25 December 2005


I woke up this morning, taking the time to lie in bed and just thank God for His gift of Christ's incarnation. He felt that we, as unwilling to seek Him and as sinful as we are, were worth subjecting Himself to what it took to save us from our sins.

Loving a person just the way they are - it's no small thing
It takes some time to see things through
Sometimes things change - sometimes we're waiting
We need grace either way

[[Sara Groves, "Loving a Person"]]

I have struggled a lot lately with worry about people getting sick of me or being annoyed with me and, yet, God still loved me enough in all of my sin to redeem me! He didn't look down and say, "She's going to annoy me someday, so let's skip her."

How beautiful are our justification and sanctification!

Being constantly surrounded by and finding new music to satisfy my ears makes me slightly ADD sometimes (a habit I've picked up from John and Chris, among others). But every once in a while, I buy or receive an album that hits me right where I'm at.

Granted, Sara Groves has always been an amazing songwriter, but this particular album is... wow. There are so few words that would do it justice.

Love, wash over a multitude of things
Love, wash over a multitude of things
Love, wash over a multitude of things
Make us whole

[["When It Was Over"]]

There has been so much I learned this past semester about how God's love can cover all of our sins and, when reflected upon, it is impossible to even fathom how much it cost.

I'm going to live my life inspired
Look for the holy in the common place
Open the windows and feel all that's honest and real until I'm truly amazed
I'm going to feel all my emotions
I'm going to look you in the eyes
I'm going to listen and hear until it's finally clear and it changes our lives
The glory of God is man fully alive

[["Just Showed Up"]]

In some ways, it is almost like I'm learning to live all over again - learning to accept that there are parts of life that God created for us to enjoy, even though they have been corrupted through our sin... Despite the fact that the earth is cursed, we are still to be stewards of it, and I think that includes enjoying it. Other things, like being happy, which we do not feel that we are "allowed" to feel, were created by God. Our emotions, whether they be good or bad, are there for a reason, and we experience them everyday - Christ experienced them, too!

I am the moon with no light of my own
Still, You have made me to shine
And, as I glow in this cold, dark night
I know I can't be a light unless I turn my face to You

[["You Are the Sun"]]

And yet we cannot forget that, apart from Christ, our lives are truly not lives! He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6); no one comes to the Father, but through Him! He came so that we might have life and have it to the fullest - He came so that our lives would be redeemed, that we might be able to come into the presence of the living and holy God who designed us for fellowship with Him.

We come with beautiful secrets
We come with purposes written on our hearts, written on our souls
We come to every new morning
With possibilities only we can hold, that only we can hold

Redemption comes in strange places, small spaces
Calling out the best of who we are

And I want to add to the beauty
To tell a better story
I want to shine with the light
That's burning up inside

[["Add to the Beauty"]]

And our response to that is surrender - full surrender of our lives, including our time and our talents, our futures and our desires, our comfort and even our minds.

It is for His glory that we are here to begin with!

There's a story burning in me
I want to tell it again and again
It's a story of redemption
Bound to change the hearts of men

I cannot find the words
and sometimes it's sounds absurd
and I don't even know myself
all the depths, the heights, the wealth

How can I tell this story again to make you wonder when
You stopped believing?
How can I paint a picture of this kind of love -
This kind of healing?

[["How Can I Tell"]]

As I prepare to commit a semester to music, it becomes an issue of whether or not I trust that God will give me all that I need - that He has prepared me to tell of His love and grace by gifting me with the talents that He has so graciously given me.

How little I truly trust when I am stripped bare!

And yet, so much of what I was given for Christmas gives me even fewer excuses for putting this off - there is nothing I need (not that there was before but, now, I truly have no excuse). Laura got me a notebook for writing songs in, as well as a binder to keep finished stuff in (and staff paper to write it on); my parents got me a keyboard (which I'm really excited about) and an audio recorder (small tapes - I actually asked for this). Pray for me - I am so susceptible to pride here and, yet, I only need to remember my previous disobedience in this area to remind me of my true place.

When fear engulfs your mind
Says, 'You protect your own'
You still extend your hand
You open up your home

When sorrow fills your life
When in your grief and pain
You choose again to rise
You choose to bless the name

That's a little stone, that's a little mortar -
That's a little seed, that's a little water
In the hearts of the sons and the daughters
The kingdom's coming

[["Kingdom Comes"]]

So often, I look to the coming months and years, and I find myself terrified at the prospect of what may occur. But, as the sluggard says, I am merely saying that there is a lion outside or that I will be murdered in the streets (Proverbs 22:13). We are to glorify God and show His love to people, even when we are afraid (which we shouldn't be) and even when things are difficult. Christ told us we would be known by our love for others - holding our tempers or our tongues might just be all it takes to plant seeds to be watered by others and ultimately reaped into the harvest!

I know this is long, especially when it would be easier to just list in detail what I received for Christmas but, perhaps, the best gifts are in what we learn - in what we glean from what we receive, not actually in what is received.

And, despite the unrest in my heart right now, I know that God still is sovereign over everything - His purposes are always proven good for us (Jeremiah 29:11) and His timing remains perfect, despite our impatience or questioning.

In three weeks, I will return to school for another semester - only two to go! But, perhaps, this semester will look different (because of my plans for it, but also because of what is to come that I do not know).

And, again, I pray that I will return a changed child - if I am not growing, if I'm am not becoming more like Christ, what is the point?

The kingdom is coming... May I always look forward to it as I do now - even more so than I await other things that God may set before me to enjoy in my redemption.

Life to the fullest!

Rejoice! Rejoice! Our God has come and dwelt among us - and He has redeemed our very lives!

Mood: Anticipatory Listening to: Sara Groves, Add to the Beauty
Reading: Jan Karon, Light From Heaven

24 December 2005

How a week flies by...

It's crazy to think that I've already been home for a week, that my grades have come in and my Christmas shopping is fully done and my brother's leaving again in a week. So... what have I been up to? Hmm...

I worked! I managed to find a temporary assignment for the day, filling in for a receptionist at an excavating company. I answered phones, filed receipts, opened mail, put things away, made photocopies... It's really not the most exciting job, but it pays well. And it's always nice to know that people value your "skills"... the woman who kept giving me stuff to do wanted to hire me mid-day as a part-time assistant.

But also in the mid-day time frame, I got a call from the staffing agency I've been working for and they found work for me from December 27th through January 10th, and praise be to God for that! It allows me time with my brother until he leaves because it's mostly part-time, but it gives me stuff to do and allows me to make some money, so... I won't go crazy this break!

Chris came up for most of the day, which was good. We went out to lunch at Cici's Pizza and played Scrabble with John (John won). Chris and his family play with different rules than our family does, so... it was interesting. We went to TNL, where the newest CORE pastor (I don't know his name yet) talked about Christmas from the perspective of the earth (it signals its redemption from our sin, as well), so... that was really cool. We missed all of the opening music, so I was kind of bummed, but we did get to eat dinner with Mom and Dad, so that was good.

I think I was a bum on Wednesday, but I'm not quite sure.

My grandparents' 64th wedding anniversary!
I actually got some stuff done Thursday. I got most of my dad's Christmas present finished (well, one of them, 'cause the others required no finishing, if that makes sense). I crocheted a bit, wrapped the rest of Dad's presents for Mom, did laundry, unloaded the dishwasher.

And then I made dinner because Mom called me up and told me to make dinner: meatloaf, baked beans, mashed potatoes, and... ta-da! Maple fudge, which is really good, but which I really should not each much of ('cause it'll make me fat).

I was supposed to go to bed after I hung up with Chris (on the phone - by the way, phones are stupid), but I didn't... I wound up talking to John until 2:30, which was really good because it's been so long since we got to do that. It's been a big semester for both of us and God is blessing and challenging us in so many ways, so it was great to get to talk to him.

One year since the hot tub burned down
I got up later than I was supposed to, but I still managed to get done what I needed to (with one exception, but that's okay - that was just because I forgot about it). I dropped off my timecard so that I can get paid, got my dad's present finished (although it was more pricey than I was thinking it would be), ate lunch, and got my hair cut.

