My London Adventure

“Because Texans May Not Understand”

For the record, the title comes from my theater teacher. He was joking. He was instructing my two classmates who were reading some lines for the class to speak loudly and clearly because “the Texans may not understand.” But, it’s a fitting title, I think. And it’s my blog, so I can.

I saw a Buzzfeed post yesterday about 45 Reasons to Live Abroad. It has things like “learn a new language” and “learn to direct tourists.” And it has “to get lost and be okay with it.”

And let me tell you, you never really get to be okay with being lost, but you do find pretty cool stuff. And you do a lot of learning. For example, during that awful Tube Rally (just in case anyone cares, I’m 94.376% sure I’m still harboring some animosity toward that whole day), on our way home we walked home. And a few weeks later we were in the same place, and I can’t tell you where that is on a map, or even probably get back there, but I did know how to get home. And we walked home.

But, as this week will attest, getting lost is not always fun. Or productive. (I think it’s called latent learning in psychology, but don’t quote me on that.)

The other night, we attended a show in what I will refer to as Sketch London. It was about forty minutes away from here by bus. So, seven of us leave in a group and get on the bus like our teacher told us and get off where we were supposed to, at about 6:50, in plenty of time to make the 7:30 show. And we proceeded to wander around for 45 minutes. We walked up and down the same street forever.

On the upside, we did meet some nice bartenders in Sketch London. They gave us directions that would have helped if we had walked a little further up this road.

When we finally showed up, late, I was not impressed by the play. It was not worth the 40 minutes of walking around in the cold and being grumpy.

It was called Don Gil of the Green Breeches. It was a Spanish Golden Age play. And it was almost the same as The Importance of Being Earnest. And that meant the walk through Sketch London was not worth it. I mean, it was nice, but I was in such a terrible mood, I couldn’t enjoy it.

Anyway. The other thing living in London teaches you is to be assertive. You won’t get anywhere if you don’t learn you just need to go.

For example, in the Tube, if you let everyone and his dog get on the escalator, especially during rush hour, you are going nowhere. Period. Everyone has somewhere to be and you have to go or you’ll never get anywhere. In the same way, there are these crosswalks (they are the only places pedestrians have the right of way) and cars stop if you’re there or walking or whatever. But if you don’t step out, and try to cross the street, you are going to be hanging out on that block for a while. There is no room for being shy in London (I also don’t think there’s room for all the people here, but that’s a different story).

Being lost and assertive. Two lessons in London.

College Lessons and Things

College Lesson 35: Remember What’s Important

This week, Colten was diagnosed with Leukemia. And all of a sudden, there were much bigger things to deal with than finals. They just didn’t seem as important. Now, don’t be confused. I still studied and did well. No worries there. But it just seemed miniscule as compared to cancer.

This reminded me that the most important thing in life isn’t the right letter on a piece of paper or even the piece of paper I’ll get at the end of four years. Suddenly, making sure Colten was okay, making sure that Colten had every chance to get better, was more important.

And it illustrated the importance of prayer.

There was nothing I could do from here. Nothing I could bring him and no way for me to fix it. Nothing to make it less scary for him. Nothing to say to comfort him. Nothing but sitting here and praying, because God’s got it. It’s covered. And things are going to work out okay.

That helped me get through this week. Knowing that even though praying was all I could do, I was doing it. And then I remembered that Colten wouldn’t want me to do poorly because I was worrying about him. So kept him in my thoughts and kept doing well.

College Lessons and Things

College Lesson #33: Don’t Let Perfection Paralyze You

The lady who came to speak to us in Chapel last week talked to us about a lot of stuff.

She told us that all her life she was a perfectionist, because she thought the if she managed to keep everything together, and everything looked good on the outside, everything would be okay. And in her trying to make things perfect, she missed some of the important things. One day, she was driving and got into a car accident and was paralyzed from the chest down.

And she realized that her life now is fuller than it ever was. And she told us to not let the “ideal perfection” paralyze us.

I think that is an important sentiment for everyone. Sometimes, we want everything to work out just the way we want and we get so caught up, we get stuck. How frequently do you start a project and decide that it wasn’t working out like you planned and you just stop and decide you’ll work on it later? Does it ever really get done? Why do you think that is?

It’s because we glorify perfection. But, if you finished, what would you learn?

Don’t get me wrong, I love when things work out the way I plan, but sometimes they don’t. And instead of getting caught up on the little things, we need to accept it and move on. Sometimes, what you think was wrong will  grow on you. Or you’ll learn something new. What people used to think were failures are now super important. And sometimes, what we thing is really super important, really isn’t a big deal.

Perfection can paralyze us. It can stop us from doing what needs to happen. Don’t let it.

College Lessons and Things

College Lesson #32: Be Present Here and Now

Today was probably the best chapel we’ve had all year, in my opinion. Even more than that, I think it was what I needed to hear.

