Lengthening Shadows

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The sun is setting here in my French home. The last little shades of pink on Belledonne are fading away. It’s been a rainy couple of days as evidenced by the clouds, but the sun has been trying to peek through from time to time. Another day is almost finished. Another lesson for tomorrow is almost put together, only lacking a few finishing touches. A cup of hot peppermint tea sits in front of me with the curling steam coming up from the cup as I try to battle the early symptoms of a cold.

I was reflecting on a question a friend asked me over Skype the other day. He asked me to describe my best experience in France so far and also what had been my worst experience. As I think back now to some of those tough days as well as those days of triumph, it strikes me as my friend also remarked after I shared both of how intense both have been. Those first three months after I arrived were probably some of the toughest I’d faced. It’s inspiring to me though to look back over some of those dark, rough times and see where the Lord sustained me, carried me, and taught me to trust Him even more fully. He held me as I mourned with France and then when I mourned for a couple of dear friends back home who passed away around the same time. He helped me through the frustrations of dealing with the administration and trying to figure out teaching in a completely different context to completely different students.

By contrast, He allowed me to soar when I finally started being able to better understand the fast-paced French being spoken around me. He gave me the excitement of having lessons go well and to see some of my students start to grasp some of the concepts I was trying to teach. He allowed me to see spectacular scenes that even my eyes couldn’t even quite take in all the beauty. He gave me those quiet mornings spent with a friend over a cup of tea just talking about how good the Lord is and how faithful He is. He gave me the ability to hear His Word preached and read in French. How beautiful it is to see His love transcend culture and language. Every step of the way, He has been there.

I realized tonight as I was working on lesson plans how short my time is here. My landlady even asked me a couple of days ago what my departure day is as she needs to know for planning purposes. I could only give her an estimate. I’ve started having more and more details start to come up about my return. Registering for classes, housing, plane tickets, moving just to name a few.

I do beg an interest in your prayers. I remember how overwhelming the details were just trying to come over to France, and I know it’s going to be quite involved getting back to my starting point. However, just as a dear friend reminded me over a year ago as I shared with her all of my fears of trying to go France, “Well, God worked out every single detail of you moving to Indiana. Do you think He can’t handle this? Trust Him!”

He has been my Rock. Just as those mountains I look at each day have stood there for thousands of years, so is He unmovable and constant. Maybe that’s why mountains always make me think of the Lord and His grandeur and majesty.

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Wishing

The last several weeks have been full of so many new experiences and adjustments as I grow more and more accustomed to my new life here in Indiana. Some of those experiences have been what I would call growing pains. That is to say those experiences one goes through that aren’t easy at all but if handled wisely, causes one to grow as a person. Some of what the last few weeks have held for me has been this whole concept of wishing and desires.

Cinderella-390Wishing definitely isn’t a new idea in any sense. One can hardly turn on a Disney movie without seeing a character wishing for something or someone. Snow White comes on the screen singing into a well: “I’m wishing for the one I love to find me today.” Cinderella dances with her mice and bird friends singing that a dream is a wish your heart makes and that the dreams that you wish will come true.  Aladdin has three wishes and wishes to become a prince. Mowgli wishes to be a bear. The list goes on and on.  Perhaps that’s why we love watching these classics so much because we can identify so well with wishing. It’s part of who we are to wish for things to be better or for things to work out a certain way in life.

But, what do we do when things don’t work out or go the way we would wish them to?

Naturally, I have my own wishes and desires in life. I wish for more sleep, for that amazing smooth strong cup of coffee, for the lesson I prepared for the class I teach to go well :), to have a job someday when I finish graduate school, for that phonology problem to actually makes sense, and so on. But, beyond those daily wishes, I have those deep desires and wishes that are a part of who I am. I’ve had those wishes all of my life. These wishes are deep in the heart and are incredibly important and good, but they are also so incredibly dangerous. Thus far God has not granted one of those desires in particular. I’m not bitter about it, but a recent experience made it seem ever so much harder to be content. What seemed like the fulfillment of that wish was staring me in the face and all I had to do was reach my hand out and grasp it. But, it was not to be. If I had forced my way, it would not have turned into the fulfillment I would have wanted. But, oh, how I wanted it so badly.

