physical time and quality touch.

way back in the middle of my first semester at ciu, i remember talking about love languages with some random group i was sitting with at lunch. i accidentally said that mine were “physical time and quality touch.” i meant physical touch and quality time, in that order, but really i think the other things describe me better.
the way they described them at camp is whatever fills your “love tank”. in other words, you know how all dogs have some spot that they really like to have scratched? your love language is whatever hits that spot for you.
my love tank needs touch in any form, and undivided attention. but i almost can’t have one without the other.

i like physical time. by that i mean it’s not quality time unless we’re in the same room within five feet of each other. i hate talking on the phone, and i don’t even like skype much better. i need real live face time, and i don’t mean on an iphone.
i guess this could also describe how i like it if people spend a long time hugging me, or how i could snuggle for the whole length of a movie without ever thinking “okay, i need my bubble now.” people could spend all day in my bubble and i’d be as happy as a mosquito in a blood bank.

quality touch just means that it’s the thought that counts. there are some people who hug me and my skin crawls, and there are others who can give me a simple high five and i’m happy for the next hour. it’s all in what you mean by it.
the littlest nice touch means something if i know that you’re really trying to love me. if you know what i need and you’re giving it to me as best as you’re able to, that means just as much as if you gave me a ten second hug. when people who are totally not huggers know that i’m a big one, and so give me occasional hugs solely to make sure that i know they love me, it’s twice as meaningful as someone who gives me an empty hug every day out of habit or because they too need their daily quota of hugs.

favorite example of this:
three years ago at camp there was a girl on staff who was the least touchy-feely person i’ve ever met, both physically or emotionally. think the opposite of every part of my personality. but she was still a wonderful person and i loved her.
anyways. i came into the canteen one day and i was having a really bad week. when i was done with my campers and the other cabin leaders had gone out, she told me i didn’t look as happy as usual. i said i didn’t like my job that day. and she looks around, probably checking to make sure no one was watching, then really hesitantly walks over to me, and from an arm’s length away pats me on the head a few times. then she goes right back to what she was doing and says, without even looking at me, “i think you’ll be fine.” it took me a second to register what had just happened; then when i did i went running and tackle hugged her…and she yelled and threatened to take away my slushie.
other people had tried to cheer me up that day; most had given me hugs. but anna’s attempt worked better than anyone’s, because she was going out of her comfort zone just because she knew what i needed and wanted me to feel better.

all this to say: it’s okay if you aren’t a hugger. give me anything close to it(hand hugs, high fives, a pat on the shoulder from as far away as you feel like), and i’ll be perfectly happy. and skyping is not the same thing as visiting me.

venting=the christian word for gossip.

this is a rule that people should think about. it’s been in my drafts since february 2011 and i just found it, so right now i can’t think of anyone in particular who’s been doing this…which is good because i don’t like when people post things sounding like they’re directed at the general public but they really have one person in mind that they hope reads it. all this to say, this actually is just to whom it may concern(i.e people who may have a habit of doing the thing i’m about to talk about).
A. “venting” aka dumping everything about a person that you won’t say to them, is gossip unless you’re venting to God.
B. i am not God.
hence,
C. venting to me is the same thing as gossiping.
i’m not sure that i did that right(gentry?) but i had fun with it.
i don’t repeat things people tell me. ever. i don’t care if you specify that it’s the biggest secret since sliced bread, or if it was some insignificant thing that everyone know, or even if you say, “tell everyone you know if you feel like it”, i won’t. i just don’t talk about other people’s business.
people tell me lots and lots of things for this very reason. which isn’t a problem. i do care. i’m a psych major, after all.
now. i LOVE listening. as hard as it may be to believe, i really do like it better than talking.
but here’s the thing, the thing that i hate, the thing that happens all too often and i wish would stop.
you are person A.
imagine that person B comes and tells you something super important and tells you not to tell anyone.
do NOT come and tell me what B told you. yes, the telephone will stop with me, but 1)B might not know that, and would probably hate you for telling me, and 2)this makes you a really sucky friend and B does not deserve you.
and my selfish reason for hating this situation is that i will go nuts for about a week. i’ll be wrestling with whether or not to tell B that you’re a rat(somehow i still care that A trusts me, so i probably won’t, but i’ll feel bad for B) i’ll start worrying about B even if i don’t know them, and i’ll assume that A has done the same thing with everything i’ve ever told them, and start having nightmares about who might know certain things.
this is only the case when someone tells me some big secret, not a minor little thing. i’m not THAT paranoid and untrusting of people.
but seriously. i will listen for hours while you tell me all your business that you want and i’ll never tell a single person.. but it isn’t good for anyone involved if you talk about other people, to me or to anyone else. it’s either gossip or breaking the other person’s trust, and both aren’t good things.
just a thought.

