29 December, 2010
25 December, 2010
Pastor Ray: I want you all to give me your best sheep soundChildren: BaaaaPastor Ray: You guys are not baaaad. Now let's hear your best cow soundChildren: MooooPastor Ray: I think there might have been some donkeys too... (etc.)
19 December, 2010
I call youFrom the comet's cradleI found youTrembling by yourselfWhen the night fallsLightly on your right-wing shoulderWonderful know-it-allSlightly where the night gets colder
18 December, 2010
17 December, 2010
Call your grandma on the phoneIf she's living all aloneTell her Jesus Christ is hereTell her she has none to fearIf she's crying on the phoneTell her you are coming home
13 December, 2010
Lo! How a rose e'er bloomingFrom tender stem hath sprungOf Jesse's lineage comingAs those of old have sungIt came, a flowereth brightAmid the cold of winterWhen half-spent was the nightIsaiah twice foretold itThe rose I have in mindAnd so when we behold itThe Virgin Mother kindTo show God's love arightShe bore to us a saviorWhen half-spent was the night
Into this silent nightas we make our weary waywe know not where,just when the nightbecomes its darkestand we cannot see our pathjust thenis when the angels rush in,their hands full of stars.- Ann Weems
10 December, 2010
09 December, 2010
07 December, 2010
I’m warning you now; this is going to be a long post…
On Friday night, I had a surprise visit from my friend Ra, who I went to George Fox with. Ra did Mission Year last year in
Saturday was our Christmas party for the Georgia Justice Project. It was held at a big, beautiful church in downtown
For the Christmas party, I was in charge of a walk-on nativity play. My roommates Emily and Maureen came to help out. We recruited about ten children to be in our play. When it was time for them to get their costumes on, we announced for the children in the play to come to the front. About twice as many came up and wanted to be in it. So we quickly dressed them in costumes; we had Mary and Joseph, Shepherds, Angels, and Wise Men. Emily slowly read the Nativity Story from Luke and the children were supposed to walk across the stage and act out their parts. But children are children, and they ended up just all standing together in the middle of the stage, looking confused. It was chaotic but absolutely adorable! I think all of the children had a lot of fun! I took a lot of pictures, so I hope you enjoy them!
December 4 Sufjan Stevens Christmas Song of the Day:
The Child with the Star on His Head from Astral Inter Planet Space Captain Christmas Volume VIII
At the GJP Christmas party, I got to meet one of our attorney’s 8-month-old son. He was adorable and he had a big yellow star sticker on his forehead. For the rest of the day, I had this song stuck in my head. You can listen to it here. I really like this song, as it urges us to get back to the story of Jesus. In this post-postmodern, technologically advanced society, people think they have everything figured out. We have gotten caught up in all of these worldly things (Sufjan lists the world of sports, dictionaries, and television, among others), but these things are empty. The lyrics beautifully depict that there is something more to life and Jesus provides that for us.
Why crawl around in the snow
When you know I am right here
Waiting for you to expect something more?
For I am warm, I am calling you close to my table
Where I have made us a feast
For the year of troubles, they have gone
The winter brings a Christmas song
It’s quite a long song, complete with drums, electric guitar, trumpets and a bit of piano. It gets quite chaotic in the middle, but is kept steady by Sufjan’s singing. Towards the end he truly gets into the “Astral Inter Planet Space Captain” side of his music. The last three minutes make me feel as if I’m about to get on
December 5 Sufjan Stevens Christmas Song of the Day:
Oh Holy Night from Ding! Dong! Songs for Christmas Volume III
Oh Holy Night is my favorite Christmas carol. But that’s not why I chose it as the song of the day. My roommates and I were in the car this weekend, listening to Christmas songs. As soon as this song came on, we all started singing together. As we sang the second verse, I was reminded of what Mission Year is all about and why I chose this lifestyle:
Truly He taught us to love one another
His law is love and His gospel is peace
Chains shall he break, for the slave is our brother
And in His name all oppression shall cease
And Sufjan has done a beautiful rendition of this classic. You can listen to it here. He starts off with a simple with a banjo and voices, and slowly adds instruments as the song progresses. I love the chorus of voices, not perfectly in sync with one another, but instead letting their individuality show through. It serves as another reminder that we are all called to put our differences aside and come together in celebration of Christ.
