Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Crazy Love

Our homegroup for the past few weeks has been reading through the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan. Nic & I listened to the audiobook on our way to the OBX last year and really enjoyed/learned a lot from the book. It's been pretty cool reading back through it with our homegroup. Today in my reading I came across this description of "lukewarm" believers and I'm simply going to end with this quote. After you read it you'll understand why, enough said.

"Lukewarm people love others but do not seek to love others as much as they love themselves. Their love of others is typically focused on those who love them in return, like family, friends, and other people they know and connect with. There is little love left over for those who can not love them back, much less for those who intentionally slight them, whose kids are better athletes than theirs, or with whom conversations are awkward or uncomfortable. Their love is highly conditional and very selective, and generally comes with strings attached."
- from Chapter 4, Crazy Love by Francis Chan

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Last 6:33 of the Year

Tonight was our last 6:33 of the year at BCM, which is our weekly Tuesday-night worship service. 6:33 usually consists of music by our praise band, student testimonies, teaching, plus some time for prayer and announcements. It's one of the most well known things that BCM does, our big event each week. When I was a student, it felt like the center of our ministry, the thing that the most people came to. Things have changed around now - we have more students that come to our small group Bible studies on Wednesday and Thursday nights than come to 6:33.

Tonight we took a little bit of a different approach - it was a silent worship night. April works with our creativity team, and they were in charge of creating some different ways for our students to spend some time in silent worship. We had stations for prayer, reading of the Psalms, painting responses to God, and meditation. They did a great job creating the space for this all to happen in a creative way - it was a great way to end the year!

Monday, April 26, 2010


Yesterday during my quiet time I came across this verse in 2 Corinthians, "And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again" (2 Corinth 5:15 to be exact). As soon as I read it I did a double take. The same kind of double take Mabel does when she sees a squirrel on one of our walks and only seconds later remembers that she has on her headcollar as she feels her head jerk forward.

Jesus died for ME so that I might not live any longer as if it's all about ME but instead for Him and his purposes. Wowsers that hit me hard. The first thing I wrote in my journal after reading this was "Is this really possible God? Can I really give up thinking about myself." Through this verse God has really been showing me just how selfish I really am and how I think about numero uno in every decision I make.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Bengals' Draft

I'm certainly no expert, and would be the last person to run something like an NFL franchise, but I think it's fair to say that my hometown team, the Bengals, have made some pretty poor decisions over the past two decades. They've made the playoffs two times in that stretch, losing their first game both of those times. One of those was in 2005 when the Steelers destroyed Carson Palmer's knee, and the other was this year when we lost to the Jets.

I feel like this year I'm more excited about the results of the draft than I have been in the last few years. I don't remember the last time the Bengals had a decent TE, so it's a little exciting that we drafted the best TE in the draft, Jermaine Gresham from Oklahoma, in the 1st round. Although this pick is kind of an admission that we've missed on trying to get a good TE the last two years when we signed Ben Utecht and drafted Chase Coffman. Neither of these guys ever did much for the team.

The pick I'm probably most excited about is WR Jordan Shipley from Texas in the 3rd round. He's a white guy that can play in the slot - maybe he could be the next Wes Welker? That might be too high of an expectation, but we could really lose a guy like him to help get Ochocinco and Antonio Bryant open downfield. Our passing game was pretty lame by the end of last year - even Carson looked pretty bad in our last two games and the playoffs. Let's hope that these two picks can help open up our offense back to what it was a few years ago. With the tough defense we've built, it could be a good year for the Bengals.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Wishing for more Sunshine

Today is the kind of day when you just want to lay on your sofa and watch movies all day. That's because it's grey and dreary outside with rain looking like it's on the horizon ALL day. I've done a little bit of movie watching this afternoon (The Proposal- a definite favorite, some cheesy Lifetime video-"The Cinderella Pact"-i think) and I've also been cleaning the house. There were lots of tumbleweeds (aka clumps of dog hair) piling up in corners around the house and it was time for them to go! So in the meantime I'm waiting for Nic to get back home from Charlotte and dreading the fact that the weather forecast everyday from today to Thursday includes rain. Here's to warm thoughts and sunshine!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Through it All, You are Faithful

"I will sing of the steadfast love of the Lord, forever;
with my mouth I will make known your faithfulness to all generations."
- Psalm 89:1

I was reading this Psalm this morning, and was reminded of God's faithfulness to me. Though I have been so unfaithful to God throughout my life, his faithfulness to me has never wavered. He has not repaid me as my sins deserve, but has been continually merciful and led me to places of healing and wholeness. He has continued to work good things in my life even though I don't recognize them and even call them a curse instead of the blessing they are. He has continued to give me opportunities to grow and minister to others. He hasn't given up on me because of my laziness, cowardice, selfishness, or stupidity. His faithfulness to me doesn't have to do with any of those things, but with his perfect holiness and steadfast love.

