Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving at LSTC

If you've ever wondered whether or not an LSTC apartment is suitable for hosting a Thanksgiving dinner, you're just like me. Last week, as I was busy preparing for Thanksgiving services at church, my wife and I were also busy cleaning the house, buying groceries, and preparing to host 4 parents, a brother, and a niece for the big holiday. I wasn't sure if the kitchen could handle all the cooking, but standing on the other side, I'm here to say that, yes, this LSTC apartment was the perfect place to have Thanksgiving with my family. We spent all day cooking, laughing, and talking together as we did everything we could to make sure dinner was ready on time. Of course, it wasn't; we were having too much fun. But, eventually dinner was served, and it was amazing. Tender turkey, green beans with home-friend onions, homemade cranberry sauce, stuffing, two kinds of potatoes, and Mom's homemade pecan and pumpkin pies for dessert - Amazing.

The family, sans my mother, who's on the other side of the camera

The next day, after a full breakfast, we decided to burn off all those calories by taking a walk to Promontory Point, the lakeside park in the neighborhood. It was a beautiful day, with a fantastic view of Lake Michigan and the Chicago skyline, and it was a perfect ending to a great holiday spent with family here in Chicago. When it's not possible to go "home" for the holidays, it's so wonderful to have home come here.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Light Shining in the Darkness

Advent is my favorite season at LSTC. Mainly because we get to sing all of those wonderful much-neglected Advent hymns. Don’t get me wrong; I love Christmas music as much as the next guy, but Christmas hymns seem deeper and truer for having spent December with the hauntingly beautiful “Each Winter As the Year Grows Colder” or eager “All Earth Is Hopeful.”

More than the hymnody, I love the simplicity of the season, the somber blues, the flickering candles, the flash of an evergreen wreath in the midst of the bare winter branches. Advent just seems to fit the mood of the seminary in December. Two weeks left in the semester, it is a stressful time. And then here comes Advent, like “communal deep breathing.” Advent is somber, but not penitential like Lent. Instead, it is hopeful waiting. A deep pause that assures you that even in the midst of chaos everything will be, in the end, all right. This year, the Advent wreath in the chapel is an “eternal flame.” This small, constant flickering candle reminds us that one small light shines through the deepest darkness and the Light of the World is on the way.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Let's Get Choppin'!

These past few days I have been struggling to balance my workload with break time. On one hand, it’s Thanksgiving BREAK! This means that I’m supposed to take this time to take a break from my worries and deadlines surrounding my academic schedule. On the other hand the last two weeks of the semester are about to begin, which means it’s time to wrap up the projects that have been gradually creeping up during the semester. It’s become more of a struggle to keep the work apart from the play.
I feel that Chopped can sum up how I feel about these last two weeks. One thing that I really enjoy about Chopped is that the chefs must keep adapting to the wide variety of ingredients to the point of a professional improvisation act. In the same way, I can feel myself getting ready to adapt to these last two weeks. The pressure’s there and in my mystery basket of goodies is one major Worship quiz, one video recording of my Great Thanksgiving, one reflection for Church History, and one Pentateuch quiz! What am I going to create with this batch of ingredients! And it’s still just the appetizer round, there’s more to come.
Despite this pressure, the positive aspect of my academic episode of Chopped is that, like the competing chefs, I will feel good about the work I will put into it and to simply participate in the opportunity to be there. While there will always seem to be something that I can improve in my scholastic dish, I will feel relieved after presenting my dish to the judges. There is light at the end of the tunnel. There is a finish line. I think this break has been very useful to re-focus myself for the home stretch. Here we go!
Until next Friday!


There's this line in the movie, Elf, that talks about the best way to spread Christmas cheer. Anyone know the line? The answer: singing loud for all to hear!

But it's not just Christmas cheer that singing spreads, it's cheer in general. As my mom, aunt, cousin, and I were cooking up our Thanksgiving feast, we had my mom's ipod on and were rocking out to some tunes. We were crooning at each other, swaying our apron clad bodies as we stirred up stuffing and sweet potatoes.

I enjoyed the food, don't get me wrong. My grandmother even said it was the best food she's EVER had! But it was the singing that did me in. A group of people that know the lyrics to the same songs and don't mind looking like little girls as they dance around a kitchen like they're wearing ball gowns instead of messy aprons.

