Monday, August 31, 2009

The Beginning

This morning I looked out my little basement window and decided that, like the other days of the past week, the morning might look cloudy and rainy but soon the sun will peek out and shine joy all around.

I thought about what to wear to my first day of classes, and knew I had made a brilliant plan last night but couldn't remember what it was. Finally it came back: red shoes! Sadly, this plan became impossible, as my white shirt is in the laundry basket. Plan B became a purple shirt and black flats that click when I walk. I'll be changing those shoes before my next class.

I got hugs and high-fives from the little boys I live with, ran out the door, and leaped down the stairs to the sidewalk. I thought I wanted a upbeat, high tempo song to pump me up, but ended up listening to Tim sing about joyfully not being able to wait. There is a mist in the air, that at first makes you wonder if you're being rained on, but then you realize that instead it's a cool, wet breath pressing on your face. The tops of the high evergreens are surrounded by fog, and it's a very Pacific Northwest morning.

The class itself was more of an overview of how to do the work and take the class, but that didn't change the fact that it was revolutionary, beginning something new. It happened -- I started -- I'm a college student.


Music, music everywhere!

These are my lovely friends Christina and Chelsea, singing to me at my goodbye party. Christina and I have the sort of friendship where my heart just gets so full of love for her, and I'm reminded to look back at Jesus and say "You! You did this...thank you." There are just those people that you know Jesus set you up with, and Christina is one of those people in my life. We always talk about Jesus, and we laugh together, and we're still growing to know each other more with 2,000 miles between us. She said the grand goal of this song was to make me both laugh and cry in the process of one chord progression. It happened! Congratulations, girls...

Plus, don't they have the prettiest voices you've ever heard?


I just wanted to say that Amy is doing a give-away of Bethany Dillon's new cd! I only got my first cd of Bethany's a few months ago (even though I knew some of her songs already), and every time I listened to it, I just kept thinking that she would fit so well as a worship leader at IHOP! That's a set I want to be in. :)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Google Calendar is my friend

Click on the picture to see it bigger and know what I'm doing every moment of every day. Should this be on the interwebs?

I'm beginning to feel like my life is defined by various shades of blue, red, and one very burnt orange.

Classes mean studying, and music means practicing, and once everything adds up, I find myself scheduling every moment of my day. The yellow you see above is committed time to studying (and yes, I know I'll need more than that -- this schedule is still a work in progress). If you notice, the purple-ish colored boxes are labeled simply "Jesus". I HAVE to get time with him, or I will burn out in exactly 2.5 seconds. I think I'm even going to give myself set time to be on facebook or blogs, and I was planning on working in one mid-week nap, but the chance of that is looking slim. When I was working on this last night, I totally forgot about needing to schedule in work, which is a pretty bad thing to forget to schedule. Also, piano lesson. I should e-mail my teacher and say: "Sorry, my only available time for a lesson in Sunday morning at 6am. Work for you?"

I'm currently desperate to listen to Mike's Power of a Focused Life message, so as to jumpstart myself in this. Well, by the colors above, you can tell I've kind of already jumpstarted.

Using Google Calendar makes me happy. Something about the colors, and feeling like everything is organized, and figuring out the best way to alert myself to Chloe's birthday only being a week away... On my backpacking trip we had to share "guilty pleasures"; mine was reading Real Simple. Real Simple's tagline should be: "How to Make Everything in Your Life Perfect." Actually, it kinds of makes my perfectionism (that will's a process) manifest like crazy. That and The Container Store -- the combination of the two would be scary.

Any tips on my schedule? New color to add? Schedule time to drink coffee? Actually a little "you will survive this" comment would be great right now, thanks.

**Also, if you look closely in the picture, the tab next to the Calendar is labeled "How to take a screenshot..." I put effort into my blogs. :)**

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The update of all updates

Pardon my partial absence from the blog for the past few days...starting a whole new life takes a little bit of time and energy. I intend to catch you up though, worry not.

A good portion of that energy was spent on a backpacking trip in the Olympic mountains. To orient you, here's a map:

So I live in Tacoma (see bottom right of map) and I hiked a mountain somewhere in the Olympic National Park. (I think...maybe we were in "Quilcene". I know we were in the actual park at some point). It's part of Orientation for school -- you get split into little groups, based on what activity you chose to do. I opted for backpacking in the mountains (a two-night trip), and got paired with a fun group, led by people who I now owe my life to. I mean, I wouldn't dare venture off on the side of a mountain and then sleep in the cold forest all by myself, but my leader Kevin is pretty much the outdoor expert at the college, and I'm alive.