A song that I've been singing all morning and has meant a lot to me lately is Matt Redman's "Through it All." The chorus says, "Through it all, you are faithful, through it all you are strong. Though we walk through the shadows, still you shine on." Regardless of whether we are able to perceive God's good work in our lives, he continues to be faithful to his word. As the song continues, "You never turn or change, you never break the faith. Yesterday, today, and always." Here's a video of Matt Redman talking about the song and a little bit of the chorus.

Psalm 89:1 was meaningful to me too because I think it echoes what part of my desire is in working with college students: to proclaim God's faithfulness to the next generation so that they can go out and do the same. I find that I can do this with more depth and honesty as God shows me his faithfulness as I walk through difficult things in my life.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

NFL and God?

I really don't understand the NFL draft. It seems silly to me to spend that much time picking a new player, especially when there is so much "hype" the day before about who will go first and what pick each person will be. I mean really, don't most teams already know who they're going to choose? So why do they drag out their pick over the 15 minutes they're given? And why do the commentators have to speculate on each and every player after they've been selected? No one knows how well they're going to perform, for heavens sake they've never played in the NFL before!

It makes me think about how I often treat God this way. I sense him telling me something and I drag out the follow through for as long as possible. And when I finally do what he's telling me to, I follow it up with questions like, Really God? Is this really going to work? Do I have the potential to do this, I've never done this before, are you sure? Funny how a little NFL makes me reflect on my relationship with God. It makes me think of 1 Corinthians 10:31, So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. What 'unusual situations' have you found God in lately?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Winding Down the Semester

Things have slowed down around the BCM this week. We have finished all of our speaking, writing Bible studies, and leading seminars for the semester, so we're able to focus on spending time with students before they head out for summer in just a couple of short weeks. It's also felt slow because our other two staff members have been out of the office this week, leaving April and I there alone to make sure things don't explode.

This has worked out well for me, because I've needed some of my office time to work on other projects. My seminary semester is winding down as well, so I've been spending time studying for my Hebrew final and trying to get some work done on my reading and research for my church history class. I've also had the opportunity to help out a friend with a web development project for a side business that he has. I haven't had the chance to do much programming in the last couple of years, so I've really enjoyed the opportunity to dive back into it a little bit this week.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


In my daily blog perusing I ran across a post that inspired me to title today's post "Randomness." So beware, you're about to read really random info about my day!

1. We're having a dessert auction at BCM tonight as a fundraiser for missions. It is taking all that is within me to not go take a slice from the Chocolate Funfetti cake that seems to be staring at me from the table outside of my office right now.

2. Jason & Nic are currently discussing how they want to go to a U2 concert sometime before they die. Call me a bandwagon fan but I too would like to see U2 before I leave this world (really though, I'm not a bandwagon fan I played "It's a Beautiful Day" in my senior english class almost a whole year before I met Nic)!

3. The weather widget on my Mac says it's 68 degrees outside, however it is freezing inside this building and I definitely have a space heater going right next to my face.

4. I am so excited to watch Glee tonight! In case you didn't know already, all the music tonight will be from Madonna's vast collection. I'll probably be singing Vogue all day tomorrow; it seems like everytime I hear a song on that show it gets stuck on my head for the next few days.

5. I'm about to start reading Lifting Our Eyes: Finding God's Grace through the Virginia Tech tragedy, The Lauren McCain story. We talked about Lauren at church on Sunday and the spiritual legacy she left behind when she went to be with Jesus on April 16 three years ago. I'm interested to hear more about her story but I expect to cry a bit too while reading it. I already know though (just from the little bit I heard about her church) that I have a lot I can learn from her.

