Weekend in Champaign

I had a GREAT weekend! Best thing first, I spent some wonderful time with Kyle. God is really blessing this time of engagement for us. It's amazing to talk about how our household will be run, and how our children will be raised. It's even more amazing to watch Kyle become stronger and really take lead. It is a miracle that I could let him. I'm used to being in charge of many things in my life. Sometimes it's difficult because I want to be the boss, but that's not what God has in mind. That's not how he designed marriage. I'm making strides towards that P31 woman!

We're learning to make descisions together. We were raised so differently. Although we've had completely different experiences in the past, we agree on most everything (so far) for our future.

It was great just hanging out at the BASIC house this weekend. Kyle's room is really pretty nice. We sat for several hours playing our fantastic, newly invented game called, "Hippo," and talking to eachother. Good times.

On Monday, I went over to Joanna's for a facial (she sells Mary Kay). Let me tell you, this stuff is amazing! I already see a huge difference in my skin. I must admit, I was quite skeptical. I've tried many things. Some worked for a while, but then my skin got bad again. However, the results from this are so fast! I hope it lasts! Joanna told me about how her skin used to be so broken out. I thought, "It couldn't have been that bad. Not as bad as mine. Maybe this stuff worked for her, but I bet it won't work for me!" I was wrong! Yay for HEALTHY skin!



It was just one of those mornings. I was awakened by the sounds of my grandparents rustling around upstairs. It was 6:40. Way too early. Almost instantly, my mind began to flood with wedding ideas. Not just simple ideas, but very detailed ones right down to table decorations for the reception. I was consumed. I sat there, ten, twenty, fifty, eighty minutes gone by. Eight o'clock rolls around and I'm still thinking about flowers and vases and brown M&M's. How could I have been engrossed so quickly by this?

Kyle and I had a long conversation about wedding things last night. I don't want to be Bridezilla. We have made plans to prevent her from coming out.


Memory triggers

It is funny how we associate songs with certain moments, even phases in our lives. Every time I hear this song by Go West called, "King of Wishful Thinking" I can see myself sitting at the pool on a very hot summer day at the Nelson Center in Springfield. I was very young, younger than five because I remember I was there with both my parents. (They got divorced when I was five) I can see the lifeguard perched on top her seat by the pool. I can hear the water splashing and feel the warm sunshine. I hear that song play over the outdoor sound system. I even remember trying to sing along with fumbled words. I love that memory. It's one of just a few I have with both my parents.

Mmmm... going to the new locations of D'Arcy's for lunch today to eat a wonderful ponyshoe!!! Horseshoes and ponyshoes are a favorite fatty dish to us Central Illinois folks. The secret's in the cheese sauce! If you have never had one, then you better come visit me this summer!

Do you ever talk on the phone when you're sleepy? Last night I vaguely remember talking to Kyle, but I was so tired that I couldn't tell you a single thing we talked about! I could have said something really crazy! Who knows?! (Not me!)

I really like to use exclamation points! I think that it better conveys my tone of voice. Most of the time, I'm pretty excitable. So this makes it feel a little more personal! Can't you just see and hear my excitement?!

I heart teddy grahams.


Today I went home on my lunch break, but not to eat lunch. I had to change clothes because my pants ripped right down the front! It was pretty funny. Fortunately I had on a cardigan that I could just hold in front as I walked out of the bank!

Lunch was on the run, but I had a lovely grilled cheese sandwich and now I'm enjoying the best snickerdoodle ever!

It was sooo nice to just relax yesterday. It was the first time I'd been able to do that since I got home. I worked Monday through Saturday last week and by the time I got home from work every night I was just pooped!

I had several long phone conversations this weekend. Between Kyle, my mom, Joanna, Ashley, and Amanda, I spent over 200 minutes on the phone this weekend. That's a lot for me! I'm used to seeing these people all the time, with the exception of my mom, and not using many minutes. Thankfully, I have free weekends and free Cingular to Cingular.

