April 26, 2009

A Disciple's Renewal

O My Savior, help me.
I am so slow to learn, so prone to forget, so weak to climb;

I am in the foothills when I should be in the heights;
I am pained by my graceless heart,
my prayerless days,
my poverty of love,
my sloth in the heavenly race,
my sullied conscience,
my wasted hours,
my unspent opportunities.

I am blind while light shines around me:
take the scales from my eyes,
grind to dust the evil heart of unbelief.

Make it my cheifest joy to study thee,
meditate on thee,
gaze on thee,
sit like Mary at thy feet,
lean like John on thy breast,
appeal like Peter to thy love,
count like Paul all things dung.

Give me increase and progress in grace so that there may be;
more decision in my character,
more vigor in my purposes,
more elevation in my life,
more fervor in my devotion,
more constancy in my zeal.

As I have a position in the world,
keep me from making the world my position;

May I never seek in the creature what can be found only in the creator;

Let not faith cease from seeking thee until it vanishes into sight.

Ride forth in me, thou king of kings and lord of lords,
that I may live victoriously,and in victory attain my end.

That's a prayer that I've read about a million times, and every time it never ceases to strike at the heart of what I should be seeking. I like liturgy and other written prayers because, more often than not, someone else can articulate what I'm feeling better than I can.

April 24, 2009

The Count...Censored.

I just got back from a nice lunch with my step-mom after packing up the family van with half of the stuff from my dorm. I no longer have a minifridge, a tv, a rug, or most of my clothing. This is a terribly exciting thing for me, because it makes the end of the year that much more tangible.

Tomorrow morning is the Praxis II. Which means I should think about studying for it right now...but...um, well I'm not. And I probably won't. 'Cause I'm really mature and stuff, you know?

Today I took my last undergrad test! LOVE IT. That felt good, too.

I don't think anything else profound has happened lately...OH. Wait.

Okay, listen, I saw this video and it's incredibly inappropriate, but incredibly funny. I mean, it's actually "censored" so it's not traditionally inappropriate, but it's funny because of the implications behind the censoring. Um, so don't judge me, but I laughed for about 24856 years after I saw this video.

Also, it's nothing new or anything. I'm not claiming to be on the cusp of internet hilarity. I just know it when I see it, that's all...and you will too, I promise.


April 22, 2009

Thank You Day

California 1

Today was Thank You Day at Kutztown. I have no idea what that means, except that I got a free t-shirt out of the deal. Which is pretty sweet, if you ask me. Maybe they're thanking me for getting all of my money? I'm not really sure.

Anyway, speaking of school - my time living here (since I'll be in Lancaster for next semester) is drawing to a close.

I'm going to pause and think about that for one moment...


Today was my last day in painting and watercolor. It was my next to last art history class. Tomorrow will be my last early field class. On Friday I take a test, and then...

...then it is finished.

Well, except for the Praxis II at 7am the next morning. But that hardly counts! And then the end-of-the-year fun begins: Dana visits, Wing Night with CB and Marilyn on Monday, and then a Dip Party (I might be making the famous buffalo spinach artichoke dip) and the Swain Art show on Tuesday. And then HOME!

Also, it's worth noting that I'll be in California in two weeks.

Do you know what California looks like? It looks like this:

California 3

And this:

California 4

Oh, and a little of this:

California 2


April 19, 2009

CCO and Chorus Concerts

What a beautiful Sunday! It was so nice at home - sunny, warm, breezy...just a perfect spring morning and afternoon.

I went home after my day sitting in on CCO training on Friday. My interview went well and the day was pretty fun. I didn't know that Tiffany Okel would be there, so it was pleasant surprise to know someone else who was there as a perspective staff member! It would've been a little awkward, otherwise. Though there are a lot of Ligonier people who are involved with the CCO, so I actually saw quite a few familiar faces.

The whole CCO thing is pretty crazy to me right now. I'm excited, apprehensive, nervous, and curious all at once. There are lots of thoughts swirling around in my head about all of this, but what I keep coming back to is the fact that the Lord will put me where He wants me. I'm not sure where that calling is right now - as an art teacher or as an employee of the CCO, or as something else all together - but I know I'll end up there in time.

I had some really good conversations with my parents over the weekend about the CCO stuff. They're pretty supportive of me in this, which is important to me. It's good to know that they're backing me up, even though it might seem like I'm doing something a little crazy.

Anyway, the weekend at home was great! I went to a community chorus concert last night in my high school's chapel. I googled it to find this ridiculously beautiful picture that I did not take (it's just as beautiful inside, believe me):

The Chapel

The Mercersburg Area Community Chorus is directed by my great uncle, and is made up of around 100 area musicians who do Christmas and springtime concerts. Not only is my uncle the director, but my dad, grandma, and other uncle all sing in it, while my aunt plays the bassoon. And there are about 5 or 6 other people from my church or high school that are involved as well. So beyond my familial obligation to attend, it's beautiful music! Incredible, really. Last night they performed Ralph Vaughn Williams' Dona Nobis Pacem and the orchestra was just breathtaking. Do I sound like a nerd? I am one. Sorry for waxing rhapsodic about this, but it's pretty cool to see my family do something so awesome.