Now, until about a year ago, getting my hair cut was a big ordeal. I normally didn't get it cut at all, which is why my mom got irritated at me, I think. I would go two years or so without getting it cut or trimmed because I was growing it out and trying to get it back to normal after I cut it following my high school graduation and after so much of it fell out.

But anyway, it's actually good because I trust the lady who cuts my hair to cut my hair. She does a good job and it lasts for the six months it will take me to get around to getting it cut again. I think all of my curl is gone this time, though, so that is somewhat of a bummer, but it also means that my hair is back to normal!

After my haircut, I went down to the Springs to see Chris (and his family). He and I went through the first part of Colossians 2, which was good even though it was shortened. We hung out with his brother and sister-in-law a bit and played Scrabble again. Chris and I played darts and I won - all three times. It's amazing because I could barely hit the board with the darts, so Chris moved me forward a bit, at which I still missed the board quite often, but at which I (obviously) did better.

His godparents and their son came over for dinner, so we all spent the evening with them. I left around 10 to get home by 11. It's hard to leave. I feel so selfish because I usually see Chris everyday and then, when I don't, I don't like it. God's working with me on that, but I don't think I really want to work on it - so I'm trying to work on an attitude change.

I came home and went to bed (eventually), but I was really twisted when I woke up this morning.

Christmas Eve
I have an hour until Laura charges over here to play Santa (not really confused by the concept, just more the reference), so I need to take a shower. Also on my to-do list are wrapping my dad's present, calling Chris, cleaning my room, and attending one of the Christmas Eve services tonight. Hopefully, I'll get some more stuff in, too.

So, in the spirit of the season, I really hope you're not reading this until after you've spent time with your family and fallen at the feet of your Savior - the baby born in a manger who is not dead because the tomb is empty. He is risen, indeed!

And that is why Christmas is important - not because of the presents or lights or time with family or whatever you might associate with it, but because our God came to earth as a baby so that He could live and then die for we who would not seek Him on our own. The tomb stands empty and our King risen because of greater promises on which we can rest.

Greater promises! For us!

A kind Savior waits for you.

Mood: Contemplative Listening to: Acceptance, Phantoms
Reading: Nothing, actually, because I finished The Chronicles of Narnia again

18 December 2005


When did we forget the baby in the manger –
The One who came to die for sinful strangers?
Was it among the shopping trips and politics
Or did the world just carry us along?

When did we forget the Father’s gifting –
The one that keeps us safe from sifting?
Was it among the bright lights and red knights
That we lost the Light of men?

When did we forget the holiness –
The glory of that child?
When did we forget His purpose –
That He crawled on knees to die?
From our first sin, His promise was this:
That our conflict would be over.

When did we forget the lowly shepherds –
Those who beneath the angels cowered?
Is it the suddenness of their journey that keeps us from learning
That this Savior is deserving of our lives?

When did we forget the kings who left their thrones
To travel to and worship One they did not know?
Is it their forfeiture of honor for that of another
That captures our fears of letting go?

When did we forget the holiness –
The glory of that child?
When did we forget His purpose –
That He crawled on knees to die?
From our first sin, His promise was this:
That our conflict would be over.

When did we forget the empty tomb
Is as much the story as the mother’s womb?
When did we forget His gift of grace –
The family found where He’s prepared a place?

For one day, we will gather ‘round the throne –
There will be no lowly manger in that home.
And all the songs we’ll sing will be of our baby King
Who died so our conflict would be over.

©2005 Alyssa Kate Grinstead

17 December 2005

#200: Return of the Elf

So, in honor of my 200th post on this here blog, I would like to inform everyone that I have finished another semester (as of 8:30 this evening, sadly) and I now have two semesters left before I graduate and join the real world where homework does not exist. :)

Anyway, finals have pretty much consumed my life over the past week and a half or so, starting with my copy-editing final the Thursday before finals week and continuing with my other exam first thing Monday morning. I had a paper for myth due by Friday (I actually managed to finish it on Wednesday) and an article due by today (thanks to my professor's gracious extension).

Other than that, I crocheted and crocheted and crocheted some more. I made a few hats, some other stuff that I'm not at liberty to talk about because the people that are receiving them as gifts are not yet aware of what they are getting, and I am still working away at my blanket and started on a scarf for myself which, if finished in the next week, will result in my having another gift under the tree courtesy of myself.

I like wrapping presents, and most everyone knows that I like wrapping presents. I like choosing the wrapping paper and matching the ribbon/bow to it. I like writing tags and finding just the right place to put them. Basically, I'm a Christmas wrapping nerd. That's right.

And I'm proud of it.

But, anyway, this leads to a somewhat strange tradition where, every year, I come home and things are in my room with the expectation that I wrap them for other people in the family.

I like this tradition because I like wrapping; however, I feel like an elf because I'm hidden away with paper and ribbons and bows and Scotch tape and scissors and no one sees me for hours on end because I'm measuring and folding and tucking and everything that goes with wrapping presents.

So that's what I've been doing the past few hours (and I do mean few...) It's been fun because it means that I am finally done with my semester and can just enjoy being home with no homework and getting to wrap presents.

'Cause I like wrapping presents. It's a good way to wind down after a strange and/or stressful day.

I went to Colorado Springs today for Chris' grandmother's Christmas party and, in the process, met much of his dad's side of the family (I already met his grandparents a while back).

It was good, but it was weird. Meeting people's families always is.

Granted, it's because there is an established pattern for social interaction that doesn't include you. They don't know what to do with you in that situation and you haven't built up wrinkles in your brain yet for how to interact with them, so...

...it just ends up being a big old awkward, hugging mess.

I got a hug coupon, but that's a whole 'nother story.

Anyway, John and I met up with Mom and Dad at the mall and went to the Cheesecake Factory for dinner before coming home.

Excellent food. Excellent cheesecake. Too many choices.

I wrote my last final when I got home... it took me about an hour and a half and then I just didn't care anymore.

And then I wrapped presents.

And now I'm writing here.

And, as soon as I'm done here, I'm going to go sit at Jesus' feet for a while 'cause He misses me.

So... 200 posts later and you are now reading the writings of an elf.

One week 'til Christmas! He is risen indeed!

Mood: Mellow Listening to: Bethany Dillon, Imagination
Reading: C.S. Lewis, The Magician's Nephew

06 December 2005

Something Laura sent me...

"If the popular culture suffers from shamelessness, much of Christian culture suffers from respectability. Too many people in church, far from seeing themselves as confessed sinners surrounded by other confessed sinners, are obsessed with making a good impression on those around them; in the very place where pretension should be lowest and humility highest, the opposite is often true."

I mean, just think about it...

03 December 2005

The Weight of Waiting

The clock ticks on
And I'm waiting to see
How You fit this part of me back into me.
The calendar turns
And I'm waiting to find
When the time will come - when it's time.

Can I jump back in yet?
Can I get my feet wet for the second time around?
Is this waiting over?
Or do I still have to shoulder the weight of this waiting around?

The page sits blank
And I'm waiting for words
That I can write right on the page - just for You.
Is this vessel empty?
Will it never be filled?
Has it lost its place in Your will?

I'm afraid that I have lost what You gave me
Like a child who has forgotten the rules.
I'm afraid that I'll bring anything and something,
Everything and nothing to You.

Can I bring something that will make You smile?
Or will I bring something not worth Your while?
The least I can do is to leap from the ground -
No more of this waiting around.

©2005 Alyssa Kate Grinstead

Racquetball and Snow

So... my headache finally left me Thursday night.

And then, Chris taught me how to play racquetball yesterday.

And since I am really bad about exercising on a regular basis (or much at all anymore), I'm really sore. There's a bruise on my wrist from where I hit the wall (at least I think it was the wall).

I am really bad at hitting the right wall. You're supposed to hit the front wall, but I really like the side ones. Hmm...

I scored two points in four games. That's really sad. Especially because one was just Chris messing up.

The footwork is really similar to volleyball, so that's the easy part for me. The hard part is the racquet and the tiny ball in place of my hand and a much larger ball.

But I will get better and Chris will eventually lose. That's my plan, anyhow. We'll see how things shape up.

In other news, I got to sleep this morning! In doing so, however, I missed the snow. I mean, it finally snowed in Fort Collins and I missed it... sad irony.