It's only been eight days, but that's long enough without Kyle!

p.s. In The Silver Chair, C.S. Lewis uses "cobwebby" and "fusty" as adjectives. I love it. Clive Staples makes me happy.


Lazy Sunday

I'm staying home all day today. Tonight I might check out a church service at Western Oaks Baptist Church. eeehhh... scratch that. I just checked the website and there isn't one! Bummer!

I'm reading about all this wedding etiquette. It's crazy! So many formalities! One thing I do like is that it lays out everything that is expected of the bride's family and the groom's family. It explains what needs to be done and who pays for what. That makes it easy.

Church was alright this morning. However, I don't necessarily feel that Calvary is the church for me this summer. I'm gonna have a great day of nothing! Later, people!


Thanks, God, for Kyle.

Thank You, Lord, for making Kyle so smart. I love and appreciate the high level of knowledge and intelligence You've given him. Thank You, also, for giving him wisdom and discernment. Though I never forget how smart he is, I often do not appreciate it until I encounter someone who isn't. Lord, help me to have a greater appreciation for his intellect and sagacity.


Oprah: My guilty pleasure

Oprah comes on at the craziest time here in Springfield... 10pm! Have you ever heard of it coming on so late? I love it, though. Anyway, last night was about young women with weight problems, each of them being the "fat" one in the family. This is something with which I can kind of relate.

First of all, I hate the word "fat." Hate it, hate it, hate it. If you're in my presence, please don't use it. In fact, don't use it at all. Don't call anyone fat. These girls were definitely overweight... Obese even. However, "fat" is profanity in my book.

Anyway, Oprah had some psychologist on there telling these girls that there were emotional and psychological factors contributing to their weight problem. She said that overweight people are emotionally unbalanced, and they don't overeat because of the food, but because of some external force. In one case, the girl had a dad who constantly told her she needed to lose weight. Every time he would make a comment about her eating habits, she would want to shove another Krispy Kream down her throat. Another girl had assumed the role of "victim" in her family. She became accustomed to blaming her weight on other things and it "not being her fault."

I started thinking about my body and my weight. I tried thinking of some reason why I over-eat sometimes. I thought, "Wouldn't it be nice if I could blame this on something else?" Maybe I could blame it on my bad genes. Everyone in my family has had to deal with being overweight at some point. No. That won't work. Most of them have learned how to eat right and manage it. Maybe I could blame it on stress of school. No. That won't work. I don't get stressed very often. Hmm... that wasn't working very well. I couldn't come up with one single good excuse! Darnit.

I've always been a little bigger than my friends. I've never had tons of weight to lose, but I have always felt the need to be more in shape. College has not been good to me in that sense. I got the Freshman 15, lost it, gained it back, and then got the Sophmore 15. Booh.

This is what it comes down to- I love food. I love it so much that I sometimes lose self-control when it comes to eating. Also, I am lazy. I don't really like to work out. I know what's good and bad for me. I have nothing to blame this on but myself. Bummer.

I've gotta start thinking, "Food doesn't matter. Living healthy does." Lord, help me eat to live, and not the other way around.


Slow day...

Sitting at the bank... so slow... I've only had 10 customers all day! Makes the time go slow-- oh, so slow.

On a higher note, I have had some amazing prayer times this week. I've been praying to and from work every day. That's been AMAZING! However, my time in the Word has suffered since I've been home. I haven't quite found a regular schedule yet. I need to get on that.

Today I've been pigging on tootsie rolls. They're way too addictive. I need to stop that.

My daily devotionals have been so great lately. Every morning I find myself wishing they were longer!

I really enjoy meeting new people. That's one thing I really love about the bank. Already this summer, I have made so many new friends. Also, I've had several opportunities to talk to people about God. Please pray for my friend, John.

Adios, amigos!

p.s. People, I'm depending on your postings this summer. I need reading material while I'm at the bank! I promise I'll make lots of comments for you!


Wisdom from Elisabeth Elliot

This was my devotional today. It is written by Elisabeth Elliot, one of the most brilliant women of our time. For my generation:

On Motherhood and Profanity

"OK now, which one of you clowns put that bag of M 'n' Ms in the grocery cart?" The mother looks harried.

