Archives: Aubrey MacMillan

The Greater Picture

Allow me to tell you all a story. It involves dragons and ninjas and pixie dust, and my fierce martial arts skills.

That is all lies. It actually involves fairly average struggles that all added to an ultimately wonderful experience. Friends, let me tell you about last Saturday’s Christian College Leadership Conference.

By the time Saturday hit, I was coming off yet another incredibly busy week. I stumbled in sleepily to my apartment Friday night, unable to think clearly due to the fatigue that finally overtook me. It was already 12:30 a.m., and I knew that I had to meet with FOCUS at 8:00 that morning. I needed to wash my hair, swallow a great deal of coffee and/or tea, and generally prepare myself for the big day ahead, so I determined to set my alarm for 6:30 so that I could accomplish all of this.

And this I did… so I thought.

What actually occurred was that in my sleepy stupor I set the alarm for 7:30 instead of 6:30. I also neglected to plug my phone into the charger, so when I woke up with it at 2 percent battery life, I knew it was by the grace of God that it stayed alive long enough to wake me up at all. I sprung out of bed, noticing the stiffness of my neck and back and trying not to focus on a newly forming headache. I realized that there was no way I had time to shower, so I hurriedly brushed my teeth, threw on some (semi)clean clothes and power walked over to Yeager where I was set to meet everyone. Miraculously, I ended up being five minutes early.

I realized then that the day was definitely going to be a good day. That might be odd, but all of my best days have started out with me out of step, yet able to laugh regardless. I think the Creator just knew that I needed the extra sleep, and to remember that caffeine, a working phone and clean hair are not of utmost importance. As soon as I tossed my plan away and began to roll with the punches, I began to get a taste of the goodness that God has lined up for next year.

CCLC included not only ALL of CBU’s leadership, but also that of a handful of other universities. We gathered in the gym to dance, sing, worship along to All Sons and Daughters and hear gorgeous stories told by an author I deeply respect, Josh Riebock. We then had breakout sessions, community lunch, staff time and time to mingle, play games, dance again and connect with others in all programs. As I took the time to look around in the midst of each event, I couldn’t shake the immeasurable joy that overcame me when I thought, “This is what Heaven will be like.”

We will be in the company of believers who are all bent on worshipping God with everything that they are. We will be filled with indescribable happiness as we celebrate the beauty of the Creator and everything that He has done in the world. This experience, framed in episodes of my scattered clumsiness, only made me focus more on the great Lord that I get to serve. I am sure that serving as a FOCUS Leader will be one of the greatest things I get to do in college, and I can’t wait to see all that God has in store for each leader I got to encounter at CCLC. He is doing big things, and He’ll accomplish His will whether or not we are on our game. Praise Him for that and for the greater picture.

A Pause

Sometimes, things do not go my way.

I know we all have weeks like this, and I am perfectly okay with that. It’s just funny how every single time this happens, I tend to relearn such simple lessons all over again.

To say that this last Monday was just not my day is an understatement. Coming off of a busy weekend, I lost my bearings and was caught up in the landslide of life (again). It seemed to take a lack of caffeine, a forgotten assignment, a stubbed toe, a late arrival to ISP training and an insanely disappointing How I Met Your Mother finale to bring me to the point where I stopped, took a breath and decided to examine all that I was feeling.

First, I felt weariness. I had been burning my candle from both ends, attempting to give everything my all. Next, I felt anxiety, remembering that B that should have been an A on my last exam and worrying about my GPA (yes, I am one of those people). After this, I felt a bit lost. I remembered that I had been relying too much on adrenaline and will power to accomplish everything. Then, my Creator stepped in, sat next to me on the cold bench, put his hand on mine and told me what I needed to know.

“Friend, I know your life better than even you. I have what you need, so why haven’t you taken the time to hear?”

When I finally took a moment to myself to sit quietly and let my mind focus on God alone, I realized how much I had been neglecting to meditate on His word and His kingdom. While my commitments are good, they are only so when done with advancing God’s purposes in mind. I honor Him through my grades, my relationships, and my work, and I’m enabled to do these things through Him so that I can bring Him glory. Life is long, but my Lord’s commands are simple: Love God. Serve Him. Love people.

There is value in the quiet and calmness. We need to stop talking long enough to listen and let the One show us what we need to know.