As I’ve ruminated over this, a part of C.S. Lewis’s story The Magician’s Nephew came to mind. It was the part when Digory was sent on his mission to get the special apple to bring back to Aslan. When Digory came to the garden, he saw a sign with silver letters that read:

Come in by the gold gates or not at all,
Take of my fruit for others or forbear,
For those who steal or those who climb my wall
Shall find their heart’s desire and find despair.

Magician's NephewDigory didn’t fully know what the sign meant until after he got the apple he was sent to retrieve. In the garden he met the witch who had stolen and eaten the forbidden apples. She tried to persuade Digory to take the apple he’d been sent to get for Aslan. She used Digory’s deep desire of having his dying mother healed to tempt him. It was so hard for Digory to resist! He wanted his mother healed so badly, but in the end he fled back to his companion Polly and went back to Aslan.  After the apple was planted to protect Narnia, Aslan explained to Polly why the apple tree would keep the witch away even though the witch had eaten the apples:

“Child,” he replied, “that is why all the rest are now a horror to her. That is what happens to those who pluck and eat fruits at the wrong time and in the wrong way. The fruit is good, but they loathe it ever after.”

Aslan later explained to Digory that if he had taken the apple for his mother, it would have healed her but that both he and his mother would have later wished he’d never brought her the apple. This part of the story illustrates so well that very a hard lesson in life that we so often face no matter what the circumstance or wish is. Our wishes may well be honest and good, but we have to be so guarded to not just “take that apple” so to speak without the proper wisdom or guidance. This is why those deep desires can be so dangerous.

God knows everything about us as one can clearly see in Psalm 139:

O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether.

He knows our desires and our afflictions. Yet, He is a jealous God and will not abide idols. Thus, He tries us and sometimes that testing comes through our wishes. In life there are times when we are met by something that seems like just what we’ve been wishing for, but God asks us if we are willing to sacrifice even our deepest desires to follow Him. These are the times when He asks us like He asked Peter “Do you love me?”. We feel so weak because we know we love Christ and we want to follow Him, but we’re grasping onto this other thing too. Sometimes we have to just beg God to pry it from our fingers because we don’t have the will power to resist it.

It seems so cruel to have a carrot dangling in front of your face and you have to disregard it. Afterwards, it can be so easy to harbor bitterness or to hold this sacrifice before God’s face claiming He owes you something. But, thinking like that means one is not looking at the cross. When you then turn your gaze there and look to Christ, everything comes back into perspective. You realize where you stand before a Holy God and a Sacrificial Lamb and everything else fades away.

No one denies going through this is hard, but, oh, it’s so worth it even if you can’t see right now why it’s worth it. Maybe there is no hope in sight that that this wish will ever be fulfilled, but you don’t truly know that, do you? As Digory found out, it would be better to have that wish remain unfulfilled than to be miserable with the result of having that wish fulfilled in the wrong way.

Press on, and don’t give up hope! The Lord is faithful and a loving Father. He’ll never let you down. You can trust Him with those wishes.

Works cited:

Lewis, C. S., and Pauline Baynes. The Magician’s Nephew. New York: HarperCollins, 1994. Print.

A New Journey

Life is so full of new chapters, special moments, and new things to learn and discover.

I have been blessed with many such times in my young life. Sure, there’s also been the not so fun times too and the days and nights full of questions about the future, but that is also just life, right? We wouldn’t feel the need to pray and trust God with each step nearly so much if the path before us was straight and easy to navigate.

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The last couple of years have been full of a lot of praying and dreaming about what was ahead, what was the plan for my life. I have to admit that many times I felt impatient or thought I knew how it would be. Yet, I ran into one closed door after another. Then, it wasn’t until what seemed like the very last minute that the answer finally came. It was an exhausting process though maybe it wouldn’t have been so exhausting if I hadn’t been as stressed out about it.

Each time I was met with a disappointment or a closed door and as I very often sat in tears of utter disappointment, it felt like God asked me again if I had really entrusted him with the pen for writing the story of my life. I then wiped away the tears and had to reaffirm that yes, I trusted Him with my life and that yes, I wanted Him to write my story.

The new journey I am beginning is unlike any I’ve ventured on. Sure, studying abroad was quite a lovely adventure, but I knew that I would always return home to my precious Texas after an allotted amount of time. This new journey involves a giant move to live on my own in that northern “Not Texas” region of Indiana. Not meaning to put down Indiana since I haven’t become acquainted with her yet, but I know it’s going to be quite different from what I’m used to. I mean, it actually gets cold permanently up there!

