I Wish I Had An Apartment

Living in dorms isn't so bad. My room is especially large, so it's not a problem at all to get comfortable and have my things around me. But, there is something wonderful about an apartment (or, even better, a house). There's a kitchen and a non-communal bathroom and walls separating various parts of the house. It's truly wonderful.

Lydia, a friend of mine who's getting married this December, has an apartment. She is visiting her fiance over reading week, so she let me and Jordan have the keys to her place. It's been nice to have a little getaway. We spent Saturday evening there watching movies. Tonight, we had a little dinner party.

Entertaining folk, cooking for a crowd is a wonderful good time. Jordan, Abbie and I spent an hour at the grocery store preparing for it. Jordan and I spent the afternoon at the apartment, I baking banana bread, Jordan making orange bread and then both of us studying. Abbie rejoined the fun around six to prepare the food.

Appetizers included cantaloupe wrapped in prosciutto, pears with soft cheese and stone ground wheat crackers with smoked gouda. Oh man, I love smoked gouda. The main meal was tri-color rotini with four cheese tomato sauce and ground turkey or alfredo or both (mmmm...) and carrots sauteed with garlic and butter (perfect for a Thanksgiving side dish, I think!). For dessert there was my banana bread and Jordan's yummy orange rolls.

After dinner we ate banana bread, drank some cheap champagne (which I actually rather enjoyed), and watched Boondock Saints, one of my favorite movies of all time. Everyone seemed to enjoy it. I actually caught some parts in it that I'd completely missed during my many previous viewings. When the movie was over, a few people cleaned the kitchen a bit and then everyone headed out, leaving just me and Jordan.

Once everyone was gone, Jordan finished cleaning up the kitchen so that I wouldn't have to and when he was done, I fell asleep with my head in his lap. There was no music, no TV, the room was dark, but he let me sleep for half an hour because I "looked so peaceful and happy." What a great guy!

Tried to post this last night, but Blogger was being stupid. Anyway, I should get going, we are heading out to Jordan's house this morning. Meeting the mom...

Happy Birthday, My Toon!

Rebecca and I had our very first encounter over IM. She was in the middle of high school relationship turmoil and I was her soon-to-be college roommate. Never having met her before, I was a little surprised when she asked me for advice about a boy, but being my normal precocious self, I offered my observation-based expertise.

When we met, it was instant friendship. (Laura was there, of course, and I love her...but it's not her birthday.) The very first night together we were all singing and laughing and talking until all hours of the night. She has a beautiful alto voice that I covet from time to time. :)

There were rocky moments in college. I was too distant, too dispassionate sometimes. She was occasionally a little moody for my taste. But, like good friends do, we worked through it. There were several times that we both ended up crying together. Rebecca's presence gave me permission to feel a lot of things I'd been missing over the years. She was also played a key role in the evolution of my opinion about women in ministry. It was rather ironic that I, Miss Women-Should-Be-Submissive, would be placed with a young woman who felt called into the ministry. Providential, perhaps?

During our sophomore year, I watched Schindler's List with one of our floormates. Before the movie was over, I came back to our room in tears and lay down on my bed to sob. Rebecca lay there with me for two hours. Not talking, just being with me when I needed someone.

We drifted apart during senior year at Houghton. It was easy enough to do since she was in Australia first semester and I was in Africa second semester. We didn't see each other much and when we were on campus at the same time, I was mostly a jerk trying to work through my heaps of separation anxiety by avoiding most of my old friends. Fortunately, my jerkiness didn't end our friendship.

I don't get to see My Toon nearly enough these days. We spend time together when we can, send emails and IMs and call each other fairly often, but it's never quite enough to be satisfying. We've been friends for just over seven years. Seems a lot longer. Here's to another seven just as good. Here's to fifty if we both make it!


Monday Afternoon Beer

Last Monday, after a particularly frustrating Hebrew precept, my friend, Abbie, came to my room and the following conversation ensued:

Abbie: (flops on my bed) Please tell me you'll go out for a beer with me!
Me: Okay...when?
Me: (a little surprised) Sure.
Abbie: Are you serious?! I love you!!!

