Monday, August 23, 2010

Well, I'm back in the city...

... and back to school. My first class was this morning, and I'm looking forward to taking courses in musical form and analysis, piano literature, Baroque counterpoint, philosophy, and how the Bible came to be. I'm working close to 15 hours a week this semester.

I have two new roommates, since the previous two left me to get married. (Seriously, why would you give up rooming with a doll like me???) They are both very sweet, and I'm looking forward to getting to know them better.

Last night was such a blessing. One of my former roommates invited several of us over to her apartment. At the end of the evening, four of us were left, and we spent some quality time in prayer for various situations we were facing. I left feeling prepared to start the semester. Spending time in the presence of the Almighty will do that... :)

One of my goals this fall is to blog more often. I'm going to start by aiming for at least one post a week. I'm hoping to do a series on church music philosophies soon... so watch for that.

Another goal of mine is to make my time in God's Word even more of a priority. I'm thinking about doino shg an inductive Bible study on 1 Peter, and I definitely plan to share posts on what God is teaching me.

I also need to keep seeing and doing in the city. While, yes, my studies, work and time with God need to be prioritized, I do want to take advantage of the exciting opportunities available to students in the city setting.

But, for now... I'm going to run to class. :)

With love from an absolute doll,

Erin Joy

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Dolly Daily... except it's really a weekly :)

This summer, I've been working full-time at my local newspaper. I realized today that I hadn't given you the promised post chronicling my adventures, and the summer is almost over!

So, where to start? My job has involved a whole host of different things, which is one of the reasons I love it so much. (That and the fact that I get to be a techie... but you already read about that!!)

This summer, I got to start a new feature column that we've been running every other week. Rather than filling it with my deep dolly insights, I've been interviewing various people in our coverage area about cooking. The column includes a picture of the featured chef, a profile of them, and three of their favorite recipes. Often, I've gotten to meet someone at their home, eat their incredible food, and get paid to ask them questions about it. No... I haven't put on any extra stuffing... don't worry. :)

Another of my little "projects" has been visiting the area library and looking at microfilm. I've been reading about what happened in my small town 10, 25, and 50 years ago. It's been pretty interesting... from the winners of a beard growing contest to the price of a subscription 50 years ago. And did you know that my hometown theatre showed the movie "Portrait in Black" in color when it first came out?

In addition to my normal responsibilities as a feature writer, I've gotten to explore photography a little more as well. Actually, I've probably done as much photography as I have writing this summer... which isn't normal for me! I've found that a good camera makes it much easier to take good pictures, and I actually enjoy photography now.

I've loved the newspaper this summer -- the teamwork in the office, the chance to meet new people, the rush to complete a project before the deadline (okay, so our deadlines aren't THAT intense, but still!), the challenge of finding the perfect angle for a story, and the constant reality that the product I'm producing is so much bigger than I am... :)

With love from an absolute doll,

Erin Joy

Monday, August 9, 2010

Thoughts on "Riven"

As a college student, I seldom have time read much besides textbooks. This summer has been no different; I've been reading my New Testament Survey textbook and the press releases that come into the newspaper where I work.

Being sick changed some of that. I didn't quite have the energy to study a scholarly analysis of the background of Paul's letters, and so, on a Saturday afternoon when I was doped up on Benedryl, I raided the church library.

My curiosity had been piqued by Jerry Jenkins's book Riven. He describes it as a work of a lifetime, as "the novel I have always wanted to write." I had enjoyed reading one of his books on writing at the beginning this summer while recovering from my concussion, and wanted to read some of his fiction as well.

Riven was no disappointment. Jenkins wove a story with true-to-life characters and conflicts. I believed Thomas Carey's plight, the pastor who had been walked on by countless congregations, never seeing fruit in his ministry. Brady Wayne Darby's constant battles to escape the trailer park were all to no avail, and my heart broke for him.

Sometimes I was angry with the characters for not responding the way I thought they should, but always their motives made sense to me. It takes skillful writing to present characters who are believable even when their actions are illogical. Sometimes human behavior defies logic.

All this was accomplished with a beautiful writing style. Jenkins writes in a way that doesn't interfere with the story. I find it difficult to enjoy a poorly written story because I am constantly distracted by my annoyances with the style. It can be equally difficult to read writing that constantly draws attention to itself as phenomenal and complex. Jenkins has neither fault -- his writing tells a story, and it was only after reading a while that I noticed how beautifully he was doing it.

One final thought before I close: This book resonated with me deeply. A theme woven throughout the story is the long wait for the fruit of Kingdom labor. The story spans seventeen years, and when it opens, Thomas Carey is already worn with waiting. How willing am I to wait for God's redemption of a sinner? The beautiful ending would never have been possible without the painful wait, but it's never easy to see that in the meantime.

Well... I'm still not feeling the best, so I should probably sign off for the night and head for bed. (Or maybe I should stay sick... I seem to get a lot of worthwhile reading done that way...)

With love from an absolute doll,

Erin Joy

Monday, August 2, 2010

the list gets shorter...

I now have bronchitis. :( After having more complications with my asthma over the weekend, we went to the doctor this morning, and I got put on prescription drug number four. I'm starting to feel the Prednisone kicking in at long last, and hopefully I should be myself in a few days. I'm drinking lots of water, and I had chicken and rice soup for lunch.

Still, I can't shake a comment a doctor made during my first visit ten days ago. "Stick with music... I wouldn't go out for sports."

You see, dear readers, I have realized that the options for my hobbies and careers are narrowing. As young Anne Shirley once put it, "My life is a perfect graveyard of buried hopes."

I can never go out for sports. (Exercise is an asthma trigger.)

I will never be a professional house painter. (Paint fumes caused problems Wednesday morning.)

I will never be able to climb Mount Everest. (While my Prednisone has me wired enough that I want to, I have to realize that the altitude might not be beneficial for my breathing.)

I will never be the jazz pianist in the cocktail bar. (Too much smoke...)

I can never be the manager of a grain co-op. (Burnt, moldy corn from a grain fire at the elevator in my hometown was probably what sent me over the edge.)

I can never pursue a career in veterinary medicine. (I can handle animals in limited quantity for a short period of time... but maybe I spent too much time at the county fair?)

I can never be a firefighter. (This one doesn't quite need any explanation...)

Well... as sad as the narrowing career options are, I have to admit, I'm glad to be on the road to recovery. I'm also glad to know what my triggers are... now I can behave myself and avoid them.

Even if it means I'll never be able to be a professional carpet cleaner. :)

With love from an absolute doll,

Erin Joy