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Renee DeVault

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April 18, 2016

Have a little Fun, will ya?

April 18, 2016 | By | No Comments

I have been learning some valuable lessons about having fun this last week.

It seems like it would be easy, like Oh, of course I know how to have fun, don’t you? But in reality, in the middle of the insanity that is April, I found myself focusing on the stress so much that I nearly forgot how to have fun.

Tuesday the Sophomore class council threw a Napoleon Dynamite prom. IMG_1962

It was hosted in the tipping point in the Land Gym building on campus. The movie was playing in the tipping point, there were tater tots in the cafe area, and a disco ball and music in the actual gym area.

What ended up happening was a crazy dance party to some 80s music which, when done by theater people, ended up being very dramatic and probably horrifying for outside observers. There is definitely a difference between dancing to impress and dancing to be silly and funny.

We were not trying to be graceful…and that was a good thing.

It was one of my favorite nights of the semester so far though. I always forget how fantastic friends and dancing go together. Any chance you get, do something silly with people you love. Like perform at an improv show for new pioneer students where you can pretend to be a gerbil for a few minutes.

Gerbils don’t have homework. It’s nice.

Speaking of silly, newspaper has really ramped up this week. Joshua and I conducted interviews for the new Trailblazer staff and we’re doing interviews for our next print edition coming out on April 27th.

Being on Trailblazer staff is a lot of hard work but it’s also one of the most fun jobs I’ve ever had. The people are fun, we get to talk about what is happening on campus, and we get to talk about what’s happening in the news and world around us.

Having to work is 200% more fun when you love the people you’re working with. I think this applies to studying for finals too, I am definitely getting people together that I enjoy to do some studying this year. We all have to get work done, but that doesn’t mean we have to be miserable.

Take a nod from St. John’s Sabbath rest challenge and take some time to play this week.

Photo credit Katie Linsey

Photo credit Katie Linsey

 

Renee DeVault

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April 11, 2016

When all you need is love but all you have is work

April 11, 2016 | By | No Comments

You know there’s a problem when you trudge up the steps of Smith on a Monday morning after having slept for three hours, get to the top of the stairs, realize your 9am class is on the bottom floor, walk down the stairs, realize you’re having small group Bible studies in place of class…and yours is happening in your office…on the top floor, so you sigh and accept your fate and trudge back upstairs only to realize that you left your backpack in the bathroom…downstairs.

There is no amount of coffee in the world that can solve April.

On top of classes I have events almost every single day this month. Some of it is stressful but the majority of it is fun. Things are coming to an end. I have end of the year banquets, final research presentations to attend, tests to take, and four improv events this month which must be done.

But in the midst of chaos and business God has been hugely at work in my life and in the lives of my friends. Quinn and I went to CauseCon, a young adult conference that my home church, Vineyard Community Church. It was incredible to get to attend some extensive teaching and do some worshiping with over 400 other young adults all weekend.

While it was crazy busy and meant Quinn and I were driving all over the Olathe/OP area, the business meant we learned about Human Trafficking, some theories of worship, new ways to share the gospel, new theological ideas, and made several new friends with Christian Young Adults all over the country.

Sometimes busy is good.

Business is what drove a friend of mine to come to my small group and ask for prayer. He felt overwhelmed and done with life but it lead to our group unifying in prayer and calling on God. God can work in our mountain of fiery stress.

I would encourage all students/faculty/humans to not let the stress of these last couple of weeks cause distance between friends and God. Mutual stress among friends can draw people together and coming to an end of ourselves can turn us towards God.

Renee DeVault

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April 4, 2016

The Story Behind “All About Lewis”

April 4, 2016 | By | No Comments

This last week I performed in two of MNU’s student directed one acts. One of these one acts was a play called “All About Lewis” and stands to be one of the most interesting creative collaboration processes I have gone through to date.

I first wrote this script, about an egotistical talk show host named Lewis Daily and the plots of his producer, Debora, to get him fired, my freshman year with three of my best friends. Since then I have adapted the script several times to make it more of my own but the original heart of the show and the characters were created in a group.

