Monday, December 31, 2012

A Day in Colonial Williamsburg

Today, Melody and I upheld our tradition of spending New Year's Eve wandering around Colonial Williamsburg to enjoy the beautiful live Christmas decorations. Here is a glimpse of our walk...

Looking through the keyhole of the Wythe House

The Weaver's Shop

An outdoor market across from Bruton Parish Church

A welcome sight on a chilly day

Bruton Parish Church

The busy shopkeeper having a few words with his assistant outside Greenhow's Store

The Milliner's Shop :)

Jeremiah - one of my favorite Williamsburg horses

A quick game of horseshoes

The Courthouse

One of our favorite little bridges :) 


My kind of traffic...

Coastal Flare

Monday, December 24, 2012


1) Thankful to have a few hours with my Daddy tonight.
2) Thankful for a lovely afternoon spent with my Mom, sister and younger brother. Been quite a while since we were all able to spend a day together.
3) Thankful for clarity in my Grandaddy's condition and wishes...a mercy!

Saturday, December 22, 2012


1) A beautiful winter walk with Sarah Beth and Daniel. 

2) When my Mamma came back from the day at the Hospital with my Grandaddy, she brought an unexpected surprise: a beautiful pillar candle for my study, a case of tea lights and a good supply of candles for the fireplace mantle so that we can light them every night after dinner for reading. What a lovely treat! Oh the joy of simple pleasures...  

My favorite time of day...

3) I've been thinking a lot lately on what it means to pursue a steady peace and joy in the soul. Deeply inspired by the consistency of these qualities in much of the literature I studied this term, I began to notice correlations between these qualities and the intentional order and restraint inherent in many of the authors' life and work. I began to notice that this correlation was also consistent in the lives of friends and mentors whom I respect.

I had always felt rather discouraged by this, shaking my head sadly at my disorganized tendencies and subconsciously chalking up the cyclical unrest which descends on my heart to my easily affected emotional nature. I could not foresee a time in which I could learn to love restraint, voluntarily seek structure and live joyfully within each moment. I reveled - almost to an aching point -  in the literature, music and history which gave glimpses into life lived in such a manner. Yet here, I found myself falling short of realizing the hope in such glimpses by directing my disappointment toward my misfortune of having been born in the modern age or with a passionate nature. But as I've looked back over what was learned this term, I am seeing afresh what I really knew all along. Such peace is never convenient and is rarely the result of circumstances. This contrast struck with especial significance a few days ago as I read the following observations in a brief introduction to 17th century Literature:

"Of course an orderly world can be disrupted, and those who lived in the 17th-century were familiar with vast disorder. In this era their government was twice overturned, their church fragmented, their society redistributed. Indeed, though they believed in order, they saw very little of it. Perhaps this is why the recurrent movement of 17th-century literature is a quest for resolution. It is everywhere apparent, whether in Donne and Herbert’s self-wrestlings, Jonson’s neat epigrams, Herrick’s happy abandonment, or Milton’s weighty ponderings. The quest for resolution bred a spirit of high resolve: the writer set pen to paper questioning, and did not stop his hand until he attained some answer or equilibrium.... Common to all these is the searching and arriving, which in our day may signal a strange
glimmer of hope. We have grown callously accustomed to pursuing a never-ending search; the 17th
century poets may renew our hope for rest." (L. Brigham)

That last line has especially stayed with me as having pinpointed one of the key differences between my default approach to life and that which I am now striving to quietly embrace. "Pursuing a never-ending search" could serve as an accurate label over most of my life thus far. The pursuit had, in itself, become a kind of goal, much like that which C.S. Lewis describes in Surprised By Joy.  I am now discovering that there is a kind of settledness which may be had now - unbound by circumstance. As creatures which still bear vestiges of their unfallen capacity for peace and joy, we are privileged to hold both the ever-present longing for full restoration and a settled contentment now

This realization has been steadily growing since early this summer but it has reached a head in the last few days. God-given abundance is all around us - just as real as the loss and grief and struggle visible on every side. To savor what has been given (not in what one could wish for outside of that gift), to take joy in one's work as the prescribed calling of that moment, to rest in the confidence of God's sovereign providence over words fail in describing the relief of such a thought. My "hope for rest" has been renewed, a "spirit of high resolve" has been instilled and I am setting forth: beginning on my knees with the earnest prayer for grace to live in light of how I was created and towards the state to which I will be restored. While I cry, as fervently as ever, "Come, Lord Jesus, Come" I can say for nearly the first time that I take deep joy in the chance to "walk as in His presence" now. This world is fallen, but it is yet a mirror, a glimpse, a taste of the Paradise which our Almighty God created us to tend and enjoy. How can we do otherwise? 

Friday, December 21, 2012


1) An Evening at Home with Family, listening to my Mamma read a Christmas story by the soft light of decorations. 

And of course we couldn't read a story without popcorn and sweet tea :)

2) The opportunity to slow down a little. It will take a while I guess to fully simmer down from the busyness of the term's climax but today was a good start. 

3) Time with my Daddy... it was so short - just over meals - but it was still so so good to be with him at last! 

Thursday, December 20, 2012


1) Reaching home safely through all the wind and rain!!
2) So much joy to be living in the moments given
3) The wonderful opportunity to look back over this semester and revel in the treasures emerging from the feast times and the seasons of pain and weariness. There is so much that could be said, but my heart is full and my brain is tired (never a good combination for prose :P)

Many blessings to each of you, and may the anticipation and hope of Christmas fill your hearts with deep comfort and lasting awe.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


1) Decent travel progress despite a later start than planned this morning. Thankful for safety so far and a comfortable place to spend the night here in the Horse Capital of the World. I love Kentucky!

2) Grace to finish the last large project early this morning and then still enough brain power to work on tying up the smaller assignments of the week in the car.

3) For this poem. A find myself echoing a few of the lines in my own prayers today.

Batter my heart, three person'd God; for, you 
As yet but knocke, breathe, shine, and seeke to mend; 
That I may rise, and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend 
Your force, to breake, blowe, burn and make me new. 
I, like an usurpt towne, to another due, 
Labour to admit you, but Oh, to no end, 
Reason your viceroy in me, me should defend, 
But is captiv'd, and proves weake or untrue. 
Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved faine, 
But am betroth'd unto your enemie: 
Divorce me, untie, or breake that knot againe; 
Take me to you, imprison me, for I 
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free, 
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

(John Donne)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


1) Beautiful and unexpected fellowship throughout the course of the day
2) The excitement and camaraderie that emerges in these last few "optimum days" of the semester.
3) Unnecessarily sweet goodbyes with many friends. I always feel a bit silly that I mind the parting with dear ones and the uprooting of a few weeks break. It has been a matter of prayer that God would give me grace to keep an eternal focus during this busy time, aswirl with the out-of-ordinary. I never expected that He would choose to make these last days so full of sweet, joy filled moments or that I would be able to merge into the blessing of family life while still at Wheaton. How gracious He is to my frail heart! He remembers that we are dust...

Monday, December 17, 2012


So very thankful for many things right now. Just a few tonight though: 

1) Thankful for God's merciful hand of protection on my brother and Grandfather over the weekend. 
2) Thankful for the opportunity to look back on the abundance of treasures - academic, spiritual and relational - that God has chosen to bestow this semester. It has not been an easy one but it has been so good. God's mercy has been large and sweet. 
3) Thankful for an especially refreshing time spent with a dear friend on Sunday afternoon. A riverside walk on a perfect wintery day, a bit of shopping in downtown Geneva and very meaningful conversation over an incredible cup of hot chocolate.