i heart ciu teachers.

i’ve been meaning to do a series of posts like this for a while, and after the only things i rated really high on the student surveys had to do with faculty and Bible classes, i figured now is as good a time as any to do it.
if i were ever to leave CIU the only thing i would really miss would be my teachers. i could find everything else anywhere else, but i’ll fight anyone who says they can find a school with better people running the show than CIU.
here’s just a few reasons why.
1. they LOVE what they’re doing.
aside from maybe poor dr dan and lame CIU 101(or LOL as i called it while i suffered through it) which no one would enjoy teaching so he is not at fault there, i have yet to be in a class where the professor wasn’t really passionate about what they taught. some of them you have to get to know to see it, others you walk in the room and after listening for two minutes you want to change your major to whatever they’re talking about.
mcwilliams is my favorite example of that. i love his classes just because he gets so excited when he touches on something that he thinks is really cool and wants to make sure we get. everyone should take romans in the summer just for this; it’s his favorite class and he has more time to get really into everything.(plus if there was any class to have only that to focus on for two weeks, that’s the one)
and even though i hated his class, wenger really is good at this. his due date policy is really bad for some people and i just get bored with english especially when i’ve had the class before, but he does really really like teaching it.
2. they really know their stuff.
i probably wouldn’t appreciate this if i hadn’t gone to charleston southern first and had a few who just didn’t care. and there was one in particular who, not only was he not a very good teacher but he felt the need to drill it into our heads every day that he was a DOCTOR not a professor.
not only do ciu people know what they’re talking about, but they’re ridiculously humble. some of them have way more bragging rights than the one who i’ll be nice and not say who he was, but they choose to give all their glory to God and encourage us to do the same.
i remember at the end of last year when dr blewett talked to our class chapel(i went to freshman ones because that was who i lived with). he reminded us that we would be going home with more Bible knowledge than probably any of our friends, but that that knowledge is a gift from God that we needed to use carefully.
all professors are smart; not all of them are wise. we have the second kind here.
3. they care about us.
true, most professors at most christian schools care about their students, but at least at CSU it was in a general, distant sense. they couldn’t remember any names outside of class(some of them couldn’t even when they saw us in class) and they wouldn’t know how any of them were doing(unless maybe if they were failing, but even then they don’t actually care, they’re just required by some high-up person to inform them in an impersonal, prewritten email).
at CIU they care. they honestly want to know every one of their students. obviously they don’t have time to track down every single person and have a conversation with them, so the ones who make an effort are the ones who will get the attention, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want to give it.
i’m actually thankful that i have so much trouble in school, because i score a lot of personal meetings this way. alllll my teachers know who i am. ;]
some are better with names than others, some can’t place you just because they teach you and a million others in hoke, but all of them really really legit-ly care about all the million students they teach. and if you give them a chance to care about you individually, they’ll take it.
why else would dr layman eat breakfast in the caf every morning? believe me, he could get much better eggs at home.

so as i find time, i’m writing separate posts about each of my specific favorites. i do have an ordered list…but in case any of them somehow stumbles across this and gets hurt that they’re number 6 instead of 1, i’ll write them alphabetically. =]

road trip wedding vows.

