Sunday, August 31, 2008

Every Minute by Sara Groves

My dear friend Chelsea Cooper played this song for me yesterday when we spent a few hours together. If you can hear it, it is lovelier but notice the words I've put emphasis on. I feel this way about the worlds I live in, family, school, camp. I miss you and I miss never having you all at once.

I am long on staying
I am slow to leave
Especially when it comes to you my friend
You have taught me to slow down
And to prop up my feet
It's the fine art of being who I am

And I can't figure out
Why you want me around
I'm not the smartest person I have ever met
But somehow that doesn't matter
No it never really mattered to you at all

And at the risk of wearing out my welcome
At the risk of self-discovery
I'll take every moment
And every minute that you'll give me

And I can think of time when families all lived together
Four generations in one house
And the table was full of good food
And friends and neighbors
That's not how we like it now

Cause if you sit at home you're a loser
Couldn't you find anything better to do
Well no I couldn't think of one thing
I would rather waste my time on than sitting here with you

And at the risk of wearing out my welcome
At the risk of self-discovery
I'll take every moment
And every minute that you'll give me

And I wish all the people I love the most
Could gather in one place
And know each other and love each other well
And I wish we could all go camping
And lay beneath the stars
And have nothing to do and stories to tell
We'd sit around the campfire
And we'd make each other laugh remembering when
You're the first one I'm inviting
Always know that you're invited, my friend

And at the risk of wearing out my welcome
At the risk of self-discovery
I'll take every moment
And every minute that you'll give me
Every moment and every minute that you'll give me
Every moment and every minute that you'll give me
Every minute

Saturday, August 30, 2008

We are Penn State

Today was my very first football game as a spectator. I almost went alone or sold my ticket until Benglish called and I went with some friends from Navs instead. It was a stellar game. Sort of. We played a small team so it gave us little prestige to win but I enjoyed it quite a bit.

This was the reason I ever went to UGA football games:

It was as good as I remembered.

So perhaps I don't go to watch football but the band. Can I help it if they are the best band ever?

Thanks for the memories, friends! I really appreciated being able to go today.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Some Points of Interest

My grandfather commented to me at lunch Sunday, "You want to marry an archeologist. The older you get the more interested he is in you."

I played ultimate with a group of students (mostly guys) Sunday evening for an hour. It is a very different experience from camp where I did not have to prove one thing to be considered an asset to the team. It made me miss them.

Talked to Arden and I will soon be the possessor of a stunning tshirt with an evil black weasel and lyrics on it. I'm psyched. Follow your heart friends... AND DIE.

I was able to spend time with my dear friend Brittany Stoner today and showed her the glories of Websters and the public library. I feel as if I have done a beautiful thing. ;-) AND I saw Allie, and Eric, and Olivia, and Meg, and Betsy, and Scott, and Tommy, all in the space of fifteen minutes. And I saw Zach Jones at lunch. This is Penn State. (Friday night cannot come too soon)

I got into Small Group Communication or Cas 250. I'm so excited!

And I need more rest than I can possibly get right now.

That was a ridiculous post. My apologies.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Simmon's Baby

The above is what my supergroup (mostly Yani) have decided to adopt me as being both the youngest and least experienced of our group of 13. They say it in all kindness and help me out a great deal and teach me to laugh at my mistakes for which I am incredibly grateful. Residents moved in on Wednesday and life as I know it has increased in responsibility but even more in enjoyment. I love this job. I love having first years all over the place who need me as a touch stone for confidence and I love watching them run around together. I love introducing myself to parents and helping them find things. I love times like last night where we had a mob of students playing Apples to Apples and Twister all at once and then leading them in a creepy game of Mofia. I love hanging out with some English Majors and teaching them the egg-chicken-monster-princess game to get them loosened up and a little less awkward. It has been a blessing to be here as well as a challenge that is stretching me. It isn't the time or place to explain what my supergroup is teaching me but I will say that I enjoy their company as well as our Atherton Brethren who make me laugh with their absurdities and good natured playing. A few very specific blessings are these: my roommate moved in yesterday with no trouble whatsoever but a kind and earnest expression on her part of thankfulness to be rooming with me as the RA who can answer her questions. Now that I write that here I am blown away by God's goodness in that. Her things even fit perfectly into the space that was left in the room and now we are quite snug, with me at least very excited about getting to know her better. Another blessing was the two hour free space yesterday afternoon where I was able to spend some quality time with Sarah Hedrick. It was an intense half hour but there couldn't be a better way to start off the relationships with my Navs sisters as we start to process how each of us has changed over the summer. Also, I just found out in an email that my french prof from the spring (who I enjoyed a great deal) will also be teaching me this fall! I was sincerely hoping that this would happen but I had to choose my class based on time not prof but it has worked out perfectly! I also ran into Alex Cadmus, the cousin of my NY cousins who was ecstatic to see me though we had some awkwardness where I had no idea who he was or why he was so happy to see me. It was in a crowd of 300 of us so I haven't had a chance to chat at all but this was wonderful to find anyway.