The boys went to the mountains to play in the snow because the ski resorts have gotten a lot more snow than they normally have this time of the year (and the boys have season passes, so they feel inclined to use them - not that I blame them at all). But it's kind of quiet around here.

And, now, I am going to go wrap some presents and read for a while. Putting in my contacts and doing schoolwork are also on the list, as is changing into a shirt that I didn't sleep in, but we'll see how that goes.

Mood: Sleepy Listening to: Kutless, Strong Tower
Reading: 1 Samuel, Proverbs, Acts

29 November 2005

The joys of headaches and in-depth articles

Well, Thanksgiving was good. Granted, I was overly emotional because of some random stuff for most of the week, but the holiday was good and so was having John home.

I like my little brother.

It's sweet to see him so fired up for Christ. He is so involved with Campus Crusade out in SLO and he loves it and he's so excited for what God has up His sleeve for the Cal Poly campus.

'Cause that's the cool thing about God... He's always got something amazing ready to go. How amazing is it that our God does good things and, most importantly, that He saves the souls of men?

Anyway, it was good to be home for a while with the family. If only I slept better at home...

I managed to develop a vascular headache Thursday night (that's what my mom thinks it is) and it hasn't left me yet, though it is decidedly better today because I finally got a good night's sleep.

Sunday night was fun, let me tell you. I didn't sleep well and, when I did sleep, I dreamed about not sleeping well. I finally gave up at 7:45 yesterday morning, got up and read for a while before going to one class that I barely made it through.

But I did. And I got my paper back. And I picked up my history exam. And I'm happy with my grades because I really needed them to be good. For two classes, I have a ton of grades because I have a lot of assignments. For my other two classes, I have three or four grades the whole semester, so the paper and exam were good things.

And I just got my project back for copy-editing, so that was good, too.

I have one final next Thursday, one the following Monday, a paper for lit, and my final "in-depth" article is due by Dec. 16th. But that's it! And then I'm a semester closer to graduating.

I don't like reporting. I like editing. I like writing. I like graphic design. I like learning new things. Reporting news information bores me because nothing ever changes. It's formulaic. Any moron can do it. Maybe not well. But any moron can do it.

But I have to go interview someone for my in-depth piece at 12:30 today. Which means I have time to prepare for the interview, eat lunch, and jet to Gifford.

Volunteerism and aging. Older adults volunteer a lot. To me, it's interesting; to most people, they would probably be bored. I like social theory stuff.

But I want to sleep. Sleep would be wonderful right now.

First, however, I have macro-editing. Not as fun for me as micro-editing, but still good. Boring to learn. Fun to do.

That's it, really. At least I am slightly coherent again. That's good.

Mood: Slightly disoriented Listening to: JT310 lecture
Reading: Josh McDowell, His Image, My Image

23 November 2005

John's home!

...'nuf said. :) 'Night.

20 November 2005

The Crochet Frontier

I think the title pretty much sums up my time at home so far.

I got home Friday, finished the panel I was working on, attached two more panels to my blanket as a whole, and started another panel (this part was identical to last Friday night... go figure). I got about halfway through that panel while watching Sahara with my parents. Then, I went up to go to bed, started crocheting a hat, read, and went to sleep.

I got up yesterday (albeit a lot later than I really should have because I woke up around 10:30), ate some lunch (leftover pizza), and did various things (I have lapses in my memory of what I actually did... I think it involved baking brownies and cookie bars for my parents' small group) until I decided to finish my hat (which I did). Then, Laura and I went to Borders, where we proceeded to feel very old and sad because they renovated the cafe and, not only are the prices higher, but we can't really get the same things anymore. But we looked at books ('cause we like books) and they have a ton of Sudoku puzzle books (it's nice to know that it's not just us who like them).

And then we went and looked at clothes at Kohls. They had some good stuff (like corduroy pants, which are wonderful), but they also had a lot of stuff that makes me worry about the people that wear them. I just don't know what people are thinking sometimes when they buy clothing. Go figure...

Anyway, we went to King Soopers to get drinks (because we didn't want anything that they had at Borders) and I finally settled on a Sobe and some Arizona green tea. Laura got some Sweet Leaf peach tea, which she loves. So, it was good all 'round and cheaper to boot.

We went home and watched The Princess Bride, which is one of the best movies of all time. I took Laura home and came back, finished Judges, and went to bed.

Church this morning was actually really good. My home church was finishing up their "40 Days of Community" campaign and incorporated different age groups into the service. I miss worship at my home church sometimes, but when I'm here, I miss worship at MountainView. They're just so different stylistically, but they're of the same Spirit, so it's hard to choose, you know? The middle-schoolers did a skit based on 1 Corinthians 12, about how the body is made up of many parts, but how each part needs the other. They were each a different body part and it was funny, but well-done. It drove home a lot of what I've been learning lately about the design of the local church body.

After church, I came home and read for about an hour and a half. I read Ruth, a few Proverbs, started the book of Acts, read chapters from three different books ('cause I'm reading three different books), worked on Seeking Him for next week's study in Newsom, and ate lunch.

Lunch was good. Real fish. Salmon. Baked potato. Peas. Dad's iced tea. Blueberry muffins.

I like being home. I eat fewer meals, but it's all good food.

Not that the dogs are complaining, either. Singer has developed an affinity for grapes and Dancer gets scrambled eggs on her food now. This place has definitely gone to the dogs (they're hairy, but I love 'em).

I finished the panel I started Friday while watching The Pacifier and Sixteen Candles. Frankly, the movies are mainly for background noise. The crocheting is so mindless that it's actually quite nice.

I started laundry, I'm talking to my brother, and I'm going to read some before heading to bed. Chris is coming up tomorrow, so I actually have to go to bed at a decent hour (not that that's a problem because I have so little to do, but anyway...).

But yeah... life here is good. Boring, but good. It was good to see people today. It's nice to know I can still come home. I just have different expectations now, is all.

So, that's life. And that's all I got.

Mood: Bored Listening to: Chris Rice, Amusing
Reading: C.S. Lewis, The Horse and His Boy

17 November 2005

Out of the ordinary...

I'm sitting here, munching on popcorn and Hershey Kisses (I have a sweet tooth right now) while Eddie and Chris are at the midnight showing of the fourth Harry Potter movie (they're still in line right now... it's only 11:34) and while I really should be studying some more for my Media History exam.

I thought I would do something different, merely because nothing has really gone as-planned over the past two days (not that it has been bad, but it's just been unexpected).

Yesterday and today (both), I haven't been feeling all that well, so I've been sleeping and studying and reading and sleeping and studying and... you get the point.

But last night, I went babysitting with the small group instead of going to college group. It was neat. I haven't babysat in quite a while (probably last fall, would be my guess; either that or the fall of my first year of college) and it was really cool to be able to do that again (although in a slightly different fashion). And then I studied, which was good. And then I went to bed.

This morning, I didn't have to go to my Copy-editing lecture, so I slept in, prayed a lot, took a shower and greeted the day with a bagel. I went to my lab to turn in my project and left promptly, settling in on one of the many available couches in the boys' rooms and cracking open my Bible.

It was so nice to have time to read. And I read! I went through Judges 10-16 and Proverbs 7. Judges is such a crazy book because of the dynamic between Israel and God and the cycle of disobedience and repentance... it's crazy stuff.

And then I edited Chels' paper, which took forever because my brain wasn't all there. And then I had lunch with Chris, his brother, and his sister-in-law before heading back to work some more.

After lunch, however, I wasn't feeling so good again and took a nap. I studied notes for a while and then, after waking Chris up from his nap, I began experiencing severe pains (eerily similar to those I felt when I was sick a month and a half ago).

Consequently, I didn't get much studying done in the hour I had before small group started. But I went to small group, which was really good (on having faith and "little faith" throughout the book of Matthew) and (surprise!) played for worship because Stephen was studying.

Granted, I haven't played for worship in a really long time, but it was good to do it again. Uncomfortable, yes, but good.

And I am feeling better. Hopefully, nothing will return tomorrow.

I came back to the dorms, Chris and Eddie left for the movie, and I finished going through my notes and looked over my study guide briefly (I need to do that in more depth once I finish here). I checked out the music room and played through some stuff on the piano (how I miss having a good piano!). I started work on a song for Laura and Andy's wedding, but I don't know what I think of it yet. It might morph. I might write a completely different song. Who knows?