Time goes by so fast – it sweeps along whether we’re ready or not and brings inevitable change. Most days, I forget that I did not just enter into my freshman year of college last week; nearly three years have passed, bringing with them experiences I could have only hoped and prayed for. There has been so much good, so much personal and communal development, and these are things I pray I will never forget. We cannot lose sight of each calm, beautiful moment as they grace us. The quiet times with the Creator, graced by his presence, and shown something new turn out to be the most influential moments of our lives. I think that is a reason that Instagram photos are so loved – the best ones capture snapshots of simple moments, allowing a person to create a compilation of everyday life.

Even though time passes faster than I can imagine, I’m learning to constantly return to gratitude and simplicity. Quiet solitary walks and unexpected conversations with dear friends turn out to be some of the moments where God’s love shines the brightest. I’m so glad for the chance to experience this again this week. I needed the quiet wakeup call despite my hectic schedule, and I pray that this reminder lasts longer than my memories of forgotten assignments or lack of sleep. Either way, to God be the honor, now and always.

Old and New

As I’ve said before, I find that immense joy and insight comes from sharing your life with someone. The past few days have enabled me to do that in a new way.

Hopefully, we all have those friends that are undoubtedly God’s way of saying “Here ya go! This is what love and growth looks like with me!” For me, that friend, and one of the most influential people in my life is Shelby. We have an adorable story: We met in preschool, became best playmates and maintained our friendship all the way through elementary, junior high, high school and now into our third year of college – even though we go to separate universities. We have grown up together, laughed, cried, seen each other through every awkward phase and still love each other regardless. She is a person with whom I I can share anything, and I have no doubt that we will be key players in each others’ lives as we continue to grow older.

Why do I share this? Well, ladies and gents, I’m proud to announce that CBU’s presence has been recently graced by the presence of the one and only Shelby, my lifelong friend (insert resounding applause!). She is on her Spring Break and decided to fly down and see where my life happens.

I’ve noticed that bringing someone into the world of CBU for the first time reminds me of why I fell in love with it in the first place. For one, the campus is beautiful, and it is awesome to see someone experience it for the first time and to relive that pleasure yourself. I’ve also become immensely thankful, once again, for each of my classes. I took Shelby to sit in on Cinematic Story – co-taught by X-Men producer Ralph Winter – and was freshly enthused by the opportunities I have to study what I love and gain knowledge from truly astounding people. (In Shelby’s words, “I want to start over and take this class. This is crazy!”)

The thing that seemed to leave the most lasting impression on my treasured visitor is exactly that which has made my time at CBU abundantly blessed – the people I get to spend each day with. Our first night in Riverside, I summoned the troops to gather at the Old Spaghetti Factory for Shelby’s welcome dinner. I wanted these lovely people from my two worlds to converge, and when they finally did, I can’t accurately describe the beauty that came out of it. I saw how Shelby, who has always been a huge part of my life, merged in flawlessly with my friends at CBU. Our conversation was rich with conversation about personalities, creation, anti-jokes, God and how we’re living life. As we all returned home I realized that conversation like that doesn’t just happen. My life at CBU has blessed me with friendships to nurture and build upon.

Showing Shelby my life as it is now was, for lack of a fancier word, amazing. Aside from being unbelievably fun, it was an encouragement to see how God is continuing to grace my life with His presence. He gave me Shelby as a lifelong friend, even though we now live miles apart. He has also given me the chance, through CBU, to continue to grow and learn, and He has shown me that quality relationships are such a tangible way of experiencing his love. I’m filled with gratitude – for my busy schedule, the classes that challenge me, the work that stretches me and for the people who walk with me. Shelby, come back soon!

Peace in the Chaos

Friends, the chaos has hit.

Every semester, I tell myself that I will be poised, calm and fully prepared for midterms when they hit. Unfortunately, every year I am never as put together as I plan to be. This past few weeks have proven to me exactly how important it is to prioritize, map out a game plan, and keep calm in the midst of the chaos

We all know the drill for when times get crazy. We wake up early to get a jump-start on work, put off that trip to the movies and organize homework parties to maintain our sanity. These are all wonderful tactics, but sometimes a bit more is needed to keep stress at bay.

There was a point last week where I found myself nearly out of my mind with fatigue, stress over deadlines and a desire to do well in everything that I was doing. Not only did I have my midterm exams, papers and presentations come along, I also had new job and small group commitments, group projects, people to keep up with, and budgeting worries to occupy my mind. I came to a point where I did not feel on top of things as I was hoping I could have been, and I began to lose sight of the bigger picture. I focused on the grand, looming mass of all that I had to do, and eventually came to the point where I realized once again that I do not always have it all together. This humbling experience came to remind me again of the importance of a broader focus.