As the name implies, we packed a ton of stuff into backpacks. There were all sorts of requirements: No Cotton, long underwear, fleece, summerweight wool, and the phrase "near-freezing temperatures" was thrown around as if it was as light as a badmitton birdie. I wasn't totally sure what to expect.

I got up early, said goodbye to my dad. (my dad came to make sure I was all settled here in Tacoma - WHAT A BLESSING! It was amazing; I'm so glad he came. He bought me nice things for my room to make it home and just totally blessed me being here) I boarded a bus, which proved to not be quite so simple as it sounds. Imagine me with a huge backpack on. Oh wait, here's a picture:

Okay, so we take off from the college, but as we get on the highway, we slowly begin to catch on that something's wrong because, well, we're going 35 in a 55 mile zone. 35 begins to turn into 25, which eventually turns into 15, and we start switching between driving in the breakdown lane and in normal traffic. Eventually a different bus has to come get us (after dropping off it's passengers at base camp). It was a hurdle, but we all made it. Throughout the rest of the trip, random things with my group kept going different than expected. We had to turn back on our first day and ended up camping at a different campsite than planned and switching our hike plans, and when we finally finished our trail at the end of the last day, our van (which was waiting for us at the end of the trail) wouldn't start! We tried to jump it

but it was actually, truly broken. Our leader got a ride down the main highway to get cellphone service, then sat there for an hour waiting for a new van to come pick us up. Adventure after adventure...

The hike itself was beautiful, and unlike anything I've ever done before. We didn't really do outdoors while I was growing up, so strapping on hiking boots and being in the woods was a fairly new experience. It was somewhat exhausting and my legs are still sore and stiff, but man was it cool. Our first real day of hiking was pretty much 5 miles straight uphill. It was really cloudy and foggy, so we couldn't see much of the view around us. Near the top it started getting really foggy and we only had about 300 feet of visibility with which to see the view of the rocky slope six inches from our toes. It was intense [and uber cool]. We set up camp at about 8,000 feet, got to know each other better, and layered up to stay warm. Bear bags were hung (that inspires confidence right before you climb into a tent made of one-centimeter-thick fabric), and water was filtered so as to avoid giardia, which is always important.

Our first night of camping we were all fairly warm. When we were up higher, though, I was cold all night. I found it to be such a crazy phenomenon - it got so warm as I hiked that I would have been comfortable in a t-shirt, but if we stopped walking and stood still I got cold fast. It was cool to feel so hot but pull out your water and have it be ice cold. We woke up in the morning to completely clear skies and got to see the breathtaking surroundings we had no idea we were in.

At the end, I was tired, ready to be home and filthy. I didn't actually get back to my house until 11:30pm or so, but I was determined to shower right then and get clean. I don't know where exactly the smell was coming from, but my clothes, my skin, my hair...all of it needed washing. My hair got all sweaty and then got cold, which left it with this weird coated feeling. My nails had lines of dirt underneath them, so I cut them (at midnight). Oh, it was lovely to be clean and get into clean sheets.

It was such a new experience, getting dunked into a totally new community where I didn't know anyone and didn't even have the common bond of the Lord with. I found out what it's like to truly be different -- to be the only one who cared about whether or not I slept in the same tent as a boy, to never have seen Harry Potter, to never have heard the music they were singing or tried the drugs they talked about. Talk about learning! I loved having the chance to connect with God up there...there were moments literally where I would pray and everything felt easier -- emotionally, physically...Jesus met me, and Holy Spirit walked with me.

The three days went great, and I loved getting to know people -- I could tell it made a difference when I got back and walked on campus; I feel like I have a community of my own now at the school, and I am stoked about building these friendships. Yay!

I registered for classes today! I spent time looking over the classes the school offers and writing down the ones I thought sounded interesting, only to realize that I was forgetting to check whether or not they were freshman classes or upper level. When I went to meet with my advisors, we got it straightened out and after hearing my major interests, they suggested working toward International Political Economy as a major, and it sounds fascinating, so I'm taking the intro class, as well as Statistics (which will fulfill my math requirement AND perhaps come into play later for this major). My English class (which the college assigned me, after I listed it as 2nd or so on my preference list for a special required seminar) is called Sub/Urban America, and I'm not totally sure what it's about; the professor promised that people find it more interesting than they think it will, so hopefully it will turn out alright. I just hope we don't watch Edward Scissorhands (which I was forced to watch a clip of on a college visit in a class looking at suburban was icky).