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I have some amazing memories writing that script and looking back on things, it is one of my favorite projects I have collaborated on. It especially means a lot to me because the three people are now all away at college and one of them is in another country. Bringing this script back to life reminded me of them and how much I appreciated their impact on my life as well as brought about a sort of deep sadness for our lives being lived so far apart now.

When Quinn switched his major to Speech and Theatre Education and found out he needed to direct a one act for his class I volunteered to adapt the script from two hours to twenty minutes, a process which was much more difficult than I expected. I had to make calls on what was vital to the story, what was funny, and what was not.

It was like cutting up my favorite shirt to make handkerchief.

I never realized how connected to my stories and characters I can become. That was a huge realization for me-an awakening of the heart passion for writing and story telling that God has given me.

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It also tested my relationship with Quinn in very unexpected ways. When I gave him the script I was giving up a lot of control that I never realized I would have difficulty giving up. I had to learn to trust his judgment and remember that my way of doing things is not the only way…and may not even be the best way or the right way.

Another interesting element was the cast. I was given the opportunity to play Debora, a character I created, but all of my other characters were in the hands of actors and utterly out of my control. Joshua Brisco, a good friend of mine who played Lewis, brought a whole different element to the character than I had ever even imagined and I loved it.

At first I couldn’t stand that people were messing with my ideas and not doing what I had envisioned, but when I started to step back and look at what was happening I realized that it was good…there was a diversity of talents and viewpoints that was being brought to this project that I would never have been able to do myself.

 

Josh and Alex during one of the show segments. Photo by Mischele Brisco

Josh and Alex during one of the show segments. Photo by Mischele Brisco

Photo by Mischele Brisco.

Photo by Mischele Brisco.

Photo by Mischele Brisco.

Photo by Mischele Brisco.

The show was great. After all of the internal struggle of letting go of something I had held onto so tightly and allowing it to be influenced by other people, the show turned out better than I could have expected it to. And bringing other people in allowed for my story to be shown to people who never would have gotten to experience it had it just been left sitting on my hard drive as it otherwise would have been.

We are designed as people to be in collaboration with one another. God said that it was not good for Adam to be alone. Man was created in God’s image and God is, by definition, a cooperative God-Father, Son, and Holy Spirit-working in harmony, perfect interdependence, and collaboration.

I had to learn to be dependent on Quinn and my fellow cast members for “All About Lewis” to happen. I had to allow this project which means so much to me in the memory of my friends to be vulnerable to the work of others.

I believe in doing this I become a little bit closer to the person God designed me to be- intensely passionate and creative but willing to trust and be in collaboration with those who have been put in my life.

 

Isaac Walker

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April 1, 2016

King of All Fruits

April 1, 2016 | By | No Comments

Hey friends!

So those of you who know me know that I like adventure.  I also really like Asian culture.  So if there is an Asian market, you best know I’ll be there buying all sorts of amazing foods.  A few nights ago, me and my roommate/best friend decided to try something new together.  We wanted to eat the King of All Fruits.  Also known as the Durian Fruit.

Here is a bunch of the fruits in a pile.

Here is a bunch of the fruits in a pile.

Drove to an Asian super market that is about 15 minutes from campus to purchase the fruit.  They are rather large fruits.  About the size of a water melon and the spikes on them are actually very sharp!  So it was kind of painful to hold.

But what is so special about this fruit?!

I am so glad you all asked.  They are known for their smell.  When cut open, they smell very bad.  They are considered the worst smelling fruit in the world.  And I can confirm that this is a true fact!  When we bought it, the whole fruit was frozen solid.  So we stuck it in a bowl and put it in our hot shower.  After about 20 minutes, it was thawed enough to cut open and eat.

Someone cutting a Durian fruit open.

Someone cutting a Durian fruit open.

What the inside looks like.

What the inside looks like.

