers me, how much I love hugs and hot tea. They know my little quirks, like my sassy remarks, but they love me and accept me anyway. They know I'm indecisive about my major, but they don't judge me for it.

It's going to be a struggle to adjust. A struggle to feel comfortable at home again. A struggle to feel loved in a different way. My family doesn't show love the way Quadratus and my Biola friends show their love, and I have to get used to that type of love again. I have to learn to feel safe in somewhere that isn't Biola. I have to learn to be around a family again. More accurately, I have to remember how to act around my parents. Remember to be sensitive to certain things and not mention certain things. I have to teach my body to wake up earlier and go to bed earlier than I'm used to doing in college. I have to condition my mind and heart to deal with someone who has limited mobility and is often in a lot of pain. I have to learn once again to read my father's emotions so I know when it is a good time to approach him and when doing so will cause strain in my family. I have to learn to cover my emotions in a way that I am not used to doing around my Torrey group and my close friends here. I have to learn to keep my mouth shut and "do as I'm told" to a degree that I have not had to for the months I've been at Biola. I have to become the eldest daughter figure again, and to be honest, I don't want to.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Reflections on My First Semester of College

I can't believe my first semester of college is over. Was it really four months ago that I sat in a circle with a bunch of Quadratus people and tried to remember everyone's name? That night, I had no idea what I was getting myself into or how I would hold up. I was in a strange city, at a strange college, in a strange cult-ish honors program in which we had to read strange books. It was the most awesome experience of my life. I am surrounded by loving, encouraging, fun people who love God. I get to read books by some of the wisest writers of the past.

I have endured days where I don't know how I made it through. I have had days that were some of the happiest of my life. I have made discoveries about myself and God. I have learned how to love and appreciate people. So many amazing people and memories fill my mind when someone says "Biola" or "Torrey." I am blessed. So much blessed.

Memories from my first semester (so that I will remember that every semester has its ups and downs):
-Torrientation week. When I was sick, homesick, and exhausted beyond belief, but when I met some of the most amazing people ever.
-Breakfast with Quadratus the Friday (?) of Torrientation week.
-My first Torrey session. When our seers brought us cookies.
-All the quotes from the Quadratus quote book.
-Labor Day BBQ at Elizabeth's grandparents' house duringwhich we decided that Cale needs to watch Muppet Treasure Island ...which we still haven't done.
-Watching Hercules after one of our sessions.
-Watching Prince of Egypt after our Exodus session.
-Staying up all night writing my first Torrey paper.
-Crying about not knowing what to major in.
-Getting hugs by Robynne that lift my feet of the ground and make me giggle.
-Having a Reynolds session the day after my birthday.
-Going to dinner with Torrey kids after turning in our papers.
-Going to the park and playing on the swings, eating ice cream, then going to the Reynolds house and watching An Education with Sean, Austin, and Mary Kate. We then made tea and discussed beauty.
-Tea and long talks with Amanda Lee.
-Giggling with Elizabeth at everything.
-The Quadratus Christmas party.
-Late night runs to Berry Cool during which the Berry Cool employees told us we were being too loud.
-Sitting in Sutherland and eavesdropping on Torrey sessions.
-Quadratus dinners.
-Prayer time in session.
-Our late-to-church adventures.
-Being so stressed that I am reminded anew of God's grace.
-Having Don Rags over!
-Don Rags study sessions in the Production Center.
-Quadratus Savers run during out midterm bye.
-Floor retreat with Libertas.
-Libertas girls night in downtown Fullerton.
-Torrey music concert.
-Being stressed about getting Paradise Lost read during paper week.
-The love and support of Biola people during finals week.
-Quadratus and their love and prayers.

I love the Torrey community. During our session with Dr. Reynolds, he told us that the world will hate us, but in reference to our time in Torrey, he told us, "Here you are safe. Here you belong." That is what I have felt this semester.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

On Loving Something Because It's Hard

I was brought up in a culture where the easy stuff is considered the most appealing. Students take certain classes because they can get an easy A. I bought into that mentality very easily. After all, who wants to work twice as hard and do twice as much homework if you can get the same grade by doing less work?

