Fall break was this week. I vowed to do two things
To kickstart a revival of my bible reading habit
To get all of my homework done so I could bask in a glorious no-homework, stress-free beginning of my week
Let’s just say God may be happier regarding my fall break reading habits than my professors. I didn’t get much homework done. I read my bible and hung out with my friends doing caffeine induced non-study study parties, mall trips, movie nights, and listening to music.
In communications studies there is a concept called “reframing” in which the words chosen to describe something effect how one perceives it or acts towards it. So instead of saying “I slacked off and hung out with friends and read my bible instead of my textbook”…I’ll say “I spent Fall Break forming meaningful relationships with both humans and the almighty” which causes me to think better of myself than I probably should
I don’t know if you have ever had this happen to you, but sometimes when I read the Bible God smacks me in the face with something and no matter where I go it follows me. I believe God has to do this to me because I am stubborn and often refuse to listen to what I need to hear the most.
The phrase of the weekend for me seemed to be “the fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge.” This is the beginning of Proverbs 1:7 in the NIV. Other translations substitute knowledge for wisdom but something about the word knowledge stuck with me better. Being a college student I am pretty much a knowledge leech, just frantically soaking up anything I can get from my professors, friends, and random internet literature.
Later in Proverbs 2:1-5 Solomon writes that the fear of the Lord comes from storing up the commands of God in us, attempting to understand them, and earnestly seeking further understanding of them. I had never thought of “the fear of the Lord” that way. But, since I didn’t want to write a paper and I had a perfectly good cup of hot apple cider already made and sitting on my desk, I decided to try it.
In Pentateuch with Dr. Edlin we’re studying the Exodus. I began to think about Moses standing before the God who brought the horrifying plagues on Egypt, who killed the first born of all of their households, who parted the red sea and killed the Egyptian army. I thought about when Moses first came before God and had to remove his shoes. I thought about how, later, the Israelites couldn’t go on the mountain of God because God’s presence would destroy them. And in light of the acts of a terrifying all powerful God, I thought about the commands God gave his people and how immediately God’s people broke those rules.
This led me to think about the law in general, the rules we follow as Christians and I began to realize something about myself. I’m not afraid to sin. I know that sounds odd, but in that moment I realized I’ve never really felt the wrath of God when I’ve sinned. The ground has never swallowed me up, I have never been struck by lightning, my water bottle has never suddenly turned to blood, and I may have been attacked by a frog once but I do not believe that was retribution from God.
The grace of God is incredible. He is the same God today as he was in the Old Testament. My physical, sinful self should not be able to physically exist in the presence of God and yet I know his presence is with me wherever I go.
I take for granted the fact that I can just pray to him. I don’t have to climb a mountain, and almost more importantly for me, I don’t have to be Moses. I don’t have to be born of a Levite or brutally murder petting zoo animals in order to talk to God.
Reading the Old Testament and Proverbs always makes me feel humbled. I am living in the Kingdom of God, a new era of personal relationship with the Father. That is a huge gift. I was very convicted as to the level of my own personal reverence of God. He put me in my place as a puny little human and praying from that perspective feels much more natural to me. I guess the fear of the Lord helped me gain some knowledge about my own shortcomings in that department.
To throw one back to Communications, I had to reframe my concept of myself from “obligated to pray to God” to “somehow miraculously able to talk to God”. My reality didn’t change, but the way I perceived it did and that in turn has effected how I’ve been praying.
So I am most in fear and awe of God while entering this Halloween season. Ghosts and Vampires are not real, but an all powerful being who can destroy whole nations with the words of his mouth is real. I’m just glad in his grace he has let me be on his side.
Two things I’m praying for this week
Appreciation and acknowledgement of the sheer might and power of the God I am attempting to serve
A humble and thankful heart for God’s grace and acknowledgment of my wimpy human status
You may have noticed that I did not post on my normal day. Over the fall break weekend I went on a hiking and backpacking trip in Arkansas with Kairos. Kairos is the college age ministry group that meets at College Church of the Nazarene. They normally take a trip every school break. They go backpacking during fall break, skiing over winter break, backpacking again over spring break, and white water rafting over summer vacation.
