Friday, December 23, 2011
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Wait. God was sending a baby to rescue the world?"But it's too wonderful!" Mary said and felt her heart beating hard. "How can it be true?""Is anything too wonderful for God?" Gabriel asked.So Mary trusted God more than what her eyes could see. And she believed. "I am God's servant," she said. "Whatever God says, I will do."[The Nativity, from Luke 1-2]This baby would be like that bright star shining in the sky that night. A Light to light up the whole world. Chasing away darkness. Helping people to see.And the darker the night got, the brighter the star would shine...[The Story of the Shepherds, from Luke 2]
The language is just so beautiful, it's been giving us all kinds of new perspectives lately. And of course the pictures are amazing, too. Needless to say, check this out. For any small children in your life and then also just for you!
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Saturday, November 19, 2011
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Sunday, November 13, 2011
If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore; and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God which had been shown! But every night come out these envoys of beauty, and light the universe with their admonishing smile... [Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature]
Look at the stars, see how they shine. [Coldplay, "Yellow"]
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Shopping on the Square
Eli Manning in Square Books
Playing in a cotton field
Ajax for dinner
Ole Miss football game + Grove
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
After the keen still days of September, the October sun filled the world with mellow warmth. Before Kit’s eyes a miracle took place, for which she was totally unprepared… No one had ever told her about autumn in New England. The excitement of it beat in her blood. Every morning she woke with a new confidence and buoyancy she could not explain. In October, any wonderful unexpected thing might be possible. As the days grew shorter and colder, this new sense of expectancy increased and her heightened awareness seemed to give new significance to every common thing around her.
Monday, October 3, 2011
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Sunday, September 4, 2011
Friday, August 26, 2011
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Monday, July 25, 2011
Thursday, July 7, 2011
6:00 – wake up to bright sun, roll over and fall back asleep
8:00 – wake up, for real this time
8:23 – eat strawberry yogurt and a cinnamon raisin bagel
8:37 – begin kayaking
9:45 – return to house, eat breakfast for the second time
10:41 – begin laying out on the dock and reading
12:08 – go inside and grab lunch to take it back to the dock
2:10 – go for a swim
2:21 – decide the water is too cold for casual swimming
2:22 – continue laying out and reading
4:45 – take a nap on the hammock
5:57 – eat dinner on the picnic table
7:12 – wander around with cell phone trying to get service and 3G for internet
8:19 – go kayaking with Laura, take pictures of sunset
9:30 – sit at fire and roast s’mores
10:44 – grab sweatshirt and flashlight and stargaze from the dock
11:37 – get in bed, read a section of Psalm 119, drift to sleep, prepare to do the same thing all over again the next day
Day in and day out, this is pretty much how life at Songo Pond goes. Of course, all kinds of places and things to do are right around the corner…hiking trails, outlet malls, rivers, quaint New England towns, etc. We have plenty of other adventures, but more about them another time. Because when the weather is nice, I find myself more than content to simply stay.
In this house
With this view
Let's be real. Could you ever bring yourself to leave?
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
For 21 consecutive years now, I have spent a considerable portion of the summer roaming around the country (and, sometimes, world). It's just one of those things that goes hand-in-hand with being a member of the Smith family. Last summer, I lived out of my suitcase from the middle of June until the day school started back for the fall. This summer is not quite as drastic, but still - things are about to get a little crazy. Here's my itinerary for the rest of summer break:
Monday, June 20, 2011
- The Aftermath CD is insanely good and you should download it.
- Driving through the General Parking Lot = mogul skiing, but in a Toyota.
- Main stage bathrooms are amazing, if you can come up with a way to get back there to them.
- My new friend Abe is a pretty awesome singer and has the exact same sense of humor as me.
- Escaping the heat at the Troyers' pool is both necessary and entertaining, even if Brian is out of the country. Also, the owl statue floats.
- Lecrae has one of those good, commanding voices that makes you automatically listen and take seriously everything he says.
- Members of screamo bands can instantly tell I never listen to screamo music.
- Harry Potter references go a long way when trying to relate to people who are completely different than you.
- Matthew West does an excellent Justin Bieber impression.
- Chris Tomlin concerts are not over when you think they are; he comes back out for a few minutes so everyone can sing more, celebrate more, and jump around like crazy people.
