Sunday, September 13, 2009

First semester outside the classroom

I have had a very busy and monotonous month since I last wrote on this blog. Each time I write I tell myself I am going to be more diligent and intentional about recording my happenings. But one thing or another distracts my attention. In the past it's been the busyness of the new semester, lots of books to read, or a really long paper to write. This time it was working 40-or-so hours at the Loyola bookstore. This has included lots of mayhem, and lots of soreness from hauling books, running in circles to help customers and manning the register. But now things are slowing down a bit, and I have time to think and do.

This last weekend I traveled to Madison for the long Labor Day weekend and to see a friend get married. I look the Van Galder bus, which is always a tedious 3-4 hours, but a marvelous opportunity to day-dream about ideas, plans and the future. On this particular trip, my brain was focused on wanting to do something Public History-oriented while I am not yet working in the Public History field. Something to pad my resume, if you will, and keep me on my feet. This is what I came up with:

For some time I've been toying with the idea of learning how to make a website. Paired with this is my own family history project which has become a never-ending hobby. I eventually wanted to compile the information, photos and family tree into a book. But then I got to thinking, why not a website, that I could update as I discover new information? So, folks, I have decided I am going to create a website! I still need to find the best provider and the cheapest way to get a domain name, but at least the ball is rolling. I'll start with the family tree and the basic birth, marriage, death info, but eventually I want to write a narrative--if somewhat fictionalized-- of their immigration and life in America.

A similar project fell into my lap courtesy of Jews for Jesus. Each fall, Jews for Jesus hosts a long-weekend retreat in WI. In addition to plenary sessions and general fun, there are workshop sessions, and I get to teach one! I have yet to hone down the details, but I am going to talk about how the grand sweeping narrative of Jewish history is so important to the understanding of an individual's own family history. Almost every paper I've written during my college career touched on the Jewish experience, so I have a lot of information to pull from. This should be fun, but I am going to need some input. Let me know you have any suggestions.

So in between working at the bookstore and scouring job postings on craigslist,, and museum websites, I do in fact have some things to keep me busy. That's always a good thing, right?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

this is the normal. this is the mundane. this is life.

It has been almost one week since I returned from New York. The moment I stepped out of the airport shuttle and walked into my apartment, I felt a paradoxical feeling of both relaxation and unease. Here I am in the same place: the same city, neighborhood, apartment--only seven weeks removed-- but things feel so different. For the first time since toddler-hood, I am not preparing to go back to school. Added to that, all the experiences of this summer and the things God has taught me are weighing on my heart. I am so grateful for all of this of course, but am struggling to apply any of it to daily life.

While on Campaign, we all knew we could not go a single step without lifting the whole day to God. We had no change at doing God's work without Him constantly before and behind us. But real life is not like Campaign. Each day is not scheduled to precision, nor am I going out on the streets asking people, "Who do you think Jesus is?" My every move is not about sharing the Gospel, nor am I called to live in community with 20-30 other people. My day-to-day existence during Campaign was unique, but my daily dependence on the Lord should not be.

Ironically, this summer I was never affirmed in the one area where I feel I best serve both God and people. Instead, God had something new to teach me. The work I was doing was not about me, but about the One I was speaking of each day. Each day I was pushed outside of my comfort zone, yet through this I learned a great lesson: My purpose is greater than the things I can do in my own power. On Campaign, this made so much sense because I was constantly asking God to "rid me of myself" and work through me. Back in Chicago, as I look for work, meet with friends, go grocery shopping, pay the bills, etc. it does not feel the same. How do I live this Truth in the "real world" and fully rely on God--even in the monotony of daily life?