So, we went to Triumph Brewery for a beer at 4 p.m. on a Monday. Even though I'm not a huge fan of beer, they have a Honey Wheat that I enjoy. And, sometimes, a beer is appropriate. For instance, when Andrea and I were working at the chocolate factory, Honey Brown was the only thing that could slake our thirst after a long day on the line.

It felt really great that Abbie thought to ask me. There were other people around, but she chose, at that moment, to come flop on my bed. She was surprised when I was so amenable to the suggestion. Knowing how much I appreciate it when others offer me their time, though, I try to make myself available to others as much as possible. An hour given to a friend is far more important than an hour given to writing a paper that will get done, anyway. The work always gets done.

That was just the beginning of an awesome week. Some days I'm almost tempted to reclaim Calvinist theology because it seems so clear that this is exactly the place I am supposed to be right now. Almost, but not quite.

I Hope It's Allowed

*cough cough* May I have your attention, please?! I have an announcement to make. You see the young man juggling in the picture two posts ago? He's mine and he's distracting in so many good ways. Hence the lack of posting of late. I promise I'll try to be better, but I'm not making any promises. ;)

That's all. You may now return to your regularly scheduled blog programming. Have a wonderful day!

True Beauty?

Interesting video from Dove:

He Does Tricks!

You can click on Jordan's picture to see more photos of our wonderful day at the orchard. It's a good thing Caroline remembered her camera!

Pictures of the pumpkin will be up shortly. I don't know why I keep forgetting to take some.


Sometimes a girl just needs a new pair of shoes. It doesn't hurt if they are super cute and cheap!


Sometimes the most beautiful music in the world is nothing more than breathing in rhythm with another.

Orchards Make For Good Memories

Seminary has proven to be more wonderful than I could have imagined in so many ways. You can try to guess what all that means, but for now, I'll just tell you about my day.

Some friends and I decided that it would be fun to go apple-picking this weekend, so we all met up around 3 p.m. and headed to Terhune Orchard, which is about ten minutes away. There was a festival in progress, complete with mariachi/celtic music. City people were standing in hour long lines to let their kids have a three minute pony ride. Pumpkins were laid out as far as the eye could see. I chose a perfect little round one. Maybe I'll carve it...maybe I'll just draw it a face. Either way, I will name it (for Emily) and I will post pictures tomorrow.

After choosing a pumpkin and treating myself and Jordan to caramel covered apples (mine had Reese's pieces, too!), the eight of us that were together headed over to the orchard to pick some apples to take away. We got a good six pounds or so. Enough for a lovely apple crisp and a few leftover for eating. Unfortunately, I forgot to take my camera out of my bag, so it was left at Lydia's house. Alas, no pictures of this trip.

After gathering some apples, we headed back to Lydia's apartment at CRW. Lydia made spaghetti, Jordan made bread, and I used John Rowley's recipe to make apple crisp. It was a delicious evening; eating great food, spending time with good friends, watching silly movies. The apple crisp was a rousing success, even among those who aren't particularly fond of cooked fruit. Vanilla in the apples is a neat trick. After dinner, everyone did the Color Code personality profile. We had a lot of blues and whites and one 100% yellow. Yellows stand out here, blues and whites not so much.

We left around 10:30 tonight. I would have willingly stayed later being happy just where I was, but Matt and Caroline wanted to get back to campus. You'd think we're here to study or something.

One of my best memories of Houghton was a beautiful fall day spent with friends buying apple cider and enjoying nature. Now I have the opportunity to create similar lovely memories with a new set of amazing people. Apple orchards certainly do have a way of bringing out the best in people.

God has blessed me...and I am grateful.

Just A Few Pictures

Letters from faraway friends...

Getting into the spirit of the season...

Perfect timing...

The Campus Center Lounge

During my time at Houghton, some friends and I took up semi-permanent residence in a corner of the campus center. We would lounge around on the couches, talking, laughing, and, sometimes, getting a little studying done. Our bookbags would save our spot when we were eating meals, standing watch lest a group of interlopers mistakenly think our corner was available for public use.

I was a latecomer to the corner, silently declaring my citizenship during my senior year of college. Those who already claimed residency gracefully accepted my presence and that of some other friends. I took quite a few naps on those hard, ugly couches, did most of my homework there, got tackled and tickled by Jeremy Z. and Kyle on a regular basis...it was delightful.