It seems almost unreal. I’ve never felt so many emotions at once. I’m so excited to be continuing my graduate studies in something I’m passionate about, but I’m so sad to leave my family and friends here. I guess it’s as one of my professors said as I sat in her office when I came to say goodbye:

“Stacey, this is the end of one wonderful chapter of your life and the beginning of another. You’re going to learn so much and experience so many things. I’m excited for you and I have faith in you!”

As I left her office, I sort of felt a little like our favorite little hobbit Bilbo did as so much was happening around him with dwarfs and a wizard and he didn’t really fully understand this whole “adventure” business. When he left his little hobbit hole, he went on a journey that would change his entire outlook on life as well as who he was. Maybe it seems like a stretch to compare moving out of state to pursue my studies to a hobbit adventure, but if my life so far has been any indicator, I would say that an adventure awaits! I don’t think I’ll be the same either when I reach the end of this upcoming chapter of my life. Sure, maybe I’m not going to go riding barrels or even conquer a dragon though the idea of a dissertation does make me want to make comparisons to a dragon. However, I think it will hold some interesting experiences and some life-changing events.

Every journey of this kind has been full of trials, joys, and experiences that changed who I am and how I look at life. I don’t mean to come across as self-centered either. This past chapter of my life that is officially coming to an end as I walk across the stage to obtain my degree on Friday has been the most wonderful and memorable because of the people who have touched my life. Many of them I will never see again this side of heaven, but I think of them with a smile. I have so many dear friends and family who have been there for me whether by giving me yet another cup of coffee or by being willing to listen to my venting sessions over the phone when things became so stressful. The professors I have had have also gone above and beyond the call of duty to help me through the many trials of my first tastes of graduate school. They have done a great job preparing me and encouraging me when things were looking bleak. I know I couldn’t have done it without them!

Thus, it is with a feeling of gratitude and of being ever so blessed that I look ahead to this next journey. I’m filled with excitement to see how God will work!

Photo Courtesy of bedouinewriter.com

Photo Courtesy of bedouinewriter.com

Dear 14-year-old Stacey,…

Due to the last month of crazy paper writing and lots of grading and insane coffee drinking, this poor blog has been neglected. I thought of many ideas for things I wanted to write in a post but had deadlines staring me in the face! So, here’s to a happy return after finally finishing yet another semester of grad school! 🙂 Not surprisingly, this post has something to do with one of my papers…

In an effort to work on a project for Arabic, I decided to write out some ideas to help me plan it. My project was to write a letter in Arabic to my 14-year-old self. The result is this blog post…in English. I assure you, my project didn’t turn out quite this deep or humorous, but it is a nice reprieve from all the craziness to be able to write all this. 

This letter is written to the Stacey who’s greatest worry in life was passing Algebra 1…

Dearest 14-year -old Stacey,

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI know the book you’re reading right now is probably of more fascination to you than this letter, but I thought you might enjoy an update from the future Stacey. Yes, I see you putting down that book and looking up with interest. Before you ask it, no you’re not married, and yes, you’re still in school. Before you slump your shoulders with disappointment, let me explain.

In one year, you will begin studying this fascinating language called French. Study it well because it is about to become the main focus of your studies and will basically shape your life and provide you with amazing opportunities. However, it will also annoy you, follow you everywhere, take away your time and sleep, confuse you with its crazy grammar and verb tenses, and yet, you’ll keep coming back to it to learn more and improve. Crazy? I think not!

Yes, you’re probably thinking “What?” (really you should say “Comment?” or perhaps sparingly even “Quoi?”)

How did this happen? you may ask.

Simple: You fell in love….

with a language. Not quite what you were expecting, right? 🙂

Then, at age 16 you will find out that you can actually major in that language and you will know what you want to do. I won’t give away everything much like you hate it when Justin (older bro) or Jesse (younger bro) give away the ending of a movie. However, you do get accepted to Texas Tech with a major in French. Don’t look so surprised. You do survive math all the way through Calculus, so no worries on that end and you will love French. You even go off to France for a while at one point.

Why am I writing?

Because I know you! You’re a dreamer! You do build castles in the sky despite how much you claim you don’t. My point in writing is not to discourage you from dreaming. My counsel is that you need to realize that not every dream will come true. However, from the pieces of those broken dreams, you will build and discover new ones that will often exceed the ones you had before.