- When no one has slept in four days, piling on couches and watching YouTube videos until 2:00 in the morning is definitely a good idea.
- Living in Wilmore during Ichthus > being from anywhere else.
and in that moment of glorious surrender,was the moment You broke the chains in melifted out of the ashes, i am found in the aftermath[Hillsong UNITED, Aftermath/aerial view of Wednesday night]
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
This, ladies and gentlemen, is the greatest game ever. Officially known as Ticket to Ride, it is more affectionately referred to as the Train Game, and several nights have been set aside specifically to play it so far this summer. What better way to spend a rainy evening than by building railroads from Seattle to LA and by fighting with friends over access to Montreal? (You think I'm exaggerating, don't you? It's ok. I thought Laura's friends were exaggerating too. Confirmed. They're not. Buy the game, catch the obsession, then call me up to come play.)
So why not? Why not have the calm day and restful Train Game-filled night, staying out of the storms? Because, friends, today is the first day of Ichthus. (Ichthus for my Mississippi friends = a 3 day Christian music festival that brings unprecedented numbers of people to Wilmore.) The "Expect Heavy Traffic" signs start as early as Man O' War on Harrodsburg Road, and we've watched each day this week as more and more tents go up out at the field. They joke that it rains every year, but the show always goes on. Hope they're right, because the forecast for tonight says "Strong Storms" and Hillsong is supposed to go on the Main Stage circa 7:00.
A little water never hurt anything, right? Still crossing my fingers the storm rolls out, but, if not, looks like thousands of people tonight will still be singing in the rain. Looking forward to being led in worship by these guys tonight, whatever the weather.
Sunday, June 5, 2011
As we have taken the circle as the symbol of reason and madness, we may very well take the cross as the symbol at once of mystery and of health. Buddhism is centripetal, but Christianity is centrifugal: it breaks out. For the circle is perfect and infinite in its nature; but it is fixed forever in its size; it can never be larger or smaller. But the cross, though it has at its heart a collision and a contradiction, can extend its four arms forever without altering its shape. Because it has a paradox in its center it can grow without changing. The circle returns upon itself and is bound. The cross opens its arms to the four winds; it is a signpost for free travelers. [G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy, Chapter 2]
Sunday, May 29, 2011
So far, I can confidently find the Dollar Theater (yes, all movies show for .75-$2; amazing, right?), Hope Springs church (which is close to downtown Lexington and, therefore, automatically an impressive feat), and an Amish Farmer's Market. I thought I had Wilmore pretty figured out until last night, when I missed a turn into the driveway of Laura's friend Lyman's house and ended up on a 15-20 minute detour through an area known as "The Palisades" - windy, curvy, narrow roads with cliffs on both sides, no street lights, and very few places to turn around. Absolutely beautiful, but not exactly preferable at nighttime. They say that's the way to get to Shakertown and to a rope swing into the Kentucky River. I'll hit up both of those before the end of the summer, without a doubt. In the daylight.
Sometime soon I'm going to take off driving and explore all over Wilmore, Nicholasville, and Lexington. I can hear the GPS now: "Recalculating...recalculating..." I'm pretty directionally challenged - in a car, at least. But I also hate looking/acting/feeling like a tourist no matter where in this world I am, and the longer I'm here, that impulse grows stronger. Time to learn my way around this place, and learn it well. If you have any pointers, feel free to share. For now, I'm going with that whole spokes-on-a-wheel theory. I'll let you know how it goes!
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
"Are you not thirsty?" said the Lion.To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life..." [Revelation 21:6]
"I'm dying of thirst," said Jill.
"Then drink," said the Lion...
"Will you promise not to--do anything to me, if I do come?" said Jill.
"I make no promise," said the Lion.
Jill was so thirsty now that, without noticing it, she had come a step nearer.
"Do you eat girls?" she said.
"I have swallowed up girls and boys, women and men, kings and emperors, cities and realms," said the Lion. It didn't say this as if it were boasting, nor as if it were sorry, nor as if it were angry. It just said it.
"I daren't come and drink," said Jill.
"Then you will die of thirst," said the Lion.
"Oh dear!" said Jill, coming another step nearer. "I suppose I must go and look for another stream then."