And so I turn to the verse that has become for me a mantra: Psalm 138:8
"The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me. Your love, Oh Lord, endures forever. Do not abandon the work of your hands."
I am learning, ever so slowly that here in Chicago, God has a different (yet no less important or fulfilling) purpose for me. Even though I don't know what His plan for my life may be, I know that I can trust it completely. And I know he will use whatever I have, whatever I am able to bring, for His glory.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Summer Update: Last days of Campaign

Summer Witnessing Campaign is defined as an "all out effort over a period of time where all personal interests and social interests, etc. are subordinated to the preaching of the Gospel, with as much energy as can be given to the task." These past six weeks have been just that. I have exhausted all of my strength (and have had to heavily rely on God's) to raise the image of Christ this summer.

I had been told stories of past Campaigns, so I had some idea of what to expect, but I jumped in with no idea of how God would truly use me this summer. But God is good, and he taught me many things about myself and my position in His Kingdom.
I've learned about being vulnerable. I've learned how to share my faith with anyone and everyone. I've learned about emptying myself so I can be filled with God. I have been affirmed that God has a plan for my life, and that He will fulfill His purpose for me (Pslam 138:8, my life verse this summer!). I have learned what it means to commit my way to the Lord, and fully rely on His strength. I have seen the power of prayer and the power of community. I have also seen the influence of the Enemy when we are not secured in the Armor of God.
I have seen God do miraculous things in the hearts of people, and I know He is moving in my own heat as well.

If it had been my choice, I would have come to to New York as a steward, not as a Campaigner. I would have been able to use my gifts of service . . . behind the scenes. But God knew what I needed. He pushed me out of my comfort zone and paved the way for me to serve as a "Campaigner" this summer. I would have never imagined that I would be able to go out on four Sorties a day (two rush-hour, and two "contact") for four weeks--standing out on street corners and in subway stations, proclaiming Jesus as the Messiah and engaging people in conversations about who He is.

From these experiences I have gained new confidence as a citizen of God's Kingdom. God has shown me that He will use what I bring, what I have to offer. I persevered through all the Sorties, and I am truly thankful for those experiences, but God also enabled me to take part in some creative evangelism.

I was fortunate to help create a new "Facebook" broadside.

My friend Morgan wrote the text, and I did the illustrations. It was so fun to but my gifts to use, and see the fruit of our labors. Younger people, especially younger Jews who often wouldn't give us the time of day, were more willing to take our literature because it reflected a trend that was relevant to them.

Our last week of Campaign involved a variety of creative Sorties. We had a brainstorming session, discussing different ways we could pass out broadsides and be visible to the people of New York City. Out of this session came the idea to do a visibility Sortie at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I jumped at the idea and was put in charge of creating a tour through the museum.

Focusing on four different pieces, I wrote a Bible Study that explained the aesthetics, outlined their Biblical basis, and involved reading Scripture out loud. Some of us were wearing Jews for Jesus t-shirts, while the rest served as "ringers." It was invigorating to "proclaim the Gospel" in the galleries, and at the same time "expertly" discuss the pieces in front of us.

So now Campaign is over. I cannot believe how quickly time flew! I have made some lasting friendships and seen God's hand at work in my life.

I could not ask for a more growing summer. But now it's time to go home. Now it's time for the hard part: taking what God has taught me and putting it into practice in real life. I will return to Chicago in a week (I'm staying in NYC a week to do the sight-seeing thing). I'll be returning to friends and work, but this next season will be one of transition. My prayer is that I truly seek after God's will as I step out in faith once again and enter the career world.

Thank you all for your prayers and financial support this summer. God is truly moving in this place!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Summer Update: Commit to the LORD whatever you do . . .

A couple days ago I woke up early to have some quiet time with God. Our days have been so full and I have been so exhausted that I have not devoted that time to God the way I should. On that particular morning I chose Pslam 16. Even though I am pretty much always unfaithful in my quiet time. God is always faithful when we come to Him. I read these words of truth:
"Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed." Pslam 16:3

That word commit . . . I'm not a Biblical scholar, I can't tell you what the word is in Hebrew, Greek or German, but I do know that it is a powerful word. It involves more then just praying that God will help us through situations, it is really placing the whole thing in His hands and saying, "Use me, I trust in your plan."

