Friday, January 30, 2009


1 Year Ago... Mom, Gretchen, Jen, and Isaac came up to visit me. We went snowtubing after Navs. They left from the ski slope and I stayed into the morning hours flying down the hill in the freezing, biting air.

2 Years Ago...

3 Years Ago... I got in a van off an 81 exit and drove up to Lake Champion for the Winter Retreat. I surprised everyone and had one of the best weekends of highschool. The cold. The lake. The late night running around. The insane games where we tried to pull the guys out of a huddled mass. Pretending Narnia. The mayo snow ball.

4 Years Ago... I went to the Chill Out Retreat of Madness. Cold, snow, string, and the screaming of girls running through the cabin.

5 Years Ago... I went to a quiz off. Ninth grade. Or perhaps I was doing homework. Or perhaps I was at my first Chill Out Retreat with Sarah and Alysia. Everyone got sick and we pranked Pastor TJ's car. My group won the skit.

How did I get here from there?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Writing by Howard Nemerov

We read this poem in class yesterday. Lovely.

The cursive crawl, the squared-off characters
these by themselves delight, even without
a meaning, in a foreign language, in
Chinese, for instance, or when skaters curve
all day across the lake, scoring their white
records in ice. Being intelligible,
these winding ways with their audacities
and delicate hesitations, they become
miraculous, so intimately, out there
at the pen's point or brush's tip, do world
and spirit wed. The small bones of the wrist
balance against great skeletons of stars
exactly; the blind bat surveys his way
by echo alone. Still, the point of style
is character. The universe induces
a different tremor in every hand, from the
check-forger's to that of the Emperor
Hui Tsung, who called his own calligraphy
the 'Slender Gold.' A nervous man
writers nervously of a nervous world, and so on.

Miraculous. It is as thought the world
were a great writing. Having said so much,
let us allow there is more to the world
than writing: continental faults are not
bare convoluted fissures in the brain.
Not only must the skaters soon go home;
also the hard inscription of their skates
is scored across the open water, which long
remembers nothing, neither wind nor wake.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


I can hear my little sisters yelling across cyberspace for me to write a real post. And so I will but under great pain because I have a strong desire to post a poem we read today in class but I shall resist and instead, give a dull and lifeless update on my life. So in reality, it can only seem lifeless because it is about my life. Or can an account be lifeless and not the life it is telling about? Oh goodness. I've been in English classes all day and I'm tired and strange things are coming of my head. My most sincere apologies.

Life is Good in the Happy Valley. Classes began last week and here I am, almost half way through the second of them. It feels like I have been gone from home for a much longer time period than this but that's how it goes. Things with my floor have their ups and downs but mostly ups as I begin to hang out with the other RAs far more often than I did before. My room still remains my own and I begin to fill it with all of my earthly possessions. I'm sensing that it may take a few car loads to get me home this time as I literally keep few to none of my things at home anymore (neglecting the bookshelf in the basement, of course). This has raised questions in my mind of where I claim "home" to be. School... Hershey... or is it even a physical location? What about identifying home as with certain people? Or, will there ever be "home"? Hebrews 11 says not. At least not yet. I can live with that because it is a promise, not a deprivation.

This semester is going to be a very full and very rich one. I am going several places to see various people and do various things. Jubilee is high on my list of things I'm looking forwards to, as is Spring Break with Navs and a weekend trip to South Carolina. I am also, strangely enough, thrilled about the course work I have. Tuesdays and Thursdays are insane in their schedule but I still manage to find delight in my work at the end of the day. Mostly English work, I'm finally diving into the core of things I want to learn. I have excellent profs who are willing to challenge and converse and who also take delight in their studies and in teaching us lowly undergrads. This means that I will have a great deal of homework and reading to do but I'm actually very excited about it and all that is coming. From "The Beach" to History of the English Language, each is unique in their content and the type of work and thinking. I'll be proud when I get to the end, I think. Hopefully, I'll make it. :-)

Other news includes the starting of a book club for the wva staff! A few of us have been working on it in the past few weeks and we just sent out the email with information and details. Hopefully we will be hearing from them very soon about putting this into action. I'm a little proud of the whole thing even though most of it comes from Tim and Daniel. Of course, the success or failure won't be known until our first get together in late February. We'll see.

And snow. We have so much of it and it keeps coming and coming. You can smell it all day even in the clear skies. I'll get tired of it eventually but not yet. I'd much rather have this than that awful time between the last snowfalls and the first spring crocuses. Misery!