Today was great too: church, lunch with the family, a little baking, and then a nice drive back to school. The weather is supposed to become chilly and rainy overnight, but the weekend was so beautiful that I don't really mind :)

April 15, 2009

Two Stamp Tuesday!

Yesterday was Two Stamp Tuesday at Rita's, so CB and I made the trek out to the closest one (about 15 mins away) and braved the rain for some deliciousness.

Once we were back in the warm car and out of the blustery rain, I realized that I couldn't feel my fingers. Those cups get cold! After complaining to CB about this, she excitedly jumped out of the car.

Two Stamp Tuesday!

Moments later, after she dove into her trunk, CB resurfaced with a proper cup holder: one of those foam soda can holder things. It was excellent, as was my mango gelati.

In other news...tomorrow is my last day of teaching at Swain. Sad day! I've really grown to love those kids. It'll be hard to say goodbye to them. After school tomorrow, I'll be driving out to Ligonier for the night. I'm staying in Leeanne's house (even though she won't be there because she's on vacation) and then at 7AM on Friday I'm driving out to Antiochian Village to go to a CCO interview. It's something I've been praying about and thinking about a lot lately. I finished my application yesterday, and I'm going to have first interview over breakfast. I'm not really nervous right now, mostly because I've realized that if the Lord is calling me to work for the CCO, then I will. If not...I'll go where he leads me.

Then Friday night when I get back to school...well, I'll be "hitting the books" as they say. I have LESS THAN TWO WEEKS (HALLELUJAH) before the summer!! So I just have to pump out some finals and take the Praxis II and pack up all my junk.

And THEN on May 5th I'm driving down to visit Mrs. Thayer (love her!) and on May 6th I fly out of Baltimore to visit the one and only Lisa Lockwood.

So basically, I'm ready to be in California. Like...now.

Oh, and then CAMP. LOVE IT.

April 8, 2009

When I Grow Up...

...I want to have a real kitchen. As in, I want to cook real foods with real ingredients. Local ingredients. ORGANIC Local Ingredients. And all will be well, and all will be delicious.

Except for a few things: 1) I'll be a poor art teacher for a while, surviving on PB&J, 2) I may or may not be in a region where I have a regularly accessible farmers market (my home town's closest is probably 45-50 minutes away) and 3) I'm so used to having whatever foods I want, when I want them. I realized that I have no concept of seasons regarding most foods. I'm used to having whatever, whenever. In fact, the only clues I really have for what's seasonal come from either holidays (like pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving) or growing up on my grandparents' farm. They raised sweet corn, strawberries, melons, and potatoes. My parents have a tomato and pepper garden in the summer. That's about where seasonality ends for me.

So while I wouldn't dream of eating sweet corn in say, January (you've never had sweet corn until you've had it the day it was picked...it's beyond words) , I'm used to having things like blueberries or squash or broccoli any month of the year. On one hand, this pretty awesome. I can eat a huge variety of food all year round.

But on the other hand...well, you probably know the story. Carbon footprints, inorganic compounds, outsourcing of labor to industrial farms...none of it is a very pretty picture.

I'll turn to Lauren Winner (love her!) for some thoughts. She's referencing the author Barbara Kingsolver (author of the essay "Lily's Chickens") in the following quote:

"Why is Kingsolver so committed to [eating foods only while in season]? Because shipping food from greenhouses around the world is America's second-largest expenditure of oil...As Kingsolver explains, 'Even if you walk or bike to the store, if you come home with bananas from Ecuador, tomatoes from Holland, cheese from France, and artichokes from California, you have guzzled some serious gas.' To eat seasonally (and locally) is to enact a politics of reduced consumption." (Winner, Mudhouse Sabbath)

I don't say all of this to be some eco-green-hippy-christian. I've just been thinking about it. I talked to my friend High School Beth last night for a while about that concept of "my future kitchen" and it just got me to thinking. Mostly I was thinking about these delicious Mushroom and Asparagus Tarts...am I eating them right now? Wait, I'm not? Hmm...I'd better go do something about that...

PS - I've got mad love for food blogs...except for how much they want me to have a fully stocked kitchen and Whole Foods on hand (I have neither). If you want to check out some beautiful food (and find the recipies!) check out FoodGawker, where they gather the prettiest and most delicious foods of the day...mmmm....

April 6, 2009

Monday, Monday

I am not feeling this Monday. It's rainy, I'm tired, and the realization that I didn't get any work done this weekend is crashing down right about...now. I mean, it will all be okay, but there's a lot to do today and tomorrow. And over the weekend. And for the next 3 weeks. Oh dear...

The good news is that I have AT MOST 24 days left to my semester. Love it!