And now I just finished eating popcorn and Hershey's Kisses and I need to get ready for bed and finish studying for my Media History exam.

And I'm going home tomorrow! And my brother comes home Tuesday! It'll be nice to have a rest, even though I will have some schoolwork to do. I'm almost done with the next panel for my blanket, too, so that will be good to work on.

The semester is winding down. My last days with MountianView are mounting, sad to say, but I'm excited about what God has for me in the Spring with Summitview and with music and outside of formal ministry...

I'm excited, but I am of so little faith!

Back to the grindstone... 'til I write again, good night.

Mood: Okay Listening to: Bebo Norman, Big Blue Sky
Reading: Media History notes

12 November 2005

Selective Information...

I took out some questions 'cause they don't really fit with "me"... I got the original off of Chels' MySpace account ('cause I stumbled across it). Boredom is great.
Name:Alyssa "Kate"
Birthdate:May 16, 1985
Birthplace:Lafayette, IN
Current Location:Aurora, CO (but I live in Fort Collins, CO)
Eye Color:Blue (unless I wear green)
Hair Color:Brown
Height:5' 3.5" (yes, the half-inch counts)
Weight:More than it looks like.
Piercings:My ears. I don't need anymore holes in my head.
Boyfriend/Girlfriend:Yup. I like him.
Overused Phraze:"Are you sure?"
Candy:Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
Number:I'm not good with numbers.
Animal:Penguins in animated movies (Madagascar?)
Drink:Peach iced tea
Alcohol Drink:Wouldn't know 'cause I don't drink
Bagel:Cinnamon sugar
Letter:One that's sent to me
This or That
Pepsi or Coke:Pepsi
McDonalds or BurgerKing:Burger King
Strawberry or Watermelon:Watermelon
Hot tea or Ice tea:It depends on the weather
Chocolate or VanillaVanilla
Hot Chocolate or Coffee:Hot chocolate
Kiss or Hug:Each has its own purposes
Dog or Cat:Dog
Rap or Punk:Punk
Summer or Winter:Winter (but I really like Autumn)
Scary Movies or Funny Movies:Funny movies (unless I have someone to tell me to close my eyes at the scary parts)
Love or Money:Love
Bedtime:When I get there
Most Missed Memory:Feeding the fish with my grandfather
Best phyiscal feature:Eyes (I think)
First Thought Waking Up:"Lord, help me get through today"
Goal for this year:To grow more in my faith, to get one semester closer to graduating
Best Friends:Laura Marie (!)
Weakness:People I love
Fears:Becoming stagnant, waking up and having my life be "one big joke" (although that's not as true as it used to be)
Heritage:German, Scandinavian, Irish, English, American Indian (Cherokee)
Longest relationship:Hasn't ended yet...
Ever Drank:Water? Yes. Alcohol? No.
Ever Smoked:Nope
Ever been Drunk:Nope
Ever been beaten up:Nope. Tickled mercilessly? Yes.
Ever beaten someone up:I slapped someone across the face once.
Ever Shoplifted:Not consciously in my memory.
Ever Skinny Dipped:Nope
Ever Kissed Opposite sex:Yes
Been Dumped Lately:Nope
Favorite Eye Color:Green/Blue
Favorite Hair Color:Not important
Short or Long:Short
Height:Taller than me (but that's not hard)
Style:Whatever works
Looks or Personality:Just someone who seeks after God whole-heartedly
Hot or CuteNot important
Drugs and Alcohol:If he's old enough, drinking responsibly is okay; drugs eat your brain.
Muscular or Really Skinny:Not important
Number of Regrets in the Past:Many, but I look back and see grace, so it doesn't really matter
What country do you want to Visit:Italy
How do you want to Die:I want to be raptured.
Been to the Mall Lately:No. I don't think I've been to the mall since I worked there.
Do you like Thunderstorms:Very much so.
Get along with your Parents:Very much so. Most of the time.
Health Freak:Not really. I like sugar too much.
Do you think your Attractive:Sometimes, but it's not what matters - I'm precious in God's sight.
Believe in Yourself:Sometimes, but it comes and goes in spurts.
Want to go to College:I am in college. Almost done, too.
Do you Smoke:Nope
Do you Drink:Water? Yes. Haven't I already answered this? Alcohol? No.
Shower Daily:If I need to.
Been in Love:Yes
Do you Sing:Yes
Want to get Married:Absolutely
Do you want Children:Yes. Whether or not I can raise 'em is a different story.
Have your future kids names planned out:I've thought about it, but that's about it. I don't have anything set.
Hate anyone:Not that I know of.



Well, I'm currently at home because my parents are in Connecticut for my cousin's wedding and I thought it would be nice to get a break from being at school.

Laura came up for the weekend, too, which is fun. We're getting to act like real friends who see each other and do things together on a regular basis. We went out for burritos last night, hit the used bookstore next door, went to see her dad and then came back to my parents' house.

We were old ladies, but we didn't expect otherwise. We watched TLC (because it's, at the least, not degrading or offensive) and crocheted. Yes, you heard right. We crocheted. And we ate ice cream, too... :)

But yeah, I finished the panel I've been working on, connected it and another to my blanket which is slowly building, figured out that I have 12 panels instead of 16 to do (I'm really spacey when it comes to stuff like that), and then I started another panel, which I'm now about 1/5 of the way done with (yay!). Pretty soon, I will be 2/3 done overall.

I'm a nerd... what else can I say?

But yeah... I'm supposed to be doing homework. Or reading. Or folding my laundry, which finished drying about an hour ago. Or showering, which I'm sure the dogs would appreciate. I'm waiting for Laura to get back from her time with Andy ('cause I said she should do that)... and then we're going to get food and go to the thrift store, so... I really need to work now is basically what it boils down to.

So... I'm going to go do that, I think. Well... I'm going to go do something. Laundry? Shower? Read? I like that order.

Mood: Discombobulated (what does that mean?!) Listening to: The house
Reading: John MacArthur, Jr., Different by Design: Discovering God's Will for Today's Man and Woman (take that, feminism!)

08 November 2005

When speech fails...

Little girl sits alone –
She hides her face when light is shown
Into her dark corner of the world

She weeps beneath her fallen hair
She feels that none of this is fair –
How did she wind up so alone?

Will she ever know what others know?

There’s a peace
Beyond all her understanding
There’s a cross
That keeps her from reprimand
And there’s more mercy in one drop
Falling from His hands –
There’s more mercy in one drop of His blood
Than she could ever need

Little girl walks around
A frowning face that’s upside-down –
A heart in need of truth and mending

She hides herself within the bonds of night
Thinking no one sees her in the light –
Why does the darkness seem so never-ending?

There’s a peace
Beyond all her understanding
There’s a cross
That keeps her from reprimand
And there’s more mercy in one drop
Falling from His hands –
There’s more mercy in one drop of His blood
Than she could ever need

Will she ever see?

That there is One who loves her,
One who called her by name –
That there is One who sees each tear that falls
And hears every cry she makes?

That she is treasured above all others,
Valued more than His own life –
That she is precious in the sight of Adonai –
Complete in His sacrifice?

There’s a peace
Beyond all her understanding
There’s a cross
That keeps her from reprimand
And there’s more mercy in one drop
Falling from His hands –
There’s more mercy in one drop of His blood
Than she could ever need

Gracious Father
To Thee we sing –
Perfect Savior
Beautiful King

©2005 AKG

03 November 2005

Class? What's 'class'?

So... my only class today was cancelled (my guess is that it was due to my instructor being sick, like she was Tuesday). Anyway, I got up early to go to that class and now I'm really tired, but I have to work on my research project for Media History.

I had a meeting with my Reporting professor today and, guess what? I'm a good writer. Yeah. Amazing, huh? I'm also my harshest critic and I put in so little work in that class that it is difficult to feel proud of anything that I write.

But yeah... I'm sort of procrastinating right now because I really don't want to do any work, despite the fact that I have to or I'm in a lot of trouble.

I found this article over at Boundless that made me laugh, though.
Time to Meet the Parents?