Two boys, maybe five and seven, eye each other and race away toward the gumball machine near the supermarket door. There is an infant strapped to a plastic board on top of the groceries, and a two year old occupying the built-in child seat in the cart. The mother picks up the M 'n' M candy bag and starts toward the aisle to return it. The two year old screams and she relents, throws the bag in with the rest of her purchases, patiently waits her turn at the check-out, fishes five ten-dollar bills from her purse, receives her small change, and pushing the cart with the babies in it, herds the two boys through the rain to the station wagon in the parking lot.

I go with her in my mind's eye. Jump out in the rain. Open the garage door. Drive in. Close door. Babies, boys, bags into the house in how many trips? Phone rings. Answer phone, change baby, wipe muddy tracks from kitchen floor. Feed baby, put groceries away, hide M 'n' Ms, start peeling vegetables, take clothes out of dryer, stop fight between two older children, feed two year old, answer phone again, fold clothes, change baby, get boys to:
1) hang up coats,
2) stop teasing two year old,
3) set table.
Light oven, put baby to bed, stop fight, mop up two year old, put chicken in oven, answer phone, put away clothes, finish peeling vegetables, look peaceful and radiant--husband will be home soon.

I see this implacable succession of exigencies in my mind's eye. They come with being a mother. I also see the dreams she dreams sometimes--write a novel, agents call, reviews come in. TV interviews, autograph parties, promotional traveling, a movie contract--preposterous dreams. Try something a little more realistic. Cool modern office, beautiful clothes, make-up and hairdo that stay done all day. A secretarial job perhaps, nothing spectacular, but it's work that actually produces something that doesn't have to be done over at once. It's work that ends at five o'clock. It means something.

I know how it is. I have a mother. I am a mother. I've produced a mother (my daughter, Valerie, has a two year old and expects another child soon). I watched my own mother cope valiantly and efficiently with a brood of six. ("If one child takes all your time," she used to say, "six can't take any more.") We were--we still are--her life. I understand that. Of all the gifts of my life surely those of being somebody's wife and somebody's mother are among the greatest.

But I watch my daughter and other mothers of her generation and I see they have some strikes against them that we didn't have. They have been told insistently and quite persuasively that motherhood is a drag, that tradition is nonsense, that what people have always regarded as "women's work" is meaningless, that "roles" (a word we never bothered much about until a decade or so ago) are changing, that femininity is a mere matter of social conditioning, that it's time to innovate. If the first-grade readers show a picture of a woman driving a hook-and-ladder and a man doing a nurse's job, see what happens to the conditioning. Abolish the stereotypes and we can abolish the myths of masculinity and femininity.

I hear this sort of claptrap, and young mothers often come to me troubled because they can't answer the arguments logically or theologically. They feel, deep in their bones, that there is something terribly twisted about the whole thing but they can't put their finger on what it is.

I think I know what it is. Profanity. Not swearing. I'm not talking about breaking the Third Commandment. I'm talking about treating as meaningless that which is freighted with meaning. Treating as common that which is hallowed. Regarding as a mere triviality what is really a divine design. Profanity is failure to see the inner mystery.

When women--sometimes well-meaning, earnest, truth seeking ones say "Get out of the house and do something creative, find something meaningful, something with more direct access to reality," it is a dead giveaway that they have missed the deepest definition of creation, of meaning, of reality. And when you start seeing the world as opaque, that is, as an end in itself instead of as transparent, when you ignore the Other World where this one ultimately finds its meaning, of course housekeeping (and any other kind of work if you do it long enough) becomes tedious and empty.

But what have buying groceries, changing diapers and peeling vegetables got to do with creativity? Aren't those the very things that keep us from it? Isn't it that kind of drudgery that keeps us in bondage? It's insipid and confining, it's what one conspicuous feminist called "a life of idiotic ritual, full of forebodings and failure." To her I would answer ritual, yes. Idiotic, no, not to the Christian--for although we do the same things anybody else does, and we do them over and over in the same way, the ordinary transactions of everyday life are the very means of transfiguration. It is the common stuff of this world which, because of the Word's having been "made flesh," is shot through with meaning, with charity, with the glory of God.