In verse 9 the Psalmist goes on to say, "In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps."
Here on Campaign we are each divided into teams with two to three members and a team leader. What I've learned these last few weeks is that following is hard. It doesn't matter if you are an independent minded person like myself, or a born follower, walking in the footsteps of another takes a lot of faith.

I so easily fall into my own steps, forgetting that I am to be following the One who has determined my steps from the very beginning. I am so inclined to set out on my own, but living in community here has been a great lesson in teamwork and following. Without these, we would not attain our goal.

These past few weeks, the monotony and intensity of Campaign has begun to feel normal. But out int the real world, away from these crazy schedules and ascribed community, Jesus has called each of us to follow Him. To commit to Him our very being--all our plans, hopes and dreams. After Campaign ends in one week, I am jumping into the unknown. I can say I have plans, but really I am stepping out in faith to what God has for my future. While the world views this mindset as weakness, I know (and am continuing to learn in our daily devotions and chapels) that in following Christ I can find freedom. For "whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord" (Psalm 16:20).

Campaign is almost over, but that does not mean God is done working. He has been showing me the work He is doing in my life, and the ways I am being molded for His purposes. My prayer is I will truly follow God's lead from this season to the next, and trust in His guidance--especially when I cannot see the path ahead.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Summer Update: "Rid me of myself, I belong to you"

Going out on sorties (when we handout our Gospel broadsides) is kind of like rapid-fire people watching. It's so interesting watching all the different kinds of people walk by. Some are interested in taking our broadsides. Some are even interested in engaging in conversations, or even just arguing. But most of them have their game-faces on--attempting to make their journey from here to there with as little communication, emotion, and especially vulnerability as possible. But unlike them, our business is vulnerability.

During training we learned the "go and tell" vs. the "come and see" method. We learned the importance of puttng ourselves out there to raise an image of Jesus Christ and tell people about the One who placed Himself in the most vulnerable position of all. . . just for us. We walk around in t-shirts that say "Jews for Jesus," proclaiming boldly our identity and message. As we do, we invite others to answer the question, "Who do you think Jesus is?"
What if everyone chose that kind of boldness?

Many people walk around with identity markers. For some it is a necklace; for others it's an image in a t-shirt. I have encountered many people so far who wear a cross or a Star of David around their neck, but it means nothing to them personally. Maybe it's a symbol of how they grew up, or a family heirloom. But I choose to believe that it is just an excuse so they don't have to explain what they really believe.

In chapel we've been singing a song entitled "Lead me to the Cross." The chorus says:
Lead me to the cross
Where Your love poured out
Bring me to my knees
Lord I lay me down
Rid me of myself
I belong to You

Lead me, lead me to the cross.

We go out to the streets, down to the subways, and into the parks, but we go as ambassadors of Christ. We are His hands and feet, His mouthpiece to those who are willing to hear God's message of Truth. My favorite line of that song is where it says, "Rid me of myself, I belong to you." That is my daily prayer: that God would truly rid me of my own selfish desires and weaknesses, that my identity would be like that of Jesus. As the people I am "people-watching" watch me, I don't want them to see a weak and weary servant, but the Light of Christ alive in me.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Summer Update: Thoughts from Underground

In C.S. Lewis' The Silver Chair, Jill Pole and Eustace Scrubb are sent on a quest by Aslan the Great Lion. They are given four signs to guide them. They see the third sign outside the remains of a giant city: the giant words carved into the stone, "UNDER ME."

This past week, we have spent countless hours handing out thousands of gospel tracks in New York City's subway system. Dank and dirty, these underground tunnels corral the people of New York from point A to point B, from train to train, from entrance to exit. Marching along in their daily monotony, most of these people do not expect to encounter Jesus, much less anything that would get in their way. But there we are, dressed in t-shirts proclaiming "Jews for Jesus," anxiously awaiting a willing hand to accept our message of Truth.