December 6 Sufjan Stevens Christmas Song of the Day:
Hey Guys! It’s Christmas Time! from Joy: Songs for Christmas Volume IV
The name of this song is often proclaimed in our house as a constant reminder; it’s Christmas time! Don’t forget! Be joyful! Be excited! And let me tell you, my roommates and I are excited! We have been listening to Christmas music nonstop, have gone to Christmas tree lightings, have been drinking cocoa, and are even making our own Christmas stockings! Sufjan’s excited too! He reminisces of what Christmas time means to a child; it means looking at Christmas lights and staying up late (for me, this means writing an excessive amount of posts about Christmas music). You can listen to the song here. Sufjan reminds us that Christmas is a time for tradition, a time for romance, and a time for dreaming.
December 7 Sufjan Stevens Christmas Song of the Day:
Once in Royal David’s City from Peace: Songs for Christmas Volume V
The first week I was in
With Love, from
03 December, 2010
December 3 Sufjan Stevens Christmas Song of the Day
O Come, O Come Emmanuel from Ding! Dong! Songs for Christmas Volume III
I love Sufjan’s take on this traditional Christmas hymn. I chose it for you today mostly because it was stuck in my head when I woke up. You can listen to it here! O Come, O Come Emmanuel was originally sung in Latin in the Roman Catholic Church and is believed to have been written in the 9th century. It is the oldest Christmas carol that is still sung today. The original seven verses represent the different Biblical views of the Messiah; this version does away with the verses and gets right down to the heart of the matter – we are to rejoice!! It’s short, but it’s beautiful. Sufjan released this song on his first, third, and fifth Christmas volumes, and this version is by far my favorite one. I love the beautiful piano followed by the harmony of a cappella voices encouraging us to rejoice!
I won’t have internet this weekend, so I will post songs for you on Monday. I hope you have a beautiful weekend!
With Love, from Atlanta
02 December, 2010
It is always difficult to live in a place of brokenness. This week has been especially difficult for our team, as we are seeing first-hand some of the unfortunate things that go on in our neighborhood. I ask that you would keep our team in your prayers this week as we try to process through some of our new experiences. Also, leave a comment if you have any prayer requests!
This has been the first exceptionally chilly week here in Atlanta. It finally feels like winter, but in a dark, rainy, dreary sort of way. Maybe I’ve just forgotten what Winter in
December 2 Sufjan Stevens Christmas Song of the Day:
Sister Winter from the album Peace: Songs for Christmas Volume V, which was released in 2005
This is by far one of my favorite Sufjan songs. You can listen to it here! The song captures the spirit of the entire month of December, marked by a chilling but beautiful blend of piano and strings. The beginning is solemn, but filled with anticipation for things to come. As the song continues on, the mood begins to lighten until everything is overflowing with excitement and joy. And that’s exactly how I feel today – captured by the chilly weather, but looking excitedly toward the holiday festivities that will soon be knocking at my door!
I hope wherever you are, you are staying nice and warm! Enjoy this lovely winter day!
With Love, from
01 December, 2010
No gifts to give, they're all right hereInside our hearts the glorious cheerAnd in the house we see a lightThat comes from what we know insideI'll come to you, I'll sing to youLike it's Christmas in the roomI'll dance with you, I'll laugh with youUntil it's Christmas in the room
29 November, 2010
This was officially the longest weekend ever – five days! We celebrated Thanksgiving with our neighbor, Gloria. She had my roommates and me over for dinner. Instead of watching the game, we listened to Michael Jackson and Aretha Franklin and danced the electric slide. It was unlike any Thanksgiving I’ve ever had, but was a lot of fun!