The moment we started cutting it open, the smell started to reach our noses.  It was a nice combination of banana, raw pumpkin, pineapple, and butt.  And it tasted exactly like it smelled!  I can see why people would like it but I did not.  Not for one second.  The texture was what got to me the most.  It was so mushy.  It was just yellow, smelly slime.

So needless to say I did not like it.  But I encourage you all to go out and try some Durian!  It is a good cultural experience.

Here is a video of children eating some Durian.

Until next time friends!

Isaac Walker

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March 20, 2016

Spring Break Adventures

March 20, 2016 | By | No Comments

Hey friends!

Friday night, I got back from a crazy spring break.  No I was not partying, drinking, or waking up with my friends then discovering a dead body that forces us to make a blood oath so no one ever reveals our secret.  Instead, I was hiking through the Smokey Mountains with Kairos.

19 of us went to rough it up in the wilderness for three days.  We left last Tuesday and drove to Nashville.  We explored a little of downtown Nashville for a few hours then stayed the night at a church in Nashville.  The next morning we drove to our first hiking destination.  All the outlooks were blocked off because they were unstable so we really could not see the waterfalls to well.  From there we drove to Pizza Hut for lunch.  After we got our stomachs full we drove to our final destination where we stayed for the next three days and two nights.  The hike to our camp site was not too difficult.  It was about 2.5 miles and it was beautiful!  The weather was perfect too!  It was about 75 degrees and never rained!

The second day we hiked a little further to a site known as Virgin Falls.  It was a  massive waterfall that flowed out of a cave.  We hiked to the bottom and it was wild. The waterfall was creating huge gusts if wind and mist was flying everywhere!  After that Phil and I hiked to the top and explored the cave that the waterfall flowed from.  It was literally the largest cave I had ever been in!  The next day we packed up and came home!

Here are some pictures of our adventures.

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Hiking to our camp site.

Hiking to our camp site.

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The waterfall at our camp site.

The waterfall at our camp site.

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Chilling at our campsite.

Chilling at our campsite.

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Exploring the river.

Exploring the river.

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Hiking to Virgin Falls.

Hiking to Virgin Falls.

Overall, I loved the trip!  Everyone on the trip grew closer and we all had a blast together!

Until next time friends!

Renee DeVault

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March 7, 2016

Action Pact and Religions of the World

March 7, 2016 | By | No Comments

I have been loving this semester of classes that I’m in as well as the events that I’ve gotten to do through Action Pact, the improv SERVE team that I’m a part of.

Friday Action Pact and VOP (Voices of Praise, the singing group that Quinn is a part of) got to work together to put on an awesome show for Heritage Christian Academy’s Father Daughter Banquet.

It was a great tag-team event with VOP singing and Action Pact playing some games culminating in a SERVE team showdown lip sinc battle before VOP performed their final set.

I love getting the chance to do theater as one of my jobs. It’s something I never would have expected to be doing this time last year.

Another awesome factor about this last week has been my Religions of the World class taught by Dr. Randy Cloud and Dr. Charles Christian. It’s required for my major but students can take it as an elective or a philosophy gen-ed class.

This week Dr. Cloud talked about Islam and some of the myths that we believe about Muslims. There was a large component about learning the facts of the religion including it’s history and practices but we also just had some great discussion time.

Dr. Cloud brought some traditional Islamic clothing into class for us to look at while he led the lecture.

Dr. Cloud brought some traditional Islamic clothing into class for us to look at while he led the lecture.

It’s really been an incredible class. Learning about other religions really has helped me understand Christianity better and some of the ways it is unique. My favorite experience by far was Saturday when I went with Dr. Cloud, Quinn, and Matt, a friend and fellow classmate (in my Hebrew class actually) went to a Messianic Jewish service.

The best way I could have described the experience was joyful. They danced during worship and clapped and smiled and shouted out. I loved watching the joy and reverence that they had for the Torah and the Gospels which they have a copy of in Hebrew.

I loved how they did one lesson from the Hebrew Torah (our Old Testament) and one lesson from the Gospels. The balance of old and new was beautiful both in testaments as well as in culture.

Be open to new experiences. I’m having a lot of fun.