"There is no other stream," said the Lion.
It never occurred to Jill to disbelieve the Lion - no one who had seen his stern face could do that - and her mind suddenly made itself up. It was the worst thing she had ever had to do, but she went forward to the stream, knelt down, and began scooping up water in her hand.
It was the coldest, most refreshing water she had ever tasted.
Thursday, May 19, 2011
[PART ONE: end of school]
Finals' week presents the question - is it better to be very disciplined and study gradually over a long period of time, or keep hanging out with your friends whenever you want and have a blast and then be forced to stay up all night writing a paper on Moby-Dick's relationship to 19th-century America? This year, my approach was totally the latter. Play while everyone's awake, then work while others are sleeping. 3:00 in the morning isn't so bad if the daytime fun makes it worth it. What am I going to remember in 30 years, anyway? A sleepless night full of history essays, or a sunset at Sardis, spontaneous trip to Gum Tree, and dinner with friends? I think we both know the answer. All this to say, school was ROUGH the last few days, but everything worked out just fine in the end.
[note to self/others...procrastinating in Spanish = more problematic than procrastinating in English. proyecto final took me an eternity even if it was about fútbol.][PART TWO: fun-filled weekend]
Some people aren't going to follow me for this part, but others will immediately understand. I made it back to Wilmore just in time to change clothes and get to work helping with the Francis Asbury Society Building Dedication Ceremony weekend. Extremely busy but absolutely awesome way to kick off the summer. People from all over the country, and, really, all over the world, came together for camp-meeting style preaching, fellowship, celebration, and prayer for the new FAS Ministry Center. The weekend was, naturally, filled with encounters with lots of people who I don't know but who know me (shout out to my fellow preachers' kids, I know you understand that one!). We also got some bonding time with some of our closest friends and Laura's and my "adopted" big brother and sister from New Jersey! We are so blessed. I will explain FAS in detail later, but for now, this will tell you everything you need to know.
[PART THREE: everything else]
Since the weekend, I have unpacked, done a lot of work organizing the August Guatemala trip, worked some (but of course not enough) in the LSAT practice book, clocked in a good number of hours at the FAS building, and (no surprise) started reading a C.S. Lewis book. Kentucky is beautiful in the summer. I'm looking forward to all of the adventures that I'm sure are on the way.
Monday, May 2, 2011
Double Decker is like Oxford's annual holiday weekend. The concerts Friday and Saturday nights are always great, and few things are better than walking around the Square with hundreds of other people enjoying a beautiful spring day, awesome local artwork, and some quality Mississippi food. Add these people to the mix, and I can't imagine a better time. [photo courtesy of the roommate]
After some deliberation, we opted to pass on the Saturday night concerts in Oxford and went instead to Memphis in May to see Mumford and Sons. (Also, we saw Ludacris and Ke$ha by default...for the record, avoid future Ke$ha concerts at all costs.) Anyway, these guys are incredible live. You should definitely check them out if you haven't jumped on that bandwagon yet. [photo courtesy of official website's photo gallery]
Solid weekends like this mean rough Mondays, but they're worth it. I'm ready for classes to be finished, but I'm not ready to leave this place, these people, or these adventures we like to call just another day in the life. I'm in denial that this was the last big weekend before finals, but if it had to be the last one, I'm thankful it was oh so good.
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
This is a problem for several reasons. 1. Finals are approaching and I need to study. 2. I have some OCD issues when it comes to my history classes and don't trust anyone else's notes. 3. Did I mention it's almost finals week? I need to study...
I realized the notebook was missing first thing Monday morning. Since then, I have checked my desk, behind my desk, under my bed, my car, Bishop, Bondurant, the Library, and the student government office. No luck anywhere. At a school the size of Ole Miss, the chances of finding it are looking pretty slim. But sometime Tuesday afternoon, the thought hit me. I have clocked in a considerable amount of time looking for this notebook, and I've been really searching for it. Searching hard. Reminds me of a story of someone else who lost something once...
Suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.' In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents. [Luke 15:8-10]I'm searching for a notebook so I can make a good grade on a final. How much more so does our Heavenly Father seek after His lost children?