As much as I these underground excursions are not my favorite, I am reminded of Jill and Eustace's adventure. To complete their task and find the truth, they had to journey under the ruined city. Likewise, we venture from "top side" to "bottom side" to meet those who need Jesus. We go down to the darkness to bring people the Light.

In Isaiah 9:2 the prophet said, "The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them."
Some years later, Jesus taught by the Sea of Galilee, saying, "The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned." (Matthew 4:16)

No matter how mediocre or frustrating a outing may be, I know that God's hand is at work in each and every track that gets handed out and each conversation that is exchanged. My prayer is that I might be able to see some of the fruits of our labor here in NYC. Please continue to pray for all of us as we go out on the streets and in the subways--for strength, energy, courage and wisdom to tell people about the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Summer Update: First day in NYC

I've been told that every summer, more people pass through New York City than passed through Ellis Island in decades that it was open. The world is going to walk past us in these next few weeks, and we have the amazing opportunity to tell each of them about Jesus.

If you had talked to me even a year ago, I wouldn't have imagined that I would be here volunteering in New York City with Jews for Jesus, much less standing out on the street telling people about the Jewish Messiah. Since then, I have learned that God has both a sense of humor and sense of purpose for my life. He knew, and he knows that I would be here. Looking back, I know that he put things along my path to lead me to this time and place.

Training at Moody Bible Institute was long and straining, but overall, it was a stressless experience. I almost always get stressed when I encounter the unknown. Chicago was not an unknown, in fact, I enjoyed showing my fellow campaigners around and sharing my wisdom of the El and geography. Not completely unexpectedly, an unwelcomed feeling of fear welled up inside me as I arrived in New York City this morning. I felt no control, and that scared me. But God is good, and I am remembering that our weaknesses are His strength!

As a part of orientation, we were divided into teams and sent out on a scavenger hunt. This was my first time walking in New York, first time on the subway, first time trying to navigate. But oddly enough, things felt familiar. The spaces did not seem like uncharted territory. When I emerged from the subway station, I knew which way to walk. This may have something to do with my familiarty with living in a big city, but I like to think that God was showing his steadfastness and presense in the footsteps of those who choose to follow Him.
In Isaiah 58:8 it says, "Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard."

We have been called, trained, and given everything we need to dive deep into this campaign. My prayer is that God will mightily use the work of our hands and the words of our mouths to glorify His name in this city.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Summer update: one week of training complete

People who have gone on Summer Witnessing Campaign before kept telling me how difficult training was going to be. Not that I didn't believe them, but I thought, "I'm tough, I can handle it." Well I've discovered that I can handle it. Not by my own might, however, but by God's goodness and mercy.

Waking up at 5:45 each morning was a total shock. The first couple days my body rebelled and I was nauseous for almost the rest of the day. After a bus day of classes and sorties, I am exhausted. But then comes the fun part: studying. Each morning we are quizzed on what we learned the day before. For the most part we study as a group. These sessions, while profitable, means we don't get to bed until at least 11pm.

I haven't quite gotten used to it, but I have realized one thing central to our survival as a team and effectiveness as witnesses: I would not be able to keep up the rigors of this schedule without ten or so other people keeping me accountable and and encouraged. We are a machine!

I am getting better at handing out broadsides and sorties, but there are still days when I am discouraged at the effectiveness of my work on the streets. But God is good. Yesterday I was stationed in front of the Art Institute, catching people as they walked to Millennium Park. I more invigorated by my love for that area of the loop, but also, I got to speak to lots of people about Jesus! I met one group of students from New Zealand. A couple of them were Jewish, and curious about Jesus. Please pray that God's message penetrates their hearts.

