Why I Don’t Like Going to School

smoking

What are the common reasons for not wanting to attend class? I have better things to do. I don’t feel like it. I’ll never use that material. It’s too hard. It’s too nice of a day to be inside. The list goes on and on. But I think my reason is fairly unique. I hate coming home reeking of smoke!

Of course they don’t smoke in the classroom, but the whole morning there is someone, usually several people, standing in the hallway just outside the classroom door smoking. It’s winter now, all the windows are closed and the CLOUD of smoke makes it’s way into the classroom where it attaches itself to my clothes, adds it scent to my hair and makes my eyes water.

I love my class and learning. And I’ve gotten used to the fact that smoking is the norm here but when the smoke lingering in the room is thick enough to be easily visable then I find myself wishing they would take their smoking to the inner courtyard instead of the hallway by my classroom. I’d even take the cold from an open window. It is kind of comical that no one in my class smokes and we have attempted to open the window but since they are running the heat it can’t stay open long. Oh well. It’s a new reason to add to the list of excuses of why not to go to school.

Favorite restaurant?

food

Today after church I went with a couple of friends to one of my favorite restaurants. It has great food and is really inexpensive. The problem is, we got there and the restaurant was closed, boards on the windows and one of the two signs has been taken down. It was always busy, not sure what’s up with that. I am hoping it is just for remodeling (hope springs eternal, right?). Seriously, it is so sad. When I’m thinking about my budget I have a hard time trying a place and spending money, wondering if I’ll like the food. I like to try new places but I like having someplace tried and true that I know will be worth the expense. Oh well. We ended up at another restaurant that was really good, but wasn’t as wonderfully priced. How about you, do you have a favorite restaurant?

Journey 11-10-06

Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles….When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed. Acts 13:46b,48

I’ve been reading from Acts this week and paused over these verses. The thing that jumped out at me was that when the Jews addressed here rejected the Gospel, Paul and Barnabas told them that they didn’t consider themselves worthy. I wonder if this was the case because they still felt they had to earn God’s favor through works, not believing that God could really be offering them a free gift? Sometimes I also feel like I am “not worthy” because really, I’m not. That is the beauty of the Gospel of grace. I can never be worthy. That is why Jesus came and died. I can’t earn favor with God. My part is to be glad, to honor the word of the Lord and to believe.

The Problem with Loving Fall

leaves

Fall is my favorite season but this year it could hardly even be called a season at all. It was still quite hot until mid-September. Then we had six weeks of beautiful weather and now winter has arrived.

This morning as I was waiting for the bus it began to snow. Just a light flurry of small flakes, but definitely snow. I guess that is just the problem of loving Fall: it is way too short.

PS – the pictures, of the horse on my last post and the leaves on this post, were both taken at our team retreat at Szepalma.

Journey 11-1-06

Szepalma

I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness. Isaiah 61:10a

This was one of the verses from our Team Retreat last week. I have so many reasons to delight in my Lord! His giving me such a precious salvation and covering all my sins and flaws with His blood, His righteousness are only the beginning!

Journey 10-19-06

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. Hebrews 4:14

On Wednesday nights our church is going through the book of Hebrews. It is such an encouragement for me to read and remember how Jesus is better that all who we could compare Him to. He is higher than the angels and better than Moses, for He is both apostle and high priest (3:1). He represents God to us (apostle) and us to God (High Priest). What a blessing and a privilege, that the very Son of God gave His life so that we could know God and be known by Him.

I re-read the sermon “The Weight of Glory” by CS Lewis this week and commented on it in my blog. Another section of this sermon that I didn’t comment on, is about being known by God and how that includes welcome, a reception into his presence. Christ humbled himself unto the cross and now acts as our bridge, our High Priest that allows us to be known and received by God. What an amazing and humbling thought. As the writer of Hebrews states, it is motivation for us to hold firmly to our faith!

Nostalgia, Beauty and Longing

Nostalgia

The last couple of weeks I have been quite melancholy. It isn’t too surprising. Being introspective is very much a part of who God made me to be. And one of the things that I frequently reflect on is longing, that desire for something that lies just beyond your reach.

There are longings that are unhelpful at the least. I can’t say that I never get trapped by these, but there is another type of longing that is within every man. We were not created for this fallen world. God has placed eternity in our hearts and there are twinges of this truth within us.

This afternoon I was reading a sermon by C.S. Lewis called “The Weight of Glory.” It is a wonderful piece of writing and I would recommend that you read it. I could quote the whole of it as it gives so much to think about, but for now I would like to share a couple of excerpts from quotes that encouraged me today in regard to my longings.

“I am trying to rip open the inconsolable secret in each one of you – the secret which hurts so much that you take your revenge on it by calling it names like Nostalgia and Romanticism and Adolescence…the secret we cannot hide and cannot tell, though we desire to do both. We cannot tell it because it is a desire for something that has never actually appeared in our experience. We cannot hide it because our experience is constantly suggesting it, and we betray ourselves like lovers at the mention of a name. Our commonest expedient is to call it beauty and behave as if that had settled the matter. Wordsworth’s expedient was to identify it with certain moments in his own past. But all this is a cheat. If Wordsworth had gone back to those moments in the past, he would not have found the thing itself, but only the reminder of it; what he remembered would turn out to be itself a remembering. The books and music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing. These things – the beauty, the memory of our own past – are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself, they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshippers. For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never visited.”

“Apparently, then, our lifelong nostalgia, our longing to be reunited with something in the universe from which we now feel cut off, to be on the inside of some door which we have always seen from the outside, is no mere neurotic fancy, but the truest index of our real situation. And to be at last summoned inside would be both glory and honour beyond all our merits and also the healing of that old ache.”

