31 January 2010

22 things to do before i turn 23

after months of procrastinating, weeks of pondering, and minutes of writing. without further ado...the list is back!

1. photograph happiness more often.
2. read les misérables.
3. spread some joy in dc...portland style.
4. acquire a genuine polaroid camera.
5. travel to new york city.
6. remember how to be myself.
7. find a photobooth in dc.
8. reconnect with one old friend.
9. discover something hidden.
10. hear caleb say my name for the first time.
11. explore georgetown.
12. climb a tree like i did when i was little. maybe scrape up my knees doing it.
13. find something beautiful at a flea market.
14. celebrate the small details more often.
15. read two classics.
16. share a meal with someone who needs one.
17. make a photo book.
18. bake a pie from scratch.
19. write more letters.
20. make an awesome fort with summer.
21. listen to joni mitchell more often.
22. go to a drive-in movie.

today



today was a hard day. sometimes i get sick of always trying to be on my best behavior; always trying to perform. then my friend, teddy (who knows an inordinate amount of languages), translated the title of this song. it is my most favorite song. things were instantly looking up.


30 January 2010

snow



it snowed today. it never snows in northern virgina and now it has snowed twice since i moved here. i think i brought it with me. right before i got mad at its inconvenience like i always do (being the girl from tahoe for which snow has lost all its magical appeal) i stopped and took a second look.

it was the kind of snow that is beautiful as it falls, silently and consistently. the kind that falls and doesn't melt right away, but lingers long enough for you to see the individual crystals that stick to your hair. the kind that makes the world quiet and encourages you to stay inside and drink hot chocolate with lots of marshmallows. and maybe eat some popcorn. the kind that is light and fluffy - horrible for building snowmen but perfect for snow-angels. the kind that works best if you just let it fall and enjoy it.

i liked the snow today.

28 January 2010

joni mitchell love.


I found a live recording of river by joni mitchell today. i had to have it. the nice man let me download it for free. today was a great day.

join mitchell - river

26 January 2010

My Prayer...

Lord God, open my eyes to Your glory and goodness all the days of my life. But in times of struggle and trials, help me to remember this prayer:

Oh Lord, may I believe in the darkness.
When all hope has vanished,
When waves beat with fury,
And no star lights my sky.
May I believe without feeling,
Or knowing,
Or proving,
'Till one shining moment,
When you shatter the darkness
And all I believed for is suddenly mine.

~Ruth Harms Calkin

08 January 2010

12 playlists



my goal for this year is to post at least once a month. and i love discovering and re-discovering music. so in collaboration, i have decided that on the last friday of every month, i will be posting a playlist of sorts. all the music i have newly fallen in love with combined with all the music that feels like my best friend into one, easy to read list. i might even go crazy and try to post it with one original picture each month. the possibilities are endless. this idea, like most of my good ones, is partially thanks to my friend with the best blog ever.

i am approaching this as a way to keep up with music that i love. even better, a way to see my world with a bit more color, a bit more light, a bit more pizazz, if you will. plus, wouldn't it be grand to look back on a playlisted year? i'd like to think so.

07 January 2010

January 7

"Friendship is rare on earth. It means identity in thought and heart and spirit. The whole discipline of life is to enable us to enter into this closest relationship with Jesus Christ. We receive His blessings and know His Word, but do we know Him?"
~ Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

For months I have wrestled to know and understand God's goodness. It seemed impossible to believe in a loving God amidst such a broken world. It seemed impossible to have hope in His love because I did not understand Him. Why, oh God, do you let us remain so broken? I have wondered. Why is it so hard to trust in your goodness? I have felt my heart break each day as I looked at the world and saw the pain around me - the pain in me. I have struggled to believe in His love and understand His grace that, at times, seems non-existent.

But now - well now it is a new day. I woke up knowing, without a doubt, the great love of my God. It all was so simple, really. Just a weekend trip to Portland. I realized that despite all the theological questions and historical context I may be struggling with now, He is a good God. Because I saw it in them. In the people He has given me. In those I love and who love me - who I know and who truly know me. I saw it that weekend in the hugs and in the smiles of pure joy to simply see the face of one who had been absent from our gaze for so long. I saw it in the falling back into old conversations and old routines like not even a day had passed. I saw it in the way we asked How are you? and What can I pray for? with the utmost sincerity and urgency, knowing that time was short and we had so much ground to cover. I saw God's goodness in our love for one another. Each time I see their faces, even in photographs I am reminded of how God loves so greatly. Because it is only from His love that we are able to love one another. Without this gift we would now know how to comfort one another; how to care for one another; how to live with one another. This is how I know God is good.

So I will rejoice in Your great goodness, oh Lord. I will rejoice in how You love your children even when we don't deserve it or even know it. I will rejoice in community that comes from You. I will rejoice even in the hard times - the times when the world seems too broken to fix and when it seems like it might tear me apart - because even in those times you have given me the love of my friends.

