Sunday, August 31, 2008

Oh Bless My Anna!

My wonderful sister sent me Astronaut Ice Cream! What could possibly be better for supper than that? It isn't much and it isn't healthy, but it's brain food.

God bless that girl!

Missing Supper

Slam a hole right in the middle of my nice day: I missed supper.

Ok, so maybe God has a reason for me to miss supper. I'm not complaining. But I guess I'd really, really like to.

I'm considering foraging in the basement to see if our Resident Director left any munchies in the fridge.

Homework on an empty stomach just won't be the same. Ugh! I guess forty days and forty nights is a whole lot longer to fast than just missing one meal. And praying on an empty stomach can't be any easier than studying!

Monday, August 25, 2008

What I Am Of:

My dear reader,

For my First Year Seminar, we are required to write this brief explanation of ourselves and our background. The example (and most of my fellow student's work) begins with the form, "I am from..." I have modified that to, "I am of..." for a variety of different reasons, non of which I can fully articulate at this hour.

Christ's Peace to all of you!

I am of Eve, mother of all living, deceived and misleading her husband.
I am of Adam who shirked his God-given vocation to shelter and care for his wife.
I am of Christ who bore their penalty and mine.
I am of paternal Pilgrim Holiness and maternal Roman Catholicism.
I am of water, blood, flesh and words.
I am of analogy, symbols, ceremonies, and rituals.
I am of Joan of Arc, my first heroine.
I am of Henty, Hugo, Tolkien, Alcott, Lewis, Augustine, Luther, Orczy and other authors.
I am of my ancestors – those whose stories I know and they of whom I know not.
I am of William Wallace, whose name is my heritage, and Robert the Bruce whose tale fires my heart.
I am of the blood, sweat, tears, sacrifices and prayers of the unknown many.
I am of lonely years of longing for friendship and years of self-righteous pride.
I am of the Triune God who crushes to the dust and heals body and spirit.
I am of a broken confession and a soul-healing absolution.
I am of nannies, teachers, parents, and professors who strive to engender wholesome knowledge and train a mind to think critically.
I am of a little goat who taught me to care for a creature other than myself.
I am of a 4H community that took me knowing nothing, and transformed me into a leader, a president, a secretary, and a County Council representative.
I am of a caprine herd that forced me to learn responsibility: to rise in the night to feed premature infants, to break my back shoveling manure, to milk in freezing temperatures, to diagnose and medicate, to throw myself into a cause, to be an advocate, to face wrenching decisions, to grieve.
I am of a young brother’s death in faith.
I am of an Ecuadorean tutor who broadened my world.
I am of Medicine, History, Logic, and Theology.
I am of friends who still care for me even though I wound them.
I am of hours of painful struggling with truth and how to find it.
I am of pastors who gently showed me truth, true peace, and rest; my shepherds and fathers in the faith.
I am of a mother’s struggle to submit to a God-given vocation.
I am of an extensive home-schooling community composed of all types of students.
I am of misunderstood stereotypes.
I am of physicians who live in soil: academicians who work with their hands as well as their minds.
I am of world-changers who keep to the background: those who fight for the life of the unborn in obscurity.
I am of poetry and drama.
I am of hymnody and song.
I am of “A Man for All Seasons” and the story of Thomas Moore who hid himself behind the Law.
I am of the forests and lakes, the pastures and gardens, the orchards and back roads.
I am of siblings who have loved, hurt, forgiven, teased, challenged, and demanded, with whom I have laughed and cried, argued and pondered.
I am of all those things which I cannot here put into words.
I am of things which have yet to be.
I am of perfection amidst impotence, holiness within impurity, faith through unbelief.
I am “simul iustus et peccator” – God’s own child.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

As Humanity Streams Past

“Excuse me, sir. What are you thinking? Ma’am, what is going on in that mind and heart of yours?”

No matter where I sit or stand or walk at the fairgrounds, streams of humanity flow past me. Each face, each life, each experience of every person is different. Each mind thinks, each heart feels different thoughts and feelings. Watching me carry on my life, no one would guess what tumult rumbles in my heart and in my brain. Just so, I wonder what other people are experiencing and thinking deep inside where they cannot even put thoughts into words.

That elderly man with the cane sitting in the sun on the bench – what is he thinking? Is he grateful for the warmth, or does the heat burn him? Is he remembering his own youth? What kind of memories are those? Is he peacefully enjoying the day or does loneliness pain him as he observes the families go past?

That young lady strolling along with the tall lad at her side – what does she feel? Is the boy her brother, her friend, possibly a suitor or fiancĂ©e? Is her heart secretly swelling for joy at his presence, though she will not show it? He whispers something, and she laughs mirthfully. What was the thought that produced such laughter? Was it the content of what he said, or the very fact that he spoke? Does he understand and share her joy? What is he thinking? Are the scents of greasy fried-food tantalizing his nostrils and stomach bringing back thoughts of years past, or do they nauseate him with the thought of impending heartburn?