high up on my grocery list for my future husband is “someone i can have adventures with.”
a corollary to that is “someone who is fun on road trips.” because “adventure” does not necessarily mean a road trip; we can have adventures anywhere.
i love road trips. and the way i see it, when they’re done right, the destination and the things done there are hardly ever as much fun as the actual time in the car.
i didn’t always feel this way.
i never got homesick at camp, but i definitely got homesick on family vacations. i still do; on fall break this year i actually missed CIU, and that’s saying something.
putting my family together in a car is like putting baking soda and vinegar in a bottle and shaking it up. only the van doesn’t shoot up in the air. from what music to listen to, where to stop to eat and who has to sit in the back with matthew to the more serious we-missed-our-exit-what-do-we-do, everything results in someone getting mad at someone. and when i would try to be positive, or if i was calm when everyone else was agonizing that we were lost, everyone(except my mom) would get annoyed with me.
so naturally i grew up associating “road trip” with “everyone’s yelling and nothing is fun”. i had no idea that anything else existed.
thankfully i got older and started getting out in the world. and by that i just mean started taking trips with my friends. i learned that i’m the most fun person in the world to have in a car, that getting lost is fun, that people can actually last eight hours in a car with no unkind words said to anyone.
basically this is how i look at life, or this part of it anyways:
1. road trips are my favorite way to bond with people. if we don’t know each other that well, i will make sure we do if we ever get to be in a car together for a significant length of time.
2. i love getting lost. that means you get to see even more things than you had planned!
3. the longer the better.
4. unless it involves a serious injury, anything can be laughed about for some reason.

and that is how number 9 ended up on my list. i guess that’s not that high up, but it’s the next to last of my “reasonable non-negotiables”.
i hadn’t thought about it for a long time until today when someone posted this on facebook.
i got so happy when i read that. i love it. i want that.
i want my future family road trips to be good memories.
i don’t want to be the reason my kids hate going to see their relatives.
i want my kids to like getting lost. (when i was little i was terrified of that. not because of the actual getting lost part, but because of the resulting fight that mom and dad would get into)
and i want long times in the car to remind them why they love their family, instead of why they can’t wait to go to college.
all this to say: my future husband, whoever and wherever he is, loves seeing places, is the most chilled out person in the world, is a bit better with directions than i am, knows new car games that i don’t, and knows how to laugh. which all adds up to being good at road tripping. =]

why being a kid is so much more fun when you’re grown up.

piggybacking off the concept of 1000 awesome things, these are just a few things i thought of that were awesome when i was five, and are even more awesome now that i’m twenty. and all stressed out college kids should try to include more of the following in their lives so maybe they wouldn’t be so stressed out anymore.

1. dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets.
yes the shape does make them taste better.
i always thought these were the best things ever. any kind of shaped food really, but these especially. we rarely had them in our house because they weren’t healthy. but anytime mom and dad went out to eat and got tv dinners for us to make ourselves while they were gone, i’d get the kid cuisine with some kind of fun shaped processed meat in them, and it was a very big deal.
being older makes them so much better because A-i can buy them for myself anytime i want. no waiting for mom and dad’s date night. B-i can eat as many of them as i want. C-i’m not required to share them. D-i can actually appreciate the irony of chicken shaped like dinosaurs.

2. disney movies.
i grew up in one of those southern baptist families who boycotted disney in the 90s, so i missed out on lots of classics(i still haven’t seen the lion king). when i was little they were cool because of the forbidden-ness of them. but now they’re even better because
A-i can actually watch them.
B-i can catch the little inappropriate things snuck in there that i would never have noticed when i was five.
C-i don’t get scared by things like the mean witch woman in snow white, or other such potentially scary characters(i was a sensitive child. my mom had to take me out of the theater in the middle of anastasia[which i still find creepy even now]), i can laugh at them.

