barely birds

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Learning in Community

...knowing is a profoundly communal act. Nothing could possibly be known by the solitary self, since the self is inherently communal in nature. In order to know something, we depend on the consensus of the community-- a consensus so deep that we often draw upon it subconsciously. - Parker Palmer, To Know as We are Known: Education as a Spiritual Journey

I have not read any of Palmer's work (aside from excerpts in other things), but I have been encouraged by several to explore it. I found this excerpt quoted in an article for class in relation to student spiritual development, and found it so beautiful and expressive of the subconscious thoughts and feelings I have had throughout my educational career (can feelings be subconscious? That's another matter to address, but for now I will go with it). I think it is this communal consensus that keeps me in school. As many days as I detest school and swear off ever getting another degree (or finishing the one I'm currently pursuing), it is those sometimes brief moments of community that crop up in class that cause me to recognize the beauty in education, the mysterious, exhilarating feeling of looking across the classroom during discussion to realize "oh, you too? I am not the only one who thinks this way?". It is akin to the kind of friendship love CS Lewis describes in The Four Loves, "Friendship arises out of mere companionship when two or more of the companions discover that they have in common some insight or interest or even taste which the others do not share and which, till that moment, each believed to be his own unique treasure (or burden)."

This can easily get tangential, and is moving in that direction quite quickly, so I will close. I end dwelling on Palmer's words as an encouragement for why I willingly put myself back into academia instead of doing something else, and what drives to to stay in education in some form for the rest of my life (Lord willing).

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Random Threads

Well, I am thus far failing at updating as I said I would (so sorry, Mama!). Camp has been good, the weather is beautiful, and the campers are all smiles (except when I take away candy from care packages...that's one part of my job I don't like, being known as the Candy Stealer!). I went with some friends to the Telluride Bluegrass Festival a couple of days ago, and it was definitely the most fun day off I have ever had at camp! We got to see Alison Krauss & Union Station play, which was amazing; shop around downtown Telluride; eat some delicious food (Merle's Brown Bag in Telluride is my favorite sandwich shop ever-- I have to go every time I'm there!); and see a beautiful conglomeration of people of all ages and personalities who all were enjoying the bluegrass as well!

Besides that, I have been doing a lot of sewing and embroidery lately! There is a good chunk of the day where the calls are pretty minimal-to-nonexistent, and I am able to pull out my sewing machine and sew without too much distraction. When I don't have time to do that, I usually have my embroidery hoop next to my desk and I embroider while talking to parents on the phone. (Yes, everyone thinks I am crazy...until one day their jacket or shorts rip and they need it sewn up! I have been told by many boys how indebted to me they are because of my sewing skills...haha) So, here are some pictures of what I've been working on!

I got tired of having so many plain white v-neck shirts, so I decided to dress them up a little bit. I find such joy in embroidery--I think it really is a forgotten/neglected art! I have gotten a lot of compliments on these.
This is a skirt I made out of an old t-shirt that was sitting around in the "free box" at camp. It is my first real piece of "adult" clothing that I can actually wear, and I am pretty proud of myself! (Sorry the picture quality is poor...the camp office doesn't make for the best photography setting...)

This is a Brown Bag Skirt that I made today! I think it is my favorite thing I have ever made! It was so easy, too, which makes it all the more fun.

I think I am taking some Catholic campers to Mass tomorrow morning, so I just might wear one of my new skirts! I really enjoy getting to go to Mass here in Durango, it reminds of my time at Charleston Catholic (I still sit in the pew wishing I could go up during communion just like I did in first grade!), and it also makes me imagine what it was like growing up in the Catholic church for my dad!

Speaking of my dad, I have spent the past 3 weeks trying to come up with an amazing father's day present to send him--to no avail. Daddy, you are such a hard person to shop for, but please don't let that make you feel less loved by your oldest daughter! I love you so much, and am indescribably grateful for everything you have done for me, sacrificed for me, all the times you've waited on me (well....more like waited on Catherine....haha), the constant encourager you have been, and the continual source of love. I love and miss you so much! I hope the day with MM and CC is wonderful. LOVE YOU!!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Kivu Today

Check out my post on the Kivu Today blog to see previews of the Camp Store and some Office Girl fun!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Take Two slash...Take One?