“I like these cold, gray winter days. Days like these let you savor a bad mood.” -Bill Watterson

Thursday, January 15, 2009

My Day

Okay... I just couldn't resist putting this up. I'll post a real post. Sometime. It is so cold here and will be getting colder before it gets warmer.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Finding Again

Last Friday, we had a small camp reunion in the Ray House. Tim Hurd along with his brother and his girlfriend came to Hershey to join Daniel and I for the evening last Friday. Frisbee. Food. Laughter. Memories. Hard sharing and hopes. It was short but full. I am reminded to live life fully when I can participate in community this way. I too often let days slip by without bothering to live them. Not everyday will be filled with memories that make me laugh, with memories that light up my eyes. But there is something in each day worth living for. That statement reminds me of two more useful statements. The first is a song by Sara Groves (And I Just Showed Up) and the second is a quote from Justin Lookadoo ("If God could teach me something through this, what would it be?"). There is an assurance in being with those we trust. Not in a vague way but with very concrete things. We have seen them hold up under strain, we have seen them in hard and rough places. We trust them. And when they listen, there is truth and grace given in those silences. "I like comfortable silences," Tim remarked as dinner finished up.

"And it's gonna feel like heaven when we're home."

I turn now and look at another semester of school. This break was good. Bailee remarked that I cannot begrudge the movement of time when it brought with it so much joy. She's right. I cannot. It is almost time to go back to Penn State and reshoulder some of the hard times, the struggles, but also the friendships. I tend to forget how much the people there are ones that I love dearly. It will be good to be among them again. Hope. This is a new semester, a time to, if not start again, at least change the course in the middle. A newness.

Yes. I face this semester with hope.

Saturday, January 03, 2009


A year.

This is a (large) glimpse of 2008. In pictures. Each represents and event or some continuous presence that kept me sane and joyful this year. From siblings to Christ, I hope you are at least slightly interested by what stood out to me as highlights of the year.


No survival without family. The oddest, most beautiful thing given to us on earth.

First event of the year and one of the hardest and most rewarding. I learned a lot about myself those four days and wouldn't trade them for all the hard questioning it caused in the following months.

Working with youth group at Calvary Baptist was an incredible gift for the short time that I did it in the spring. Katie Mahoney and Steph Johns.

This semester was spent doing a lot of things. Not the least was investing crazy time in friendships and memories. Rest in Peace, Biznessman.

The week in Florida with PSU Navs was a special time and much needed.

The Festival of Faith and Writing was a significant time. While you see no writing going on in this picture, you see the Caedmon's Call concert I went to by myself that week. The concert actually encouraged me to do some writing and introduced me to some music I would hold onto throughout the rest of the year.

The absolute best part of my spring semester as my lovely roommate and friend Sarah Saltzburg. God blessed me through her in so many ways!

The Best of the Best.
I've said things that need to be said about this in other places. See old posts. These people are still major characters in my life and must be mentioned!

Ah yes. Frisbee and Poetry. Unforgettable.

The People's Victory.

I fell in love with PSU football Fall semester. I know. Dana. In love with football. I had tickets and everything and went to my first white out game.

(chuckles) Couldn't resist putting up this picture. Visiting Tim and Kristina and Brittany at PBU couldn't have been more of a highlight if it had tried.

Colors were important this year. This is of an early fall day where I walked around campus singing quietly and taking pictures.

The beautiful fall retreat.

My girls on the Third Floor of Simmons were a huge part of my life. These are just a few of them with me on a Starbucks outing in November.

The RA job has had a few moments of utter VICTORY. Epic. I made it onto the quote board on Erica and Katie's door. I was never more proud in my life.

This was a highlight of the RA sagas. It was a cold and rainy day and I returned to my empty dorm to find flowers sitting outside my door. Thank you, Pat!

Maryn and Paige, my Bible study leaders. I learned much from watching them. I am also incredibly grateful for one on one times with Maryn who acted as my mentor.

Bible Study hanging out and being silly. These girls were so important this semester.

And a great gift was the entire Sophomore Class in Navigators.

Writing as a big part of my life this year. I journaled without ceasing and wrote some things I am not ashamed of: an essay for Jubilee and some work for environmental science and English. I look forward to pursuing this further in the coming days.