This year we are incorporating street theatre into our campaign. We've been rehersing the last couple days and hope to present the skit at least once in Chicago before we take it to NYC. Please pray for stamina as we have to memorize lines on top of all the other scripture verses and class work we have to memorize throughout the week.



Sunday, June 14, 2009

Summer Update: And I'm off . . .

This is it folks. My suitcase, backpack and a purse are packed for my seven week adventure. This afternoon, right after church, I'll be heading down to Moody for two weeks of training. I'm glad is trip is in steps, or else I'd be a whole lot more nervous than I already am.

In addition to praying for God's blessing in our ministry, here are some other areas where I covet your prayers:
1. Pray for me as I step out of my comfort zone and devote all my energies to God’s work.
2. Pray that I remain healthy and focused, and that God would bless the words of my mouth and the works of my hands and feet.
3. Pray for our team to have a smooth transition from training to ministry, and for unity in the group.

This morning I woke up with the song "From the Inside Out" stuck in my head. I think that's a good sign.

A thousand times I've failed
Still your mercy remains
And should I stumble again
Still I'm caught in your grace

Everlasting, Your light will shine when all else fades
Never ending, Your glory goes beyond all fame
my heart and my soul, Lord I give you control
Consume me from the inside out Lord
Let justice and praise become my embrace
To love You from the inside out

Your will above all else, my purpose remains
The art of losing myself in bringing you praise

Everlasting, Your light will shine when all else fades
Never ending, Your glory goes beyond all fame
And the cry of my heart is to bring You praise
From the inside out Lord, my soul cries out.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Summer Update: Getting ready

In a few days I will be heading downtown to Moody Bible Institute to begin training for Jews for Jesus' Summer Witnessing Campaign. After two weeks of intensive learning, we will gather in NYC for a month of street evangelism, discipleship and worship.

On Friday, I officially moved into my new apartment. I have lots of unpacking to do . . . all so that I can repack for my adventure. People keep asking me if I am excited, and honestly, I stand awkwardly between worry, anticipation and excitement. I keep telling myself that I'll feel ready once I am packed. But thinking back, I am usually not ready (emotionally) for the unknown until I am thrust into the new and sometimes-frightening situations.

One of the things I was not looking forward to about training are the assignments I have to be working on for next week. Only one month removed from finishing my Masters, I was wary of doing more homework. So even though I've had the books for a long time, I'd been putting it off. There is no more pushing. This is crunch time. And amazingly, the books are rather interesting.

To witness to NYC's Jewish population, it is imperative that we know the Jewish mind and identity. Herman Wouk's This is My God does just that. It is a unique blend of Jewish musings, history lessons and cultural understanding. Wouk wrote the book in 1959, smack dab in the post-war era of Jewish identity shifting towards a White American identity. It is facinating to read a Jew's decription of the state of Judaism in the 1950s, knowing fully what was going on at the same time, historically.

Thinking back, I know that God has prepared me intellectually for this trip. I am fairly well grounded in Jewish history and have a desire to learn as much as I can. I am so grateful for ways that God is working in my life. But I still have uncertainty about how God will use me this summer, spiritually and emotionally. So. this is where you can pray for me. Pray that God pushes me smoothly and forcefully out of my comfort zone, and into a great community of fellow servants. Pray that I have boldness, health, and an openness to receive what God is doing in my life and those around me.

Through this blog, I will be posting updates and new prayer requests. Feel free to send me an encouraging note via facebook or my email at

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Packing, unique recipes, and elliptical machines.

At the end of this week I will be moving out of my current apartment into one a block away. For the past two years, this crazy little studio has been my home. Despite the smallness of the space, I have quite a lot of stuff--making packing take quite a lot of time. Added to that is all the reminiscing that happens when one begins to sort through papers, etc. :-)
It's been a cozy home. I think I'll miss it. But now it's on to bigger and better things!