Isaac Walker

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February 27, 2016

10 Questions College Students Are Tired Of Hearing

February 27, 2016 | By | No Comments

Hey friends!

So I have been thinking lately and I have no idea what I want to do with my life.  I am majoring in sociology and I have some ideas about what I want to do, but I have not fully committed to anything.  I am only 21!  Sometimes I tell myself that I am young and I have plenty of time.  But other times I feel so old and that if I do not figure this out soon, I am going to die sad and miserable!  I was asked a few days ago what I am majoring in by an older man I had literally never spoken before.  After I told him I am majoring in Sociology, he asked me what I plan to do with that when I graduate.  I already hate it when people ask me that question, but he asked the question with a slightly condescending tone.  This leads me to the topic of this blog!  10 Questions all college students are tired of hearing.

  •  What are you studying?
  • 1

    Even ifI told you, you wouldn’t understand.

  • What do you plan on doing with that major?
  • I don't know! I still have plenty of time to figure it out.

    I don’t know! I still have plenty of time to figure it out.

  • Ready for the Real World?
  • Like this is not the real world now?

    Like this is not the real world now?

  • Are you going to get your masters degree next?
  • I still have to get through all of this first. Leave me be.

    I still have to get through all of this first. Leave me be.

  • Have you thought about going into ________ instead?
  • I picked this major for a reason.

    I picked this major for a reason.

  • Oh MNU?  Do you know _______ who goes there too?
  • There are a lot of people here. Odd are no.

    There are a lot of people here. Odds are no.

  • Are you seeing anyone?
  • Yes grandma. I'm in a committed relationship with anxiety.

    Yes grandma. I’m in a committed relationship with anxiety.

  • How do you like living on your own?
  • It has it's ups and down.

    It has it’s ups and down.

  • Have you gained the freshman 15?
  • Mind your own g dang business!

    Mind your own g dang business!

  • How are your classes going?
  • Oh ya they are so much fun and I love every second.

    Oh ya they are so much fun and I love every second.

Renee DeVault

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February 8, 2016

When School sets your eyes on Jesus

February 8, 2016 | By | One Comment

One thing that I absolutely love about MidAmerica is that my professors will lead devotions before class or tie the material that we are learning that day into faith.

This has really helped me to see how faith can be applied really everywhere in life.

I remember sitting in a Communications Class and discussing how the theory of Cognitive Dissonance relates to the Holy Spirit and personal conviction of sin. It caused me to think about how God uses human psychology at times and how he goes against at other times causing us to know it has to be from him.

Dr. Flemming, my professor for my Book of Acts class, lights a candle on his desk before every class as a reminder that the Holy Spirit is in the room and working on our hearts. It is hard to watch him teach without seeing the candle in the corner of your eye and being reminded. He also takes praise reports and prayer requests before class and we pray together.

Our faculty advisor for the Trailblazer does the same thing. She always asks for prayers and praises and she prays for us before we start every class. She also likes to recite a memory verse to us.

This practice from my professors is not only good for my own thoughts, which I get to return to God more often than I probably would have otherwise, but it is also good to see the faith in action of my professors.

It helps me to relate to them because while I am a nineteen year old undergraduate college student and they have their doctorates and live lives very different from my own, I can relate to them through shared faith. It makes the professors seem less distant or so far above me that I can’t talk to them on a personal level.

Quinn has been focusing a lot on discipleship after learning about stages of development and methods of teaching in his Lifespan Development class and since I happen to talk to him a lot I have been thinking about it too.

I think one of the reasons why I love the professors being able to share devotionals and pray with their classes is that I feel discipled in a way from them. I am learning not only about the subject they are teaching, but how that subject relates to my faith and how I can weave my faith into every aspect of my life. Having mentors like that has been an incredible experience and something I don’t believe MNU students should take lightly.

Mackenzie Theiler

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February 3, 2016

Surgery is Near

February 3, 2016 | By | No Comments

The start of my MNU Track and Field career, has taken a turn. What may, some days, feel like a set back, is actually a step forward in the right direction. It has been a while since, I have talked about track and the new team on campus. This last fall, I was hit with some, saddening news. The news was, that, I was going to need surgery on both my ankles; if I wanted to continue running, and be able to walk in the future.

