28 December, 2005

Terranova 2005

At Terranova they had all of the crew dress up in random clothing we found at the church for a intro video. Of course we have plenty of these so called "biblical" costumes. Bonnie's hat is well, not so biblical...but does conjure up images of Downtown Julie Brown. Ya know?

On a more legit note...tonight we had our intro session with the group. One of the main themes of the week is for students to have a real, deep conversation with God. Maybe for the first time even. To help foster this, we set up 4 points of conversation in the room. One in each corner: yielding, communion, prayer, and expression.
Tonight I helped explain the expression corner. The corner was filled with paints, clay, blank pieces of paper, colored pencils, canvases, and markers. We encouraged the students to freely express themselves to God...their heartbreaks, joy, confusion, hope, dreams, disappointments, and fears. The point was to just be real with God, to honestly express themselves to God.
I remember when I first grasped this whole "be real with God in an intimate, real relationship" thing. I was 16. And it was life-changing. I pray someone else's life is being changed this week... Posted by Picasa

27 December, 2005

Youth Conferences, Home Alone, and the Future

So my sister, Matt, and parents peaced out of town today to go down to the once-a-year family gathering in the dirty, dirty south (Mobile, Alabama). I stayed here to help with Terranova and to work at B&N. It's not all bad staying here without the fam....I ate a delicious dinner at PF Chang's tonight, went to my all time favorite coffeeshop (Fido's in Hillsboro Village) and am getting ready to pop in Phantom of the Opera. The end of the year is quickly approaching (like in 4 days) and I'm finishing up compiling my list of "Why 2005 was the best year I ever had." I'll post that sometime in early '06 (like Sunday or Monday or something). So basically, not much is going on in my life these days...but I am so ok with that...
I've been thinking a lot lately about post-college plans...it's coming up sooner than I'm ready for... When people ask me what my plans are I say oh I may get my masters in english, or I may move to New York, or I may get a masters in communication, or I may blah blah blah...the truth is I have no idea what I'm going to do. I just want to know that I'll eventually make money doing something I'm passionate about.


get back to me...

ps. my hands smell like cappucino...

26 December, 2005

And this is why I do theater...

I've had this dream since I was a wee one of having flowing black locks...I got to sport this hot wig during the "Havana" number in which Josh tossed me around like a rag doll...dream come true? In more ways than one ;-) Posted by Picasa

So dramatic...

This is another pretty dramatic picture from backstage of "Guys & Dolls." This my friends is THE Justin Petrochko...and he actually took this picture of us with his own hand, talented bloke, eh? Posted by Picasa

New(er) Pictures!

This is a pic of Josh and me from "Guys & Dolls." The blonde on the left is me...I had to wear that ridiculous bow (the one he's wearing) in one of the numbers, so we swapped hat for bow backstage for this glamorous pic... Posted by Picasa

23 December, 2005

Here's What's Up

My new job is fun! Kinda. People shopping right before Christmas can get kinda crazy. But something about coffee and cheesecake make them feel better. And you know what makes me feel better?
A pay check.

So Christmas season tends to be a great time for people to propose. So far I've had 2 sets of friends get engaged.
Congratulations to Cameron and Shannon.
And congratulations to Grady and Anne.

Next week I'm helping out at a youth conference called "Terranova" that my church is hosting. And I may go to Atlanta for New Years Eve. Then comes Passion in Nashville where I get to hang out with the Longbrake and Mel, then comes a visit from Jenny, then comes going back to the Lynchburg, seeing that fabulous boy, and being in an opera.

Pirates of Penzance: opens January 19th.

Oh life keeps chugging right along...

19 December, 2005

I got the job!

I saw Narnia. Wow.

18 December, 2005

"Home" Again

So as of 10:30 last night I'm back in Nashville for Christmas break. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks, we college students tend to forget (due to a lack of reminders) that the Christmas season is in full swing, and we are simply tucked away in dorms and classrooms oblivious to it all. So here I am, finally free of thoughts regarding shows and studying, and we're 1 week out from Christmas. 1 week out, and I've got nothing to show for it. So, objective 1 of this week: find some Christmas presents. Objective 2 is to get hired by the Cafe in Barnes and Noble. I have an interview with them on Monday. Wish me luck! Objective 3 is to spend some time reconnecting with old friends, and the fam. I realized yesterday that this month ahead of me is the longest I've been at home in Nashville at one time in a whole year. I almost don't know what to do with myself. I've already been asked about helping out with some creative and music-type stuff at my church and a local ministry so I'm excited about that. I'll also get to hang out with some LU friends when they come down for "Passion '06." That's all for now...

13 December, 2005

Well hey...

So I started my new job this past week and it is both pimp and easy. The website that I write for is www.libertyu.com My job description includes writing whatever I want once a week, looking at Liberty's webpages that pertain to aviation, center for worship, and fine arts, and attending events that fit in somewhere under the fine arts umbrella. So, tonight I'm going to the theater with friends to watch the acting class perform scenes from the playwrighting class's work, and I'm getting paid to do it. It's a wonderful life...

29 November, 2005

We decided to add the aunt and the grandma for one fabulous pic in my mom's room...cute from age 8-73, right? Posted by Picasa

Happy Thanksgiving...from the Suttons

So, my aunt was wanting to take some pics of the fam creatively...she thought it would be cute if we piled in my bed...I thought it'd be cute to show you all my new yellow room, my new purple bed, and that amazing picture of Pike's Peak and the Garden of the Gods. :-) Posted by Picasa

My Thoughts on "Rent"

With the opening of the film-version of the wildly popular stage musical “Rent” occurring the day before Thanksgiving, many happy go-lucky Americans are being exposed this holiday season to themes, ideas, and life situations that they have never before weighed or experienced. VH-1’s tongue-in-cheek “Best Week Ever” which reviews the weekly happenings of popular culture joked that “Rent” trailers and commercials make the movie appear to be a colorfully fun, exhilarating, song and dance to lure naive audiences to a movie that deals primarily with heavy topics such as drug abuse, poverty, and AIDS. Whoo. Merry Christmas, right?
While an easy answer to the question: “should Christians go see this film?” would be a simple “no” I want to delve deeper into the themes and content of this film. Though there is certainly content that I would quickly label trashy, unnecessary, and sinful, I wonder if the best answer is always to simply not view the material. Perhaps it is better for thinking Christians to observe the lifestyles of the lost, in order to gain perspective, and begin to grasp how those outside of the Christian subculture live. As I sat and watched this film, there was no doubt, quite a few times that I squirmed in my seat while I was watching a screen full of proud, flamboyant homosexuals. But moments later, I was confronted with the heartbreaking image of a support group of people slowly dying of AIDS, none of which professed to have hope or “peace that passes understanding.” More than leaving me offended at the sinful ways of the world, the film broke me and reminded me that there is a world out there that desperately needs to know the hope of Jesus Christ, a world that is searching for any grain of fulfillment. It is no coincidence that those who make life choices that are directly contrary to the guidance offered in scripture often end up in poverty, or die young. I am reminded that God did not give us “rules” to simply boss us around, but just as loving parents tell their children not to play in the street for their own safety, our Heavenly Father encourages us to live in purity and with integrity because sin does ultimately lead to destruction, whether it’s emotional or physical.
I want my readers to understand that I am neither condoning nor recommending this film to anyone. I know for some people viewing sin can do much more harm than good. But for me, viewing “Rent” was simply a reminder that Jesus Christ died for the world. Those who would choose to embrace Him and those who would choose to deny Him. And who’s to say that if the characters of Rent: Collins, Maureen, Mimi, Joanne, Roger, Mark, Angel and Benny had a genuine encounter with Jesus Christ, that they would not accept Him. Simply put, this film did not make me feel good. It did not leave me walking out of the theater with a smile on my face or an uplifted spirit. But rather, it reaffirmed in me, the passion to be a vessel for Christ to use to pour out His love. When I was 12 years old, my uncle died of AIDS. I have another family member living with HIV. It is real and it is painful for everyone connected to those people. “Rent” reminded me to love. Simply because I may be the only Jesus some people ever encounter.

24 November, 2005

Five Lessons to Learn from Mr. Darcy

This was the title of the small article I just came across while looking through my mom's "Real Simple" magazine. It is of particular interest to me because this past weekend I finished reading my new favorite book, "Pride and Prejudice." I thought these tips on salvaging a bad first impression were worth noting...

