Friday, December 23, 2011

on, on, U of K

Mom and Laura had 2 free tickets to the UK game yesterday, so Dad and I decided to head downtown and see what we could come up with. Lucky for us we found $10 parking and a pair of face-value, lower-level tickets right away! It was a perfect Christmas adventure afternoon.

Every basketball game everywhere should start with fireworks and streamers for the starting line-up, don't you think?

There's no place like home - especially when that home is Rupp Arena!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

every story whispers His name

Let me introduce you to the Jesus Storybook Bible if you have not already encountered it. A million thanks to my roommate Katherine for getting all of my friends hooked. This is a children's Bible. But even if you are not a child/do not have any children running around the house, you should see this anyway. Trust me.

Confession: I have yet to read the entire thing. But I've been reading the Christmas story, and it's amazing. Here are some glimpses...
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

the Christmas story

I hope you enjoy this as much as me and my friends. I will be dressing my kids up and having them do this. Although I'm not sure it will be quite as great without the New Zealand accents.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Wasn't expecting to wake up to this...

Just a little Christmas happiness in the midst of finals week. Life is so good.

Why is it...

...that technology beckons more during finals week than during any other week of the year?

...that I find it easy to study everything except for the very class I should be studying the most?

...that senioritis is real, and shuts you down so much more than you would think?

...that the weather during exams always matches the mood? (Freezing and misting, of course.)

...that the more we have to do, the more my friends and I crave time together?

...that we have to graduate and cannot simply stay in college, together, forever, for the rest of our lives?

FOUR days until the beach. I really, really wish that the end of this week didn't mean being separated from all of my friends for so long, but at the same time I am quite ready to be finished with classes for a while. I am trying to stay on top of things, but I have 0 motivation. Which is why I'm writing this right now instead of studying Contracts Law or researching the Holiness Movement during the Modern Period. Obviously.

Are you studying right now too? Should you be studying now? (That's probably the better question.) Get back to the books and I will too. But first...celebrate the season with Sufjan Stevens Songs for Christmas! All day, every day. Here's a jumpstart.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

keep good company

This afternoon I made Captain Rodney's Dip.

No big deal, right? But I had to stop and laugh as I broke out the Ritz crackers, because I was eating this dip at home in Kentucky with my family, as opposed to the only place I have ever had it before - in Oxford with all of my friends. A couple of minutes later I opened the freezer, saw a carton of blueberries, and popped a couple frozen ones in my mouth without thinking twice.

And then it really hit me. My friends have officially rubbed off on me, a lot. My newfound love for Captain Rodney's and for frozen blueberries are only two small examples.

A sentimental post about how much my "brothers and sisters" have influenced my life is coming any day now, but on a much more basic level, I can't help but laugh about the things I have grown to love simply because the people I surround myself with loved them first. In addition to Captain Rodney's dip and frozen blueberries, this list includes:

frozen grapes
Page CXVI (see my last post for more on this one)
Job 38
1 Corinthians 2
Mat Kearney
paint chips

The list could easily go on...and on...and on. It all serves as proof that we are absolutely, positively affected by the company we keep.

Good thing my company is some of the best around. :)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

you should be listening to this

All semester a few of my friends have been raving about how awesome this group called Page CXVI is - basically, they record traditional Christian hymns and add a little bit of their own flair. It's good from the first time you listen, but somehow they really grow on you over time. [Example: My friend David pulled a song up on my laptop and played it for me one night, and I didn't exit out of that Safari window for about a month because I kept playing it over, and over, and over.]

I was just exploring their website looking to download their new CD (Hymns IV) and found an even more awesome surprise - the name Page CXVI is actually a C.S. Lewis Narnia reference, to page 116 in their copy of the Magician's Nephew, when Aslan first begins to sing Narnia into existence. If I wasn't obsessed enough before, I definitely am now.

Check Page CXVI out for yourself at their website, and download your favorites. Or all. I'm about to make myself some new CDs for the car ride home tomorrow.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

three more days

Pieces of my heart are scattered around the country/world. The Oxford piece of my heart has been living and loving full force lately, but now that Thanksgiving break is only 3 days away, the Kentucky piece is calling.

