Classes started this week. In order to understand how I'm feeling about this semester, there are some facts of which you need to be reminded.

Last semester:
- 20 hours of class time each week for 6 classes (with way more homework than I could possibly complete)
- overcommitment in extracurriculars
- a lack of focus, spiritual health, general well-being. stress.
- Nashville

This semester:
- 4 hours of class time each week for 2 classes, which are only on Tuesday and Wednesday [hello 5 day weekend!] (with what seems to be a very manageable amount of work)
- memories from this summer to fill my heart and mind
- more than enough time to breathe
- involvement in just 2 societies
- Scotland
- feeling God everywhere. knowing Him.

Can you say excited? Happy? Dreading next semester already? I can :)

It also helps that I have N.T. Wright (or 'Tom') as a professor.

Wish you all were here!



Here at St. Andrews, there is only one Christian organization. That means that there is no disunity among Christians. There is no competition for new members. They love each other and support each other, no matter their denomination. And they don't just sweep difficult theological issues under the rug, but they also don't allow those issues to get in the way of worship or their relationships with one another.

I went to the first main meeting of the Christian Union last week. We packed out a pretty large venue (St. Andrews-wise at least). It is a time for Christians to gather to worship, pray, and hear teaching from a number of university and locally affiliated pastors. I was expecting that. I was expecting normal.

But guess what?

I cried. I love singing, but I don't usually cry. We sang "Prince of Peace," a song I've known for many years. True, it is a powerful song in its own right, but it isn't just a song for me anymore. In Greece this summer, Tyler noticed the worship band at Kamp Kalamos practicing it. He went over to help them with the key. Being the wonderful servant that he is, he also wrote out the lyrics for me (side note: we would often sing songs in Greece with tunes that were very familiar to me but the lyrics would be just out of reach). That day in Greece, I fully experienced worshipping God in the presence of Christians from around the world. It was so blatantly obvious that we serve the same God for the same reasons. The team was singing as loud as we could in English, but that had no chance of covering up the sound of voices singing the same lyrics to the same melody in another tongue.

Well, the other night, here in Scotland, we sang "Prince of Peace". This time, all of the voices were praising the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ in English. This time, only the accents were different. This time, I was surrounded by people I didn't know, in a place I'd only just arrived. Once again, God was pressing into my heart that there are Christians all over world. They struggle with the same things I do. They have the same hopes and fears. I am not alone here. No Christian is ever alone, for we are all connected to one another around the world in a very intimate way. We may not always sing the same songs. We don't all speak the same language. But we worship. And our voices rise up together. If only in this, we are one body--unified, whole.

P.S. We also sang a song to which I didn't know the English words. But I did know the music. We sang it in Greek this summer :)


A Scottish Beginning

Hello from Scotland!

I've been here four days now. I'm pretty much settled in, but I'm definitely still working on the jet lag. I think. Or I'm just tired.

My roommate is wonderful, as are all of the people in Sallies (my hall). When I moved in bright and early on Saturday, another student and her father helped me carry my suitcases up to the top floor even though she was on the first. And because I'm on the top floor, I have a fantastic view of the castle ruins and the sea. Apparently this side of the hall is colder. I don't really want to find out. Ha. But the view is totally worth it. I also love my room. It's way less hospital-esque than dorm rooms at Belmont, and the whole building itself is absolutely gorgeous! It's only 80 years old but it is modeled to look like it belongs to the town of St. Andrews. That means that it is completely stone and has this fantastic roofline (meaning that my room has slanted ceilings!). We have a common room, a dining hall with long wooden tables, a reading room, a wooden central staircase, and cubbies for the post! I love living here!

The town is adorable. Seriously. It's tiny and quaint and perfect.

Sallies gave me quite a comforting welcome. My first couple of meals had dishes reminiscent of Greek food (bread and nutella, spanakopita, and stuffed peppers).

So far, I've had my face painted to look like the Sallies' shield, I've danced at a Scottish Ceilidh (pronounced kay-lee), tried Irn Bru (a soda that's famous in Scotland but that nobody likes because it tastes like liquified bubble gum), and I've fallen more in love with the Scottish and English accents (I didn't think it was possible).

I can't believe that I'm living here! It doesn't really feel like a foreign country. I go off wandering around town on my own all the time. Nothing is more than a 15 minute walk away. There are always people around. It's quite fantastic. I already know that December is going to come way too soon, and I'm not going to want to leave this place.

By the way, I've seen more rain in the past 4 days than I've seen in the past 4 months. Texas, I'm trying to send it your way!



I'm quite proud of myself. I've read 15 books this summer. Only one of those was a reread :) Granted, it was a longer summer than normal, but I also spent two months out of the country.

Here's the list:
Abba's Child by Brennan Manning
The Reason for God by Timothy Keller
Radical by David Platt
Surprised by Joy by C. S. Lewis
Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges
Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Neither Here nor There by Bill Bryson
The Clothes on Their Backs by Linda Grant
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo and Lynn Vincent
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
Miz Lil and the Chronicles of Grace by Walter Wangerin
Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos (the reread)
Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos
Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert

They were all great reads; some I probably won't read again. It was definitely a good summer if only measured by a standard of pages. It was a good summer for other reasons, too :)

And remember: I still have a flight across the pond before my summer ends...


be strong and courageous.

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." - Joshua 1:9

Joshua was afraid. He was about to lead a people into an unknown land. Moses, their leader, had just died. Joshua had much to live up to.

I'm not usually nervous about traveling. There are always the normal fears about security, take-off, landing, etc., but this time, I'm worried about everything. I think it's because although I've gone to Europe many times and flown by myself many times, I've never flown overseas without another American (even if I didn't know them very well).

This verse is comforting. God was with Israel in Egypt, with them in the desert, and would be with them in the Promised Land. God was with me in Greece (without a doubt), He's been with me in this period of loneliness at home, and I know He will be with me in Scotland.

I have nothing to fear, for the LORD my God will be with me wherever I go.