Well there it is, a little insight into my day and mind. Hope you're enjoying the day!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Monday Mornings

For the past few months, I have been meeting with two of my friends from our HomeGroup, Josh and Mike, at Mill Mountain, a local coffee shop, at 7:15 on Monday mornings. April and I usually have meetings with our BCM Bible study leaders on Sunday nights, which wears us out. But even though 7:15 feels early after tiring Sundays (it's funny how things have changed since I used to be at work before 7 every day), I look forward to that time every week. There are a few other people I happen to see in there almost every week now (another guy from church Tim and a pastor from another local church Jeff), which makes me feel like a regular. Maybe soon the Mill Mountain employees will know my order before I tell them (Mill Mountain Blend for here: $1.50).

The purpose of us getting together is to talk about life - what we've struggled with, what good things have been going on, where we need advice, and what our relationship with God has looked like lately. There's a lot of catching up, joking, and talking about subjects we know very little about, like health care reform, theology, helicopters, and marriage, thrown in there as well. I guess you could call this my accountability group. I also get together with another friend from church, Robbie, every Friday for lunch to do the same kind of thing. Robbie and I have been meeting for probably over a year now, and have come close to eating at every restaurant in Blacksburg, although we have some standbys that we frequent like The Cellar, Taco Bell, and Rivermill.

Accountability is something that has never come easy to me. I hate talking about the stuff that I know God hates to see in my life, and I hate admitting that I don't know what to do in a certain situation. I started to learn to open up about this kind of stuff at the end of my time in college, and I've been up and down since then. I feel like right now I'm in one of the best places I've ever been, with lots of guys who know me and I can be honest with, not to mention the accountability that April inherently brings to my life. I thank God that I'm in this place, because he has truly had to bring some radical change to my life to get me here. I tell students all of the time that the more people you have around you that really know you and you can be honest with about the crap in your life, the better off you'll be. I'm thankful that I'm growing and feeling strong in that area of life right now - I know I need all the encouragement and help I can get.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Late Night Post

So this post is going to be pretty short. It's almost 11 o'clock and I'm exhausted and just before I was heading to bed I realized it was my day to blog and I hadn't written anything yet!

I went to a Zumbathon this afternoon- it was a fundraiser for IWIN, india women in need. I had so much fun dancing the afternoon away with a room full of women! Everytime I take a Zumba class I'm reminded of just how "white" I am. I was joking with Nic when I got back that anytime we would do a move where your hands go one direction and your feet the other, I would totally lose my place and have to stop and start over! I guess this means I wouldn't be good at playing drums because Nic says you have to teach you hands and feet to do different things too! Oh well, I guess I'll leave that to him. I hope you were able to laugh at yourself today- I think I'm going to make that one of my life goals!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Bar Mitzvah

Today was the last day of my Hebrew II class. Instead of normal class, we went to a Jewish Shabbat service at a local synagogue to get a chance to hear Hebrew being read and spoken. The fact that I was given a kippah to wear when I entered the sanctuary made me really excited. This congregation had a real diversity in kippah style - a lot of people were wearing green ones we were told were left over from St. Patrick's Day, and one guy even had a Carolina Panthers logo on his. Mine was just plain black, but I'm not going to complain.

What my kippah looked like:

I can't say that I understood a whole lot of what was being said in Hebrew today. And really, the Jews don't speak much Hebrew in the service - they sing it. Even as they read text in Leviticus about leprosy and bodily discharges, they sang it with a beautiful melody - this was strange to me. From what I understand, the singing is a way to help them remember and recite the words of the Torah. I was happy that I could at least follow along in my pew Torah and prayer book as they sang through these passages and prayers. I even knew a couple of the songs (the Shema - שְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל - and one other called Ein Keloheinu, which means "There is none like our God") from having sung them in Hebrew class.

It was also the Bar Mitzvah (which means "son of the commandment") for a young Jewish boy (now a man) in the congregation. It was his first opportunity to read (sing) from the Torah and to take upon himself the responsibility to know and follow it. He actually had to carry one of the big Torah scrolls around the room for people to touch - I wasn't sure that he was going to make it because the thing probably weighed more than he did. One thing I for sure noticed about Jewish worship and religion is that they show a lot of reverence for God's word.

Shabbat Shalom! (A Sabbath of peace!)