It made me laugh because it kind of described some of the experiences that I've had in the last two months. Granted, I really don't think any amount of preparation or advice could really help in that respect, but oh well.

Time to get back to the grindstone. Yuck. I'm really ready to be done with this semester (at least). I am beginning to feel like all I really do is study... it doesn't leave much time for people, even though it's glorifying to God for me to complete my work.

It's really windy... the branches keep scraping against the window.

Nonetheless, God is still God. And God is good.

And we sing because You are bigger
than any reference we could make
And we dance until we're tired
because we know Your name is great.

[["All the Reasons Why," downhere]]

Mood: Lazy Listening to: downhere, downhere
Reading: Better Homes and Gardens, Sept 1975

01 November 2005

The days I feel discouraged...

...are often the days when I am not showing love toward those around me and the days when others fail to exhibit love and grace toward those around them.

How do we ever conceive that we deserve any sort of respect from anyone? How do we get away with feeling a sense of personal injury when someone has merely been doing their job? How do some feel that one moment of error can discredit someone who has been nothing but faithful for years?

It's been a long day... and some comments that have been made today are really weighing upon my heart at the moment.

And yet, I need to exhibit the same grace toward those that make comments as is required of them toward those they are commenting on. Does that make sense?

Things are busy around here, but that's okay. I got everything done for last week that was required of me. I went to Snow Mountain Ranch for a retreat with the Rock this weekend, which was greatly needed and such a blessing. God is teaching me so much at the moment and making clear all-the-more what it is that He requires of me in the coming days. He reaffirmed a lot of things this past weekend and, for that, I am very grateful.

Now that I'm back, work is piling up again. I never knew that four classes could be so much work. I'm working on a project for Media History that is taking a really long time and that, in all actuality, I have no idea what I'm supposed to do with. I have a micro-editing exercise due Thursday that's worth 4 percent of my grade. I have a story due Friday for Reporting. Kind of swamped, but not stressed, surprisingly.

One day at a time. And if I have to stay up all night Thursday, like I (practically) did last Thursday, so be it. Things will get done. I'll stay sane. :)

In three weeks, my brother will be home! I'm really missing him and I'm getting to the point where I'm ready to spend some time with my family again. Granted, seeing them means not seeing people here, but I figure we'll all be in heaven sooner than later, so there's really no need to see everyone at once just yet.

Besides... I'd get terribly anti-social if I saw everyone at once and I wouldn't be able to enjoy it.

Something to chew on: Partial obedience is disobedience.

Mood: Perturbed Listening to: My iPod
Reading: Better Homes and Gardens, Sept 1971

24 October 2005

The Crazy Life

Okay... it's been kind of hectic around here lately, so I'll try to catch you up on what I've done since the last time I wrote.

Oct. 14-16, Weekend
*I went home. I made a lot of sweet stuff that I really should not eat, but I have been. I watched hockey and football with my dad. I hung out with Laura, who came up to see me. I did a lot of reading for my classes. Good stuff.

Last Monday
*I didn't have Reporting, so my day was infinitely better. I worked on Distinctives and took a nap, I think. And I went to Distinctives, which was a great look at how the local church is meant to be a community.

*I went to Copy-editing, which was awesome... we learned about false possessives (I won't go into that because you are probably not as much of a grammar geek as I am) and then our lab was cancelled because our instructor was sick. I spent the afternoon reading, which was wonderful because I never get to read what I want to read. Joshua and Matthew and Blue Like Jazz... all great stuff. Then, I went to the city council meeting because I had an exercise for Reporting that depended upon my attending the meeting and getting a story in by midnight. High stress. Controversial topic because they gave the first reading of the new rental laws... I left at ten, but they kept going. I wrote my story while distracted by other stuff, but got it in on time.

*Class. Wrote a really long blog entry that the computer proceeded to eat when I pushed the spell-check button. Met with my advisor. Still graduating next December. Ate food. Slept, I think. College group. Did a microediting exercise for Copy-editing, which was fun (for me, at least).

*Copy-editing. Quiz I forgot about. Slept 'cause I was tired. Went to worship practice, which is always interesting. Went to small group, which was sweet because we had a free-for-all, of sorts, with worship, scripture and prayer. Not being in a good mood, Chris and I went to the park because I didn't want to go back to the dorms. Eventually went to sleep.

*Having slept through both of my classes, I spent the afternoon reading (I think) and just having time for myself. The guys went over to Eddie's for "guy time" and then Chris and I rented "Big Daddy," which was funny. I freaked out about some stuff for a while, which wasn't so good, but it was good to have a (mostly) quiet night. Eventually went to sleep.

*Slept in, which was nice (although I didn't sleep very well because I had a bunch of odd dreams). Read a little. Went bowling with Chris' family, which was fun. It's better than it was because I am more comfortable with them than I have been. Somewhere along the line, I managed to get a headache. Eventually went to bed.

*I woke up at 5 a.m. with the worst headache I've had in a really long time. After taking some Tylenol, I crawled back into bed and waited for it to kick in, which it eventually did. Needless to say, I didn't sleep well, so I tried to sleep during church, which didn't work so well either. I got up, feeling like I got beat up while I was trying to sleep and read for a while (I finished Joshua). Ate lunch. Started reading Jung again, who is quite the... I don't think he really understood what it was that he was writing. Either that or, as a psychologist, he had detached himself to the point where he became incapable of feeling. I don't know. I'm done reading it for now. Watched the football game while I read. Broncos lost. Read some more until I finished what I needed to glean from Jung. Then we watched "Office Space," which only served to prove that I am a complete nerd who has worked in an engineering department. Finally fell asleep around 3:30 a.m., I think...

*Got up at 8 a.m. and went to class, which is where I am now. I worked on a puzzle during Lit, took notes like a madwoman in Media History and listened to the local paper's crime reporter talk about her experiences for the first part of Reporting. Now, we're talking about story ideas for our final, which we could easily do just as efficiently with email, but we have to be here for some reason. I'm tired and hungry, and I just want to go back to the dorm, to be honest. I have stuff to do, though, because I need to read more for Lit (I have a paper due Friday) and I have to get my Distinctives assignment done for tonight. And it's already almost 1 p.m.

That's it. Not too exciting, right? Well, for those who care... it's there. :)

Mood: Hungry Listening to: Nothing. Chelsea has my iPod.
Reading: Nothing. I finished Blue Like Jazz Friday.

14 October 2005

Homeward Bound

Yes, this week has been kind of crazy, but I am finally done with my midterms and projects and stuff. The only thing left is to find my critiques for my feature story and then rewrite it and get it in before I leave.

Which could be a problem because I can't find the critiques... :)

Anyway, I'm finally going home. It's been six weeks, I think, which is a crazy long time. It will be strange, though, because it will be quiet this time. John's not there anymore and he always filled the house with noise.

It will be good though, 'cause I'll get to spend time with the 'rents, get some work done (which I need to do a lot of) and then I get to have a sleepover with Laura tomorrow night(!)

I'm so excited! We're actually going to act like real friends who get to spend time with one another!

So... I'm going to go find stuff now. Then work. That would be good.

Mood: Good Listening to: David Crowder Band, A Collision (or 3+4+7)
Reading: Criticism about my feature story

10 October 2005

"When our depravity meets His divinity it is a beautiful collision."

Not a few Christians live in a state of unbroken anxiety, and others fret and fume terribly. To be perfectly at peace amid the hurly-burly of daily life is a secret worth knowing. What is the use of worrying? It never made anybody strong; never helped anybody to do God's will; never made a way of escape for anyone out of perplexity. Worry spoils lives which would otherwise be useful and beautiful. Restlessness, anxiety, and care are absolutely forbidden by our Lord, who said: "Take no thought," that is, no anxious thought, "saying what shall we eat, or what shall we drink, or wherewithal shall we be clothed?" He does not mean that we are not to take forethought and that our life is to be without plan or method; but that we are not to worry about these things. People know you live in the realm of anxious care by the lines on your face, the tones of your voice, the minor key in your life, and the lack of joy in your spirit. Scale the heights of a life abandoned to God, then you will look down on the clouds beneath your feet.
[[Rev. Darlow Sargeant]]

The last few days, I have been overcome with worry for different things. For what reason I allow myself to succumb to my emotions, I do not yet know, though I suspect it may have something to do with my inability to let myself rest, be happy or remain at peace for any extended amount of time.

