Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The White Christmas

photos by Dad

The Whirlwind of Christmas

This was actually taken over Thanksgiving break.
Stress relief after an afternoon of family photos!

This was part of the crowd we had over
for our first annual cookie decorating party!

In our Christmas pajamas!

Christmas afternoon at the Hickles' house
was full of singing and music of all varieties!

Photos from the Fall

I know I haven't been posting many pictures lately, but here are some from this past fall.

On our trip out to Colorado for David and Emily's wedding, our good friend Carl encouraged Abby and me to climb the sign. We did, and it was SO cool!! Mum didn't want to though.

A trip to Mark's grandparents' farm yielded some fun photo opportunities.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Family Defined

Christmas Eve is here, and I'm sure many of you are off to see Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins. Christmas is one of the best times of the year for spending time with family. Traditions abound, and so much love is shared - I know how much I always enjoy spending time with my siblings and parents this time of year.

But recently, I was thinking about Jesus (after all, Christmas is about Him, right?) and His response to family. Remember this passage from Luke?

"Now Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see him, but they were not able to get near him because of the crowd. Someone told him, 'Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you.' He replied, 'My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.'" [8:19-21]

I think we often read this with subtle shock, as Jesus seems to totally set aside his mother and brothers. Were they really that unimportant, that he wouldn't give them any kind of special treatment at all? I think though, that Jesus is here just blowing open our definition of family. While family is fantastic, I think we often have a tendency, especially around Christmas, to narrow our view of who "counts" as family. But if we truly desire to live like Jesus did, we'll have to expand our definition as well.

Family is defined as "those who hear God's word and put it into practice." In the Hall household, extended relatives have often been far away during the holidays, so I think we kind of fell into this broader definition of family by default. We have many "adopted" Aunts and Uncles, Grandparents and Cousins who we've spent our holidays with. Just today, our house was full of friends, decorating cookies, and we had dinner with our most recent adopted Grandparents, Jan and Gary.

Even Jesus shared His first Christmas with people who weren't blood relatives. The shepherds and the wisemen heard God's word (from the angels, and the star and prophecies), and put it into practice by seeking for the baby. Can you imagine Mary's discomfort? With all the worrying we do about getting the house clean for company. . . she had just had a baby. In a stable, no less. Not exactly a setting you want "non-family" people to see you in. And yet, going back to what Jesus said, they are family.

I think this challenges us to let go of our narrow definition of family, and the stress that comes with it - cleaning frenzies and putting on our "perfect" behavior. Who can we include as "family" this year? And how can we change our hearts, so we can focus more on loving them as family, rather than impressing them?

Hold My Heart - Tenth Avenue North

How long must I pray, must I pray to You
How long must I wait, must I wait for You
How long 'till I see Your face
See You shining through

I'm on my knees
Begging You to notice me
I'm on my knees
Father, will You turn to me?

One tear in the driving rain
One voice in a sea of pain
Could the Maker of the stars
Hear the sound of my breaking heart?

One life is all I am
Right now I can barely stand
If You're everything You say You are
Would You come close and hold my heart?

I've been so afraid, afraid to close my eyes
So much can slip away before I say goodbye
But if there's no other way
I'm done asking why

'Cause I'm on my knees
Begging You to turn to me
I'm on my knees
Father, will You run to me?

So many questions without answers
Your promises remain
I can't see but I'll take my chances
To hear You call my name
To hear You call my name

One tear in the dropping rain
One voice in a sea of pain
Could the Maker of the stars
Hear the sound of my breaking heart?

One life is all I am
Right now I can barely stand
If You're everything You say You are
Would You come close and hold my heart?

Hold my heart
Could You hold my heart?
Hold my heart

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Argyle. It's In.

I hope you like the new look. I was thinking about someone special and his interest in argyle, so this is for him. :) Let me show you some of my favorite items in argyle:

The Classic Sweater Vest

Comfy Socks

And most importantly, Babies.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Sad

This post on another blog really hit home for me when I read it several days ago. I think the hardest times in life are when you don't have people you feel like you can tell the sad to. It's those times that you learn to spend your entire day at the side of the Savior, whispering to Him your secret fears, sadness, and hurt. As Scripture tells us, Jesus is one familiar with suffering - in Him we can always find a listening ear.

Today, I want to challenge you to be that friend for someone in your life. Undoubtedly, you are surrounded by people who need a friend to tell the sad to. Strive to develop that kind of friendship someone so you are there for them when the really hard times come.

On another note, I am home for 3.5 weeks. This is a glorious thing, but it didn't soak in entirely until Family Band tonight - makes me feel right at home to be with family and dear friends all at once.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Snow Flakes Keep Falling on My Head. . .

We got our first snow up here in the northern lands of Kville. I would go take pictures for you, but let me give you a gander at the temperatures we've had:

Yesterday morning: 4 degrees, feels like -11
This morning: 1 degree, feels like -13

So, it's beautiful. Just take my word for it. ;)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


But every house where Love abides,
And Friendship is a guest,
Is surely home, and home-sweet-home:
For there the heart can rest.

by Henry Van Dyke

Only 1 week until I am home again!

Friday, December 3, 2010


It's officially winter up here in Kirksville. Coats, hats, scarves, and the occasional ear muffs are making an appearance, and we even had our first snow! I have been celebrating by drinking at least two mugs of tea a day, and curling up in my comfy chair with a blanket and sketch book whenever I can.

God works in strange ways. Take winter, for example. I mean, the cold weather and wind really aren't very fun at all. Nobody likes that - am I right? And yet, some of the most beautiful parts of God's creation can't be seen if it doesn't get at least below freezing. Frozen waterfalls, snowy mountains, and ice covered trees. . . even if you don't like cold, you have to admit that the resulting phenomenons of nature are breathtaking.