"The original title of Jane Austen's classic 'Pride and Prejudice' was 'First Impressions.' That's because practically every character in the book makes a bad one--none more so than Mr. Darcy, who spends the rest of the tale trying to overcome his. Some of his lessons along the way to a happy ending apply to nonfiction life as well.
1) Don't be rude--you never know who might be listening. Arriving at the ball where he first meets Elizabeth Bennett, Mr. Darcy is in a foul mood. When he complains that none of the women are fit to dance with, Elizabeth overhears--and is, of course, offended. Had Darcy kept his ill humor to himself, he wouldn't have prejudiced Elizabeth against him. Then again, Jane Austen wouldn't have had much of a book.
2) Beware of your body language. While Darcy is forever coming off as stodgy and snooty, he is, in fact, uncomfortable. Paying a little attention to that scowl would have done him a world of good. Nota bene: When you're quiet, your body language speaks for you.
3) Be honest about your feelings. The more Darcy tries to cover his up, the worse things get. Though a first attempt at complete honesty goes disastrously wrong (delivery does count), it is the truth--along with a few behavioral modifications--that mends his relationship with Elizabeth. People appreciate honestly and can sense deceit. Come clean.
4) If you have trouble explaining yourself, write it down. Following his blow-up (and an ill-considered speech delivered in the heat of passion), Darcy writes Elizabeth a polite, carefully thought-out letter that clears up the misunderstandings that have stood between them. An e-mail, though less elegant, may work, too.
5) Persevere. Time can tip the scales. It takes a year, but eventually Darcy manages to win Elizabeth over. If it's important, keep trying. Invite the person to coffee, a cocktail party. What have you got to lose?"

19 November, 2005

I'm So Excited (And I Just Can't Hide It)

I feel I must shout this from the rooftops...or, ya know, from this blog...

I'm going to see the national tour of "Little Women" tonight at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center!!!

This is potentially the best option for Saturday night entertainment that my mind can even come up with.

I haven't seen any national tours or Broadway shows since I've been doing college theater. I'm so excited to not only be swept up in a story, but to view it from a new perspective. Ohhh I'm so excited!!

I used some music from "Little Women" to audition at the Virginia Theater Association. I guess they liked it, because they passed me through.
Here's what I sung:

Here I go
And there's no turning back
My great adventure has begun
I may be small
But I've got giant plans
To shine as brightly as the sun

In other news...I've just been hired for my first writing job! Like, not just a one time thing...like a year long commitment! I'll be a paid blogger for a new LU site called libertyu.com...I'm so pumped...sitting around doing THIS and getting paid? SIGN. ME. UP.
Oh beginning of the rest of my life, here I come...

18 November, 2005


This has been the best year of my life.

No comparison.

I'll expound later.

For now I need to finish packing in order to make the trek to Nashville this afternoon/evening.

OH how I'm excited...fires...big comfy couches...newly decorated bedroom...mom...dad...bonnie...eleven:01...pf chang's...church family...thanksgiving meal...days off of school...green hills mall...fido's...bring. it. on.

16 November, 2005

Latest Champion Article

Reconciling Christianity and Art
By Hilary Sutton

Christianity and art are two of the most difficult concepts to intertwine. Questions often arise out of the ambiguous fog of Christian art regarding appropriate concepts to express, display, and portray. The idea that “Christian art” can also be considered “good art” is foreign to many people who equate the concept of “Christian art” with bad movies and trite bumper sticker slogans. Seemingly conflicting ideas are often embraced by Christian communities: art should be done with “excellence” yet should not “offend”; art should depict “truth” yet not paint Christianity or the Church in a “bad light.” These contradictions can leave the Christian artist in a state of confusion, wondering how to go about producing credible art. Christian artists must first recognize that according to the scriptures anything they produce must be done with excellence.

Excellent art begins with the artist consistently using his or her God-given talents. Just as the farmer is displeased with his servant who hides the talent entrusted to him in Luke 19, God is displeased when He has entrusted His people with abilities to glorify Him in creative ways, and we choose to let them lie dormant. Rather than ignore our gifts, artists should cultivate their creative yearnings to point more people to the beauty of a life in Christ.

The scriptures admonish in Colossians chapter three, verse seventeen that we (Christians) are to do everything we put our hand to as unto the Lord and not to men. Not only does this mean that Christians should live a life that is honoring to God, but everything we do, namely the art we produce, should also be completed as if it is a gift to the Lord. Regarding why mediocre art is so prevalent today, Francis Schaeffer Jr. answers, “Simply because man, Christian or non-Christian, is created in the image of God, and a vacuum, formed in his soul by denying the God-given arts their proper place, has to be filled with something. But without the proper base, man fills the void with only twisted, pale shadows of what art could be.” Though producing truly excellent work takes discipline and effort, bringing glory to God through obediently giving talents back to Him is not only deeply satisfying, it is of eternal value and well worth the labor.
A foundational aspect of creating excellent art is familiarizing one’s self with contemporary standards of excellence. Interestingly, the importance of being relevant to the current age is not a concept that originated with recent postmodern discussion. In 1966, Hans Rookmaaker, professor of art history at the Free University of Amsterdam, Holland expounded on artistic relevance: “He [the artist] has to make art that is relevant to our day[…]And, in order to gain from all that is good and fine today and yet avoid being caught by the spirit of our age and its false principles, he must study modern art in all its different aspects deeply and widely.” For art to make any sort of impact on society, it must be respectfully done with excellence.

Christians who are involved in the arts must remember that the only way for art to be produced in a God-honoring way is to continually give Him the credit for what is produced. Mixing Christianity and art has long been an arduous task. Because of the frailty of humans, both the Christian name and art have been corrupted. Thankfully the Scriptures offer insight and guidelines into living a life that brings people to Christ. Excellence, humility, purpose, and authenticity, are vital in approaching art. Madeleine L’Engle comments, “to be a witness does not consist in engaging in propaganda, nor even in stirring people up, but in being a living mystery. It means to live in such a way that one’s life would not make sense if God did not exist.” Our lives and our art proclaim the glory of God when things are done with such humility and authenticity that there is no explanation other than a life transformed by an encounter with Christ. Christian art is about much more than attempting to pacify people and giving certain artists empty recognition. It is about using the creative gifts and talents God has blessed us with to live a life of worship.

The Girl In the Shadows

I wrote these lyrics months and months ago...found them today...may try to write them into a song over Thanksgiving break...

Please don’t love me
I don’t want you to compare me
To this new girl your girl
I can’t take this confusion
This swirl of emotions
Right and wrong blending together
Confusing perplexing me still

Cause I had things figured out
I knew what I wanted
I knew where I was going
I know where I’m going
And you’re alright
You’re great a great man
But you’re not mine
And you can’t ever be
Your someone else’s

She’s so perfect
Adored by so many
I’m the girl in the shadows
But you stand and face me still
I can’t understand this
When I know I’m not the one for you no
You belong with someone else
I belong with someone else too

You can’t see me perfectly
Yet you gaze all the while
You sit focused trying to see me
Have your idealizations filled

Lord knows we’ve been through this
Trying to put these pieces together
Why do we connect
Why do we seem to fit
But wind up clashing still

You should try to make it work with her
You never know what you’d be missing
I’m your friend and I’ll always be
You need to learn this lesson

11 November, 2005

A Friendly Update...

(The following post was begun Friday morning, November 11...but was cut off quickly due to getting kicked out of the computer lab for convo...it shall be resumed on the next one...)

Hello all, I hope that your autumn is going well. Things are busy here (who's surprised...) but good. One week from today I'll be making the long journey home for a relaxing 10-day Thanksgiving Break. I'm definitely looking forward to it. So what's been going on in life here lately? I'm glad you asked....

Tonight is Opening Night of "Guys & Dolls" here at Liberty. In this show I'm a part of the ensemble and I'm loving it. It's a less stressful thing alternating between principle roles and ensemble roles...If that's the way things go for me the rest of my time here at LU I definitely won't mind. As fun and exciting as being a lead is, there's a lot of pressure that comes with it. Looking back on "Once On This Island" I've definitely resolved to make sure I take the time to have fun with roles in the future. It's a shame to let yourself get worked up about measuring up to others and doing "a good enough" job. Theater is supposed to be fun! So anyway, in "Guys & Dolls" I'm a hotbox dancer. 90% of the show I sport a blonde-Marilyn-Monroe-esque wig and for one scene I have a long dark brunette wig. Surprisingly I've been told I can pull off the blonde wig pretty well...people aren't quite as big a fan of the dark...Oh well...though it is my dream to be a mysteriously exotic brunette, I guess I wasn't made for it...