We may mess up the lyrics. We don't always hit that high note. But you know what? We don't mind at all.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Fancy Thanksgiving?

"Hey, we're having a Fancy Thanksgiving!" That was the lie we were telling our friends Ben and Tara, who were married a month ago today. Since we were not at the real wedding, an idea circulated, "let's have a wedding reception here at LSTC, during our Sunday potluck!" But we wanted a surprise and Fancy Thanksgiving was the ticket. We are known for having some great parties and themes, so Fancy Thanksgiving, although low on our quality of themes, was a realistic lie to be told. So we got to work over the last couple of weeks, mostly just keeping our mouths shut, but some party decorations were bought and a secret facebook event was created, we were off to the races.
And the day came last Sunday, and as I arrived with some potluck foods to offer (eggplant parm and avocado quesadillas), I walked into a decorating frenzy. "Alex you can be our tape guy!" Yes ma'am and I was off hanging up balloons and paper wedding bells, throwing around streamers like I was toilet papering. I was doing it all and having such a good time, and then there was no more time, they were suppose to be there. "Are they coming?" Everyone hid while I went and played lookout, and finally I see some fancy dressed people come around the corner. Here we go! Running down the stairs, were lying in wait when we finally heard voices, and...
"Surprise!!! Happy Marriage to you, Happy Marriage to you... (to the tune Happy Birthday)"

They were completely shocked; never saw it coming! But we did it, we had a wedding reception. We had a sit down dinner with a head table, we had speeches, we had a first dance, bouquet toss, garter toss, a wedding game, we did it all. It was a blast, the quote of the night was, "This was better than some real weddings I have been to." And when it was all said and done we stayed and cleaned up together too, we were a community through and through that night! It was quite amazing to see what we can do when we are unified!

Saturday, November 19, 2011


In my most stressful moments, I take a moment to breathe. I quite literally stop whatever I'm doing and breathe in deeply and out deeply. A deep sigh. Sometimes I take TWO sighs. It helps. My friend Robert and I decided a few years ago that a sigh is the simplest form of prayer. I think of the passage from Romans when the spirit intercedes for us "with sighs too deep for words."

So this week, this Thanksgiving week, this week-long break from classes.... I'm breathing. I'm taking nice, long, deep, big breaths. I'm filling my body with restful sleep, and hugs from family, and kisses from my goddaughter, and of course, some delicious thanksgiving food.

It's also a good time to enjoy the present and to not stress so much about forms for first call, about papers and projects that will be due when I get back, and so on.

Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, take a moment to breathe. Just breathe. It's a prayer, I promise.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Big Offer...well for me, at least

This week I was offered an opportunity to preach at my home congregation. No date was set, and really the idea was just thrown out there in the e-mail, but it’s still a little intimidating for me. I have never preached before. I’ve given campfire talks, which are alright but much less formal, and I’ve given one “talk” at a Sunday evening worship service at Luther College called FOCUS, which was a wonderful experience and probably the closest I’ve come to the pulpit. The idea of reaching excites me. Although I haven’t taken the Preaching class yet at LSTC, I am still learning a lot of things by observation.

I am very fortunate to be able to attend chapel up to four times a week and listen to a variety of ways to interpret and communicate the gospel to others. I am also fortunate to participate in Greek Pericopes with Dr. Edgar Krentz every Monday (that I can make) where we translate the New Testament readings for the week and sometimes take a look at the Septuagint translation of the First Reading as well. At both of these occasions, I challenge myself and ask how I could preach on one of the subjects within the texts? Most of the time, my gut is wrong (yes, even post-appendectomy). Dr. Krentz usually will preface how he would go about that Sunday with, “It is tempting to preach on this…(insert what I was thinking here)…but I wouldn’t for this reason”. Ooops.

I’m looking forward to completing the Preaching class next year so I can get over some of these concerns about how to “properly” preach within the Lutheran church. I’ve heard some scary stories about first sermons and those have me a little nervous, but I am still very excited for my first preaching opportunity coming up soon.

Welcome Home?

