28 February 2009

People Are Hard Work

I'm still dealing with severe vertigo, including a lack of concentration, constant dizziness, and some hearing loss. It isn't much fun. One of the most difficult consequences of vertigo, I think, is how much energy conversations now require. And it's not just the words you are saying at the moment. You have to remember what a person is like, and consider what you talked about last time, and pay attention to your surroundings all at once.

It becomes overwhelming.

Conversations usually don't take this much work.

But then I thought about it a little more, and realized that with or without vertigo, people DO require energy. I have a habit of relegating certain people to the back corners of my mind, either labeling them out of laziness ("well, he's that sort of guy, so he'd probably think such and such") or not paying attention at all. But a human being is a more complex creature of body, soul, mind, imagination, and emotion. Such a wondrous creation deserves more careful attention than I am willing to give, as I rush on with my busy little life without giving a second glance.

I have to devote my entire mind to a conversation right now, or I'll lose the thread permanently. Maybe I should continue that habit after the vertigo is gone, too; I have been blessed with a multiple-track mind, and it often allows me to do many things at once, and do them well. Nevertheless, I should not use that as an excuse. Sometimes I will be talking to someone, surfing the web, and editing a paper all at the same time. And it doesn't turn out very well at all.

26 February 2009

Thankful Thursdays: OK, honesty time...

...I have a confession to make. I'm having a hard time thinking of anything to write about today.

I know, what a terrible person. Can't you think of even one thing you're grateful for? Not really. Nope. I have a long list of complaints instead. I'm incredibly dizzy; my cough hasn't gone away; the antibiotics aren't helping; the cafeteria didn't have any good protein for lunch; I cannot even sing. The weather is dreary; I want to see my family; I can't pay attention in class; my students turn in their assignments late; my travel mug leaks; the housekeepers don't do a good job; someone broke one of my bowls last night; I need quarters to do laundry. Oh, and I need to sit desk tonight too.

Pretty much the only thing I can do successfully is sleep. And obviously, whine.

I know in my head that God's mercies are new every morning. It's difficult to praise Him for what I can't see, though.

I am just praying that somehow, He uses this for His glory. I sure can't understand where a 10-day dizzy spell and complete inability to think coherently fits into God's eternal providence, but I guess they do. Sometimes I wish He didn't have quite so many mysteries.

23 February 2009

Mellifluous Mondays: John Donne

"Hymn to God, My God, In My Sickness"

Since I am coming to that Holy room,
Where, with Thy choir of saints for evermore,
I shall be made Thy music ; as I come
I tune the instrument here at the door,
And what I must do then, think here before ;

Whilst my physicians by their love are grown
Cosmographers, and I their map, who lie
Flat on this bed, that by them may be shown
That this is my south-west discovery,
Per fretum febris, by these straits to die ;

I joy, that in these straits I see my west ;
For, though those currents yield return to none,
What shall my west hurt me ? As west and east
In all flat maps—and I am one—are one,
So death doth touch the resurrection.

Is the Pacific sea my home ? Or are
The eastern riches ? Is Jerusalem ?
Anyan, and Magellan, and Gibraltar ?
All straits, and none but straits, are ways to them
Whether where Japhet dwelt, or Cham, or Shem.

We think that Paradise and Calvary,
Christ's cross and Adam's tree, stood in one place ;
Look, Lord, and find both Adams met in me ;
As the first Adam's sweat surrounds my face,
May the last Adam's blood my soul embrace.

So, in His purple wrapp'd, receive me, Lord ;
By these His thorns, give me His other crown ;
And as to others' souls I preach'd Thy word,
Be this my text, my sermon to mine own,
“Therefore that He may raise, the Lord throws down.”

21 February 2009


In the immortal words of Winnie-the-Pooh: "Oh, bother."

My illnesses are usually infrequent, brief, and intense. They are not typically drawn out over an entire week, as this one has been. But lo and behold, here I am, back in bed and sleeping my head off. (Okay, I'm not sleeping as I write this, but you get the picture.) No sign of recovery yet. Thus, no homework is being accomplished either. Two papers, two exams, essays to grade, yadda yadda yadda. Somehow nothing sounds very urgent to my flu-addled brain. Please pray for a quick recovery.

18 February 2009

Thankful Thursdays: Friends During the Flu

Well, I've had the flu for the past few days. Not too pleasant. But even in the midst of my headache and coughing, I was delighted to receive the condolences, gifts, and humor of many kind friends. I feel very well cared for.

