At the beginning of this semester I was asked to write a piece for the school newspaper. Since I have a test tomorrow and need to start studying, I decided to resurrect that piece here.

[oh, but before I do I have to share a picture of my soon to be niece, Myka. She is just too cute at 3 1/2. Beth- soon to be sister-in-law, got this great shot of her this past summer.]

and now... doubt:

Doubt. For Christians this word is sometimes the culprit of nightmares, waning confidence and, here on campus, homesickness for a place where one feels secure and did not have to wrestle with his or her beliefs, nor deal with people who didn’t have the same. It creeps up on us all, though. Whether through a discussion with our roommate, a book we’re reading outside of class, or from something our religion professor said in class, doubt can leave us wrestling with some pretty tough issues at the core of who we are as Christians.
Doubt is an integral part of life, and it is something that I believe God not only allows, but something He intentionally created. Doubt keeps us in our place. We are not called to know everything. This does not mean we should no longer seek knowledge, it simply works to keep us humbly in God’s service. After sitting through a discussion in Theology or a literature class, I often stumbled across doubt in my path and I realized that certainty is not a gift that God has chosen to give his creatures. Our knowledge of any “absolute” is only partial; it’s distorted because we as humans are distorted.
I believe doubt also allows us to love others more of the way Jesus hoped we would. When we can stop trying to convince those around us of our theology we are able to begin real conversations—conversations that will be flavored with love, honesty, and openness. Our interactions with each other will stop exhausting us and they will start teaching us. Our attitudes toward our own doubt and the doubt and questions of others, are more significant and will bring us nearer to the Kingdom of God than our idea that we know everything about God.
I am constantly reminding myself that my doubts do not make me less of a follower of Christ, but they allow me to possess an essential ingredient in my pursuit to love others and become more like Christ: humility. Our attitudes toward doubt are more significant than our actually having doubt. I believe we are not called to be certain of anything, but that this does not undermine our commitment to and our faith in a God who is infinitely bigger than our tiny, often too proud, too confident minds.

So next time you’re having a conversation, or listening to a speaker during chapel or praise and worship, don’t stop listening because doubts are starting to arise. Don’t judge from what the speaker is saying and ask, “Is this guy even a Christian?” No, you don’t have to agree with everything he or she says but you can glean from it—take what others tell you and use it. Whether you agree or disagree, you cannot discredit them as a person or as a Christian. Be humbled by your disagreements with others, be humbled by your doubt, and hold onto the promise that God is bigger than it all.



Well, break is officially over and I'm officially freezing which means I'm officially back in Iowa again. :)

It was such a wonderful break. A brief overview:
- I was able to spend the first weekend with Brent, as he was willing to drive all the way up here to wait for me to finish classes on Monday and Tuesday. Then we were able to ride back home together and, although I slept and drooled most of the way home is was a fun ride.

- Tuesday night we went to his house and got to spend time with his parents.

-Wednesday we picked up the boys [Hawkins, Dawson, Luke] and then hung out with them for awhile. Then we made a quick trip out to my Grandparent's and saw the table they got us and are refinishing! It is so great. Then a quick trip back to my house for a [busy] supper with Paige, Torri, and two kids my mom was babysitting. It was also Brent's 22nd birthday so that was fun as well :)

- Thursday mom, dad, brent, and I got up at 4:30 to make it to the airport for my flight to nashville. The trip went well and I was in Nashville with Dan and Kali by 10! [Flying is weird].

You can go to


and read about my time there. It was absolutely wonderful to get to spend that time with them. They were so good to me and it was a great break. Although we missed being at home for the holidays, we really enjoyed the time together. [And Micah was even able to come up and hang out for a day which was fantastic as well :)]

I'm off to babysit now for several hours. Finals in a week and a half...i'll try to post more but I can't promise much these next two weeks :)


not writing?

Well, I started out well--I was strong and I fought through the temptations to not write. But then I started writing a lot and it turned into stuff I don't want to publish on my blog just yet [think revision...and christmas]. I promise you I will share my writings/musings/thoughts when the time is right, but for now I felt like I needed to give you an explanation.