Because of the move, I haven't been buying groceries--trying to eat up what I have already. It's created some interesting meals. Which is nothing new for me.
1. Mexican Meatloaf with smashed tortilla chips instead of bread crumbs and salsa instead of marinara sauce.
2. Potato Brioches
3. Beef, mushroom, parsley and dried tomato pasta salad
4. Frozen cheese pizza with added spinach and mushrooms

Two weeks after moving, I will be off on another adventure. I'll be joining Jews for Jesus on their Summer Witnessing Campaign in NYC. In preparation for four weeks of intense street evangelism, I've been working out at Bally's. Lots of ellipticalling, stationary biking and speed- walking on the treadmill. "Going to the gym" is really a very interesting snapshot of American pop-culture at work.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Ruth, barley, and the genealogy of Jesus

I think God is trying to tell me something. I'm not sure what it is, but I like the imagery.

1. We are studying the book of Ruth in the Mishpocago girls' Bible Study.
2. the Jewish holiday of Shavuot is coming up May 28-30--a celebration of the harvest and the giving of God's Word.
3. Last week we didn't have church because of the H1N1 Flu scare, so I listened to a sermon online. It happened to be the first of a series on Ruth by Mark Driscoll. (Amazing teaching! I highly recommend it.)
4. I've always wanted to do a painting from scripture. I got an idea to do a genealogy of Jesus, starting with Ruth and Boaz. Instead of a tree, I want to use a barley sheaf.

Here are some inspirations:

Thursday, May 7, 2009

From "In-training" to "Master": May 7, 2009

So maybe I'm not a public historian-in-training, in the strictest form of the phrase, any longer. Today graduated with a Master of Arts degree. It's kind of surreal. These last two years went by very very quickly. And now I'm out in the real world. Scary thought.

No job prospects yet. But I have faith that God will provide.
This summer I am going to NYC to do a street evangelism missions trip with Jews for Jesus. I am super excited to see New York, and the ways God is going to use me this summer. While there I'll also get to visit lots of museums, and hopefully get some good ideas for my future.

In the mean time, I might go back to working on that children's book, or illustrated cookbook.
When I return to Chicago in August, for the first time in 19 years, I will not be getting ready for school. I'm not sure how that's going to feel, but I am tell you it's going to be weird. I need to find an identity outside the academic sphere, away from student status.

I have this degree, but I'm still me. It's kind of like in one of the later Anne books when she receives her B.A. Everyone expects so much more of her and praises her for her accomplishments, but really she's still the same Anne.
So here I am, the same me, but stepping out into a world beyond school. A Master of Public History. May God bless the work of my hands.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Having church without going to church

This weekend Rogers Park Community Church chose not to meet. It was a precautionary measure because of the Swine Flu. Anyway, it was weird waking up this morning and not preparing to go to church. I have been so blessed to find a family in RPCC, but when I was in undergrad, I did not have a "home church." There were many Sundays that I would attend "Bed-side Baptist" instead of going out and finding a place to worship. I did not feel a part of the global church.

But now, sitting in my apartment, listening to a sermon online, I feel full participation in God's church. This morning, people all around the world woke up and met to worship the Lord. Often sitting in church, I get wound up in the "doing" and I don't take a moment to think about the global body of believers. Such community! What other institution can take any given moment and know someone else is praising God and lifting up their brothers and sisters in prayer?

I am grateful for this morning. A moment to sit, just me and God, and think about who He is to all of us, not just me, not just RPCC. He is the sovereign and good Lord of the entire Universe . . . and He loves me! It doesn't matter that we aren't meeting all together in a building, each and everyone of us is able to worship and praise our Heavenly Father wherever and whenever we are. So thank you, Jesus! But please bring us back together next week for holy fellowship and community. :-)

This is the sermon I listened to this morning. I encourage you to listen to it. There are six parts.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


The summer between my junior and senior year of high school I read the Left Behind series. In retrospect, the writing wasn't that good; I would have gotten more sound teaching fro scripture; and I shouldn't have watched those awful movies. Regardless, I read each and every one. When September 11 hit, my friend (one of my few Christian friends at a public high school) and I began to wonder if this was the end. Turned out, not to be the case.