Today we had Sarah Thebarge come speak to us in chapel. Let me tell you her story:

She had it all planned out. She wanted to be a medical journalist for a big newspaper or a magazine. When she finished her undergrad, she decided she wanted two master’s degrees: one in medical science and one in journalism because she believed this would make her the most competitive in her field. She was accepted to Yale. After graduating, she wanted to go report on the health system in Africa. She was dating a guy and they were making plans to get married. She had everything she could want.

She went to the doctor and was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had surgery and the cancer was removed and the doctor told her there was no chance of it coming back. When she went back for a follow-up, they found that it had come back and it was more aggressive. She had more surgery and started chemo but she had to put everything else on hold. And everything pretty much fell apart.

When she got done with chemo, she got sick with pneumonia. When she was finally got out of the hospital, she decided there was nothing left for her in Connecticut and sold all of her stuff and flew to Portland.

When she got there, she had only a suitcase of clothes.

One day she was riding the train, and a lady with two young girls got on the bus. The younger of the two was very tired and crawled into Sarah’s lap and proceeded to pass out. She was worried the mom would think she was trying to take her daughter, so she started a conversation with the lady. The lady, who did not speak English very well, told her that they were refugees from Somalia and she had five daughters under the age of nine.

When they got off, the lady left Sarah with her address. A few days late, she went over there and found that this family had nothing. The girls didn’t really have clothes except what they were wearing, there was no furniture or food. So she decided, as a human being, she was going to help this family. Her church helped and she managed to get the girls real shoes and clothes and food. She spent a lot of time with them, a few nights a week, teaching them about America and helping them with their school work.

And she decided to help send these girls to college, so she wrote a book.

When the book was put together, she looked over the first manuscript and felt something missing. There was nothing about her character to explain why she decided to help this family. And that’s when she realized that while they were very different, they were the same. They were both refugees of sorts and they both wanted to start over. So, while she was helping them, she realized they were helping her.


She taught us a lot today, actually. It was a really great story.

She talked about how broken she felt and how many pieces she felt like her life was in and that God came in and put it together in a way that she never imagined.  She never got to go to Africa, but she met this Somali family. She never wrote for a newspaper or magazine, but she put her writing skills to use and wrote a book.

Her first thing was this: Bad things happen. And we’re not going to like them. But good is going to come from it. And we’re going to get through it, and we’ll be better on the other side.

Her next thing was that God uses the broken. First she talked about the Pharisees, whom Jesus did not like; they “lived in their heads and not their hearts.” She talked about Paul and his transformation from a persecutor of Christians to a man who proclaimed the Gospel. And Sarah and Elizabeth, who were well beyond child-bearing age. God took them and blessed them with sons who He used to change the world.

Her last thing was that when God uses us to change the world, he changes us first.

And then she made one of the coolest connections I have ever heard in my life. Jesus talks about His people being His vessels. And Jesus is called the Living Water. And we’re broken. And this Living Water wells up and fills us and then spills over into the people around us.

Sometimes, we need to slow down and live in the now, and we forget that. Sometimes we’re too busy with planning for the future. We’re too busy worrying about what’s next. And God has a way of slowing us down and saying, “I got that, I need you here.” If Sarah had decided she was too busy to visit this family, she would never have been able to help them. And she would never felt the love and experienced the healing the gave her. And that was His plan.

Here and now there is a plan for all of our lives and our struggles are nothing with God on our side. Because He’s got the big plan already figured out. He just needs us to listen. And be here.

Daily Prompt


Today’s Daily Prompt is to write about a time when everything seemed to be going wrong and then you knew it would be okay. I have those on a regular basis. Here’s what they have taught me.

In this life, there are times when everything seems unbearably hard and like nothing is going to work out. As a college student, that happens all the time; more often than I’d care to admit, I think.

The thing that I have found to help me the most is to stop worrying. Sometimes, things are just out of our control and we have to understand that is the end of it.

That paper I should have started a month ago, got done, but I know it wasn’t perfect. That test I should  have studied for, it didn’t go very well. And that’s okay (though, not consistently, because I hear grades are important; so you really should try). At some point, you have to let go and recognize that, it’s done. Do better next time. Learn something about yourself. But move on.

I have days where I feel awful and like nothing is gonna get done and I’m not going anywhere, but if I think about it, the important things are taken care of. I have enough food; I have a roof over my head; I have the things I need. At some point, on every one of these days, it finally occurs to me that, somethings just don’t really matter. And when I hit that point, I know everything is going to be okay.

At some point, it also clicks that as rough as some days are, they will make wonderful stories at some point. One day, I’m going to laugh at how ridiculous it is that I worried about that thing or that person or that rule because they always seem so important at the time. And good stories are important.

Perks of Being a Wallflower One of my favorite movies, ever.
Pictures and Stuff


Hey guys. I hope everyone had a good weekend. Today’s Monday, I know. I don’t do Mondays very well.

Today though, try something different: Monday is the start of the new week so try to start the week positive. Besides, if you waste every Monday waiting for it to not be Monday, you miss a seventh of every year. That’s 52 days a year. Almost two months. Go do something good and make it a good Monday!