When several of us were there for Homecoming last year, we spent several hours in our corner chatting about our post-college lives, irresistibly drawn to the familiar. Perhaps we were usurping the place of some new group on campus, but it didn't matter. For a little while, we owned it again, we lived our memories for a time.

Here at Princeton, there is no place like the campus center lounge. I suppose people at grad school are more likely to be married, have off-campus jobs, etc. Princeton is not as remote and lacking in places to go as Houghton. These two circumstances sort of negate the need for a campus center lounge. Most people wouldn't make use of it if it were available. It would be more like a ghost town than a gathering place.

This lack of a central gathering place does make the dorms more important here, though. People in Hodge hang out with people in Hodge. Folks in Brown stick together. Alex is an island. Of course, these are stereotypes, I have friends in all three dorms and spend a great deal of time in Hodge, but I'm convinced that the campus would have a very different feel if there was a common gathering place, which many students frequented.

At the same time, I'm glad of the good friends I've already made and the freedom I feel to pop into just about any friend's room at almost any time of day. One friend in particular has a very comfy couch and, fortunately, PTS doesn't have visiting hours like Houghton did, otherwise I wouldn't be able to frequent his room nearly so much. That would be a sad day.

Princeton's not identical to Houghton and that feels strange at times, but it's good and I like it, campus center or no.

Daisies, I Think

It's Not That I Don't Love Blogging...

I do love blogging. But there is so much happy right now that I don't feel compelled to write and I don't have any time to read. This is a good and healthy thing in so many ways. However, it is about time that I share another slideshow with the masses. So, click this beautiful picture of seminary women to see a slideshow of PC Load Letter getting their game on!

Feel free to poke around in the other pictures while you're there.

Rewriting History

Over the past few days, I've begun to notice that most of the memories I share with people are from childhood or undergrad. My time at the bank and the law firm are mostly summarized in the words, "I worked for three years and I hated my jobs." Good memories with Emily in DC and the Garbarini clan in Buffalo sort of fade into the background noise of those two soul-sucking jobs.

Now that I'm in a "happy place" again I don't really want to reminisce about the times when I was depressed and sometimes even angry. It's only been about seven weeks since I left that "other life," perhaps I'm still in some sort of detox phase. Anyway, how much can I say about being yelled at over the phone or making endless copies of nonsense? How much can I really say?

Completely Embarrassed

I knew I had two papers to write tonight. One was going to be four pages and one was going to be two. Six pages in an afternoon, no problem. But, wait...that four page one was actually supposed to be ten to twelve pages. Woot! I read the syllabus wrong.

So, now, instead of handing in four thrown together pages for one of my classes, I'm handing in nine and a half pages of thrown together trash. What a way to start with a new professor. It's a good thing I don't want to focus on Christian education.

I also had my meeting with Chester Polk in the Field Ed office today. The end result of that meeting was much better than the end result of this paper will be. It looks like the current plan is to do a Year Long Placement in Scotland after my middler year. That means I will graduate a year later than previously planned, but it will also mean an entire year in Scotland. Then I hope to do a summer placement with the Christian Ministry in the National Parks, hopefully, somewhere out west.

Okay, back to this complete embarassment of a paper. I'm almost finished and I don't want to prolong the pain...

Theological Jokes

They're only funny to us, fellow seminarians... ;)
(Justin and Katie taking their shirts out for a spin.)

A Visitor to Class

Ronald C. White, Jr. lectured in my favorite class today. He wrote one of our texts, Lincoln's Greatest Speech and since he's temporarily living in D.C., he obliged us with a visit. In his very quiet, engaging way, he discussed the book and other Lincoln articles we read for the class.

Learning more about Lincoln's life was a fascinating venture, especially his approach to public speaking and his religious life, which are two topics Mr. White emphasized. Hearing about Mr. White's meetings with President Bush added to the analysis.

Lincoln was a man of few words, carefully chosen, during his presidency. Before he began his time in the White House, he was more free with his speech. After he took the oath, he accepted far fewer speaking engagements and spent more time crafting his words before he spoke. Mr. White suggested that presidents in our time would do well to have a similar policy; that people would be more eager to listen if our public figures were not in the spotlight so frequently.