26 October, 2005

Conclusions on Heart-Guarding...

“Be sure to guard your heart.”

What comes to mind when you hear that phrase? For many Christians in our generation, we instantly think about dating, or for that matter—kissing it goodbye. It reminds us that we shouldn’t give our hearts away too quickly, because the possibility of someone unmercifully breaking or trampling them is an unfortunately great possibility. Joshua Harris, author of “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” put this new spin on the phrase when he preached that young people should guard their hearts by not giving them away to a member of the opposite sex prematurely. Since the book, published in 1995, swept the nation’s youth and singles groups, young people have clung tightly to Harris’ advice. With over 800,000 copies in print, a generation of college students now exists that have been firmly taught to “guard their hearts” and in so doing may reap the consequences of fear and inability to be transparent in developing relationships.

The concept of “guarding your heart” has become so engrained in us that we assume the idea of protecting ourselves is naturally rooted in the Bible. Interestingly, the Scripture commonly used to support this ideology is completely unrelated to the idea of self-protection. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life.” Read alone, the Scripture might be interpreted as: be on guard not to let yourself get carried away in your emotions, because everything else in your life will be affected. But if one chooses to read on in the passage, one can see verse 23 in its context. Solomon writes verses 24-27 in exhortation to his son. “Don’t let your mouth speak dishonestly, and don’t let your lips talk deviously. Let your eyes look forward; fix your gaze straight ahead. Carefully consider the path for your feet and all your ways will be established. Don’t turn to the right or to the left; keep your feet away from evil.” Proverbs never discusses guarding your heart because it is fragile and can be easily broken. It discusses guarding your heart because of its true nature. This is observed in Jeremiah 17:9: “the heart is more deceitful than anything else and desperately sick—who can understand it?” Solomon firmly pens the words “guard your heart” to encourage his son to guard his heart from sin, not from emotion. Because the heart is “desperately wicked” Christians must be constantly vigilant of the sin that can creep up in our hearts, where no one can observe it except the Lord and ourselves.

Unfortunately, the challenge to guard the thoughts and motives in our hearts has been replaced by the warning to guard ourselves from opening our hearts to receive the possible disappointment inflicted by others. By studying Harris’ idea even more, one can see how it is contrary to the very nature of God. Harris’ ideology purports that it is biblical for people to isolate themselves in fear under the guise of “guarding their hearts.” Scripture clearly teaches that no child of God should be living fearfully as we are to put our trust, dependence, worth, and expectations on Him alone, which in turn frees us up to love others without condition. Decades before 21-year-old Harris penned his advice, theologian, author, and educator C.S. Lewis expressed his thoughts on “guarding your heart” in his classic collection of apologetics, “Mere Christianity.”

“If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket—safe, dark, motionless, airless—it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.”

So before passionately implementing the idea preached by the next popular Christian dating book, I encourage you to find your worth in God. Do not fear the future. Open yourself up to someone. And try not to let another one of Solomon’s proverbs become a distorted Christian slogan.

23 October, 2005

Oh, and a question...

I'd be curious to hear your thoughts on the topic of "guarding your heart." Growing up in youth group, reading books like "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" I had always heard that young people should "guard their heart" in relationships....and not just "give it away." This past summer when I was studying at Focus some of my professors were adamantly against this "guarding your heart" that Joshua Harris and his cronies speak of...seems that C.S. Lewis agrees with my professors: If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket-safe, dark, motionless, airless-it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. --C.S. Lewis
Lately I've had a solid 5 or 6 people implore me to "guard my heart." What are your thoughts?

Oh Hey...

So there's probably like .05 people out there who still are optimistic enough to even see if I've updated this silly thing...I'm so sorry! Life has been busy, blah blah blah. You don't really want an explanation. Here's what's been going on with me:

Last weekend we wrapped "Once On This Island," the musical in which I played the goddess of earth...you kind of have to see the show to understand my role, but maybe I'll be able to post some pictures some time... Everyone in the cast are storytellers, and we each take on characters as the show develops. 4 of us "gods" are the main story tellers (Mother of the Earth, God of Water, Goddess of Love, and Demon of Death) who describe the main character's plight to prove that love conquers death.
Island was definitely the most difficult show I've ever been a part of. Constant singing (belting) and dancing... I was on stage a solid 90% of the show. I also sported some crazy sparkly green lipstick...supposedly under the stage lights it looked cool. One of my roommates, Jonea Vanlandingham, designed and built all the costumes herself. She actually received an Irene Ryan nomination in costume design for the show. It was definitely well deserved.
As soon as Island opened, we started rehearsals for "Guys & Dolls" which is proving to be soooo much fun. My role is much less time consuming (I'm basically in the ensemble) and there's a lot less pressure and expectations to meet, so its nice to have a trade off in that way. There's also quite a bit of partner dancing and flipping around...AND I get to wear a blonde Marilyn-Monroe-esque wig for part of the show, and a long black wig for part of the show...both hair colors that I would never be able to pull of in real life...woohoo! Also, Halloween is coming up and some of my friends from theater are hosting a party where you have to come as a character from a show...ideas are being tossed around currently...don't want to give anything away. For now I need to rush off and work on the second half of "Pride and Prejudice" (due Tuesday for my English Novel class) before Guys & Dolls rehearsal later this afternoon. Hope this little update has sufficiently quelled your inner longings of knowing what's going on in my life. ;-)

07 October, 2005

Everyone has their story.

As submitted to the Liberty Champion...

Everyone has their story.

This is a truth I thought I had really grasped a while ago. In high school I had the privilege of being a part of a youth ministry that welcomed people who had been blessed enough to have grown up in a loving Christian home as well as teens who had been through any number of difficulties: struggles with homosexuality, pregnancy out of wedlock, drug abuse, sexual abuse, running away, etc. I’ve always been thankful that God saw fit for me to have seen a lot at a young age. When I was 8, my parents sat my 10-year-old sister and me down and told us that a man we knew well had made some poor choices and that he was dying of AIDS. 4 years later before I had even made it to middle school the disease had taken his life. When I was 15, a girl in my youth group that was only 12, called me crying because a boy down the street had just convinced her to lose her virginity. When I was 17 I prayed with a girl who had been molested for years by her father —a man who happened to be in the ministry. I think that these relationships gave me enough insight to know that I was immensely blessed for having never experienced these things myself. For some reason God let me see these wounds in others, without having to go through the pain and scarring these experiences leave on their victims.

Here at Liberty, it is easy for us to put our peers in categories. “Oh he went to public school.” “She’s from one of those legalistic churches.” “He didn’t get saved until he was 19—he probably partied like crazy.”
Many times people who have seen less, or who consider themselves to be ‘conservative,’ or ‘deeply spiritual,’ or who are avid loyalists to the ‘Liberty Way,’ take a “stand” by making sure they are disassociated with people who may appear to have different values than them. These people who are deeply committed to Christ-honoring behavior are generally well-respected on campus, and for good reason. I have no doubt that the Lord smiles on those who take delight in His commandments. But he also takes delight in those who are actively loving the broken—which is also commanded. There are people every where on this campus who have been through painful, scarring experiences. Some of them have been victims who had no choice. Others are simply victims of making bad choices. Either way, these people should not be placed in the category of “rebellious,” “trouble makers,” or “anti-authority.” People begin to act out the titles put on them. If someone is constantly referred to as disrespectful, or disappointing, soon he or she will begin to act the part and believe there is no opportunity for change.

These are precisely the people who need those of us who have been spared from things like abuse and addiction to pray for them, love them, and help carry their burdens. Just as Romans 12:15 tells us, “Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep.”
We, the blessed young people who have been spared from abuse and painful experiences, must remember that we were born with a sin nature as well and would be just as capable of having made wrong choices had we gone through the experiences others had gone through. For clarification, I am not saying that any one has the right to blame poor choices on being a victim. I am simply saying that those who have not made poor choices should invest not only in people who have grown up under similar circumstances to their own, but also those who have a rocky history.
Everyone is a culmination of their past experiences and the transformation that Jesus is completing in their lives. Everyone has their story.