Friday, April 16, 2010

We Remember

Today is a tough day in Blacksburg. It marks the third anniversary of the terrible tragedy that struck our campus three years ago. I've been trying to write this blog for the past hour but I keep writing stuff and then erasing it because I honestly just don't know how to put all my thoughts and emotions into words.

Classes are canceled for the day and everyone is encouraged to spend time with friends and family reflecting on the 32 lives cut short that day. I started off the morning participating in the 3.2 mile run for 32. They start off the run with a moment of silence and the release of 32 white balloons. Following the moment of silence, everyone else participating in the run releases their orange and maroon balloons and the run begins. It really is such a cool site but the whole time I kept thinking "Those balloons represent someone's wife, husband, son, daughter, brother, sister, friend, etc, I wish we could run for another reason, I wish we weren't here as a result of the tragedy."

(from last year's run)

One thing I have seen happen and appreciate, as a result of the tragedy, is an outpouring of support from the Virginia Tech community and beyond. I found this link (thanks [nlcf] downtown women) to Nikki Giovanni's inspirational address that was delivered the day after the tragedy in 2007 and it gives me chill bumps just reading it. I'm also reminded of the fact that "Everybody is a Hokie" today. I've been so encouraged by the multitude of Facebook statuses' I've seen reflecting just that. Here are just a few:
  • remembering 32 beautiful and vibrant Hokies today... give heaven a big Hokie Hi for us!
  • We are virginia tech! We have and will continue to prevail!!!
  • Proud to be a HOKIE. Never forget the 32.
  • "When others have moved on and life resumes its course, that for us, there is only one emotion left: Love. Love for this university, love for the people who died on April 16th, 2007, and love for those who are left behind."
Nic & I were talking this morning about how today is a reminder of James 4:14 that says "Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes." So right now I keep asking myself the question, what can I do to live life to the fullest everyday and honor God in everything I do? Because as I've seen I'm certainly not promised tomorrow.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Interview with Taylor

Today's interview is with another BCM student named Taylor.


Career Goals?

To be able to laugh when I make a mistake and never settle for the mundane.

How long have you been involved at BCM?
Since the first Friday night I was a freshman and came to open house and played catch phrase for 4 hours.

What is your leadership position? What are some of your responsibilities in this role?

People ask me this and I can never remember the title BCM gives it, but lets just go with creative guru. Basically my job is to help students come together to glorify God through creative elements, such as video, drama, art, and tribal dance and music. Ok one of those might not be true.

What has God been teaching you lately?

Awake my soul, awake my soul and sing. For the world you love, Your will be done, let Your will be done in me. Like the rising sun that shines, from the darkness comes the light, I hear Your voice and this is my awakening.( Taken from Awakening by Chris Tomin) I love music and this is how I feel God and I have the best conversations. The lyrics to this song are so unlike lyrics from today’s pop culture. Songs written today are made to be heard, digested and leave you empty longing for the next new thing.( take for example anything written by Ke$ha ) But on the contrary these lyrics/words/praises don’t leave me but rather spark a thought, a passion, a explosion in my soul that I cannot seem to contain. I once read somewhere, most likely in a book I never finished, that safe Christianity is contagious. At first glance this seemed like a mundane quote to be skimmed over, but on further look I realized that this is so true, and that I had fallen victim to it’s ways. I had/have become safe. This semester God has really been challenging me with my walk with him. He has begun to show me that anyone can be a “nice” person, do community service, help old lady’s across the street, adopt 4-11 children from Africa, but what is so different about a Christian doing these tasks? Have I become to be recognized as a nice person, a safe Christian; or some one who’s personality screams Christ Lover, God Follower, someone eagerly seeking to make the name and renown of my God know? Lately/this semester I have been praying that God drags me from this place of safety and comfort to one of unknown waters, a place where I am slightly scared in what might come next, where it’s so dark that I have to have my eyes wide open just to see a glimpse of what’s in store. I have been praying for an awakening.

What have you learned from reading through some of the Psalms this semester?

Reading though the psalms has created for me a image of God’s personality. Seeing God’s awe and wonder put into words is a hard task that I often find myself struggling with, and seeing words that move beyond letters and paragraphs and sentence structure to words of praise, lament, anger, hope, peace that all describe the same God is truly mind blowing. The Psalms hold nothing back. The people that wrote them held nothing back. They truly stepped from words to worship.