In other news, I got my packet for student teaching last night at a meeting. That was weird--not the meeting so much as getting the packet. In this packet are 3 folders for teachers I will be working with, containing observation reports and checklists and requests for letters of recommendation [yikes!]. The reality is setting in that I am really going to be doing this...I am really going to be teaching soon.

I know deep in my being that this is what I want to be doing...that this is what I'm meant to be doing. I have videos of me teaching when I was 8 years old, alone in my room with stuffed animals and a chalkboard [these are really funny to watch]. I know how much I love being in front of students and how much it means to see them "click" with something.

But there is a part of me that winces when I think about turning in the pink sheet in the back of my packet--the pink sheet entitled "Record of Student Teaching" that I was informed, last night, is vital to my graduating. Why is this? I think it is several reasons...I think it is knowing that this part of my life is done. This part that I've hated and loved and wrestled with and grown through--- When I hand in that pink sheet I am in turn handing in a part of my childhood.

I know I will be a good teacher and I think to go into this profession you must know that one simple truth. I know it might take me a little bit to get there, but I know I am capable. And I know I want to be a teacher. And I know I will let go of that pink sheet at the last possible moment.



[I don't know if anyone is still ready this, but if you are...thank you :)]

I was reading in the Psalms today while I ate my lunch, the obsessive November wind licking at the window. I was eating my noodles and the words and letting them happen to me, the way puberty happens to a person.

I put down my fork and read Open up your mouth and He will fill it and I took a sip of water and read again open up your mouth and he will fill it. In the margin I think to write beautiful so I will come back to this page and read it again and see beautiful written beside it and think beautiful again. But I don't. I stop my pen and I don't write because I want to stumble across this psalm again and I want to feel the beauty instead of thinking it.

Open up your mouth and He will fill it and I wonder what this means and I pray it will become a part of my marrow. And then, in my mind, I am there, in the simple living room with all of them: Brent is at my right side, Derek at my left on the rose colored couch, and in the blue lazy-boy is Jon, kicked back. Cody lays on the floor in the center of the room, stomach down and Brandon sits opposite me on the cream couch, a throw pillow behind his neck.

I come back to this moment wit hOpen your mouth and He will fill it knowledge and I hear our conversation anew. Derek tells us he will definitely be going overseas in the near future and shares a few stories from his last trip to Africa. Jon then enters the conversation and says he will marry the girl he is now dating. Brandon asks if she has a sister and then asks Brent what they're going to do for his bachelor party. Brent says he just wants them to take one last small road trip together. I ask if I can come and know I will only get facial responses. We all think Cody is asleep but he lifts his head and says he is hungry-- and that he's pretty sure the girl he could marry is mad at him because he didn't call or write for four months.

Open your mouth and He will fill it in those moments in the living room when your conversation is not meant to be prayer.

I look back and I realize these moments of nothing were so full of the things of God.We sometimes tried to be intentional about having conversations concerning theology. We never realized these things of God were happening to us when we stopped thinking about them long enough to let them.

These memories are sweet on my tongue, like the juice from freshly squeezed apples. I now realize the beauty of moments with friends and how when you let them happen to you, it's like letting a psalm happen to you. This happening fills your mouth and becomes prayer-- a deep kind of prayer-- a prayer that happens with every memory of a living room conversation.

Open your mouth and he will fill it and things that are not prayer become prayer and moments that are ordinary pierce us and fill us and we become holier because of them.

I thank God for these friends of mine, but I know I thank Him more when I send Derek a card or give Cody a call. I know I thank Him more when I let him fill my mouth.


a place of endless waiting

I sit and my head pounds and I sit and put my head in my hands and my hands start to pound and I sit. Now I realize my hands are starting to shake and I stand and I pace and I try to get the blood pumping. Yes, Blood circulation and I pace and I pace and I feel each step in my head and I'm still shaking.