My question to him was: Would the media, would our culture, allow a president to be less verbose? How would people respond to a president who turned down most speaking engagements? Obviously, the president is asked to speak far more frequently than he does, but what would happen if he only appeared three times a year to make a speech? How would the public react to speeches of less than a thousand words?

I agree with Mr. White that it would probably be better if our presidents were less celebrity and more statesman, but I wonder if that is possible in a TV culture. What do you think?

Sing, Sing a Song, Sing Out Loud...

I "studied" on the quad this afternoon. More accurately, I laid on the grass under a clear October sky and read about Lincoln's second inaugural address. Having procrastinated through most of the viable weekend hours (precisely what I am doing at this moment), I thought the warm sun and the cool ground would lead to some productive study time. Instead it led to some good friendship building time and a little picture-taking time. I did manage to finish my book about Lincoln, but Hebrew was sorely neglected.

Jordan's hat, casually tossed on the ground. It was too perfect not to take a picture... I have chosen to never regret time spent with friends even if it occasionally means neglecting my studies. Books are lovely, but people are lovelier.
At the beginning of my first year at Houghton, I spent hours socializing and not a whole lot of time hitting the books. Slacker wouldn't be the right word; I just wanted to make friends. I am an introvert, but that doesn't mean I always like to be alone. At the outset of my career here at PTS, I'm making similar choices.

Read about Abe Lincoln or watch a movie with friends? Movie, of course! There's no contest. Learn Hebrew vocab for a quiz on Monday or watch a football game? Hey, I don't much care for football and I don't know who's playing, but gooooo team! (Though, I couldn't find where the game was tonight...)

It's perfectly natural and healthy to spend time making new friends. Prioritizing relationships over schoolwork makes sense to me. I just hope my overachiever's heart isn't broken when I get my grades back at the end of the semester... On the other hand, if that does happen, at least I'll have some shoulders to cry on.


There was a party in Brown last night. I didn't take any pictures because it was supposed to get really crazy. However, it was nipped in the bud before anything truly crazy could happen. The music was loud, yes. People were hanging out in the hall, sure. But was it really necessary to threaten a call to the police?

Fortunately, the weirdness at the end of the party didn't affect my evening. Jordan, Matt, Joshy, Lydia and I migrated to my room to listen to some good music and play cards, euchre to be exact. Matt and I won, but I promised I wouldn't rub it in...

After euchre, we played some Dutch Blitz, a vonderful good game. I was also inspired to pick up my guitar again...something I didn't do much while I was living in Arlington. That's what I'm going to do right now, actually, before I read an article that questions Lincoln's sexuality and study the 'brew.

Go, PC Load Letter!!!

Intramural flag football is taken seriously here at PTS. Teams stay together for three years, they develope set plays, they come up with team cheers. It's fun, but sometimes it gets a little intense. A couple of my teammates got hit pretty hard (in a non-contact league). I suppose it can be difficult to stop on wet grass when you're barreling toward a person at full speed... Maybe when we get to be seniors, we'll feel free to tackle people, too?

My team, PC Load Letter, had a double header today. The first team we played clobbered us, but we started getting better by the end, I'm told that's what matters. Since I don't have a competitive bone in my body, I take their word for it. Fortunately, the folks on my team are laid back, playing to win, but also genuinely out there to have fun. We also lost our second game, too, but it was very close. Our team is really starting to gel. A couple women on the team made some amazing plays. I think Melissa made multiple interceptions. (Any teammates who read this may feel free to correct me.) And, let me tell you, she's a runner. The guys definitely put their all into the game, too. They definitely rock it, while making a conscious effort to make sure the women on the field are not just there to fill out the roster.

As a celebration after the games, we all went out to Chick-fil-a. Football + chicken sandwiches and waffle fries + a large group of sweaty, dirty seminary students in the mall = beautiful! I'm so glad I joined a team. Maybe I'll have to get involved in ultimate frisbee this spring...


by Allen Ginsberg
(one of four poems I took to TZ)

The weight of the world
is love.
Under the burden
of solitude,
under the burden
of dissatisfaction

the weight
the weight we carry
is love.

