Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Painting Pictures

We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death. -T.S. Eliot

I’ve been painting pictures of Egypt
Leaving out what it lacked
The future seems so hard
And I want to go back
But the places that used to fit me
Cannot hold the things I"ve learned
And those roads closed off to me
While my back was turned -Sara Groves

"The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning."
And as He spoke, He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at least they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before." -C. S. Lewis, The Last Battle

People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had the opportunity return. Hebrews 11:14

There is a time. Ecclesiastes 3

It was a day of joy. A day of waiting, and a day of surprise and fulfillment. A day of feeling like my heart had gathered itself, mostly, into that place in my chest it is supposed to reside. I could feel life out of my whole being. I felt alive. Not that I don't other times, but there is something of joy and laughter and good company that is incomparable to any other pleasures of this earth. Is is a joy that will last forever. But for now, it leaves a sadness when the dear ones are no longer there. The former ways of communicating just aren't the same. While the former missing has grown quiet, a new one is wakened. But it is good. Yes, it is good.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I Don't Know by Jen Ray

This is a post by the Lovely Jen:

First, I don't know what to say. Secondly, I hope that someday I will beat me brother at spoons. Thirdly, I hope that I can make a special medicine so that allergies will become extinct! Finally, I believe that thinking books are stupid is completely retarded!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

" If men were Angels No Government Would Be Necessary".

I Love That Quote!

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Today,I was up early herding exhausted college students out of their rooms and into cars while I gathered a few final things and waited for Dad to arrive. He did. I loaded my things into the car and we were gone. We inched out way out of Happy Valley, glad to get away, glad to know that I'll be back soon. There is a story of a curse on our valley that condemns each soul who ever resides there to long to return to it throughout their lives. Perhaps I am coming under the curse.

But I was with family. Dad and I talked about books and ministry on the way home and vaguely hinted at next years plans. And then I was with the family, being attacked by Isaac and hugged by Jen and ignored by Gretchen until she could get rid of her final homework assignment, then a lovely chat while she baked cookies. I got to hear Jen sing in a concert and talk with Mim and Mr. Burlew.

I'm tired but looking forward to this week. I'm looking forward to time away from Penn State and away from the weight of responsibility. I am looking forward to not thinking of assignments and success and approval. I am looking forward to reading the (.:counts:.) six books I deemed necessary to bring with me. I am looking forward to girl nights with Hannah, Emma, Gretchen, Katie, and Jen. I'm looking forward to seeing all of our family together in one place, to be frustrated and delighted by our oddness and familiarity. I am looking forward for the countdown to reach "zero", to see my camp family with my waking eyes (I see them often enough in my dreams).

I am looking forward. I am hoping.

Monday, November 17, 2008

First Snows

Yesterday we had our first real snow. It didn't last long but it obscured vision from here to the mountain while it lasted, especially as the sun got all caught in it, making it seem like it was showering gold onto the earth. I walked around in it and climbed a small tree. It was rather impulsive. Then I discovered that I had left my ID in the room and could not get back in the building. Oh silliness!

This past week has been alternatively lovely and insane, relaxing and intense, leisurely and frantic. The shift is usually in the space of a few hours and is always entirely unexpected. RA life is slow, thank goodness! Had some lovely times with my Bible study this past week and some other girls from Navs that I look forward to getting to know better. I've also spent a great deal of time pouring over an essay on Till We Have Faces. "This is your chance to write the essay you've always wanted to." Why is that assurance making the process doubly hard? I just need to let go of expectations and write the thing. It wouldn't be hard if I just stopped expecting so much from it or me. Just say what I'm going to say and it'll be okay in the end.

I found an article in The Collegian this morning that one of the Willard preaches threatened students with a knife. Some say it wasn't a bit deal. It makes me angry. The students make me angry. And my french classmate standing up for the guy has me in awe. I really don't know what to make of the whole situation. Some days I'm near tears walking past Willard because I'm so angry and upset at the two of them. Other times I see people really listening and I second guess that judgement. And things like this happen and I'm angry all over again. No one in the Christian community has taken a stance on it, we're all just watching to see how it plays out. Is there something we're supposed to do? I wish I knew.