I'm ready to be here

with them

Almost there. Only one night of Wesley, one Muffin Club, one Spanish test, one trip to the tire store, one football game, and maybe a few mini-adventures with friends to go before I'm on the road to the Bluegrass State. It is time.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


I should be documenting so much more of this semester; every single day has been picture perfect. But it's hard to capture the significance of so much of this fall in a few words on a blog or in a journal, and even if pictures are worth a thousand words they still wouldn't be enough. How can I explain Milkshake Mondays, camping, brunch-making, baseball in the backyard? How can I do justice to my brothers and my sisters, the best friends in the entire world?

How can I explain nights like tonight, where for two hours I laid on a blanket in the Brick House backyard with three of my best friends (and the neighbor's cat, our new friend) and stared at the stars? It is so powerful to be reminded of how small we are and how big our Creator is. Seriously, I can't imagine a better way to top off an already amazing weekend.

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

land of cotton

I got a much needed reunion with my sister this weekend and used it as an opportunity to catch up on all things Oxford. Such as:

Rowan Oak
Shopping on the Square
Eli Manning in Square Books
Playing in a cotton field
Ajax for dinner
Ole Miss football game + Grove

Can a day get much more Mississippi than this?

Look away, look away, look away, Dixieland.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

good bad decisions

- Sitting around a firepit until 1:30 AM on Friday night even though I can't stop coughing.

- Sitting around a firepit until 1:30 AM on Saturday night even though I can't stop coughing.

- Going to a 9:50 PM movie on Monday night even though I was leaving for Jackson at 6:50, Julie had a test at 7:30, Brady had PT at 5, Will had Sons of Thunder at 6:30, and Lacey had class at 8 the next morning, and even though I can't stop coughing.

- Waiting until 9:30 PM tonight to fill out my degree application, finalize my thesis prospectus, do tons of laundry, and clean the house before Laura and Cassie visit tomorrow.

Have you noticed that all of these things involve me not getting much sleep? I thankfully have been blessed with the gift of requiring little sleep to properly function, but, seriously, the cough has got to go. I know staying up all night every night is most likely not helping at all, but the fellowship is too good to pass up. And plus, my friends give great advice. Rest during the day, drink lots of fluids, and go to the movies at night. Blind leading the blind, or brilliant? Brilliant. (But, seriously, no worries, Mom - I got a different kind medicine at Kroger today and am feeling confident about its ability to get rid of this thing once and for all.)

Senior year is incredible, and I totally want it to last forever. But we're not going to go there right now. We're going to leave it at a pleasant reflection of the severe lack of sleep I've gotten the past few nights but a realization that the name of the game is spontaneity, and that all of this has been beyond a shadow of a doubt worth it.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

quote of the day

Some strange things have been going on lately. I stop and ask myself why but remain entirely unable to come up with an answer. Besides this: it's October, and "any wonderful unexpected thing might be possible..." Enjoy the quote of the day!
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.
– The Witch of Blackbird Pond

Monday, October 3, 2011

cheesy sorority post

While I refuse to make an omggg-DeeGee-got-the-best-pledge-class-ever-we-love-our-baby-anchors-#dglove-#anchorsaway Facebook status or Twitter post, I cannot refrain from a brief reflection of the past 4 years of my life...

[2008 - the one where I was a confused freshman]

One thing I remember clearly - I got a massive splinter from holding this giant Delta. Worth it.
Oh, if only we knew...

[2009 - the one where it really started to get good]

Better luck with the letters this time.

So many friends pledged DG this year! Including this girl - ultimate little sis.

[2010 - the one where I hadn't slept in 10 months]

Sponsorship was hard, but Emily is the best, God is faithful, and reading the list absolutely rocks.

Few people will ever realize the full significance of this photograph.

[2011 - the one that is the last]

The letters have gotten a little fancier since freshmen year.

Bid Day '08 Katie and Anna had no idea they would grow up to be Bid Day '11 Katie and Anna.

A lot of days I wake up and still wonder how in the world a Smith from Port Republic/Wilmore/Jackson wound up in a sorority at all, much less this one, much less as a member of rush team. In situations like this, I think it's best not to ask and just to go with it. A sorority doesn't define you, but, man, can it change you if you let it. Today, I am thankful for the countless ways mine has changed me for the better and for all of the amazing gifts it has given me (a.k.a. Anna, Kat, Lace, Jules, Em, Mary Margaret, Mary Mac, and CassCass). There's something good in that frozen yogurt machine that somehow gets inside of you and turns you into the best version of yourself you can possibly be. I'm excited to watch a new group of DG freshies begin this journey just as my friends and I finish up ours.