While I will admit to being worn out after the bulk of my midterms, I remembered the ever-true fact that it is okay not to be perfectly composed at all times. As much as I would love to be Super Student, I know that I have to remember my own mortality. School is a challenge – it is supposed to be. I am here to stretch myself and soak in all that I learn, and midterms are just a way of showcasing that. When I find that I have a difficult time keeping up with everything, I remember that there is beauty in the challenge. If this were not difficult in some way, I would not be learning to the fullest extent.

While the challenge is certainly not the most easy-going and fun element of life, it was easily combatted by the joy that can be found in the simple things. Yes, I was stressed and had a lot to tackle, but in the midst of this, I still had access to coffee (it’s a blessing, people). My best friends are also just a short walk or a phone call away. Immense pleasure is found in shared experiences, as we are all in the same boat, and we know that we can laugh in spite of ourselves through it all. We shared the concerns and the fatigue, but we also enjoyed the adrenaline rush that comes from finishing and assignment and knowing that you gave it your all. We also greatly enjoyed the post-midterms celebration – a quiet movie night with loose-leaf tea followed by an early bedtime.

Life has thankfully slowed down a bit for me now, as these things go. I have to say that I am SO looking forward to a week at home for Spring Break, where there will be family, cats, books and no deadlines. Even though I prefer this leisure to the chaos I just experienced, I find reason to be sincerely thankful for it. Business puts everything into perspective, reminding me of the privilege to learn, the love of a challenge, and the stories that I will get to share years down the line. And now I’m off to board a plane to Northern California, grab a book and a mug, cuddle my cat, and sleep soundly. Friends, enjoy your break.

Procrastination and the God Badge

There is a reason I do not listen to lyrical music while doing homework.

I adore music as much as anyone, and believe the perfect song enhances any moment. I have learned that I cannot simply hear a song without attentively listening to it and making its lyrics my own thoughts. When music plays, I tend to hone in on the poetry within the sounds and lose track of what I happen to be doing.

This week, in an act of professional procrastination I turned on a Spotify station while trying to tackle some homework. I really should have known this wasn’t conducive to my ideal study atmosphere, but I found some way to justify it. While I was in the midst of typing out a thesis statement, Jon Foreman’s voice inconveniently propelled itself out of my speakers, grabbed me by the face and demanded my full attention. For the next three to five minutes, I knew that my homework would just have to wait.

The words that captured and interrupted my thought were “Put the God badge down and love someone. / Love alone was yours to carry, you can lay your gavel down… / There is no us or them, only people you do or don’t understand / Just put your God badge down and love someone.”

Talk about a pause for conviction.

The song I stumbled upon was the aptly named “God Badge” by Fiction Family. Jon Foreman heads up the duo in this song, and as we know from his solo work and work with Switchfoot, he is a smart lyricist who proves to exhort followers of Christ to a more reckless abandon in pursuit of Him.

This song directly addresses the command for Christians to lay down their pride and personal agendas and carry out the purposes to which we are called. I can only imagine Jesus saying something similar to the Pharisees who shunned opportunities for service to make more room for themselves on their pedestals. He gave his life to serve and save other people, and he made disciples whom he asked to do the same. Jesus proved that he cared little for the outward appearance and shiny visage of religiosity. He looked inward and found worth in those who loved and served purely for his Father’s namesake.

I’ll confess that after this song was over, I immediately hit repeat, grabbed a journal and spent time in thought rather than finishing my homework right away. Sometimes this is necessary, and schedules occasionally have to be modified and interrupted.

While looking through the Gospels and dwelling on these lyrics, I thought of how perfectly these ideas apply to events occurring in my life at the moment. I’m in the midst of experiencing ISP training, and my team and I have spent a lot of time recently focusing on the purposes of our trip. We have come to the conclusions that all people are image bearers of God and are, therefore, sacred beings. While we are going to experience a completely different culture, we recognize that the differences are not important, and we are bent on showing the non partiality of Christ through the way that we shamelessly love on them. There really are no boundaries in the Kingdom, and all should experience the love that Christ showed us. This is something to apply in our everyday lives as we go through work, class, and whatever else, as well as to bring over to an overseas experience.

Music this week served not only as a time consumer for me, but a priceless reminder to carry throughout my day. While life has picked up and commitments are demanding, remember to treat others as sacred and love them the way Jesus showed us. Thanks for sticking with me, readers. I’ll see you next time.

