Friday, February 19, 2010

On lonliness...

“Lonliness accepted becomes a gift leading one from a life dominated by tears to the discovery of one's true self and finally to the heart of longing and the love of God.” -Unknown.

Love this. Such truth in just 32 short words. Still learning and discovering, but getting closer every day. Hallelujah!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Sometimes I look around and see nothing but beauty...even in the dark things. I have this thing inside that starts like an itch in my belly and then, before long, it spreads a warmth to my whole body and I just wanna DANCE! Sheer happiness that only comes from knowing our amazing God.
Wanna hear what I was tapping my toe to when this inexplicable urge took over in the Student Center? Click here.
Jeremiah 31:13
Then maidens will dance and be glad, young men and old as well. I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


For a campus that is so large, I am amazed by the silence that one experiences here. Sometimes I turn my chair in the Listening Room toward the window to catch sun and watch the miniature people below walking from class to class...silently. Sure, there are occasional groups of friends, turning to one another in animated conversation. But mostly, everyone seems to be going to their own destination, at their own pace, with their own thoughts. It's an interesting contrast to Bethel, which felt almost like a small town. It was always difficult to get to class on time - not because of sheer distance (as it is here at Kent), but because we couldn't resist stopping to talk to at least 10 people on our way. Unless my brother and I meet up, I go through my days here saying less than 100 words. This is absolutely mind-boggling, given my personality, and given the fact that the average female says at least 7,000 words a day. I'd say when I'm with friends or family, I speak twice that -- or at least it probably feels that way to my listeners. When I'm here at school, you can't imagine how many times I have to clamp my mouth shut to keep myself from bursting out with a cheery, "Hi, I'm Kate! What's your name?" every time someone gives me a slight smile or even just makes eye-contact. Maybe I'll start doing that...but not yet. I have to get a little more comfortable with Kent culture and state school etiquette, first.
Mostly, I find the independence and quiet to be good for me. Good for studying, good for resting my eyes when I have a free moment, good for thinking, and good for listening. Listening for that still-small voice that I can only hear when I start blocking out the noise of life. It makes me think five times more before I speak -- a good change from my usual word vomit that I can't seem to control. Basically, the silence is a lesson in self-control: listening to the whispers and waiting for the nudges. Soon, I'll start making friends and things won't be quite so quiet. But for now, I'm looking at the stillness as a blessing and an opportunity.

Psalm 46:10

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

a beautiful mosaic

Day one as a clueless transfer.
Where I've been - Bethel College in Mishawaka, IN (small, Christian, private school with about 3,000 students)
Where I am - Kent State University in Kent, OH (large state school with, comparatively, a great deal of students)

My Geology Lab is taught by a tall, lean, French teacher's assistant with a wide smile and tall boots. The guys were drooling over her. She seemed oblivious -- an act, perhaps? You can never tell with French myterious and bourgeoisie. The assistant to the teacher's assistant is a grad student with origins in India. She appeared friendly, but her compliant manner and quiet countenance caused her to be lost in the shadow of her French superior. While discussing the effects of glaciers on the topography of Ohio, the assistant to the assistant chimed in with a random fact (which now escapes me). In a thick accent, the TA snapped, "Who asked you?" I guess pride is a language that defies even strong language barriers?

I spent my afternoon in the Listening Room, studying and intently reading Peony in Love. Three girls came in wearing hijab scarves. The scarves are a part of traditional Muslim dress, but of course, I don't know for sure that they were Muslim. And it doesn't matter, as I don't have a racist or discriminatory bone in my body. That's not the point. They looked modest and tasteful. And beautiful. The scarves accented their glowing skin and dark, arched eyebrows. Honestly, I welcome any kind of garb that's not the usual jeans and sweatshirts that most students wear (including myself). I'm a Christian, and my particular 'sect' -- if you can even call it that -- does not require me to wear any specific garments. And I'm rather glad for that. However, modesty seems to be on decline, even among my Christian girlfriends. The old adage 'less is more' doesn't apply to much these days...except clothing. Today, it was just refreshing to see young women holding true to something they believe with confidence and grace.