The child racing past, weaving in and out of the fair-going traffic – why is he running? Does his heart race with fear that he will miss his show? Has he already had many problems in this day? Is he struggling against tears? Does he remember the kindness of God or has he never even heard of Christ’s free forgiveness? Or is he possibly only thinking of his awaiting lunch? And what about his lunch? Is he hoping that the sandwiches are peanut butter and jelly or is he harboring a hope for greasy, hot corndogs? Why does he want a corn dog? Is there some sort of status or satisfaction that comes from eating corndogs?

The family going by – what are they all thinking? The frazzled mother – is she thinking about where all her children are at every given moment, in addition to trying to locate displayed projects and deciding what to cook up for supper? Is she wishing her husband would reach the fairgrounds soon? Is she worried about animal care and showing, or has she only brought her young’uns to view the projects of other children? The girl pestering her to go to the circus – why does she want to see the circus so badly? What does the word “circus” mean to her? Has she waited all year for the moment of the circus?

The young couple walking yonder hand in hand, the wife obviously expecting soon, what are they thinking? Is the father’s heart full with the wonder of his soon-to-be-revealed son or daughter? When he smiles down at her, is he thinking of how he can serve her this day? When he furrows his brow, is he thinking of a recent argument, bad news from his boss, a sick parent?

And how many of these people are pondering philosophical questions of worldview even if they do not know it? How many are longing for love? How many are eaten away at by guilt? How many are worried about the next hour, the next day, the next week, the next year? How many have no idea what the future holds for them and look on it with terror? How many are plagued with worry over the things of this world which do not satisfy? How many rest secure in the forgiveness of sins?

I wish people would share their mind more often, at least when their thoughts can benefit others. But sharing one’s thoughts doesn’t seem to be very “acceptable” currently: for one thing, it’s dangerous when you are worried about protecting yourself from others, for another, it often makes other people uncomfortable. I, myself, have been scolded for sharing my thoughts too freely. A good portion of that body of scolding is justified; another portion I cannot understand and it saddens me.

I often wonder what my siblings are thinking. Silence can be a good thing, but frequently I wonder as the room grows still, what are they thinking? What are my family members trying to express? Why do they respond in that way to that comment? How do my action influence their thoughts?

It is mind-boggling to think of how many thoughts are going on at the same time when you survey humanity streaming past. All of those minds, no matter how limited they be, are precious – even that of the disabled boy who introduced himself to us during lunch. It’s also mind-boggling how God knows all those thoughts and cares for each person at every moment.

It is hard enought to understand my own thoughts and feelings. I am so glad that what I think and feel doesn't determine my identity. I am baptized: I am a child of God! I am so glad that I do not have the burden of never being sure of my salvation as the Roman Catholic gentleman Anan and I talked to today. My salvation is not dependent upon me saying "Yes" to Jesus every moment of my life. My salvation was "signed when our Redeemer died, sealed when He was glorified!"

Sunday, August 10, 2008

A Deep Breath

Now that entry day is finally ended, I can be more optimistic and cheerful about the rest of fair week.

I will begin with an shameless advertisement for [our] County Youth Fair. A beautiful, well-kept and well-organized fairgrounds houses displays of everything under the sun – from livestock to food, woodcraft to sewing, flowers to photography, veggies to house pets. In addition, vendors peddle their tongue-tempting wares only in well ordered, designated areas. And if you truly want to “get into” the fair experience, you can visit the farm equipment areas, the historical building, attend scheduled grandstand events, or even watch a few animal shows. Were one infected by a desire to own a few animals himself, auctions of small and large animals take place on Thursday and Friday.

Anyway, since you are now thoroughly convinced to come up to the fair this week, I’ll describe what my day looks like tomorrow.
Wake at 6am. Arrive at Fair around 7am. Do rabbit chores. Begin washing/ scrubbing goats for showmanship (nasty work this). Hand off a few cleaned and prepared goats to nicely, whitely dressed siblings (who will, preferably keep themselves white at least until the show starts). Clean myself up (which might include showering, and will definitely entail a clothes change into showroom whites). Review ADGA Senior Doe scorecard. Watch younger siblings show.
Watching the younger showmanship classes is a critical part of preparing to show, because by watching the judge and listening to his/her comments, I can generally figure out what this particular judge is looking for. Each judge has his own personal quirks and peeves. If I know that bump-setting impresses the judge, I’ll bump-set my goat instead of hand-setting. If I know that squatting will raise the judge’s opinion, I’ll squat instead of stand. Basically, it’s a kind of systematized flattery: you give the judge what she wants and she’ll give you what you want (ie: a nice placing).
Then I’ll enter the ring, do my best to control Caprina who thinks that the showring is a place for running, paste on a smile till that class is over, then milk out my darlings. Then change into Rabbit Showmanship clothes and run to the Rabbit Barn for Showmanship with my beautiful Flemish Giant “Addy” (short for Adiaphora).
Then I’ll run back to the goat barn to show market goats. Then I would have had to run back to the rabbit barn to show market rabbits, however, since two of our six market bunnies didn’t make market weight, I let Anna have the pen of two and decided not to sell rabbits this year. After all, I do have my 74lb market goat, “Lime”.
So, that’s as far ahead on Monday as I can see. After all that is finished, I’ll peek at what the rest of our entries earned. And hopefully we’ll go home in time to do some house clean-up: the place is a pit!