And the year ended with this person somehow ending up in my living room. And we sat and considered it and realized how we would have NEVER guessed such a thing back in July. A free laughter.

But above all, what I took away from this year what the phrase that I would write on my arm most days this past semester. "I am in Christ." It was baffling and humbling and what I clung to in all the things that confused, hurt, challenged, delighted me. All joy and peace. Not comfortable at all. In fact it has to be the most uncomfortable place I have ever found myself but it is a truth I would die without.

"Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
Praise Him all creatures, here below.
Praise Him above ye heavenly hosts.
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost."

The Tradition Kept

We are now three days into the new year, this insane name of 2009. The days have been spent in the quiet and peace of me spending every waking moment with a certain distinguished guest and so I offer no apologies for the lateness of this tradition of years in review, once again offered for your inspection and review. Laugh at me please. My answers get more trivial as the years continue.

1. What did you do in 2008 that you've never done before? Drove to Florida and back, staffed with Worldview Academy, became an RA, called 911 (three times)

2. Did you keep your New Year's resolution and will you make one for next year? I don’t remember last years. I won’t make any for this year.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Sarah Bomgardner and Emily Kulp

4. Did anyone close to you die? No

5. What countries did you visit? None. Unless California is its own world.

6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008? Courage to speak.

7. What date from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? June 29, July 24, November 31, December 14

8. What's your biggest achievement of the year? That I realized that I achieved nothing. God was everything.

9. What was your biggest failure? There were lots of failures. And a lot of grace.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Twisted ankle!

11. What was the best thing you bought? Books. Registrations to so many things so more of things paid for rather than things purchased.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? Some of my campers, Katie Stick, the staff over and over and over again.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and/or depressed? My own. Some dear friends making decisions that upset me.

14. Where did most of your money go? Events! Festival, LA, Jubilee, Worldview, retreats, coffee and tea with friends, etc.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Jubilee, The Festival of Faith and Writing, Worldview Academy and all that flying, seeing the West,

16. What song will always remind you of 2008? 100 Years, Revelation Song, Thy Mercy My God, ALL of 7 Sweet Lies, Everytime We Touch, Kryptonite, Springtime Indiana

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: happier or sadder? More intense. Everything is more intense.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of? Spending time outside.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of? Frittering away time. Worrying. Being legalistic.

20. What was your favorite TV program? I didn’t really watch anything this year.

21. What was the best book you read? Calvin and Hobbes, Dante’s Inferno, lots and lots of Katherine Patterson, Abide in Christ by Andrew Murray

22. What was your greatest musical discovery? Derek Webb, Sandra McCracken, Sara Groves

23. What did you want and got? Worldview Academy, the best friends on earth, to be an RA, the freedom to speak to Daniel Stephens daily, to know God better and to speak of Him with confidence. He let me see Him this year… a little bit. For as much as I was watching.

24. What movies did you see in the cinema this year? Prince Caspian, Veggie Tales, Highschool Musical 3

25. What did you do on your birthday and how old were you? Turned 19 and celebrated while on vacation in South Carolina.

26. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? To have been patient and loved freely. To have acted with greater boldness.

27. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008? A new love and appreciation for tshirts and gym shorts.

28. What kept you sane? The love of community, an extention of the love of my Savior.

29. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Didn’t.

30. What political issue stirred you the most? Human trafficking issues. Fair Trade. A growing environmental concern.

31. Who/what did you miss? I missed home and the family. I missed school when I left it. I missed work. I missed music and theatre. I missed writing (until Prof Mckelvey encouraged it again). I missed June. I missed Leah. I missed my camp family with intensity. I missed lack of responsibility but that wasn’t something I actually wanted taken away. I missed feeling at home in my surroundings even while I grew more at home in my own skin. I missed the one I never had to miss before.

32. Who was the best new person you met? Judy McKelvey, the Booths, Baldwins, Winslows, Bertrands. The staff (who aren’t one person but oh well). Daniel. And I forget that most of my closest college friends did not become so until last spring semester, so they must be mentioned as well! The Sophomore class is the best. Katie Fisher and Maggie Cox are in there as well and Tarun.

33. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008: Abide in Christ. He has other plans entirely and they are good. Trust. Walk in Him. Find joy, find life in Him. The crux of the whole thing: because He died and because He lives. Only in this will I be able to love, to serve, to lead, to be. This is the answer for all the tearing apart I did to my own identity in the spring. This is who I am and who I will always (eternity always) be.