Thursday, October 29, 2009

Just a quick addition to the last post:
(Also dedicated to Dr. Nystrom)

President Carter, a fellow of Mansfield, visited the college recently, since he believes (like I do) that the library is incomparable in beauty. Here he is in the Senior Common Room, and one can see the bottom of C.H. Dodd's portrait in the photo.

This blog is dedicated to the honorable Doctor Reverend David Nystrom.
As you can see, Dr. Nystrom, I have successfully discovered the infamous portrait of C.H. Dodd in Mansfield College. It looks just like the one you have hanging at home.

It was no simple maneuver to enter within the fortified walls of the College. (Actually, it was much easier than I thought it would be.) Usually, the public and even other students from surrounding Oxford colleges are not allowed in the building, but they made an exception. I believe the exception was granted in part to the ridiculous story I told them. The porter did give me a funny look when I said, "Er... I'm here to find the portrait of C.H. Dodd for the Dean of Theology at my university back home. He wants a photo of it." He picked up "the tele" and rang the librarian, telling her, "I have this young woman from America here who wants to see a portrait..." I love how he needed to include the prepositional clause, "from America."

The librarian, Mrs. Alma, was so endearing and hospitable. She showed me the portrait, the library, and bestowed all manner of souvenirs on me. She only asks in return for the full story of how a duplicate portrait is hanging on Dr. David Nystrom's wall in California. I concur. And the question is, were two portraits painted? Or is one the original, while the other is a reproduction? They look identical to me.

I unfortunately did not bring my camera. It was rather a spontaneous adventure to Mansfield College. Hopefully I will go back soon (I received an invitation back to visit!) and take some photos of the grounds and the library. The library is the most beautiful I have seen.

Hoping that this blog will so please the honorable Doctor Reverend David Nystrom. Also hoping to be able to visit the honorable Doctor Reverend David Nystrom when I am home for a month in December. I miss your classes.

PS - the librarian knew of you. That was exciting!
PPS - Lavender toed socks?

Seize the day,

Friday, October 23, 2009

A list of the random things about this odd city I am privileged enough to live in...

1) The giant hill I live on. It is steeper and longer than my hill at home. It makes me say my prayers as I cycle up it.

2) Wearing a skirt and heels while I cycle up said hill. This qualifies for the "Only in Oxford, you'll see..." list. Only in this strange town would you see so many women riding around in dresses, skirts, heels, etc. on bicycles. Remind me not to join this crazy club of cyclers. It's too cold.

3) Apple trees in strange places. I went running yesterday - ran through busy city, through residential, then ended in a beautiful open field. All in a span of ten minutes time. Then I climbed through a hole in a hedge only to be in an Eden of apple trees. I won't need to buy apples for a long time. At that point, I needed a plastic bag to load up. And, as Murphy's law would have it, that moment was the only one where I could not find a littered bag. Where is litter when you need it?!

PS - I love my tutorials. Expound later.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Such a hilarious, wonderful morning.

So... it is someone's birthday today here at the Vines, and I thought I would whip up a batch of chocolate chippers for him. Not so.

Sometimes I wonder if God just wants to have a quick laugh and sabotages my plans for comic relief. The cookies were a wreck. Not sure what happened... one moment they looked normal, then the next, they melted all over the cookie sheet. Something like pancakes. Lest they burn the oven, I chose to yank them out. But, when you buy a minute and select number of groceries, even melted, pancakey cookies are salvageable. I scooped the dough-like substance back into the bowl, added some ingredients and made a brownie cake. The birthday boy won't even know that his lovely nutella brownie was a complete blunder. Hopefully.

Thought I'd share that with you.

Now, on to those papers. Notice the plural. Shakespeare, ready or not, here I come.

PS- Blogs to be posted: handstands and climbing the walls at the Vines, starring Child! And Mia's visit to C.S. Lewis' home at the Kilns.

Also, I'd love to just write and write about how wonderful Jane Eyre is. Perhaps I will spare you.

Seize the day, my friends!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Needed to make a quick post before this lecture begins.

You might find it interesting that I go to class with Susan Pevinsee from the movie, "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Strange... huh?

But, I am in England. It's bound to happen.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Time has not allowed me to simply write for the pure enjoyment of it lately.
However, I'm outmaneuvering this ridiculous excuse by choosing to write.

Life is full and beautiful.
I'm not sure there is another way to express it.
The last Sunday - on my Sabbath - it was drizzling and gray. Horrible English weather that I have (thankfully!) not experienced much. But, I resolved that skin is waterproof (and supposedly my jacket is also) and went on my adventure anyway.

The jacket is not waterproof. At least, it is not after an hour of steady rainfall.

My destination, a good ten miles away, was never reached. I was forced to abandon the flight plan midway for the sake of warm clothes.