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and today after my Greek class I drove from Chicago back to my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio.  Tonight as I was driving from my parents house to meet my sister at our local theater for the Breaking Dawn midnight premier, I kept noticing things that were different.  I was surprised  that a road the city had been working on for the past few years finally got finished.  I was shocked that my favorite rock radio station now is a sports radio talk station.  And really, when did the 24 hour donut shop turn into a Cash-for-Gold store? My hometown was suddenly not looking so familiar.  I didn't realize that three months away could makes such a big difference, and I started wondering if I could still call Cleveland "home".   Then, all of the sudden, as I was channel surfing for a new radio station to replace my old fave, I heard a familiar voice.  Before beginning seminary, I was a director of a church, and one of my parishioners is a local DJ.  Hearing his laugh bubble through the speakers of my car reminded me of the last day I saw him.  He said, "Not everyone can do what you're doing.  It seems awfully hard to become a pastor.  But I can tell what God sees in you, and know the work will be worth it." This seminary business is tricky stuff.  Not only do we leave our homes and our families, be we put our old selves behind us in pursuit of loving God's kingdom.  Maybe tonight the change that was the real surprise is that the  change in myself is as noticeable as a donut shop selling wedding rings instead of coffee.   In the surprise of change, there is one thing that remains constant - that God loves and provides for me, like when he reached out to me through a familiar voice wafting through my radio.   It is good to be home.  

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Sanctity of Life

The serenity of unseasonably warm days even as time flows towards Advent and the holiday season can sometimes lull you into a reflective mode, especially when your birthday also dawns on the horizon. As a new week blossomed, I found myself enjoying yet another Sunday at my Ministry in Context congregation with the happy addition of my Bishop and the presence of my family, including my mother. 

Later that evening, as my husband recalled the conversation overheard between my mother and my MIC pastor I phoned to tease her because just like any other Southern woman she tends to brag about the children she has raised, and the grandchildren she has come to spoil. 

I've often spoken of my Mother being one of the personal Trinity in my life: the other two being my Aunt Debra and my Grandmother because all three of these women have made a powerful impact on my life, three women who are Christ-like and Christ-centered in their lives. Their unconditional love which has poured over my wounds and soaked me to the bone is part of what has sustained me throughout. Some may scoff at the term of endearment but I don't believe My Creator is offended.

Without her usual laughter, what she offered was a testimony about my coming into this world. My mother was a single parent and in those days single, unwed women were frowned upon no matter how successful they were. My mother said to me that "God gives you the desires of your heart" and what she wanted, was me.

As my life continues to unravel and spin in many multicolored fabrics, pooling at my feet I am aware that my life is not my own. I am humbled that my Mother has loved me as deeply as God loves all of us, knowing I can never repay her for everything she has done.

Thanks Mom for my birth day.

God's Peace.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Awaiting Advent

I'm not the kind of person who blasts Christmas carols from the radio in November. I'm not even the kind of person to do that on December 18th. There are years when I don't decorate my home or put up a Christmas tree until I absolutely have to. In fact, I really don't get into the Christmas spirit until about December 24th. And when I do finally get into the spirit, I'm in it for about 12 days. Of course, this means that I have to find my own Christmas music, since the radio stations get tired of singing carols on the 26th.

It's almost as if my holiday calendar is off from the rest of society. And, it's not because I'm a grinch or a Scrooge. I just really, really love Advent. I love the waiting, the spooky Advent hymns (O Come, O Come Emmanuel; Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus), and the prayerful yearning for peace, which are so integral to the season. For me, to sing hymns like "O Come, All Ye Faithful" or "Angels We Have Heard on High" in the midst of the Advent season would be like singing "Jesus Christ is Risen Today" during Lent. We can gain a lot from treating Advent like Advent and the Christmas season (Dec. 25 - Jan 6) like Christmas. Even before I grew into true liturgical nerdiness at LSTC, I enjoyed the quiet, prayerful tone of Advent and the boistrous celebration of Christmas, and I love making the most of both.

I can't wait for Advent. I guess you could say I can't wait to start waiting. I hope that in my ministry I will be able to share my love of Advent with the church, as well as my willingness to celebrate Christmas well after Christmas Day.

Of course, I'm getting ahead of myself. I still have a turkey to buy!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sometimes You Just Need to Build Yourself a Fort

Dr. Kurt Hendel is our Confessions professor and all-around Reformation scholar at LSTC. He is also one of the few people I voluntarily wake up to hear lecture at 8 am. This is one of the trademarks of Dr. Hendel, all his classes are taught at 8 am on Mondays and Tuesdays. And they start precisely at 8 am. This semester I am taking Theology of Luther, a seminar class where we read from Luther’s Works and discuss them. A fantastic course, but definitely one of those “you know you’re in seminary when…” moments. You know you’re in seminary when you voluntarily wake up at 8 am on a Monday to discussion 16th Century German theologians, and you love it!