What has been your most meaningful moment at BCM?

I recently created this video for one our 6.33’s that had all these words/phrases people of the BCM had submitted to describe God. After finishing it up I clicked play just to make sure everything was in line, but unlike any other video I had created before this one caused me to pause and watch the whole thing all the way through again and again. I read the words that people had written. Forgiving, Holy Father, Artist, Mighty King, answer to all my questions, closer than the air I breath. I paused, the words finally clicked. The idea that these words were not coming from a book from a person I had never met before, but rather the people I spent my life with. The people in my bible study, the people I get lunch with, go to bonfires with, hang out with. These people believe in the same God I do and I have the joy of dwelling with them. Hearing how they describe God in there life is humbling, and that I have the privilege of hearing how God is working in them and have them pour into me is something that I don’t deserve and sometimes lack to give back but they continue anyways. Being able to interact with a community that truly has been captured by God, that is what has been most meaningful.

Be sure to check out the video Taylor mentioned above!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Interview with Jason

Jason is another BCM student that we asked to share some thoughts about his life and BCM. Jason hangs out in our office more than any other student, and he has gone on Spring Break mission trips with us the last two years, so we know him well and appreciate his friendship and who he is as a leader in BCM.

Major, Career Goals
Junior BIT Major

How long have you been involved at BCM?
Since freshman year, so for 3 years

What is your leadership position? What are some of your responsibilities in this role?
My position is socials coordinator. I plan different events for the bcm throughout the semester for people to enjoy and build relationships with other people. Also to create an environment so people feel comfortable bringing their friends that do not go to bcm.

What has God been teaching you lately?
The thing that God has been teaching the most about being a Christian is that it’s not just a title that we carry around. Being a Christian means that we follow God at all times and going out and reaching out to people and telling them about the salvation that He offers to us because He loves us. And this is what I feel like some people are like. They just think that being a Christian is something they do on Sundays. Even though God does want us to worship Him and love Him, I just want to encourage people to take it to the next step and make God their life. Always going towards Him and obeying Him.

What have you learned from reading through some of the Psalms this semester?
The coolest thing about the psalms is how they are used in the New Testament and used to describe Jesus. Its just cool to see that even in the Old Testament, Jesus is still the focal point.

What has been your most meaningful moment at BCM?
Most meaningful moment at the BCM would be the missions trips I have been on in New Orleans, Arkansas, and Northern Virginia. It just really shows me that God's work is being done all over the world and not just Blacksburg and it's a blessing that I could be a part of it.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Interview with Lindsey

We thought it might be neat for the blogging world to meet a few of our students here at BCM and hear a few things from their perspective. So without further adieu meet Lindsey!

Major? Animal & Poultry Sciences

Career Goal
Attend veterinarian school, after finishing my undergrad, to eventually become a companion animal vet (cats/dogs)

How long have you been involved at BCM?
I have been involved at the BCM since September 2009.

What is your leadership position? What are some of your responsibilities in this role?
I am currently serving as a girl’s Discipleship Leader. Some of my responsibilities as a DL are to lead/facilitate a bible study once a week and to really get involved in my girl’s lives and help them in their walk with God. This takes on many forms including praying for them, challenging & encouraging them, and just being available to them for whatever they might need. Along with this, I am also responsible for seeking after God myself because I can’t be a spiritual leader or resource for them if I am not spending time in God’s word or in prayer on a daily basis.

What has God been teaching you lately?
God is teaching me several things right now. He has really begun to address my issue with worrying, especially this semester. I have always been the type of person who stresses over anything and everything and, until recently, I have never been able to completely give something up to God. In the past, whenever I would “give” something to God, it was like I would put it in His hands but keep one of my hands on it so that I could take it back whenever I wanted.

God began to bring this problem to my attention last semester. It was actually during a bible study one night and we got to talking about how most of us struggled with worry. I had brought up the fact that I worried so much that I even worried when things were going well, that it wouldn’t last and that something bad was just around the corner. It was then that one of the girls said that, in thinking that way, that I was not trusting that God had by best interests at heart. I had never thought about it that way before and it completely changed my view on things. I can’t say that I no longer worry, but I can say that I am getting better about giving things over to God and that, every day, it becomes less of a struggle.