I hate the cold though. And I hate the feeling of being trapped in a situation you can't understand or reason through, and you can't seem to escape from. The only way to keep going on is to remember how beautiful the snow is - and, to remember that God will bring that beauty, in time. Keep trusting, as you wait.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Giving Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving, friends. It's been a full day. My great-grandmother passed away this afternoon, at the age of 102. She was my last remaining great-grandparent, since another great-grandma passed away just a couple of weeks ago. Keep my grandparents in your prayers as they work through two estates these next few months. Tomorrow, we're headed home and then I'm back to school on Sunday afternoon. It's been a short week - honestly, right now I just want to get back to school and finish up the final two weeks of the semester! I hope you've all had a nice time with family and friends this week.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


As fall turns to winter, and the leaves start falling from the trees, I'm reminded that change is an inevitable part of life. Thankfully, our seasons cycle through these changes in a predictable pattern, so that even when autumn is gone, we know it will be back again. Often, I wish that the changes in life were so predictable. Some are - the "social clock" that we follow does dictate much of the natural change in life. Graduating high school, starting and completing college, getting married, choosing a career . . . transitioning from one life stage to the next is an anticipated part of life.

However, it is hard to predict how these changes will affect the inner workings of our heart, our relationships, and how we view the world. Sometimes, it's in a positive way, as we draw closer to a loved one, find new friendships, and develop a greater understanding of others. However, I have found recently that I dread the changes that are happening - drawing apart from old friends, losing the support of relationships that once were quite alive, and finding that I no longer understand the choices that some people make.

And I don't like that.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Concert Chaos

Being on the Concert committee of SAB this year, I got to be right in the thick of our big fall concert last Saturday. Relient K and Jack's Mannequin came to Truman - my job? To make sure that all of the band members and their crew had everything their hearts' desired. Thankfully, these artists were some of the most gracious people I have ever met. The lead guy of Jack's, Andrew, was so thankful for everything we did for him, and some of the guys on Relient K went so far as to ask me what my name was, and how my day had been going so far. Plus, they put on an AWESOME show! It was a long, chaotic weekend, but well worth it. :)
I'll post the photos of me with the guys as soon as I get them!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Love of a Cynic

What does it mean to love someone?
It's a phrase that we as humans tend to over-use.

I think that if I Corinthians 13 teaches us anything, it's that "love is a verb" - loving others is a conscious choice and effort we have to make. It's not just based about how sentimentally or warm and fuzzy we might feel about someone else.

Now this action of love will look different for the different kinds of love we have for people, and for the different people we love. Age old friendships will be different than romantic love, and family members to whom you're committed to loving might get different treatment from that brand new crush you've developed. Also, not everyone will appreciate a love that lavishes gifts, and some people really don't find love in a comforting hug. The love languages are a good way to break that aspect of love down. You can find out more about that here. I find it terribly interesting and have been known for making people take the quiz. Apologies if you have been subjected to this.

Sometimes I ask myself though - if someone says the words "I love you," but never display that in any other way, what does that really mean?(No, saying "I love you" once a month doesn't exactly count as words of affirmation.) Should I even bother to care that they "love" me? This sounds selfish - I know.

But it hurts. When I love, I try to love with everything. Words to encourage, actions to serve, hugs and just being close to someone, taking the time to do things they like to do, and giving gifts. I know I'm not perfect at this - not at all. But I sure try to at least do something to SHOW my love - if I'm not going to try, I don't say "I love you."

It just makes me want to curl up in a dark corner when people tell me "I love you" and don't do any of these things. It makes me wonder what it really means for them to say that.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Peace with God

Romans 5:1
"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."

It's so good that our peace on this earth is not dependent on other people or our circumstances. If it were, I know that I would never feel peace. But the Bible continually tells us that if we have been redeemed, we have peace with God. Think back - this world has a long history of struggle with God. Ever since the fall in the Garden, the chaos of this world is in such opposition to the glory of our God. And yet, we can now be at peace with God.

Now peace with God doesn't mean that our lives won't have trouble, struggle, pain, or hurt. Not at all - those things are still so present and sometimes it sure seems like they are surrounding us to the point of suffocation. And yet, our status with God means that we can have peace with Him in the midst of that chaos.

The story of the the "sinful woman" in Luke 7:36-50 is a beautiful illustration of this. She was someone who lived in a world of struggle and chaos. Her encounter with Jesus changed that forever - they shared an intimate moment. Scripture doesn't record anything that she said, only her tears. But Jesus told her that her sins were forgiven, her faith had saved her, and that she should go in peace. Did she go out of that house suddenly able to easily forsake her sinful life and into a world of butterflies and rainbows? Not at all - but from then on, she was able to say that she was forgiven, and that she had peace with God.

When peace seems elusive, take a moment to rest in the peace that is always attainable.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Quick thought:
Prayer is crazy. If I were God, I probably would have called it quits after sacrificing the life of my only son for people who didn't have any idea what was going on, and often don't even appreciate it when it when they do hear about it. But then, he goes another step. . . not only does he redeem us so that we can live in heaven with him forever, but he also says, "Hey guys, I want you to have a chance to know me here on earth too! Let's get started on this relationship now, so that this time we have apart, before eternity, will be awesome too!"

Whaa??! God wants to take time to get to know me and really wants to just spend time with me? As if justifying me from my sins wasn't enough. . .

Prayers flying today.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

By Faith, Abraham. . .

Romans 4 talks about how Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness. It says that “ . . . he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.” The passage also encourages us to walk in the footsteps of faith that Abraham displayed. Let’s take a minute to look at those footsteps.

1. God told Abraham to leave his homeland and go to the land God had for him. And he did – just like that. The Bible doesn’t say that he wasted any time getting prepared or putting his affairs in order. He just went. Remember when in Genesis this took place? It’s the first thing we really hear about after the great Flood and the tower of Babel incident. As a human, what must Abraham’s impression of God have been? I would have been terrified, and definitely not inclined to obey immediately. But 75-year-old Abraham just packed up his family and took off.

