Monthly Archives: September 2012

I Ran Away to the Cornfields this Weekend

Sometimes, I just need to escape the city

Visit my Papa Baker, drive into the driveway on Cole Rd.

Let Eugene the Cow lick my arm a couple of times,

crunch the leaves under my feet as I walk back in from the pasture.

Sometimes, I need to look at my childhood memories through fresh eyes

Remember how much I appreciate the open, quiet, rolling cornfields

Eat toast with fresh freezer jam, followed by a glass of fresh cow’s milk

Let the country air soothe my soul and calm my nerves.

Sometimes, it takes a three or four hour drive

The smell of the house on Cole Rd

A good cry with my grandpa by the grave of his loyal dog

A late night trip back from town, under the blazing country stars

A hug from Nana even though she’s not sure who I am

To remind me to relax, to breathe, to remember how great I’ve got it.

Sometimes, I just need to scream-laugh for hours at Jocie’s house

While ingesting half a can of spray whip cream

And watching people wrestle over cell phones

Before falling asleep whispering secrets with Maggie.

Sometimes, it’s just time to go

To drive back down M-49 just because I want to see the Student Center

To point out every significant place to the friends that came with me

Every family member’s house, every church and field and restaurant that bear some meaning

To watch my worlds collide in the most bizarre, beautiful manner

And remember that everything is gonna be okay

That God is sovereign

and good

No matter what.

Sometimes, I just need to go to the cornfields.

And so I do.

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Grace Upon Grace

When I was 9 or 10, my family went on our annual vacation to visit my grandparents in Florida. Nana called me up to her sewing loft one afternoon, saying she had a surprise. When I got upstairs, she pulled out an American Girl doll – every 10-year-old girl’s DREAM gift. As my eyes grew big, she pulled out another. And then another. And then a bed. And then a dress. And then some clothes. Turns out, Nana had discovered eBay and used it to grant her “Little Lady’s” dream.

If you manage to gain access to the home video I’ve so carefully hidden from everyone (Ten was my awkward age, y’all), you’ll see me sitting on the floor of that loft, literally surrounded by heaps and heaps of dolls (5 in all!), clothes, beds, desks, and every imaginable accessory. There’s an enormous goofy grin on my face, and I’m nearly speechless as Nana continues to pull out more and more things from behind her sewing table. By the end, my only reactions were awkward giggles and shouts of, “Oh my goodness, what?” and “Are you sure? More?”

She was sure.

There was more.

Yesterday while working on a design, I did a topical search on Bible Gateway for “grace.” The number of verses that came up was astounding, but one in particular stood out to me.

John 1:16 ESV: For from His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.

I stared in awe at my computer, and immediately started clicking through other translations. Though some say it differently, the idea is the same:
“grace for grace,” “one grace after another and spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessing and even favor upon favor and gift [heaped] upon gift,” “grace in place of grace already given.”

Like Nana Hobson piling dolls and clothes and accessories on top of 10-year-old Alyssa, God piles grace on top of us every single day.

Sometimes, it’s something we really want, maybe even something we’ve spent a lot of time begging for. Other times, we think “you know what, I have enough, I don’t need any right now.” Sometimes, we have so much we’re basking in it, and he throws more on top of the pile. Occasionally, we don’t even want it, we think we’re fine on our own… and He gives it to us anyway.

Grace upon grace.

Grace in place of grace already given.

Enough grace to roll around in.

Until all we can do is smile so big it nearly breaks our face.

Until we giggle awkwardly and say, “are You sure? More?”

He is sure.

There is always more.

Doors

Sometimes while I’m meandering down this road called life,

I think I know precisely where it’s leading.

I have everything all worked out in my mind

And it’s pretty perfect, if I do say so myself.

So I decide to just go ahead and run through that door

After all, I’m so sure.

I know how it will end, I’ve planned this out in my mind a million times.