05 October, 2005


My life is full these days. Full of people. Full of memories. Full of changes. Full of theater. Full of life.

So we opened “Once On This Island” last weekend and despite a few technical difficulties it went great! There’s simply nothing like performing on a stage and telling a story. My roommate was so touched by the plot that she cried twice throughout the performance. It is so amazing to take part in an art form that can move someone in their core. For me, musical theater is that thing that I would rather do more than almost anything else. For some of you it’s playing guitar, for others of you it’s graphic design, or getting lost in a book…doing that which you are passionate about. I had a bit of an epiphany regarding my passion for theater when I had 3 friends go to New York and sit on the front row to watch “Rent.” Being fully conscious of the fact that they had an extra ticket and a spare seat, I knew that more than going to watch a show, I wanted to be in one. I would rather go to a rehearsal than to see a Broadway show. I think that’s passion.

My parents came in town this past weekend to hear the Chamber Singers sing and see the show…I love them.

23 September, 2005

And It's Friday.

Well, the week of simplification has come to a close. I definitely feel like I am a little more in control of my life (you know, in a sense) but this week has still been crazy, and flown right by. It’s weird…over the past 6 days I’ve had 4 relatively new friends of mine confide in me about very personal things…things that only a handful of people in life know about them…I’m pretty honored.

John said I have this way about me where I extract people’s souls and force them to have a heart to heart.

I think I just like being real. And people like being real back.

Extra Thoughts/News: 1) Once On This Island opens one week from tonight...yessss. 2) We're performing a number from the show in convo on Monday. Be there. (Or watch it on tv.) 3) My mom is hearing Beth Moore speak this weekend...jealous much? 4) I wrote an article for the school newspaper and I hope they publish it. 5) I forgot to eat lunch today...

18 September, 2005


It has come to my attention that my life has been a bit out of control lately. Putting certain responsibilities on the back burner. Making no time to be quiet and alone. Draining myself of recoup time. So, this week I am simplifying. No hanging out, unless it's for meals. No internet, except email because of classes. And no tv, because well, we don't get any channels. :-) No, but seriously I need to get my priorities and responsibilities in order. And to do that, I need to say N-O a lot more often. So, if you want me to post anything on here before Friday...no! Have a great week!

14 September, 2005

Reflective Thoughts TBA

Reflective thoughts coming soon...for now, here's what has occupied my time and has hindered me from writing reflective thoughts...

  • Reading the book "Pamela" for my English novel class
  • Learning choreography, songs, blocking, and lines for "Once On This Island" (which opens 2 weeks from Friday people)
  • Doing the Bible study "A Heart Like His" for girls ONLY Wednesday nights 9:15 at my apt...
  • Going to Charlottesville
  • Going to Roanoke
  • Learning a dance to 'hollaback girl' (ok maybe not the most productive use of time, but it is fuuuunn)

So, now you know why I haven't written in a while...it'll pick back up soon enough I'm sure. Question to leave you with though (perhaps regarding my next post, eh?):

Why do you like to read?

11 September, 2005

Jenn and Me

For those who need explanations for everything...this is Jenn and me at the reception last Saturday. She's one of my favorite people. And I love her. Posted by Picasa

04 September, 2005

I Can Hear the Bells...

It is now 1:34 AM on Sunday September 4th. I’ve just returned from an 8-hour trip with my roommate Hannah back from New York where one of my closest friends in the world, Jenn McCarron, got married to Josh Philpot. The weekend was surreal and amazing and unbelievably fast. Hannah and I left Lynchburg Thursday afternoon at 3 pm and arrived at the McCarron’s in Port Jervis, NY at midnight that night. Somewhere around 36 hours later we were on our way back. 900 miles in 3 days. Daannnggg.

But the weekend was wonderful. I was able to run around with Josh and Jenn a bit on Friday taking care of this and that. Hannah and I actually got the privilege/duty of decorating the church. Our friends trusted us with the backdrop to their wedding…mind you, the only wedding they’ll ever have in life. Whoa. I thought it was pretty trusting myself. :-)

The wedding party was a bit of a big one with 7 bridesmaids and 6 groomsmen. 4 of the groomsmen I already knew personally because they’re either graduates of Liberty or currently attend (Neal Phillips, Justin Petrochko, Daniel Million [Josh’s cousin] and Scott Windham, who was my camp counselor back in the day). The bridesmaids were Jenn’s 3 younger sisters (she’s the oldest of four), her mom, me, Hannah, and Nikki Windham. A handful of Josh and Jenn’s close friends who weren’t in the wedding party also came. Among my favorites: Felipe, Abbey Smith, and Nathan.

The rehearsal was pretty snappy and the rehearsal dinner was wonderful. We went to this German restaurant and were served up some guh-reat food. Finished the evening off with ice cream and coffee. I’ve decided that there’s nothing more enjoyable and relaxing to sit at a table quite satisfied, having great conversation, and sipping on some coffee. Yep, that’s definitely in the top 100 favorite things in life.

The wedding itself was simple and beautiful. I sort of thought I might not cry…but that all ended when Neal began to sing. I’m not sure if it’s his voice, or that the wedding was starting, or the words to the song…maybe all of it. This is the chorus of the song he sang:

Your grace still amazes me
Your love still a mystery
Every day I fall on my knees
Cause your grace still amazes me

Nikki Windham sang “There You Are” beautifully as we were walking down the aisle. It was an amazing moment when the doors swung open and Josh saw Jenn for the first time. He says he wasn’t emotional but there were deeefinitely tears in his eyes. All the bridesmaids were kind of a collective basket case. Hellooo!! Jenn was walking down the aisle!! What did you expect??

One of my favorite parts of the weekend was getting to spend some time with Scott and Nikki Windham. They both graduated and were gone from the LU theater department by the time I came along. They got married back in December of 2003 and actually met through theater at Liberty…awwwww… As a younger ‘theater person’ there are few phrases that I have heard with a reminiscent tone than “Scott and Nikki….” So I really wanted to spend some time with these 2 who definitely left their mark on the stage and backstage of this theater group. I was definitely not disappointed. They were both warm and just great to have around. I now understand what everyone is talking about when they say how much fun it was having them in shows. Hooray.

So I guess I’ve officially been awake 19 hours now. Our hair appointments started around 6:30 this morning. I didn’t sit in the chair until about 8. But with an 11 AM wedding we had to get movin! I’ve never quite had so much hairspray and sparkles in my hair before…it was a new experience. But definitely not one that I hated…and I pretty much thought I would. I guess the whole crunchy, sticky, unmovable look is pretty sometimes…it’s just funny now that I took out all the bobby pins…I only look a little electrocuted…I’m toying with the idea of showing up at rehearsal tomorrow looking like this…hmm…

This morning though things were crazy rushed (we were still at Jenn’s house at 5 after 11) the Lord did provide us with a window of time to pray with Jenn. What a sweet time. I have been so blessed to have shared part of life with her this past year and a half. Few people in my life have inspired me so much, encouraged me so much, and challenged me so much. Jenn truly is the woman that I want to be in my next phase of life. Her story is definitely a unique one…college for 2 years in Chicago…diagnosed with lime disease…virtually on her deathbed for 2 years…recovered and went to Liberty…graduated, started grad school…married Josh at 27…Her life just confirms to me over again that those who seek the Lord are blessed. Everyone’s journey is different. There are trials. There are moments that don’t make sense. But all of it is part of the Lord’s plan. “All things work together for good for those who walk according to His purposes.” What a joyful thing it was to witness the joining of two lives today that earnestly seek to live for Jesus Christ. They have remained pure, they have sought God to direct the paths of their lives, and now they’re enjoying His plan unfolding. Here’s to Mr. and Mrs. Philpot…

(pictures coming soon I think)

27 August, 2005

promised announcement...

I said in the previous post that I would disclose what shows I'm in and such, just as soon as that was disclosed to me. It was disclosed:

In "Once On This Island" I play "Asaka" goddess of the earth. You may also call me mother earth. You know. Whatev.

In "Guys & Dolls" I play a "hotbox girl," which is simply a more descriptive term for "ensemble."