So a special "thank you" to:

- Jessica, for bringing me homemade soup and bread
- Brooke, for bringing me Tylenol and collecting Saga oranges
- Kellie, for carrying all those oranges down the hill
- Keaton, for sending me YouTube diversions
- Hannah and Lydia, for calling with a get-well-soon song
- Luke, for calling with his own wonderful self
- Marta, for taking extra notes in Spanish class
- Gretchen, for being my cough drop angel
- Gwen, for giving me fresh coffee cake
- Rachel, for adding my requests to her shopping list
- Chris, Nathan, Fritz, Allen, Ike, Thomas, and Walter, for showing up outside my door last night in their classiest serenading glory
- Judith, for letting the guys break visitation rules

I love you all. :o)

16 February 2009

Mellifluous Mondays: A Departure Somehow Sweet

"The Departure Platform"
by Thomas Hardy

We kissed at the barrier; and passing through
She left me, and moment by moment got
Smaller and smaller, until to my view
She was but a spot;

A wee white spot of muslin fluff
That down the diminishing platform bore
Through hustling crowds of gentle and rough
To the carriage door.

Under the lamplight's fitful glowers,
Behind dark groups from far and near,
Whose interests were apart from ours,
She would disappear,

Then show again, till I ceased to see
That flexible form, that nebulous white;
And she who was more than my life to me
Had vanished quite.

We have penned new plans since that fair fond day.
And in season she will appear again--
Perhaps in the same soft white array--
But never as then!

"And why, young man, must eternally fly
A joy you'll repeat, if you love here well?"
O friend, nought happens twice thus; why,
I cannot tell!

Why does the pain of a loss, or even a mere goodbye, seem sometimes sweet to us? Why do we savor it as much as the thrill of acquisition? Perhaps because that moment highlights the worth of the thing lost, and we see its beauty in a more concentrated flash than before.

15 February 2009

Greater Love Has No Man...

...than this, that he would lay down his life for his friends.

“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool."
-Isaiah 1

"See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are . . . Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure."
-1 John 3

12 February 2009

Thankful Thursdays: Friends Who Come to Visit

For those of you who know Laura Calderone, you should be excited to know that she's coming to Hillsdale this weekend-- Thursday night through Sunday afternoon, to be exact.

I have benefited so much from Laura's wise words and godly example. When she graduated, I wasn't quite sure how I would survive my senior year without her! But how kind of God to sustain a friendship over time and space. Hopefully, in addition to this Michigan trip, I will also be able to drive down and visit her in Annapolis this summer. :o) If God has His hand on a relationship, He will provide us with the means to maintain it even when circumstances change.

09 February 2009

Mellifluous Mondays: They See Winter Pass

"Thaw" by Edward Thomas

Over the land freckled with snow half-thawed,
The speculating rooks at their nests cawed
And saw from elm-tops, delicate as flowers of grass,
What below could not see-- winter pass.

The temperature is soaring here in Hillsdale. Nearly forty degrees today. What's next, tanning on the lawn? :o) Ah well, at least the down coats seem a little less necessary, if only for a few days. Though we know that Michigan has more blizzards in store for us, we welcome a slight respite from frozen noses and icy sidewalks.

08 February 2009

Wingsuits? Seriously?

This is possibly the stupidest, yet coolest, way I can think of to spend a summer vacation: jumping off cliffs in suits designed to make you into a flying squirrel. Check out these crazy Norwegians.

05 February 2009

Thankful Thursdays: Cancelled Classes

Today, I don't have choir rehearsal because Professor Holleman wanted to work with the guys on their own . . . so the altos and sopranos got the day off. This gives me an extra 1 1/2 hours for homework (or writing blog posts). I really love choir, especially because we're singing Carmina Burana this semester, but I also really love getting things done.

Today's to-do list:
-read a Spanish short story
-edit five more pages of my thesis
-start reading Candide
-write a letter or two
-continue a history book review
-other things I am probably forgetting

I'm sitting desk this evening, so theoretically I will have plenty o' time for this stuff. We shall see.

04 February 2009

Next Up...

This May, Sovereign Grace Ministries is hosting its annual young adults/singles conference, New Attitude, in Baltimore. Except it has a new name: Next. This is always a great conference and we're going to hear from some pretty amazing speakers, like Sinclair Ferguson, D.A. Carson, C.J. Mahaney . . . plus excellent music, late-night fellowship, and all the fun in between. The focus this year is "Meeting Jesus Once Again." Ya'll come.

The Next website.