Friday, October 30, 2009

snow fun

Wednesday morning I peeked through the curtains, and yes! It had snowed! More than two inches of beautiful, cold, sparkly, clean, cold, wet, invigorating, cold snow! I ran outside - I love the powdery freshness of early morning snow, with only a set or two of tracks in it. Wendy and I were the only ones out for a while. Then I had to go wake Evelyn - she’s never seen snow in her life. And then Mike and Sam and Dano came out and we sledded until breakfast.
Snow was still falling in the afternoon when the cooks went shopping. The most fearless [insane?] of us trekked out to play volleyball. Until we saw Shelly and Amanda done with shopping, trudging back up the hill without the van. We all ran (slid) down the hill and formed a brigade to transfer groceries from the van to the jeep. Then a dozen students loaded into the van, while the rest of us firmly positioned ourselves against the back door and heaved. Pushing a fifteen passenger van up hill, while your feet are slipping on the ice is no joke. But in fine company, it’s good fun. The van fought back mercilessly. It fishtailed back and forth trying to pitch us into the ditch. The tires spewed mud, rubber fumes, and slush. Thirty feet - and about as many minutes - later, we got it to a wide spot in the road where other vehicles could get past. We trudged back up hill. Good humor, good snowball fight, good times.

Tomorrow we leave for an ‘art’ weekend in Santa Fe. We’ll explore Canyon Road - art gallery after art gallery after art gallery. And we’ll tour the Site Santa Fe - a museum dedicated to post modern art and pushing the limits - should stimulate some opinionated conversations.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

let it snow!

First thing every morning I peek through the curtains to see if the hillside is white with snow. Every morning it’s still brown. Today, though, the clouds were pink, and I smiled to myself, thinking: “Red sky in the morning, the sailors take warning.”
When I checked the weather report, it declared eighty percent chance of snow tomorrow. I know that snow means mud, and cold feet. But I love to see powder sugar white on all the mountains, and I can’t wait until the ponderosa pines are capped with snow. And I’m looking forward to watching Evelyn - she’s from Louisiana - go crazy with delight. And I can’t wait to pitch a snow ball at Rob - I owe him one.

Life has been full, and mostly uneventful. But I’m enjoying the little pleasures that brighten ordinary moments. Like this weekend, good friends from last semester came to laugh and reminisce and visit. And last Thursday was the great and long anticipated Staff vs. Students volley ball competition (we won). And I finally beat Russell at a game of ping pong - I’ve been working at that for almost a month. Class picture on Friday - little baby Elijah routinely spit up all over me for the hour proceeding the shot. And I experimented with small group by squishing everyone into my room instead of meeting in the class room. We loved it and laughed over the highlights of our week. And I love how conversations become more straightforward and comfortable after building for two months.

I love to call my family. When I hang up, I usually sigh. I miss home. But when I stop to reflect, I can’t help smiling at the good memories that are being built. God is very good to me.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

welcome, dr.williams

Since they happen to be such a big part of my life at the moment, I thought I'd add a picture of the amazing staff I'm working with. Nate and Russell, on the left, are the guy's mentors. Suzanne and I are sandwiched in the middle and our increda-cooks, Amanda and Shelly, are on the right. It's an awesome group. I love how the friendships between us deepen and grow.

Dr. Don Williams is here for the week. He is such a one of a kind... I despair even trying to describe him. He's what an English Professor ought to be. White beard, big glasses, and constantly switching between Old English, Elvish and quotations. He lives in old literature. I drove van number three to Church this morning. He rode shot gun. Looking back over his shoulder he conversed with the students.
Rosey: "You might be interested in knowing, Dr. Williams, that we're going to do a Lord of the Rings movie Marathon."
I can't repeat Dr. Williams emphatic response. But it made me laugh and comment on his strong opinion. He almost glared at me.
"Opinion?! I never have opinions. I speak facts! ...opinions? as if I ever gave an opinion!"
I laughed and he added:
"-William Kirkpatrick."
In between his recitations about stars and fair ladies' white faces, Rosey and Emily warned him about Slavish, who likes to wear a sarong to class - just to see what the teachers will do. Dr. Williams asked how they recommend he respond:
"Shall I skirt the issue... or give him a dressing down?"