"Pirates" cast should be posted soon.


Oh and by the way..."Once" opens 5 weeks from tonight (or last night?).

Get crazy.

25 August, 2005

Stream of Consciousness/just want to be an 8th note in the Symphony

So as of today I have been back in Lynchburg 3 days. I have attended all but one class (theology. caner. next tuesday.) And I have auditioned for 3 shows. Count em—3! They are as follows: Once On This Island, Guys & Dolls, and Pirates of Penzance. I’ll report the results soon. The cast lists are supposed to go up tomorrow. So yeah, this week I have begun my Junior year of college. Although I’ve experienced soooo much over the past 2 years of school, I still feel like it’s flown by. I can still empathize with the scared/lonely freshmen. I can still remember what it was like to be the super-idealistic Hil that came to Liberty mountain thinking she would be BFF with everyone in sight. :-)
I’ve been blessed enough to grow deep and meaningful friendships with a number of people here. I have actually gotten to spend solid one-on-one time with two of them this week: Maura and Mel. Both of these girls are so encouraging to be around. They’re optimistic, trusting the Lord daily. I love being around these girls who are more focused on the Lord than on their own needs and desires.
It’s been sort of a weird thing coming back to LU after this incredible summer that I had, having no one around who even truly knows what it was like. I feel like I’m viewing LU, my studies, people, theater, family, and virtually everything else in life through a new set of lenses. More than recognition, popularity, or happiness, I want the Lord’s will done in my life. I want to be an eighth note in his symphony. I just want to seek Him and be a part of this amazing plan He has. And I’m not sure how He wants to use me this semester…I pray that He’ll see fit to let me be some sort of encouragement to those in my circles of influence. I keep on coming back to the concept that God has given us each an extremely unique role to play in His show…for such a time as this…

17 August, 2005

since i haven't written in awhile...

Hi friends, so tomorrow I'm leaving to go to the beach for a few days with my parents and Bonnie (the best friend). Bonnie and I both really pushed for this trip (we were even willing to go by ourselves (sans financial help from the parents) but my mom and dad were (hooray!) up for it. So tomorrow we treck down to Gulf Shores where we'll stay until Saturday. Then we'll book it back up to Nashville for Ashley Clayton's wedding Saturday night. Then, oh happy day, Jenna Smith (who I met at Focus this summer and is in Bonnie's sorority at Samford) is coming to stay until Sunday afternoon. Then I pack up the cute little--and newly shiny I might add--Avenger and head back to Lynchburg! So much has happened over the summer although it seems that mid-May goodbyes were only seconds ago...funny how time marches on. But yeah, so Wednesday I start College-part III. Craziness. This is the year of purpose. I just completed the summer of self-improvement...and now this is the year of purpose. Who knows what life will look like...ah, possibilities...I love them. Also, on another note...I discovered the other day that I will one day be an Aunt Hil. Now say it out loud. Now say it out loud with the emphasis on Aunt. Oh the beauty of never having to sign a birthday card to future nieces and nephews...instead I can just use my amazing artistic skills to draw a little ant hill...that's all for now.

11 August, 2005

Last view of Colorado

This was part of the view from the last hike I went on in Colorado. Thought you might enjoy.

09 August, 2005

"Beautiful people are the bane of my existence." --Kathy Griffin

Oh Kathy, what a sad life you must lead. Ms. Griffin announced this statement to the ladies of "the View" while I was watching the show this morning. I can't help but wonder what an inch-deep life characterized by that statement would be like to experience on a daily basis. Indeed, there have been times in my life where I longed to be a bit tanner, a bit skinnier, a bit taller...but to call any of that "the bane of my existence" would be nothing short of a lie. In truth outward beauty is something that I've devoted a portion of my thoughts to this summer. I made the decision earlier on this summer to become the healthiest physically that I could possibly be, sort of like as a science experiment. But it has turned into something I've enjoyed quite a lot. Exhibiting the discipline to ingest only healthy(ish) food and to run regularly have been nice additions to my life. The sense of accomplishment that comes along with running further than I ever have before is quite fun. I wouldn't trade it in for a slush at Sonic or a TCBY parfait. So, I guess this whole "outward beauty" thing has been sort of tripping me out lately. See, I sort of got skinnier this summer. Well ok, I didn't "sort of" I just did. I hate the phrase "lost weight" so I'm refraining from using that here. But it's what happenned to me. Anyway, it's a weird thing to be on either side of the skinny train and then to switch to the other side. I mean granted you have a little extra boost of confidence as you're walking through the mall, but you also get 200% more catcalls (for me that's two) than you did before...which really doesn't seem to be worth the hassle. Anyway, for me I'm glad I got healthier. I have a little more energy. I have more endorphins truckin through my system. And I have a disciplined life. And though I definitely wouldn't characterize myself as a BP, they aren't the bane of my existence either. Life is about so much more than sizes and sweat or dessert and pudge. So though I'm an advocate of doing all things in life with excellence, becoming a BP is not on my to-do list, but neither is becoming a couch potato.

01 August, 2005

To Whom It May Concern:

Lynchburg is definitely becoming the newest home to three fabulous institutions: Starbucks. Panera. And Coldstone. All right in a row. Glorious Day.

29 July, 2005

Closing Time...Open all the Doors and Let You Out Into the World...

As written in my journal as I was sitting in the Colorado Springs airport at 5:30 am 7/28/05…

I can’t believe it’s over. I’m sitting here in the Colorado Springs airport, eyes welled with tears because I have just finished my glorious journey. 8 weeks ago I did not know Jenny, Jenna, or Josh. 8 weeks ago I cried in the airport because I was leaving my home to go live in a strange part of the country with strange people. Now everything is different.
Not only have I learned that I LOVE Colorado, I have also learned that I treasure having close friends who are so wise beyond their years. I have learned my deepest weaknesses and learned what I am truly looking for in a mate some day. I have learned I have a passion to minister to and love homosexuals and I have a passion to learn all I can about postmodernism and how it plays out in my generation. I have learned that marriage is an unselfish choice to make you holy not simply a decision to make you happy. But most of all, I have learned that God has a specific plan for my life based on the experiences He has given me, the personality He has given me, the character traits and skills He has given me, and the passions He has given me.
I saw the movie “The Island” the other night. After it was over I couldn’t help but meditate on the vastness of God. (You’ll understand why after you see it.) It floors me that that same Creator God loves me and desires to use me somehow in His grand plan for the cosmos. Wow. He has even seen fit to bless me with little pieces of Heaven on earth—like the Focus on the Family Institute. I am so grateful.
My thoughts are best expressed through the lyrics of the second verse of a song I wrote this summer:
Lord I trust you with the future
Unimaginable and unknown
I often ponder why you’ve smiled on me so
Lord your plans are not my own
For the most part enjoyment
Has described all my days
I pray that you’ll guide us
To follow your ways
I thank you for blessing this time in my life
I pray that in my life you’ll be glorified

25 July, 2005

Hiker Girls.

On Saturday we hiked the Crags. This is only about halfway up, but as you can see the view was already incredible. I leave this place in 4 days. I'm gonna miss it...I sure hope Heaven looks something like Colorado. :-) Posted by Picasa

22 July, 2005

Colorado Update...Week 7 style...whicky whicky.


I think I say this every week in some form, fashion, or disguise but I honestly-speaking cannot believe a whole week has gone by and here I am at the end of week 7 of this 8 week experience called Focus on the Family Institute. I started mourning the ending of this beautiful summer about two weeks ago (truth be told, when it was halfway done) but now as the time truly closes I have begun to accept the beginning of the end and I am enjoying the idea of leaving this place having a much greater grasp of who I am, whose I am, and why I am here. This week two assignments I have had to complete have been “My Life’s Mission Statement” and a description of “The One.” And no, I won’t be posting either on here for fear of weird stalkerey boys searching for a wife or for fear of looking overly zealous in putting myself out there. :-)

On to the past week’s events…

Last Friday night all of the Focus students went to the “Flying W Ranch” where we enjoyed true country cookin’ and live country music. I know you were about to say “Oh I bet you LOVED that, being from Nashville and all!”


The only song I knew that they played was “Mariah,” a song that I knew from singing it in a review of songs from musicals.

Go figure.