Second thought, while we're on this whole "searching" thing:
You will seek Me and you will find Me when you seek Me with all of your heart. [Jeremiah 29:13]I have sought after this notebook all week. How does that match up to how I am seeking after the Father?
For the record, I'm about as stressed out about the notebook as I ever am about anything else like this in life. Which means on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being high stress), this is maybe a 3.5. I really should complain about it less. It is a bit of a predicament, but, hey, it's providing me with some good life perspectives. Walks with friends, a little bit of stalking the royal wedding, and the fact that Nathan got a new puppy and let me play with it today totally all outweigh the whole notebook thing. Inconvenient? Yes. Crisis-worthy? No. I'd rather exhaust my energy spending time with my friends and truly searching for that which matters most - my Savior.
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
If you must save time, start the video around the 3:15 mark. Otherwise, do yourself a favor and listen to the whole thing. Something about music speaks to the soul.
Saturday, April 16, 2011
I want to go here again. (Here = somewhere near Canta, Peru. We ran into this abandoned-looking church up in the Andes Mountains.)
I am actually quite content to be in Oxford; spring here is beautiful. But the closer it gets to summer, the stronger my desire for new adventures becomes. A cool thing about this summer is that even my time at "home" will be an adventure; it's basically all new for me, so I'm looking forward to seeing all kinds of places and things I never have before.
Travel quote #1:
Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness. Broad, wholesome, charitable views cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth. [Mark Twain]Travel quote #2:
The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say. [J.R.R. Tolkien]
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Before I continue, you need to know a few things about me. First, I am almost never sick at college. (This fortunate fact can be attributed to one thing in particular: Juice Plus. I am pretty much a walking advertisement for this miracle drug, but I'll save that discussion for another time...) Overall, my immune system has been remarkable and lucky these past three years; as a result, I have no idea what to do when I actually am feeling under the weather. Second, I cannot stand to be inside when the weather is nice. Something inside of me draws me out into the blue sky, the green grass, and, unfortunately, the pollen. Third, I am constantly on the go. Constantly. I really can only bring myself to slow down for natural disasters and/or death.
Taking into account these things, here's what my day looked like. I made the responsible decision to skip class and stay in bed all morning. I literally did not move until my history class at 2:30, and I was very proud of myself for actually slowing down and staying inside. And as a result of my staying in bed all morning, I felt better! Good, right? Wrong. Because what do I do? Around 4:00 in the afternoon, I decide to go on a walk. A walk of all things. All of the recovery I did was undone by more pollen exposure. Decision-making FAIL. I currently feel just as terrible as I did when I first woke up this morning.
In the midst of all of this, I'm lucky I have such good friends around to help me out. Eric came by to take my homework to Spanish for me, and Julie - who by the way, will be the best pharmacist ever - brought me hot tea and tells me what time to take my allergy medicine. It's the little things in life that help the most.
I'm crossing my fingers that I'll wake up in the morning improved. Until then, I'm hanging out in room 18 with some schoolwork, the roomie, a favorite movie, and my fourth cup of tea for the day. Time to wind this day down and try again tomorrow. If you see me outside trying to sneak in some time in the sunshine, send me back in with a slap on the wrist. Looks like it's rest now, play later...for now, at least.
Saturday, April 2, 2011
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Hello, Lusa's Pastry Café, 1120 North Lamar, Oxford, MS. If you haven't been, you should go. Tomorrow.
I've been camped out here the last several hours, reading Machiavelli's The Prince, searching the library's Methodist church databases, and looking up fútbol statistics for Barcelona and Real Madrid. (You wish you had my classes, don't you?)
I just might be able to handle my schoolwork if it means hanging out here all day.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
"spring fever: n. a feeling of restlessness, excitement, or laziness brought on by the coming of spring."Also known as what I am experiencing right now. My ability to concentrate is directly related to how sunny it is outside, and how green the grass is, and how many flowers are blooming. Currently, the sky is especially blue, the grass is especially green, and the tulips all over campus are especially beautiful. How exactly am I supposed to focus locked inside a classroom studying the Trail of Tears, Francisco Franco, Women in Literature, or Renaissance artists? (Ok, I might can make an exception for the Renaissance artists. Michelangelo is quite inspiring and lately I'm hooked on not only his art but his poetry...) Needless to say, I take that question - "how am I supposed to focus?" - and come to the only possible conclusion I can find. I'm not.