People who do or tell are common enough. It is rare to find people who are . Perhaps that is why he is so engaging. He so thoroughly loves literature, and stories. He delights in English as a channel to glorify God. His verbal encouragement to love these is weak compared to his obvious revel in them. It makes you curious. Curious and eager to find what secret treasure he has unearthed. And you wonder if you've missed something wonderful.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

half way

I don’t think I’ll ever get reconciled to the speed of time. We’re half way through the semester already. Is it possible that the days are passing quicker this year than they did last? Or maybe I’ve just forgotten.

And life has been full. The inevitably drama of 19 females living under one roof provides plenty to keep Suzanne and I busy. I feel pulled in nine different directions as I get to know these women better, and wish there was two of me just so I could spend more time with them.

Last weekend, Charissa came for the weekend. We worked together in the kitchen last year and I haven’t seen her since. Russell (her boyfriend) and I have been eagerly anticipating her visit since the Semester began. She and I laughed all weekend remembering the good moments from last Semester. Last year we kept a score board running on pieces of masking tape above the kitchen door. They’re still there: the biscuit-head competition, lighting self on fire, oversleeping, throwing pies…. Our cooks this year are doing a fabulous job. But I confided to Charissa that I don’t think they’re having nearly as much fun as we had. The students listened curiously as we spun colorful stories about the bread wars and potato tosses of last year.
And life isn’t very fair. Life can be full to the brim and still it mercilessly piles on more. Beyond Summit, other relationships, and personal questions and decisions seem to be stacking themselves higher and higher. Chars' visit was perfect timing. I hadn’t realized that I’d been wanting an ear until we went for a long walk. It was delightful to speak freely with her.

Monday, October 5, 2009

culture questions

Over the past week the hills have flamed out in vibrant orange and gold and rust. The aspen leaves are quivering like sheets of pressed golden. I think the mountains are dressing up to celebrate my birthday. A few years ago I tried to persuade myself that as an adult, there’s really no need to get worked up over a birthday. I failed. This year I’m just looking forward to it. When the package from home came, I stacked the parcels up on my little shelf. And every few days, when Post Office Box 3787 benevolently bestows another little package, I add it to the stash. That little shelf, laden down with thoughts and good wishes from people who love me makes me smile.

I’m a bit nostalgic, too. This time of year always makes me pensive. Six crazy, long years ago I left home for the first time. Perhaps It’s even more in my face as I watch so many other young people at that point in life. It makes me remember where I’ve been.

Speaking of where I’ve been, culture class at BBTI is front on my mind. We have a guest speaker this week, John Stonestreet. He’s been assaulting us with questions about a Christian’s place in culture: how we should respond to it; influence it; create it. He keeps saying, “Write this question down…” And so I keep writing and the list gets longer:

If we are concerned about the next world, than what difference does this world make?
How should we be involved in this world?
Is Christianity this-worldly or is Christianity other-worldly? What’s the difference?
Are we to be good Christians or are we to be good humans? What’s the difference?
Do we learn to have faith so that we can live in the world? Or do we learn faith by living in the world?
Biblically what is the goal of human culture?
How should reconciliation and redemption impact human cultures?

Lot’s of new thoughts. Lot’s of old thoughts. And good conversations. Jonathan -a student with a similar background and a head full of brilliant red hair - and I have been hashing out what it means to rightly live out counter-cultural convictions. Especially in Christian circles. When is it good to fight hard for high principles? When do you hold your peace? How do you choose which battles to fight? What hills to die on? I love the accountability that stems from such conversations. I love the provocation of other’s thoughts and convictions. I love to live with people, learn from them, and be challenged with them.