a new thing

Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness

and rivers in the desert.   -Isaiah 43:19

…a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert…the Lord is a trailblazer. Talk about creativity and ingenuity. As I’m starting to write papers and tackle midterms, I remind myself over and over, like a broken record, that it is the Lord who empowers me to accomplish these tasks at all.

Matt and I have been talking about what it looks like to be students again (he’s in seminary now) and when things feel overwhelming we know that his only requirement of us is to make a good faith effort in all that we do. And HE will make the way when we can’t see it.

I love the ‘rivers in the desert’, because what desert has a lush, flowing river, filled with life running through it? Our desert, his river. And he calls it a new thing…something he’s never done before, something he does especially for you.

I’m enjoying the discovery of what he’s doing for me. It springs forth. He says it will jump out in front of me, so don’t miss it. I’ve got my eyes wide open Lord, not wanting to let your glory pass by unaware.

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Gathering

Last night we had our first dinner gathering in Oxford. To me, a gathering implies more than just us and a couple other people. It’s  a place to weave friends together in your own life but also to make new connections for them. So last night, we had 8 friends over with a big pot of soup. I love people spending time together over good food. It draws them out.

It was fun. Kim and Maggie are co-workers at a local cafe who’ve never met eachother before. And Allison met Jonathon, her Jimmy John’s hero! We learned about Nicole’s Annie Oakley skills. And caught our lawn on fire (we now have a permanent fire pit spot). And broke a glass. And drowned our speakers in a sink full of water. One of my professor’s evidently believes it’s not a good party unless something gets broken…so our friends helped us have a great party!

And did I mention the food was good? A simple version of Zuppa Toscana (an Olive Garden fav, but I think mine’s better). Here’s how it goes:

half a pack of bacon, cooked and chopped

pack of sausage (breakfast/spicy), cooked

1-2 onions, chopped

2-3 cloves garlic

maybe 5 cups broth an 5 cups water

5 or so potatoes, sliced

salt and pepper

half a bunch of kale, chopped

cup of heavy whipping cream

So, you cook the meat, chop it, and set it aside. In a stockpot, heat some olive oil and then toss in your onions and garlic for a couple minutes. Next, add the broth/water and potatoes, wait for it to heat to a medium simmer and let it go for about 10 min, when the potatoes should be starting to get tender. Add some salt and pepper and the meats and simmer another 10 min. Add the kale until it wilts a little and then top it off with the cream. Mix it in and warm, then serve.

Our pot o’ soup fed 10, served in coffee mugs with sides of salad, bread and butter, and a creamy parmesan baguette. Of course, there was red wine. And topped off the night with pumpkin mousse and grahams. And a warm fire that burned our lawn. What a great night to fill our house and celebrate the people who are joining our journey in this life.

The Right Place to Be

The Classic First Day of School Pic

Yup. That’s me and my wheels on the first day of school. I remember dreading my mom with the camera when I was a kid, especially when I got to high school and she was snapping shots of us at 6:30am. Not this year. Instead, there I was making sure Matt would document me as I rode off into the dawn of my graduate school career. The bike and I have become good buddies these first 2 weeks, riding up hill both ways (I’m serious) in perpetual 92 degree weather.

After 2 years of holding on to the dream, then 5 months of waiting for it to come, I’ve arrived at the much awaited graduate school experience. Some highlights…

10. It’s hard to fit everything you need for the day in your backpack (including your lunchbox).

9. Jenny, the librarian, and I are going to be good friends. It’s legit…she’s helping me research 19th century libraries.

8. The speed reading class I took in high school is not paying off.

7. 2.5 miles up hill each way by bike is my bargain version of spin class at the rec center.

6. Finding that work/life balance is an art at every stage in life.

5. Joined the office water club. It’s now my ritual to stop at the restroom both before and after class.

4. Getting old is much more complex than we think.

3. It’s best to get your first mental/emotional breakdown out of the way early. Check.

2. I love spending time in the fresh air, on a bench, under branches of ancient trees, reading…and calling it work.

1. This is exactly where I’m meant to be.

Another highlight: God has been sweet to us during this time of transition. Matt and I have made fast friends with the Hunters, Maggie and Jonathan. They moved to Oxford to take care of Jonathan’s grandma who lives down the street from us, and they’ll be our neighbors come spring. It’s fun to do life with them on a real level and just hang out often. And our duplex-neighbors are great to share life (and a wall) with! Graziella is French but we speak German together (my first practice after 4 years), and her sweet singing fills my soul as I sit on the back patio. Her child-like faith blows my adult faith out of the water. I think she’ll help me be young again.

So that’s me, 9 days in and I haven’t packed up and gone home. It’s hard to feel like there’s a lot to learn, but I suppose that’s the right place to be.