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Archive for August, 2011

Nearing the last days

Hey there everyone! Welcome to any new readers that have decided to peek at this blog. I hope you enjoy what you read. Welcome back to any repeat visitors/dedicated subscribers. I hope you enjoy what you read as well. As always, please feel free to comment on this and any other blog posts. You are, of course, welcome to subscribe to my blog as well so you will be notified of any new posts when they occur. Believe me, they aren’t going to stop me from talking!

I can hardly believe there are only two days left of Summer Greek! Where did all the time go? Where did the summer go? Where has my brain gone in this craziness that is Greek? I think it’s hiding under the bed somewhere, shivering in fear that more Greek words will be forced into it. I’ve rammed so many things into my poor brain over these past five weeks it’s a wonder it’s able to retain anything. I must say as my comprehension of Greek grammar increases, so does my comprehension of English grammar. However as my Greek vocabulary increases, I think my English vocab decreases! It’s getting harder to speak in English because there are so many other things shifting around up there.

Yet I have made it this far (with all As as well) and haven’t collapsed from the strain. I’m hoping these last two days don’t do me in (Vocab due one day, Exam due the next) but I can’t be sure. I came really close to breaking down one day and needed a fortifying “good luck hug” from my neighbor, Tammy. I’m actually feeling pretty good about these vocab words and plan on reviewing them a bit now, a bit before chapel, once again after chapel and then finally take the quiz. Tomorrow we have a half day before she hands us the final Exam (which thankfully isn’t worth any more than the other exams) and then once those are completed we are FREE FROM GREEK!!! Well, at least until Exegetical Greek begins on the 12th. We’ll see how it all goes, and you can be sure that you’ll hear about it on here once I find out the news myself.

On another note, I am extremely excited for Wednesday to get here because I will be going through my Library Orientation (We are going to ROCK that library!) and then my lovely mother (the biological one, not the Seminary one) and my Aunt Lynn will be visiting with me for a couple of days. I can’t wait for them to get here so I can introduce them to all the lovely people here and so everyone here can get to know these lovely ladies who were so important to me in my youth and continue to be important to me now.

Hopefully the experience won’t shock them too much (I don’t think Aunt Lynn’s ever seen me with a beard) and they’ll be able to have a fun time while visiting. They have managed to survive the last 23 years with me, so I think they can handle another two days or so. I’m sure we’ll have all sorts of fun time here, and it’ll be nice for at least some of my family to better know the loving people I am surrounded by here in Dubuque.

Speaking of the amazing people here, I would ask that everyone who is reading this would pray, send good thoughts, or support in whatever way you believe, the grandpa of my friend Deb. His name is Bill Cote and he suffered a heart attack last week. He was transported to the hospital quickly, and it sounds hopeful, but any extra help would be appreciated. I would also ask that you pray for Deb to have safe travels as she returns home to visit her grandfather and other family members this Wednesday. We are all hoping that the news will be good and that Deb’s time back home will be a joyous celebration before returning to her friends here in Dubuque.

That’s all I have for now, and I really need to get working on my translations (Mark 4:1-9, The Parable of the Sower) so I hope you will pardon me as I get back to my studies. If you would like to read the parable in English, you can click here or if you’re into a challenge, feel free to try translating it from here.

As Always, God Bless!

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Time

Hello! Thank you for taking the time to read my blog! I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it. I would like to offer a special thanks to any new readers. I hope you enjoy what you see and come back for more!

The other day I tried watching a television show on Netflix.com. Unfortunately, the internet speed here (with all the students returning) is no longer fast enough for instant viewing. I tried it a couple more times without success and finally cancelled my subscription. Since then I’ve found other things to do in my spare time (what little there is of it) and I can honestly say I don’t miss watching the movies.

I realized I was just watching television to “pass the time.” It wasn’t something I really enjoyed doing anymore, but I kept at it because it had gotten into my routine and I was so used to it that I didn’t realize the change. That is, I didn’t realize it until I changed my routine. I can’t even honestly say how long this has been going on, but wonder now how different my life could have been had I used all that extra time (and money) on other things.