High school debate was my introduction into loving something because it was hard. I was most definitely not a good debater. But I loved it anyway. It presented a challenge, and it gave me incentive to work and learn in a different way than I was used to. It stretched me more than I could ever imagine. It also brought me some of my greatest joys from high school.

Torrey is something else that I love because it is hard. It requires hours reading books that were written centuries ago. It requires pulling all-nighters to write a ten-page paper. It requires deciphering Spenserian poetry. But I love it anyway. More accurately, I love it because it's so hard. It challenges me. It teaches me things that cannot be learned from reading a textbook. It brings meaning to my life and teaches me to appreciate the vast amount of history that occurred before my lifetime.
It may be weird to say that I love Torrey because it is so hard for me, but it's true. Needless to say, I will still worry about Don Rags until tomorrow morning when it is over.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Caffeine + Late Nights + Procrastination + Torrey = This

"If you need any synonyms for 'awesome' just let me know." -Sean Hansen, while Robynne was writing him a recommendation letter.

[In a sarcastic voice] "Yeah, right...I'm weird." [In a Gallum voice] "Did you hear that, precious?" -Rachel Harris

"I'm Mexican when I have a mustache." -Andrew Bustos

"Bam, Milton! You just got pwned by the Bible!" -Rachel Harris

[About the concept of a tragic hero] "Just because they're tragic doesn't make them the tragic hero. You can have tragic nobodies." -Elizabeth Bush

Saturday, December 11, 2010

A Thought to Get Me Through Finals

Virtus Tentamine Gaudet.

Strength Rejoices in the Challenge.

Reading List for Interterm

-Brothers Karamazov by Dostoyevsky
-Anna Karenina by Tolstoy
-Symposium by Plato
-Oedipus the King by Sophocles
-A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken
-Mara: Daughter of the Nile
-The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis
-Christy by Catherine Marshall
-Confessions by Augustine
-The Genesis Flood

Friday, December 10, 2010

A Few Thoughts on Education

Last night, I spent somewhere close to seven hours studying for Don Rags. It was intense and it was wonderful. The above image is the result. By listing out characters, talking about themes and conflicts, and comparing with biblical characters and themes, so much of what I have read this semester came together. It was beautiful.
As I was sitting looking at all this, I smiled. This is what education is really about. It's not about tests, papers, and attendance records. It's not about being on time or learning to behave. It's about learning. Education is about the "ah ha!" moment I got when I compared the major conflicts within all the epics we have read this semester. It's about understanding why all of these books are great books. It's about thinking.
I learned more from that seven hour stake-out in the conference room of the Production Center than I do in some sessions. When I realized it was 2 in the morning and I was getting tired, I was still energetic to keep diagramming, talking, hypothesizing, and thinking (but I figured I had better go to bed). I wasn't exhausted, but invigorated.
If this is education, I really love it.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Life is Better When... listen to music from the Chroncicles of Narnia soundtracks on Grooveshark while studying for finals.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Thought of the Night

"The need does not constitute the call." -Robin Jones Gunn


Days until the Physical Anthropology test I have been dreading: Less than 1

Days until my British Literature final: 5

Days until my Physical Anthropology final: 6

Days until Don Rags: 7

Days until The Voyage of the Dawn Treader comes out: 1

Days until I can see The Voyage of the Dawn Treader: undecided

Days until I am home for six full weeks (whether that is a good thing or a bad thing or a mix of both I have yet to decide): 9

Days until I see the kids from my church perform their Christmas play: 10

Days until Christmas: 17

Days until I get to go shot-gun shooting: 23

Days until I get to be a part of a huge amazing New Years bonfire: 23


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Quote of the Night

Context: Dr. Sanders drew a diagram of the tabernacle consisting of two rectangles which kind of resembled a refrigerator with a freezer on top. After a comment about that this was said...

"I think it's sacrilegious that inside the Holy of Holies is your frozen chicken nuggets."
-Sean Tosello

Kinda made my night.

Biola Winters

I do not approve.

I wanted to wear a long-sleeved black shirt, black leggings, a denim skirt, black cowboy boots, a green scarf and a green jacket today.

But it is currently 73 degrees outside.

It does not feel like the middle of December.