The Best of the Best

There are several things in life that prove to round each of us out and make us who we are today. These things include defining moments and experiences as well as each interest and passion. Some of the biggest things to enrich and shape my outlook were astounding mentors, reading the Harry Potter series with my dad, discovering the unending goodness that is British literature and television and finding out that the world is much bigger than my small town had led me to believe.

Being a student at a university is one way that life expands and becomes all the more expansive. Since embarking on my ongoing journey at CBU, I’ve acquired more knowledge and experiences that have further enriched me and that I know I will look back on later and recognize as huge blessings. So, for my time thus far at CBU, here are snippets of the best of the best.

I learned that the world is (still) much bigger than I can imagine. I remember at first being astounded by the sheer number of genuine individuals I encountered. We all had a free pass to start fresh and come into our own. So many people from all over the place come here, and each one has a rich history and ongoing story to share. I find that each person I encounter has an unbelievable amount of depth to them, and this notion continues to strike me and inspire me daily. All people are sacred masterpieces – our job as believers is to treat them as such. This is something that can only be learned when immersed in a completely new environment, and university life has been so apt at doing so.

A Godly community reminds us of the only constant things. I found so many authentic Christ followers at this school; I wasn’t even sure that this many existed in one place, as I hadn’t seen anything like this type of community before. Plugging oneself into friendships, mentor relationships and group scripture studies is key to personal and spiritual growth. It reminds us that God is constant in an ever-changing world, and that he is the best thing we could strive for. Stumbling closer to his company and following him in service is so much more possible when done with others who are along for the ride. Share the difficulties, the heartache, the triumphs and exclamations of praise. Life is greatly enriched when it is shared.

I realized the importance of seeking out each and every opportunity. Education is a privilege, and one way to take full advantage of it is to extend your learning outside the classroom. Get to know your professors and keep up with them when class is over. They can cue you into all kinds of events and advice that will take your learning experiences farther than if you leave it all in class. It’s no surprise that we become more like those we surround ourselves with, and I tend to see the truth of this repeatedly over the past three years. Check out the clubs and the volunteer opportunities, and cling to those who share and deepen your interests.

As I have said countless times, we are at a time in life where the decisions we make now will come to shape us later on. The habits we build, relationships we make and opportunities we seek will affect us years beyond now, and it’s best to dig our wells as deeply as we can during this time. CBU has provided me with countless avenues of doing so, and I find the need to continue to invest more fully with each moment I have left. After all, life is short, but so much beauty can be packed in.

Persons of CBU

A while back, I stumbled across a fantastic blog called Humans of New York that I still keep up with to this day. The entire concept centers on a photographer who captures pictures of people as they go about their daily lives. He then posts these photos, with permission, and shares a bit of the conversation he had with the individuals he encountered. This blog focuses solely on individuals, with their talents, regrets and simplest to most profound thoughts. Viewers may come to realize the sacredness and value of each and every person and may find anything from humor to solace in a documentation of a simple encounter.

Inspired by this, I have decided to tackle this in my own way. Call it an exercise in focusing on the value of human interaction and the uniqueness that may be found in the community that binds me with my fellow students. To start this challenge off, I caught a few moments with Cassie Hanlin and would like to share a bit of her perspective that always proves to be edifying.

Ladies and gents, Cassie Hanlin.

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Brief intro: This woman is a riot. She has an amiable nature, fluency in humor and sarcasm, and desire to love God and His people. She’s a third-year student hoping to go on to graduate school, and she is also an intern for the Office of Mobilization. We caught a few moments to talk while grabbing coffee from Wanda’s before moving on to our next classes. We got to catch up on how we’re doing with homework, ISP, leadership applications and the like. It was then that I decided to pick her brain about what her life is like as a student, specifically at CBU. She responded with insight that is only fitting to share.

When I asked about one difference from high school to college life, Cassie mentioned the variety of relationships formed. “I’ve been surprised by how you can have more personal relationships with older people, being at a university,” she replied. “It’s not weird to want to get to know your professors – you can actually enjoy seeing them after class.”

I then asked how she feels that she has grown since being here and what it was that sparked that. Her answer was, “I’ve honestly experienced an entire shift in worldview. When I came here I had to come to terms with why I needed God for the first time in my life. Meeting people here and interacting with the MOB Office encouraged me to really understand truth and gain my own knowledge of what that is.”

As our time ran out and we hurried off to class, I asked her what piece of advice she would give to a large group of young people. She laughed and stopped a minute to say, “It’s funny, because we have a lot more responsibility than you would think. Right now I’m realizing exactly how important it is to budget. So stay on top of finances. Also, I’m realizing how important it is to think outside of myself. The world’s needs are bigger than my own, and that’s good to remember.”