In a different vein, I've been reading The Imitation of Christ since I finished up one of my other books this weekend. It's great because the text is divided up into small sections, so I read one or two a day and think about it. Last night I read this:

"If men used as much care in uprooting vices and implanting virtues as they do in discussing problems, there would not be so much evil and scandal in the world, or such laxity in religious organizations. On the day of judgment, surely, we shall not be asked what we have read but what we have done; not how well we have spoken but how well we have lived."
- Thomas à Kempis

I think there's a lot of wisdom there, especially since I'm the kind of person who prides myself in being knowledgeable. And not just because it's good to learn (obviously I believe that, as a future teacher) , but because I like to feel like I know a lot. I need to get some perspective on how my knowledge is being used or should be used.

And one more quote:

"I would rather feel contrition than know how to define it"
- Thomas à Kempis


April 5, 2009

Candy Sushi!!

Here are pictures of the AWARD WINNING masterpieces I made with College Beth on Thursday.


We wanted to use green Fruit by the Foot, but I don't even know if they make that stuff anymore. So we had to use some ridiculous "Berry Blast!!!!" flavor - aka neon blue. But it worked out anyway!


As you can see, we were pretty tenacious in our pursuit of detail - bamboo mat, little grassy things, chopsticks, etc.

The most amusing part is that neither College Beth nor I eat sushi. I mean, I've had it, but not any particularly good experiences. Not that I haven't enjoyed what I've had, but I've never gone out just to eat sushi. And CB is pretty much against it, due to its raw properties. So a lot of what we made came from very careful research (...Google).

And, for the record? These were not particularly tasty. I love all of the components because, well, they're candy! But the overall "flavor profile" is weird. CB and I balked when we tried them, but some people insisted they were really good. These are probably the same people who insist that regular sushi is really good. So try at your own risk! They are, however, reaaaally easy to make.

Today was AWESOME. Because I did NOTHING. I finished a book, I watched some basketball, and I started knitting some socks. Which is tough, because I'm using double pointed needles for the first time...I just started them, so we'll see how it goes!

April 3, 2009

April Showers and All of that Stuff

Topiary at Longwood Gardens

There's a lot going on in my life right now. I'm busy at school, because it's the last couple of weeks of class. I have projects, lesson plans, papers, paintings and tests coming up. I have two more weeks of teaching at my Early Field school, which is unbelievable. I only have 27 days left to the semester! How is that possible?

But enough of that. Here are some good and exciting things in my life:

- Yesterday I went on a field trip with my co-op and 7th grade students to Longwood Gardens! I'd never been there, but it is huge and beautiful! All of my watercolor lessons for the students culminated in spending the day wandering around and painting. They all did pretty well, if I do say so myself.

Topiaries at Longwood Gardens

The boys in my group got tired of painting flowers, so we went outside to the Topiary garden for a while. It was a beautiful day! On the way home, we got caught in traffic because of a bad accident on the turnpike, so we ended up sitting without moving for about 40 minutes. And here's the thing about 7th graders: they think that "bus" means "big yellow drama-box." I can understand some of the confusion, but it was a little crazy. They were singing and yelling and whatnot (typical) and everyone seemed happy. And THEN, when we finally got home...half of the girls were crying!!! What?!?! I think it was over a boy, which is pretty funny because all of the boys are pretty nerdy. Ahh, to be 12 again...

- College Beth and I entered an "Edible Art Contest" yesterday with our NAEA (National Art Educators Association) club/chapter thing here. We made candy sushi, using rice crispy treats, fruit by the foot, mike and ikes, and sweedish fish. And we had green icing as wasabi and chocolate syrup for soy sauce. We bought like a bamboo matt for it and everything, so we went all out. They were pretty incredible if you ask me...and if you ask the judges, since we TOTALLY WON. We got a $20 gift certificate to a place in town called Spuds where they make crazy french fries. And...well it was exciting. Hopefully I'll get pictures (I forgot to take my camera because I'm dumb) and post them soon!

- I got new books in the mail to read!!!

New books to read!

The Relevant Bookstore had a sale last week where all of their books were $4. They do a series of books called "Foundations of Faith" that are small collections of cornerstone works. I bought GK Chesterton's Orthodoxy from them a while ago and I loved it. So when I saw that their books were mega-cheap, I shelled out and picked up The Imitation of Christ by Thomas A Kempis and Foundations of the Christian Religion by Blaise Pascal. I'm in the middle of two other books (sometimes I have poor self-control when it comes to finishing books before starting another), so it might be a little while before I get down to work on these, but I'm excited to read them.

- I got my LCCC Contract in the mail yesterday! So once I fill that out and send it in, it will be official. I'll be CIT directing, apparently. How is that possible?! I'm still a baby. I feel like I was just a CIT last summer. Well, maybe that's an exaggeration...but still. This is weird. In a good way.

So...that's that! And now I'm going to enjoy my friday. I'm supposed to meet with my CCO leader on campus this afternoon to discuss things, and I have a few phone calls to make. It should be a nice day, despite the constant rain.