Tuesday, April 26, 2011

faith and school: the finish line is in sight

i have one paper left. it's nearly done. and then my first year of grad school is over. WHAT?! that's just crazy talk.

a year ago, i had just finished taking the gre and hadn't even officially applied to iwu. i was still in wisconsin. and now i live in marion, indiana. HA.

this has been a RIDICULOUS year. in the best sense of the word, of course. i couldn't possibly explain all the amazing things that have happened. as crazy and stressful as my life can be, i am totally in love with where God has me.

i thrive on the things i am learning--and yes, i realize i am an uber-nerd--and i cannot get over how sweet it is to see the real-life application right in front of me. i love being around and working with college students. they make me laugh, and they give me life. i knew that before i left wisconsin, but i get to be so intentional and so real with my students at indiana wesleyan. very, very awesome.

after one year of grad school, i am not only still here, but i am more fully alive than ever before. if anyone has been worrying about this decision, i am giving you permission to stop.

i'm where i'm supposed to be.

Monday, April 25, 2011

devotional thought: you know you make me wanna shout

before church yesterday, our pastor came up to me and said, 'today is a day for shouting.' let me back up: you should probably know that i yell in church. often. so for our pastor to encourage it made me laugh a little.

here's the thing: i move during worship. it is kind of dangerous to stand near me. i am expressive with my body. and sometimes i jump. yeah, i joyfully leap while i sing. i throw my hands in the air. i wave 'em like i just don't care.

and how can i not?

i mean that quite seriously. how can i not worship with everything in me? and why should i? why should i restrain myself from doing what i was created to do?

we sing words about Christ being risen. we sing words about being free. we sing words about grace and love and spending eternity with Jesus.

i will not apologize for being excited about that. i simply will not.

i am not ashamed of the way i worship. based on the funny looks i get when i am shouting and jumping, i know not everyone praises the same way i do. that's cool. but i was made to move and shout and dance and love Jesus with every bit of my body, so i am not ashamed of doing so. keeping it inside is what would be the tragedy.

you hit me with words like, Satan is vanquished and Jesus is king, and you'd better believe i am going to tear the roof off--

this is my hope.
this is my life.
this is my SAVIOR.

Friday, April 22, 2011

30 by 30 update: yeah yeah yeah

i am aware of my negligence this week. these last two weeks of school are out to murder me. but i am a known fighter, so i am punching back.

i have a very minimal 30 by 30 update, so i'll keep it short:

i made a yummy meal for my friend liz. that was number 5. if you have suggestions for anything you'd like to see me attempt to make, i am sort of open. haha. you must, of course, avoid my allergies. cause i have a bad habit of munching on the meal while i am fixing it.

i also finished three books this past month. please disregard the fact that two of them were for school. i read God hides in plain sight, counseling the culturally diverse, and process and practice of group counseling.

ok, i'll explain the picture. i feel all over the place, so i googled, 'crazy pants.' :)

Friday, April 15, 2011

picture this: lindy's wedding!

the wildman went and got married. isn't she cute?! lindy and brent's wedding last weekend was my first one of the season. it was fun to see lots of college friends again.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

the monthly cooking segment: apparently everything liz loves

so i said, ' hey, liz, you wanna come over for dinner?'

and liz said, 'well, i like food. i guess i will come over.'

so i said, 'hey, are you allergic to anything? any foods you hate?'

and liz said, 'well, if you feed me olives, i will throw up on your face.'

so i said, 'hey, no need for that. i know plenty of dishes without olives.'

and liz said, 'well, ok. go ahead and feed me.'

so i said, 'hey, how does angel hair pasta with tomato-bleu cheese sauce sound? and vanilla muffins? and strawberry angel food dessert?'

and liz said, 'hey, is this heaven?'

these are vanilla muffins. they're almost cupcakes. but healthier. (i might be lying about that. i haven't actually done a comparative study.)

this is angel hair pasta with olive oil (shh, don't tell...it's made from olives), garlic, diced tomatoes, crumbled bleu cheese, heavy cream, half and half, cracked red pepper, salt, black pepper, sugar, and spinach. it is rich. but awesome.

i didn't take a picture of the dessert. but it contains angel food cake, cream cheese, sugar, strawberry glaze, fresh strawberries, and cool whip.

the end.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

why i am a writer: to explain

as some of you may know, i have some allergies.

no, it's true.

anyway, last night in class, i was eating a candy cane. it did not take long before i could feel the effects of the sugar. which meant the people around me could definitely see the effects. an infamous book stealer named sloan was intrigued by my behavior, so i explained the usual progression of sugar in my body:

i get excited.
i get loud.
i tell secrets.
i get paranoid.
i crash.
i throw up.

she was eager to see if i would tell any secrets, but i told her that this wasn't my first rodeo; plenty of people named miranda try that trick on a regular basis.