Over fall break 22 MNU and JCCC students went to Arkansas and hiked the Ozark Highland Trails. We also peaked Whiterock Mountain. I really didn’t know a whole lot of the students that went on the trip, but by the end of the trip, I would consider everyone that went on the trip a friend of mine. We had some crazy, fun experiences that brought us close. I took a few pictures that kind of tell the story of our trip.
Just got on the trail.
We pretty much followed a creek for most of the trail up the mountain.
Found a small waterfall in the distance.
The views along the hike were just gorgeous! All the different colors in the trees were breath taking.
High up on a cliff.
The farther we got, the more gloomy it became.
Sadly these pictures cannot do the beauty of the trip the justice it deserves. Just know the trip was amazing. I think everyone should go on at least one trip during their time here at MNU. The trips are for everyone. You don’t have to be an expert hiker to go on these. Believe me, because I am not an expert. I don’t even have all the equipment. You can borrow whatever you need from friends. I will definitely be going on more trips with Kairos in the future.
Whoever said sports and theatre are polar opposites was an idiot.
My youngest siblings play multiple sports each. I can’t count how many sporting events I have attended over the years; baseball, basketball, football, softball, and soccer. My oldest younger brother and I are the Fine Arts kids, as well as the brainiacs. I can tell you how many performances or quiz meets my siblings have sat through; less than 10. Now, I’m not wanting the excuse, “They just aren’t into that kind of stuff”. Well, I’m not into watching sports all day, but I do it. It’s called being supportive. I’m not going to lecture anyone about supporting your loved ones because that isn’t my place. But, this last weekend, while I sat out in the freezing wind, cheering for the St. Joe Hazard Softball girls, I started thinking about how softball and theatre are the same thing, but in a different context.
I know, it sounds insane, but just think about it: They have uniforms and cleats, we have costumes and dance shoes; they have 2 hour long practices, we have 6 hour rehearsals; when each finishes practice or performance, we eat like we’ve never been fed before. So why have two activities that are so similar been separated for so long?
Someone is ALWAYS Trying to Take You Out
When you go into an audition, obviously there are plenty of people trying to get the same role you are and they won’t stop until either a) you leave the audition feeling like you’ve failed or b) you crush them and take the role for yourself. The same goes for a softball game. The other team wants you to lose, so you just have to go out there and show them what you’re made of.
You are going to fail. This is part of being an actor. Don’t let failure keep you from finding success. If you aren’t cast, ask the director personally if you can work backstage. Show them that you want to be involved. That way, if you audition for them again, they’ll know how dedicated you are and might just cast you for that reason alone. In a game, the pitcher might throw a curveball and nail you in the foot or the knee. You don’t back down. You walk it off and score what could be the game-winning run. You don’t let the other team hinder your plans.
Once you get through a show with any cast and crew, you’re a family. My high school had a saying, “Ohana means Family. Family means that no one gets left behind or forgotten. Theatre is Ohana.” (Yes, it is based off Disney’s “Lilo and Stitch”) Your ohana will love and support you no matter what.
My sister’s softball coach’s wife wanted the girls to express their love towards one another so she got a whiteboard and some markers and had one girl lay her head on the board and the rest of the team wrote what they loved about her all around her. Then they took a picture. Not only is this an excellent team building exercise, it also shows love.
You’re Kinda Weird (But in a Good Way)
Let’s face it. Theatre kids are weird, it’s just kind of a given. Athletes are also weird. Usually, not as weird as the drama kids, but they’re still weird.
Sometimes you get lucky and win the MVP of the Game
If you work hard all year, whether on stage or off, you just might be named the Actor (or Techie) of the Year. It’s the biggest honor in any theatre circle and everyone wants it at some point. It’s the same with being named the MVP of the game. The affirmation of being recognized for your hard work, especially when you’re out in right field (backstage) and it seems like no one cares about what you do, but you make the biggest play of the game (fastest scene change) and it’s all worth it.