The other thing He has been teaching me is how much you grow spiritually when you set aside time to serve Him. When I found out that I had been nominated for a leadership role, I didn’t even consider applying because I didn’t have any time and I really felt intimidated by the idea. It wasn’t until the night before the applications were due that I decided to apply, and it took 3 people encouraging/challenging me to do so. Since becoming a discipleship leader, God has blessed me with, more time (which I didn’t think was possible), new friends, and with a closer relationship with Him. I can honestly say that I am now closer to Him than I have ever been at any other time in my life.

What has been your most meaningful moment at BCM?
The times at the BCM that have been the most meaningful to me would have to be the bible studies. All of last year, I was not involved in any Christian organization other than Blacksburg Baptist Church so, other than Sundays, I wasn’t getting fed and I wasn’t spending any time with Christians during the week since most of my friends were unsaved. It made it very difficult to continue to live like Christ because I had to say no to a lot of the things my friends were doing. This year, having the BCM and the weekly bible studies have totally changed my life here at college. I am constantly surrounded by good Christian friends and I am challenged every week to grow and to continue to seek after Him. It is nice to be able to share my struggles and to get good godly advice on how to handle certain situations. The BCM has definitely strengthened my walk with God. :)

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Psalms

From Spring break until the end of this semester, we decided to have our BCM Bible study groups look at the Psalms. April and I are in charge of setting the direction for these groups, training the leaders, and writing (really compiling, because we have a lot of great resources that we use) the study material for them to look at. This means that we've spent some significant time reading and studying the Psalms over the past month. I've also been reading C.S. Lewis' book Reflections on the Psalms, which has given me some fresh ways to approach them.

Psalms has always been a favorite part of the Bible for me. I've been surprised to hear a lot of students who've never spent much time reading them or using them to enrich their prayer and worship life. It's been a joy for me to share what God has taught me through the psalms with them, and to open up a whole new part of God's word for some students. Instead of focusing on the more "famous" and easily accessible psalms (like 23, 51, or 136), we've tried to take a sampling of the many different moods of prayer that are found there. This week, for instance, the groups will be looking at a couple of the psalms of lament, where the Psalmist voices his pain and anguish over circumstances in his life, asking God to intervene while maintaining an attitude of steadfast trust and hope in him. These can be a little tougher to understand and associate with, but it is a joy to learn to express these kinds of emotions to God.

"But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me." - Psalm 13:5-6

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Gone Granola

So we're back safe and sound from Eagle Eyrie. We're both pretty exhuasted so we've been lying on the sofa most of the afternoon/evening watching endless old episodes of The Office via Netflix. I think I had forgotten just how funny that show really is!

We finally worked up enough energy to go the grocery store (i know, i know we live a rough life) so we would have healthy food to eat this week. I feel like we alternate between eating really well one week and then horribly the next (which is exactly what last week was). One healthy thing I've really started to enjoy lately is homemade granola; our favorite recipe is courtesy of Alton Brown. It's funny the things you start to like that you swore you'd never like just a few years ago. I guess I should've listened to my momma when she said "Never say Never."

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Update from Eagle Eyrie

I may have said this before, but Eagle Eyrie is one of my favorite places to come for a retreat. It's quiet and secluded, tucked into the mountains on the outskirts of Lynchburg, VA. I think we're really blessed to get to come here a couple of times a year.

The trip hasn't been without incident though; April got into a small fender-bender on her way in last night. Everybody was ok, and the only damage to either car consisted of some paint scrapes and a broken turn signal cover on April's car. It was her first time to experience any kind of accident, though, so she was understandably a little shaken up afterward. We also had a student injure himself playing football during our free time today and end up in the ER. I decided to skip the traditional Eagle Eyrie football game this time in favor of Eagle Eyrie basketball - probably a good choice for my aging and increasingly frail body.