2. Fast forward 24 years (during which time Abraham has been wandering all over the place, living in Canaan, visiting Egypt, having a son with his wife’s servant girl, etc.). God comes to Abraham again, with two words for him. First, the good news – a son! Old Abraham, and his old wife are going to have a child. Naturally, Abraham laughs. You would too if you were 99 and promised a son! But then, the other news – circumcision. Take a minute and consider what this meant for Abraham . . . to circumcise himself and all of his grown, adult manservants. Do you think he wanted to do this, or found any logic in this command of God? But he did it – he “did not waver.”

3. The last example I want to bring before you is the testing of Abraham. His promised son has been born, as God promised – what a wonderful blessing that must have been to him and Sarah! To see the promise of the Lord finally fulfilled! And then, God asks him to do the impossible. He asks Abraham to sacrifice his son on an altar. Theology and the nature of God would have provided Abraham with so many excuses to not obey. “But I know you’re a loving God,” “Surely you don’t delight in human sacrifices,” . . . the list goes on. And yet, through FAITH, Abraham displays a practical obedience and does what God has asked.

How can we do this? Are there times in our lives when God calls us to obey, but we resist because of the excuses our idea of Christianity gives us? I think that faith requires relationship – it requires knowing the one you trust. We have to be fully persuaded of the faithfulness of God in order to trust Him. That’s hard to do. It’s hard when you’re going through dark days. It sure doesn’t seem like God is fulfilling His promises when you’re in the heat of spiritual warfare, physical exhaustion, or emotional break-down. It’s in those times that it is most important for us to follow the footsteps of Abraham, and practically obey God’s command to trust in Him.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

More Love

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to attend another wedding. David Hickle and Emily Rader tied the knot, out at the Airforce Academy in Colorado Springs! It was a very exciting weekend, since we drove out, had the wedding and reception, and drove back all between 6:30 am on Friday and 2:30 pm on Sunday. The wedding went so well - everything was beautiful. I love watching the faces of the bride and groom - despite any stress in the planning that went into the wedding, their faces are nothing but pure joy when he first sees her coming down the aisle. I heard a rumor that the kiss at their wedding was the first kiss that they shared . . .David sure got his money's worth out of it. :) It was very special though - I was so honored to be there when these two people who are so important to me joined their lives. I can't wait to get to know them even better in the coming years as they build their lives together!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Thoughts of the Morning After

Mmmm. Sitting here with my warm cup of coffee, and the scent of my flowers from last night gently wafting over from the counter. It's so chilly outside this morning, which makes me more happy than I can express - I'm curled up in my yoga pants and my sister's flannel button-up, just keeping warm and savoring life.

Last night was so wonderful. My "kindred spirit", Ashley Lou, was married to the love of her life, Mr. Joel Eldredge. Weddings don't really mean that much unless you are close to the ones joining their lives. And as I think over last night, this morning after, I have so much I could say. The one thing that stands out however, is the focus of the wedding.

In all the preparation for the wedding - the weeks previous, the scrambling around the day of - the focus is on two people, the bride and the groom. Everything centers around what they want their special day to look like, as well it should. The girls' "getting ready" room is a flutter with hairspray, double-sided tape (miraculous stuff!), needles and thread, breath mints, pantyhose (or not, as the case may be), bouquets, and dainty snacks. The guys are in the basement, putting on their suits and. . . . well, I'm not sure what all else goes on down there. :) Everyone is so focused on getting these two very special people ready to join their lives!

And then the wedding. It flies by, as you stand up there watching it happen right in front of you. Then, it's final - they are one.

And then, just like that, it all changes. The reception is filled with couple activities. The family, the guests, and the wedding party all now talk about "them", and no longer "her" and "him". It's a slight change, but one that the maid of honor notices quit acutely. My job shifted drastically - from seeing to the bride's every need and making sure things were just how she wanted it, to stepping back and watching Joel do such a better job of that then I ever could. It was really a wonderful picture . . . and, I have no doubt that he will make a wonderful husband for my Ashley Lou. :)

So, Ashley and Joel - congratulations, once again.

" . . they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate." Mark 10:8-9

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I'm Back

Back to blogging. . . maybe. No guarantees that this is a permanent return. I think I know myself (and my schedule!) better than to promise that. However, I will try to give a brief run-down of what's been keeping me away from this blog.

1. Summer was pretty great. I worked at Camp David of the Ozarks again, as the Office Manager this year. It was another awesome experience, to get to be a part of changed lives. My friends Mark, Alida, Nathan, Ashley, Ian, Carl, Katie (and other I can't think of right now) also worked there, which made it even more fun! Grace, the camp director's wife, had a baby boy the first week of camp, named Jabari. He is precious and I just loved getting to spend time around a baby, and also getting to spend more time around Grace.

Zephan and Katie, who were married in June
and now live in Columbia with Alpacas.

Jabari (Grace holding him)

2. Summer wasn't all work and no play - I got to take a camping/hiking weekend to Johnson's Shut-Ins and Elephant Rocks early in the summer, with Mark, Zephan, Katie, and Trent. Over 4th of July weekend, we had a nice family reunion at Grandma and Grandpa's house in Illinois. Early in August, my friend Alida and I took Isaac up to the other Grandparent's house, in St. Paul. After that, we spent the week hanging out in St. Paul and Minneapolis, which was great (except for the flat tire I got. . . 3rd one in less than a year). And then, the last trip of the summer was a week-long vacation in Colorado. Andy, Mark and I drove out there - our old friend Hannah, who lives in Denver, hosted us for the week, and our friend Julianna flew in from California. It was such a great time - Mark and I even had a day that we spent hiking together, and it was fantastic.

Group of friends in Denver

3. I'm back at school. Second year, new dorm, new roommate and suitemates, new classes. . . so far it's been pretty good. Nothing too amazing has happened, just plugging away like always! I've been really busy. SAB has been a lot more time consuming this year, but that's good - I like feeling more involved in it. CCF has been really good so far this year too - I feel very at home there, which is a nice thing to feel when you're away from your physical family . . . to feel apart of the family of My dear friend Ashley is getting married this Saturday, and she totally honored me by asking me to be her maid of honor! I was so excited and it's been great to spend time with her helping with wedding stuff. I can't wait to start calling her the Newest Mrs. Eldredge!

