Thursday, November 22, 2007

Today's Thoughts

As I am sitting in the dinning room once again, stealing internet from the Herds next door and up the hill, sitting, as I am, looking at the first real rain Georgia has seen in months, sitting as I am, listening to Katie command the baking of cinnamin rolls and Boss scratching at the door to get a way from the rain,

…All this sitting on this Thanksgiving morning led to the thought: is there a difference between grateful and thankful?

In fact, there is and that is why they are two different words.

Grateful is having a desire or reason to thank someone. Thankful is feeling or expressing that gratitude.

Who knew?

Oh and grateful also means (in the archaic or literary way) of giving pleasure or comfort to someone. Is that what the band name Grateful Dead really means?

But enough digressing. I write today to perhaps tell some of the things that I am most thankful for… or grateful for… probably thankful because today is not Grateful-giving day.

I am thankful for…

My Family: Mom, Dad, Hannah, Gretchen, Jen and Isaac. And for the fact that I have siblings at all. And for my aunts and uncles, and all the cousins that go with those. Grandparents, those here and those who have moved on. For all the stories they have given me over the years and how the interactions have shaped my understanding of the world. We don’t have three English majors out of ten grandkids for no reason. J

My friends: I would list but I would be sure to forget someone

Those who have invested and helped me through this first semester at Penn State: Greer Nabb, Kate DeVann, Katie Stick, Paige Moyer, Maryn Hill, The Bensons, Caitlyn and Joe, Jaimy (for that fantastic treck through a cornfield) and others.

For the community at Calvary Baptist Church.

For paper and ink and book publishers for making books so widely available for every person. That paper smells so wonderful and covers can feel so heavenly.

For those books that line my shelves and the ability to multiply their number every chance I get.

For weather.

For tea (particularly mint and chai in loose leaf varieties) and its abundance, particularly in Websters.

For computers and Apple computers and the fun it is to type on them.

For cookies made by recipe on the back of the Nestle Chocolate Chip bag.

For random phone calls and emails that tell me that someone loves and cares about me.

For a childhood marked by happiness.

For the sound the earth makes when it rains.

For contacts and glasses and tooth brushes and hair dryers and clothes.

For movies. Lots of movies. And the times with friends that I have spent watching them.

For cold nights and warm blankets.

That there is an England and someday I will go there and see Oxford.

Red umbrellas.

For cell phones that let me call home every day.

For gala apples.

For being homeschooled all the way through and how that changed my friendships and classes and will let me be an RA next year in school.

For Mom reading to me when I was little.

For a senior year of highschool of just playing.

For coffee houses. I went into one yesterday in Five Points called Jittery Joe’s. It was in an old garage and had a theme of skeletons in oddly humorous attitudes. It was so a Kulp coffee house.

For Shaine.

For cars and drivers licenses.

For a God and Savior who is somehow both of those things, who provided more for me than I ever realize in each immediate moment, and will provide in ways I won’t understand or like perhaps, and will always be there. God of Justice and God of Love.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Georgia In Person

Well, here I am, happily typing away at the dinning room table at the Tingle's house in Watkinsville, GA. What? Watkinsville? You've never heard of it? Don't worry. I wouldn't have expected you too. It is like Hummelstown is to Hershey EXCEPT it is much bigger than Hummelstown, just as Athens is MUCH BIGGER than Hershey. As opposed to freezing on my grandmother's couch last night as I did the night before, I was comfortably warm and cozy on the couch in the basement. I was even given the gift of an unexpectedly pleasant wake up by Boss, the dog, somehow coming into the room and putting his nose in my face. It was adorable but I had to make him leave as he isn't supposed to be inside while we diseased Ray's are here. It is rather sad how much work the Tingles went to to make sure our lungs wouldn't fill up and prevent us breathing... our stupid lungs! If only we didn't have allergies...

But things are going quite well I think, however short the time seems to be. Emma, Hannah, and I ran around last night after dinner at G-Mom's which was fun though I was my typical restraining older person. They aren't very happy with me when I try to behave. :-)

Umm... I can't think of anything else to say. Perhaps I can get Emma to say something profound to share with you all...

Nope. She isn't to be found.