I have to say I'm most excited about French! Something in me is so happy every time I hear my sister speak any French, and after I found out that she learned everything she knows in college (with no classes before), I knew I wanted to take it. Can I just say, though, that the French textbook costs a whopping $168? How crazy is that?! It comes with an online learning deal, I believe, though, which helps explain it but still...craziness. My books:

Lastly, I'm taking private piano lessons! I don't know how they will compare to this one, but the teacher was overflowingly nice and made me feel like she was excited to know me and teach me and hear me play -- I am SO EXCITED! And choir...I signed up for the general university choir. You see, these two things make my heart smile, and getting back into them will be so fun {i hope}.

I'm starting to be able to walk around campus without a map, which is good. I ate at the cafeteria for the first time today, and in true Freshman 15 (I break that, I break that! ;) style, I had a grilled cheese sandwich on white bread and french fries. Don't look at me like that, I wanted to celebrate.

Let's be honest, getting food or ordering a drink at the coffee shop and just handing over a little swipe card with a magnetic strip filled with magical points gives you a nice feeling of power. It's as if you finally can feed yourself...that or the government is shelling out money so you can eat and sit in classrooms for four years. Either way, the grilled cheese was yummy.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Welcome to the Northwest

Tonight, as we finished off a night of grilled steak and veggies at some friends' house, it began to rain.

On the way home my hosts made a comment about it looking like winter.

"Oh, is this what it's like in the winter?" says me.

"Annie, this is what it's like for the next seven months."

Oh, right. Hand me an umbrella.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

I think I became a college student today

I walked onto campus for the first time (and stylin' no less -- hiking boots and massive backpacking gear!), passed my fellow students for the first time, and actually shook hands with other Loggers. I sat there wondering: "So, am I a Logger? Will I ever actually be a Logger? Do I have to get excited about football to be a Logger?" These are the deep questions of college existence.

I may have walked in feeling like a draft horse with blinders on -- "Uhhh...I'm just going to walk on, because I have no idea how to initiate with you", but I left with a huge smile on my face. Let me tell you...I left remembering that there is something different about me. I can think and strategize to the enth degree about the best way to get the Gospel on this campus, but tonight I was reminded that -- wait a minute! -- the Holy Spirit is in me! I don't have plan encouraging statement (Mr. Collins, anyone?) or glue my smile open as far as it can go. When I talk to people, there is something different about me that they don't encounter in the next person, and His name is Holy Spirit.

I am thankful to be here, and I am thankful that I get to be out on an adventure, I have a mission, I have a purpose, and I know why I'm here. It's not about studying 3rd century Rome or re-learning Chemistry and Spanish. Nope, my whisper to the Lord this morning as I sat before the Psalms and cried (for the only time today -- victory, eh Christina?) because I just wanted to be home with my sisters and in familiar Kansas City was "Oh Jesus, this is all for You." That puts it in perspective. He will sustain me; He's already doing it.

"The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me..."

Friday, August 21, 2009

Partying It Up

Apparently I always arrive in Tacoma during wedding season. The last time I came, I got picked up by OJ, brought to the house, changed, and got dropped off at a wedding. I walked in not having seen anyone in a year and began seeing everyone I loved! The most hilarious memory of that day is that Suz and OJ couldn't come to the ceremony, so I was there without a ride to the reception. I ended up riding in Moberg's big truck, aka the Present-Mobile. Classic.

Tomorrow is my dear, dear, dear friend Callie's wedding! She is marrying one of OJ's best friends, so OJ is in town (glory hallelujah!) to stand as best man. He stopped by my house this morning with my two bags that came with him, and I nearly cried at the sight of him. I successfully choked it back, gave him a hug, and was so thankful that a piece of home is here, even just for a few days.

In other news, I still haven't walked through my campus; I might attempt that this morning. There is a Convocation Ceremony at 4 - I have no idea what that is, but hopefully there'll be cake. (Probably not).

Stay tuned for more updates from the Annie-Goes-to-College Saga.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

A nice, happy, light-hearted update

To update you all (and to make up for yesterday's tear-jerker), here I am blogging. Ta-da.