Oh, and Saturday I will be declaiming two poems by Sir Walter Scott. The plan had been to recite three, but three wouldn’t fit with-in the 7-10 minute time frame we are allowed. Ah well. I shan’t tell you which poems they be : if you want to know you’ll have to come hear them. Or ask my siblings. They’ve heard those poems more times than they’ed like.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Fair Anon Approacheth! And Vacation! And College!

Dah, doo, dah, doo.

This is a post of no great weight meant purely to treat with silliness the three fast approaching events requiring stressfilled preparation.

Sir Walter Scott. Yes, I know I'm crazy to try to memorize three or more poems of his in a week to declaim on Saturday, but somehow I'll do it. I love his poetry, even if this one rather irks me. Lady of the Lake and Marmion are definitely going to be on my wish list for Christmas.

I've still got to pack tack, clean more goats, ready the rabbits, fold origami, bake, arrange flowers, etc for fair.

And pack for vacation, and college.

Unfortunately, my family is dropping me at college half-way through vacation. Which means that everything I need for the first few weeks of classes must come with me on vacation. Oh, sad, rumpled, crinkled shirts! Must I subject you to such a state?

I'll get back to my work now and spare you more silliness.

{Big, silly, toothy grin from me to brighten up your day} :D

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Because I'm too lazy to move the post

If anyone cares to read it (If not, that's fine) there's a new post about three posts down.

Comment to Thinking Out Loud.

This was a comment. Was. Not is. :P

For what it is worth, we were taught in Interpersonal Communication, that no message will carry to the receiver exactly the meaning which the sender means it to have. Messages are "packaged", so to speak, using all of the prior experiences and thoughts of the speaker. Even when persons share the same set of experiences, they will never assign the exact same meaning and connotations to even a single word.But more than words, actions, dress, facial expression - everything communicates something, whether we like it or not and whether we intend for it to communicate or not. Humans are constantly seeking information about other people in an ongoing effort to ensure their own safety and the safety of those we love. Of course there is more to it than that. We cannot really care properly for a person without at least a rudimentary understanding of him or her. Because of this, we try to use what we know about a person to predict other things about a person: in other words, we stereotype. We could not survive without stereotypes. We expect a masked man with a shot-gun to be dangerous: we don't "wait till we get to know him better" to hide. We expect a doctor to wear a white coat and wash his hands. If he doesn't wash his hands, we might get sick.But on the other hand, sterotyping, or "pegging" people, is one of the surest way's of misunderstanding. Once you have "pegged" a person as being with this or that catagory, you view every move they make, every word they utter though that lens. For one person I met, every homeschooler automatically believed the earth was flat! For several of my fellow students, skirts mark Seventh-day Adventists. The tendency and neccessity of assuming certain things, as well as the certainty that nothing you say or do will be interpreted exactly as you intended, often leaves one feeling helpless and almost hopeless. We struggle to clarify our messages and be very clear and specific in our wordings. But I sometimes find myself throwing up my arms in disgust - ready to give up all striving to communicate. "What's it worth after all? Nobody will understand," my sinful nature whispers.
I find it interesting that the very Son of God, is the Word. When our words fail, this Word remains. And He does not stop speaking. When all we can do is whimper - and when we cannot even do that - He speaks for us and to us, to heal us. His words are living in that they act, accomplish his purpose. They are not frail or faulty like our words. Our words always fall short of the mark we aim at communicating. But His words never fail to act the very things he speaks. Our outward behavior will always be misunderstood, and often will succeed in effecting absolutely none of our designs. But Christ's outward behavior fully effected our salvation. What he communicated by His innocent suffering and death in our place covers all the hurt of our misunderstandings of him and one another. He is the Word who speaks and acts and accomplishes. In Him we share that perfect communication, though it wait for us in heaven.
When communication seems impossible and my soul moans, "Why do I even try?" There is rest in Christ. He communicated in my place. He understands in my place. I am understood in Him. And He still interceeds and prays for me when I have no words left.