Saturday, October 10, 2009

Divinity School

I am in my first semester of divinity school at Campbell, and I am loving it so far! The professors and students are so amazing, and I have learned so much from them. I have made new friends and kept the old. I am enjoying the diversity in the classroom. Many of the students are quite a bit older than me, but I enjoy hearing their perspective on various subjects. I have also had a chance to talk to many of them outside of class, and it is a privilege to hear about their families and career interests. I am taking Intro to Theological Education, Worship and Spiritual Formation, Old Testament, Church History, and my favorite, Pastoral Care. For worship and spiritual formation class, we have been divided up into precept groups for our time in school. We meet once a week as a group and have a time of prayer and discussion. This past week, I had the opportunity to lead the time with my group. We had an interesting discussion about moving from the wilderness to the promised land, just like Moses led the Israelites to the Promised Land. This caused me to ponder my own journey to begin theological education. Last year, I started out doubting if God was calling me to pursue this new undertaking, wondering if I should stay at Campbell or go to another school. I asked for the advice of trusted friends, and I received a plethora of responses. Some said I should seize the opportunity, and some said I should look into other avenues. I prayed about my decision, and ultimately knew God was telling me to return to Campbell. I wasn't sure where I would live or what concentration I would pursue in school, but I knew that He wanted me to be here. I have been working as a Resident Director on campus, and I love it. At times the job is tiring, but it is so worth it because I have the chance to interact with girls who are only slightly younger than me and to assist the residence life office. It has also opened up doors for ministry that I wouldn't have seen before. Also, in the past couple of weeks, I have received more confirmation in my calling in ministry. I have felt God calling me to be a counselor and teacher for a long time, but I have been pushing those thoughts aside because I was afraid that it wasn't the right thing for me and my future. Those doubts and fears have subsided as I am reminded that my future is in His hands, no matter where I go to school or what career I choose. He has great plans for my life, and has brought me this far and will continue to carry me through. He has brought me back here to Campbell for a reason, and I am going to make the absolute most of my time here. So here I am, in the middle of classes and studying, sifting through books and notes, thinking critically about my beliefs, and I couldn't be more content. I want to gain as much knowledge as possible and be so deeply in love with Jesus so I can share that knowledge and love with as many people as possible. Being at CUDS has also encouraged me to think a lot about the sacrifices that I should be making for the gospel of Jesus. I want every decision I make to be made for Him and not my own delight. For a selfish person, that is a hard pill to swallow, but He is the only person worth living and dying for and I should be able to wholeheartedly lay everything down and trust Him in all I say and do. I want my time, money, and heart to be genuinely dedicated to Jesus, so that more people can know Him as a friend, savior, and Lord. I am truly thankful to be at such a wonderful school, and I am anticipating great things for this year! :)

Monday, September 28, 2009

20 Fun Things to Do Without Spending a Dime!

The best things in life are…actually, yes, they are free. At least, creativity is free. It’s only in recent times that recreation and entertainment has been sold to us for a very high price. But do you really want to spend $30 for a movie and popcorn with a friend? Nah, you can do better, especially if you’re trying to save money these days, like most of us. Check out these ideas and step outside of the expensive, prepackaged entertainment box.

The Outdoors

Hiking, biking or walking in a local natural area or park. Yes, this is obvious, but sometimes we forget how free and easy some of the best pleasures are!


Keep your eyes peeled for free concert and theater-in-the-park series starting in late spring and summer.


Take your honey or some friends on a good, old-fashioned picnic.

Trade Entertainment

Scour your books, CD’s and DVD’s for those items you just no longer need and trade them in for credit at a local used CD or bookstore. Spend the afternoon browsing for new reads and new tunes you’d never find otherwise. If there’s no used media store in your area, try a website like SwapTree or Title Trader.


Spend a night stargazing. Find star maps online or in the library, then scout out the darkest part of town and learn the constellations. Watch as they change through the seasons.


Explore the vast world of podcasts. I myself am a podcast addict, loving to enrich my mind with interviews and sermons. You can find storytelling and comedy podcasts too if you prefer something a little lighter, or podcasts featuring music you’d never hear on the radio.


Try volunteering. I know, I know, this is not what people usually think of for fun, but serving others is one of the best things you can do. It's a great way to meet new people and do things for the benefit of other people.

Craigslist (and more)

Check out your local Craig’s List free section or Freecycle. This is a fun way to pick up free things you need, and maybe some fun items you can redecorate or make art with. Surprising things have been known to turn up…I’ve seen soap-making kits, antique roll-top desks and even a hot tub! It’s definitely worth a spin.

Clothing Swap

Call your friends and organize a clothing swap party. Tell them to bring all the clothing, shoes and accessories that no longer suit them (or fit them) and spend an evening hanging out and shopping for free.

Garage Sale

Have a yard sale. You know you have lots of stuff you could do well to pass along, and make a little extra cash while you’re at it. If the weather is still too cold where you live, start putting things aside now and you’ll be ready for yard sale season.

The Library

Make use of the public library. This has been one of my favorite free things since I was a kid. I mean, c’mon, books, movies, music – all for free!?! Depending on how extensive your local library system is, you will have an amazing amount of resources at your fingertips. Your taxes already paid for it, might as well take advantage.