I think the most poignant indicator I've seen in myself so far that says "Annie is definitely in college" would be my menu today. I got to about 4pm and realized that all I had eaten so far was a few handfuls of goldfish (I have a bag with some left in it that I brought from Kansas City) and about eight Sour Patch kids.

After I ate my leftovers from dinner last night, Jena said to me: "How are you doing? You look a lot better!" The simplest answer was "Well, I ate dinner..."

And now here I sit, yet again offending every eating ethic (oh Tim, where are you and your nutrition tips now?!) in the book, munching on a cookies & cream chocolate bar that Amy bought me for my trip and downing a Gatorade. Let's hope this isn't a sign of the things to come.


Did you know that putting two spaces after the ending punctuation of sentences when typing is no longer deemed necessary? Apparently, it was a trend that began back when computers were Bohemoths, and now that more people have computers than have dogs, you only need one space. Want to know more cool facts? Read the IHOP typeset and form manual.


Tonight I walked into my room and thought exactly that: "Here's my room. There's my bed." I think that's a step in the right direction. I'm still living out of a suitcase (help! dresser needed!), but there's a candle on the sidetable, and that makes all the difference. I've begun doing normal things like laundry and dishes and that helps too. On the plane I was asking the Lord about this transition, and He told me to just take it one day at a time. Okay, I can do that. Whew.


Yesterday I opened my suitcase to find that my entire bottle of Heat Tamer spray poured out and was soaked up by my belongings. I just sighed about it and moved on, until today I realized that my fancy dresses were in that bag. Sure enough, I pull them out of their garment bag, and they are soaked. The white one with big blue and green flowers I was planning on wearing this Saturday to a friend's wedding had a huge spot on it. One of the amazing ladies here in Tacoma drove me around today to drop it off at the cleaners, only to discover that they can't have it done until Tuesday. That's a bummer, except I didn't really have shoes to match it anyways. My other dress will have to work. I know, this is a thrilling story for you to read. Just wait until the dust bunnies jump out and the purple dinosaur chomps them and then everyone flies away.

{{{{who's still reading??}}}}


Today one of the wives who was in Kansas City a few weeks ago picked me up to help me figure out all the stuff I need for my hiking trip. There were just so many layers of fleece and wool and long underwear and bandanas that I just didn't have. She took me to her house and handed over all her hiking gear, and I just stood there while she found the bug spray and got out the rain gear and loved me so well. Thank you Jesus for Paulette.


Lastly, I haven't cried in two and a half hours. Sweet victory.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I moved.

I'm here. I'm alive. And I've been crying.

Honestly, the crying caught me off guard. I have been over the moon the last few days, just blown away by how much joy the Lord had given me...When I knew I could be all weepy over leaving Kansas City and every friend that means I don't see daily, etc., I had joy! I've been excited about moving to Tacoma, and excited about what the Lord's going to do. Even through the flights today, I was smiling, and just opened the Bible and went for it. I can't tell you how many phrases I underlined, my heart totally came alive just studying.

I got picked up from the airport and somewhere on that drive it hit me: I'm here, 2,000 miles away from all those people I love. The tears started coming, and they were still hard to hold back when I got to my new, beautiful home, and I keep having these feelings of needing to prove to everyone that I really am so happy to be here, but I'm sorry, for some reason at this second I can't stop crying because, well, you don't understand, Christina is just so wonderful, and I miss the prayer room, and I want to sit in that familiar briefing room and go make copies, and I miss those little kids, and me being gone is making Katrina cry... Thankfully, all these wonderful people I adore here keep smiling and saying: "Really, it's's hard! It's a big transition, and it will just take some time."

Jesus knew exactly what I needed. A couple teams from Tacoma spent the last few weeks in Kansas City, so when I saw them here, it was like I was seeing the really familiar people. Brian was here still, and we all went out to dinner, and it was the perfect welcome-back-to-Tacoma night for me.

So I am going to take their advice (and the Lord's -- He totally spoke to this before I came, of not giving in to a pressure to be strong), and give myself a few days.

In other news, would you like to hear the funny parts of my trip here? Yes? OKAY!

So, I carried my guitar around with me and got what seemed to me an odd number of comments. None of them were mean, but I guess people just aren't used to the idea of taking instruments on planes. One guy in the Starbucks line said to me: "So, you carry that on? Where do you put it?" The security guy said to me as I walked through the medical detector: "Either a folk singer or a rocker..." as if he was trying to peg me as one or the other. Ummm, neither, I thought.