I’m always amazed by the value of happenstance conversations and the necessity in swapping thoughts, ideas and emotions. There is always something to be gained from even the briefest of encounters, and I hope those pile up into a world of good as I leave you for now. Readers, I will see you next time.

How Deep The Father’s Love For Us

L.O.V.E. – We talk about this little word with big underlying principals often. We all have thought about its implications on our lives, and more often than not, this word is one that is thrown around without consequence. For example, I’ll readily say that I love coffee, the same way I love books and movies. This week, I have started to rekindle my reverence for the word, and have seen where my thoughts have taken me.

Throughout my short life, I’ve seen love defined a number of different ways. It’s attributed to anything from a parent, movie, clothing item, or plate of pasta. We all recognize the difference between the lighter loves to the richer emotions and actions, however the ways in which we define LOVE in its purest form may be in need of attention. In a search for meaning and belonging, I’ve seen falsified versions of love used as a cheap substitute for a deeper craving. We can look to other people, entertainment, academic or career success, or a number of other things to try and gain acceptance and a taste of this love we are all designed to crave. I, like countless others have come to a point where I have to form my own beliefs about this – and in reflecting on this lately, I’ve boiled down my thoughts to words.

Love is clearly a force that comes from a place separate from selfishness and imperfection. We crave it because we know it is good, and we need it in order to be fulfilled. Love is bigger than us, perfect, and the greatest thing we can experience in this life. Saying all of this, let me clarify: GOD = LOVE. He created everything, and is goodness and perfection defined. He embodies and sets the standard for love and all things good.

Knowing this, it’s clear to me that, because God shows love perfectly, no lasting bit can be found without Him in it. Since we are made in His image, we are designed to love Him and others. Our desires point us back to Him, who made us to want Him in His goodness. He is jealous for our commitment to Him, because He wants the best for us – and He is the very best.

All this said, there are many ways of experiencing His love. Lately, I’ve been increasingly aware of His love displayed in the littlest things – pristine skies, a gust of wind, a delicious bite of food, or a gorgeous song. Beyond these, I’ve been frankly overwhelmed with the way God show His love through the people in my life. He’s given me a dream family, the best of friends and an insanely wonderful boyfriend who are all dedicated to the Kingdom, and excel at letting the Creator’s love flow through everything that they do. Each element of this creation He deemed “good” is a cause for thankfulness and a way to experience the Creator. All good things point back to Him, and there is so much good to be found.

With that, I am pushed once again to really love and show reverence for this act. When I push away anything that keeps me from loving and experiencing this love, God just steps in and does His thing – and it is astonishing. He wants us to experience and give out His love, and seeing as no one can sum up my mind better than Mr. C.S. Lewis, I’ll leave you with his words:

“In God there is no hunger that needs to be filled, only plenteousness that desires to give.”

Friends, I’ll see you next time.

Off We Go!

It’s on us once again – the scattered reunions, the rush to get each new book and syllabus in order, and the overall thrill of a new beginning. It’s time to spend the next few days stocking up on mac n cheese and coffee and catching up with those we missed as we prepare for everything ahead. Friends, let’s have a virtual toast to the promise of another year on earth!

The break for Christmas was such a perfect way to gather up my thoughts once again and relax for a while in order to carry on into my next adventure. There is no better way to kick off a new season than with a bit of rest and time with lovely people, and the break allowed me to do just that. The second I got home, I found myself stuffed with homemade meals and then quickly trading regular clothes for big comfy sweaters and furry slippers (it was quite chilly back home – I think I’ve become way too accustomed to the Riverside sun). Clad in my comfy Northern garb, I grabbed a blanket and my cat and enjoyed countless movies and books purely for kicks. It felt entirely wrong to watch or read something without having to write a paper on it later, but hey, I cherished the moment. Aside from my time as a couch potato, I was able to reconnect with old friends, spend time at my home church and enjoy the presence of the people I love the most. After experiencing all of this, I find that there is no better way to recharge than to slow down and soak in every bit of the time given to me over the break.