For example, this is a pic of you just two days before you will leave for France for the first time! Exciting, or what!?

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You see, dreams are important. But, you have to learn how to control them and realize that God is the one who ultimately guides your life. When you recognize His hand in your life, it becomes less of a crushing experience when things don’t work out like you wanted them to. Then, He takes your dreams and your hopes and will show you something even better than you imagined even if you don’t see how it is something better at the time.

Yes, disappointing things will happen and your heart will be broken. People will hurt you and let you down because, well, we’re all human. But, even when family or friends hurt you, you must never stop loving them. Yes, it will hurt and life will seem unfair and cruel. However, no matter how much you’re hurt, you cannot let that hurt determine your life. Just as Christian in The Pilgrim’s Progress, you have to keep moving forward ever onward towards the Celestial City. Let the trials and hurts you face help make you a stronger and wiser person! Don’t let the hurt and the disappointment make you into a bitter and unforgiving person.

By the way, these people become some of your greatest friends and allies in life.

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11540_198715852501_5689400_n396248_623374052010_634838792_nI actually can’t even post pictures of everyone who will have an effect on your life because it would take up so much space. That’s the other thing, I wanted you to know. Life is not all about you. If you think that, you need to take a step back and rethink things. When you realize that life is not all about finding out what makes you happy and what you want to do, but instead how you can help make others happy and help others, that is where you will find true happiness. You will find that a lot your success in life is actually due to others setting aside time and energy to help you.

Just a couple more remarks:

“Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth…” Ecclesiastes 12:1

“Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12

Now, is the time to serve the Lord. Not later! Yes, I may be few years older now, but I still know this to be true. When you ask God to lead you, He will. His answers may seem late or not what you were looking for, but that’s not the point. The point is that you follow where He leads. This is the answer to life’s questions. I am also writing this to myself presently because I am facing some very important decisions that will have an effect on the rest of my life. Who knows? Maybe 10 years from now the older “wiser” Stacey will write a letter to the present me with similar or better advice.

Enjoy growing up though realize that even being a grown up isn’t all you think it is. 😉 There’s that little thing called bills and then responsibility, but I won’t get into that. Enjoy life and the journey!

Did I Miss the Boat?

I was sitting on my kitchen floor. Yes, for the first time since I moved into this apartment I plopped down on the kitchen floor. I suppose I could say that I was hiding from my laptop sitting on the table because I hit a wall planning the first chapter of my thesis.

There I was wrapped up in my house coat with my back against the wall. I refuse to turn on the heat to save money right now, so I’m just cold.

I was hugging my knees staring at the horrible laminate on my kitchen floor. The question just came to mind suddenly: “Did I miss the boat?” 

I puzzled over this as I decided a hot shower might help my writer’s block and might warm me up more than sitting on the floor.

Let me explain this “Missing the Boat” concept.

As I’m learning, life is not actually what you expected as a 6 year-old. When I was around 6, I had all those little girl plans as I bedded down my many dolls. Yes, one day I would get maweed and have wots and wots of kids. I went to weddings as a kid and left all dreamy-eyed. You see, most girls have their weddings planned by the time they’re between ages 6 and 8. We just put a 6 foot tall cut-out that says “place groom here” in the appropriate place by the preacher at the front of the church in the wedding of our imaginations.

As a teenager and avid bookworm, I got addicted to tales of romance. Not the cheap dollar store kind. It was usually those books by Christian authors or just little books I found looking through books my grandmother or my mom had. I read and dreamed and read some more. I was just sure that I would open the door one day and see Mr. Right there to sweep me off my feet. Maybe that is slightly exaggerated, but it’s not too far from the truth of my way of thinking at the time.

In my ever growing bibliography of romance novels I did get tired of Grace Livingston Hill stories rather quickly. Even at that young of an age, I was critical of stories that repeated themselves over and over with just a change in characters and setting.

So, why did I have this idea that my life story would be just like everyone else in those novels?

You know guy meets girl, they sorta like each other, skip ahead a few chapters and he falls for her, she falls for him, the last chapter is the wedding. The book is perhaps then followed by a few sequels (such as in the many Janette Oke series) and their kids’ love stories are nearly the same, so on and so on.

My life is not a Grace Livingston Hill repeat!