In a word: This year is awesome already.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Fallen In Among Friends

The past few days have been rather hectic and filled with the presence of God. I am bone weary with it all and sleepiness holds me up for far past what I ought to go to bed with. There has been encouragement on all sides from those that I least thought to look for it from: the conversation with Mrs. Saxton at church, Jenny and Karen down the hall, making my fellow RAs smile with my questions and silliness. I've been adopted by them as "the Simmons Baby" since I am the youngest of the lot and new at the position to boot. It covers a multitude of failures to have them laugh at me like that. I also was walking today toward Atherton after lunch at Sunset Park and fell into walking with two guy RAs from there. They were talking math and aerospace engineering but gladly altered their nerdiness for mine and we talked books and literature and epic themes the rest of the way and throughout the afternoon. I found another Jasper Fforde and Douglas Adams fan and a classics lover in the other, but of the rather more philosophical sort. I'd venture to hazard a guess on the life beliefs of the later since he kept insisting that he disliked one book or another because it portrayed society and not the individual as the perpetrator of evil in the world. Worldview talk from everywhere I go!

So I am tired but peaceful. Keep praying for the paperwork and the details of this job. Serving in the details for more than four weeks-an entire school year to come. Stay Tuned.

With Love,

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Thursday, August 14, 2008


In this day I have:

-Returned four armloads of books and movies to the library
-Received the list containing the names of my 61 residents
-Worked on door tags
-Watched two policemen enter Cocoa Perk, talk with the owners and all the employees, and chase away a man making threats
-Watched a film of USA beating France in the swimming relay. Wow!
-Held the flashlight while Dad shot a skunk.
-Tired my arm with slicing paper
-Sang through 7 Sweet Lies
-Written 10 letters
-Made a fruit salad (I threw in berries and pronounced it "salad" and so it was)
-Had chai tea
-Posted for you

I feel accomplished even if I must continue much of this tomorrow to finish before school comes. Saturday I'll be back at PSU moving into Simmons Hall.

323 Simmons Hall
University Park, PA 16802

Write me. Because I will love mail.

Also call me (particularly if you have verizon) because I grow in appreciation for the cellphone. Never in all my life have I been so attached to it as in these weeks following camp. It has been vital in connecting me with the staffers and talking for hours through a strange, extended time of debrief. During each of these conversations, I stumble across yet something more that I am learning from my four weeks there, even if it is something as small as how to fold a tshirt so that it is fit to be placed back on the merchandise table (Thanks Alysia!). I take my phone after 9pm and go to the front porch, rocking back and forth as the night grows cooler and the thunder storms roll in over the moon, phone to my ear, as I find those that I miss so badly. I've said this before and I still believe it to be true: life is often just a lesson in learning to love so that we spend our lives missing those who aren't there. At least cellphones help remind me that they are still alive. Not dead, just living out God's plans elsewhere.

A full day and now time to rest and sleep. Goodnight!

Friday, August 08, 2008

Waiting Some More

School is coming with the speed of a bullet train. I happen to be standing in the tracks looking blankly at this sheet of silver metal racing toward me to squish me into the ground like the pennies we laid on the tracks at Stone Mountain.

Leah knows what I'm talking about!

I'm compiling ideas and emails for my job as an RA. I have most of the books I need for classes. I have a roommate that I don't know. And I'm so excited for school that I can't even express it. Most of it ties into seeing the dear faces of those friends I haven't seen in months. And another part of it is being able to watch the freshmen, and be able to help them out in those first few months.

In other news, I have become a cellphone conversationist. Some of the highlights from my week are talking to my fellow staffers scattered across The States (as Kate, my Canadian student calls us). I'm so grateful for this technology!

