Saturday, August 28, 2010


The stars hung bright in the dark sky as I tumbled through the brush, a cup of cider sloshing in my hand. I stood chatting with the college's president and his wife about their time in Kenya, and cold tendrils of silvery air bit at my nose and hands. Eventually I moved into the circle of students around the bonfire, and sat huddled with Julie as we sang hymn after hymn.

By the time we left the warmth of fire and song, the moon was high in the sky--so bright. Julie, Nathan and I walked to the car. Beside us a freshly-harvested field yawned, stretching up to the sky. Grabbing Julie's hand, I ran up the hill, toward the tip of stars. Throwing arms in air, we twirled and twirled. Laughing, we fell to the ground and stared up at the spinning skies.

Like drunk sailors, we tripped back down the hill and piled into the car. Living in this land of visible stars and rolling hills and August-chill is a bit like wandering around in a dream-world. Guess it's a good thing I'm quite comfortable dreaming.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Peace be with you
God be with your spirit
 God's blessings to you


[In the middle of the service at Trinity Reformed Church, the church I am attending here, everyone gets up in the middle of the service to "Pass Peace."  When I've visited other churches that have done this, I've always found it very awkward.  People would stand up, half-heartedly shake the hands of the people standing directly around them, and quickly sit back down.  At Trinity there is no stiffness, no formality.  Everyone makes their way through the big room (which is actually some sort of conference room at a hotel),  grasping hands, giving hugs, greeting enthusiastically, and sometimes even kissing one another.  It's what I imagine the early church was like: full of unconditional love and brimming with effervescent life.]  

Saturday, August 21, 2010

My Room

I finally got a dresser in my bedroom!  Julie remembered her old one was stuffed away in the basement, so when Sean and Nathan were over this afternoon, I had them carry it up for me.  Only four of its six drawers are currently functional, but I'm so excited not to have to climb on top of a chair and hurtle myself at the closet shelf to get clothes down!

I'm so thankful to have my own bedroom, and for it to be so lovely!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Froggies and Faucets and Fairy Tales

Tadpoles have infested my books.
Every time I open one up, the tadpoles squiggle across the pages.
Needless to say, I can't read.

Someone has replaced my nasal passages with a faucet.
I've gone through a trash-can-full of Kleenex today.
Needless to say, I can't breathe.

A little creature scratched up my throat.
And there's a frog croaking in my chest.
Needless to say, I'm sick.

And now...if you survived my sorrowful soliloquy...I'll post a few pictures.

This is in Downtown Moscow.  Seriously.  Right off Main Street.
 Winco is the place to shop in Moscow.  This fantastic grocery store is equipped with numerous vats of various goods--for really low prices!

Jessie filling up a bag with oatmeal...for 3 cents an ounce!
 Since I don't eat a lot of meat, nuts are pretty essential to my diet.  I was delighted to discover this fancy little machine that grinds raw peanuts directly into my cup!  It's a lot easier than making my own.

My dear new friend: the peanut butter maker!
The Ryan family, who I stayed with when I visited Moscow before, sweetly invited Mom, Jess, and I over for dinner.  It was so good to see them again!

(FYI: Jessie is taking the picture)
This is my new house.  Isn't it adorable?!  The inside is darling, and I'm loving having my own room.

Roomies!  L to R: Me, Julie, Heather, Kaitlyn
 On Saturday morning, I had Convocation.  (Which is why my housemates are wearing robes in the previous picture; second-year scholars get to wear robes to school events!)  After Convocation, Mom and I went to a school picnic.  There we got to see Caleb and his beautiful new bride!

It's been a whirlwind week, and I'm still not quite sure what to think or feel.  Please pray that God would heal me quickly, that I might encounter all these changes with strength and courage!  Not only that, but I have a Latin Recitation tomorrow and hundreds of pages of reading to do...no time for the sickies!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Psalm Sing

This evening I stood in Friendship Square (a public area next to my school, in the middle of downtown) amongst babies and grandmothers, young men and bearded elders.  Surrounding me was the sound of music, of everyone lifting songs of praise to the Lord.  As a cool breeze brushed my curls, I felt--as if it were brought to me on the wind--the life all around me. 

Here teenage boys get excited to spend their evening singing.  Here students don't dread their homework, but delight in it.  Here a crippled man was baptized in church this morning, while grown men watched and cried.

As wonderful as this town is, I must admit that I have struggled with leaving my home and my family.  Last night I walked through the streets, barefoot, and wondered why I had come so far.  I had said goodbye to Jessie and Mommy that morning, and felt suddenly lost and alone.  A comforting word and a sympathizing hug from another freshman's mother, and tears poured from my eyes. 

But in the midst of the struggle of this transition, there is excitement and hope--and schoolwork!  Class hasn't even started yet, and I have already been assigned Latin vocabulary, over one hundred pages of reading, and the memorization of Psalm 149:  all to be completed by tomorrow morning!  With that said, I return to my studies.

I'll post pictures at some point.  <3

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Destination: Idaho!

After a very (VERY) long day of travel, Mom, Jessie, and I finally made it to Moscow!  Once again, I am sitting amongst the chaos of suitcases--this time UNpacking.  At least, thinking about unpacking.  As of now, the only furniture in my room is a bed (which Jess and I will both be occupying pretty soon here).  The moment my sheets come out of the dryer (I forgot to wash them at home, and they have that awful new scratchy feeling), I'll be climbing to bed and sleeping.  Goodnight!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Moving Muses

I sit amongst the chaos of half-packed luggage:  stacks of books, clothes strewn across beds, laundry in a heap.  Tomorrow is my last day before I leave for Moscow, Idaho.  Life has become a tornado of goodbyes, and I'm soaking in every moment of just being Here.

This morning I grocery-shopped at Harvilles; I was touched by how much the employees' cared that I'm leaving, how much they wished me well.  Shortly after I returned from shopping, Ella Grace and Anna Katherine came over with their mommy to give me a sweet farewell gift and play Polly Pockets (of course!)  

I'm going to miss my girls so much!
The precious picture frame Anna and Ella made me!
While the Cs were visiting with my family (Mollie and Julia included), Mrs. Gadalean came by to say goodbye.  All ten of us were chatting in the den when the Brighthouse Man arrived, and I guess you might say it was a little crazy.  But this is what I am going to miss most:  the open hospitality of my comfortable [crazy] family and home.

It has been so touching to be reminded that people love me.  To feel their hugs around my arms, to see the tears in eyes as people send me off with a word of wisdom, a squeeze of the hand.  I pray that Christ has used me to touch many lives in Orlando, and that he will pour his love out through me as I move to Moscow.  To God be the glory!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Everything is Illuminated

While in Oklahoma, I picked out this film to watch--despite skepticism from my family. Although none of them cared for it (in fact, my daddy stopped watching halfway through), I thought it was excellent.

It's a story of memories, of collecting pieces of the past. The main character, Jonathan (convincingly portrayed by Elijah Wood), wears big glasses, doesn't eat meat, and has a collection of memories in ziploc baggies tacked to a wall. In a search to find the story behind a photograph of his grandfather and a woman named Augustine, he ends up in the company of a Ukrainian grandpa and grandson. As they journey across the planes of Ukraine, a tale of depth unfolds amidst the bald humor of language confusion, Sammy Davis Jr. Jr. (the deranged dog), and a bizarre music soundtrack. What began an off-beat indie film, ended a poignant tribute to the strength of friendship, the twists of love, and the importance of clinging to memories. For, as Jonathan learned, "everything is illuminated in the light of the past. It is always along the side of us, on the inside, looking out."