On my way back, there was a narrow bend in the road, where I needed to cycle on the sidewalk, since a car was coming up behind me. Instead of gracefully rising over the curb, my tire lost traction, and I fell. (Which, according to my scars on my body, is not an abnormal occurrence for poor Child.) The kind people in the car pulled over to check on me. They could not fit me in their car, but they invited me over to their home to dry off and drink tea. (And thankfully, I was not hurt badly from the fall!)

At their home, I had the most delightful time. Kris and Kim have a wonderful family of three children. They took such good care of me. They gave me dry clothing, fed me, and I got to just bask in their love for one another as a family. I cannot explain what I felt except that it was sheer joy in knowing that my Daddy (God) was looking out for me. I had been so cold (and miserable after falling) that I was beyond thankful to be in a warm home (both metaphorically and literally.) The kids were so much fun to play with. There is something so unique about the way a child perceives the world.

Not only did they give me tea, pizza, and a new shirt to keep, we began conversing about churches. They had just been coming back from church and had strangely taken the wrong turn when they saw me fall. At that time, they had been searching for a place to whip a u-turn. (So my sneaking suspicion is that God pushed me off my bike to allow our meeting!) They pointed me to their church for an evening service. After a couple weeks of going to a church that does not feel at home, the visit to their church was amazing. What do you know... God has a plan.

The oddity is that the whole story can be seen as a superb metaphor. Life is like a rainy day sometimes. You're riding along the wet roads, minding your own business, when a puny curb decides to make your life difficult. Your tire loses traction, and you hit the ground. In shock and the agony of pain, you retreat for cover under a tree nearby, bleeding and alone. Yet, not alone. Suddenly, a person comes to take you into their home, bind your wounds, feed you, and clothe you. Godsend, anyone? What's that verse about feeding the hunger, giving drink, clothing the naked, and doing this to the least of these is actually for Christ? It's an image of God-given unmerited grace to us, then given by us to others. Hopefully, it's contagious.

It also goes to show that God has a plan (echo?)... even for the crap happenings of life.

He is good. Simon (a staff member here) says that statement is the core of faith. I agree.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Lake District! (my favorite part of the Oxford experience so far!)

This is the amazing trip of midterm break! Will post more photos soon. (Soon is a completely ambiguous word.)

Here are a hodge-podge of my favorite Lake District photos! See if you can match these captions with some of the photos.
1) Dustin attempts to smooch an ancient polar bear.
2) Genny and I pose for a glamour shot.
3) A triple black and white take on the ancient murder painting of Robert Dudley's wife, dead at the bottom of the stairs. An unfortunate, yet convenient, death. Google it for more info.
4) Kate = missing column.

Another post of my grand adventure last Sunday. Sabbaths are wonderful.

Still trying to come up with a grander adventure for this Sunday.

Went through Portmeadow. It is this lovely walk along the Thames. In the sunshine, it cannot be compared.

Along the way, there was an abbey in ruins... it was beautiful. Up top is a photo through the main window. I've also posted more for your enjoyment below.
This photo of the little lass is my favorite. She is trying to

dandelions... it was darling. Work on those cheek muscles, dear!

Here's a classic photo - climbing the ruins! It's incredible to scramble up something hundreds of years old and not get in trouble.

The final destination of the adventure was a pub by the name of The Trout Inn. It is supposed that Tolkien modeled The Prancing Pony. This is the back porch that has the river running through it. A little bit of Bree.
This has been a bit of the adventure. Hope you have enjoyed the wild ride. Please stay tuned for more!


Okay. Here is the post I have promised.

To catch up.

I have not posted pictures from London, nor Hampton Court, nor Portsmouth.

But to save time, I will post a few representative photos of each trip. More can be found on facebook.

This is the photo for London. Here stand my room mate and I before the Tower Bridge. Classic.
I actually do not care for London at all. Incredible museums (from the limited amount I have seen thus far) but altogether a busy, crazy city. Lots of crowds.

For Hampton Court, (Henry VIII's home) I choose to post a few.
I liked this field trip much more - probably because we were allowed to wear these amazing costume capes. Just kidding. To be honest, the art of this period seems overdone to me. It was a nice trip nonetheless.

The gardens were beautiful. For reference, please see facebook!

The rose garden was my favorite. The picture at the top of this blog shows some of its splendor.

Here is my Portsmouth photo:
There are so many more beautiful (and fun!) photos... but you'll have to check them out on facebook.

So, those are my basic pictures of field trips taken in the last few field trips.

I have not included the trip to the War Museum, which was very heavy in lieu of the focus on the Holocaust. Perhaps these photos are best reserved for in person. There is a great story behind them.

Stay posted for the best photos of all - the Lake District trip! Fabulous hiking! A beautiful four days of escape!

Much love to you all!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Must go to sleep.

Everything in the past few days has been amazing. We had midterm break, and for four days went to the Lake District of England. Hiking, relaxing, cooking, eating, laughing, playing games, the most wonderful people... yes. A little slice of heaven. I will post pictures eventually.

But, now, it is back to the grindstone. Must work harder...

(Dear Lord, help me.)

Write more soon.