In other news, proffessors shouldn't give homework over Thanksgiving. It is evil as can be to imagine all the work I left in my dorm room, thinking "oh I'll just do it when I get back." Sunday night and Monday morning is hardly enough time to read most of Vergil, read science, write a story, an essay, and finish marking my script in theatre. (insert Mr. Angry Eyes)

I've found that I have glowering days even when I'm not particularly in a foul mood. I glowered my way through an entire Thursday a week or so ago.

The Village isn't half as scary the second time through.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Dietary Failure

That is what my pricked finger says to me. I ate spinach and citrus fruit and vitamins for two weeks and even so

my iron is still too low. No blood giving for Dana. And we're loosing the drive to Michigan!

In other news, I have no other news. Oh, I take that back. I never told you all about Faith for Thought! It was really quite well done. I enjoyed meeting students I had never run across before from PSU as well as new aquaintances from Ohio, Maryland, and all over the place. There were 90 of us, making just the right size for discussion groups. My favorite of that was Aesthetic Faithfulness, by Erica (the college equivilent of Cindy Lear at Calvary Baptist). It was great actually. It was great to throw ideas back and forth with other students either "artists" in their own right or consumers of it. What does it mean for us to create in His image? What does that look like in our content? Do we have a need to create? How do we fulfill this calling? And all sorts of questions. If found it interesting that so much of what she presented to us, this idea of pulling out order and beauty from the "chaos", was a lot like Sayer's ideas in "Creed or Chaos." The thing was that she actually pulled a great deal of her material from Madeline L'Engle's "Walking on Water." The book actually looks pretty good. It surprised me.

And there was a bookstore. And I bought books. Steve laughed at me and said he knew I would leave with a stack. I found a book on a Christian reading of the classics, an aid which I have since implemented in reading along with my assignments for Greek/Roman Mythology class. And someone said I should work for Coalition Christian Outreach when I graduate and come spend the summer at the beach with them. It sounds cool but I tried to assure them that my heart was sold to working with Worldiew Academy next year. And explaining what that was made them want me even more. (hits head on wall). If one more person comes up with a brilliant thing for me to do this summer, I may have to kill them from frustration.

Don't worry WVA! I'm coming back!


I also read the book Academic Faithfulness by Derek Meleby. While in general, I felt I understood the concepts and things they wanted to see done pretty well, the final chapters had more in them that I felt I needed to act on. I'm going to talk it over with Erica on Thursday when we meet, but I'm thinking it would be a great idea to have an academic "accountability group." In other words, a legit meeting of Inklings but for artists of all types to come together and discuss school and their crafts and their attempts to make work that will be to God's glory. I've been struggling with that having my work critiqued by my proffessor in short story class. He isn't a Christian and therefore has no way of evaluating my work based on the content, but only in the writing, and in actuallity, the two can't be seperated. And he keeps reading the craziest things in to the things I say in my stories that either I have a deep seated, subconsious sexual perversion, or he keeps bringing things to my story out of himself. Granted, everyone does that, but when you attribute it solely to the author with the excuse of "Well, I'm just going off of what is on the page," it gets frustrating. I really just want someone who understands art from a Christian perspective to look at it and tell me what its worth. Maybe this is one reason I so want to go to Calvin's Festival of Writing in April. And Jubilee. Anyone want to go to Jubilee? I'm so excited if only I can scrounge money from thin air...

wouldn't that be a skill worth having!

Time is moving on. I need to read my math textbook before meeting my friend Mimi for a trip to Starbucks.

(on a side note, I have such a terrible time spelling...)

Speaking of Starbucks, I was reading my journal from last year at this time and it is full of times of people getting together at Starbucks and youth group and the Warren's and just hanging out. I miss that. Looking back now, I'm so glad I spent last year playing. Of course I did take classes that helped put me a bit ahead of the masses trying to schedule, and I picked a college which was stressful as anything else I've ever done, but I also played continually. I went to parties and hung out with people and enjoyed friends and company. I drank frappicinnos (or however that is spelled) and had discussions and watched movies and learned how to play the bowling game on Wii. I wrote some letters to friends that said how much I appreciated them and I'm glad I did that.

So I definitely recommend taking year before college to not do anything. People and relationships and community were the focus and I'm glad it was like that. It shouldn't have been any other way.

I just had to share these! Dad was at Wheaton last week and knew I would be totally excited about the things he saw in a... what was it?... as C.S.Lewis museum? And he even knew to take a picture of the Sayers section. Amazingly cool, in my opinion. Thanks Dad!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Comfort: Soft Soap and Depression (or however that Lewis reference is supposed to go)

My Soul Waits for God Alone

To the choirmaster: according to Jeduthun. A Psalm of David.