Saturday I saw the new Johnny Depp-style “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” which was pretty Michael Jackson-esque weirdly trippy. It held my attention mostly, but was well….really odd.
I can’t even tell you if I liked it or hated it. It was just….really odd.
Saturday night I had the pleasure of being treated to pf chang’s by Jenny’s dad and step mom. Always a joy to be treated when one is an unemployed college student…

Sunday afternoon as I was riding with my friend Josh to the house of the President of FFI (for dinner with half of the students) we found ourselves lost. Not just a little bit lost. Like twenty miles lost. So a 15 minute drive definitely turned into an hour and 15 minute drive. I’m learning that getting lost doesn’t bother me like traffic does, and not being punctual doesn’t bother me like the feeling of missing out. Hmmm…

This week in class has probably been the most interesting yet. We are steeped in to our marriage class. Monday we even had a double header. 3 hour class in the morning and then 3 more hours after lunch. We’ve studied and discussed personalities, gender differences, the effects of spiritual warfare in marriage, finances, communication skills, and sex. Tomorrow is the last day of class. Today my assignment for reading was “Finding the Love of Your Life” by Neil Clark Warren. Also the founder of eharmony.com. Although being raised in a Christian home and being uber-involved in youth group definitely fostered an atmosphere of marriage awareness and “make your list, girls” I have become aware that my tastes, desires, and needs have changed over the years. It has been a very helpful process to pray through what I feel my life’s call is and to ponder what characteristics I’m looking for in a husband. I feel like I knew a lot of this before, but my view has changed from telescope to microscope. Like, the Lord has helped me pinpoint where I’m going and why. It’s been a really fulfilling thing.

On the social end of things I’ve had some good eats and good conversation this week. Today was my friend Keri’s birthday (Jenna’s roommate) so we went to a place called Giusseppie’s Depot for dinner. Apparently it used to be the train station here in Colorado Springs. Afterwards we went to my favorite spot in town, the look out point at Palmer Park. Once again I was completely moved by the handiwork of our Creator Savior. Simply breathtaking.

Some of you I will see in 1 week. Others I will see in 2. Others still I will see in just a month. I can’t wait to spend time with you all face to face again. I do immensely treasure these relationships God has blessed me with. I love y’all.

18 July, 2005

I'm an....otter?

So today for class our homework was to take a personality test that would tell us which personality we indeed have. I guess the purpose was to discover personality differences and gender differences and act accordingly in marriage...since I'm in a marriage class.
I don't know if I was in a funny mood or if the test was weird but I scored EXTREMELY otter. And please tell me if you think I'm being unreasonable by saying that this may not describe me to a T. Here's what it says:

"Poised, confident, persuasive and impressive are descriptors of you. You are usually capable of speaking in a comfortable manner. You could use help in controlling emotions--showing less impulsive reactions; less talk and more action. As the group size increases, you may become louder. You want to make sure everyone has a good time and enjoys themselves. As a result, you may appoint yourself entertainment chairperson. You tend to be fluent and verbal. You like to verbalize and to participate with everyone."

Ok, so yeah...maybe most of that describes me, but where is the balance?? Where is the "You like deep, analytical conversations. You like some alone time. You like structure to get work done." It's not there...so I've decided that they can't put this otter in a box. I refuse to be lumped into one of four categories. So I'm fighting back! I'm rebelling! Which according to this test, otters tend to do...dang it.

16 July, 2005

A much better pic of Garden of the Gods. And my cute mom and dad. yay.  Posted by Picasa

14 July, 2005

View from part of the Garden...this was taken earlier on in the Summer because Pike's Peak doesn't have any snow on top of it now.  Posted by Picasa

Part of the Garden of the Gods...does NOT do it justice...at all... Posted by Picasa

No, these aren't the huge rocks I was talking about...this is just the sign :) Posted by Picasa

Who knew there was so much I didn't know...

My sixth week in Colorado began wonderfully with a weekend visit by my parents. There’s something so great about worlds coming together and people witnessing your experiences. Anyway, while my parents were here I got the opportunity to take them to class with me (the topic of class that day was Singles and Dating, of course) and take them to a Denver Rockies game (they got smashed by the Padres). We enjoyed the game (although it was a bit slow) but enjoyed the Cheesecake Factory even more. Mmmmm…
Saturday Jenny came along with us on the cog ride up to the summit of Pike’s Peak. We ascended to 14,111 feet. The altitude definitely affected me as I found myself becoming a little loopy and having trouble breathing. It definitely wasn’t a feeling that I’d like to have on a daily basis.
From Pike’s Peak you can see hundreds of miles away, even into the next state (Kansas, if you were wondering). Before we got into the cog we were warned that at the top it was about 40 degrees cooler. We didn’t realize that it would also be SNOWING. I have to tell you, experiencing snow in July was quite an interesting thing…I felt like I had been transported to another hemisphere in the short hour that it took us to ascend up the mountain. God’s creation is so cool.
Sunday was Jenny’s 21st birthday. The celebration was a bit weak as it was drowned out by a Christmas in July party that our half of the Focus students had. That morning I took Mom and Dad to Woodmen Valley Chapel, a satellite church where we heard great preaching and experienced beautiful worship through music. The worship leader did a Phil Keaggy-esque song he wrote where he looped percussive sounds and harmonies just using the pick-up in his guitar. I love when the people of God get a little creative. Granted, Phil Keaggy probably thought of it first, but it was definitely a reminder to me to think outside the box and give God my best. I know I am capable of thinking more critically, working more diligently, and being more creative, and God deserves for me to apply those things to His glory. So anyway…
Sunday after church I took mom and dad to the Garden of the Gods and REI (which is my new favorite store, yeah I bought Chaco’s…totally becoming a mountain girl…right). My parents loved seeing the huge rock formations at Garden of the Gods up close. They really are pretty mind-bending. While at REI I got a big panoramic poster of Pike’s Peak and the Garden of the Gods which I will promptly hang in my new room at Montview Forest--should you be interested to see it ever.

To learn about what happened/what I learned on Tuesday…scroll down a few entries…’how are you living out your faith?’

Tuesday night all of the Omegas had our family picnic at the Garden of the Gods. Not only was it a great time of hanging out and talking it was also an amazing backdrop to experience worship. We were singing the song “Indescribable” by Chris Tomlin, and I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed by this God who created these huge natural wonders behind us. I can’t really say much more than that…it was just an awesome time of worship and fellowship. I feel so blessed and humbled when the Lord lets me sing and play guitar to help others worship Him through song.

Wednesday night all of the Omegas were invited to Jeff Abel’s (the guy who is over our resident advisors…whatever that makes him J ) for his “famous pasta dinner.” Little did many of us girls know, all the guys came over early to help and serve us. We were greeted at the door by two gentleman. Our orders were taken, our drinks were served to us, our food was prepared for us all by Jeff and the boys. It was such a sweet way for the guys to serve us and show the love of Christ. A few of us have something planned to say thanks…like, would the boys ever really make themselves cookies and brownies? No. They couldn’t survive without us.

I’ve been noticing the last few weeks just how imperative it is for me to wind up with someone who is intelligent, a learner, and engaging. As sort of a test I have been scanning Liberty’s facebook in hopes of finding someone (who I don’t already know) who reads interesting books (OTHER than Blue Like Jazz…geez) or who simply doesn’t misspell words.

So far. I got nothin.

Today right after class I’m going with Jenny to a Younglife camp a few hours away called “Crooked Creek.” It should be a very scenic route and it’ll be fun to go and see Walker AND to see what this Younglife stuff is all about…

One thing that’s been cool about this summer is to simply experience life out of my two comfort zones: Nashville and Lynchburg. Many students at Liberty remain at Liberty for years (most kids stay more than 4 years I think…) and I really believe it’s a comfort issue. Many are fearful of the next chapter in life so they simply stay and double major…or triple major…or go to grad school….at the same institution they’ve been studying at for 5 years already…not only is this limiting them to only have one place to experience life as a young adult, for some it also displays a fear of stepping out and trusting God. If I’ve learned anything while being in Colorado (a place I had never been before) studying alongside 78 students from some 60 colleges, is that there is a huge wide world out there to experience. As amazing as my friends and family are, there are so many more things to see and people to meet! After chewing on all of this, this may seem unrelated (it’s not) I have been reevaluating just how long I’d like to stay at Liberty. I had considered staying for 4 years of undergrad and then going on to even do grad school maybe. I know I’m a little ahead in credits so I started looking at what my graduation requirements are. I’ve decided to go ahead and take most all of my classes for my major asap, simply so I can be prepared if the Lord chooses to steer in me in another direction in the next couple years. I’m beginning to grasp the breadth of the statement, “When you’re young you’ve got the world at your fingertips.”