We've really enjoyed leading our session on dating in a way that honors God this weekend. It's been fun to talk about our dating history, share some advice from the Bible, and have some good follow-up conversations with students through the session.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Spring Retreat

So Nic is already on the road and I'm about to head out in the next hour or so for our Spring BCM Retreat in Lynchburg, VA. There are somewhere around 100 Virginia Tech students headed that way this afternoon, as well as a few hundred more from around the state. I'm really looking forward to pulling away for a few days and getting to know students better. This time around Nic & I are teaching a breakout session on dating. It's been really fun listening to podcasts on the topic and reading what magazines/books have say too. The speaker for the weekend is Brian Jennings, one of our friends from college, and I'm really looking forward to seeing he and his wife Emily! We certainly appreciate your prayers and I hope whatever you do this weekend you enjoy it!

A picture of our group at the Fall Retreat

Thursday, April 8, 2010


One of the things causing quite a stir around Virginia Tech, especially the Christian community here, is the protest that Westboro Baptist Church and Fred Phelps will be holding here tomorrow. They will be proclaiming their message of "God Hates Fags" and telling our community that the April 16 shootings were sent by God as an angry response to the sins of our town, especially the fact that we tolerate "fornication, adultery, and sodomy." I mourn that these people claim to represent Jesus in their actions, but I am comforted that most people, even those opposed to the Christian faith, sense that what WBC proclaims is a distortion of who God is.

BCM has our Spring Retreat this weekend, so most of us will be on our way out of town as these protests are going on. We have encouraged our students to live out the call of God we talked about in one of our 6:33 worship services this semester: "Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all." (Romans 12:17)

I wanted to share a post from our pastor's blog where he addresses this issue and shares his thoughts on how we should respond to the protesters - he says it way better than I ever could!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Good Friends

Today was another bright, beautiful, sunny day here in Blacksburg. Since we work lots of nights and weekends, Darrell instituted a half day off policy several years ago and we are oh so thankful for that gift. Wednesday afternoons just so happen to be my half day off so around lunch today I headed up to Roanoke to meet my friend Elizabeth, whom I've known since my freshman year of college.

Elizabeth & I have shared many memories since the fall of 2002, from standing in line at Scaremare talking about boys who would later become our husbands to visiting her son just a few weeks after he was born! We met at Olive Garden for lunch and then headed over to Sam's Club for some bulk shopping. I really appreciate Elizabeth a lot and I love knowing that even though we've lived in different place for the past 4 years, every time we see each other it feels like we're simply picking up where we left off. It makes me think of that old children song that goes "Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other is gold."

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Sound Man

I've played in bands ever since I was in high school - mostly at church or leading worship for youth events. That meant that I had to learn how to set up and run a sound system. When we moved to Philadelphia, I ended up being the only person in our church that had ever touched a sound board before, so I became the sound guy by default. This was one of those getting thrown into the fire experiences - I really was not prepared to maintain, upgrade, run, and train people to run a sound system. However, I really came to enjoy the experience of being able to serve the church and to lead a team of people.

Since our church here in Blacksburg meets in the Lyric Theater, which often holds concerts, we get to use the professional (and quite expensive) sound system that they have there. I don't think I've ever been more intimidated in my life than the first Sunday morning I stood behind that thing. I've slowly become more comfortable with it, and have even learned how to mix and run church much better as I've learned from experience and from people in the church who actually know what they're doing.

One of the big projects I've been working on lately is preparing to take our BCM sound system on the road so our praise band can lead worship at our statewide collegiate conference this weekend and at a youth event in Christiansburg at the end of the month. This has truly been a fun experience for me, and I'm excited to load it all up this weekend and see what we can do. It's challenging because we don't have much of a budget to buy system components, but have been able to piece together what will hopefully be a respectable system thanks to the generosity of our church, who gave us a bunch of their old equipment.

Sound has become one of those things I'm enjoying more and more. I feel like I have a lot of these hobbies that I'm not really all that good at, but have been given so much experience with that I enjoy and feel comfortable doing it (like cooking and playing drums). In fact, I'm excited to spend part of this evening reading the manuals for our EQ and our DriveRack - I know, I'm a nerd.

Monday, April 5, 2010

NCAA Basketball Championship

I wasn't too big into sports until I got married four years ago. And really it's not that I'm that big into them now, it's mostly just that I know a little bit more about them. For the most part I can name at least one player from every NFL team and sometimes I can even tell you where they went to undergrad. And normally I don't mind watching a sporting event on TV with Nic (unless it's NBA in which case I promptly ask him to change the channel).