Really the only other funny story I can remember is that once I picked up my bags, I wasn't sure how to move them all. Two huge bags, plus a guitar, plus a heavy backpack on my back, and I needed to get myself and all of it out to the sidewalk. For a while I just did a relay system. Move one bag and the guitar a few feet, then go back and get the other one. Finally I figured out I could carry the guitar sideways, on top of one of the suitcases.

Goodnight, people, I'm tired. Please come visit me in Tacoma. Thanks.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

True Religion

Tonight, in reading through some blogs, I found myself once again directed to the Loux's blog and have to share it. Reading the post that updates about the progress of their boys since they arrived from Ukraine five months ago made me smile and tear up. What a wonderful, wonderful thing God is doing.

I love watching it, this adoption movement beginning. I know God loves adoption, because He did it first. James 1:27: "Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world." The Zoe Foundation, the Bohlenders, the other Louxes...the Meiers are adopting from Ethiopia, and the Dinsmores from New York. The children just keep coming, from every corner of the world, and it couldn't be more wonderful.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009


I would like to say first that there is a burrito in the microwave with my name on it. I ordered it at Cheesecake Factory on Monday, ate some for dinner then, had it for lunch yesterday, and I'm having it for lunch again today. Now THAT is bang for your buck.

More importantly, I would like to say that Jesus is kind. Yesterday, I ducked into the prayer room to pray through a couple things the Lord had just shown that were stealing my joy and peace. The Tuesday noon set is my team's, but I can't do it because I work. I always try to visit, though, during my lunch hour, and I would say that a majority of the time, I end up crying over something or other. Yesterday was no exception, as Tim began to sing "I am Your Father, I will take care of you. I am your Maker, I will sustain you." 1) I was praying through stuff having to do with the move and come on, if anything applies to this huge change, it's the promise that the Lord will take care of me. 2) Tim has been encouraging me that the Lord will sustain me when I go, so when he started singing it, it hit straight home.

Over and over and over and over again, God has done kind things for me in Kansas City, and today yet another thing became the cherry on top. I just love it when Jesus makes me smile. I love the way He loves me; I still find myself surprised when He is kind to me. You'd think I'd have gotten the message by now, but the truth is I'm still learning...but learning is really fun!

"You owe me nothing, I deserve hell. You owe me nothing, yet You've given me mercy..." Friends, He is lavishing His love on you right now, and if you are having trouble seeing it, ask Him to show you. God is close: talk to Him, then listen for a response.

Monday, August 03, 2009

He is Faithful to His Word

There is a track on a recent Limited Edition cd out of the prayer room where the main line is: "He is faithful to His Word" and singers keep adding into it: "He's not a man, that He should lie" and "He doesn't give a word, that we might hope in vain." Oh, I love that last one. He doesn't give a word that we might hope in vain. We do not hope in vain.

Today is a day of dreams come true. Literally. Like, prayers answered, desires of the heart met... My pastor from Tacoma is here in Kansas City, beginning a Freedom Class in an FSM classroom right this moment.

I remember, probably four or five years ago, walking around Suzanna and OJ's house just thinking "Tacoma! and Kansas City! they need to meet." There is a fire that God has just dumped on each one of them, and the idea of the two together seemed like it could only produce FIRE that would revive the nations. My next thought after "they need to connect" was "And I'm gonna be a part of it."

And here I stand. I'm part of it. I could cry with delight.

I'm not the only one who longed for this. My sisters, they saw it coming. I love it that I can look back and see that the Lord gave a little pointer to this happening. It wasn't just me that wanted these two power-houses that I've seen affect MY life affect hundreds of others. HE wanted it. He wanted it, and then He whispered it to my heart, and Amy's heart, and Suzanna's heart. And then we hoped, and we prayed, and today it's happening.

And then I'm reminded that moving home to Tacoma is a desire of my heart. It's been forgotten under months of dryness at school in Chicago and piled under stacks of papers from TheCall, but it's there. I know why it's there.

It's there because God put it there. Those times when my heart broke in two at the end of the summer when I had to leave and go back to Chicago? That wasn't just silly girlish longings that just got excited about new friends. God touched me in massive ways while I lived under the shadow of Mt. Rainier, and the longing to be there is something HE put in my heart.

He put it there, and now He's fulfilling it. He's fulfilling that and hundreds of other little plans and desires and needs... Wow. He is good, and He is faithful.

"The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me..." -Psalm 138