My last class on Tuesdays is a business lecture with Rosalind Thompson. She is Kent's Goodyear Executive Professor. This distinction comes in the form a year-long professorship, given to an outstanding business person with "real-world" experience. She works as a consultant for her own firm in Cleveland. Rosalind is the first woman to receive the honor, and the first minority. She's boisterous, with a perfect mix of warmth and a 'let's-get-down-to-business' resolve that promises to make the class interesting. Anyhow, I arrived early and took a seat in the back row. I felt horrid. But even with a migraine, I reminded myself that I'm just not a 'back row' kind of student. I'm not an eager-beaver front row dweller, either. So I chose a seat in the middle of the fourth row. Close enough to be perceived by my Prof. as engaging, but not so close as to make my fellow classmates hate me for being "that girl." And you know exactly what I'm talking about. Within five minutes I was surrounded by an assembly of about fifteen Asian students. They talked excitedly in their native language, which often makes me nervous. It inevitably reminds me of the fact that I know exactly one-and-a-third languages. At best. Most of my foreign classmates are fluent in, at the very least, two languages. Furthermore, I always cringe at the notion that they could be discussing me in their secret tongues and I wouldn't have the slightest idea. Luckily, I'm a stranger. And I need not flatter myself with the idea that I'm anything to talk about. Haha. I'm one of a thousand nameless faces, as far as Kent State is concerned. For now, that is... :)

All in all, it was a good day; I'm a people-watcher by nature. Everyone has something interesting to bring to the table. I can't wait to start meeting people and finding out what that might be. Until then, I'll just watch. Appreciating similarities, embracing differences, and trying to let who I was made to be shine from my deepest depths.

We have become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic. Different people, different beliefs, different yearnings, different hopes, different dreams.
-Jimmy Carter

Romans 12:5

Thursday, December 17, 2009

in days of aud lang syne...

New Year's Resolution(s):

--Take better care of my body, His temple.
Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and you are that temple. (1 Cor. 3:16-17)
--Reduce sarcasm and increase encoragement. I'm tired of being "funny" instead of "nice."
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen (Ephesians 4:29)

This will be tough. But, lucky for me,
H e i s b i g g e r t h a n m y f a i l i n g s

Thursday, December 3, 2009

'Tis the season for cookie-giving

It's Christmas again: a time for gifts and bows
It's a season for giving - that, everyone knows
But what to do when budgets are tight?
What can I give that will spread some light?
I have this idea, though it's not so new:
I'll gift cookies as gifts...yes, that's what I'll do!
How shall I package them, these thrifty sweets?
Why, I'll decorate bags for my my little treats!
Black craft paint ($2.19)
Thin-bristled paint brush ($1.10)
40 Paper bags ($1.00 at Dollar it)
Craft twine ($3.88)
Self-adhesive foam cut-outs ($1.00 - you guessed it)
Card stock for tags (optional)

Paint bags with phrase of your choosing:

Decorate with card stock cut-outs, stickers, or foam pieces:

Make tags and tie them on with brown craft string (I printed ours with Avery labels - so easy!):

Fill with your favorite treats and VOILA! Easy, fun, and inexpensive:

Happy holidays, lovely people. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Of all the seasons of the Christian calendar, Advent has to be my favorite. Hands down. There is such a aura of hope anticipation as the light of the Advent wreath spreads from one candle to the next. Being Presbyterian, Advent is full of rich tradition. Growing up, we started each Sunday in December gathered round the table reading scripture, singing carols, and progressively lighting each of the candles in the Advent wreath. That tradition has stuck with us, which is probably what prompted this post. My brother drove down from Akron this weekend, and we were able to spend the first Sunday in Advent as a family. The three of us sang all the carols of preparation that we could think of, trying some of them in a round or in 3-part harmony. O Come, O Come Emmanuel; People look East; On Jordan's Bank; and even a few songs we'd learned at our Catholic elementary school.

More than all the ceremony and tradition, though, it's the spirit of Advent that I love. When I was young, it was just the month leading up to the real holiday: Christmas. Now I realize that it's so much more. During Advent, we remember the emotion of the Christ child's first coming as we kneel at the manger. But we also hold in our hearts the hope for his second coming - not as a newborn babe, but as a mighty king. Our songs of anticipation refer to not only the celebration of His birth, but also to His return. This song, In the First Light, really puts into words what the season means for us as believers:

In the first light of a new day
No one knew He had arrived
Things continued as they had been
While a new born softly cried

But the heavens wrapped in wonder
Knew the meaning of His birth
In the weakness of a baby
They knew God had come to earth

As His mother held him closely,
It was hard to understand
That her baby not yet speaking
Was the Word of God to man.

He would tell them of His kingdom,
But their hearts would not believe
They would hate Him and in anger
They would nail Him to a tree.

But the sadness would be broken
As the song of life arose
And the First born of creation
Would ascend and take his throne.

He has left it to redeem us,
But before His life began
He knew He'd come back not as a baby
But as The Lord of ev'ry man.

Hear the angels as they're singing
On the morning of His birth
But how much greater will our song be
When He comes again to Earth

The blessing of Christ be with you and your families and we prepare to remember His birth, and celebrate His return.