In the grand scheme of things, are we, as thespians, really that different from the jocks? Or have we just been separating ourselves for nothing?
I still remember the day I left for college. My mom kissed me and told me to not constantly call her (I think she was kidding.) My father who had already prayed for me at least six times in the past five minutes asked if we had prayed yet. I got in the car with my roommate and started our voyage to college. The further we drove the smaller everything got until it was all gone. But what my little enthusiastic freshman mind didn’t know yet was that things were never going to be the same.
Its mid-term now and most of you guys have already gone home at least one time. How was it? Was everything just the way you left it? The relationships you knew about? The relationships you had with others? Did people still look at you the same way? Did you still look at people and things the same way?
One of the toughest things about college is going home to change. To new realities that you weren’t accustomed to, or ever imagined you would have to become accustom to. One of our biggest addictions as humans is consistency, but if you been alive for more than five seconds you know life doesn’t always cater to our comforts.
I know this is a little foolish, but I carried this belief that life at home would stay constant to the way I left it, but that’s not the case life goes on for the people we leave at home just as it goes on for us here in college. They’re faced with their own adversities just like we are here. Their life plans changes just like ours do sometimes.
How do you deal with changes that you weren’t even aware were happening? Do you just accept it? Do you choose to ignore it? Do you fight it?
I believe change sometimes affects us a lot more than we think, and unless we allow ourselves to fully take in this new-found change, we’ll never be able to really move on. We must let our mind come to first understand what this means for us, and how this may drastically change the dynamic of things. Then we must fight for contentment and peace. Come to terms with it. (At your pace of course)
College won’t let you stay here without provoking some idea of growth. Throughout all of your life you’ve been experiencing change. Maybe you have a healthy way of responding to it, and maybe you don’t. Maybe change has never been a good thing for you, which always resulted to unhealthy responses. But you’re now in college. You’re in a new stage in your life with an opportunity to do things differently. To do things better. To grow, will you?
Hey guys! I hope everyone passed midterms! It’s another week down, and this week I’m skipping the video entry to write out my thoughts for y’all! Whaaaaaat
So college has been one heck of an adventure so far and we’re only three months in. I wanted to provide future, and current students, with some helpful advice -academic and otherwise- that will help you get through your first year and years to come. So without further ado, here are some lessons that might last a lifetime.
Create new networks! Make connections with friends, reach out to new people…don’t be afraid! By doing this you can meet so many new people and also build excellent mentors for your professional life.
Figure out if you like coffee; and if you do, get GOOD at making it!
Understand that you can take action! Want to make a new club? Want to improve your school or community? You, as a young adult, have that power; take it and run with it.
Take advantage of your professors extra credit assignments and make appointments with them when you have questions. This could make or break your GPA.
Just because you can skip class and get your notes online, doesn’t mean that you should. (Personally, I broke down how much I’m paying -about $36 per class, per day- who wants to lose that money?)
Get involved. Get an internship. Get a job. Require as much experience as you can in what you want to do to benefit your future.
Highlighters and index cards are your new best friends.
Straight A’s aren’t what is most important. Remember my last vlog? I mentioned that you’re in college to earn an education for you, not an A for your professor.
Find a work-life balance. It is NOT easy, but it is important.
Accept the fact that your student ID photo is going to be awful. Join the club, buddy.
Who’s your academic advisor? Figure that out, quickly.
Find the best place for you to study. Set yourself up for success, not failure. My place is upstairs in the library. It’s quiet and allows me to focus.
Learn how to do your own laundry. Nobody wants the “Mom, what’s the difference between darks and whites?” phone call.
Know the dining hall hours like the back of your hand. Let’s be honest, we all love food.
Call your parents, often. This will help prevent homesickness and more importantly, that relationship is changing, you need to work hard at maintaining it and all it’s new glory.
You can eat whatever you want now! But it doesn’t mean you should have ice cream for breakfast.
Be studious… and then be spontaneous.