Happy Bid Day everybody! It's been a good one.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

happy thursday

1. It's RUSH WEEK.

2. I'm not in charge!

I wonder about 67 times a day how Em and I did this last year; if I had to do it today, I don't think I could. I have no explanation except that God makes everything beautiful in its own time (Ecclesiastes 3:11). Needless to say, these next couple of days are busy ones. I'm excited for Bid Day but I'm really excited for next week, when the fall celebration will really kick in full swing.

In other news, enjoy this "Hey Jude" flowchart. Whoever made this is a genius.

Longer letter later. (Did anyone else read that book when we were in middle school??)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

do you remember...

Also. September is an excellent month, and the roommates and I are celebrating as often as possible by firing up Katherine's karaoke machine and dancing around the kitchen to the following. September 21 itself is Wednesday night, start the countdown!

Enjoy. :)

a little bit of this, a little bit of that

The past few weeks have been ones for the books, which means that this next week needs to be one in the books. In case any of you were wondering, Senioritis is real. It is interesting balancing classes, law school applications, thesis, and work when it’s starting to be that good fall weather and I just want to hang out with friends from morning until night. So much of this semester has been beautiful so far; here are some highlights in no particular order.

Labor Day was an incredible blessing even though the long weekend was filled with rain from the tropical storm in the Gulf. You know what else was filled with rain? The Brick House kitchen cabinets...

Dave Barnes was in Starkville the other Tuesday night, which meant I was in Starkville the other Tuesday night. Left Oxford at 5:30, got back at 2, had a Spanish test the next morning at 10. Slightly chaotic and sleep-depriving, but Dave Barnes was amazing live. All of this reaffirms my growing conviction that live music, while almost never convenient, is almost always worth it.

I have already caved and skipped my first class. The weather was so perfect and Anna and I got to have Grove time and it was totally a good decision even though it was only the third week of school and most people try to hold out a little longer than that...whatever. Carpe diem.

Various conversations (most of them late-night, of course) throughout the past weeks have made me realize more and more fully that the group of friends that I have been blessed with are going to change the world, and that is awesome.

College is the greatest.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

throne room

Last February I had the privilege to attend Statewide and worship with Kristian Stanfill for an entire weekend. Last Thursday, as a part of the Ole Miss Wesley Foundation, I had the privilege to worship with him here on campus. Being a Wesley Foundation intern is awesome for countless reasons, one of which is the time I got to spend meeting and hanging out with Kristian and Matt and Joe and Tim. These guys are amazing. They are not "worship leaders" in title alone; they truly do lead worship. It's not about them, and they make that so obvious in every word they speak or sing.

One of my favorite things about Kristian from Statewide was the Scripture that he shared in between his music, and he brought a message of truth again Thursday night. He speaks from the Word, and it is so powerful! This time he shared Psalm 3, and I've been going over the verses in my head constantly ever since then. I love Kristian and his band, and I say all of this not to bring praise to them (I have a feeling they'd never go for that...) but to bring praise to the God to whom they sing. It's always hard to adequately describe such beautiful worship experiences, but the best description I've heard so far goes to my friend who said he felt as if he was physically in the throne room. I think that pretty much sums it up!

One of the best parts about all of this? They're coming back! Passion is coming to 12 college campuses across the country this fall for a special University Tour, and Ole Miss is one of those lucky schools! Get your ticket here and do it quickly. I am not sure what Thursday October 6 holds for us, but I know it is going to be amazing so go ahead and get ready! God is transforming my generation; I believe that with all of my heart, and I cannot wait to see what is in store for us.

Friday, August 26, 2011

so do you remember...with your white dress on

Summer is my friend Katherine's season. She loves it and it loves her. "Summers change people," she has said to me multiple times. "People come back different." I've always nodded and agreed, but I didn't realize just how true that was until this summer when, for whatever reason, I thought I could spend 2 months in new surroundings and be unaffected. I obviously thought wrong and can officially say that my life has been changed in more ways than one. For example...

I have developed an obsession with Magnum bars.

I have developed an equal, if not stronger, obsession with the Train Game.

I have remembered what it is like to live simply.