I’ve noticed a similar pattern with my phone as well. Back in De Pere, I used my phone constantly. I’d update and check up on my facebook account, text to friends and family, look up my schedule, even watch youtube clips with my phone. Rarely did I use the phone to actually make a phone call. Now that I’m three and a half hours away from home, back in school, and unable to make calls or answer my phone I find it difficult to check my phone for new messages. More often than not, the phone stays on my desk until the battery gets low and then it stays on the charger until I remember to check it again.

I’ve gone days now without really using Netflix or my phone now, and I haven’t really missed either of them. Yet when I missed chapel on Monday I felt horrible. I had missed out on something I was looking forward to. I DID notice that absence in my life, and I certainly don’t want to repeat it anytime soon. Chapel was important to me, the phone and Netflix were not.

This got me to thinking. Are there other things in my life that I’m just doing because I’ve done them for so long? And what could I be doing instead of those time-passing, mind-numbing activities? Are there things in your life like this? Do you go through the motions and not really gain any sort of pleasure or feeling of accomplishment from it? My guess is that there are things in everyone’s life that he or she can say isn’t really important. So why do we keep doing them? So we don’t have to change our routine?

I can’t help but think of a quote I heard (and used) quite often while working at Festival. “You’re either green and growing, or ripe and rotting.” What a concept! Are we ripe and rotting? Are our lives being wasted – our time being wasted – on things that don’t really matter to us? Why let this continue? There are so many wonderful things we can do with our lives, and yet it seems the instinctive response these days is “I don’t have enough time.” How amazing would it be to regain that time by eliminating things from our life that aren’t even important to us anyways?

I hope to share more revelations on this subject, and I look forward to responses by others who have found similar time wasters in their lives. Please, comment on this post and let me know! I’d also love to hear what others are planning to do with that “extra time” that they have reclaimed!

As always, God Bless!

Goings-on during Greek

Well hello again! I hope all is well with everyone reading this blog. I know I’m having a great time here in Dubuque with Summer Greek! I can hardly believe I’m already in the fifth week of Greek! That means I’ve already learned eight months of Greek here! No wonder I’m so close to the Junior class here!

This morning I was all set with a new stack of flashcards, another passage from the Bible to translate, and plenty of mechanical pencils to write with! So what’s so different about today? This time it wasn’t just our class that had to get ready for school! The whole community here was buzzing with energy this morning as kids went off to their first day of school. For many of them it was the first day at a new school. Naturally there was a big range of feelings from excitement to fear. Personally, I was looking forward to putting those pesky participles in the past! Then again I didn’t have to worry about anyone but myself this morning. Many of my classmates were a little preoccupied with concern for their children.

I must say the day of classes went quite well for me and I returned to my room today (for the first time in a while) without a look of despair or panic on my face. However the day seemed a bit empty without the sounds of children laughing outside my window. The sound had become so natural around here that it caught me off guard to not hear it upon returning from classes. Somehow that made the day seem worse than if Beth had told us we were going to spend another week on participles.

I also “goofed” today by not setting an alarm for chapel. It was the first time I’ve missed since coming here, and I can’t help but feel guilty for not attending. Luckily for me Kelly called me and woke me in time for cake (to celebrate Mary’s 25th birthday!) so I got a decent amount of witty comments from others. Daddy Mike (my adopted Wartburg father who was also, like my biological father, Catholic) gave me a stern look of shame before commenting “well it’s so nice to finally see you today!” We discussed my error, and I told him I’d say 100 Hail Marys if only I knew the words. Which, of course, meant he provided me with the necessary words. I’ve put it on my to-d0 list for the day.

On a brighter note, I must say this past weekend was amazing! Friday was an all-around wonderful “banner day” as Jealaine from admissions called it. Our group all got passing scores (Mary broke the grade barrier-woo hoo!) Deb had Godiva chocolate waiting for her in the mailroom (we celebrated with a piece) Mary and Deb got scholarships from their synod, and I had finally received verification that the candidacy committee unanimously voted to entrance me!

