Monday, April 30, 2012

Final Finals...sort of

It's here. Finals week, that is. Sarah, Ryan, and I are sitting around a table at Starbucks each working on something different. Brie will join us later as will Steph and Trevor. I'm wondering if anyone's noticed that Sarah is working on Hebrew and I've got three books out about the Holocaust...hmmm.

This is my final finals week in a manner of speaking. Next year I'll be doing my last 3 classes online (called SemLink) and the finals will be sporadic, not clumped together in one week (praise Jesus). There is something fun, in a way, about finals week. For one, we're all stressing out together and we seem to all congregate at the same cafe's (Starbucks, Atomic, Gusto) and we all have the same look of panic on our faces when we pass by in the hall. Either that or we're like the walking dead or so hyped up on caffeine that we're just running around trying to get from one thing to the next (that would be me today).

I think I'm also just savoring every moment left that I have with my friends this week and the fact that we can all do something together, even studying or writing papers, is comforting. to write a paper.

Friday, April 27, 2012

What Seminary Taught Me Part 2

God uses anyone in any situation to further his calling on their lives.
Brokenness is a process. You cannot say "I've been broken" and think that it's done. If that were the case, where would our need for Christ be?
Seminarians aren't perfect, in fact, far from it. I know there are many of us who often think, "God, really? Are you sure you want me in ministry?!"
Just because you know the Bible backward and forward, if you don't speak with love about it, it really makes no difference. Speaking from the heart is more meaningful than intellectualism.
God has gifted us all differently. It doesn't mean it's wrong if you can't get a language. Maybe that's just not where He wants you to be...which was the case with me.
Jesus was all about social justice.
Reading Leviticus and Hebrews at the same time might just change your entire viewpoint on law & grace & what it really means.

The King James version was not the original version of the Bible. Seminary didn't teach me that, I already knew it, but I figured it wouldn't hurt to remind people of that...

Monday, April 23, 2012

What Seminary Taught Me Part 1

What seminary taught me....(if you go to GCTS, you'll appreciate this more...also, it was late when I did this so please excuse the attempt at being funny)

Soteriology is the doctrine of salvation
Arminians are the people I would disagree with
Armenians are people from Armenia
John Calvin is the best. Ever.
John Calvin did not invent TULIP.
Tim Keller is a GCTS grad, suckas (haha!)
Karl Barth isn't just someone who has a tram stop named after him in Basel...he is a modern theologian. And people will debate you for days on him.
You can apparently be complimentarian in the home and egalitarian in the church...and vice versa
Anglicans are hip
MAEM is a different degree than MAME
D.Min is not the same thing as demon
Financial Services is not Student Accounts
The Great Room does not serve Starbucks coffee.
The Great Room serves as a ping pong room, fussball room, nap room, study (?) room, lunch room....
It's the Old Book Centre, not the Old Book Center...actually, now it's Alumni Hall, so have fun with that transition
Peter Anders does not have his doctorate but I'll always refer to him as Dr. Anders. So there.
Fire alarms can go off at any time, day or night, blizzard or no blizzard.
Depression Pudding. Bowl of Depression. Either way, whenever I saw that bowl with chocolate and whipped cream, I knew there was inevitably a mandarin orange or two inside...
And speaking of mandarin oranges, are there any actual mandarin oranges left in Mandarin or did Sodexo buy them out?
Ugaritic is a language. So is Akkadian. It doesn't end after Greek or Hebrew.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Good-bye's Aren't Forever...

My GCTS going away party was last night. We decided last night would be the best since we're about to all enter finals/headache/freakout mode. Sarah opened her family's winery up for all of us to come out and grill and dance and just have a good time. It kind of struck me last night that I really do only have 2 weeks left here. It's all a bittersweet reality now. I plan on writing a blog soon about all I've learned here. One thing is for sure...I'm going to stop telling myself that I'm "not a student." If I wasn't a student, I wouldn't still be pursuing a Masters degree. I have to thank Tony & Lee for pointing that out to me the other day.

Pictures below from last night's fun!

Me & Brit

The Wilmarths & Joel

Sweet friends

Lee, Melissa, & me

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Oasis in Jacksonville

Tonight I had Soul Care at Brie's and Caroline's with Kristen. We are going through the book Crafting a Rule of Life and tonight's chapter was on Mission. Appropriate, right? ;)

After going through the chapter, we shared about what was going on in our lives and when it was my turn, I said, "Well, where do I start?!" I then shared my dilemma's with getting migraines and how I was surprised I hadn't gotten one yet. I mentioned that if I did get one in the near future, I'd rather it be in Jacksonville, when I'm at my parents house and can have a peaceful (or as peaceful as you can get with a migraine) rest. When Caroline prayed for me she said, "And please let Alli have an oasis this summer in Jacksonville." I'd never thought of my time in Jacksonville like that before. But it really will be something like that. Rest and relaxation before heading abroad. Of course not everyday will be that way. I am taking a course at the Jacksonville GCTS campus as well as a SemLink. But I know I'll get to catch up on relaxation.

Going to bed and thinking about the passage in Matthew again. "Come to me...I will give you rest..."