Ashley and Joel

That's all. :) You should e-mail me to catch me up on YOUR life now!

Much love,
Becky aka Rebekah

Sunday, May 16, 2010


I'm HOME! My first year of college is done, and it feels good to be back in Rolla with my family for the summer. The last couple weeks of my semester went well - busy, which is why blogging took back seat. :) Mum came to move me out on Tuesday of finals week, but I started feeling sad around Sunday evening about leaving my Truman friends. I had to clean my room (I vacuumed my room for the very first time all year!), and Liz and I enjoyed joking around about our different approaches to cleanliness, since we're going to be roommates next year.

Everyone came out and saw me off, and then Abby, Mum, and I took a tour of campus and used up my extra meals.

After getting home, I've been spending a lot of time just hanging around here at home. This summer, I'm working out at Camp David in the office again. My best friend Alida is also working there, so we drive out and back together everyday - what a fun and unexpected blessing for me! I'm not sure yet how long I'll be working there, but at least until June 18th. I'm hoping to continue my work throughout the rest of the summer too, but we will see.

Other than that, I'm working on finding ways to spend my time. If you have any suggestions, I'd be more than willing to hear them! I really want this summer to be one full of serving others, and becoming more well-rounded, so I can expand my ability to serve God. I would appreciate your prayers as I readjust to living here at home, and try to figure out my place in God's community of believers here in Rolla!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Monday Mullings

Is mullings a word? Whatever - these are the things I am "mulling" over this Monday. :)

Titus = awesome book of the Bible. This past weekend I had the privilege of attending a retreat at Lake of the Ozarks that was dedicated to going through the book of Titus. Wow - what refreshment, to spend a whole weekend just soaking up God's Word and the wisdom of other Christians!

We covered a lot of different topics this weekend, and I don't think I'm going to take the time to relate all of them to you here. :) However, I did want to share the points from one of the sermons that really was a wonderful reminder. The text was Titus 2:11-14:

11For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. 12It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

The speaker talked about how grace has three roles in our lives:
1. Grace brings salvation. I felt like this was a pretty basic thing for us Christians - we are saved by grace, totally a work of God, not us. We're never going to be good enough - even after our salvation though, this is a good thing to remember. . . to be reminded of how we came to where we are now, and our standing with the Holy God that we serve.
2. Grace schools us - it teaches us to say no to ungodliness, and live our new lives. Now this is something I hadn't thought about before - the work of grace after salvation. But isn't the Holy Spirit the one who enables us to live that holy life? And the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives is a major extension of the grace that we have received.
3. Grace "soothes" us. It reminds us of the hope that we have for eternal life. This hope isn't just one we can hold onto as a promise for the future, but something that affects the way we live our lives today!

And our response to this grace is seen in that last phrase - "eager to do what is good." Our gratefulness for His grace prompts our love for Him - and this love creates in us a desire to please God, and makes us eager to do good for Him. The message puts it as being "energetic in goodness."

The lake is beautiful. That's all.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Today I Love. . .

1. Warm weather
2. Tulips
3. Enjoying life and goofing off with my friends
4. Teasing Liz about being stressed
5. Sunshine
6. Answered prayers
7. Days off school (tomorrow!)
8. Only 3 weeks of school + finals week left this semester
9. Urinals and awkward dinner conversations
10. Micah 7 (NIV) and I Corinthians 12 (Message)
11. Smoothie fetching adventures
12. Getting checks in the mail
13. Giving over to God the staggering price of Nursing books next fall
14. Mark McKenzie's calming soundtracks (The Last Sin Eater)
15. Being woken up from a nap by my favorite voice in the world
16. The Breakfast Club - and that Amanda actually made it today
17. Getting out early from a class
18. Day-dreaming about summer
19. Being ridiculous and laughing hard with my best friend
20. The Father's great Love for me

The End.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Sleepless in Kirksville

Don't you hate those nights, when you're so exhausted that you lie in bed for hours, unable to sleep? I decided to visit my much-neglected blog this night, as I waited for sleep to come. As I was looking through old posts, I thought I would read through some of the ones that I had labeled as "devotions." I was rather ashamed to see only one that has been written in this year 2010 . . . and that I could count on my hand the ones I have posted since coming to school last fall.

It's funny - I can't quite imagine why I haven't posted any devotional thoughts lately. God sure hasn't gone anywhere - He's still a pretty permanent fixture in my life. In fact, this past month or so has been one of clinging to Him with every once of strength I have. I suppose my times with God and the lessons He's been teaching me are just more personal than I'd care to share on a blog. And that's okay. Hopefully someday, I can go back and share some of what has been going on lately. But for now, I have something that just came to my attention. :)

One of the old posts I read was about Holy Week, and the great Romance of our Savior. Holy Week this year has begun and I hardly realized it! You know, every year when we get to this point, the story is just the same, isn't it? We read the various Gospel's accounts of Jesus' last days, and I think it's pretty tempting to just skim over it, and say "Yeah, yeah, it's all the same information as last year."

But that's the thing - it isn't the same, at least not for those of us who are intimately acquainted with the Author of this story! Because for us, it's also our story. And every year, our lives are at least a somewhat different place than where they were last year, as is our relationship with our Lord. Last year for me, what stood out was the great Love that He showed in His death - I needed that reminder and assurance of His great Love for me.

This year, I'm looking for Hope as I read through. The Hope that after death comes life. Weeping and sorrow may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning. Some days, it's hard to believe that. But as I read the story of my Savior, I see it, plain and clear. Oh Lord - I praise you for your story. And I praise you that, through everything I've faced these past few months, it remains the same. The Hope you offer is still there, and I cling to that.

"Then the disciples went back to their homes, but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus' body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.

They asked her, 'Woman, why are you crying?'

'They have taken my Lord away,' she said, 'and I don't know where they have put him.' At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

'Woman,' he said, 'why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?'

Thinking he was the gardener, she said, 'Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.'