Despite a less than energetic day on Saturday (we spent most of it sleeping in the basement and watching movies) we still managed a great time. The group went shopping at Global Goods (amazing shop with fair trade goods from all over the world) and explored several other shops while enjoying good music and great company. Saturday evening I went on a peaceful walk around campus with Deb to map out how far we go each lap (9/10 of a mile) and then continued birthday celebrations with Mary. Yesterday (Sunday) we attended church once again at Lord of Life (I’m thinking this is going to be the one we regularly attend) and then enjoyed a delicious lunch before going out to the Botanical Gardens for a picnic and live music.

I do believe that’s all the updating I have for the time being. I will be sure to keep everyone updated on future events and fun. Now I’m on my way up to the tower here! Hopefully I’ll have tons of amazing pictures to share later!

As always, God Bless!

Quick Update!

Hello again!

first off, let me just warn you that this post will be short and (hopefully) sweet. I am in mid-translation, but I wanted to share some exciting news with you all. I am still having a blast here and hope that all is well with everyone at home. Also, welcome to any new readers (don’t forget to subscribe and comment) and thank you to all the repeat readers out there.

First off, I must say that Participles are going to be a major pain in the tush! I still have hope that an understanding will suddenly hit me and everything will finally make sense. I doubt it, but it can’t hurt to hope. On the positive side, we started translating directly from the Bible today, so that was indeed a wonderful experience. I will, however, need to acquire a larger lexicon (dictionary) for further translations.

If either of the pastors are reading this, I would like to share another success! They (you if the reader is Pastor A or Pastor B) wrote out Ephesians Chapter 1, verse 2 in the faith book I received during the going away/bon voyage party. For any other Greek afficionados out there, here’s the verse in Greek χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη ἀπὸ θεοῦ πατρὸς ἡμῶν καὶ κυρίου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ. As of last week (I don’t know why I didn’t share the revelation sooner) I was able to read and understand this verse! It reads (as best I can translate) “Grace to you and peace from God our father and Lord Jesus Christ.” Pretty cool, huh?

I am currently working on Mark 1:9-15 for class (which I should get back to now) and am excited to be able to finish this reading and start on another. One quick observation–Mark sure likes to say things happen IMMEDIATELY (or εὐθὺς in Greek). Well that’s all for now. Thanks for sharing this important step with me. I can’t wait until I can read Greek without having to parse half the words! Maybe some day!

As always, God Bless!

Cool temps and cooler news!

Hello again! I have escaped from the grasp of the beast known as Greek once again to provide an update! I know it has only been a few days, but what exciting and busy days they have been! Before I get ahead of myself, I am told that the powers that be at church (Pastors Andrea and Brian) have mentioned my blog (that would be what you’re looking at right now) my facebook account, and I believe my e-mail. So with that in mind I would like to welcome any new readers to the randomness that is my life! Don’t forget to subscribe!

First things first, I must mention the positive change in weather here! The temperatures have cooled considerably -so much so that I now keep my windows open to enjoy the breeze- and what rain we have had has not (to my knowledge) resulted in any flooding. I thank God for that wonderful news. With the pleasant temps I have enjoyed some random walks around campus and am anticipating a glorious bike ride on the weekend. I must admit, however, that the hills here are quite an experience. Walking up the hill from the Pulpit Rock Apartments required much too much effort. This of course means that I will be taking this route frequently so as to build up my muscles and cut down (a LOT, hopefully) on this excess fat I’ve carried for so long.

Speaking of extra weight, I am continuing in my efforts to lose weight. Once again the generous and caring community of Wartburg tempted me with scrumptious food, and once again I resisted the urge to over eat. Grilled corn, hamburgers, pasta salad, fruit, birthday cake (which I avoided like the plague) chips and so many other delicious choices to be had. I enjoyed my food and the amazing company of people and had perhaps a tad more than necessary, but certainly a much better selection than I may have taken before. Then later yesterday my new adopted parents (Martha and Mike) presented me with a scrumptious-looking piece of cobbler. I have it saved in my fridge for celebration food after today’s test (eeek!)

As far as visible results from my efforts, I am happy to report that I have continued to lose more weight and am encouraged each day by Deb and Mary to go on “vocab walks” around campus. I bought a scale from Walmart (a whopping $9) and have therefore quickly grown in popularity. My friends come in to chat for a bit and then hop on the scale quickly before leaving. I do believe I wasn’t the only one who missed having a scale in the basement reformation room.