Also, HANNAH IS HOME! I missed her so much these past six weeks and now we get to step on each other's feet while she unpacks and I try to pack for school. I have books everywhere like leaves blowing about in fall. Except our feet are the winds that blow the books about. I just can't seem to not step on them on my way to the door! She is so tired and has a nasty cold but hopefully she'll be able to rest quite a bit before life gets crazy for her as well.

"Take my hand! We'll make it, I swear! ooooOH! Living on a Prayer!"

Saturday, August 02, 2008

"Why is that girl wearing an acorn hat?"

There just wasn't going to be a name for this one.

I have been home for seven days and I have spent the time in various ways, primarily wandering the borders of the house like a ghost, occassionally venturing out to the library for books and other needs. I have listened to music, the soundtrack of the summer, and I have looked at pictures more than could have been healthy for my eyes, in need of new specs as they are. I have not walked, I have not carried luggage, and I have not dressed like a want-to-be Beattle. I have spent hours on the phone after 9pm to reduce the phone bill with some friends, remembering. I have "wallowed" with Gretchen in the kitchen. We were wallowing in self-pity for various things but it was pathetic none the less, however entertaining we found it. I have had trouble seeing people clearly and I have found myself struggling to listen to those I care about the most. It was a quiet week and one that I sincerely think of as a time of bizarre mourning for the living, mourning that something had to come to an end.

But there is a time for mourning and that has come to an end. My heart is turning to rejoicing and I have begun to journal the summer, something that needed to be done and was coming with great difficulty. After a phone conversation with Leah that involved dancing to the same song, five states apart, and watching the sun set over a corn field, I found that I have my words back or perhaps they were just stuck. I am writing like a mad woman before the racing stops and I hope to share some of that with you here.

I won't tell you about Spamley, 7 Sweet Lies, between the trees, or my back hand frisbee throw. It doesn't make sense and it is simply the language of something else that I can explain much better to you in other words and with other stories. The pith of my story is this:

God is so good. And somehow, He loves us on top of His being good and us not being good.

And that, my friends, is the most humbling thing I have ever heard in my life.

(me and Julie)

The final days of camp were amazing. I had an intern this last week, named Julie, who was the sweetest, most confident and passionate intern I could have asked for. She saw what needed to be done and she was going to do it! She loved our girls right from the start and led right along with me as if she had been doing it all summer. By Monday, I knew that she could have led the group on her own but she didn't. She was right in there with me, doing all the silly things I had in my head to do, and she expanded them as if we had sat down and discussed them for weeks before pulling out the madness in all its glory right on the spot. I loved watching her do this and quite depended upon her for a great deal that needed to be done. We led the girls in frantic games of duck-duck-goose, crazy ninjas, Sneaking, and "word dropping" or using a word as many times as possible in a day. We had such amazing times that I won't forget. You simply can't erase the memory of jumping out at Jeff and Mark as they made their way back to the dorm after lights out or sliding down bannisters or eating gooey cookies while painting nails right before a rough and tumble frisbee game. The girls were so passionate about learning this week, about worship and about their quiet times. We just followed their conversations and stood a bit in awe of what they brought to the table to discuss.

(Bekah, me, Kaylee, picture by Daniel Stephens)

These girls had a lot of maturity and I learned a lot from them all.

(Greer and I in the last moments before I boarded my plane)

I would also like to sum up a bit about what I learned this summer. It is going to be short and to the point but here it goes, all that English training down the drain in favor of an outline:

- That I am absolutely incapable of doing anything good on my own. If it is good, then Christ did it, not me.
- There is so much that needs loving. And I am called to "stand in that gap" even if, in all truth, I'm not needed.
- The Bible is so incredibly rich as a text, a story, a calling, everything. I have to read it like it is John Donne on a final exam!
- I don't deserve anything at all.
- And that when I look in someone's eyes and I see Christ, that is the most beautiful blessing in the whole world.

An odd family, friends who did not choose each other but were placed together. Brothers and sisters. Some crazy thing they call the Body of Christ. Two months and a living of a lifetime.

Pegors (every Thursday night): "Why don't we just do this again in say... 10,000 years?"
Arden:"Well, I was thinking of around a 100 years. Who wants to wait that long to start an eternal party?"
Miles:"Just without the camp part of the campfire. I couldn't handle this much stress in heaven!"

Oh, peaces and fives, my friends. Peaces and fives.