Another trademark of Dr. Hendel is the famed “Hendel Project.” The major assignment for all of his classes is either a 15-page research paper or a substantive project that engages the course material. The project is a great way to engage your creative side. It can be anything from a piece of art to a photo collage to setting the Small Catechism to music. There is even stories of a beer-brewing project. This semester I decided to go the research paper route. However, halfway through the paper I became kind of bored and this is what resulted:

My classmates whom I was studying with found the whole thing hilarious. But hey, sometimes you just need to build yourself a fort out of Luther’s Works.

Friday, November 11, 2011

First Impressions Matter

So, CPE application time is coming up. During this long process of writing essays about my past or my family or my religious background, I came across the question “what are your initial impressions about Clinical Pastoral Education?” I guess I haven’t really thought about that before. Ideally, I think it would be awesome if my experience turned out to be a lot like the TV show Scrubs. Everyone would have quirks and dynamic relationships that everyone learned something from in every episode. That would be cool. I’m sure I will learn a lot, but I don’t think it will be like Scrubs.

CPE sounds like it will be an intensive experience. Initially, I am very intimidated by it and nervous about how well I will do. The thing about those types of immersion experiences is not necessarily how well I will do, but how will I learn from it? How will I understand how I interact with other peoples’ faith lives in critical and even noncritical situations? I have spent much time in the classroom which has provided me with a great number of resources and understandings about God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and how we participate and interact within our perceptions of these subjects both presently and throughout history. Writing a paper about a subject related to this and talking to someone about it is a little, if not very, different.

So I suppose my initial impression of CPE is that I will be challenged, pushed, taught, and exposed to a variety of experiences that will help me understand their point in life and mine. New experiences lie CPE can be intimidating and rewarding at the same time and I stand to gain much from this time in my seminary life. Now to make that statement into a paragraph or two…and maybe throw in a reference to the life lessons on Scrubs for a bonus!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Sacredness at the Dinner Table

Tonight my dad made the trip up from Cleveland to Chicago to spend the weekend with me.  As much as I love being here at seminary, there is a deep part of my heart that longs for home.  A few weeks ago when traveling with the best of LSTC's athletes to Lutherbowl held in Gettysburg, driving through Ohio without stopping at home made my heart raw.  So right now, as I write this, sitting on the couch beside me is my father while watching Captain America is the best thing in the whole world. 

Despite missing home, I also really love being here in Chicago.  This is my life now.  The people who share classes with me, share chapel with me, share God with me are now a part of my family, too.  Before my dad got here, I was a bit worried about what it would look like when those two worlds collided, if those two families could mesh.  I doubted seriously if my past and my present could meld into my future.

It is at times like these when I am glad that I cannot stomach tension and that I like to make things happen.  To ease my fear, I invited several friends over to meet my dad and have lasagna with us.  After a few moments of awkward hellos and where-are-you-from conversations, a natural hum fell over the dinner table.  At one end their was an avid debate about the role non-parish pastors play to bring people to the church, while at the other end I heard my father explain his love for all Cleveland sports teams (even despite LeBron James).  Some of my friends discussed ways that as Christians we can realistically advocate for safe oil drilling, while others looked at new pictures my father had brought of my niece and nephew. 

Of all the times that I have witnessed the Holy Spirit work at building communities, it never touches my soul as much as when I can see that work happening in the most intimate places in my life.  I am so glad that my dad came to Chicago, not only so I could see him, but so that I could bear witness to God creating community around the sacredness of my dinner table. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Mysterious Words of Wisdom

As the midweek looms before me, amongst all of the papers and projects sometimes we can experience writers block, especially when your blogging. Originally my subject was going to be on the joys of being endorsed but the deepness of these late autumn evenings pondered within the confines of the Treehouse.

"Oh Wow, Oh Wow, Oh Wow!"

