Saturday, November 15, 2008

Why are you still awake????

The time at the tone is: 4:12am.
Half an hour ago, I was awaken by spurts of laughter and pounding.
I thought it was tipsy people at the bar across the street, but the more I listened, I realized it was coming from down the hall. Worst case scenarios went through my mind - maybe some of our own students were returning to the dorm drunk...

Not the case, thankfully.

With itchy eyes, bed-hair, my glasses, and GFU sweats, I stumbled into the hallway.

Five students were watching some fancy skater tricks on tv at a loud level.
Five other students were seated on the floor in the hallway, rolling on the ground with laughter. ROFLOL literally.

They saw me and immediately pointed fingers.
"Wow, I'm impressed that you just walked out here with a smile on your face."
"It's not like she's angry with us, she'll just tell us to be quiet."

I didn't have to say much, except that it was 3:40AM and it was much too early/late for me to be awake. The apologized (not as profusely as I would have hoped, considering that I'm still awake).

On my way back to my apartment, I paused to turn the tv down.
"Oh, poor Elizabeth" I heard.

On the positive side, the students were not intoxicated and they were clearly enjoying each other.

But really. Why are you still awake???

*sigh.* Freshmen.

What is even more astounding? IIII am still awake!!! Good grief.

my music dream

Tonight, two college students shared their incredible talents at a coffee house concert.

I tapped my feet, mesmerized by their music abilities.

Even with only one person on vocals, I could hear the notes come together in my head. I find myself doing this a lot, looking around to see who else is singing, only to discover that no one else is - and yet I hear harmonies so clearly.

I imagined myself in their shoes someday, wearing a layered outfit with a woven Cambodian scarf and a hippy-Bolivian necklace, singing and playing with card-playing and coffee-drinking in the foreground.

Sharing songs from my heart with a confidence I didn't know I had.
Rocking out on the guitar that I don't know how to play.
Singing the stories I've felt compelled to share - the melodies filled with God's heart and my soul.

A varying form of advocacy.
This is my music dream.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Attracted to the ugly

I had one of those divine appointments this morning.
I hadn't even made set foot into my office when I was asked to talk.

I let out a sigh and said I could meet her right then and there. I felt somewhat annoyed, aggravated that my hands were still full and already skeptical of this Monday morning.

She took a seat on the blue sofa and I closed the door to the conference room. This woman is a non-traditional student in her late thirties, a mom and wife.

What could she possibly want to talk to me about? I mused.

She said "Elizabeth, people think I'm crazy when I tell them this, but I'm attracted to the ugly."
Pain beckons her in. Suffering reaches out to her. She wants to step in.

Ahhhh, my heart softened.

"Elizabeth," she said, "the puzzle pieces of my life fit together during chapel on Friday. When John Childers shared about the "Voice for the Voiceless" I was so moved. God is calling me to respond."

I leaned forward, recognizing the divinity of this conversation, and prompted her to continue.

"What do I do with this, now?" she asked.

A grin slowly spread across my face.

Imagine the excitement in my voice: "I have books! And magazines! And websites!"
I told her about my list of alternative gift ideas, authors like Henri Nouwen and Jean Vanier, publications like "The Cry" through Word Made Flesh.

I understand her antsy feeling.
I understand how to find beauty in suffering and brokenness.

I know what it means to find ugliness attractive.

She's not crazy.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Gift Alternatives

I'm in the market to inspire people to think about gift-giving a little differently this season. I've already gotten a couple RAs on board. I simply love it when they say, "can you email me those ideas?" I got on my soapbox tonight and shared the following sites with them; I think the light bulb clicked on for them and I'm thrilled. ;)

  • Christmas Cards made by at-risk children in Romania at an art-therapy program at the Community Center. All proceeds benefit the children at the center. (courtesy of Word Made Flesh)
  • Gifts of Hope: Family Disaster Survival Kits, Emergency Medical Care, Child Survival Kits, Clinic Packs, Dental Visit, Mother & Child Survival, HIV & AIDS Relief, Gifts of Life, Emergency Care, Orphan Hope Gift (Courtesy of Medical Teams International)
  • PhotogenX Calendars & Postcards: Susi Childers compiled beautiful photographs from around the world. "The vision of photogenX is to use photography as a tool for cultrual transformation so that issues such as gender based injustice will be issues of history instead of the future. photogenX advocates for those who cannot speak for themselves and challenges the current global status quo. In addition, photogenX seeks to capture the people and places of every nation in the world showing off their beauty but not masking their pain." (Her father, John Childers, spoke in chapel at NCU. He gave me a copy of "A Voice for the Voiceless: 30 Days of Prayer for the Voiceless. Addressing global issues of gender-based injustice)
  • Heifer International: Ending hunger, Caring for the earth. Choose a meaningful gift to a loved one and help children and families around the world receive training and animal gifts that help them become self-reliant.
  • Cards from Africa: Handmade cards from Rwanda - improving the quality of life for orphaned kids. Calendars & bookmarks, too! (Thanks, Amy!)
  • Stuff a Stocking Project: An outreach of Soar International Ministries which provides Christmas stockings to needy children in Russia. (Thanks, Beth!)
Maybe something will click for you, too.

May you be blessed by giving.
Happy Shopping!

If you come across more alternative Christmas gifts, please comment on this page with the corresponding link.