Praises

An Essay By Hannah D. // 10/14/2017

Today I finish up the second week of grad school. For the first time of my life I am living away from home, ostensibly independent concerning my social, academic, and spiritual life, and even making a little of my own money (small though it may be). By the grace of God I was settled into the home of a remarkably charming and generous couple, complete with two delightful Australian Shepherds that remind me of my own two dogs I left back home. From there I can step out the front door and walk – to a literally colorful village on the ocean or a private, cliff-locked beach. As someone who is accustomed to driving at least half an hour from a backwoods country home to get just about anywhere, the freedom this brings is nothing short of exhilarating. And the neighbors – good heavens, the neighbors! – it’s like one big family. Everyone is getting ready for Halloween and excited to see all the neighborhood kids in their cute little costumes and showering them with candy. They apparently have an annual fireworks show in October over the ocean, and it was like a block party with all the neighbors merrily walking to the beach to catch a spectacular, booming show.

All this is nothing compared to my delight in the courses I am taking. Few things make me so genuinely happy as working and discussing math and science problems with friends. I am studying the oceans, with my current favorite class being Physical Oceanography. Not only is the lecturer delightful (complaining, at his squeaky piece of chalk, “My nerves are going to be shot by the end of this” - in his British accent), but I absolutely love seeing multidimensional calculus and physics concepts combine into models of fluid dynamics and turbulence we use to study the ocean and its currents.

Not to mention, we’re going on a geology field trip next week. The geology of the coasts is not only breathtaking, but fascinating.

I was so worried about the move. So nervous about what I’d do without my family and friends and ballroom dancing like I have nearly every Friday since I was fifteen. But again, God is good. Not only is the couple I’m living with intent on showing me beautiful beaches and hiking trails and sharing delicious meals (corned beef & cabbage in autumn, anyone?) but I stepped into a church Sunday morning and was delighted with the welcoming atmosphere and in-depth service (any sermon referencing Gnosticism and using the words “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism” is sure to catch my attention). They host small group worship/Bible study/prayer/social sessions for college-aged students and young adults Sunday evening, and that was a delight as well. Another activity that brings me genuine happiness: discussing the Bible and Christian life with friends. And did I mention I met a young woman there who goes swing dancing Wednesday nights? Ok, so maybe that’s not the best plan if my school schedule gets particularly crazy, but dancing may yet be in my future here too!

There's a 10-year-old homeschooled boy I’m tutoring in math and science. His eagerness to learn is a joy for me to see! I take walks to the Village, sit on the beach close to the waves or on a bench overlooking them, and enjoy long chats with my mom. I send my family snapshots of what I’m working on – doesn’t this just look so cool? Doesn’t it look like a work of art? And the place I’m staying at has a piano! Oh, the joys of topping off an intense study session with Chopin’s Little Dog Waltz or Joplin’s Entertainer. And they never seem to mind if my lack of practice induces mistakes.

I love life right now. I love the incredibly in-depth challenges these studies bring. I love driving my cute little car to school and back each day. I love being able to smell salt in the air when I drop by the grocery store, and savor a panoramic view of the ocean when I walk back to the school's parking lot. I love my new church. I love the people in this neighborhood. I love cliff-locked beaches, and the little girl on the block I've beachcombed with, eagerly asking what each little treasure she finds is and receiving the answer with wide eyes (and then asking, "So, how long are you going to be here? Like, a year?" *smiles happily at my affirmative reply*).

And I love that this Friday, I was able to go home. To visit my family and tell them all this in person. To step into my own rugged Sierra backyard and savor the very different beauty it possesses. And that I’ll also be able to go dancing again, at least this one last time before the quarter is over.

Comments

I'm so happy for you! Yes,

I'm so happy for you! Yes, God is so good! Where you are sounds like a dream (given I live in a valley 45 minutes from the Pacific)! I could imagine it all so well, so thank you for the breath of salty air.
God bless and good luck in your studies!

Madalyn Clare | Tue, 10/17/2017

"To live is to love with the passion of a thousand stars. To love is to live despite the pain of a thousand scars. Anything in between is a passing shadow." ~Michael Joseph Murano

Thank you! It does feel like

Thank you! It does feel like a dream. :) Blessings to you too, thanks so much!! :D

Hannah D. | Tue, 10/17/2017

"Reason itself is a matter of faith. It is an act of faith to assert that our thoughts have any relation to reality at all." - G. K. Chesterton

Also, I don't know which of

Also, I don't know which of my friends are reading this back home, but if you are and I wasn't able to catch up with you - I'm sorry. :'( I only had a little time and so much of it was taken up studying that I spent most free minutes with my family. I also didn't want to be like "Ok everyone I'm back! Drop everything and come hang out with me!" when I'd only been gone three weeks lol.

Anyway I'll see ya'll soon! <3

Hannah D. | Tue, 10/17/2017

"Reason itself is a matter of faith. It is an act of faith to assert that our thoughts have any relation to reality at all." - G. K. Chesterton

You wrote this in such a way

You wrote this in such a way that as I read, I felt your happiness and joy.

Libby | Tue, 10/17/2017

“The gospel alone is the power of God unto salvation.
Therefore, suffer, yes. Be misunderstood, yes. Be shamed, yes. But do not be ashamed. For the joy set before you, take up your cross, follow Jesus, be shamed and despise the shame!” -- John Piper

Hi Hannah!! This was so

Hi Hannah!!
This was so lovely and I enjoyed it SO much. I can relate to it so much. I live in , the countryside now away from my family too. I see hay bales, mountains, small towns, farms. This was so beautifully written. Thank you for writing it and making normal life flow into writing that we can read. Don't lose your creativity with words...I feel like I have lost some by not writing articles as much as I have.
I also got to go back home last week after 2 months of living here, and yes, it was hard to balance time with my family and friends. So little time, so much to do. :)
Maybe I can catch up with you sometime. Or email me to let me know exactly where you are living and doing --sounds beautiful! Your host family and community sounds so good.
Thank you so much for writing this!

Lucy Anne | Wed, 10/18/2017

"It is not the length of life, but the depth of life." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thanks so much girls! And ah,

Thanks so much girls! And ah, Megan, I'm sure your style will come back quick with just a little bit of a practice round. When you have time to write again, it'll return as vibrant as ever! :)

And guys guys guys the marine geology field trip was sooooooo cool!!!!!! :D :D :D

Hannah D. | Fri, 10/20/2017

"Reason itself is a matter of faith. It is an act of faith to assert that our thoughts have any relation to reality at all." - G. K. Chesterton

Congratulations! I can only

Congratulations! I can only imagine how exciting this must be for you. :) yay for happy life changes!

Damaris Ann | Sat, 10/21/2017

My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭55:8-9‬

You still go on field trips

You still go on field trips in grad school! Sign me up!

Madalyn Clare | Sat, 10/21/2017

"To live is to love with the passion of a thousand stars. To love is to live despite the pain of a thousand scars. Anything in between is a passing shadow." ~Michael Joseph Murano

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