Who can deny?
In dreams
it touches
the body,
in thought
a miracle,
in imagination
till born
in human--

looks out of the heart
burning with purity
for the burden of life
is love,

but we carry the weight
and so must rest
in the arms of love
at last
must rest in the arms
of love

No rest
without love,
no sleep
without dreams
of love--
be mad or chill
obsessed with angels
or machines,
the final wish
is love
--cannot be bitter
cannot deny,
cannot withhold
if denied:

the weight is too heavy
--must give
for no return
as thought
is given
in solitude
in all the excellence
of its excess.

The warm bodies
shine together
in the darkness,
the hand moves
to the center
of the flesh
the skin trembles
in happiness
and the soul comes
joyful to the eye--

yes, yes,
that's what
I wanted,
I always wanted,
I always wanted,
to return
to the body
where I was born.

Completely Unintentional

I was really looking forward to my OT precept today. We were going to be talking about Genesis 16 and 21, the accounts of Hagar and Sarah. Our profs gave us some interesting readings to complement the text and my preceptor is uber-nice. All day, I was anticipating the discussions that we would have about interpersonal relationship/competition among women in my all female precept.

At lunch, I sat with a friend who has the same preceptor, and she said it was a great class. It seemed strange when she told me hers was the only all-female precept. That's what Amy had told me precept.

You can probably see where I'm going with this. My OT precept, which I had convinced myself was at 2:30 p.m. is actually at 10:40 a.m. I unintentionally skipped a class for the first time in my life. I think I'm going to get my schedule tattooed on my arm...I've been wanting a tattoo, after all.

It's Beginning to Fit

On Wednesday evening, I had my first late night talk with about six women from the fourth floor of Brown (I live on third). We had a great time chatting and telling stories. Such times go a long way toward making me feel at home. Sharing stories is one of the chief ways in which I communicate about myself, so I love lounging around with new friends sharing our lives, getting to know each other in the context of who we were.

Stories build communities. We laugh together, we cry together, we show our humanity and find those things we have in common. I look forward to many similar evening chats (and maybe even some healthy debates) with my new community.

Pink Shirt

I don't post a lot of photos of myself because I'm generally the person behind the lens, but here's one of me studying on the quad yesterday. A friend of mine was playing around with my camera for a bit.

pink shirt

Hey Emily, there's that nearly 90 degree angle in my back that always seems to fascinate you. It's my natural study position.

Enforced Hiatus...

So, it's not that I don't want to blog, it's that whenever I sit down at my computer to play around, I begin to feel guilty and think about the ten million other things I should be doing.

For instance, right now, I should be reading a case study for my class at 3:30, checking over my Hebrew worksheet for precept at 2:30, studying Hebrew vocab and rules, and getting some sleep.

I'm exhausted. Actually, I'm past the point of exhausted and on to being punchy and slightly jittery. I don't even drink coffee and I have the shakes! Hopefully, my newly reformed habit of going to the gym will help me to sleep better and give me more energy. If not, maybe I will have to begin a coffee drinking habit.

On a side note, the sermon in chapel today referenced blogging. I saw at least three or four people swivel around searching for my bloggy face. Makes me laugh.

Quotable Quotes

I just spent twenty minutes writing a post about this quote from The Depleted Self:
Contact-shunning personalities are those who avoid social contact and become isolated, not because they are disinterested in others, but, on the contrary, just because their need for them is so intense.
This course on confession and forgiveness is already giving me an entirely different perspective on my life. I would recommend it to anyone who is currently attending or plans to attend Princeton Theological Seminary. Even if you never take the class, I would highly recommend this book, written by a PTS professor.

Anyway, I decided that I'm not ready to write share all of myself on the internet. I'm just wondering how many of my readers can relate to the statement quoted above. Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you needed nothing more than human contact and rather than expressing this need you turned inward and avoided contact? Were you eventually able to draw yourself out or has this reaction become a pattern of behavior?

It Is Well

I got my Hebrew quiz back today. All that studying paid off. It wasn't perfect because I'm still having some serious trouble with vowels and dageses and doubling and sewas, blah blah, but it was pretty darn good, if I do say so myself.

