Moving Out

May 4, 2010

Ok, so I know that my last post was about the end of the year, but it’s pretty much all I think about these days, so here goes:

My bed after I'd taken the bedding off.

Creative packing!

I’ve been taking my stuff out of the dorm in stages, and this was the result of one trip of stuff I took to my car. By Thursday, everything has to be out of my room, and I’m moving straight from the dorm into Lightbearer’s apartments for the internship this summer. Also, I’ve been spending most of my time studying, since I have two tests on Wednesday.

– Lisa, the younger sister


The Last of the Raspberries – Part I

April 30, 2010

I used to love having fresh yogurt with honey and raspberries. It’s so rich and creamy and refreshing. And to top it off, it feels so healthy but tastes like dessert. I don’t eat anything like that anymore – certainly not any fresh fruit. Not since everything changed. I miss it. I miss a lot of things like that. You don’t even realize how good you have it until the world has been turned upside down on itself.

This morning I woke up early and sat out on the porch staring at the car lights going by on the highway in the dark, crisp night. I made some coffee but never bothered getting up to go in and pour myself a cup once it finished brewing. I just don’t sleep like I used to anymore. I mean, I usually crash around midnight and sleep like a log until around 3:00 or 4:00, so that’s good, but I don’t exactly wake up feeling rested either. I guess it doesn’t really matter since I usually just float through the day anyway, but at the same time I’d rather pass more of the time unaware rather than during waking hours like a zombie.

I eventually started getting ready for work around 6:00 and made it to work early. Sometimes I really love the monotony of the workday. It can be so refreshing to just do the same thing over and over and over. And I do really love the printing press. The same ‘cathunk’ noise over and over and over as the pages spit out on the other side so crisp and with the look of a personal touch. It is actually quite romantic to use something so ancient, so outdated that it has become a thing of art. I love checking each page to make sure that it came out straight and clean. There is something of the texture of a pressed page that I just can’t put my finger on, but I think it has to do with the way that it bends the paper ever so slightly and gives it some structure; kind of like putting the poles into a tent. It’s amazing to me that someone could have invented something so complicated so long ago. I’d never be able to create the idea of a press today, even with all the available technology and knowledge I have. I love that they let me keep long, regular hours and that no one really bothers me all day while I run the press. Sometimes, I’m the only one in there, spending late afternoons finishing out a print job on a deadline. We just printed up some lovely wedding invitations last week. I remember those days of planning and ogling over dresses and engagement rings and flowers. So much life and passion and happiness.

I don’t really go to weddings anymore. It’s not that I don’t like them. I actually love weddings and all the ideas behind them. It’s just that I can’t seem to be outwardly happy for the couple anymore and it feels like I’m projecting an image of myself that isn’t real. I still send notes of encouragement and nice gifts and wishes for eternal happiness and the like. It’s just easier to feel like you mean it in a letter than in person sometimes. Voice tone means everything with that kind of thing and the last thing I want is to sound insincere. Anyway, the invitations were so beautiful … just like something I would have picked out. They had a simple, elegant design and it was an evening wedding at a small church. It can be refreshing to see something like that when we do so many street posters and advertisements.

This afternoon at work I had one of those moments where you just can’t hold it anymore. I went to the bathroom and lay on the floor and cried for a while. I do hate being away from my workstation for very long, but at the same time, I know that I work plenty hard and get more done than anyone else anyway, so I don’t think it’s a huge deal. I just sat in there for a while until I felt like myself again. Or, rather until I felt like someone else who could be seen in public without being asked if ‘everything is okay’. I know people mean well and all, but everything isn’t okay and it’s never going to be so I can either lie and say it’s fine or I can be honest, at which point people usually feel bad and worried and I don’t want that either.

It has been four years since it all happened. Four long, dark years. I know people said that these things just took time, but somehow I thought they meant like a year or two. It is starting to seem like the ‘me’ before it happened never existed. That she’s some fantasy I made up like a childhood dream. Or, it at least seems that the ‘new’ me if you can call it that has been around longer than the ‘old’ me. I’m starting to lose hope that that I’ll ever be like the old me again. That I’m just stuck like this forever.

And I still can’t get the picture out of my mind. It’s like I have no idea what happened. Why me? Holy cow, I just remembered I never turned off the coffee pot. The hot plate has been on all day. Well, it’s probably fine – I mean, I’ve left it on before, right. Gosh, I hate being a worrier. I never used to worry or care about anything and then in a blink of an eye, I just turned into a basket case. Sheesh, I’m gonna have to ride over there and check it out before I can concentrate on anything. Well, I never took a lunch break and it’ll only take 20 minutes anyway.

Holly ran outside and pedaled her bike the six blocks to the house. When she got there, all that was left was a big heap of black ash. Her landlord was standing next to a big orange firetruck talking to one of the firemen. Holly just stood there staring at the remains of her house, too stunned to move or breathe or say anything.