Host a potluck. Humans are social animals, and we all love to eat. Food is a great icebreaker.

State Fair

Visit the state or county fair.

Get Creative

Pull out a sketchbook and draw. If you’ve got colored pencils or watercolors, play around with those, too. Looking at something deeply enough to draw it can be a powerful exercise in perception – and recognizing beauty in surprising places.

Nature Knowledge

Get a regional plant identification guide (from the library, of course) and make a point of learning the names of the trees and plants in your area. It’s even more satisfying if you bring a sketchbook along and create your own personal botanical book.

Send a Note

Make homemade greeting cards for upcoming holidays and birthdays. You can use fabric scraps, magazine cut-outs and odd bits of beautiful paper. People love to receive snail mail.

Get Fit

Develop a workout routine that you can do without equipment (or minimal things you might already have, like a jump rope or dumbbells) and then do it! It’s most fun if you find a sweet spot outside, with the fresh air and shade under a tree.


Start keeping a journal. If you don’t like to write, don’t be dismayed. One of my favorite journalers simply does one small watercolor painting per day, and that’s all she needs to record the progress of her life. If you’re a crafty DIYer, you can easily make a journal yourself with simply things you have around the house.

Is that enough to get you started? What do you do for dollar-free fun?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Hymns are timeless

I recently bought a Sandra McCracken CD, "Live Under Lights and Wires". I LOVE this album. Sandra is such a talented artist. A lot of her songs are hymns that have been reworked, much like many of the Shelley Moore Band songs. She did a really cool rendition of "Thy Mercy My God" that sounds like a completely different song, but the words are exactly the same as the original hymn by John Stocker. In hearing the same powerful words sung in a different tune, I was reminded of the strength of hymns to this day. Even though the tune and rhythm may change, the words always remain the same. There have been countless artists that have changed the rhythm and tune of a hymn, but the importance of the message behind the song, both spiritual and historical, lingers behind. This lead me to the realization that while Sandra is an amazing singer and artist, the words she sings are not hers. They are the Lord's, and will forever be the Lord's. As a dabbling artist myself, I tend to lose this train of thought easily. Instead of thinking, "what can I write?", I should be thinking "what will you have me write, Lord?" This is a challenge, but it is worth the toil.

Thy mercy, my God, is the theme of my song,
The joy of my heart. and the boast of my tongue;
Thy free grace alone, from the first to the last,
Hath won my affections, and bound my soul fast.

Without Thy sweet mercy I could not live here;
Sin would reduce me to utter despair;
But, through Thy free goodness, my spirits revive,
And He that first made me still keeps me alive.

Thy mercy is more than a match for my heart,
Which wonders to feel its own hardness depart;
Dissolved by Thy goodness, I fall to the ground,
And weep to the praise of the mercy I’ve found.

Great Father of mercies, Thy goodness I own,
And the covenant love of Thy crucified Son;
All praise to the Spirit, Whose whisper divine
Seals mercy, and pardon, and righteousness mine.
All praise to the Spirit, Whose whisper divine
Seals mercy, and pardon, and righteousness mine.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Summer in a Nutshell

I realize that I have not written anything about my summer, suffice to say that I have had a very out of the ordinary past two months! I lived at home this summer with my family. I was not working, I was not in school, and I didn't travel to any extraordinary places. I decided to just be this summer, to let life happen day by day. It was such a freeing experience, and God taught me a lot through it. He taught me patience. He reminded me of His grace. He taught me to slow down and enjoy the beauty of things. He showed me more about the importance of family. He brought new friends into my life. He reconnected me with old ones. I was certainly busy reading and traveling and catching up with friends and hanging out with my family and attending weddings. However, I had no set agenda. I took a sabbatical without feeling guilty for doing so. It is a summer I will remember for the rest of my life.
Here are some pictures that show some of the things I did this summer:
The big Ben & Jerry's rocking chair!

Excited about the Hedgpeth renovations!

"The Color Purple" musical with camp friends!

Trying on long dresses with Jilene!

Campbell with Abigail!

Davidson, NC

White Lake with friends!

The guys at White Lake!

Abigail and I had lunch with Melynda and Billy!

Visiting Robyn in Raleigh!

Me and Robyn at the Thad Cockrell concert!

Me and Robyn at Advance09!

Charleston with Mom!

Rainbow Row in Charleston

Lazy 5 Ranch with Ruthie!

Feeding the camels at Lazy 5 Ranch!

Sarah Trezise Sweeley's wedding

Me and Kevin at The Fray concert! This picture made it into a aviators blog.

Mike and Kelly Puckett's wedding!

Best reception site EVER

Reunion with youth group girls!

Another reunion with more youth group girls!

Hanging out with Amy in Greensboro

Chillin with Deanna

Babysitting for Dunn, the cutest little kid ever!

The shirt I got Daddy for Father's Day

Veteran's Memorial in Broadway, NC

Hanging out with Scott and Amy at Ikea

After the Davidson parade on the 4th of July!


Barefoot in the Park play with James

Lake Norman boat ride with Mom!

Flowers for Faye at The Well in Pineville

Oak Island!

Me, Sarah, and Rachael in front of Hatch Auditorium at Camp Caswell!

Charlotte skyline

Keri and Dayn's wedding!