Now that my blog is linked to the Kivu Today blog, i was informed that I needed to update my blog from Christmas so...update!

Graduation was last week- crazy! Pictures can be seen on my mom's blog. It seems silly, but I never imagined actually graduating--not that I ever expected to fail out, or leave, I just never thought much about the actuality of leaving college! I suppose that will take a while to truly comprehend the changes that will come from having the diploma, but for now, I am still getting used to the reality that I am no longer a Vanderbilt student.

I am so grateful for the opportunity I had to go to Vanderbilt for the past three years. I had some great, challenging professors (and some not so great professors, more interested in their own research than undergraduate classes), I made some wonderful friends, and I thoroughly enjoyed living in Nashville and all that it had to offer. But more than anything else, Vanderbilt helped me realize that my potential is so much bigger than I have ever imagined it to be. When I pledged Tri Delta at Ole Miss, I never saw myself being involved much at all, much less a senior officer who was an integral part of the chapter. I never, ever, thought I would be a part of student government and have such a tangible opportunity to influence student life at Vanderbilt and be an advocate for my peers to the administration. I realized that I have both a penchant and a passion for administrative duties, and that it is something I want to pursue in a career. I realized that I was capable of so much more than I ever imagined, and that I could truly have an impact on the lives of others, and that my life does impact others--it is my choice to decide whether that impact is positive or negative.

The chancellor gave a powerful charge at the graduation ceremonies-- work hard, and always, always, always be grateful. Having the opportunity to get an education from one of the top 20 schools in the United States is something I will always be grateful for, and I am particularly grateful to my parents and grandparents who provided me with the opportunity to attend whatever school I wanted, no matter the cost. I love you all so much, and am so encouraged and inspired by the way that you live your lives, and pray that I may be able to love and serve others as generously and strongly as all of you have!

I am now working at Camp Kivu running the office, which is so fun! I get my first Office Girls today around 2 (can you tell I'm a little excited?! I can't wait for some help!). Mama, I promise I will take some pictures today so that you can see what Camp looks like!

Okay, time to forward the phones so I can go down to lunch!


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Starting over

I'm starting my blog over. I decided to do it because I love to read other people's blogs, and maybe I'll have something that's worth reading one day too.

I have been itching to make something,be crafty, what have you, so I went through the abyss that is my mom's "Loft", aka, All-The-Craft-Supplies-You-Could-Ever-Imagine-Piled-On-Top-Of-Each-Other, pulled out some things, and made what you see below...
The clip was my first try...
And the headband was my second.

I love making them! After reading so many craft/design blogs, I had to do something with all the pent-up creativity building after seeing what other people are doing.

I am getting my wisdom teeth out tomorrow, but I'm hoping that being on the couch will give me some more crafting time!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Compassion in a Keychain

Being at home causes me to usually be unneccesarily reminiscent. I didn’t grow up in this house, any house in particular, which probably emphasizes why I save scraps and shards of notes, doodles, irrelevant paraphernalia that any decent person would have thrown out several moving boxes ago. I don’t have any secret hidaways or name carvings in the banister here, because my parents moved when I was a senior in high school, and even then, I still didn’t live here; so, I keep things. Lots of little things that add up to a big box of things that I store in scattered drawers and corners of my room.

I don’t go through the drawers every time I’m home; sometimes I read old journals, intending to throw some of them away (because they usually only have a couple entries, a few if I was really persistent for a week or so), but I can’t ever bring myself to do that.It is so hard for me to throw away something I’ve written , maybe because of my fascination with words, I don’t know, but trinkets I am more apt to chunk. Tonight, I was going through a desk drawer of mine, and I found a keychain, made of plastic pink and white beads, strung on a few strips of black cord, linked together by a silver heart that looks like a bolo tie ornament. To anyone else, it would appear at best to be an old childhood artifact that probably came from agitatingly begging for quarters to feed an arcade machine.