All Saints Sunday is lingering in many of our memories as we have gathered with church family or at our MIC congregations and celebrated the lives of those saints we hold dear. We have approached the altar and placed photographs, lighting candles and singing hymns that envelop those who still surround us, whose arms we faintly hold onto when in those times of solitary and sadness we really need to hear their voices, their laughter and their wisdom. 

The waves of life ebb, creeping onto and tickling the bareness of our toes pulling back into the vastness of the ocean, our eyes scanning the fading soft blues and purples of the horizon searching for a glimpse of slender transcendent ships-those ships which have carried our loved ones from this life into eternity. The tears clouding our vision until we can not see anymore and we wonder about the rest of their journey.

What happens when Our Creator gently and lovingly lowers His hands to our faces, brushing aside tears and closing our eyes to this world and whispers to the fullness of our souls "My child it is morning. Awaken to a new day, to the sweetness of the Valley, come take my hand and walk with me home." What happens when we lay our hands on a dying congregational member, asking Our Creator to open Heaven's doors and welcome another spirit within?

"Oh Wow, Oh Wow, Oh Wow!" What did those words mean? What rare beauty did this man behold as he made his transition? To say that perhaps we will never know is incorrect, for as children of the Most High there is a place for us, somewhere-out there.

"In My Father's House, there are many rooms if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am."

God's Peace.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Keeping in Touch

As with any schooling experience, my closest friends at the seminary are those who are in my class - who have been with me through orientation, Greek, and Systematic Theology since day one. And, since I'm on internship right now, that means my closest friends - my classmates - are also on internship. They're literally all over the world in places like Washington, Florida, the Republic of Georgia, Nebraska, rural Minnesota, and Kansas City. This makes having a social life difficult for all of us. I'm luckier than some, since I'm still living at the seminary and am able to be social with friends from other classes. At the same time, though, there's something to be said about being separated for twelve months from a group of people I've bonded with through most of my seminary journey. One of my closest friends from LSTC is many states away, and we try to keep in touch, mostly by texting one another or talking on the phone. His wife travels a lot for work, and so when she comes to Chicago, she stays with us. In fact, she's here now! Andrea and I always look forward to her visits because it gives us time to catch up with her and continue our close friendship throughout the year. We stay up late and talk about how the intership process is treating all of us - interns and spouses alike; we talk about how much fun we had our first two years at LSTC; and most of all we make plans for a spectacular senior year. Also, I stole her iPhone and Facetimed with her husband. That was a nice bonus.

Our traveling friend, on a recent visit to another LSTC intern!

It's amazing to stop and think about the friendships that arise out of this vocational quest that is seminary, and I am so glad to be blessed with fellow seminarians on the journey. Even during this year apart, the little contact we keep with one another is truly life-sustaining. My next goal is to figure out how to play board games via Skype. Once we get that going, the states between us all will be almost insignificant. Of course, Facetime and Skype can't compete with the anticipation of having my classmates return for our senior year. It's going to redefine the word, "epic."

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Embracing the Questions

It is that point in the semester where everything is busy. Busy with papers, with reading, with translations. In the midst of the academic stress sits another big hurdle. First call paperwork. Those of us entering the Spring Assignment process have to have all of our forms in by December 1st. As the rush of the end of the semester wraps around me, I find it difficult to live in the tension between these two deadlines. How am I so much still a student, and yet somehow also almost a pastor and seeking a call? It is a complicated juxtaposition of emotions and demands.

Tonight, I had dinner with a group of friends. We have met for dinner every Sunday night since our first year. It began as a Greek study group, morphed into a Hebrew study group when we became middlers, and has now come back together to work through the Greek translations for those in advanced exegesis together or “parallel play” (other homework) for those of us who do not have Greek. Though the language and work change, the format remained the same: dinner, translation, and then frequently a glass of wine. All of it steeped in talking and laughter. It is a place where I know I am safe, where my questions are honored, whether they are “I have no idea what this Greek tense means” or “I have no idea where my life is headed.”

This deep and wonderful community is what seminary has given me. More than any language or exegetical tool, what I know I will take into my ministry is the knowledge that there are people who love me. Who believe in me, who value my thoughts, and who challenge those thoughts. Who will not let me settle to be anything less than who God has created me to be. Seminary is by nature an in-between time. As I sit in this time, I am grateful to do it with these people. With faculty who challenge me, with colleagues who question me, and with friends who believe in me. These are good questions to be asking.