The one thing I did take from those books was the magnitude of God's judgment. It's going to be big, it's going to be scary, but in the end, Jesus will come back and reign victorious!

Now that we are on the eve of a pandemic--last seen in 1918 and the bubonic plague--I began to wonder if this is a rumbling of the end. It's definitely big and scary, and it's definitely a way of getting people's attention. The way the news keeps describing all the outbreaks, it's like the plot for a "6-degrees-of-separation" TV show. Global panic makes the world seem so small, and not in a cute, Disney World sort of way.

I don't want to be worried. I have a God who is so much bigger than this, but living in one of the most diverse zip codes in the country, I do feel a little uneasy. I wonder if when it will be unsafe to go to the grocery store and ride the bus. Until "they" let me know, I'm going to keep going about my daily routine. I do need milk, mustard and peanut butter, after all.

Friday, April 17, 2009

I am almost done . . .

It has been quite some time since I updated this thing. The primary reason being the crazy busyness of this semester. But, the end is fast approaching. I have persevered, and now all I have left is to finish my Masters Essay!

Here is a list, in no particular order of things I am looking forward to once I graduate:

- reading fiction and other books I had no time to read before
- finishing a crochet project
- moving into a new apartment with a huge kitchen!
- spending time with friends without feeling guilty that I'm not doing hw
- seeing NYC for the first time
- the new Harry Potter movie coming out July 15!

Things I will undoubtably miss:

-learning (I know, I am a geek/nerd at heart)
-watching missed TV shows on library laptops
-school friends
-the structure of the school year, especially around the holidays

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Daily Epiphany: February 22

Things I realized this week:
1. Frozen potato soup does not defrost well.
2. Ricola Cough Drops are amazing. Halls tend me make me feel nauseous, so I'm glad I found a better brand. Plus, they help in the over all feeling-better process, not just a sore throat.
3. I think I was born in the wrong music era. I am really loving Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Bobby Darin (also contemporary covers by Barbra Streisand and Michael Buble).
4. Water is amazing! Hydration is both healthy and beautiful.
5. For all the snow that fell yesterday, there isn't very much on the ground, and I am ok with that.
6. Some of the stories in the Old Testament are pretty crazy/ God works in mysterious ways.
7. I crave sweets when I have a cold.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

In honor of Valentine's Day: An ode to clean romantic comedies

I went to go see He's Just Not That into You with a friend this weekend. I didn't read any reviews, so it's mostly my fault, or maybe it was just wishful thinking, but I wanted a feel-good movie. While this movie was a "chic flick," it wasn't a romantic comedy. The art of romantic comedy has gone down the tubes. Even recent movies correctly labeled as such are mostly overly sexified eye-candy.

Where are all the good old-fashioned romantic comedies that didn't need to be rated PG-13 for tickets to sell? Like You've Got Mail, While you were Sleeping, Sleepless in Seattle, One Fine Day, Return to Me . . .
Or even the classics adapted from the likes of Jane Austen, Lucy Maud Montgomery and Louis May Alcott.

I want to see a PG "chic flick" that is not about a teenage girls or Disney princesses. There's gotta be someone out there willing to engage in the making of wholesome entertainment that tugs at our heartstrings.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Daily Epiphany: February 12

Being a student of history, I am often so focused on the past, and being a human, worried about the near future that I forget about eternity. I forget that I have citizenship in Heaven; that I was not made for here, but to spend eternity with my Savior. When I do remember to be "kingdom" minded, I am reminded that my actions should be first and foremost pleasing to God.

I think that is why I was having such a hard time coming up with a good topic for my Masters Essay. I didn't want to write just any old research paper. I wanted my work to have purpose, to be relevant to who I am and what I am studying. This morning (with the help of my adviser) I finally found a topic! I will be asking the question, "Is family history public history?" However daunting this research endeavor may be, I am excited. May that excitement last!