I was a senior in high school, and because of the perks given to us as the eldest, my friends and I were headed off-campus for lunch. At one of the stop lights by the freeway, there was a man selling keychains, and maybe something else, but that’s all I remember. I kept staring at him from the passenger seat, my friends never noticed him, and I couldn’t work up the nerve to hand my friends a couple of dollars so they could roll down their windows and buy me a keychain and some peace of mind. I admired him for the attempt to work instead of ask for a handout, and I wanted him to know that someone recognized it. But I never said a word, and we kept on driving. We went to lunch, then back to school, and it was all I could think about. When my sister and I left school, I told her we had to do something; it was crazy, but we had to—we had to find him. We drove the loop around the freeway, and when i spotted him, he began to move. It took several lights before we finally caught up with him, and my joy was hard to contain when I rolled down my window and held out the few dollars. I did my best to throw in a “thank you!” before he walked down the road, hardly recognizing my elation and certainly not understanding the previous 2 hours that I had spent thinking about him.

The day went on, my conscious was calmed, and life continued. I haven’t thought about that man, or that keychain, in years. It has been tucked away in a drawer with all the other Things I don’t think about: old wallets, empty photo albums, faded receipts. Why is it that I cared so much for one day about this, and then let that compassion slip into a drawer of unused items? I pile up compassion and let it substitute for action. I don’t want that to be true, but moreover, I can’t let that be true. I struggle with what I want to do when I graduate, what kind of job I want to have, what kind of life I want to lead. Success is emphasized as a pre-requisite for employment after Vanderbilt—but what does success look like for me? Memories like this remind me I have stored up compassion for the people of the world (who really cries over a man peddling keychains off of MoPac in Austin?), and that compassion must be what drives my action. My heart breaks so easily, and while sometimes it is what creates the exacerbated pain I feel when I get hurt, it is also something I am learning is a gift the Lord has given me, an ability to see others sufferings and want to share in them. I want to pursue something that helps me to share in the pain of others, but also be able to bring about change. Maybe that’s why I am so interested in government, because I see a lot of people who want to bring about good to a world that has so much bad.

I promised long-winded, and delivered. Not to mention, probably confusing. But it flows in my head.



That’s all I could write in my journal Sunday. I was flying from school home for Thanksgiving, drowsy from a late-night room rearrangement with two of my roommates, frustrated with emotions that had ceased to well up within me. This semester has been one of the most blessed times in my life, and so any serious conflicts with that joy seem to be more exacerbated than normal.


Back to a feeling I know to intimately, a return to a place that I have averted for the past few months. God’s plan had become murky again, while for a moment of life I had thought I had seen a glimpse of it, however dimly.

Sometimes, “why?” is the only thing to say. Sometimes “why?” is all that is available to say. Many times, I think the Lord is waiting on me to ask, “why?” so that He can reveal His glory to me— the awe of His presence that I so often overlook in search of my own happiness. I spoke with a wise friend about the “why?” situation, and she shared something that made my heart jump at the prospect: God can use the why situations to grow us in ways we couldn’t grow otherwise. Woah, watch out, “grow”, I know, what everyone wants to do (sarcastic “psh” echoed). Maybe it was how precious this friend is, she can talk about spoiled milk and I’d beg to drink it— but it was more than her enthusiasm. I have asked the Lord to mold me into a woman of character in my prayers for quite a while now, and perhaps this is the first throw on the wheel. Paul writes the the Corinthians about distress, and while it was written to their worries about him in jail, I still gleaned some applicability to my measly, collegiate life:

Distress that drives us to God does that. It turns us around. It gets us back in the way of salvation. We never regret that kind of pain. But those who let distress drive them away from God are full of regrets, end up on a deathbed of regrets.

And now, isn’t it wonderful all the ways in which this distress has goaded you closer to God? You’re more alive, more concerned, more sensitive, more reverent, more human, more passionate, more responsible.

2 Corinthians 7:10 (The Message)

That’s all I’ve got at this point. Hopefully he won’t stop there with me.