life has been crazy and busy and wonderfully full, which is why it’s been rather difficult to update in the past three weeks or so. but here’s a rundown of everything awesome that’s been going on, in no particular order.
1.) college mentors.
it’s been a great year so far. ben and i are the only male mentors for seventh grade, but we make a good team and it’s been a blast leading with him. the boys are crazy, but they’re beginning to get comfortable around each other, and i’m actually starting to see some growth in maturity, which is both a relief and really cool to see in action. we’ve done lots of fun things. a few weeks back we did a photo scavenger hunt across the campus, and the guys really seemed to like it.
it’s great when we can give them activities that allow them to run around and be crazy. we had a halloween party two weeks ago, and we painted paper plates, did some mummifying, and even got to get into the face paint! it was a blast!
please note that the above two pictures were taken after i said “hey, look at the camera and smile!” the results aren’t unusual for these guys. it seems to be a pattern with all the buddies in our group.
but man, they’re awesome. plus, i get to hang out with this stud:
2.) reading when we get it wrong by dominic smart. this is easily one of the best books i’ve ever read. it’s based on a series of talks smart gave to a bunch of seminary students on the life of peter and drawing parallels between his failures and ours, and how the Lord intentionally uses them to draw us closer to Himself and grow our relationships with Him. i’m sure i’ll be doing some individual entries on this material, because it’s just so good!
“Now this is something about the love of God that we need to grasp. There is a relentless severity about His mercy, a clarity of purpose about His transforming grace that will not be distracted. If you follow Him with all your heart, He will have you right, though it will pain you enormously. It sounds inconceivable in these self-sensitive days when therapy must glow pleasantly, but like a surgeon, Jesus would rather hurt you to have you well, than gently indulge you as you sink into a spiritual coma.”
the Lord has been faithful to remind me that my discipleship to Him is not based in anything that i have done or try to do, but rather in the perfect discipleship that Jesus had in submission to the Father’s will. that’s part of what it means to be “in Christ” (another entry i’m working on) – that i can rest in Jesus’ perfect pursuit of the Father. it’s really cool stuff. more on that later.
3.) youth group.
yep, those are real swords. this semester robert, adam, and i have been taking the guys through a book called do hard things, which is about rebelling against the low expectations society has set for teenagers. one of our earliest discussions was about success – not just how it’s defined by the world (aka: make lots of money), but what it means to be a successful christian man. robert has a friend named david who forges swords for a living (he’d be too humble to tell you, but he designed and created the gate keeper’s sword in the movie thor. no big deal, right?) and he agreed to come in and talk to the guys about what it looks like to use the gifts that God gave us to glorify Him, and to create and cultivate within society instead of only conforming and consuming.
it was a great message, and it came from a true man of God. david speaks with passion and authenticity, and every word is soaked in humility and an accurate view of God’s holy and incredible mercy. plus at the end we got to play around with some swords. like, real swords. that he forged. because he’s a swordsmith.
don’t worry, we had a hold-only, no-swinging rule. everyone was alive when the night was over. but some of the boys were legitimately considering asking their parents for swords for christmas.
4.) i got a new phone! it’s a basic flip phone, and it is the best ever. mainly because now i can receive messages from people who, you know, need to get in touch with me. i love it.
5.) dinner with jessica!
this past week jessica and i brought our wits together and came up with some great ideas for a meal that included pasta salad, some delicious baked chicken, corn casserole, and fruit salad (my contribution… i was rather proud of it. took a lot more work than i anticipated, but was easier to make than i expected… does that even make sense?)
we felt daring and decided to make some apple dessert braid or something from pinterest. it took a lot of work and i ended up defecting and making my own apple-bread-bowl thing. it was really good.
any time with jessica is always well spent. it was good to catch up on life and talk about things that were great and things that sucked and what things look like in the future (hazy for both of us). jessica’s the kind of friend i can count on to be authentic. she says what she thinks and doesn’t apologize for it, which is really cool. i wish i was more like that.
6.) nanowrimo! it stands for national novel writing month (aka: november), and it’s one of the reasons i’ve been slacking in updating the blog. nanowrimo is a push for writers to use november to basically write a 50,000 word novel. it’s connected with an online community, but writers are able to send in their zipcode so they can connect with other writers in their area who have signed up. encouraging emails are sent out, there’s a mutual accountability among writers, and there’s no sense of superiority at all.
the purpose is to specifically not edit any of your writing; that can be done in december and january. the purpose is just to get the words down onto paper (or computer) so that they actually exist. i’d heard about it before, but this is the first year i’ve decided to try it out. so far it’s been really cool. there’s a goal of about 1700 words per day, which is demanding, and i doubt that i’ll reach the 50,000 mark by the end of november, but i see it as an awesome chance to grow in my ability as a writer, as well as a chance to advance the plot of my novel!
i’m actually expanding a short story i wrote in high school for a writing competition that i entered. it had to be less that 4500 words, so it’s been an interesting process stretching that into something with enough substance to stay captivating over 50,000 words. i think what i’ll be doing is posting a chapter of my original short story every few days to make up for the entries that will undoubtedly be lost (but only this month!). hopefully it’ll give you a picture of what my novel’s about!
until then, something i haven’t done for a while. three things i’m thankful for:
1.) free hours to write and blog.
2.) unexpected and wonderful phone conversations with Mom.
3.) the ability to read and write.