I take a deep breath, pray for clarity

And sprint headlong toward the door

Full speed ahead

No holds barred

Pulling out all the stops

*and all other applicable cliches*

Only to find

The door is firmly closed.

I run into it, so sure of myself, only to be stunned by the impact

And I fall backwards onto the ground

And it hurts

A lot.

And I’m a little confused

“But God, I was so sure.”

“But God, I had it all planned out.”

Then I remember that prayer for clarity

And He picks me up and brushes me off

Wraps me in His arms

Tends to the bruises

Wipes away my tears

And I realize

This is not the way I’m supposed to go

It doesn’t get much clearer than a head on sprint directly into a closed door.

This is the clarity I prayed for

It’s not my idea of perfect, but it’s His.

And there is a peace that comes from knowing there will be door

after door

after door

as life goes on

A peace that comes from realizing that the path in front of me stretches on for the rest of my life

That one closed door isn’t the end,

because the path keeps stretching further than I can see.

And in that peace, there is comfort

And in that comfort, there is peace

And in the distance, there is another door.

And another.

And another.

Sitting Here Astounded

A quote from my Bible Introduction textbook, From God to Us: How we Got our Bible by Norman Geisler (with whom I have eaten chicken) and William Nix

Despite its importance (or maybe because of it), the Bible has suffered more vicious attacks than would be expected to be made on such a book. But the Bible has withstood all its attackers. Diocletian attempted to exterminate it (c. AD 303), and yet it is the most widely published book in the world today. Biblical critics once regarded much of it as mythological, but archaeology has established it as historical. Antagonists have attacked its teaching as primitive, but moralists urge that its teaching on love be applied to modern society. Skeptics have cast doubt on its authenticity, and yet more men are convinced of its truth today than ever. Attacks continue to arrise from science, psychology, and political movements, but the Bible remains undaunted. Like the wall four-feet high and four-feet wide, blowing at it seems to accomplish nothing. The Bible remains just as strong after the attack. Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away” (Mk 13:31).

WOW.

Fall Semester Update

With the semester three weeks underway, I’m starting to get into the swing of my new routine. Due to some surprise credits transferring, I’m only taking 12 credits (4 classes) this semester. I’m also working 19 hours a week at Moody Distance Learning, serving as Events Coordinator for Puente, and staying active in a Gospel Community (small group) through my church. This semester has been wonderful so far, but I’ll show you pictures rather than making you read about it!

Puente Exec 2012: Rachel, Liset, Charissa, Alyssa, and Victor

Puente (meaning bridge) is a student group at Moody which seeks to bridge the gap between Moody students and Hispanic neighborhoods in Chicago, while also raising awareness and education about the city’s Hispanic population. We have some great events planned for this semester, as well as regular weekly meetings. This is my first year on the executive committee, and though I’m the only newbie to Exec, I’ve been welcomed with open arms and couldn’t ask for a better group to work with. As Events Coordinator, I am responsible for filling out event proposals, coordinating details for events, and making posters to promote the events.

My room!

Molly and I are sharing Houghton 501 again this year. I have my side of the room set up almost exactly the same way it was first semester of last year, so it hardly feels like any time has gone by since I left! Molly and I are in the process of fixing our lighting in some way – we’re thinking string lights across the ceiling, to make our little space feel more like home.

Labor Day Weekend

Last weekend was Labor Day weekend, so I pulled a classic Blythe Collins move and threw some friends in my car for a good-old-fashioned-10-hour-each-way road trip to Piatt Lake. Despite the never-ending drive, we had an amaaaaaazing weekend away soaking up the last bits of summer. We went tubing, did homework on the beach, explored the campgrounds, ate good food, watched the sunset, laughed more than is probably healthy, and enjoyed a bonfire on Lake Superior. It was a wonderful way to say goodbye to summer and prepare for the upcoming school year, as well as getting to know some new friends.

This year has started out wonderfully, and I can’t wait to see how it continues.