Purchase a decent hard drive. Save your files often, and ALWAYS double save your papers/projects.
As important as going home is and maintaining ties with people you love, don’t let that stop you from building new relationships on campus every now and then.
Expect to grow and change. I promise it’s okay. Scary, but okay.
6:30 am.. My roommate’s alarm goes off for no apparent reason. I turn around and try to get 10 more minutes of sleep because every minutes is valuable. Next thing I know she is jumping on my bed!
I don’t know if you heard about this, but one of my roommates posted an article, called “October Is National Hate Your Roommate Month!”, in our groupchat, and it really made me think. We all hit that critical time of the year when we want to escape from our room and our roommate(s), but in reality we love them to death, right? Right?
The first and most exciting part of college is getting to know your roommate. It will take you a while to really get to know him or her, but you’ll figure out pretty soon if that friendship will last or not. In my case, my roomie, Denise, turned out to become my best friend from day one when we set off an alarm while moving into the dorms, and we share a lot of other great moments together. But sharing life can also be difficult sometimes, especially when you are used to having your own room with a heat that you can regulate and a mom that washes your clothes and vacuums your floor at least twice a week. Once I realized I was on my own, I decided to reduce my requirements due to my time management and laziness (if there is a college kid out there that is able to clean their room regularly while dealing with school, sport, jobs, or other things, let me know because I could seriously need help). At the beginning, everything may seem great. You share your food, and give rides. Everything is organized and you get along really well. You gladly wash your roommate’s clothes or clean up the mess on the other side of the room. After a while though, school life will hit you and your roommate, and not everything is so Gucci anymore. As your relationship develops, so does the messiness. No blame, but who has time to wash someone else’s clothes when you can barely wash your own? There is no “my” or “your” side anymore, neither is it “my” or “your” food. The amount of gaterades decreases without you touching it. You will develop a habit to count the amounts of candy bars you have left in that red box on the right side of the shelf with your name marked with a sharpie in bold letters on it. You will start hiding the remote of the TV, so nobody else can claim it before you can watch your favorite show. I am not going to lie; the level of paranoia when it comes to food or Netflix is real. And there will be arguments, but those are all normal signs of being halfway through the semester.
Who is gonna take out the trash today?
Roomies making sure that their food is safe.
My side is your side: when you can only reach your bed on a small path of noncovered carpet.
Another part that is going to show – besides a student’s failur to manage time – is that after spending so much time with your roomates it gets harder and harder to hide our craziness. Whether it is an excessive love for singing, dancing, video games, or zombies. Every roommate has their special side that comes out eventually. My struggle, for example, is that I lose everything! Being locked out is a normal precedure in my life. So if you lost your scan card, your driver license, and a hoodie, the chances that you would be nice to your roommate are really small. The small things are the ones that pull the trigger and it can end in miscommunication, arguing, and the wish to have some privacy in your 10 square yard of space shared with another person. We easily get annoyed and are frustrated and then we let it out to the person that is closest to us (and vice versa) whether it is because you hope your roomie loves you enough to forgive you later or he or she is just at the wrong place at the wrong time. The trick is to talk about everything. Of course, we need some alone time sometimes, but often external factors impact us and it has nothing to do with actually hating your roommate. I learned in my Interpersonal Communication class that we ascribe behavior that we don’t like to a person’s behavior than to external impacts just as a bad grade or a cold, but when we behave in a way we shouldn’t, we ‘ll excuse it with external factors instead of saying that our personality is responsible for that. Those are little errors that can lead to bigger discussions and frustration. It just needs a little bit of adjustment and tolerance because it is all about team work. It is you and your roomie against your crazy neighbors, rules, homework, parents, etc. There is a lot we can figure out together, so always see your roomie as a benefit.. They help us in bad times, know us the best, and endure all our craziness. To all the roomies out there: you are appreciatedand we don’t hate you! Sometimes, we just fail to remember how we laugh together and what gift it is to wake up next to your best freind every morning!