Monday, February 9, 2009

My Sweater!

Working on the said sweater . . .

I decided to go with 3/4 length sleeves because it was already a pretty warm sweater, even though it is holey. I also made it a button-down, instead of closing it with a belt, as the pattern suggest. Final alteration: it was supposed to go down to mid-thigh. I thought that was too long.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Daily Epiphany: January 31

Last Monday I finished crocheting a sweater. I am quite proud of it. I will post pics as soon as my sister uploads them to her computer (hint, hint, hint).

I have not had internet in my apartment since I returned to Chicago from winter break. I would like to say that this has helped me manage my time better (by not spending absorbent amounts of time perusing Facebook, etc.), but it hasn't. I am as swamped and stressed as ever. Partly because I don't have internet access to look up books and articles for class. And partly because when I get lonely, I tend to get lazy and procrastinatory (yes, I just made up that word).

Winter is getting to me. And I don't like it.

On a totally different note: on more than one occasion, friends have commented on how observant/practical I am. I used to take pride in this trait, but now I am beginning to wonder if it just annoys people. . .
I do take notice of my surroundings in a very logical way. I'm not sure when this started, but I think it has something to do with why I love history, and connections that can be seen throughout time and place. Maybe that's why I love Madeleine L'Engle and C.S. Lewis so much, too.

Along those same lines . . . I often become deeply acquainted with certain places, to the extent that when I visit them, I almost feel "loved" by my surroundings. The summer camp I attended for fifteen years is one of these places, as is the Art Institute of Chicago.

On Thursday, some Public History students took a field trip to the museum for the free evening hours. It was just what I needed on a cold, dreary day. Being surrounded by familiar walls and works of art was immensely comforting. It was also dark outside, which made the museum seem oddly surreal. My favorite exhibit was in the children's education wing. I was a tiny display of illustrations by Bill Peet. They were so simple, just the drawings that went into his children's books, but it made me so happy. Story-book drawings standing alongside the great masterpieces of the ages!

Enough spewing my heart. Back to reading I must go.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Obama, FDR and MLK Jr.

As Barack Obama's inauguration fast approaches, here are some thoughts. I am sure they are not very intellectual or radical, but my thoughts nonetheless.

1) 2008 marked the 75th anniversary of FDR's New Deal(1933). Obama was elected President in 2008 and quickly paralleled to FDR [although one must be very careful with these comparisons. Most of them are ungrounded, yet throught provoking].

2) Obama will be sworn in as the 44th President on January 20, 2009, the day after Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Very interesting. Wouldn't it have been an honor to see MLK Jr. celebrate this historic day?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Textbooks and Snow

Winter break was good and restful. The family did our annual trek across the barren midwest to Colorado. We hiked a lot, hung out with my Dad's side of the family, and I started crocheting a sweater. I am about half finished. I also re-read all of Madeleine L'Engle's Austin series! She is such a genius. If anyone asked me who I would like to meet from the past, she might be the person.

But all good things must end. I'm back in Chicago and have been working non-stop at the Loyola Bookstore. I am super grateful to have a job (one, to keep me busy and not lonely before classes start, and two, because nothing is certain with this silly economy), but I am soooo sore from standing on my feet all day and lifting heavy textbooks.

That, on top of all the shoveling today, is giving me some nice upper-body strength. Speaking of shoveling . . . my friend lent me her car while she is in Florida for a week. But with all this working, and all this snowy weather I haven't had time to drive anywhere. Nevertheless, I was obligated to shovel off the foot of snow that has fallen in the last couple days. I really was quite a feat, no pun intended.

My classes start on Tuesday. This is my last semester of grad school. What!?! Where did all that time go? Anyway, I have two classes and my masters essay to write, plus the Public History oral exam. It's going to be an adventure.
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