“Elsewhere the …

“Elsewhere the world may be blustering or sleeping, wars are fought, people live and die, some nations disintegrate, while others are born, soon to be swallowed up in turn–and in all this sound and fury, amidst eruptions and undertows, while the world goes its merry way, bursts into flames, tears itself apart and is reborn: human life continues to throb.
So let us drink tea.
…When tea becomes ritual, it takes its place at the heart of our ability to see greatness in small things. Where is beauty to be found? In great things that, like everything else, are doomed to die, or in small things that aspire to nothing, yet know how to set a jewel of infinity in a single moment?”
-The Elegance of the Hedgehog

Today was a day for tea.

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Brain, Breath, Heart, and Body

heart drawing

The body is a beautiful thing.

Not only are people lovely, but the body itself is beautiful in form and function. Any anatomy and physiology class will tell you that it is at once mind-splittingly complex and gracefully elegant. We take each movement, each thought, and each breath for granted. So many generations of people have devoted their lives to learning more about the body, but we can also learn so much from the body.

For a healthy individual, movement is oftentimes subconscious. Even the unhealthy individual does not have to think about sending the electro-chemical impulses down specific neurons to the correct muscles in order to execute an action. However, every single action requires cells to work together. These cells need a constant supply of vital nutrients, such as oxygen, or they die off. These nutrients are supplied by blood pumped by the heart, which also clears away waste products toxic to the cell, such as carbon dioxide. But how does the heart know how to pump blood properly? The brain regulates it with a network of neurons and nervous impulses. Elegant, yet elementary.

What would happen if the heart stopped its job? Well, we all know that our poor hypothetical friend would die, but think about it. If the heart stops pumping, blood stops circulating and the cells no longer receive oxygen. Toxins build up, the cells die, as does the individual. Even if the brain continues to tell the heart to beat and the individual keeps breathing, the oxygen will not circulate if the heart does not play it’s part.

This seems so simple and obvious, but there are some incredible truths to be learned here! Take this same principle, and apply it to a Christian–hang with me! In James, there is a verse which states, “Faith without works is dead.” Remember the physical heart. If faith is the body, it must work or die, just as the heart must work or the body dies. Even if a person knows the truth (brain) and believes it (breath), they are at best gravely ill if they do not act it out (heart beat). Faith without works is unsustainable and unhealthy. Those works do not save a person (one cannot dig up a dead-man, insert electrodes into his heart, and bring him to life), but a person who is saved most surely has works giving evidence of life (movement).

I write these things not to be judgmental, but rather to share a revelation. That verse in James is one I am so guilty of glossing over and rationalizing, but when put in physical terms, I cannot deny it. I believe in God, and I believe I love God, but that should cause my heart to beat. My life should be full of movement, of works, which bear witness to the fact that I have LIFE. That life should multiply, not because I am better, worthy, or enlightened, but because I was once as dead as a decaying corpse, but have been given a new heart and a new life, and because the very same Doctor who gave me new life is more than able and desirous to give life to every dead man and woman.

For this reason, I will devote my life to Jesus Christ and let Him use the life He gave me to best share this good news.

I have seen the…

I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him.

Ecclesiastes 3:10-14

Turn, Turn, Turn

Today marked the first day of class, the end of summer, and 3 weeks since I returned home to Florida. I am in such a different place from  this time last year, but I am thankful to say it is for the better.

However, the whole “re-entry” thing has had me out of the loop (cannot imagine what it is like for people coming back after years), and I have let a lot slip by without comment here. It would be negligible of me to leave the rest of my stay in England undocumented, so here goes.

Mid-July  I headed out to Bath, where I spent 3 blissful days in Jane-Austen-and-Roman-History heaven. Soaking up the fashionable city with a fellow fan and friend made it all the more enjoyable. On another note, we discovered that it is in fact possible to max out on cream tea.
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Late July saw me frantically trying to finish up class assignments as well as my bucket list for the trip. I also got to spend one last weekend out in Wallington. My wonderful friends there were always so kind and hospitable–truly a home-away-from-home. I was able to say “thank you” in my own small, southern way by introducing my hosts to buttermilk biscuits. Nothing says love like flaky biscuits and sausage in the morning.

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On the last night of July, in addition to celebrating Harry Potter’s 33rd birthday, I saw my absolute favorite play of the summer, Gabriel, at the Globe. Not only was it an amusing show full of 18th century history, politics, and anachronisms, but it was centered around the music of Purcell and the trumpet in particular–featuring the masterful artistry of Alison Balsom! (Look her up if you don’t know her…now.)

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The first week of August, my parents joined me in London before all coming home together (hooray for hugs and travel companions!). It was fun seeing everything through their eyes, though it was odd to spend my last few days sticking out as a tourist when I had spent the summer trying so hard to be at home in the city.

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Alas, all things must come to an end, and mid-August saw my return to the States. Fortunately, my first weeks back have been filled with friends, family, sleep, and crazy middle schoolers (God love em’). Looking forward to all this year has in store.
~a beloved nobody

Taking Care of Business

Do you ever read posts full of DIYs, recipes, family activity ideas, workouts, or even just a lot of well constructed sentences and say to yourself, “Where does this chick/dude find the time?” or “That seems like a good idea, too bad I’ll never actually get around to doing it.”