Looking Back at Freshman Year

April 27, 2010

So, I only have three class periods left in this semester, and three final exams to prepare for next week. It’s very strange for me to sit here and realize that next Thursday I will be moving out of this dorm room and leaving behind my freshman year forever. I’ve had a wonderful time here at the U of A, and I’ve certainly learned a lot of things about life and myself. Here are a few things that I’ve learned and am very thankful for:

1) Friends are very important. I’ve heard someone say that the friends that you make in college are the friends that stay with you all your life. Coming out of high school, I didn’t believe that I could have any closer of friends than those I’d already made, and I was scared to death about going off and leaving them. Now that I”ve lived through a year of college, I’m very glad to say that I”ve made some great friends that I know will always be there for me. Whether it’s going with me to ride at the farm, forcing me to study when I don’t want to, praying together, texting me when they’re bored and want me to join their procrastination, confiding in each other, sharing what God’s working in our lives, or just hanging out together and laughing over how ridiculous we all are, my friends have touched my life in a million ways this year, and I could never express to them how grateful I am that God has put them in my life.

2) On a lighter note, Mommy’s cooking really is way better than anything else out there. Eating at Brough and the Union daily has beat this into my head…or, I guess, my stomach.

3) I love going home to see my Mommy and Daddy. I don’t know what I would do if home wasn’t so close to the dorm. I know that at the beginning of the year, I was way more than ready to get out on my own (no offence, Mom!). But I love getting to go home and hang out with them, and I’m way glad that they have opened our home up on many occasions for my friends and I to come and bake and play Wii and watch Scarecrow and Mrs. King. Mommy has adopted us all and is always willing to iron our clothes or cook us food or help with crazy projects like making last-minute Robin Hood costumes. And I’m sure Daddy would step up to the plate, too, if we ever needed circuit board costumes or something…

4) Being involved with the church is one of the best things ever. At first, I was really nervous about moving up from the youth ministry and away from everyone that I knew, but after the college retreat in the fall, I felt instantly plugged in. Now I’m friends with pretty much everyone there, and it’s really a great place to grow spiritually alongside others. I’m always looking forward to Sunday mornings, Wednesday nights, Thursday Bible study, Friday Leadership group, and all the other fun events at the church.

5) You can never get enough of the gospel. In my college leadership book study group, we are finishing up the book Living the Cross-Centered Life by C.J. Mahaney, which I highly recommend to everyone. In reading it this semester, I’ve come to realize that the gospel is central to the Bible, and every verse points toward Christ. Mahaney stresses the importance of preaching the gospel to ourselves and praying it daily. There is no message more important than this: God loves us so much, even in our sin, that he sent his son, Jesus Christ, to take upon himself all of God’s wrath for all time, and worse, to be completely separated from him, so that we could stand before his throne and glorify him for all eternity.

I could go on and on, but I think that covers the main big points of what God’s been teaching me this year, and what I’ve become truly grateful for.

– Lisa, the younger sister


Book Review: The Scarlet Pimpernel … and Post #100

April 25, 2010

Upon Lisa’s suggestion, I recently read The Scarlet Pimpernel. It is a wonderful book and is set in England during the French Revolution. I know that images of A Tale of Two Cities may come to mind, but you will be glad to hear that Baroness Orczy is not quite as wordy as Charles Dickens. (Not that I don’t love Dickens but I know that some don’t appreciate his long-winded style as much as I do.)

A primary focus of the story is the British hero (The Scarlet Pimpernell) who rescues French aristocrats from the guillotine. Much of the story is told from the viewpoint of Marguerite St. Just who was previously a French aristocrat herself until her recent marriage to Percy St. Just, an Englishman. It is a classic adventure novel, filled with mystery and intrigue, yet not lacking character development. It reminded me of G.K. Chesterton’s mysteries with plot twists and British wit, and is definitely a must-read book.

The Scarlet Pimpernel also reads very fast – I’m sure partly due to the suspense in the second half of the book – and I would recommend waiting to start it when you have a good long stretch to read the whole thing at once. I got into the thick of this book while waiting in line (for 3 hours, I might add) for my driver’s license. Then, I had to go back to work for several hours before I could pick it up again and it was very hard to stay focused. Overall, not as much depth or meaning as Lisa’s recent book review of Redeeming Love, but still a great book.

On another note, this is the 100th post on Consanguinity so we should probably figure out some great way to celebrate.