One of the preceptors offered to start translating stuff with me since she's knows I'm interested in Old Testament studies. I don't really have a lot of time to spare, but I think that I'm going to set aside a couple hours a week to do that with her. Maybe the vowel points will start to make more sense to me in context and reading.

Anyway, I think I'll write a better post later, but I just wanted to let you all know that Hebrew and I have reached an understanding. That is, I kick Hebrew's ass! ;)

P.S. There are probably a few students who did better than I...but I don't care. So, there!


My dear friend from Buffalo, Andrea, sent my a lovely care package today. In the midst of studying for my first quiz in Hebrew, it was a welcome diversion. Andrea's creativity came through on the inside and outside of the package.

She included some poetry, of course...

And booze (she works at a giant liquor store, after all)...

Along with a hearty helping of other fun, nonsensical things!

The first page of the notebook was a letter from Andrea, which included the best way to drink each of the sample bottles of liquor.
Thank you, A and K, my week has been made! WOOT WOOT!!!

Is It a Sign?

Yesterday, I spent approximately 5 hours studying Hebrew. Last night/early this morning, I had a dream/nightmare about the Hebrew quiz I'll be taking this afternoon. Instead of our wonderful preceptor, Rachel, there was a mean man administering the much-inflated exam. Instead of the vocab words I'd studied to death, we were forming sentences with words I'd never seen before. It. was. awful.

Ayn and aleph are the bane of my existence!

I Remember...

evenings and bedtimes spent at my father's mother's house. Both of my parents worked the night shift at a local factory. My older brother, Jon, and I spent most of our evenings with Grandma Elliott and Uncle Moose, my father's mother and older brother.

My most vivid memories of those early years are set in autumn. The backyard full of maple trees supplied enough leaves for a gigantic pile of fun. My Uncle Moose would help me and my brother rake the leaves into an enormous mound. He would then joyfully honor our pleas to be tossed into the crinkly mountain of orange, yellow, and red. Against our grandmother's wishes, Uncle Moose would bury us in the leaves so that we could jump out and "scare" him. No matter how many times we repeated this trick, he always acted startled, often to the point of falling over.

When it was too wet or cold to play outside, Uncle Moose would romp around the house with us. Sometimes he would "fly us," whisking our tiny frames up above his head. At other times, he would be the "tickle monster," who found us in our hiding places, tickling until we couldn't breathe for laughing. On still other days he was the gentle giant making us tall, cold glasses of chocolate milk and reading stories. I still treasure the illustrated copy of Heidi he gave me for my eighth Christmas and the yellowed copy of Dickens' The Pickwick Papers, purchased for thirty cents in his boyhood.

One of the best things Uncle Moose ever taught me was how to operate the old sewing machine Grandma Elliott kept in the entryway. When Grandma wasn't paying attention, he crawled under the sewing table and instructed me in the fine art of running the foot pedal with my pudgy baby hands. Hours of enjoyment resulted, sitting on the floor, pushing the pedal and listening to the soft noise of the balance wheel and needle working in tandem.

He smelled of cigarette smoke and aftershave. His hands were rough from work and his voice was hoarse and low. Uncle Moose was an idol in my childish heart.

Three and a Half Years

Three and a half years doesn't sound like much, but being away from school for that amount of time has really made an impact on my ability to concentrate and study. The past two years in DC were especially detrimental to my study habits, as I spent a good part of most days keeping myself entertained because there was little or no work to be done (busyness was "seasonal" at my office).

Since beginning classes, I've found it difficult to remember that there are tasks to be completed outside of lecture. Reading and writing often catch me by surprise. I've been especially forgetful of the work that is required to learn a new language, especially one with a completely different alphabet. We have out first quiz in my Hebrew class tomorrow afternoon and it is going to completely kick me in the shins. Not only do we need to know nearly 50 vocabulary terms (English to Hebrew and Hebrew to English), but how to pluralize them and add prepositions. It's going to be a disaster and I'm trying to be okay with that.

I also have my first assignment for speech class which involves a three or four minute presentation of a childhood memory. Perhaps I'll share it on my blog later tonight. That's more fun than writing it in Word, anyway.

Seminary is great! The people are fantastic. I'm really enjoying everything about this time in my life. I am glad that I took some time off after undergrad, but this experience is going to take some serious getting used to.