And yet, Christ tells us to "take no thought" at what we need; how little we should worry about our basest of needs, much less those things that we want!

But it is still all too simple to get caught up in my to-do list with my (seemingly) endless pile of extended assignments and upcoming exams and projects and regular deadlines. It is too simple to get frustrated when a computer program doesn't work quite the way I want it to and when I don't have the right fonts to be able to gauge correctly just what it is that needs to be fixed and finished.

This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says:
"In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength,
but you would have none of it.

[[Isaiah 30:15]]

I am being called to rest, to slow down in certain areas of my life, but it is almost as though I will "have none of it".

It is just that I have yet to translate where to draw the line with my schoolwork. I am to be diligent at minimum, but I have yet to find a balancing point on that... To be honest, I have yet to be diligent with anything more than deadlines.

I'm facing a tough week academically, especially after having missed four days last week, but my prayer is that what I have to do will not consume me. I merely need to understand that things need to get done and then get them done (which is normally the harder part).

The urge to be done with school continues to arise. I'm so close, but I still have so much to do!

And, at the same time, there are some things that have come up in the last few days that I need to take the time to address and address thoroughly (instead of just pushing them out of my mind, like I usually do).

I'm learning to let go, to lean on what I know is true... Even when my mind still struggles with trusting the plans that God has for me. Every day seems to be a learning curve these days.

This is a season of preparation.

"For what?" you may ask. I don't know. And that's scary.

But I'm laying my fears at His feet, though it might take a while.

I await the day when I fear no more, when there are no more residuals from past experiences that threaten my mind's ability to enjoy what my Father has given me... My prayer is that I would live freely in the love and grace that Christ has so beautifully provided for me.

Love so incredible to know it's never gonna go, never gonna go.
Love too impossible and true for anyone but You, for anyone but You.

I think I'm on the brink of something large.
Maybe like the breaking of a dawn.
Or maybe like a match being lit, or the sinking of a ship, letting go gives a better grip.

I'm finding everything I'll ever need by giving up, gaining everything.
Falling for You for eternity, right here at Your feet, where I want to be.
I am Yours.

Love so indelible to know You're never gonna go, You're never gonna go.
Love too unthinkable and true for anyone but You, for anyone but You.

I'm finding everything I'll ever need by giving up, gaining everything.
Falling for You for eternity, right here at Your feet, where I want to be.
I am Yours.

Forever and ever and ever and ever and...

[["Foreverandever Etc..." | ©2005 David Crowder, Jack Parker, Mike Dodson]]

Mood: Ready for bed Listening to: David Crowder Band, A Collision
Reading: Cowman, Streams in the Desert

07 October 2005

Forced into Stillness

"Cease striving and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth." [[Psalm 46:10]]

Last Thursday, Sept. 29, I came back from the Plaza frustrated and fully set on defending Christ; I felt I was personally responsible for defending Christ! Nevermind that He doesn't need me to defend Him! Nevermind that He will be exalted!

I sat down and opened my Bible, seeking to calm myself because I knew I was too worked up to accomplish much of anything. At first, I tried to read from where I was in Joshua, but couldn't concentrate. I flipped to the Psalms instead, landing on Psalm 46. I started reading and received a spiritual 2x4 to the head.

He will be exalted! I do not need to defend Him! He already has the victory!

That lesson learned, I headed into this past week with deadlines and tasks overwhelming my mental capacities. While in class Monday morning, I started feeling nauseous and a tension in my stomach muscles.

Monday night, the tension turned to sharp pains that lasted through Wednesday, when I finally went to the clinic and they gave me something to take away the nausea.

When I went back Thursday, they did some tests, thinking it was probably an E. coli infection, but not ruling out another type of bacterial infection.

Needless to say, I haven't been to a class since Monday. For most of the week I haven't been able to do much more than lie down. No reading, no writing, no walking upright without someone next to me to make sure I didn't fall over...

It hasn't been fun. I hate being sick. I hate being bored. I hate depending on other people.

But I've had to just "cease striving" and let God be God... there has been absolutely nothing I can do but try and get nutrients into my system (which I'm actually really bad about - just ask Chris). I have never known such pain and I am so grateful that this is just an infection and not something I have to deal with every day. I am so blessed to be regularly healthy.

I felt normal last night for a few hours, which was wonderful. I got to enjoy some good food and fellowship (after a week of non-coherence) with the SV small group.

Felt somewhat icky this morning, but that seems to have passed for the most part - just in time for Chris, Stephen, Dave, and Tyler to come home sick from attempting the BeauJo's Challenge (12-14 lbs of pizza between two people in one hour's time).

I went back to the clinic this afternoon (for the third time in three days). They ruled out E. coli and gave me an anti-biotic while they wait to see if anything else develops. They're still banking on a bacterial infection.

I really want to go out and get a copy of the new David Crowder Band CD because it's amazing, but my financial situation is not-so-good right now and I have to figure that out (especially after having paid for medicine this week).

Mom and Dad are coming up tomorrow night (most likely) and I'm excited to see them. It's been five weeks since I was last home and I'm really starting to miss my family. I'm going to try to get home next weekend, which should be good.

Well... I should make my way back to the dorm to see if the boys are back from their gorging festival. See if they need anything, you know?

That's all for now... hopefully, this will be updated more regularly. :)

And for all who have yet to hear Laura's announcement, you should visit her blog:

Mood: Spent Listening to: David Crowder Band, A Collision
Reading: Psalm 107

01 October 2005

Gone Retreating...

I know I haven't really updated lately, but... welp... no excuse is really going to help me.

I'm leaving for Estes Park in about five hours, though, so I really need to get some sleep.

I will try and write a big long entry when I get back Sunday, but for now... Goodnight. :)

Mood: Sleepy Listening to: everybodyduck, Seized by the Power of a Great Affection
Reading: Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz

27 September 2005

Five.5 Painful Hours

No offense to the Poudre School District, but their meetings are not the most riveting experience a college student will ever have. Granted, there were a few outbursts, praises and interesting presentations, but things were repeated and repeated and repeated. And it was really hot.

I'm done complaining, as I've certainly done my share today. Sorry 'bout that.

Anyway, I had a midnight deadline for this story, so I came back and typed up my notes before writing a two.5-page article. Honestly, it is the best piece I've written for the class and the most-deserving of a good grade. I actually put effort into this piece, even though it didn't have any "heart" to it. I haven't been pleased with anything I've written so far this semester, so to have written something that I actually think as "good" is a big thing for me.

Just watch... I'll probably fail the assignment or something. Irony works like that. Oh well.

When I got back from the meeting, I was over on the south side because the Broncos/Chiefs game was on and I wanted to see what was left of the game. I was just really irritated due to stress... and then, all of a sudden, I let myself think and I almost crumbled because I realized just how much I miss my brother.

The past four years, John and I have grown increasingly closer. Even when I've been in the Fort for school, it was rare that I went more than two or three weeks without seeing him and we normally talked once or twice a week.

Since he's been in California for school, though, we keep playing phone tag and my schedule's hectic and his is busy. I don't know when the last time I really talked to him was. It's been three weeks since I saw him last (I was home for Labor Day) and I won't get to see him until Thanksgiving.

I miss him so much and it doesn't make it any easier to know that he's dealing with college stuff like roommate issues and focusing and finding quiet. I feel so disconnected and it bites.

God has both of us where we are for a reason. He has this separation time for a purpose. I just miss my little brother.

Hopefully, I will get the chance to call him tomorrow. I think he's got free time in the afternoon when I do (granted, I'm done at 11:30am, so that's not hard).

My roomie is having surgery tomorrow and, to be honest, it's been kind of creepy because she's been writing letters to everyone and putting together a will and such. I trust that she'll be fine, but it still weirds me out.

Lots of prayer tomorrow, I guess. It's a good thing I like talking to Jesus.

Bedtime now. I'm really beat.

Tomorrow is a new day... Praise the Lord!