“At present we are on the outside of the world, the wrong side of the door….But all the leaves of the New Testament are rustling with the rumour that it will not always be so. Some day, God willing, we shall get in.”

“Meanwhile the cross comes before the crown and tomorrow is a Monday morning. A cleft has opened in the pitiless walls of the world, and we are invited to follow our great Captain inside. The following Him is, of course, the essential point.”

Journey 10-10-06

Harvest

“Do you not say, ‘Four months more and then the harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. Even now the reaper draws his wages, even now he harvests the crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. Thus the saying, ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. John 4:35-37

I’ve been thinking about seasons lately. As fall unfolds my thoughts have turned to the harvest. In the physical world around us it is easy to see when it is time for harvesting a crop. We can plan, four months until the harvest, for we know the growing cycles of our crops. In the spiritual realm it is a little different. Jesus was pointing out to the disciples that they had missed all the signs. The prophets had pointed to that very moment. The seeds had been sown, Jesus was center stage and there was a harvest waiting. The season of the harvest began with the advent of Jesus Christ and the final harvest waits for His return. In the time in-between there are many fields growing at different rates.

Here in my adopted country I long to see the time of the harvest. But right now seeds are still being planted and the crop is still growing. Some grow quickly and are harvested for eternal life, but with the patience of a farmer the seeds must continue to be sown and the fields tended until the day when the Lord makes the greater field ripe for harvest.

Fall colors, pumpkins and memories…

Door

Fall takes the place of priviledge as my favorite season. I enjoy the crisp cool air. I find the chill in the mornings and evenings refreshing. I love the smell of leaves burning and fall baking. And I enjoy the colors. Here in Hungary the leaves have begun their seasonal show changing from green to a variety of browns and golds. They lack the brillant red, but a beautiful crimson vine grows here that adds red to the season.

Apart from the weather and the scenic display, Fall remains my favorite season because of my memories. One of my favorite childhood memories is walking from my home to my grandparents home. In my memories the sky is blue from the winds that pushed away the morning fog. The streets of our small town were lined with beautiful trees that put on all the colors of the season. There was often the lingering scent of leaves being burned mixed with the memory of pumpkin pie waiting at the end of the journey.

When I attended High School a frequently played country song crooned a refain that said “the song remembers when.” It talked about memories forgotten or set aside until a song that was linked to that memory started to play and then you remembered as if you were there in that time or place.

I was listening to a random selection of songs this week and a song started playing that took me back to the year I bought my house in Florida. In my mind I was suddenly back in my front yard, raking up oak leaves on an unusually cool Saturday in October. I remembered all of the dreams that I had for my life. I finally had my own home. I had a job that I loved and I could remember my complete contentment in that moment. (Believe it or not I actually even like raking leaves).

All of a sudden I found myself very homesick and wondering what in the world I was doing half-way around the world from a life and people that I love. So, I decided I needed a distraction. I made pumpkin cookies, from scratch. (No canned pumpkin here, they actually turned out really well). It was nice to do some Fall baking and it gave me time to think.

Sometimes I find myself mourning the life that I left behind. And it’s ok. There are sacrifices to this life. But God was also so gracious to remind me of His character, His love and the reason I have chosen the path that I am following. I’m going to miss Fall in my own home, with my oak tree leaves and my family close by. But Christ is in every way worth the sacrifice. So I’ll cherish the memories, enjoy the pumpkin cookies and press on to toward the goal for which Christ has called me.

A Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day?

“I went to sleep with gum in my mouth and now there’s gum in my hair and when I got out of bed this morning I tripped on the skateboard and by mistake I dropped my sweater in the sink while the water was running and I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.” Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst

Have you ever had one of those days where Murphy’s Law reminds you that it is alive and well? This morning was one of those days and it is only 10:30 AM.

It started with my kitten. He got into my cupboard where I keep my dishtowels. Then there was this loud noise from outside and he got scared, tangled in the towels and he lost the ability to control his bladder. SO, I gather all my dishtowels and head for the washing machine. I start the washer and head to the bedroom to iron my clothes for the day. I also lit a candle to counteract the smell I now have in my nose.

When I walked back down the hallway I found that I am now standing in several inches of water. My freshly ironed pants are soaking up water and I am staring at the hose from the washing machine as water pours onto my floor. I grab some towels and try to stem the tide of water. Yuck.

So I get the majority of the water up and I get my mop out. I turn around and the end of the mop knocks my candle off the shelf. (It is a small room!) I grab for it just as it comes in contact with my shower curtain. It just singes the curtain as I get the flame out, but the candle itself is broken and now hot wax is everywhere, burning my hand (not bad) and coating everything including my flat iron which has fallen off the shelf and broken (sad).

So I get the major mess of water and wax cleaned up. I’ll have to figure out how to move the washer later because there is sure to be water under it and later mildew. But I now I have to change (into wrinkled clothes – no time to iron) and I’m already going to be at least a half hour late for school. I grab the gel to put in my hair, no time to really try make it behave. The bottle top is loose and now I have really greasy looking hair. Augh.

By the time I change and look at the clock again I realize that with the time it takes to get there I’m going to be well over an hour late. I HATE to be late, especially when I have greasy hair and wrinkled clothes. I’m grumpy, haven’t eaten (which never helps the grumpiness) and I am in no mood to face Hungarian. Which really is a shame since I spent hours on my homework last night and think I wrote a pretty decent assignment. But rather than add the morning’s frustration to lessons that are going pretty well I decided to stay home, spend some extra time this morning in conversation with the Lord who controls the whole universe as well as Murphy’s Law mornings and then study extra hard on my own.

So I guess I won’t move to Australia (you have to read the book). And maybe it won’t be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day in the end.