Jesus said to her, 'Mary.'

She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, 'Rabboni!' (which means Teacher).

Jesus said, 'Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, "I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God." ' "

John 20:10-18

What does the story of Holy Week say to you this year?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Letter

Dear Kirksville and surrounding areas,

Please don't skip spring.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Monday, March 15, 2010

Reaching the Sky

I wrote this for an assignment in my English Composition class last year. I found it the other day when going through my documents, and thought I'd share. :)

Reaching the Sky

"Oh no. Today's the day." That was my first thought as I woke up that cold, dreary morning. I was lying on a narrow bottom bunk in a camp cabin. I slowly sat up and stretched, being careful not to bump my head on the heavy oak frame of the bed. My counselor started singing, "Oh what a beautiful morning" in the shower as I watched the other girls in my cabin slowly open their eyes. Hannah Sue, already wide awake, was perched in her top bunk across the room. She called out, "Good morning Becky! Are you ready for today?" Inwardly, I groaned. Today was the day I had been dreading all summer long. It was the first day of an "extreme" week of summer camp for Christian teens from Missouri and Arkansas. I had been convinced to come by a large group of guys from my youth group, but while they were all looking forward to the extreme activities of the week, I was mostly hoping to meet some new friends and enjoy time away from the stress of life. Timid was my middle name, and the thought of trying to be bold, brave, and "extreme" petrified me. Little did I know that those expectations would be challenged in some rather terrifying ways that very first day of camp.

As soon as the entire group was awake and ready to go, all 35 of us piled into the camp bus. I sat in row 7b, next to my friend Mark. When he asked me if I was ready to be "extreme" today, I replied with a sarcastic, "Oh, I can't wait." He brushed it off. "You'll be fine," he said. Outwardly, I agreed and said I was sure it would be fun. Inside however, I was trembling like a leaf in a hurricane. We bumped along dusty back roads for almost half an hour, my fear and tension mounting with each mile. I wondered what our first activity would be. Would we be paintballing, caving, or rappelling? "Or maybe," I thought, "it will be something much scarier than any of those things." I held my breath as the bus pulled around the last bend, and our challenge for that day came into view: a high ropes course. Thirty feet off the ground, the poles and cables towered above us, casting shadows that were lost in the distance. We all scrambled out of the bus and stood gazing at it for a few moments before a sharp clap jerked us out of our reverie. "Let's get going, we want to have as much time up there as possible," yelled out our counselor.

We split into our two groups, and quickly got buckled into our harnesses. The mood was lighthearted for the most part. There was a lot of joking about how incredibly uncomfortable and awkward looking the harnesses were, and lots of discussion about which of the elements of the course looked the most challenging. I stayed quiet, trying to acclimate myself to the idea of spending several hours 30 feet in the air. As we got ready, our guides shared a little about the course and our equipment. With a partner, we would first climb up a 30-foot pole. Then, after crawling up onto a 2-by-2 foot platform, we would, with our partner, step out onto a narrow, but incredibly strong cable. Each cable ran between two poles, and there were different ropes and boards suspended in the air above each one to help us get across. The sets of cables, ropes, and boards each made up an "element." The goal for each element was the same -- advance from the first pole to the second pole. Attached to our harnesses were ropes and "lobster claws," hooks which secured us to cables as we walked. These ropes could be used for support, but the guides challenged us to touch them as little as possible. My immediate thought upon hearing that was, "Well, I really don't think I'll be able to do that! It will be a miracle if I even reach the top." After being briefed on the safety procedures and various rules for up on the course, we began to divide into partners.

I looked around, trying to decide who I should ask to partner with me. I knew this was an important decision. This was the person I would spend over four hours with that afternoon. They would be helping me along with the course -- telling me where to put my feet for each step, offering a hand for assistance, and encouraging me with each step. While I was mulling this over in my mind, Hannah Sue came and asked me to be her partner. I had just met her the day before, but I agreed, knowing she was experienced in all things "extreme."

So we set out, Hannah Sue and I. One pair from each group went up at a time. Hannah Sue said that we should be the first to go up; I told her that I wanted to be the last. We compromised, and went up third in line. She climbed first. Up the pole she shimmied, looking like a monkey who was at home in the jungle. She got to the top, calmly transfered her ropes to the cable, and called down for me to follow. I hesitated. As soon as I picked up my foot and placed it on that first rung, I would be committed to going up. I could not turn back. The thought terrified me. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. My thoughts finally focused on a single thought. "What if I actually can do this? If I don't go up, I'll never know." With that in my mind, I was ready. I opened my eyes and stepped towards the pole. Then I climbed. I didn't look down and I didn't stop to think about what I was doing. I just climbed. Up, and up, and up, and up, until suddenly, I was at the top. Hannah Sue held out her hand and pulled me onto the platform, all the time telling me that I'd done a great job.

Once she had helped me figure out where to stand, she immediately began planning out our route through the elements. I stood there frozen. Although I had made it up, the challenge was not over. I began to doubt my ability to go on. Hannah Sue, oblivious to my fear, selected our first element, and stepped down, testing the tension of the cord with her foot. Returning to the platform, she turned to me and said, "Are you ready? This is going to be a hard one, but I know we can do it. Let's go across together." It was just what I needed to jerk my attention away from my fears, and back to the matter at hand. She stepped out first. Arms out and not holding onto anything, she balanced herself on the cord, then held out a hand. "Just step onto the cord Becky. It's not too far down, and it's a really easy step," she urged. Once again, I hesitated. "I'm really scared Hannah Sue." There. I had said it. I waited, expecting a flippant remark like "don't be silly." But, to my surprise, Hannah Sue stepped back onto the platform and took my hand. Looking straight into my eyes, she said, "Everyone has fears, Becky. Some are harder to deal with than others, but you will never know how far you can go until you push yourself. I know you can do this." My attention was focused on her as she stepped back down onto the cable. "All right. Take a deep breath and just step down," she coached. I leaned out, grasped her hand, and took that first step. Then, I willed my second foot to join my first. We both balanced and slowly started to shuffle along the cable, hands clasped. Suddenly, I lurched to the right. A scream almost escaped my lips, but Hannah Sue quickly leaned to her right and steadied the cord until I regained my balance. We moved on, step by step. Before I knew it, we were finished and stepping onto the second platform. I looked and Hannah Sue and she said, with a twinkle in her eye, "Well, that wasn't so bad after all, was it?" I laughed. We looked at each other, and said together, "Let's do the next one!" This time, although she still lead the way, I stepped out with excitement and anticipation. The rest of the afternoon, we danced across the elements like butterflies, always finding new and more challenging ways to accomplish each one. As we rode down the zip line at the end and landed safely on the ground, I found myself feeling oddly satisfied. Suddenly it came to me -- I had faced my fear of heights, and I had conquered.