But this is what we so easily forget. Men as well as women have listened to those quasi-rational claims, have failed to see the fatal fallacy, and have capitulated. Words like personhood, liberation, fulfillment and equality have had a convincing ring and we have not questioned their popular definitions or turned on them the searchlight of Scripture or even of our common sense. We have meekly agreed that the kitchen sink is an obstacle instead of an altar, and we have obediently carried on our shoulders the chips these reductionists have told us to carry.

This is what I mean by profanity. We have forgotten the mystery, the dimension of glory. It was Mary herself who showed it to us so plainly. By the offering up of her physical body to become the God-bearer, she transfigured for all mothers, for all time, the meaning of motherhood. She cradled, fed and bathed her baby--who was very God of very God--so that when we cradle, feed and bathe ours we may see beyond that simple task to the God who in love and humility "dwelt among us and we beheld his glory."

Those who focus only on the drabness of the supermarket, or on the onions or the diapers themselves, haven't an inkling of the mystery that is at stake here, the mystery revealed in the birth of that Baby and consummated on the Cross: my life for yours.

The routines of housework and of mothering may be seen as a kind of death, and it is appropriate that they should be, for they offer the chance, day after day, to lay down one's life for others. Then they are no longer routines. By being done with love and offered up to God with praise, they are thereby hallowed as the vessels of the tabernacle were hallowed--not because they were different from other vessels in quality or function, but because they were offered to God. A mother's part in sustaining the life of her children and making it pleasant and comfortable is no triviality. It calls for self-sacrifice and humility, but it is the route, as was the humiliation of Jesus, to glory.

To modern mothers I would say "Let Christ himself be your example as to what your attitude should be. For he, who had always been God by nature, did not cling to his prerogatives as God's equal, but stripped himself of all privilege by consenting to be a slave by nature and being born as a mortal man. And, having become man, he humbled himself by living a life of utter obedience, even to the extent of dying, and the death he died was the death of a common criminal. That is why God has now lifted him so high. . ." (Phil. 2:5-11 Phillips).

It is a spiritual principle as far removed from what the world tells us as heaven is removed from hell: If you are willing to lose your life, you'll find it. It is the principle expressed by John Keble in 1822:

If on our daily course our mind
Be set to hallow all we find,
New treasures still, of countless price,
God will provide for sacrifice.


Home again

Here I am at my first day back to the bank. My first week home and I'm already working overtime! Does that sound like complaining? If so, it's really not. I need the money. Plus, I get $12.75/hour for overtime. That's sweet. The day has gone so fast. The first two hours I was here I did nothing. There were problems with my computer that I won't go into. Anyway, it's been a good day. This is my new favorite branch to work at. For those of you who don't know, I work at Illinois National Bank at home. I float around to all the different branches, wherever they need someone to fill in that day. Today I'm in Chatham. It's awesome.

I had a hard time leaving Champaign last night. Kyle and I had to say goodbye for a couple weeks. We spent the weekend in Chicagoland with his family. It was fun. They were all pretty excited about our wedding date.

After dropping Kyle off at the BASIC House, and helping him set up his bed and a few other things, we had to say goodbye. It was rough. I hate not being with him, especially after spending such a wonderful weekend together. We were spoiled this weekend. Just two weeks till I can visit again! I hope that, with work, it will go fast. I'll keep pretty busy!

I'm meeting my mom for dinner tonight at Olive Garden. Tomorrow night my grandma is making chicken and dressing. It's good to be home.


Praise You

Well today has proven to be an okay day. I am still feeling a little overwhelmed with all that I have left to do, but I have a sense of accomplishment for all the things I've done already. But the glory goes to God. I could not have even made it past Monday of this week had I not bathed every day with prayer. No more tests, just a speech to write. That's what I'm currently procrastinating. I just don't want to do it.