3. baking cookies.
i love cookies ridiculously. one good thing about being homeschooled and living thirty minutes from civilization was having plenty of time for homemade ones. making cookies was(and is!) pure joy. obsessively measuring everything perfectly, getting my hands messy making the dough into little balls, then eating them when they’re perfect and warm and melty.
i would use baking as a way to score quality time with my mom. anytime she was making anything i wanted to help, and i didn’t want anyone else to help her but me(i’d freak out if we got “caught” by susan or daniel and they’d both want to help too).
but now…
A-i can eat the raw dough. my mom was a nazi about that. she was convinced that one little pinch of the stuff would give us food poisoning. nothing in the world makes me feel more rebellious than skipping the baking step and just digging right into the salmonella-y goodness. and i’ve never once gotten sick from it.
ps mom, since you’re my only reader i’m sure you’ll see this, so please don’t get offended; i know you meant well and i do believe you that it could someday make me sick, but the risk is so worth the deliciousness.
B-i can eat as many of them as i want. i saw an episode of seinfeld once where his beginning monologue talked about this, so everything i’m about to say is pretty much just wholeheartedly agreeing with all his opinions. when i was little i was never allowed to have more than two cookies. even when we just baked them, and we’d have three trays, and i wanted to try one off each tray as they came out of the oven; but the only-two rule still stood. now i can eat the whole batch if i want. “cuz you know what mom? yes, i spoiled my entire appetite! but it’s okay, because i’ve learned that another appetite is always coming right around the corner.”
C-if my mom doesn’t have time to make them or doesn’t feel like cleaning up the kitchen, well hey, i’m a big girl. i can do all the work for myself and clean up my own mess, so if i feel like it i could have cookies every single day.
D-i don’t have to measure everything perfectly, or make all the dough balls the same size. this was never a rule or anything; mom actually encouraged estimating. but i was an OCD child and needed all the cups and teaspoons to be perfectly leveled off before dumping them in the bowl, and i had to make the dough into perfectly round, equally sized balls in perfect straight rows on the tray. i just lightened up and chilled out as i got older and started discovering that the world would still turn if i just haphazardly dropped the dough off a spoon.

4. playgrounds and the ocean.
i’m putting these in the same bullet because i’m pretty much saying the same things about both of them.
these were two of my favorite places to be when i was a kid. i could be on a swing or in the water all day and be completely happy. but there were too many limits on both; the ocean i was only allowed to go out so far(reasonably so; i was little bitty and couldn’t hardly swim), and i couldn’t swing without someone pushing me since i was so small.
so these are fun for the same reasons as when i was five, just multiplied since i can do things for myself and make my own rules.

5. naps.
these are not fun when you’re a kid. unless you’re like three months old and you actually sleep during them. but most of the time “naptime” is spent sitting on your bed wishing you had something to do.
i never napped when i was a kid. my mom says i was done with them when i was two. i just didn’t need any rest in the middle of the day; the wonders of ADD.
even though i don’t take them very often(they screw up my night sleep like mad), naps are the best things ever. nothing fixes things better than getting out of class at 3, then falling right in bed and sleeping until dinner.

6. christmas morning.
i am the world’s biggest fan of christmas. i have more christmas spirit than santa claus himself. a lot of people start losing their childlike love of this second most wonderful day of the year as they get older, but i love it more and more every year, and here’s why.
A-how often do people besides me get to wear their pajamas all day?(i change back into mine anytime i’m going to be in my room for more than fifteen minutes)
B-you get to give presents, not just get them. so you have the added excitement of seeing how much people like what you got them.
C-it’s the only day of the year that getting up early is easy, fun and voluntary.
D-my family is all so happy and nice to each other on christmas.
E-ALL the shiny things!
F-five weeks off of school!
G-every night is family game night for like a week after christmas day.
H-the older you get, the better you can understand what christmas is actually about. at least for me. as great as all the other stuff is, the “christmas story” becomes more real and beautiful to me every year.