Yes, as I see the friends I grew up with getting married and having kids, I do have that sigh escape wondering if I missed something. Like that matrimony boat. Then, I recall the confident thing I said several years ago at a Bible study camp during a devotional among young women in the “eligible” age range. As an 18-year-old, I said “Singleness has a purpose and marriage isn’t meant to be a cure  to heal you from the ‘disease’ of singleness. If I’m not content now, how will I ever be content married?” I know now, I didn’t really even fully understand what I was saying then until God made it real in more recent years.

No, there isn’t some perfect state of “contentment” that makes you qualified for marriage. There isn’t some formula to follow. No self-help book about being the perfect single is going to help. All the advice in the world isn’t going to help either. Every time I ran to one of those avenues instead of to God, I pretty much got a V8 bonk on the head from God.

I found out that I can’t wait around waiting for my life to start if the “start” of life is supposed to be the day one dresses in white and walks down the aisle.

God has a plan.

From the part of my life that I’ve lived so far, I’ve just been amazed at how much of an adventure it has been. Yes, there have been some bumps and unexpected bends in the road, but it’s been a far better story than I could have ever dreamed up from reading those novels.

Every time I get upset or impatient about that blank page in my life where there’s still no love story, God always takes the pen from my hand and asks me if I trust Him. Yes, maybe that page isn’t meant to be filled, but I have to still trust that He has the best in mind. It’s a daily battle of handing back that pen though.

So, no, I don’t think I missed the boat. God is my captain and I trust Him to tell me when it’s time to board if that time comes.

Though, I really don’t think this “boat” is going to be a gondola. I picture more of a ship from the 18th century era that would be able to weather a storm and the high seas since life isn’t always a canal in Venice. 

Lessons Learned in the Life of a Grad Student

Ah, yes, about two weeks ago was when I returned from France. Sweet indeed!

The last two weeks have been some pretty crazy ones. Let’s just say I’ve been living up to the title that is often assigned to us graduate students. You know, this idea that we’re sort of low on the funds generally and eat whatever doesn’t eat us first because well, it was only $3 and we had a coupon too.

I’m used to working and working and working all summer long in order to avoid being that on edge about eating and paying bills. I came back from France and back to a job that’s not really able to give me many hours to work unfortunately. Yes, I did show up to the establishment with a panicked look on my face nearly begging for any sort of ease in the form of more hours. I received sympathy and an understanding look but no remedy. Then, later I received an even more discouraging mass email explaining the cause of reduced hours and that things would hopefully be better in about 6 weeks. I try not to be cynical, but financial stress put me in quite a mood when I got that email. I’ve started looking for other employment, but I have a complication since school will start up in a little over a month. We all know how much “free time” one has for a part-time job during a semester of grad school.

Yes, I budgeted for France. I had just counted on having employment when I got back. Yes, I do have enough to pay the basics for about the next month, but umm…after that it’s going to get crazy.

However, I do always try to find the happy aspects of such a dismal looking circumstance. I’m learning a few things in the midst of this experience:

1. I am learning a whole new meaning to living within one’s means.

Can I live without this? In most cases other than food and perhaps toothpaste, the answer is usually yes. So that means for the next months until I get the next installment of my stipend no movie theater, Starbucks (!), eating out, froyo, shopping, etc. I’m still holding on to coffee although I’m cutting back my intake which honestly probably is a good thing. One also finds out more creative ways as well to make easy meals with as cheap a cost as possible. One cuts out that fancy cereal one likes too and finds the cheap store brand kind. I’m not down to only rice and beans, but I do have that option if I feel I need to cut back more.

I’m truly trying to treat this as an adventure! So, the next thing to go… the a/c.

2. Our ancestors lived without the air conditioning and the French live without it, can’t we?

Harder question asked than carried out. I have a really old window unit in my apartment. It has a fan setting that my brother and I keep on just to keep the air circulating. I will admit that with the frequent severity of Texas heat, it does get hard to bear, so we do turn the a/c on for a little while now and then, just to cool things off a little. We just don’t leave it on extensively and well, we leave the lights off as much as possible too. Those electricity bills can really bite you if you’re not careful!

3. One gets to spend more time with family.

During my crazy first year of graduate school, I really spent very little time at home visiting my parents. Oh, sure, I usually briefly dropped by after church on Sundays but seemed to always have a paper to write or a book that needed to be read for class. As a result, my visits were often very short and hurried. Then, I left for France for five weeks a couple of weeks after the semester ended.