Isn't it bad that we measure how "good" a day is by the way we feel at the end of it? Isn't that selfish of us? God made every day for His glory, not for us to feel "good." Shouldn't we get better at feeling "good" on the days when we're tired, stressed, sick, etc? Shouldn't we learn to delight in the Lord above all else and not let anything get in the way of that?

"Praise You in the mornin'
Praise You in the evenin'
Praise You when I'm young and when I'm old

Praise You when I'm laughin'
Praise You when I'm grievin'
Praise You every season of the soul..."

People seemed to respond well to the very serious entry I made a couple days ago. Maybe I should write serious ones more often...

On to the exciting news of the day: Kyle and I officially have a wedding date. August 12, 2006. Mark it on your calendar!


You Created by Caedmon's Call

"But You created nothing
That gives me more pleasure than You
And You won't give me something
That gives me more pleasure than You"

I've spent some time crying and delighting over these lyrics and the beauty of my Lord.

Does God "hate the sin, love the sinner?"

So the pastor who is leading my trip to Romania asked me this question, "Does God hate the sin and love the sinner?" Here was my response to him. Let me know what you think. It's not fully developed.

Now, about hating the sin and loving the sinner... I've only ever heard that used in application to man. Obviously, none of us is just in the hatred of another sinner. However, when talking about God... I'm not sure. My initial answer was "yes." But then I got to thinking about Sodom and Gomorrah, God's coming wrath and judgment... so I decided to do a little Biblical reseach. I do not want to use any commentaries, but be lead to the Truth by the Holy Spirit. I'll try not to write a novel, but here it goes-
Using my computer's Bible study software, I did a word search on "hate." It came up in the ESV 91 times. Most of those were in Psalms and Proverbs. Most were David saying that he hates evil. There were many about those who hate the righteous, and more about those who hate the Lord. Then I read Psalm 5:5 "The boastful shall not stand before your eyes;you hate all evildoers." This is when I wish I could understand Hebrew and research the grammar and context.
Then I looked at Jesus. Jesus did not hate those who sinned against Him. In fact He loved them so much that He died for them. Luke 6:27 Jesus said "Love your enemies..." If God loves those who, through sin, rebel against Him and hate Him, then so should we.
I guess it comes down to us, sinners, hating and rebelling against God.
My final answer is yes, God hates sin, and loves sinners. He loves us so much that He sent His Son. However, for those who do not turn to Him in repentance, there is wrath. For how do we love God? We obey His commandments. I believe that God's wrath and judgement is even an act of love.
Wow... this is getting deep. I better end this now. This all makes sense in my head so maybe you can understand where I'm trying to go with it. I would love to start talking about limited atonement and God's glorification through the damnation of some and how that plays into all this... I keep going in circles. I'm ending this now.
Sorry for the novel,


Summer's Coming!

I have a job for the summer at Cracker Barrel! YAY for not working at banks anymore!

Sometimes I take Kyle for granted. I forget what a wonderful gift God has given me in him. Sometimes I feel so undeserving of a gift so great. The truth? I am! None of us deserve any of the blessings God gives. But He is good and right and graceful. Thank You, Lord, for buying Kyle with the blood of Your Son, Christ Jesus. And thank you, Father, for giving him to me.


Blubity Blurp

I did my laundry yesterday! So what, right? Well, it had been a VERY long time since I the last time I did it. So it really is quite an accomplishment. I also, again, schooled Kyle at Scrabble. Friday night he beat me pretty bad at Disney trivia. For some reason, I lose every trivia game we ever play. He wins trivia, I win word games. If you knew us, you think it would be the other way around. He's "Mr.Grammar," and "Mr.I've read thousands of books." People keep telling him that he should be a writer. He would be quite good doing that.

Anyway, it was an okay day, and today I'm just going to be hanging around, studying and packing and such.

p.s. Don't watch Meet the Fockers with parents or children. Be especially sure not to watch it with your future in-laws!