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Finding Rest in Transition

Brie came over this morning for our weekly get together of our Bible study, Gospel Transformation. We got our coffee, sat down on my futon, and opened our books. Before we even started, Brie said, "So, how are you doing with everything?" By everything she meant, well, everything. It's a weird sort of feeling I have right now. I'm stressed, but not so stressed that I am feeling hopeless. I'm sad because I know the time is drawing nearer to say good-bye, but at the same time, I know that means I'm only closer to Germany. I do have a lot left to do class wise, but I know it will get done. It always does, even when we're all running around here like chickens with our heads cut off. So I keep that in mind that it WILL get done. It has to. Because if it doesn't, there will be a nasty F on my final grade and excuse me but I have worked too hard not to get all of this finished!

It's so hard to describe transitioning out. I've tried and I know people want to understand, but if you've never done it, it's impossible. Surprisingly, I've discovered when I transition in or out, I become more introverted. I know. Shocking, right? Some of you would have never guessed that this little extrovert would ever consider being in a quiet place without people around. My mind is a million places at one time, lately. I want to finish well. I want to say good-bye well. Those are my main concerns right now.

A verse that keeps coming to mind is the one in Matthew 11:28 which says,
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

I think this is where I find my rest in the busyness of life and school and transition.


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sweet Surprise

I came into lunch on Thursday after an already stressful beginning to my day. I was having lunch w/Brie and a few of our friends and had just sat down when I realized I had forgotten to get a drink. I got up and went over to the soda fountain and as I was getting water, looked over outside. I saw a man walking towards the building who resembled my father. I thought to myself, "Wow, I must really be homesick if I think that's my dad." For some reason, I felt compelled to walk over to the door that leads outside. The more I stared, the more it started clicking. That man was my dad! I walked outside and approached him and said, "What are you doing here?!" I was so shocked that I started crying when I hugged him. He told me that this had been in the works for almost two months and that my mom had contacted Brie over Facebook to get her to help.  We walked back inside and with a quavery voice I said, "This is my dad, everyone!"

The next two days went by way too fast, but they were so well spent! Dad and I got to spend some great time together going into Boston and eating lobster and clams and I showed him around the North Shore before he left yesterday. His surprise came at just the right time. When he left, I felt refreshed and renewed.

Thanks, Dad. I am extremely blessed by a sweet papa like you!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Papers, Projects, & Procrastination OH MY!

As a procrastinator, the sheer thought of all that I have to do in 4 weeks is just a bit overwhelming. I'm looking at the box I packed last week that needs to be shipped off to some friends in Germany until I get there and wondering when I'm going to ship it. I'm taking my car to Car Max to sell it and I'm also wondering when that's going to happen. And of course, there's the multiple projects & papers that have to be completed, some within the next week and a half. I've been trying to get to the gym as much as possible but today I can't make it because of German homework that needs to get finished so that Lee and I can focus on our projects tonight. I would really like to close my eyes and wake up in 4 weeks and it all be over. Since that's impossible and unrealistic, I'm trying to take as much as I can one thing at a time.

I don't recommend going to school full time and planning to move across the world at once, just in case any of you wonder how I am managing to do all of this!

Saturday, April 7, 2012


A friend of mine passed away last night. I wasn't as close to him as others here at GCTS, but saw him everyday and even got to sing with him recently. Jack had a lot of allergies and health problems but you would have never known it by the way he acted. He was always happy, always joyful, and always cracking jokes. He had a fantastic British accent impersonation and it was always fun to go back and forth with him on that.

Last Wednesday, Jack, Brie, and I sang together at a local cafe in Salem for open mic night. Jack drove me back to campus and shared with me some of his testimony about how he came to the Lord. He told me that one day he wanted to go back to Assisi, Italy where he found Christ a few years ago. He was excited about the possibility of doing that after graduation and told me he would pass through Germany to say hello.

Some of you who read this might not believe in heaven or hell or even a higher power. But I am fully confident, beyond any shadow of doubt, that my friend Jack is sitting at the feet of Jesus right now. He is well. He is healed. And what a way to spend Easter.

Sometimes people are placed in your life for a season and you don't know why until that season has passed. I think that Jack reminded me that life is meant to be joyful in any circumstance. His health wasn't the best and he told me last week that people were shocked when he told them he couldn't ever have ice cream. I have a feeling that he's getting all the ice cream he wants right now and then some.

Don't take those in your life for granted, even if they aren't people you associate with on a daily basis. They're in your life for a reason and a purpose, no matter how big or small.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A Post About Nothing in Particular

Where to begin? Selling my car? Packing my first box up for Germany this week? Looking around my room and wondering where the heck to start? Picking up a book to read for class and wondering if I should read another book for another class instead? And then there's the two projects and two papers, two due on April 27th, two others due May 7th. Stressed much?

I haven't been the wisest with my time lately. Ashamedly, I stayed up late finishing a book. I wish I could say it was for class. It wasn't. It was Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Numerous people have asked me, "Why did you start reading Harry Potter 4 weeks before classes are done?" I wish I knew. At the moment I picked up Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, I knew it probably wasn't the best decision I could make but I gave in and read it anyway. Priorities. I know. Apparently, I don't have them right now.

So I came to Starbucks with Brie and thought I'd get work done. But my brain won't shut off. Fundraising, selling this car on Saturday (I HOPE!), writing papers, what will happen to Harry in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban....ok so that last one should probably be the LAST thing I even think about at this point. No worries, I didn't bring anything but schoolwork with me today and left Harry at home.

What do I want the most right now? Peace and rest. I know where to go to get them. It's just a matter of shutting off everything else and letting Him take over yet again.