Maybe you are the chick/dude being inspiring and well-thought-out, in which case I heartily applaud you. But maybe, just maybe, you are like myself and tend to take things slow. It isn’t that we procrastinate; we just like taking our time, being thorough. We are the people who take a full day to do one load of laundry, a full week to write 500 words, a full month to do a “quick-and-easy” project, and a full year to write thank you cards. Slow and steady, my friends, slow and steady.

More often than not we find ourselves required to hurry faster than our natural rhythm, but we manage–it’s normal. We might always be a little bit behind, but we are still making it to things mostly on time and doing our work almost as thoroughly as we’d like. However, sometimes all of the little things which pile up coincide with a really BIG thing. In these instances, nothing but some fast-paced productivity will manage to get the job done.

Drastic times call for drastic measures.

Today was one of those days for me. This morning when I woke up, I found myself with only 1 week left in London, 1 day left to complete my final paper, and 1 clean undergarment. Yikes! I’ll spare you the gory details, but suffice it to say that I am just now sitting down to dinner at 22:30. All of my clothes are clean, I’ve knocked out a good 11 pages (what’s another blog post?), threw in a class presentation, trip to Sainsbury’s for the baby prince edition of the times, and a meeting with my prof, and I have plans to explore this beautiful city with some first-rate locals tomorrow. (Didn’t expect me to do everything in one day, did you?)

Ah well, hopefully your day was not so rushed, but if it was, I understand.

Miles to go before we sleep, eh?

DSCN1484 happy birthday little prince!

~a beloved nobody

Slipping Time

Time has been slipping away as of late. Only 3 more weeks left over here in London, which doesn’t sound as short as it feels.

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Not to be a total wimp, but it has gotten really, really hot this past week. Having lived in Florida my whole life, one would not expect me to melt at a measly 85 degrees (that’s 29 in centigrade), but alas. I inherited me mither’s intolerance for heat and have therefore entered a lazy stupor. Lazy days of summer, tempered by my looming departure date.

Ah well, here are some highlights of what you’ve missed while I let time slip away:

  • I met a bunch of new friends in Wallington!!! (Keep forgetting to take pictures when I visit, but they shall be forthcoming.)
  • Took a lovely trip to Edinburgh, Scotland, with my travelling friend. We enjoyed every park we could find, trekked out along the coast, soaked in the magical atmosphere, and had a Pushing Daisies party in a graveyard…with cup pies…and daisies.
  • Been traipsing around London with one of my flatmates. We’ve gotten pretty good at finding free samples meal deals–it is a real art form.

I’ve also been writing papers, running errands, visiting museums, and more, but it is harder than I expected to keep track of the little and the big when so much is happening.

DSCN1218on Arthur’s Seat

Imageexploring somewhere between Aberlady and Gullane

 

~a beloved nobody

Missed Adventures

Hello there,

Between touring and classes, things have been quite busy here. Not complaining, mind you, but it is nice to have a weekend in London rather than away on another trip. In fact, I have the flat almost entirely to myself for the day. So here I sit catching up on picture uploading and enjoying the opening stage of Le Tour de France on the telly (100th year, guys!!).

Since I last sat down to this here blog, I have written some papers, explored a bit more of the neighborhood, gone to Greenwich, Hampton Court Palace, and Windsor Castle, and spent a weekend in Paris. While all of these have been quite enjoyable in their own ways, my favorite thing has been going to the RADA festival performances of “As You Like It” & “Midsummer Night’s Dream” in Russell Sq Gardens. It was splendid good fun to see Shakespeare performed on a lawn with a picnic in English summer rain, rather than a stuffy building. It lends a lot of life and spirit to the play. The lines and story took on new meaning and there was a great sense of camaraderie between the players, as well as the audience. If you can, you simply must check it out! (performances today, June 29 at 3p and 7p in Russell Sq Gardens, admission free).

ImagePrime Meridian at Greenwich

ImageFete de Musique at the Louvre

Imageoutdoor stage for “As You Like It”

~a beloved nobody

Settling In

Sometimes it is the littlest things that make for a good day. A sunny morning, extra time for breakfast, a good grade on an assignment, or getting a good jog in can all turn a bland day into something special.

Well, one such thing happened the other day.

I was wandering around my little part of London trying to find a nice spot to study, when some tourists, apparently newer to the city than I, stopped me on the street to ask for directions to the British Museum. Well, lo and behold, I was able to tell them how to get there! In a ten second exchange, the couple had unwittingly bequeathed to me a new sense of freedom and confidence. I was no longer the newest kid on that particular block. I could give directions without consulting a map. I was pretty hot stuff!

Don’t worry; I won’t get cocky. I know that if they had asked directions Regent’s Park or Buckingham Palace or most other places, I wouldn’t have known. But for the moment, it felt good to realize I wasn’t hopeless. If anyone had asked a week and a half ago, I would have been no help.

~a beloved nobody

Wales, Wales, Wales

Wales far-and-away exceeded my expectations. It was out to impress, giving us gorgeous, sunshiney fresh air by the sea the day we were there. We romped around an ancient castle, down a pier, and up a mountain while soaking up as much Vitamin-D as possible. I hope to make it back here. Who knows?

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*couldn’t pass up £10 matching wool sweaters*

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*view from Conwy Castle*

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*picturesque view of Llandudno*

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*had my first real fish’n’chips in a converted Liverpudlian pump house* 

~a beloved nobody