Looking back on that week, the first thing that comes to mind isn't all the friends I made. It's not the time spent relaxing in my cabin, or the fun activites I did around the camp. In fact, my fondest memories weren't made when I was safely on the ground; they were made high up in the sky, as I balanced and tottered my way to confidence, holding the hand of Hannah Sue. It was there I learned the importance of teamwork and encouragement. It was there I first found that your fears are only as great as you allow them to be. And it was there I discovered that I could do the impossible.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

By Your Side - Tenth Avenue North

Why are you striving these days
Why are you trying to earn grace
Why are you crying
Let me lift up your face
Just don't turn away

Why are you looking for love
Why are you still searching as if I'm not enough
To where will you go child
Tell me where will you run
To where will you run

And I'll be by your side
Wherever you fall
In the dead of night
Whenever you call
And please don't fight
These hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Look at these hands and my side
They swallowed the grave on that night
When I drank the world's sin
So I could carry you in
And give you life
I want to give you life

Cause I, I love you
I want you to know
That I, I love you
I'll never let you go

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

More Ado About Nothing

This looks delicious. I can't wait until I get home on Friday so I can try it!

And yes. Yes I am cheating on this Tuesday post, and just posting links to other things, no original thoughts involved. I apologize.

And while I'm at it. . . The Quakkelaar Family has been doing a really neat Lenten fast, and blogging about it! Check it out here, for some legit encouragement.


This is Us.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Behold the Throne of God Above

Before the throne of God above
I have a strong, a perfect plea:
A great High Priest, whose name is Love,
Who ever lives and pleads for me.

My name is graven on his hands,
My name is written on his heart;
I know that while in heaven he stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart
No tongue can bid me thence depart.

When Satan tempts me to despair,
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look, and see him there
Who made an end of all my sin.

Because a sinless Savior died,
My sinful soul is counted free;
For God, the Just, is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me
To look on Him and pardon me

Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Praise the One,
Risen Son of God!

Behold him there, the risen Lamb
My perfect, spotless righteousness,
The great unchangeable I am,
The King of glory and of grace!

One in himself, I cannot die
My soul is purchased by his blood
My life is hid with Christ on high,
With Christ, my Savior and my God
With Christ, my Savior and my God

Words: Charitie Bancroft, 1863. Music: William Bradbury, 1861.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Capital Punishment, Athlete's Foot, and Poor Man's Tea

I sat here for a good 5 minutes after writing that post title, trying to figure out a creative way of tying those three items together. Nothing came to me, so let's tackle them all separately, shall we? (A alternate title for this post could be, "No, I have not taken any pictures recently")

My Ethics class this semester has been going surprisingly well. I was rather tentative to jump into the discussion of such a class at a secular, state university, but I have been pleasantly surprised at the intelligence fellow classmates have displayed when expressing their views on subjects. Our group discussion on abortion made it apparent that the majority of my group (about half of the class is in each discussion group) was opposed to abortion - I find that shocking! On Monday, our group will be discussing the death penalty and capital punishment. I am responsible for writing a short paper which I will present on (not read through, but just state the thesis and main arguments) that day. I'm slightly apprehensive, considering I honestly don't know what I think about the death penalty. However, we were asked to get as specific as possible, and cover one aspect of the issue. I'm going to look into lethal injection - a history of it's use, the doctors who administer it, and the morality/ethics of doctors (who are called to preserve life) taking life in this way. I'll let you know how it goes!

Second item of business - I have athlete's foot. It just disgusting, it really is. Don't worry, I won't insist on showing you next time I'm home or anything. I am currently attacking it with a vengeance, using some cream that my dad recommended. His response, when I asked him what I should do about athlete's foot? "I didn't know girls could get athlete's foot!" Thanks, Dad, for that vote of confidence!

And lastly - as a poor college student (or rather, as a college student who is not perhaps the most diligent about going to Walmart and keeping herself supplied with necessities), I have found that I often run out of things I like. Such as tea-bags. And because my car is parked in a parking lot that is still piled high with snow, I've found an alternative to tea bags. *Disclaimer: I do not in any way recommend making "tea" in this way. It doesn't taste all that great or anything.* I simply take mints from the dining hall, and then plop them into my cup of hot water, allowing them to dissolve. While this works pretty well as a sweetener with regular tea. . . it tastes kind of bland with just plain water. But I'm not complaining - it beats drinking hot water straight, and is a lot easier than making myself of a pot of coffee!

Report on this morning's temperature: 0 degrees, -12 degrees wind chill.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Sleep Walking and Talking

Well, it's official. I talk, and walk, in my sleep.

My roommate Blair, as you may remember, was in a car accident the third week of last semester, and did not live in our room for the remaining 13 weeks of the semester. She rejoined me at the beginning of this semester, and I am SO glad to have her back.

However, she has awakened me (no pun intended) to the fact that I talk in my sleep, and seem to walk as well. Apparently, 3 or 4 times a week, she hears me talking. I don't say anything very intelligible (or embarrassingly revealing!), but she says that sometimes it sounds like I'm answering my phone, but no one has called, and I normally say something like, "Why did you call, I'm trying to sleep!"