Mood: Beat Listening to: everybodyduck, Seized by the Power of a Great Affection
Reading: Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz

26 September 2005

"Why go I mourning?" [[Psalm 42:9]]

He was better to me than all my hopes;
He was better than all my fears;
He made a bridge of my broken works,
And a rainbow of my tears.
The billows that guarded my sea-girt path,
But carried my Lord on their crest;
When I swell on the days of my wilderness march
I can lean on His love for the rest.

He emptied my hands of my treasured store,
And His covenant love revealed,
There was not a wound in my aching heart,
But the balm of His breath hath healed.
Oh, tender and true was the chastening sore,
In wisdom, that taught and tried,
Till the soul that He sought was trusting in Him,
And nothing on earth beside.

He guided by paths that I could not see,
By ways that I have not known;
The crooked and straight, and the rough was plain
As I followed the Lord alone.
I praise Him still for the pleasant palms,
And the water-springs by the way,
For the glowing pillar of flame by night,
And the sheltering cloud by day.

Never a watch on the dreariest halt,
But some promise of love endears;
I read from the past, that my future shall be
Far better than all my fears.
Like the golden pot, of the wilderness bread,
Laid up with the blossoming rod,
All safe in the ark, with the law of the Lord,
Is the covenant care of my God.

[[Author unknown, from "Streams in the Desert" by Mrs. Charles E. Cowman]]

23 September 2005

Stilling 'Even Me'

The past few weeks have been quite a change from the first few weeks of the semester.

In the beginning, everything was coming toward me at once, everything demanded my attention. Now, I'm trying to learn how to rest, how to slow down.

Slowing down is so difficult for me to do... I like to be busy, to have something to occupy myself with. So rarely will I take the time to just sit and be alone.

Why the sudden change of pace?

Every once in a while, I go through a stage where I become extremely anti-social. It's not that I don't want to spend time with people (because I love doing so and wish I could do so more), it's just that I can only take so much before my head starts to hurt and I just want to curl up under a blanket and sleep.

I've been trying to balance being social and being on my own, and so far, it seems to be working all right. It's good for me to force myself into silence as much as it is good for me to be placed in positions of fellowship.

This, too, shall pass. Soon enough, I will be social again and I'll be a changed child of God (again, as always).

I am so incredibly blessed; I pray my lack of desire for social interaction would not dampen my witness here in the hall and on-campus.

"Beautiful Confusion" was written about a month ago under some very interesting circumstances that are almost completely opposite of those I am now experiencing (and which I have no complaints about).

In stark contrast stands what I wrote this afternoon:

The stillness that surrounds me
echoes the timbre of my heart.
For in this blessed quietness,
conversation is an art.

This peace that flows like rivers to the open sea
Reminds me I am placed just where I am to be.

My Father knows me -
He reads each thought upon my mind.
My Father loves me -
and His sacrifice is mine.
My Father sees me -
I am forever in His sight.

Yes, me.
Even me.

Perhaps none of this actually makes sense and I'm just rambling, but sometimes, it's okay to ramble. And sometimes, it is okay to go to sleep, which I am going to do right now.

Stillness and quiet and rest. May we know more with every day.

Mood: Tired Listening to: Exit East, Exit East
Reading: C.S. Lewis, The Silver Chair

Beautiful Confusion

This beautiful confusion,
with peace so sweet -
It bids me sit at my Savior's feet.

This beautiful confusion,
out of restless heart and will -
It bids me come and, at His toes, be still.

For what have I gained if I plant my own thoughts?
And what have I gained if everything is lost?

This beautiful confusion,
a simple open door -
Bids me remember what this life is for.

For in beautiful confusion,
I fear not the coming day -
It bids me sleep in peace,
with worry far away.

©2005 Alyssa Kate Grinstead

20 September 2005

Ink on My Hand

Well, I have another list going on the back of my hand... it's just that this one is taking a lot longer to mark stuff off on.

Shall I explain?

I'm too lazy to take it out, but I will... probably today.

This I already did. It consisted of checking my computer to see if I have a copy of Adobe PageMaker. I don't. Well... I kind of do, but it's not working.

I did this, too... in fact, this item and the one above it are the only things that I have marked off of my hand. I typed up my first two assignments and finished the fourth. Good stuff.

E337 Paper
Ah... Western Myth. Paper #1. Due tomorrow. Still have 1/2 page left (but at least I am working on it and started before 1am the morning it's due, right?). Anyway... this will get done before 2pm because I'm determined 1) to be done with it and 2) to go with Chris to Niwot.

320 Rewrite
I really do not like Reporting. My half-baked, not-really-caring-at-all effort of last week panned out to be about the same as my attempt while on drugs. That certainly should motivate me to work harder, right? Nope. I have to rewrite it by Friday (although I don't have to do too much). Only 10 more weeks to go...

Man, oh man, do I need to do laundry. Well... I don't really have to, but I either have to do laundry or iron stuff and since I hate ironing stuff... laundry it is. Probably tomorrow. Clean clothes would be nice.

I have needed to do dishes for about two weeks. It hasn't happened yet. Maybe I'll do that before 2pm, too... Gotta aim high and see how productive I can be.

We need an icebreaker question for Bible study tonight and I'm really bad at coming up with them. Any ideas? Let me know.

Post Office
I have a package for Laura sitting in my room with a Waiting CD and a card in it, and I have yet to get to the post office to send it to her. But I want to. And she wants the CD. And I've already delayed the card 'cause I wrote it over a week ago. I should get that sent. Probably tomorrow.

Check for Mom
Like normal, I owe my mother money. How much? I don't know. It's possibly in the quarter-million-dollar range, but she'll only make me pay $25-30. I need to find the receipt and figure that out and then put a check in the mail.

Gilmore Girls is on tonight and I aim to watch it sometime later this week (because I have more pressing things to do than to schedule my life around a TV show). So... I need to set the VCR.

I am sure that there are a ton of other things that I need to do, as well... especially considering the numerous other deadlines I have the rest of this week, but I don't really care right now. And I should really utilize this class for its purpose - working on my PageMaker project (especially since it turns out that I don't have a copy of the program at home).

That's all for now. I'm going to work now. I think. :)

Mood: Bored Listening to: Nothing... my iPod battery needs charging
Reading: Font size guidelines

18 September 2005

Do I actually live here?

The past few days, I haven't really lived in my room at all... I haven't really even lived in the dorms (not that I'm complaining... 'cause it's been really nice to get out), but anyway...

Thursday was Chris' birthday and I went with him to the small group he's a part of on Thursday nights (with a bunch of people I already know)... we made chicken enchilada casserole stuff and the boys made homemade salsa (which packed a punch) and it was all wonderfully good. Abra also made Chris a German chocolate cake, which was very good.

Chris and I walked back to the dorms, which was nice (even though it was a cold night). We hung out for a while and, because I was falling asleep standing up (well... kind of), I went to bed.

I didn't go to either of my classes Friday (I made Dave go to Myth and it was the day after an exam in Media History, so I'm not too worried about 'em)... I slept instead and it was delightful. I needed a day off.

But I didn't (exactly) get a day off, as I had to write my article for 320 (which I did very quickly and at the last possible minute). I took Chris shopping with his birthday money (because his car battery is fried)... That was fun.

I went out with Emily and Lauren last night, which I haven't done in a while, but it was good to sit around a table, talk, eat chocolate and watch them attempt to consume one alcoholic beverage apiece (because they're lightweights... so it's funny). I am so incredibly blessed to have good friends from CREW that I can still hang out with for hours.

When I returned home, Chris and I took a walk, which I enjoyed. Afterward, I broke out the Iliad (or tried to, much to Chris' dismay) and managed to get through 10 pages before I realized that I was exhausted and had absolutely no idea whatsoever what the plot was (and I was really tired).

But I laid down on the couch with a blanket on me (in Chris' room) and wound up sleeping there the whole night because I was comfortable and because no one sleeps in there anyway (except on random occasions).

At a quarter to 8 this morning, Chris came in and woke me up because we were going to go climb Grey Rock just north of here. We went and I think I got about halfway up (maybe?) before I started getting a headache and felt really thirsty (a good sign that you're dehydrated, which I don't doubt that I was). So, the two of us went back down and waited (for a few hours) for everyone else to join us.