Three tests, one essay, one dinner, one paper, three duty nights and then, oh then, Thanksgiving break begins.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Elements of Bizarre

In English, I think she taught us the wrong information regarding Kierrkegaard. But what do I know? I can't even spell his name.

I tried to see Dad and failed.

Jehovah's Witness called my room. And I was a jerk, pretty much.

Overheard "Santa" screaming in front of the Willard Building that Obama was sent by God to destroy us. It made me want to cry.

This day is just crazy.

But (isn't it wonderful that God has "but" in His vocabulary, to give us a bit of grace?): I have a Thanksgiving Tree in my hallway and Bailee shared with me Psalm 13 today and it was so encouraging!

1 How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
2How long must I take counsel in my soul
and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
3 Consider and answer me, O LORD my God;
light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,
4 lest my enemy say, "I have prevailed over him,"
lest my foes rejoice because I am(I) shaken.

5But [oh look! There it is again!] I have trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
6I will sing to the LORD,
because he has dealt bountifully with me.

Friday, November 07, 2008

"Best Set Up" as voted by Simmons Supergroup

Pictures soon of the room in all its glory. Mom, Jen, and Isaac came and visited me today, breaking my intense longing for home this week with their much longed for presence! They also brought my futon which finally has a home under my bunk. The whole effect was judged lovely by K and Ed. Yanni refused comment since he feels it now downstages his own set up. :-)

(My studly brother, now at the current age of nine. I know ladies, just be patient!)

(We found a fire truck!)

(My GORGEOUS sister Jen!)

(Us at Penn State's Berkey Creamery)

I love them so much. I miss them so much. I can't wait for a more than three hours with them. Come Thanksgiving, come!

On two others notes:
1) I am IRATE that my camera malfunctioned and will not download my video of "Totally Like Whatever" as performed by me tonight. I'm really angry. But the performance wasn't that brilliant because it seems I needed to explain to my audience that their feedback was much wanted. I was assured that their stony silence was because they did not want to interrupt me. (makes a baffled face)

Never mind. I got it to work.

2) Thanksgiving plans are confirmed, ladies and gents. We are down in Athens and the WVA camp staff is descending upon us Tuesday evening through Wednesday. I cannot wait.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Fall Summer

Frisbee tonight was so much fun. I haven't played since the midnight game at the retreat. I wasn't any good but it was still fun to run around and occasionally make a catch and not be so excited that I threw it to the people who weren't there. Unfortunately, that was my usual tactic.

I also visited the library and got several books too many but am trying as well as I can. I just need to read more. And write more. I talk about writing so much and yet I so rarely ever get anything truly accomplished! It is quite shameful.

Oh I just want to the family to come up soon! I miss them so much.

In other news, I have an essay frightfully soon and no draft so call anything close to a "first version". Really frustrating. I know that I'm going to love the essay when it is done... its something I've wanted to write for ages and now I get a chance to and I get stuck. The fickle good thoughts are coming for a time and deserting one right when they are needed most!

"And the voice I read it in was strange to my ears. There was given to me a certainty that this, at last, was my real voice." -Orual

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


After three and a half months, the chronicle of my summer is now completed. There are no more stories to tell. I have remembered all that there were to remember and they are written in a series of four word documents resting on my desktop. Three and a half months of occasional writing and documentation, reliving, laying to rest.

It is now fully at rest. It has been in many ways for a long time. But now the physical remembering can now be laid to rest.

The volume of words astonishes me. I had no idea that I could find that much to say about anything in single spaced pages. I am grateful to have done so though I wonder now why I felt that I had to. 48 pages of remembering. What will I find there in the years to come? I have practiced story telling in those pages. I have practiced describing characters and situations. Even those pages have been very weak representations of the personalities, quirks, jokes, laughter, of those on my team. This it the first time I have ever tried to do something like this... perhaps, someday, the characters will live in other words, in other stories, other than the ones they made themselves. Maybe someday, I'll write a story about the real people who lived with me over nine weeks, even the four I was not there. Because I was in some ways.