Drumming Rhythms

Two days ago, I was persuaded by three of my other classmates to accompany them to an African Dance class offered at a community center nearby. They wanted me to observe the drumming to see if we could potentially recreate some of that experience at LSTC. I was happy to have the opportunity to get up and go someplace new away from the temptation of my computer and with my assignments inching ever closer to their deadlines (although I did manage to read some Church History).
I learned some new patterns and characteristics of drumming from the drummers, but among other observations, I saw that they did not go out of their way to force their hand upon the drum, but that the sound originated from the weight and angle of their hand. Put another way, they played the drumming by not hitting the drum. As a result, their sound was natural, their rhythm was steady, and they enticed the dancers and observers such as myself into a form of participation with their drumming style.
I believe worship is the same way. We can’t force our rhythm within worshipping otherwise we lose it. We just have to let the natural weight and angle of our experience produce the best sound possible. I have not been good at attending worships before LSTC unless I was participating in them. In college, I can count on two hands the number of times I attended church on Sunday when I didn’t have to be there for some reason. I don’t know if it’s the effect of a worship class or the fact that one of the main focuses of this place is to prepare leaders in worship but something has changed. I do not feel forced to hit the worship drum at LSTC, I feel compelled to participate in the worship beat.
Until next Friday!
P.S. I am sorry I haven't posted sooner, I am currently recovering from appendicitis under the loving care of my family and friends :)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Extroverts and Introverts


There seems to be a lot of buzz around me lately about whether people are introverts or extroverts. Many times, extroverts are defined as those people who like being around other people and introverts are the quiet ones who rarely speak.

As a self proclaimed introvert who actually loves people, I get incorrectly labeled all the time. So here's the deal... I'm going to educated you so you know what to do when you come across people like me. Being an introvert or an extrovert doesn't have anything to do with how much you like people. It's all about energy.

For me, though I love people, I have to come home at the end of the day and wind down. Everyone does this to some extent as we all need a balance of people time and "just me" time, but I find that I get exhausted around people. I am rarely one of the last people to leave a party, I rarely volunteer to be around people MORE than I have energy for, and I am almost always curled up with a book or playing a game on my computer or the xbox at the end of the day.

For the (few) extroverts on this campus (because pastors tend to be introverts despite their great love for people), they gain their energy from their time with others. And though I love my extroverts, I've come to realize the great gifts that come with introversion.

Instead of being the shy, walked over, quiet one, introverts can be amazing listeners, form deep relationships, enjoy "just me" time, and can reflect before speaking or acting. Yes, I might have to retreat to my office when I'm a pastor after church, but I can do amazing things, too.

All introverts, stand proud!!! (Then you can go retreat....)

[image from towerofpower.com.au where you can take a test to see if you are I or E!]

Friday, November 4, 2011

Wonderful Waste of Time

This past week I've spent a lot of time getting to know my couch. I have lupus, and autoimmune disorder, and unfortunately this week was what I affectionately call a "bad body week." Luckily I live about four steps away from the University of Chicago medical center, so after getting some fantastic care, I came home and began watching endless hours of the People's Court and Judge Mathis on TV.

It's been a long time since I just sat around and did nothing. As much as I should have used this mandated-at-home-time to work on a research paper for my Pentateuch class, or follow up on some CPE sites, I did a whole bunch of nothing. And boy, was it delightful. Tonight, after doing more nothing, I cracked open a beloved novel I used to read when I was a teenager. It felt so luxurious to take the trip back down memory lane, re-reading a favorite book from the good-ol-days.

While the past few days may in many ways seem like a collasial waste of time, I am so glad to have been laid up when I was. Don't get me wrong, trying to catch up on Greek homework is no treat, but in the midst of the semseter I have forgotten what it is like to pamper myself and just be.

A couple of friends came over and brought me dinner this evening, and one friend asked if I was worried about my courses having missed a few days. I was surprised to hear myself answer no. I think that the reason why I am not any more worried than normal is because my mind had an opportunity to be still and breathe. My only goal for a week was to put a new divot in my couch cushions, and it was rather healing for my spirit to get a little R&R.

In the exicitement of only having five more weeks of classes, I hope I can remember to take the time to just be and to splurge on trash television and pointless books of fiction. We all deserve that point of healing, and while mine came in an unlikely package, I'm so glad to have the gift of wasted time.