My advice to myself and to you? Play now, study later, soak up the sun, and sleep when you're dead. Stay outside as much as possible, except for when you're watching March Madness basketball games of course. Work when you must, but only when you must. It'll all get finished. It always does.
Just so you know, this spring fever thing might be legit. "Spring Fever Means Lighter Moods and More Love?" I think they might be on to something...
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Flew to Treasure Cay, then Scotland Cay. See this out the window the whole way.
Fished for these.
Searched the beach for sea glass here.
Snorkeled with these people in a ridiculously cool coral reef.
Played with these in a lagoon.
Played on these in a lagoon.
Was amazed by how blue this water is.
Spent some quality time with these people.
I think I could get used to the island life...
Thursday, March 3, 2011
"For me, to live is Christ, to die is gain." [Philippians 1:21]I've heard this verse a thousand times, and I've really started to grasp the significance of it many of those times. But I realized the power of this verse again this weekend at Statewide thanks to Kristian Stanfill. In the midst of his singing, which by the way was excellent, he shared how this verse has been impacting his life lately. All week I keep coming back to Kristian's - or, essentially, Paul's - passionate words...
To live is Christ. That means that when we speak, it's Jesus. When we act, Jesus. What we do, Jesus. And if we die, it's gain, because we will be in Heaven with Jesus. Either way, in life or in death, we get Jesus. Jesus is our great reward. Do we know that, really? Do we realize that we get Jesus now, that we don't have to wait until later, and that death is nothing to fear? To live is Christ, to die is gain. This is powerful stuff.
Continuing to think about all of the things from this weekend has made for a very inspiring week. To top it all off, today has been filled with just about the best things ever. Begin with a cup of English Breakfast Tea and time in the Word. Next, Lusa's for breakfast with Lacey. Mostly sunshine and warmish weather outside. Anna finding out she gets to go to Romania and Emily finding out she's been placed in Malaysia. Then, dinner from Emileigh's at Orchard small group. Finally, Dr. Blakemore speaking at Wesley and lots of time to catch up with his son Jonathan, who has been my friend longer than just about anyone else in the world. Good times, and more are on the way with Samuel and Hallie's wedding weekend and Mom, Dad, and Laura coming tomorrow! Gosh, life is good. Life is chaotic, and messy, and too often frustrating, but when it all comes down to it, life is very, very good.
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
So many amazing things were said and sung over the course of the weekend - so many statements and questions and phrases resounding with truth from above. "God is relentless." "Stop being confused by your circumstances; God is a master craftsman." "There is a sycamore tree in your future...your purpose is your Zacchaeus." "God is relentless." "Be the widow." "When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith upon the earth?" "Let Heaven roar and fire fall, come shake the ground with the sound of revival..."
So much to dig into and to drink deeply of in the coming days and weeks! I would love to share everything I learned this weekend but that would take up far too much space. I would love to post pictures but they're all on Eddie's camera so I don't have any yet. In light of the lack of time, space, and photos, I guess you'll just have to take my word for the fact that it was great, that God is great, and that He is moving in powerful ways.
Follow-up post(s) coming soon, so get excited, and enjoy the first day of March! Spring is in the air. :)
Thursday, February 17, 2011
I am always so humbled and impressed to see how much of a team effort things like this are. All of the organization I did hinged on whether or not people would actually step up and help out. I was so surprised by how much some Kappa Sigs rose to the occasion! Everyone who helped with the campaign did an awesome job. I am lucky to have made some amazing new friends and to have strengthened the friendships that I already had.
Picture on the front page of the Daily Mississippian on Wednesday morning.
Our campaign team, minus Tyler and Lennie.One of my favorite things is the overwhelming sense of accomplishment you feel after all is said and done, and you see the people you experienced this with again. Example: the morning after bid day when I saw Emily at breakfast. You can never quite look at people the same way again after something like this, knowing that you did it, and you did it together. That's how Tuesday night was when we all met up again, and it's been the same yesterday and today anytime I run into any of them. All of the candidates ran great races, and most were extremely close. But for now, we can't help but be excited that Taylor came out on top!