I will never be able to think about the songs and/or names of certain Christian music artists the same way as before.

I have moved from a state of total panic to one of controlled fear towards my thesis.

I have an overwhelming desire to play outside all hours of the day.

I cannot hear a Ben Rector song without being immediately transported to McCauley Road, driving through horse fields in the bright sunlight while dodging some very low-flying birds.

I have learned anew in my heart - and not just in my head - that God is good.

Kentucky got inside of me, and I wasn't expecting that. And now after all the new friends, places, and changes I am back in Oxford. Home of Nike shorts and oversized t-shirts, where people sleep all day and party all night, and where you are expected to be out (wherever "out" really is, anyway) on at least Monday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights.

There are adjustments, for sure, because let's face it: Wilmore, Kentucky and Oxford, Mississippi may be the 2 most opposite places on the planet, and time away from the Ole Miss culture makes the ridiculousness of some things stand out that much more. But I love Oxford, with all my heart, and the Oxford and Ole Miss I know are much different than the Oxford and Ole Miss that most people see at first glance. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is the place that I am called to be and to serve, and I have the best friends in the world here to do it with me.

I am going to miss Kentucky. One week of school in and I already do. But I know the inevitable homesickness is a good thing. At 21 years of age, I can confidently say I am a better person because of the surprisingly many places, people, and experiences that have made up my life. So here's to time spent in Wilmore. Here's to Summer 2011. Here's to one more piece of Katharine Elizabeth Smith...

God is so good.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

the lord is my shep-herd

When you come back from another country, everyone expects you to instantly write on blogs and journal and post pictures on Facebook and share about your experience. Ironically, these times are almost always the times when words and photos are not even close to enough. I'm hoping that for now, the following words and faces can speak for themselves...

Jehová es mi pastor; nada me faltará.
En lugares de delicados pastos me hará descansar;
junto a aguas de reposo me pastoreará.

Confortará mi alma; me guiará por sendas de justicia por amor de su nombre.
Aunque ande en valle de sombra de muerte no temeré alguno, por tú estarás conmígo;
tu vara y tu cayado me infundirán aliento.

Aderezas mesa delante de mí en presencia de mis enemigos;
unges mi cabeza con aceite;
mi copa está rebosando.

Ciertamente el bien y la misericordia me seguiran todos los días de mi vida,
y en casa de Jehová moraré por largos días.

[Salmo 23 - La Senda 2011]

Monday, July 25, 2011

i don't have time for this

Remember 2 or 3 posts back when I gave my schedule for these next couple weeks? I'm one day into the madness, and it only gets crazier from here. The last thing I should be doing right now is watching the Bachelorette and writing a blog post, but I'm doing both. I can't resist putting up a few of these pictures from the past couple of absolutely perfect weeks.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

a day in the life

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

hit the road jack

Tomorrow, I become a nomad.

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:

June 30 - July 1: New Garden, Ohio
July 2 - July 24: Bethel, Maine
July 25 - July 27 - Wilmore, Kentucky
July 28 - July 30 - Jackson, Mississippi
July 31 - drive 10 hours back to Kentucky
August 1 - August 7 - Sumpango, Guatemala
August 8 - August 11(ish) - Wilmore, Kentucky
August 12(ish) - Leave for Oxford, Mississippi for SENIOR YEAR of college

Jealous? I thought so. Really, though. I am about to have some incredible adventures. Leaving Kentucky is going to be so much harder than I thought; it's amazing how quickly this place has become a part of me, and I only have about a week left at "home!" But I am so, so excited to get to Maine. Three full weeks in a cabin on a lake with my kayak, lots of books, and - hopefully - lots of sunshine. Because of this whole nomadic lifestyle traveling thing, I'll have limited internet access, but I will attempt to share some of the good things that take place over the course of the next month when possible. If you need me, call me (no matter where you are, no matter how far...)

T-19 hours until departure time (because every normal family leaves at 5:30 PM for a road trip) so I better get back to that suitcase. Here's to a hectic but beautiful rest of the summer!

Monday, June 20, 2011

post-ichthus observations

- Worshiping for three full hours with Hillsong UNITED under a gorgeous and unexpected sunset is a taste of eternity.