Hey! So, last week was Homecoming Week here at MNU… which means every night is filled with fun, friends, and free food.
Here’s a quick recap of the events that I attended.
Thursday night: Hoedown
The Hoedown is something I look forward to every year. It’s basically a bunch of fun dancing, donuts from the Louisburg Cider Mill, root beer, and the crowning of the class princes and princesses!
Friday night: Bonfire/Buck Night
This year, ASG decided to do a giant bonfire at one of the football practice fields and then gave every student free food at the Buck Night. The Buck Night is a place where alumni gather and have the opportunity to make food and sell samples of it to friends. There was also live music and the Royals game playing… it’s a fun evening with fellow students and graduates of MNU!
Saturday afternoon: Homecoming Football Game
I went to the game with a few of my suite mates… Christen and Tori. It was a perfect afternoon for a football game and WE WON. Also, the Homecoming king and queen were crowned, which is always fun to watch.
Saturday evening: Homecoming Banquet
No, I didn’t have a date… but I did have my wonderful suite mate, Christen, to go with! It was a wonderful meal that left me stuffed, followed by a candy bar that I visited even though I was stuffed. There was lots of fun dancing and good conversations with friends that I don’t see often. And everyone looked stunning! It’s always fun to dress up.
Sunday (after church of course): Sleep.
So… there ya have it. MNU Homecoming Week is always something to look forward to.
One question that I get asked all the time is, “Renee! My goodness, you are a college student now, what ever is your major?”
I reply with “Good Sir or Madam, I am a double major in “Bible and Theology” and “Communications”. I love it very much.”
To which they reply, “Good heavens! What an unusual combination! What ever do you plan to do with your life?”
And they receive from me a blank look of alarm because despite my air of cool collectedness I am quite uncertain of my path in life. This fact never really bothers me unless somebody asks me about it. I know I am supposed to be a Bible and Theology major. I know I am supposed to be a communications major. I know I am supposed to be at MNU. I’d say I’m pretty well off for now.
As my boyfriend Quinn (Quinston Churchill, Quintonamore, Quinny-the-pooh, Because of Quinn Dixie, Quinn to the Woods) often tells me, “God doesn’t give you the tickets until you’re ready to board the train.”
Quinn and I at homecoming this weekend
So I’ll be content waiting at the station with my bible and giant communications text book nerding out over communications theories and how they relate to the bible and my group of friends.
Speaking of friends, I had a lot of fun this homecoming!
Friday night a group of us went down into Kansas City for an adventure
Quinn and I love going on adventures like these with our friends
We often compare Jordan to Ted from How I Met Your Mother so we made him take this photo with a dumpster
We found an alley with art all over the walls. It was insanely cool stuff and we had a lot of fun with it.
Quinn had a brilliant idea to start posing with the art.
Alex and Shakespeare
We went to “Thou Mayest”, an awesome coffee shop in Kansas City
We got up on the roof of the coffee shop and had a cool view of the city.
Saturday afternoon we decided to go to the Cider Mill.
Sparkling cider and donuts made an awesome pre-homecoming snack
Homecoming was incredible. Quinn and I have a fun habit of attempting to ballroom dance to pop songs
Sunday afternoon we went to IKEA for dinner and adventuring
Throughout our adventures this weekend, one of my communication theories stuck out in my head. Irwin Altman and Dalmas Taylor’s Social Penetration Theory basically states that deeper intimacy and closer friendships with people can be achieved through a process of self-disclosure and vulnerability.
It explains personality like an onion where, to get to a person’s core, you need to get through layers of more shallow or obvious information. It encourages, to gain more meaningful and intimate relationships, voluntarily opening up to people with both depth and breadth. This basically means letting people know who you really are, what you really think, and letting them have this information for multiple areas of your life.
There’s a lot more to it, but that’s the key point.
When we first studied this theory (sorry Dr. Hamilton) I thought it seemed nice, but I doubted that simply telling deep and diverse stories would lead to close friendships. I thought personality, similarity, and spending time together would be bigger factors, however, when I was out with some of my friends this weekend I began to think about this theory a little bit more.