12 July, 2005

Challenging Word...


How are you living out your faith?

Today Mike Haley, the head of the department for “gender issues” at Focus, came to speak to our class about homosexuality. I have heard Mike speak twice already at Liberty, and though I enjoyed listening to him with his charisma and humor, I knew he would probably be telling the “same old story.” Interestingly enough, Mike had me gripped by his story all over again. He told of how he had been abused by a man from the time he was 11 until he was 18. He talked of growing up in a Christian home and always feeling “different.” He talked about his dad’s high expectations that his only son become a world-class athlete and a “manly man.” All these issues culminated in Mike spending 12 years of his life in the homosexual community. Now look at him. A successful Christian man with a God-used ministry, happily married with two sons. God certainly gave this man’s life a 180 degree turn. But how did he do it? Through a man named Jeff Conrad. Jeff sought Mike out. He loved him when Mike would sneer at this “God” Jeff worshipped. Mike would skip town and move. Jeff would find his address and write him saying that God loves Him and there is a way out. Eventually Mike began to grasp who this Jesus was that Jeff worshipped and spoke of. It wasn’t the same Jesus that Fred Phelps says “hates fags.” It was a Jesus who bled and died and sacrificed his life so that Mike could experience true FREEDOM. I wonder if Jeff had any idea that Mike would eventually be delivered and guide thousands of other homosexuals into freedom as well. All Jeff did was pursue and invest in one person. And look at all the fruit that has sprung forth. Who knows what could be accomplished for the kingdom by slowing down and taking the time to invest in one soul.

This has caused me to reevaluate my goals for my life. Over and over again our professor Sheryl Dewitt has told us stories of people whose lives were transformed by coming and sitting in her office talking through issues with her. I’ve believed for quite some time that all that matters in life are God and people. The greatest commandment is love God and love people. Maybe there’s something more there…

It's easy to forget that there's more to the Christian life than simply being "good." Christianity is not a life of rules and behavior. It is a life filled with the knowledge that earth is only temporary, and we must invest in the things that matter.

10 July, 2005

So yeah, about last week...5 down. 3 to go.

So the pictures turned out to be in kind of weird spots...odd...anyway quick explanations: Top-Me and Jenny at the park last week. 2nd-Me and Henry about to go trailblazing. 3rd-Jenna and the pig at the ranch where we started off on our horse adventure. Bottom-Jenna, Me, Kara, and Keri taking a photo-op before trapsing through the mountains on horseback. So there ya go.

A belated and much overdue Colorado Update…

Ok, wow soooo much happened last week that I feel like my life is completely different than the last time I posted an update. Things have been pretty busy here (shocker) and with the wonderful visit by my parents, I’ve had no time really to update. Ok, so here are some highlights of the past week and some things I’ve learned…I’ll try to keep this in chronological order. :-)

Last Saturday 3 of my friends here (Kara, Keri, and Jenna) and I went horseback riding in the Pike’s Peak National Park. And when I say in the park, I mean through the mountains. The family who owns the horses we rode also have a lot of other animals on their property. Within 30 minutes we encountered a little pig, some chickens, sheep, goats, horses (obviously) and bison. These people are for real. As far as the sights go, I tried to take pictures from atop my trusty horse Henry, but none do justice to really how high we were, or how steep our descent was, our how loud the thunder was, or how close the lightning seemed to be. I was pretty pensive throughout the whole thing; one might call it ‘nonconversational.’ With one hand I gripped Henry’s reins to point him in the right direction and with the other hand I clung to my saddle for dear life—so to speak. In short, the view was beautiful, the company was excellent, and the memories were marvelous. I totally recommend going horseback riding through the Rocky Mountains. Just make sure you don’t mind being a bit sore in strange regions the next day…

In other news, my sister Ashli got engaged to Matt Arbo in Nashville on Saturday. And can I just say that I should get some sort of credit for this match? Ashli and Matt met at the Drowsy Poet coffee shop after the Cool Hand Luke concert last fall. After the show I desperately wanted to go to the Daily Grind and Ashli vehemently desired Drowsy. Being the cool younger sister that I am, I conceded to her wishes, and BOOM. Wouldn’t you know she meets her future husband there. Anyway, Ashli was completely surprised by Matt’s proposal over lunch at the Opryland Hotel. Mashli (as my friends and I affectionately call them) are super-excited and looking to get married either in December or May(ish). Masel tov.

Sunday a group of us headed up to Denver to do some shopping and take in the sights and smells of ‘Casa Bonita.’ Denver is a very cool city; I recommend it for a visit as well. They have a cool outdoor mall where I had much success with late summer sales. Casa Bonita is this huge restaurant/entertainment experience in Denver. Unfortunately we were seated where we couldn’t see much, but we did see a couple of cliff divers and a gun show. Lots of little kiddos everywhere. It was fun.

Monday was 4th of July and as a national holiday I definitely decided it merited a crazy late sleep in. I really had no choice as I was up until 3ish the night before (thanks buddy ;-) Monday night we went to Applebee’s for dinner and then went to Memorial Park for the fireworks show. 4th of July is definitely summer’s epitome, and I love it. There’s something about the idea of Independence Day that is really romantic to me…I can’t quite put my finger on it either…

This week in class we have been covering topics that have definitely begun to hit a lot closer to home. We’ve studied parents and child discipline (the raging controversy right now is to spank or not to spank), children and self-esteem, teen issues, and singles and dating. Lots and lots of dialogue began this week among the students regarding what is biblical in these areas and what our own opinions are. As far as parenting goes it seems that it boils down to being close to your children. Loving, consistent discipline is definitely key, but above all parents must have relationships with their kids. Teens will never open up to parents about issues in high school if parents weren’t willing to listen to their thoughts (however ‘unimportant’) when they were third graders. So yeah…tuck that advice away somewhere… Also, on the day that we discussed self-esteem we did an exercise where we spoke truth into the lives of our friends by telling them 5 positive characteristics about themselves and then listening to what our friends had to say about us. I got the privilege of being in a group with my friends Jenny and Josh. Nothing brings joy to my soul quite like encouraging others and pointing out where God has blessed them. Jenny is very perceptive and one of the most insightful college students I’ve ever met. And Josh has a deep passion for Christ that proves to simply inspire me and spur me on. I am blessed to know both of these people and I hope that I will stay in contact with them for many years to come.

I feel like such a general overview of the week barely scratches the surface of where I am in my thoughts and life really. God is taking me to a new place on my journey, and I’m excited about that. I just hope I remember all that I’m learning once this glorious summer comes to a close…

07 July, 2005

Timing Is Everything.

Colorado Update coming soon...for now, a quote.

For my marriage and parenting class I was assigned to read part of the book "I gave dating a chance" by Jeramy Clark. In it he told a story about a woman who found a cocoon in her front yard and saw the little butterfly trying to break free from its entrapment. Thinking she was doing a kind thing, she took a knife and cut the cocoon right open. The would-be butterfly was only partly transformed so tragically he did not survive outside of the cocoon. Clark writes,

The woman hadn’t realized that only the struggle and the waiting made the butterfly ready to be free. Without the proper amount of time, the butterfly could not survive.
Timing is everything.

Ecclesiastes 3. Timeless. (No pun intended.)

06 July, 2005

Fun on the Fourth!

Jenny, Jenna, and Me. I love this picture...What more could you ask for? A blonde, a brunette, and a redhead. :) Posted by Picasa

Left to Right: Jenny, Jenna, Keri, Kara, and well me up front in the purple...we arrived at Memorial Park well before dark so we chilled with 30 of our closest FFI friends...Jenny and I entertained ourselves by playing volleyball for a bit and waiting in line for a funnel cake for 45 minutes...  Posted by Picasa

When planning for the 4th festivities I forgot that it gets COLD at night here...so luckily, we had a blanket to keep warm. :) Posted by Picasa

30 June, 2005

Week 4 in Colorado...Like Whoa....