Since I’ve been getting an overabundance of time off, I’ve been spending a lot of time at my parents’ home which is about 45 minutes from where I live. My parents have been delighted to have both my brother (who’s in a similar situation) and myself over more often, and we’ve been enjoying it too. Jesse and I also enjoy the comforts of home including the air conditioning and mom’s cooking. 😉

I’ve been especially blessed getting to spend time with my mom. I felt so bad last semester when she wanted to come meet me for coffee one day, and I only had a 20 minute window available between classes. I couldn’t squeeze her in at any time the rest of that week either because it was such a busy week. How terrible! I really regretted that.

It’s been special to make up the time and just sit and chat for hours over a cup of coffee or two.

4. I am learning to be more thankful for what I have and have had.

I realized today how ungrateful I have been for what I had in the past. I took for granted being able to have some income (even small as it seemed) coming in to pay bills and for food. Not to say that whenever the solution to this problem comes that I’ll instantly be better at being thankful. However, I do hope that I will be more thankful and careful with what is given to me.

I’m thinking as well over the things that I have been blessed with in the midst of this time. I have people all around me who love me and are willing to offer encouragement. I will not have to buy so many books this fall as usual. I received a larger grant for tuition than I was expecting. Last summer, I followed Dave Ramsey’s advice and saved back a $1000 emergency fund that I’m currently living off of until I can find some sort of better income. Things could definitely be so much worse.

5. Trials often come in multiples for a reason.

It’s just life. Several things often happen all at once. There’s been quite a bit going on in the last few months. It would drive me to insanity if I didn’t trust that the difficult times of questioning and uncertainty were not for a reason. God sends trials not only to test us but also to teach us. Over the last year, the Lord has really been testing my trust in Him and teaching me how I am to trust.  I see this in every trial that I’ve met with in the past months.

Ever since I was a child, I never liked to do something until I was sure I could do it, basically a form of self-reliance. As I lay awake last night thinking through my list of options and worrying, a thought came to mind. When one is learning how to swim, one will often hang on to the side of the pool as one is learning the different strokes and movements to stay afloat. However, one will never learn how to swim until one lets go of the side of the pool. It was nearly as if God was saying: “Stacey, you’re still holding on to the side of the pool. It’s time for you to let go if you’re going to grow and learn.”

I’m trying so hard to trust and to leave this in God’s hands. This situation is scary for me! Yet, I have to trust that God has a plan even if I don’t understand it right now. I know that as I let go of the side of the pool so to speak, God is going to be there to lead me through. I won’t sink!

Please be in prayer as I try to make it through this as wisely and as carefully as possible!

Breathing Again…

*Inhale*….*exhale* ah…

Life can now continue. It’s amazing how you don’t quite realize how much you’ve been holding your breath until you start breathing again. Pretty much that’s how it felt the last 10 days or so of frantic writing trying to spit out 40 pages worth of final papers written in French. ugh!

I’m not a last minute person!

I am just not fond of that kind of an adrenaline rush/stress attack. It was just the way the end of the semester went with getting feedback on final paper proposals, presenting a paper at a conference, finishing up final assignments and projects, and then just trying to write all crammed into a small amount of time. Let’s just say the coffee consumption increased exponentially. 🙂

As I submitted my remaining final paper Saturday afternoon, I let out a large sigh of relief and thanked God for helping me get through it. Then, I promptly crashed…

When I woke up again, I realized that other than for tying up a couple of loose ends, I was finished with my first year of graduate school! I reflected over the last year and all the expectations I’d had, the struggles, the disappointments (that one particular writing experience still haunts me), and so much growth and so much grace. I still have so much more to learn too.

I’ve been just relaxing and breathing the past couple of days. It’s been so nice to wake up and not have a whole list of books and papers to write on my mind. The only main thing right now is just trying to fix the damage from my paper writing hermitage which resulted in a bit of a wreck of an apartment.

As to the ever present question of where I’m going after I finish the Master’s in a year…

I guess that question is yet to be answered, but I’m cautiously optimistic about the future.

I guess it’s like we learned in reading Volkswagen Blues in my Québec literature class, a large part of life is the journey. In the book the destination for the main character ended up being a disappointing one. However, I know the joy and expectation of my destination even if I don’t quite know what lies between me and getting there.


Here’s to breathing again!