But. It is closed

Election Day

I just got back to my room from voting. The HUB was packed and it took 45 minutes of waiting to get to the front of the line and that was only because they told all the M-Z names to move forward. I stood and read St. Augustine's Confessions while waiting. And I voted.

It has distinct irony to the whole experience. The College Democrats were the only ones who volunteered to help organize the student voting. Of course they have an agenda. But it was still strange.

"There'll never be a savior up on capitol hill..." -derek webb

Saturday, November 01, 2008

All Hallows Eve

Here is a properly gloomy and creepy poem by Poe, the master of all things gloomy and creepy and masterfully crafted. This is NOT the Raven (which is far too often read) but is his work The Bells (not read often enough). To be read aloud.

Hear the sledges with the bells-
Silver bells!
What a world of merriment their melody foretells!
How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle,
In the icy air of night!
While the stars that oversprinkle
All the heavens, seem to twinkle
With a crystalline delight;
Keeping time, time, time,
In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the tintinnabulation that so musically wells
From the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells-
From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells.

Hear the mellow wedding bells,
Golden bells!
What a world of happiness their harmony foretells!
Through the balmy air of night
How they ring out their delight!
From the molten-golden notes,
And an in tune,
What a liquid ditty floats
To the turtle-dove that listens, while she gloats
On the moon!
Oh, from out the sounding cells,
What a gush of euphony voluminously wells!
How it swells!
How it dwells
On the Future! how it tells
Of the rapture that impels
To the swinging and the ringing
Of the bells, bells, bells,
Of the bells, bells, bells,bells,
Bells, bells, bells-
To the rhyming and the chiming of the bells!

Hear the loud alarum bells-
Brazen bells!
What a tale of terror, now, their turbulency tells!
In the startled ear of night
How they scream out their affright!
Too much horrified to speak,
They can only shriek, shriek,
Out of tune,
In a clamorous appealing to the mercy of the fire,
In a mad expostulation with the deaf and frantic fire,
Leaping higher, higher, higher,
With a desperate desire,
And a resolute endeavor,
Now–now to sit or never,
By the side of the pale-faced moon.
Oh, the bells, bells, bells!
What a tale their terror tells
Of Despair!
How they clang, and clash, and roar!
What a horror they outpour
On the bosom of the palpitating air!
Yet the ear it fully knows,
By the twanging,
And the clanging,
How the danger ebbs and flows:
Yet the ear distinctly tells,
In the jangling,
And the wrangling,
How the danger sinks and swells,
By the sinking or the swelling in the anger of the bells-
Of the bells-
Of the bells, bells, bells,bells,
Bells, bells, bells-
In the clamor and the clangor of the bells!

Hear the tolling of the bells-
Iron Bells!
What a world of solemn thought their monody compels!
In the silence of the night,
How we shiver with affright
At the melancholy menace of their tone!
For every sound that floats
From the rust within their throats
Is a groan.
And the people–ah, the people-
They that dwell up in the steeple,
All Alone
And who, tolling, tolling, tolling,
In that muffled monotone,
Feel a glory in so rolling
On the human heart a stone-
They are neither man nor woman-
They are neither brute nor human-
They are Ghouls:
And their king it is who tolls;
And he rolls, rolls, rolls,
A paean from the bells!
And his merry bosom swells
With the paean of the bells!
And he dances, and he yells;
Keeping time, time, time,
In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the paean of the bells-
Of the bells:
Keeping time, time, time,
In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the throbbing of the bells-
Of the bells, bells, bells-
To the sobbing of the bells;
Keeping time, time, time,
As he knells, knells, knells,
In a happy Runic rhyme,
To the rolling of the bells-
Of the bells, bells, bells:
To the tolling of the bells,
Of the bells, bells, bells, bells-
Bells, bells, bells-
To the moaning and the groaning of the bells.