06 January 2010

New Year's Resolution

Alright, alright. I will be the first to admit that I am not very good at this whole "updating my blog" thing. But do not dismay! It is high time I started developing my writing and imagination skills again...plus it has been a long time since I truly felt like myself and I think this will help me return to the me that I am. In light of this, my New Year's resolution is to add at least two new entries a month. That is do-able, right? Although it is a rare occurrence for me to claim a New Year's resolution (and even rarer occurrence for me to stick to it), do not fear! I have various plans of attack for keeping such a resolution. I won't go into details, but one such plan is to reuse material I write as a Fellow. So in the interest of recycling, here is the most recent Fellows update email (it was my turn) to send to family and friends of the program. You may have already received it in your email inbox, but nevertheless, here you go!

Dear Friend of Fellows,

As we begin our second semester as Capital Fellows it seems like an insurmountable task to sum up all that December and these first few weeks of January have entailed! Since you last heard from us we have finished one semester and begun another…with so much in between! It was a huge blessing to spend a few weeks at home and recharge our batteries, and as we jump into our final five months we are finding your support and care more precious than ever. One thing we have been discussing lately is how incredibly blessed and grateful we are to have such a strong community supporting us, both here in McLean and back at our respective homes. It would take pages to truly do justice to the past few weeks, so in the interest of your valuable time, I have conferred with my fellow Fellows and here is some of what we think is most important.

Throughout our winter retreat this January, we spent time exploring our vocation and calling in light of the intersection of our passion, personality, and principles. In between our week of eating delicious food, hiking up to frozen waterfalls, napping by the fireplace, and playing rousing games of Trivial Pursuit, we were able to spend precious time with Hugh Whelchel as he helped us begin the journey of truly understanding God’s call on our lives.

In his book, Wishful Thinking, Frederick Buechner writes, “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” It is this understanding of what makes our hearts beat faster and our minds race with excitement that will begin to shape what God is calling us to. In light of this, throughout the week, we completed personality and strength-finders tests, all with the goal to recognize and begin to encourage one another in our gifts. However, beyond our passions, just as Buechner writes, we must also understand where the world most needs God’s Kingdom. It is the intersection of these two elements that will truly help us understand vocation. With Hugh, we talked in great detail about the Biblical perspective of “shalom.” Although this word is roughly translated as “peace,” shalom is to truly live in such a way that everything we do points to the restoration of God’s Kingdom that is taking place now and will be completed when Christ returns (the “now and not yet” paradigm). He helped us dive into the reality that we are saved by God for a purpose; that we are His agents of restoration. So when Paul writes in Galatians (our bible study book for the past four months!) that “the entire law is summed up in a single command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Gal. 5:14), he does not mean it is enough to simply practice intentional acts of kindness or good works. Rather, we must follow Luther’s advice and “ love our neighbor by doing our job well.” Whether we are leading a thriving corporation, fixing car at an auto shop, or raising our children at home, we must always remember that to do our best is to glorify God; to bring order out of chaos; to reach for shalom.

Another huge aspect of our time exploring vocation and calling was to discover two major elements that will lead us to a more concrete understanding of what God has placed in our hearts: to know our governing values and our personal mission statement. While I will be the first to admit that it sounded a little weird to write down a mission statement for my life, these exercises turned out to be absolutely invaluable! After all, the Beatitudes in Matthew 5 – one of the most well known and loved passages of Scripture – is essentially a list of values to live by. In discovering our own list of governing values (including things like generosity, community, integrity, and joy) we began to realize huge indications of who God has created us to be. We then followed up on theses values by creating a one-sentence mission statement. In essence, like any mission statement of any organization, this is to ensure that we are living on purpose and in light of who God has saved us to be. It reminds us who we are in Christ and will help us go into decisions with confidence and courage that we will stay true to who God is calling us to be.

As we headed back to the breakneck speed and intense competition of DC, we were sad to leave the peace and (dare I say) shalom of our time in Troy, Pennsylvania. After a week of relaxing in the beautiful home of our wonderful hosts (and new friends!), Jim and Cynthia Eckert, our minds were full, our bodies were relaxed, and we were (almost) ready to hit the ground running.

Due to the winter wonderland that Northern Virginia became in December, our final class with Dr. Garber was postponed until last Monday. As we finally presented our final papers, it was such a wonderful reminder of how different we all truly are. From Pierce’s study on the ills of politics, to Sabrina’s scientific debunking of nihilism, to Lauren Bleam’s plea for truth in art, to Kelly’s search for something more than profit in business practices, our presentations truly revealed why this program is so incredible. We are finding that although our passions and callings are radically diverse, in the end we are all responding to a creation that cannot help but cry out to the glory of God.

As we begin these final months as Fellows, the weight of the near future seems heavier everyday. With jobs to seek out and grad schools to apply for, we would humbly request that you continue to pray for God’s guidance and providence to lead us toward His calling on our lives. Our prayer is that we would seek Him above all else, for it is only through truly knowing Him that we will know anything else at all.

In Hope & With Faith,

Carrie Horton