and then i wrote 'a poem for sloan.' it's over in the poetry section if you want to take a gander.

do any of your allergies make for cool party tricks?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

faith and school: strengths finder

not long after i moved to wisconsin, my pal alicia wanted to try and make me cool...so she made me take the strengths finder assessment. i was a little disappointed by results because they seemed...well...super nerdy. but i knew my strengths, and that allowed me to speak the official crusade language, which was all that really mattered at the time.

i didn't really think very much about my strengths after that, but a few weeks ago, a student and i were talking. guess what topic came up? oh, strengths finder. woot. so i dug through my emails and reread the descriptions of all my strengths...and was blown away by how well they fit the woman i am and the path that i am on right now.

here they are, with bits and pieces of the description...you tell me if i am living and working out of my strengths or not:

strategic: this perspective allows you to see patterns where others simply see complexity. mindful of these patterns, you play out alternative scenarios, always asking, 'what if?' this helps you see around the corner, evaluate potential obstacles, and start to make selections.

learner: you will always be drawn to the process of learning. the process, more than the content or the result, is especially exciting for you.

intellection: you like to think. you are the kind of person who enjoys your time alone because it is your time for musing and reflection.

developer: you see the potential in others. in your view, no individual is fully formed. when you interact with others, your goal is to help them experience success. you look for ways to challenge them. signs of growth in others are your fuel.

belief: you have certain core values that are enduring; these values give your life meaning and satisfaction. your work must be meaningful; it must matter to you.

what about you? if you've taken strengths finder, what are your strengths? are you living in them?

Monday, April 11, 2011

devotional thought: all things new

so even though the weather hasn't quite figured out what it's doing, we are solidly pushing our way into spring. i've seen the flip flops, sun burns, and plaid shorts. and in my world, that's spring. it was raining when i went into work this morning, but when i came out at one, i smelled it. not the gross, dank wet smell you sometimes get. no...

it was fresh.

and everywhere i looked, i saw new things popping out of the ground. i mean, first of all, have you even seen how green the grass is? stunning. i saw some tulips start to make an appearance. and boy howdy...there are birds everywhere you look!

life is returning.

people have a little more bounce in their steps. they have more energy. they're excited about doing yardwork and going for long walks.

the awesome thing about spring is that this happens every. single. year. winter bears down and crushes our spirits and seems interminable. even though you know spring has to come at some point, it still always seems like it just might not come this year.

but it does.

and like most things in life, we wouldn't deeply appreciate and humbly marvel at the glorious and wondrous (and, dare i say it...completely normal) things that are spring if we hadn't suffered through the long and dreary winter.

spring is amazing because it is such a vivid picture of how our creator makes all things new. he melts the snow and ice from our hearts. he cleanses us with rain. and then he cultivates...he stirs us up...he brings new life into our weary souls.


oh, and one more thing...easter's coming soon.

then bursting forth in glorious day...up from the grave he rose again.

the tomb is empty, friends. because he chose to make all things new.

Friday, April 8, 2011

i am not dead.

it's just been a busy week, personally and professionally.

i'll do better next week.


Monday, April 4, 2011

devotional thought: reminders

it can sometimes be difficult to be surrounded by brilliant students and people who are completely focused on their future plans. i would not put myself in either of those categories. but two occurrences this weekend were sweet reminders that i am not only where i am supposed to be, but the path i have taken to this point was the route God specifically planned to use to shape my heart for this time of life. (he is not surprised by how things have turned out.) both dinner with a student and the sermon in church helped me remember that the experiences of my past are monuments, or memorials, in my faith development and growth as a woman.

i have had some big, life-changing situations and realizations over the past couple of decades. the lessons i have learned--sometimes in good, affirming ways, and sometimes in hard, painful ways--are still valid for me...and they are also still being used to bring freedom and life to the people with whom i come in contact. remembering what i have learned (and where i've come from) and being able to use the good, the bad, and the ugly from my past are really important...and sort of the point of living in community--both where i am physically and where i am in the entire body of Christ.

for example, dealing with depression for many years was so frustrating on many levels--but i cannot count the number of students i have been able to minister to because they are fighting a similar battle. my pain has been used for God's glory. pretty sweet validation and redemption of something really horrible.

and i know you can never hear me say 'vulnerability breeds vulnerability' enough, huh? :) yes. baring myself and trusting other people to show grace has both allowed me to then be a bearer of grace and to help others release their shame and share in this freedom.

anyway...just a little something on my heart.

care to share about the stones that have built a faith monument in your life?

Friday, April 1, 2011

picture this: baby danger to the rescue

oh, daniel bradley. could ya be any cuter? or funnier? um, no. you could not.

gonna get me some besos. better watch your face. might just kiss it off.