But I feel like National collegiate championships are an exception to all this. I love hearing all the buzz about bowl games and March Madness! Now I may not watch every single game but I certainly don't mind watching one every now and then (or having it on in the background while I clean the house). Today at staff meeting we all made our picks for tonight's big game: Darrell-Butler by 12, Melissa- Butler by 4, Me-Butler by 2, and Nic had to be the odd man out-Duke by 7. Well I certainly hope the underdog pulls this one out this time! Go Bulldogs!

Sunday, April 4, 2010


Today was a beautiful day here in Blacksburg - a great day to celebrate Easter and Jesus' resurrection. We started the day off by celebrating the holiday with our church. We were challenged to respond to the resurrection with joy despite the pain, difficulties, and confusion that surround us. Afterward, we came back to our apartment and cooked a Uebel/Travis family Easter feast, including chicken and vegetable kabobs, grilled asparagus, Randy's special rice, Randy's special cucumber yogurt, salad, and bread (plus Homestead Creamery ice cream for dessert!).

April and I came away from all of this exclaiming how blessed we are. First off, to be loved and accepted by God through Jesus' death and resurrection. Also to be a part of a church family that we love and are challenged by. Finally, we were reminded how blessed we are to have such a great family that we are all able to gather together in love and to truly enjoy each other's presence. Praise God for how good he is and the gifts he has given us.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Angel's Rest

This morning we set out for Pearisburg, VA, more specifically where the Appalachian Trail crosses this small town. A mile and a half up from where we parked the car is a beautiful little lookout called Angel's Rest. What I didn't mention about this mile and a half hike is that we covered 1500 feet in that small amount of distance. calves were hurting all the way up!

The view at the top was totally worth it though. We were so high up there, the hawks were flying right next to us. Times like that are when I'm amazed at God's creation, how vast and big He is and how minute we are compared to Him and all His splendor. I was also reminded of that while watching this earlier this week. Hope wherever you are you got to enjoy the beauty of His creation today too. Check out some of the pictures below!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Happy Birthday!

Today is a beautiful day in Blacksburg - April and I did some spring cleaning this morning and I got out my shorts for the first time. It's also a great day for another reason: it's my mom's birthday, and she (along with my dad and brother) is coming to Blacksburg today to visit for the weekend!

We don't have any specific plans for the weekend yet, but I think going out for a birthday dinner will definitely be in order tonight. We're also thinking about going on a hike tomorrow so we can enjoy this summer-like weather. I'm thinking of going to Angel's Rest - I've never been up there before but have heard it's a good hike. We'll also probably cook a big lunch to celebrate Easter together on Sunday.

So a big Happy Birthday to my mom - I'm excited to have my family here for the weekend!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April 1

Today commences the first day of our blog challenge! We're committing to blog every day during the month of April (weekends too). It's going to be tough but we're ready to rise to the challenge. Expect some randomness, some funny stuff, and even some boring stuff (as I'm not too sure we're the most exciting people on the planet). Nonetheless here's a cool story from a book I just finished called Messy Spirituality by Michael Yaconelli to start us off.

Until Jesus came along we were all outside the fence of God's grace. In the Second World War, a group of soldiers was fighting in the rural countryside of France. During an intense battle, one of the American soldiers was killed. His comrades didn't want to leave his body on the battlefield and decided to give him a Christian burial. They remembered a church a few miles behind the front lines whose grounds included a small cemetery surrounded by a white fence. After receiving permission to take their friend's body to the cemetery, they set out for the church, arriving just before sunset.

An old priest responded to their knocking. "Our friend was killed in battle," they blurted out, "and we wanted to give him a church burial." Apparently the priest understood what they were asking, although he spoke in very broken English. "I'm sorry," he said, "but we can bury only those of the same faith here." Weary after many months of war, the soldiers simply turned to walk away. "But," the old priest called after them, "you can bury him outside the fence." Cynical and exhausted, the soldiers dug a grave and buried their friend just outside the white fence. They finished after nightfall.

The next morning, the entire unit was ordered to move on, and the group raced back to the little church for one final goodbye to their friend. When they arrived, they couldn't find the gravesite. Tired and confused, they knocked on the door of the church. They asked the old priest if he knew where they had buried their friend. A smile flashed across the old priest's face. "After you left last night, I could not sleep, so I went outside early this morning and I moved the fence."