Colorado Update

I’ve now been in Colorado Springs for 4 weeks. 4 weeks that have flown by. I’m also leaving Colorado Springs in 4 weeks. Hopefully they will go by a little bit slower. :-)

I am loving life here.

Even though it’s not even the 4th of July yet, I’ve pretty much voted this the best summer yet of my life. I mean I know I’m only 20, but so far this tops it. Being at the Focus on the Family Institute has simply fostered an incredible community to learn and grow in, professors and staff that have a passion to invest, and tons of incredible things to do, see, and experience.

Alright a little week in review for ya:

Last Friday night a bunch of us girls (the boys had an organized boy bonding time thing) went to Cracker Barrel and to Barnes. Now this might not sound exciting, but for a southern girl to be able to have some sweet tea and grits is simply fabulous. And then the Barnes part was exciting because I could actually go there and not feel the weight of 150 pages of “How Now Shall We Live?” breathing down my neck. Speaking of Barnes….other great Barnes news…..

For those of y’all that know me pretty well, you know that I have a great interest in all things Dave Barnes. He wrote/performs one of my favorite songs, “Nothin’ Fancy ‘Bout the Way I Love You.” I knew God had put Jenny in my life for some great reason but I had no idea it was because she KNOWS DAVE BARNES. Yeah, my friend Jenny Peck totally went to Dave’s high school in East Tennessee. Hello!! And did I mention that as of his 24th birthday (the last time J-Peck checked in ;-) he had NEVER kissed a girl?!?!

Hello, knight inshining armor…I’m chilling in Colorado…come get me…

Saturday was an all day Women’s Retreat at this convent/convention center type thing up in the mountains. I don’t know if the nuns have this zoo-like mentality with the wildlife, but animals such as rabbits and deer were not scurred in the least bit by us humans. Yeah, it felt Garden of Edenish…And also, God taught me some really cool things about wise choices, friendship, and loving people I might not choose to love, while I was there also…this verse really hit me for the first time:

“A tranquil heart is life to the body, but jealousy is rottenness to the bones.” Pro. 14:30

Tranquil heart. That sounds like something I definitely always want to have…

Sunday we sort of changed things up a bit, by instead of going to a church building a few of us got together in an apartment here and did our own little worship service consisting of my guitar, my friend josh’s drum, and an RC Sproul sermon on an ipod. We definitely met with God. Sproul’s sermon was on the holiness of God (which he typically talks about) and his balance between mercy and justice. A lot of times we ask for ‘justice’ but we really don’t want justice, we want mercy. If you’d like me to expound just leave a comment. This is the summary:

To understand what grace is, you must understand what justice is. To understand what justice is, you must understand what holiness is.


Sunday night we went to Luke’s (one of the guys here) baseball game. He didn’t play at all though…so we mostly just watched random 40-year old men play baseball…and we were pretty much the only fans there…awkward…

This week in class Dr. Chris Leland discussed a couple more worldviews and then gave us sort of a ‘sending out’ challenge. Tuesday he gave us the run down on postmodernism, which was insanely interesting. Everything he talked about that was typical of a person with a ‘postmodern’ worldview was typical of my friends. Like, my friends have a postmodern view on Christianity or something…it is certainly an interesting topic…well worth it’s own post I think.

So Tuesday my dad hosted ‘Hardball with Chris Matthews’ at my church. The above pictures are from that night. For those of you who haven't met my family, my dad is the one on the far right in the picture on the left. And that's Chris Matthews interviewing Richard Land in the picture on the right. Anyway, I guess it was a special on msnbc where Chris Matthews did a 3 hour show from a church, discussing religion in politics. And can I just brag for two seconds? My dad was a total baller. Unlike other guys who do the whole debate thing, my dad was articulate and purposeful but not obnoxious or rude. Basically God gave a bunch of favor to my dad that day. I think I’ll have a tape of it, so if anyone wants to see it when we get back to school just holler. Anyway, it was quite surreal chilling in the Ogden Lounge on the campus of Focus on the Family watching my dad on national television…but it was cool. :-)

Last night some girls had a camping party…it was really just a party…but with a camping theme…I had a s’more…mmm….kind of reminded me of Charley’s :-) But mostly of bonfires….

In about 15 minutes I’m going to have dinner with some friends at the California Pizza Kitchen…yuuummmmm

Plans for the weekend: A tram ride up to the top of Pike’s Peak, maybe a renaissance festival, 7 Falls, trip to Denver, a dinner/show thing at Casa Bonita, line dancing, bar-b-que by the pool, and fireworks.

Happy Independence Day!

29 June, 2005

Jenny quickly became the ring leader of the whole fiasco...looks like Amy began to buckle under the pressure... Posted by Hello

We were given tips on the art of freezing underwear...apparently stuffing it into a bowl and then putting water in is the ultimate way...note zebra print...tmi...tmi... Posted by Hello

Let the Pranks Begin

Me, and two 'innocent bystanders' the night of the prank...I was in the middle of writing a note that read: Posted by Hello

Dear Rob,
Morning sunshine! Missing something? Check the fridge...
Have a great day!

25 June, 2005

Colorado Update Part Last

Ok, so Wednesday came and it was the day James D. was rescheduled to meet with us. I was all worried he wasn’t gonna show (and apparently he’s only in Colorado Springs for 5 days all of June and July) but alas he did and it was wonderful. The 78 of us students had the opportunity to spend 45 minutes with him and ask him any question we thought of. Some of the questions were great and some were stupid, yet he still seemed to find great answers for all of them. One girl asked him what he would deem his greatest accomplishment throughout life (which I would liken such a question to, how much money you make…a stupid/inappropriate question). And he turned the question back around and told her that “That is for someone else to say, not me.” He went on to humbly talk about how it would be “foolishness” to take credit for what God has done at Focus. He said that he wishes we could have been there every time there seemed to be a wall, and a door would all of a sudden appear. He was not only inspiring and charismatic, this man is night and day from what I am used to with the leadership at Liberty. (No names of course :-) He was genuinely humble. And that spirit of authenticity trickles down to every person who works at Focus. It is quite an inspiring place to be. Oh and also another cool thing happened…he said “one more question” and I was raising my hand practically to the ceiling and he was like “You there down front” and pointed to this other girl…uber-bummer. On top of that, the question had nothing to do with me or anything that pertained to all of us, so that was sort of irritating…but then boom, cool thing happened. He was like “I like this so much, how bout one more question.” I raised my hand so high I’m sure I looked like a freakin-idiot. But he called on me!!! It was fabulous. My question was, “Dr. Dobson, if you could go back and have a conversation now with your self at 20 years-old what advice would you give yourself?” (A murmure went out throughout the crowd...'oohh, good question'...'i know, i know.') It sounds funny but it makes sense I think…Anyway, he basically said that at 20 he had a head on his shoulders. He was on the right path spiritually, etc. He said that as he got a little bit older and his radio ministry really took off, he focused so much on Christian families, he didn’t realize how many potentially lost people might be listening. He basically said, he wished he had been more evangelistic in the early days. I hope that’s not my regret too…

PS—Another fabulous thing that happened on Wednesday is that my dad was voted First Vice-President of the Southern Baptist Convention, and he was sworn in. How cool! I’m so proud of him and I really wish that I could have been there. The convention is in Greneville, NC next year…which is not so exciting…but I’ll be there. With bells on. Anyway, I’m so proud of my dad and this new opportunity for him. Go dad go! Oh and one other thing happened on Wednesday night…I wrote a song. :-) Yay.

Thursday was a pretty chill day until late…Jenny and I decided to rock some pranks as two of our guy friends Josh and Rob were conveniently out of town. As immature as it is, we stole their underwear and froze it (we didn’t touch it though…so think about that…). It was hilarious. I’ll probably have pictures of that soon…Oh and on a more mature note...:-) I went to an open forum on women in the workplace. It was great. The phrase that stuck with me the most was this piece of advice: Always Be Present. Be present in the present in His presence.
I’m chewing on that one…

Upcoming events: Women’s One Day Retreat, Dad on Hardball with Chris Matthews: MSNBC Tuesday night June 28 at 7pm/eastern time, a possible trip to Aspen next weekend, and Mom and Dad coming to visit in two weeks.

So what have you been up to?