But last night was the first night that I walked. I remember it as part of my dream, but I had to ask Blair this morning what exactly I did. She said that I,
1. Climbed out of my (loft!) bed, carrying my pillow and blanket,
2. Put my pillow and blanket on the floor by my desk,
3. Left the room (I think I went to the bathroom - that was part of my dream, anyway),
4. Came back into the room, and stood still for about a minute, looking at where I had laid my pillow and blanket,
5. Laid down on the floor where they were for a little bit,
and 6. Picked up my pillow and blanket, crawled back into bed, and went to sleep.

It's not that weird, but I'm slightly concerned about myself. I had no idea that I walked in my sleep, or that I could remember and enter in my bathroom code, and use the restroom in my sleep. That's a little scary.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

What a Day

Well, it's one of those days. I woke up this morning feeling pretty sick, I have a big test tomorrow that I need to study for, and I got a flat tire, in the snow. Flat tires really are the most humbling experience in the world. Honestly, much of the time I would rather have to change it myself than to admit to someone that I need help, then watch them change it for me. However, as I was driving back from Walmart, mulling over in my mind what a hard day this has been, I decided that I needed to stop and pick out the bright spots.

1.) I got to sleep in until 9:00 this morning, because my 7:30 class was canceled.
2.) I got some exercise with a really good ab work-out, something I could do to stay active even though I'm not feeling well.
3.) Brian, a staff guy from CCF was driving by right as I was discovering my flat tire, and helped me by changing it, and recommending a shop where I could get it fixed if I didn't want to go to Walmart. What a HUGE blessing for a college girl who is 3 hours away from parents who normally take care of that kind of thing.
4.) Running into my small group leader at lunch today - I told him that I wasn't feeling well, and he said not to worry about it if I couldn't make it to small group this afternoon. That just helped me feel much less stressed about skipping it and resting instead this afternoon.
5.) My little coffee maker, which I used for the first time this afternoon, to brew myself coffee from a very special bag of coffee grounds. <3

Thanks, God - for looking after your children even on the most frustrating of days. Help us to remember our blessings always, good times and bad!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

By Your Side - Tenth Avenue North

Why are you striving these days
Why are you trying to earn grace
Why are you crying
Let me lift up your face
Just don't turn away

Why are you looking for love
Why are you still searching as if I'm not enough
To where will you go child
Tell me where will you run
To where will you run

And I'll be by your side
Wherever you fall
In the dead of night
Whenever you call
And please don't fight
These hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Look at these hands and my side
They swallowed the grave on that night
When I drank the world's sin
So I could carry you in
And give you life
I want to give you life

Cause I, I love you
I want you to know
That I, I love you
I'll never let you go

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

How I Go About Doing College

I have quite the reputation around here when it comes to homework. Rumor has it that I don't really study. Ever. At all. And it's kind of true.

A wise man once told me that studying is overrated. Okay - so it was a fellow college student, and I'm pretty sure he was joking. But I chose to take him seriously, and I haven't studied much since then.

Liz studies. She comes in here every night before we have an Anatomy quiz and I test her on diagrams of bones. Then, I always let her test me. But I don't really study it - I'm normally all over the room, cleaning up, making my bed, etc. while she's trying to get me to pay attention.

Laurel studies. We have "study" parties rather frequently - in fact, we're having one right now. Note that I am blogging during this designated "study party."

Blair studies. Boy, does she ever. I think Blair spends more time studying than she does doing anything else, except maybe sleeping. She makes me look bad, she really does.

I sure feel like I study and do homework a lot. However, I'm afraid that most of the time I think I'm spending on homework, I'm actually taking a nap, or e-mailing people, or talking to friends (and distracting them from studying). I know I studied a lot last semester, especially for math. I think I probably spent at least 2 days studying for my final in that class. I know it was probably 3 hours or more of time total, and that was just exhausting!

But I'm scared, guys - scared that one of these days this semester, I'm going to have to study! And then. . . well, then I will see that I probably should have been studying all along. But until that day comes, I plan to continue blindly upon my present course. So cheers, to those of you who study! Someday, I'll learn from you. . .

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


"Once we get intimate with Jesus we are never lonely and we never lack for understanding or compassion. We can continually pour out our hearts to Him without being perceived as overly emotional or pitiful. The Christian who is truly intimate with Jesus will never draw attention to himself but will only show the evidence of a life where Jesus is completely in control. This is the outcome of allowing Jesus to satisfy every area of life to its depth. The picture resulting from such a life is that of the strong, calm balance that our Lord gives to those who are intimate with Him."
-My Utmost for His Highest, January 7th

"The strong, calm balance" . . . when I read this devotion back in January, I had no idea that this concept of intimacy and quiet before our Lord would be such a hard lesson to learn. I didn't set out to learn it by any means - in fact, I've actually been running away from it for the past several weeks. When I returned to Truman from Christmas break at home, life quickly picked up and started moving at it's usual break-neck speed. SAB, CCF, spending time with friends, small groups, Howdys, planning events, meetings, homework, classes, keeping in touch with friends back home. . . I was overwhelmed. Each night, when I finally gave in to my desperate need for sleep, I would lie awake for hours, exhausted physically and emotionally, but with my mind rushing with everything that still had yet to be done. And every morning, the alarm came far too quickly, for I never woke up feeling any more rested than I had when I went to bed.

One night a week or so ago, in the midst of all this chaos, a friend asked how they could pray for me. I decided to be honest and said, "Pray that I would start taking time for my own relationship with God, and not constantly focusing on my relationship with others, and on their issues in life and their relationships with God." Our conversation moved on from there, and I would have forgotten entirely about it had, God not inserted Himself into the situation.

This past week has been almost frightening. My daily e-mail devotions, the sermon on Sunday, conversations with 3 of my friends, my small group meeting this Monday, and all the other spiritual inputs into my life have all had one focus -- Slow down. Cut back on your schedule. Make time for God. Learn to be a "Mary" and not a "Martha." Place God as your first priority, not just another item on the to-do list. Develop intimacy with Him and don't be content with a casual acquaintance. And through it all, the recurring theme that if I were to do this and pursue God, this "strong, calm balance" would be the result, replacing my usual exhaustion and stress.