Towards the end of last semester, I found out that my season had come to an end, before my  season had begun. I tried to do everything I could, not to go through with the surgery. I tried strengthening, rehab, continuing to run. Nothing was working and the pain continued to grow worse. So, I had to come to the realization that surgery was my only option, if I ever wanted to step back out on the track. As for this season, the first season, of having track and field back at MNU, I am sad that I will not be contributing, physically, to the success of our teams season. Instead, I will be contributing by, supporting, cheering, and rooting my fellow teammates on, at the finish line.

This season, I had set, extremely, high goals and expectations; but now, those goals and expectations are on hold. What I have to focus on, now is, the road to recovery and rehabilitation. It is going to be a long process but I have great doctors, physical therapists, and strength trainers. I am going to have a strong recovery and come back even stronger. Though, I have never had surgery, I am not that nervous, because I know, in the end, it will get rid of the pain and I will be able to be more successful on the track, than, I ever thought imaginable.

My surgery will be taking place tomorrow and I plan to keep you all posted on, how everything goes, and share with you, my journey back to preforming next season! Crossing my fingers, it all goes well!


 

Facebook: /kenzie.theiler
Twitter: @kenzietheiler
Instagram: @kenzie_theiler

Isaac Walker

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December 11, 2015

It’s OK To Feel Down Sometimes

December 11, 2015 | By | No Comments

Hey friends!

So I wanted to talk about this during mental health awareness week but I obviously missed that chance, but I think that I can tie the subject in pretty well to this upcoming week.

“But Isaac!  What are you even talking about?!”

I’m glad you asked!  I am talking about depression.

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“But Isaac!  How does this subject tie into this upcoming week?!”

Ok, calm down I’ll tell you.

Finals week is stressful.  For some people, probably more than you think, it is a make it or break it time.  For some people, these tests are a matter of pass or fail.  This can put a ton of pressure on one person.  This school is a pricey place and failing a class means you have to take it again, and that means paying again.

money-stress

This kind of pressure can mess with a person’s emotions for the worse.  Especially someone who is more prone and susceptible to depressive tendencies.  There are lots of things that can cause or poke at someones depression.

There can be biological or genetic things.  It can run in the family or someone can be on a certain medication that can worsen things.  There can be psychological factors or even environmental things.  And that is how this ties in.  The things I mentioned above are definitely environmental factors.

Something else that can be an external trigger is the work load that tends to pile up on students. I am sure you all know that things can pile up fast.  Especially if you are  a procrastinator like me!  For someone with depression or depressive tendencies, this can cause them to shut down.

Depression is the most common mental disorder in the United States.  Females are more likely to suffer from depression than males are.  As of now, the average age of diagnosis is about thirty two years old, but youth are definitely known to suffer from it.  And I think that as mental health is becoming something more and more people talk about, more people are going to be diagnosed and helped at a sooner age now.

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That leads me on to my next point.

“But Isaac!  How do I know if someone I am close to is suffering from this?!”

Good question.  There are signs you can be aware of.

A lot of the information I am presenting can be found in the website for the Nation Institute of Mental Health.

So back to the signs.  It can be a little tricky because there really are not universal signs.  It affects everyone differently.  But there are some common signs/symptoms.  They include:

  • Feelings of anxiety, sadness, or a hollow feeling that won’t leave.
  • Eating a ton, or losing your appetite.
  • Sleeping a ton, or not being able to sleep.

man in bed with eyes opened suffering insomnia sleep disorder

  • Having a bad memory, and not being able to concentrate.
  • Losing interest in the things you once enjoyed.

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You can view the full list on their website.  But as you can see there, there is a wide range of signs.  Some that are even the opposite of each other.

Well friends!  I am glad I could share this with you.  This is something, for whatever reason, I have been wanting to talk about for a while.

Until next time friends!