1For God alone my soul waits in silence;
from him comes my salvation.
2 He only is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.

3How long will all of you attack a man
to batter him,
like a leaning wall, a tottering fence?
4They only plan to thrust him down from his high position.
They take pleasure in falsehood.
They bless with their mouths,
but inwardly they curse.

5For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
for my hope is from him.
6 He only is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
7On God rests my salvation and my glory;
my mighty rock, my refuge is God.

8 Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your heart before him;
God is a refuge for us.

9 Those of low estate are but a breath;
those of high estate are a delusion;
in the balances they go up;
they are together lighter than a breath.
10Put no trust in extortion;
set no vain hopes on robbery;
if riches increase, set not your heart on them.

11 Once God has spoken;
twice have I heard this:
that power belongs to God,
12and that to you, O Lord, belongs steadfast love.
For you will render to a man
according to his work.

I love this Psalm and everything it says to me, sitting in a small dorm room, tea in hand, head ache pounding away. I am so easily distracted and even wrongly comforted and refuged in crazy flimsy things. Be that tea, a book store, the next movie on my list, a story, the fact that I am an English major so math doesn't matter too terribly... but whenever I find great (a small ammount isn't wrong) comfort in these things, I am standing on a rock from which I will be greatly shaken.

Praise God for friendly faces and a list of music to find and listen to.

Hannah has her license and I am so proud and excited. And a cell phone. I would put it on here but that would violate rules of safety. Actually, probably not since no one reads this.

I take that back. Zac Kanoff reads this which never ceases to surprise me. Who else knows about this and reads in silence...

But if they read in silence it wouldn't be half as interesting.

I went to see Pentecost (a play) last night. Theatre is a strange, unweildy beast. It somehow lessens the impact of film... theatre is so immediate and real. You are actually seeing it and living it, mere feet away. If you wanted you could jump out of your seat and rush into the set and the actors. But then it would all be broken. And in attempting to be there you would have destroyed what so allured you. Lewis said once somewhere that nothing facinated him like imagining what was behind the set on stage. It may only be ropes and stage crew exhausted and grumpy, but the wonder of what was behind... that held all the magic.

It was a play that I cannot call good or bad. It was well done, certainly. But in my utter ignorance, I had a hard time following what was said. There was no remote for me to pause, rewind, and rewatch again (another element of the magic). It was hard and surprised me by its harshness. I definitely didn't see the warning at the bottom of the title page. But... it worked mostly if somewhat philosophically inclined in its monologues and almost bashed you over the head with its point. But all the characters believed so passionatly in what they said, it was hard to tell what was truth and what was masquerading brilliantly. I need to find a copy of the play and dissect it a bit. It would be a play worth doing that with I believe.

Saying that, I never want to see it again.

It smells like snow. I think it is too early. But some have expressed envy. If you are envious, come visit and smell it for yourself.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Little, Odd Things

I promised not to tell but you don't count. You aren't Penn State.

My prof in short story writing is named Morris Collins. It is a very bizarre name and he doesn't look like either parts or the combined whole of his name. He likes strange, disturbing stories but gives good advice non-the-less. He also has an ongoing battle with our classroom (too hot, too cold, bad desk arrangement, the table squeaks when he sits on it, the bulldozers are so loud we can't think etc). Yesterday, his lecturn thing that you put on the table to pretend you are important, was sitting in the corner of the room, not on the table. So he proceeded to kick it towards the table, not pick it up and move it. He shoved it to the table and then said how funny it would be if he kicked it onto the table. Gavin offered $20 if he could make it the first try.

So we promised not to tell. And he kicked the lecturn.

It didn't make it so he lost the bet. However, on the second try, it made it off the floor and where it was supposed to go.

He then let us out of class 45minutes early. I don't know why but I won't complain.

College is a bizarre thing.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

In Times Such As These...

...Only desperate pleading might work.

I am home and I am so grateful. I slept and worked a little and read more and hung out and ate cookie dough.

And I wrote and read and...

I have a story on Tuesday.

And I have nothing else to say.

Thursday, November 01, 2007



Good and bad and miserable and happy. It has been a long week and I'm exhausted beyond belief. Mentally going, yes its true.