DONE with papers for the year! YEEHAH! All I have left now is a speech and two tests. However, one test is today, so I can't write for long.
I'm feeling much better today. I was in bed before 10:30 last night. I slept until 8 this morning and started working right away. That was lots of nice, needed sleep for Chelsea! Before I went to bed last night I was feeling SO sick. Everything hurt, I had a stuffy nose and a sore throat. Although I'm still not fantastic yet, it's way better than it was 12 hrs ago.
I had a good time at the BASIC banquet last night. I felt bad that I wasn't my normal, happy self. But everyone knew I was sick, so hopefully they didn't think I was just being anti-social. Anyone who knows me more than 30 seconds ought to know that's not true.
Well, I must get back to this silly studying. Have a nice weekend, people!
Cracker Barrel tonight! Giddy up!


Planning for the future

My throat is messed up. It feels swollen and sore and it's hard to swallow. It hurts to speak. I know it's not good to drink soda when you're sick, but I love the tingly feeling of my Diet Barqs rootbeer when it goes down my throat. It feels so much better than water.
I had an appointment with my adviser yesterday. We talked about graduation. When I looked at my schedule and started thinking about what I had left to take, I was thinking that I could be done by August '06. After we sat down and mapped everything out, I could be done with all my gen eds and all the classes for my major by then, but still not have enough total hours to graduate. So it looks like August '07 for me. However, this, again, begs the question, "When will Kyle and I get married?" We're still figuring things out. Still praying and seeking God's guidance.
Right now I'm starving and do not want dorm food! Tonight we're eating at The Great Impasta for our BASIC banquet. Tomorrow night, Kyle and I have a date. We're going to one of our very favorite restraunts, the Cracker Barrel. Good, home-style cookin'. Mmmmmm... Friday night is fried cod night there. Have you ever had their cod? It's quite amazing. Well, enough talk about lovely, non-dorm food.
One more week and I'm outta these dorms forever!
Later gators.


Yesterday was a busy day. Of the many things going on yesterday, one was a test. I showed up to the classroom at 7pm last night. Several of us stood outside the classroom (it was locked) waiting for the TA. When he finally arrived he said, "Guys, I have some bad news. I forgot the key to the cabinet where we keep the test. We are going to have to reschedule. Does tomorrow night work for you?" :) Let me tell you, God was taking care of me. I really needed more preparation for that test, and He gave it.

As I was walking back to my dorm, a small sparrow flew in front of me. I could have grabbed it it was so close. Then I started thinking about that song, "His eye is on the sparrow, and I know he watches over me..." It goes something like that. How amazing is it that our Lord and Savior cares about the little things?!

Last night was our last Bible study with Dana as our leader. She's been the leader for several years, and I'm really going to miss her.

Off I go to my advising meeting. They should be letting me know when I can graduate! YAY! Please pray for me about that.



Go to sleep!

It's crazy up in here. Mad studying. Prayers being answered (that I would get all this done)... So far, so good. I'm all wound up. I think I need Norah to sing me to sleep. Actually, I think that's exactly what I'll do- lay in me bed, and listen to some lovely tunes and try to stop the buzzing in my head! Good day, people.

p.s. I'm excited for Darren! YAY!
p.s.s. (this is my sigh as I try to calm myself)
p.s.s.s. (this is me giggling at myself for being so obnoxiously hyper)


Ok, so you know that saying, "Be kind, for everyone around you is fighting a harder battle." Well, that is so true. After all the things I just wrote about, I talked one of my friends. Man, this has been a really rough week for her, and it's not getting any easier. Could you guys pray for her? You don't need to know her name, God knows who she is.
Later Gators!


Oh, wow. So this week just got stressful. I starting making a list in my head of all my to do's. It's awefully long! AH! God will bring me through it. I know He will. I have a feeling that this week will also contain much prayer! You know what they say, "As long as there are tests, there will be prayer in schools." Except that it's not just tests, but papers and projects, and a huge speech! I'm sure that everyone is just as busy, or busier than me! I'll keep you all in my prayers this week. You keep me in yours too.