From 1 to 4pm, I had worship practice for the retreat (coming up in two weeks), which was good. Tonight, we went to church and then to dinner, where Chris and I both had former professors at the next table over (the professors are married), so he eavesdropped a little and it was entertaining.

Good food. Good company.

Now that I have hung out some (trying to be more social) and talked with some of the girls that I haven't seen in a while, I am in my room listening to the new Switchfoot album, which finally showed up today, and I am more than ready to go to sleep before I wake up to go to church in the morning (I get to be the "outsider" now, but that's okay - I want to go).

I am so blessed. Still peaceful. Still content. Still happy.

And sleepy. So... I'm going to go try to get rid of that now.

Mood: Sleepy Listening to: Switchfoot, Nothing is Sound
Reading: Homer, Iliad

15 September 2005

Why "Open Lab" doesn't work...

So... in the past week, I have managed to waste five hours of open lab time doing absolutely nothing but checking my email and looking for stuff online (that, granted, I do need for my article and for my production class, but still...)

I am extremely unproductive. I work best on deadline. Having three weeks to do a project or a week to write an article when I have all that I need at home seems silly to me when I'm sitting in a computer lab and I'm supposed to be doing something.

Oh well.

My stomach is growling. It's hungry (that's normally what that means, I'm told).

But, yeah... the last few days have been pretty good. A little rocky with some things, but I should still make deadline this week on everything that I need to get done, so praise God for that!

Too bad I can't bring myself to sit down and read for 24 hours straight or so. I have to start the Iliad for Western Myth and I can't bring myself to do it.

Not to mention I have a paper due in that class on Wednesday. I should work on that.

Ope! And I have an article due tomorrow... and a slew of other things to work on. And I should be reading...

But today is a day off (again) with the exception of an interview or two for the article I'm writing. That'll be nice. Bare minimum strikes yet again.

I got to sing on worship team last night, which was fun even though I couldn't hear anything and we really hadn't practiced all together. It just means that God was in control all the more. I'm really excited to be able to serve in that capacity again this semester... I have worship practice Saturday for the retreat, which has me stoked.

I miss my brother, though... we keep playing phone tag. What good are free minutes if you can't even get ahold of your family member because he's in another state?

Seriously, though... don't let John touch your iPod. He's not so lucky in that department (soon to be on #4).

I keep bouncing from subject to subject because I'm sitting here with Emily and we're looking at random stuff online, like hostels in Europe and all. We want to go back.

I used to do this in 211 last semester. I don't think I really worked in class... I just knew I had to show up for a certain period of time. My email would be checked, my blog updated, pop culture news would magically work its way into my brain,... LOL.

The worst thing about being a JT major is that you have to keep up with the news. All of it.

Just because Britney Spears is of no interest to you personally, it doesn't give you an excuse to not know she had a baby boy yesterday.

Which she did. Let's just hope I'm not required to know the name.

Even I don't care about my major that much. :)

Hope all is well... I'm going to pretend to do some more work now.

Mood: Ornery Listening to: Switchfoot, Nothing is Sound
Reading: My brother's blog... http://treesofthepalmpersuasion.blogspot.com/

13 September 2005


On April 25, I wrote this in my prayer journal:

"Lord - I know nothing now but to fall at Your feet. I know not peace. I know not rest. But I know You, Lord - May that be super-sufficient."

That night, I had a dream that struck me as odd.

I have always dreamt of being abandoned, stood up or deceived, but in this one, whoever it was with me stayed.

Crazy, isn't it? I mean, our subconscious fears are only accentuated when things go wrong in life. The dreams started before my trust issues started... and they continued until April 25.

On April 26, I wrote Psalm 116:7 in my prayer journal:

"Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you."

I thought I was heading for peace; God knew I was entering into a preparation time that would end with me laid bare before Him.

A young man came to me on April 26, not knowing what to expect. I was honest with him.

And every day from then until a few weeks ago, I asked myself, "Why couldn't I just say 'yes'?"

But I couldn't say otherwise. And I refused to say otherwise unless I was sure... afraid of the unseen (and seen) motives of my heart.

I spent the summer questioning, wondering what would happen once I was back here at school. I refused to let myself dwell on the situation more than necessary, but I kept drifting back to it... always asking the same question.

Over the last few weeks, I have been laid bare before the Lord.

I have been split open and had some things wrenched from my grasp that I had placed there and kept there for no reason; I have known such agony knowing that I had caused such pain and that I had the ability to cause even more; I was tempted so many times to just give in.

But I held out, knowing full well that if my motives were not pure, what would be the point?

The first weekend back, I unknowingly laid a fleece before the Lord (like Gideon).

I passed off everything I felt as emotion and attempted the disentangling of my heart, attempting to find the peace and rest that were lost far before April 25.

While at home last weekend, I was reading over some of my latest entries in my prayer journal and I came before my fleece, finally recognizing it for what it was... I realized that I could not take it back, nor did I want to.

If I am foolish enough to dare God to move, who am I to withdraw before I let Him answer?

But there's the rub... it's all foolishness and stubbornness.

My heart was prepared for last week by the last four months.

And in my state of readiness, Chris came forward again and, this time, I had a different answer.

I have never known such a persistent peace.

"A heart at peace gives life to the body." [[Proverbs 14:30a]]

How true it is! I am so incredibly blessed to have been given Chris.

He will be there when I come back. He'll stay. He's in. I'm in. There is no half-way.

And I'm happy, which is a weird thing for me... but I'm getting better at it.

The whole timing this is funny, though, 'cause it definitely was not ours.

In every way, the timing is God's and it is for a purpose... even though I don't understand why it has to be when my roommate is having a hard time or why it has to be when another friend is dealing with a similar situation.

I feel helpless at times... I want to fix things, but I can't fix these things. All I can do is ask what I can do and receive the answer of "nothing".

And in the meantime, I have become very good at getting nothing done... I can deal with that, though. I just worry for those around us who are in a season where God is withholding peace for whatever reason.

But perhaps it wasn't God withholding peace... perhaps it was merely my foolishness and my stubbornness stirring up conflict within myself just so that I wasn't at peace. I didn't recognize it then, but I fear that was the pattern.

I like running from peace. But no more.

No more closed doors. No more ambiguity. No more getting work done. :)

Praise the God who has mercy on us and directs us despite our stubbornness!

"I passed understanding a long, long time ago
And the simple home of systems and answers we all know
What I thought I wanted, what I got instead
Leaves me broken and somehow peaceful

I keep wanting You to be fair
But that’s not what You said
I want certain answers to these prayers
But that’s not what You said

When I get to heaven I’m gonna go find Job
I want to ask a few hard questions, I want to know what he knows
About what it is he wanted and what he got instead
How to be broken and faithful

[[Sara Groves, "What I Thought I Wanted"]]

God gives good gifts to His children in His timing... it just takes a while sometimes. 'Night.

Mood: Reflective Listening to: Sara Groves, The Other Side of Something
Reading: My (old) prayer journal

12 September 2005

Why do we need Mondays?

I got up and went to class, where we still managed to not finish discussing Gilgamesh and then got out of history early because we have an exam Wednesday and he finished our material...

Let me say, I really do not like "reporting". I like my professor. I like that she was a media theorist so we get classes like today where we talk about the media's role in creating hegemonic stereotypes (I really like that stuff).

But I don't like reporting.

I wrote my first story while I was on Vicodin and received the second-highest grade in the class. I wrote the re-write on very little sleep, thanks to Chris (it's always a blame game around here), and received the highest grade for my rewrite.

Did I mention that I did very little work on this article? Did I mention that I was on drugs?

There just doesn't seem to be much of a point.

Anyway, while I was in Reporting I checked my billing stuff online to see if my scholarship check had cleared yet. Well... only half of it cleared and since the 'rents are out-of-town and that stuff is all due today, I have to go to the bank and transfer money from my savings so that I can write a check and get it in to the cashier before closing today.

Stupid scholarship stuff. Why can't they just make it easy?

Other than that, though, I'm pretty good. I just have a very long list of things to do written in black ink on my left hand.

And I miss my brother, who started orientation at CalPoly today. But I don't know when I'm going to be able to do that. :(

Time to work on the list now... and get stuff straightened out. That would be good.

Mood: Slightly frazzled Listening to: Switchfoot, Nothing is Sound
Reading: Acts