Our trip to the city brought out conversations of various Kansas City experiences and city experiences in general. When we got to the coffee shop and were walking around we got into a conversation about experiences with spiritual warfare and our vision for Kansas City as a church. This formed into a conversation about our personal strengths and weaknesses.
Our cider mill trip sparked conversation about fall and Halloween family traditions which led to talking about our families and fall traditions we miss now that we’re in college.
Going to IKEA led to conversation about our future plans and dreams.
These are some of my closest friends. Over the course of a single weekend we hit several topics of conversation and we have known each other long enough to be comfortable in talking about things we wouldn’t usually talk about with casual friendships. We were naturally participating in this communications theory without even realizing it, but now that I’ve learned about it I can use it to make other friends.
But self-disclosure involves vulnerability which is difficult to do. In order to grow in my boldness to share to and be open with potential close friends I have turned to the bible.
In 2 Corinthians 6:11 Paul writes “We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians; our heart is wide open. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections. In return (I speak as to children) widen your hearts also.”
The Beginning of James 5:16 says, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.”
So as I love and appreciate my friends, I realize that I can’t keep my spiritual life, struggles, visions, and dreams a secret from my friends. It’s in the Bible and in my Communications Text book so I should probably listen to it.
I’m the girl who runs around IKEA acting like a raptor from Jurassic Park…I need all the help making friends I can get.
Points I’m praying over.
I want to be willing to be real with my friends. If God is really the center of my life I want to be willing to talk about him and my relationship with him including struggles and visions. I want to be vulnerable to my friends so as to better the kingdom of God.
I want to be the kind of person that people feel comfortable opening up to without fear. As deep of information they want to give and about any subject they want to give it I want to be trustworthy enough in their eyes to be someone to have a close friendship with.
“God blesses you to become a blessing. When he gives you a gift, it is because he trusts you with it. He hopes you turn around and do something powerful with it.”
Throughout life God blesses us. These blessings are gifts. These gifts can be a wide variety of many things, from a challenge we have to overcome, learn from, start over, accept, appreciate, be thankful for, etc. He gives us these gifts to help make us into the person we are today. He would not bless us, if he was unsure we could handle them. A lot of us have dealt with some type of challenge or challenges, that we either had to overcome, learn from, start over, or accept. I know I have. This is why I am, who I am today. Does he still challenge me? Yes, I am not perfect . . . I am always changing and bettering myself to become the powerful blessing he created me to become.
Choosing a difficult major and a collegiate athlete, let alone, is a lot of time, effort, and hard work. Trying to juggle that, with a social life, family, and friendships, is a lot to take on! With last week and this week, there has been so much that has gone on. Since, I have arrived at MNU, I feel as though God has been challenging me. To see if I am capable of over coming the obstacles he has placed in front of me.
For those of you who haven’t started college, in college, or even out of college, we are already half way through the semester. God has thrown a lot at me, just in these last few weeks. This is about the time when students start getting sick (strep throat) and tired (late nights studying) because classes have started to pick up with exams, homework, projects, etc. Besides school life, to be a top athlete you always have to be preforming at your highest level every practice. Being so far away from home, students start to get home sick. Realizing you cannot talk to your friends every day or plan a get away weekend, just to relax. Students may start to feel overwhelmed and feel as though there is to much to do and not enough time, in the day, to do it all. This is what people experience in everyday life. A coach told me, “Life keeps going. It does not care about your feelings or what is going on in your life. Deal with life as it comes at you, and no matter what, you, keep going.”
What God has taught me to overcome from these last few weeks is how to time manage, stay disciplined with my life, and focus on what it is that I want to accomplish.
As we make our way through this hectic, fun, adventurous, stressful, tiring, vivacious, and energetic life . . . maybe, currently dealing with a challenge God has placed in front of you, know that you are not alone. Be thankful for the opportunities he has blessed us with. If it is rough, it too shall pass . . . and . . . if it is gratifying, enjoy every moment of it.