- 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 me
lifted out of the ashes, i am found in the aftermath
[Hillsong UNITED, Aftermath/aerial view of Wednesday night]

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

singing in the rain

I'm sitting at work watching some serious lightning out the window right now. Sometimes I love rainy days, especially good summer rains. Because the weather's been perfect lately and just yesterday I spent hours outside, today I would be completely content to stay inside for a change - sit at work, watch the dark clouds out the window, read a book, and top off the night with some old school indoor fun such as, perhaps, the Train Game.

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

quote of the day

I've been surprised this semester by how few of my peers have heard anything about G.K. Chesterton, especially in light of his influence on C.S. Lewis. But, truthfully, I can't give anyone a hard time about it, as I'm just now actually sitting down to read some of the works I've heard of for years... the ongoing predicament of my life: too many books, too little time. Anyway, here's some truth from Chesterton's Orthodoxy to think about today.
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

"turn right, ahead"

Lexington streets, they tell me, are just like "spokes on a wheel." Simple enough, unless, of course, you can't remember the order of streets on the wheel or which direction you're supposed to go once you get to the right street. But after two weeks, I must say, I'm beginning to make progress. And now I have this interactive map to help me (+ you) find your way in Lexington and the surrounding areas.

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

lessons from jill pole.

Towards the beginning of The Silver Chair, C.S. Lewis describes a girl's initial encounter with Aslan. Lost and alone during the first hour of her first trip to Narnia, Jill is all but dying of thirst when she's presented with a choice: whether or not to drink from the water of life. The conversation follows...
"Are you not thirsty?" said the Lion.
"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.
To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life..." [Revelation 21:6]

Thursday, May 19, 2011

school's out for the summer

The end of school/start of summer transition was especially chaotic this year, for various reasons. Here's a recap of what's been going on.

[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.

Ministry Center Video Tour from The Francis Asbury Society on Vimeo.

[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

going out with a bang

Packed with my favorite people, places, and things, this was one of those good weekends that you remember for a really long time. Good things included but were not limited to: tornado clean-up at Pine Flat, Allie's surprise birthday party, Old Crow Medicine Show at the Square, Double Decker, Bottletree, lots of time with lots of friends, and Memphis in May.

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

where your treasure is

Bad news, guys. My History 303 Emerging Nation notebook is missing.

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

cheesy but true

I came back to the DG house and this song was randomly playing on my iPod. The beauty of it completely threw me off; I had to actually sit down, start the song over, and pay attention to the whole thing the second time around. While I totally recognize that slightly cheesy/predictable/feel good movies might not be your thing, everyone should watch this movie at least once in their life simply to appreciate the music. Especially the cello...the cello may go down as the most moving instrument of all time.

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

pollen pollen everywhere

I woke up this morning feeling terrible, and I am all too familiar with the source of the problem - literally, my only complaint about spring. Too. much. pollen.

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

so that's what happened.

I was doing some happy Saturday blog-stalking and ran across this here.

I knew there had to be a story here. My day is now complete.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

pastry heaven

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

carpe diem

"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

sbxi: scotland cay

When I was in third grade I was furious that I was a girl, because I wanted more than anything to be Jim from Treasure Island. He had all the good adventures in all of the good, exotic places. Thanks to my family and the Reed family, I finally got to experience some of my own tropical adventures this past week in the Bahamas. Here's an account of the week, complete with pictures.

Flew to Treasure Cay, then Scotland Cay. See this out the window the whole way.
Stayed here.
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

statewide part 2/excellent day

"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

part 1 - statewide weekend overview

There is absolutely no way I can pack everything into one post, so I'm likely going to break it down into multiple. First, I'll hit some highlights and explain what's been going on. Statewide Wesley Foundation retreat was this weekend, and it was great. Amazingly challenging speakers, Kristian Stanfill leading worship, reunions with old friends, and forming relationships with new friends. As a totally added blessing, the retreat was at Timbercreek, which meant getting to see old friends/role models and enjoying nature in one of my favorite places. Needless to say, I am extremely rejuvenated and am once again floored by how much God blesses His children.

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

free scantrons.

Tuesday was election day for ASB candidates. I ended up being the campaign manager for Taylor McGraw, who has been one of my friends since freshmen year. As you can imagine, the past two weeks have been packed with work to do, and Monday and Tuesday were especially chaotic. Lucky for us, all of the hard work paid off! Taylor won with 50.46% of the vote. How crazy is that?! Every vote counts.

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!
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