Now I need to take the time used to recharge and put it to work. I have never been one who pays special focus to New Year’s resolutions, but I do find myself listing things I’m hopeful for with each new semester or season. Of course, there are the usual goals of keeping my grades up, loving people effectively and investing in new and old friendships – all of which are great to focus on – but this year I especially want to work on the simple task of being present in each and every moment. I have quite a few things to look forward to: I’m preparing to join with a team and share the Gospel in the UK, I’ll be taking a class taught by one of the X Men producers (I KNOW, RIGHT?!), and, as always, I’ll be surrounded by some of the greatest people I’ve been fortunate enough to live life with. Through all of this, I hope to keep my Creator in the center of my focus and glean as much as I can from each and every moment.

Moving forward now, as always, let’s remember to live fully. Schedule moments to steal away a lunch, coffee break or movie night. Call home and tell your friends and family how much they mean to you (even in the midst of a crazy week – it really builds perspective). Engage in chapel, serve in church and reach out to at least two new people who you do not immediately click with. Pay attention in each class and remember that the education we are investing in is preparing us for a lifetime of service and teaching us more than we can possibly imagine. Read at least one book or watch one unexpected movie purely for fun and share it with your roommates. And of course, never forget to “count others as more significant than yourself” (Philippians 2:3 ESV). Let’s love God and love his people in big ways this semester, and dedicate full attention and joy to each day. Friends, I’m looking forward to this year, and I’ll see you back next week.

Finals, The UK, and Much More to Come

Readers, I am writing to you in the midst of it all – my finals are in full swing, with each and every project due at relatively the same time. It is definitely keeping me occupied. However, I have to keep reminding myself that this is what I signed up for, and I would not trade it for anything. After all, my work includes examining Homer and writing analyses of classic Hitchcock movies. Oh, I am so fortunate to be an English/film major.

While I can’t deny that I love my classes and am sad to see them end, I am so ready for a break. I have been ceaselessly busy balancing various obligations, Christmas festivities, and homework that I sometimes wonder how I accomplish anything, given how short each day seems to be. How am I keeping sane? Wonderful question. To be honest, my attention is split several different ways, and I have to budget a certain amount of time and attention to each element in my life to keep myself at a balanced level of enthusiasm and studiousness.

The first thing bouncing around my brain is the fact that, starting next semester, I will begin ISP training with a team I already know to be a wonderful bunch. Team Reveal occurred last week, and I discovered that I will be spending three weeks over the summer in the United Kingdom. (Insert screaming and happy-dancing here). I will walk where so many kings, queens, poets, fictional detectives and boy-wizards have tread! I have been passionate about this country and culture for as long as I can remember, and knowing that God has given me those passions for the purpose of sending me there to spread His truth is overwhelming. I absolutely cannot wait to get started! Thankfully, addressing each of my support letters earlier this afternoon gave me a much-needed break from studying, allowing me to spend time praying the matter over and regaining my focus. I am still in awe of the fact that I will begin working toward our mission in the UK next semester, and I cannot help but give this upcoming adventure quite a bit of mental attention at the moment.

Another thing that has dominated my thoughts is the constant reminder that I am so thankful to be a student, even in the midst of this busy, sleepless season. I am reminded of why I came to college in the first place, acting upon a desire to seize opportunities for higher learning in order to honor God with all my mind. He has given me the ability to study the subjects I am passionate about and to increase my knowledge so that I may integrate faith into learning and see how my Creator may be glorified in the work that I do. I am acting upon the skillsets that He has given me, keeping his Kingdom at the center of my focus and trusting that he will be served fully in my endeavors. This is such an important reminder, especially now as I am fighting to stay alert and finish all of my classes well. Praise the Shepherd for coffee – it has helped me achieve just that!

The third and most tantalizing thought in my mind is the promise of sweet rest just as soon as I finish my last final and head home for Christmas. I can’t wait to curl up on my couch with my cat and watch all of those movies I have been dying to view. I crave my mom’s cooking, time to sing with my dad, and days spent watching British television marathons with my little brother. I long for the smell of pine from our Christmas Tree, endless Christmas carols, peppermint bark, services at my home church, and time with my family to talk and laugh and enjoy every good thing my God has put in our lives. This week promises relief and refreshment from a semester that has proved to be one of my most strenuous, yet I also pray for opportunities to love on everyone I encounter. I have been blessed so richly these past few months, and I hope that I can give this back throughout the remainder of the semester and through the entirety of my vacation.

There’s a little snippet of my scattered, well-worn mind. I sincerely hope that you are all surviving your workload, and finding time to stop, be grateful for each breath, and enjoy your lives. As for me, it’s back to studying for now. Thanks for sticking with me this semester, Readers, and I can’t wait to see you back soon! Have a fantastic, blessed, and happy Christmas!

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