Water. Yes. Drink water. Sustenance. Bread. I pour water into a mug--my favorite mug with two geese on the side and the quaint saying, "home is where you hang your heart"-- a thrift store find for sure. I stick a piece of wheat bread into the toaster and wait, cupping my mug with both hands because this is how you are supposed to hold mugs. And my toast comes up and I get too excited and I burn my forefinger slightly on the newly deep brown crust. Butter. Real butter-- not fake "I-can't-believe-it's-not-butter" butter, because I can believe it's not because I was raised to appreciate the good, rich, fattening taste of real butter.

I sit at the table, buttered toast, goose mug. And I try to silence the pounding in my head. It's now at the front, on the side-- my temporal lobe, I was taught in human anatomy.

I get a book to take my mind off of this thing in my head that is screaming at me. The pages seem blank or at least utterly void of anything that makes sense and I put the book down by throwing it across the room, knowing my fellow English majors would consider this complete blasphemy. Something. Something. I need something.

The t.v. and I turn it on and I crunch my buttered toast and I don't even know what I am watching because my head is screaming and my hands are shaking and I look at the melting butter and it says "you don't even appreciate me right now" and I try to assure it that I do-- that I-can't-believe-it's-so good, but I can't. I can't taste it. I haven't tasted anything for this entire week.

I turn off the t.v.
I lay down. I abandon my toast and butter and goose mug and water and lay down. No time to make it to the couch. I am on the kitchen floor and I am laying down and my temporal lobe is the son of a drummer's boy and I am closing my eyes but I can't stop seeing, thinking, pounding, shaking.

I sit up.
I laugh.
I scream.
I want to cry, but don't for my roommate's sake. I am rolling on the floor. I am taking Advil that I know won't help and I finish the water and the toast.

I am cold inside and my body is mad at me and I am mad at me for bringing me here in the first place.

Here--detox, this place of endless waiting. I will never be the way I once was. I now live the life of an addict and those addicted always need something. Something. But toast, even butter doesn't work. Not water, the purest of all. Not modern man's medicine. Not even the book flung across the room. Words are empty. Days, emptier still.

And I break. I get out the beans. I get out the grinder. The smell alone is beginning to bring me back and soon the pot is brewing and my heart beat is becoming regular and my body is already drinking it in through my pores. I refill my goose mug and pour, slowly, deliberately, passionately.

I sit and I drink and I do not shake. Yes, my detox from coffee is a place of endless waiting, and it is one of which I am not patient enough to reach the other side.

I will try again next week.


good weekend

For those of you who were wondering, it was another successful brent-came-to-visit-for-too-short-a-time-period weekend! [Hence the no blogging for the past few days...time is precious]. He got here on friday and helped me babysit, since that is my typical friday afternoon. We had fun with almost-one-year-old boy and played in the leaves. Brent got a kick out of him and is now jealous that I get to spend every friday with him. The rest of our Friday was spent seeing some friends on campus and then we attended a free concert on campus and chatted it up with some more people. Then we put on some sweats and did 5 loads of laudry and watched a comedian on t.v. On Saturday we went over to one of my English professor's house and made apple cider! Despite the fact that it was very chilly and windy, and we were the only students there with 4 professors and their families, it was fun! I helped at the cut-all-the-bad-spots-out-of-the-apples station, which then passed to the crank-them-here-and grind-them-up station, and then they moved to the station brent helped with, the in a ten-gallon-bucket-grind-the-pre-ground-apples-some-more-with-a-wooden-baseball-bat station. lastly they traveled to the actual press where they were squeezed to produce the cider. I think all in all we made about 14/15 gallons. We had cold hands and awkward conversations, but we came away with some great-no-sugar-added apple cider laughing. Later we put on our sweats and watched a movie.
Sunday we went to church, which we always consider such a treat to attend together, and then we went back to my aunt's house were Brent grilled steak and I "made" baked potatoes and some garlic cheese bread and my roommates came over for lunch. We topped it off with some apple cider :) Then we put on our sweats and enjoyed a lazy Sunday afternoon.
Today I went to class and he packed his things and then he met me to babysit the other boy I watch on Mondays [7.5 months]. He hung out with us for awhile and then he had to hit the road for his long 8 hour drive back to southern missouri.
Now I'm in my sweats doing homework... looking forward to the next visit.
[I didn't take any good pictures so these are what you get :) Not very creative, sorry.]