and my favorite, the most undeniably awesome thing that is so ridiculously awesome for kids to where it’s hard to imagine how it could get any better as an adult but then it does…

7. blanket forts.
i LOVE making forts out of blankets and pillows and pool noodles and random furniture. me and scott did that the weekend before i first went to college, as a last-chance-to-be-a-kid thing. little did he know that six months later at csu once i would make an elaborate fort with both mattresses(i didn’t have a roommate that semester), both desks and all my blankets, and watch the food network in it all night.
i loved trying to build really good ones when i was little but could never get them to stay up, so i couldn’t sleep in them but i could usually get them good enough to where i could watch a movie and eat popcorn in it on a rainy afternoon. any time i slept over at a friend’s house i’d always want to make a fort since they had different stuff in their house and i wanted to see what different ideas we could think up.
it’s such an educational experience. it teaches you to be resourceful and creative and try things a different way when something doesn’t work right. it forces you to use what you have, it doesn’t cost any money, and it gets you close to people because how else are you supposed to fit your whole family in it?
now you can’t get much better than that no matter how old you are, except for being smarter and having better ideas and being able to stay up as late as you want in them. but…
when i don’t live at home anymore, i plan on skipping furniture and just having awesome blanket forts that i leave up all the time(my parents always made me take them down and put everything away at bedtime). and i’ll put beanbag chairs inside them, because they just make any room awesomer.

indescribable hope and perfect peace.

i’ve had a very very rough day…but a good one.
i cried in two of my classes and in chapel. everyone decided to talk about emotional things on the same day.

this morning in philosophy, we’re on the problem of evil. today dr. gentry had us talking about why bad things happen to good people.

i hate that question.
because it’s torn my family apart, because it’s hard, and because it makes me think of things that i normally don’t let myself think about.

a lot of people said a lot of things. some of them made sense, some of them were crazy(bless the high schoolers hearts), some of them made me mad.
gentry was the worst. although i’m not positive i understood him right.

he talked about how God let Jesus die. that was the worst thing that could ever happen, happening to the only truly “good person” ever. he let it happen because it was the price that had to be paid for all of us to have eternal life.
then he started talking about how God was willing to pay that price. and he somehow tied it in to when good people struggle and good comes out of it for others, how that should make us okay with suffering. he gave a hypothetical personal example, and said “if that’s what it takes, then that’s a price i’m willing to pay.”
and i thought, well i’m NOT willing to pay that price. let this happen to someone else. or don’t let it happen to anybody. i wouldn’t need to help that person through that if neither of us had to go through it.
anyways. i was mad. especially when he started asking us how we would defend our answer to a nonbeliever. because i don’t know. i have all the same questions they do: why did God need to put that in his plan at all? if he was there when it happened why didn’t he stop it? what about the things we never see good come out of? i just don’t know.

i was still mad when i walked into chapel. but as we sang matt redman’s “never once” and got to the part that says
carried by your constant grace, held within your perfect peace
i suddenly was okay. i remembered what’s always gotten me through.

over christmas break, i was telling someone about everything i had gone through last semester. when i got to the end, they asked “i’m the first person you’ve told all this to?” i said yep. they asked “how did you…how are you still here? how could you go that long without giving up?”
i answered “i guess i knew, as crazy as it seemed, that somewhere out there, no matter how much crap is in the way of my seeing him, God is out there. i just knew it. and that little bit of hope somehow was enough to keep me wanting to see what would happen tomorrow.”

i don’t know the answer to the bad things question. but i’m okay with not knowing because of that hope i have that i can’t shake. and God is the only reasonable source of it. back in december i had absolutely no other reason to have any hope of anything ever being better; yet i had it.

i doubt that that explanation will convert an atheist, and that does really bug me. i wish i had a clear cut, intelligent-sounding answer. i wish there was a way to transfer that hope into someone else so that they understand it for themselves.
but all we have is prayer. and prayer is a lot more powerful than our words, even if they do sound really smart.