This isn't one of those stories about how I made a 180 degree turn-around and my life is suddenly perfect - far from it! I am still in the very beginning stages of learning how to apply these truths to my busy college life. But God knows what He's up to, and He has placed people in my life this semester who are there to help me out. So I just wanted to write this in order to encourage you to also make your pursuit of God first priority in your life, no matter who you are. We are all busy, but somehow, that ceases to be a good excuse when you think of the Cross, doesn't it? Let's learn together how to slow down and be still and quiet before our God, developing that intimacy with Him that He asks us for.

Yours, from the chilly northern climate,

Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Cast of Characters

Truman has brought such a variety of new people into my life! I've been amazed to see the many relationships God has built in the few months that I've been here. Let me introduce you to a few of the main characters in the story of my life these days:22652_1113184170351_1849332421_219125_3778489_n

This is Liz Hoffman. She plays the role of the Person I Spend the Most Time With. We’re planning on rooming together next year. Liz is also a nursing student, and is actively involved in the Newman Center (the Catholic student org. on campus). My favorite things about her are how honest and loyal she is. And, she’s the only one of my friends who gives as much as she gets from me when it comes to “mothering.” :)


4488_83131919286_505769286_1728040_3662321_n Here, we have Virginia Hiendelmayr. She plays the role of Diversity in my life, because life is always different and fresh and new with VA around. She’s studied abroad and worked in both Austria and Spain, and is taking 3 foreign languages this semester alone! I love her cheerful spirit – she always makes me laugh. I’m hoping to bring her to CCF with me sometime soon. She used to be part of the Christian Science church, but is looking for something else right now. . . and I just so happen to think I know One who can satisfy that search. :)


16436_188226935792_501430792_3299562_19530_nThis is the lovely Laurel Bellamy.  Her role in this story is Adventure Buddy – just yesterday we braved the cold for a shopping trip to downtown Kirksville! Laurel also comes to CCF with me on a regular basis, and has just joined the nursing program this semester. I love how goofy Laurel can be, and also how much she honestly desires to pursue God in the way she lives her life here at Truman.


15134_580603439252_36105931_33763970_1677014_n This lady is Gretchen Smiles. She’s a grad student here, and although I don’t really hang out with her very often, she’s been a big part of my life here. I cast her as The Encourager. She was my small group leader last semester, and it was so great to spend time talking with her about our faith. I’m going to miss her when she moves back to Chicago and starts teaching next year! She’s going to be a Special Ed. teacher too, which is very near to my heart.


17265_1237133290887_1305870234_30900988_3421171_n19050_1285644223688_1307610019_31624499_8142025_n This is Amanda Schaffner. I find her to be the Constant in my life. She’s always good for a laugh, someone to talk with, hanging out. . . really just whatever I need. She’s a Bio major, and  is athletic and beautiful and fun to be with. I started the year out going to CCF and she started out at Campus Crusade (CRU), but now we both go to both. :) I love her SO much and I’m looking forward to having 3 more years around here.



It is quite natural to follow Amanda with this young lady, Shandra Sheaffer. They are rarely seen apart, and I suspect that Shandra spends over 90% of her time in Amanda’s room. She is undoubtedly the Princess in this tale. What a sweetheart! We have a lot of fun watching her in the many boy-chasing escapades she gets into. I can’t wait to see which of these guys she actually ends up with. :) Shandra is a Linguistics major, and just enjoys life and the fact that she’s a girl. She comes to CCF and CRU as well, and lights up everything with her cute comments. You should have seen her trying to give Liz a makeover last weekend. It was a sight. ;)


17570_1237990392314_1305870389_30902924_5823066_nHere we have Katherine Kennison. She is the Twin, or so we’ve been told. Apparently, if we’re both wearing our glasses, we look quite similar. I am about 3 or 4 inches taller, and she has red hair, but those are just small details in the grand scheme of things. Katherine is Amanda’s best friend from back home, and just transferred here this spring semester. She and I have connected really well, and enjoy working out together. I’m looking forward to getting to know her a lot better in the coming years!


11863_106099649403752_100000111530798_152314_4907661_n Isn’t she gorgeous? This is my friend, Audrey Adams. She takes the role of Spiritual Partner here at school. We met early on at a CCF event, and have enjoyed spending one-on-one time together every since. She’s also a nursing major, so we talk about that sometimes. . . but more importantly, she’s someone who I’ve found I can be completely open with about all things faith-related. What a blessing she is to me!


10721_1249837048496_1306560050_30760655_2976022_n This is Blair Ballard aka The Best Roommate in the World. She quite literally rocks my socks. She was gone all last semester due to an unfortunate accident, but she has moved back into our room on the fourth floor this semester, and I couldn’t be happier to have her here. We don’t hang out much outside the room, but in the room it’s never tense or uncomfortable. She is understanding, and lovable and we mother each other a whole lot.


17239_257441497708_707207708_3472504_6172635_n If you know me personally, you might be confused about the fact that I have not yet featured any guys friends. In high school, I seemed to spend most of my time around guys, and trust me, coming to college and developing mostly girl relationships has been weird! A good weird, but still weird. However, there are a few guys who hang around every once in a while, and here they are all together. This picture is pretty accurate depiction of these kids and how I see them (okay, not the shirtless part) – ridiculous! From L to R, we have Greg, Alexander, Joey, and Joseph. They are all CRU guys, and each one of them unique and fun-loving. They aren’t like the guys I’m used to (engineers), but I still have greatly enjoyed spending many early mornings(8:00 am breakfasts in Ryle) and late nights(when they drag me out of bed at 10:30 or 11:00 pm to watch a movie) with them. :) They keep me from being lame, and provide me with people to mother and make food for. A win-win situation.

So there you go! Those are the people who have blessed my life these months at Truman, and helped me make a home away from home for myself. I love them all, and feel like my heart has expanded greatly to make room for them among the many friends that I still cherish from back home.