On another, sadder note, I would like anyone reading this to keep my friend Kelly K. in your prayers. We received notice from her last night that her candidacy committee decided to postpone her. I am sure they had good reasons, and I know the extra time can provide her with the necessary time to iron out some issues back home, but a postponement is always hard to take. I hope she will return to school to finish her Summer Greek and then be accepted for next year. Again, please keep her in your prayers.

I must say farewell for a time again, as the 8am exam creeps ever closer. I am off to study for another half hour or so before the test. Wish me luck, and remember (as I myself must) that The Lord is my strength and my song. (check out the link!)

Thank you for reading, and God Bless!

It’s all Greek to me!

Well hello there all my lovelies!

It certainly has been a long time since my last post! I do apologize for the suspense, but I’ve been so busy these last two weeks with Greek that I’ve forgotten what it means to have “extra time”. I’ve been studying and baby sitting and looking at flashcards for so long I can’t believe I’ve only been at this for two weeks. Oh, and I should probably mention that I’m absolutely loving it!

I have already learned eight different conjugation charts, and it looks as though I’ll be doubling that number by the end of this third week. We’ve learned the present active, present middle/passive, imperfect active, imperfect middle/passive, The conjugation of “ego” and “eimi” as well. Next week we explore the aorist tenses and future. I must say that at times my eagerness to learn is matched (and perhaps overpowered) by fear and the feeling that I’ll never be able to learn it all in time.

Despite these worries and fears- which most if not all of the other students share- I am still looking at the positive and continue to “give it my all”. I have been told that Pastor Andrea managed to score 100%. I have managed 100% for both of the vocab quizzes and 92 + 94% for the last two exams. It may not be as good as Pastor Andrea, but I have no problem admitting that others may be smarter or more capable of learning other languages than me. Still, as far as the registrar is concerned we currently have the same grade. So she can enjoy being perfect, and I’ll enjoy being “above average”

As for the weekends here-since we are FORBIDDEN to study Greek on the weekends (I still do, but don’t tell anyone!) and MUST have fun-I have been having the time of my life! This weekend I went shopping with my amazing friends (Deb, Kelly and Mary) and managed to escape the shopping fever. I did find a lovely chair for $10 for my room that is, in addition to being extremely comfortable, a great addition to my room. I can now have everyone congregate in my room for study sessions, quick prayers, and scrumptious meals. Oh, and of course cards and movie-watching on the weekends.

I also had the wonderful pleasure of “baby-sitting” one of my classmate’s children. It was a joined effort between the four of us, and I must say we did very well. The kids are absolutely amazing, and much better behaved than I could ever claim as a child. (sorry mom and dad!) We made pizza, they played video games for a bit, and then we congregated in the living room to play Clue. The four of us older kids, however, had never played the DVD version, so it took a while before we got the hang of it. The kids were great with teaching us and extremely patient with our lack of knowledge. I suddenly felt very old in that living room when I realized these kids knew so much more about this new age of games than I probably ever will.

Other than the fun mentioned above, I have only one more subject to discuss. FOOD! After taking our exams on Friday and finding out our scores (we all did great) we decided to treat ourselves to a meal off campus. We couldn’t decide between breakfast or Greek until I mentioned that I had never eaten Greek before. Breakfast, however, I am well acquainted with. With that in mind, we quickly made our way to The Athenian Grill. The place was very cool, and the food was amazing. I can’t believe I’ve gone my whole life without having a gyro before! Being the poor students that we are, we split an appetizer and desert between the four of us. I know I had plenty to eat, and I sincerely doubt that anyone was hungry after that.

My only concern now is that with all this delicious food, both purchased and provided free of charge, I have to be extra vigilant in my efforts to lose weight. I feel great and believe I have managed to progress further in my goals, but am unable to verify until I can find an affordable scale to purchase. Who knew something that did something so simple could be so expensive?

Until the next time, I would like to share a tidbit of advice I once saw in a trinket shop up north. “you can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses”

Rejoice with me in the good things in life. Lean on Jesus when the thorns surround you, and make sure to take some time to stop and smell the roses!

God Bless!