– Katie, the Older Sister


10 Thoughts about Romania

April 25, 2010

This past week, Allison and I drove to Romania with our teammates to visit our mutual colleagues there.  Since Allison has already written a post about what we did there, I decided that it wasn’t that important to recap all we did, but instead thought I would reflect on our trip in a different way.  Hence “10 Thoughts about Romania”:

  1. Romania has many small villages along the main roads.  These villages don’t have tons of space in between them, so this makes traveling quickly difficult, since you frequently have to slow down to pass through yet another village or town.
  2. These small villages don’t have grocery stores, gas stations, or restaurants.  When driving toward Transylvania, I wondered where they get all of their food.  Surely they can’t grow it all themselves.  Our colleagues later told us that every village has at least one “store” (i.e. probably part of someone’s house) where you can buy virtually everything you need, from bread to nails.  The problem is, you have to ask for it, because they don’t have their goods sitting out.
  3. Yet another interesting fact about these villages: they only have one road.  All of the houses line the road to the left and the right.  There are no side roads.  Past the houses on both side there are fields.
  4. Similar to Bulgaria, but more common, you often pass horse-drawn carts.  I was tickled to see a sign on the highway that showed a cancel sign through a bicycle and a horse-drawn cart.  The Romanians, however, don’t heed these signs at all, and I don’t think the policemen were too worried about it, either.
  5. Almost every house lining the one road in a Romanian village has a bench in front of it.  When we were driving through on Saturday, it seemed like everyone was outside sitting on their benches and visiting with the neighbors.
  6. In many of the villages we passed through, people had set out tables with recycled bottles filled with what we assumed to be homemade wine.  I think they were for sale, although it didn’t look like they were getting many bites.  This is another thing I’m sure the police aren’t concerned about: I doubt these households had licenses for selling anything, much less alcohol.
  7. Romanians are obsessed with stamps, the kind that make a document official (our colleagues who have lived there for years confirmed this).  I went into a gas station to buy a bottle of water, and the clerk wouldn’t let me away without stamping my receipt.  I had to have proof that I bought that bottle of water.  I guess they have much more serious problems with shoplifting than we do in the US.
  8. Speaking of bottled water, carbonated water seems to be very popular there.  I know this is the case in Western Europe, but it came to my attention, because it’s definitely not the case in Bulgaria, where people drink normal mineral water.
  9. The Romanian McDonald’s has several kinds of McFlurries; the Bulgarian McDonald’s only has Kit-Kat.  That’s not fair.
  10. Across the natural border between Romania and Bulgaria formed by the Danube there is only one bridge, which is south of Bucharest.  I think Allison mentioned this, but it still eludes me.  How is this possible?

One last thing that I must mention about Romania.  I taught Allison how to do “The Brašov” and we got a picture to prove it.  This one’s for you, Katie:

James and Allison "doing the Brashov"

-James, the younger brother


T4G

April 19, 2010

This week, I went to the “Together for the Gospel”conference in Louisville, Kentucky with ten other people from church. It was mostly a pastor’s conference, but there were some college-aged people there, as well. Most of the women there were pastor’s wives, so the three college girls in our group were definitely in the minority. One great benefit of this was that even though there were 7,000 people there, I never once waited in line for the bathroom, which is very unusual.

There were some great speakers at the conference, and the theme this year was “The Unadjusted Gospel”, so everyone who spoke touched on some way that we adjust the gospel and how to help keep ourselves from doing that, since the unadjusted gospel is the most powerful message there is. We heard from John Piper, Albert Mohler, John MacArthur, Thabiti Anyabwile, R.C. Sproul, Lingon Duncan, C.J. Mahaney, and Matt Chandler. I recommend listening to the talks, which can be found here. I especially enjoyed Piper’s,  Mahaney’s, and Anyabwile’s, and hearing Matt Chandler talk about what he’s gone through since thanksgiving was also very moving.

Here’s a little clip of Mahaney’s talk on the ordinary pastor:

Another great thing about this conference was that they gave us 20 free books. I now have a whole stack of new Christian theological literature to read through:

I know the titles are a little hard to see, but if y’all family members want to borrow any of them, just tell me. And if there are any that you want us to send with our next box, James, then I’d be happy to do that.

And lastly, here’s  an entertaining clip of something you don’t expect to see at a conference of 7,000 pastors where the average age is around forty:

– Lisa, the younger sister


A Busy Week

April 17, 2010

This week was pretty busy, filled with all the normal activities and the hustle and bustle of daily life. We’re still trying to get settled in and we have a very long list of to-do items that we need to take care of – from repairs on the house to paperwork and everything in between- not forgetting that we still have some unpacking and lots of organizing to do. So, I thought I’d just send along a quick update on what I’ve been doing this week.

First, the updates:

Then, a link to “An Evening of Eschatology” on DesiringGod.org

And then the exciting news:

NatayshaThe Rogers Family has grown since coming to Texas – this weekend, we added a new member to the “fur-mily” as I lovingly call it. Her name is Nataysha, or “Tashie” for short and she is a beautiful Samoyed. They are such happy, smilie, loving dogs and we think that Tashie is a perfect representative of all the things we loved about this breed when we decided we wanted to get one. She is a little over a year old and spent most of her thus far life parading around in dog shows (both of her parents, it seems, are highly decorated champions!), but now she has been retired from all that and gets to live a happy life as a part of our family. We’re really excited to get to know her better!

– Katie, the older sister