A couple of other things we have done lately: went ice skating in Centennial Park, sang in the church choir at a funeral, went to several Thanksgiving potlucks, went to Atlantic Station to see the lighting of a giant Christmas tree, decorated the neighborhood coffee shop and thrift store for Christmas, went to a Thrasher’s hockey game (they won!)
We woke up Sunday morning to a freezing house; our heat had gone off in the middle of the night and it was only 45°. We’re not quite sure what’s wrong with it and are hoping to get it fixed sometime today. In the meantime, we’ve borrowed some space heaters from our neighbors and have been bundling up! In light of the Thanksgiving holiday, I’ve been thinking a lot of what I am thankful for. Of course there’s the usual answers (family, friends, health, etc.), but since I’ve been in Mission Year, I’ve realized there are a lot of things I had at home that I took for granted. I’ve realized these things either because they are something I’ve had to do without, or something one of my neighbors does not have. So here are ten things Mission Year has made me extremely thankful for:
- air conditioning
- running water
- a washer and dryer in my house
- a car, gas, and the ability to go wherever I want, whenever I want
- enough money to buy organic and high quality food
- a dishwasher
- the resources and ability to visit family for the holidays
- constant access to technology (TV, movies, computers, internet, phones)
I urge you to think on these things, to realize that people in our own country (in my own neighborhood) live without these things, and to be appreciative of all the blessings God has given you!
With Love, from
26 November, 2010
A part of Mission Year is neighborhood outreach, so I’ve felt a lot of pressure to have already built some deep relationships around my neighborhood. The truth is, I’ve met a lot of people in the neighborhood, but none that I’ve really felt a deep connection with. I’ve been really discouraged about this lately because I’ve felt like I’m missing out on an important part of Mission Year. This week, one of my roommates asked me what my favorite part of Mission Year has been so far. I thought about it for a while and I really think the best part is my housemates! I started thinking and remembered the part of Mission Year that I was originally most excited for: living in intentional community. This facet of Mission Year is just as important as neighborhood outreach. When I first heard I was going to be on an all-female “Amazon Women” team, I started to prepare myself for lots of drama; girls are notoriously dramatic! But we haven’t had any drama so far, and I’m not too sure we will have much at all. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve had a couple conflicts, and will definitely have more, but we have all been eager and willing to approach conflict maturely and discuss our problems, rather than argue. I feel so comfortable with and accepted by these girls that I know they will be respectful of any issues I might have. We’ve only been here for three months but I already feel as if they’re my family. They’ve been here to learn with me, cry with me, pray with me, and laugh with me.
23 November, 2010
Oh come, let us sing unto the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto Him with psalms. For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In His hand are the deep places of the earth; the strength of the hills is His also. The sea is His, and He made it; His hands formed the dry land. Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our maker.Psalm 95:1-6The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you or forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.Deuteronomy 31:8
19 November, 2010
Monday nights are our team’s “family night.” This week, we went to the Atlanta Underground for a scavenger hunt! Maureen and I were partners and went around the mall, searching for silly things like crazy sunglasses, giant baseballs, things you would wear to prom, or something to take on a safari. It was so much fun!
This week at work, we’ve been preparing for Thanksgiving. UPS is donating a bunch of food for us to give to our clients and their families, so they can have a full Thanksgiving meal. We will be separating the food into different boxes and delivering them to clients. My job has been to decorate the boxes. So, along with a little help from my roommates, I made 36 holiday wreaths that say, “Enter With a Thankful Heart.” Colyn and I then wrapped the boxes in brown paper and attached the wreaths, so they are all ready when UPS delivers the food. It was a nice change to be able to do crafts instead of paperwork!
Now I am enjoying my Sabbath at SIP, an adorable little coffee shop near Lindbergh Center with good music, free Internet and delicious coffee. I hope you are enjoying your Friday as much as I am!
From Atlanta, with Love