Saturday, August 30, 2008

Here it is. It's just me, a different drummer but the same old beat...

it seems like everything is gonna be just fine, cuz I'm having a good time! And so Relient K once again tells the story of my life.

It's Saturday afternoon after my first real week of college. I'm currently in the process of doing my laundry. It's kinda fun actually. I've also balanced my checkbook, dusted my desk, and sent out a check to World Vision. Pretty productive I'd say! It has been a crazy long week!!! Despite the difficulty of the transition (namely having to learn new sleeping habits and not getting more than six hours of sleep all week, plus fighting homesickness) it seems like everything will be more than fine, because I am having a great time! I've made a great group of friends. The girls on my hall are all becoming really close. I've found a great church that I see myself getting plugged into really soon. We've even got a plan in the works to start a girls' Bible study on our hall. Exciting times! Oh yeah, then there's the other, only slightly more important part of college life, the classes. haha. After having gone a full week, I think I really like my classes... for the most part. Here's my schedule/commentary:

Monday, Wednesday, Friday

8AM- Elementary Music Theory: Keyboard Analysis & Part Writing
I really like this class. It's pretty simple, seeing as I learned most of this stuff when I was six, but it's been good for me to get back to the basics, especially if I ever want to teach. Plus, if I pay attention to what I'm doing, it should be an easy A and cushion the GPA. Yay!

10AM- Honors Cornerstone
I think this will become one of my favorite classes. The whole class is already really close because we spent all of Welcome Week together. It's discussion based with a lot of reading, but the teacher is really realistic and understanding, so it shouldn't be too bad. We're discussing modernity and the development of other cultures is hopes that we can become more well-rounded citizens and Christians. At least I think that's the idea. haha. The semester will end with a 15 page research paper based on a topic of our choice. It should be a good experience.

1PM- Life & Teachings of Jesus
My professer for this class reminds me of Coach Ramey! Maybe it's only because his name is Randy, I don't know, but I really like the class and listening to his lectures. He's actually an internationally acclaimed speaker in the Church of Christ circle, so it's really cool to get to listen to him twice a week. Our class has like 250 people in it and then on Fridays we breakout into smaller groups. I think I like it. It should be good.

2PM- Fundamentals of Communication (Honors)
I don't like speech, but I think I might actually like this class. I have a few friends in there and the content is actually really interesting, even though I complain about it. Our prof is a little spacey, which makes us laugh, but she really does know what she's doing. I really like how she's integrating our faith (using different Bible verses in class) with communication. It's really neat.

5PM- University Chorale
I only have this class on Mondays and Wednesdays. I'm not sure what I think. I think I may withhold judgement for a while longer. It's definitely different from the choral experience I'm used to. There's only one director (and he's certainly not Mr. Tanner), and our accompanist is a piano performance major (ie: she's not Ms. Hickey or Ms. Morton). I'm working to keep an open mind and just enjoy making music, which I always do. One thing I will say is that it's really cool that everyone in the music department here views what we do as an offering to God and an act of worship. That is neat.

Tuesday, Thursday
8:30AM- Elementary Theory: Sightsinging & Eartraining
This class may actually be a challenge for me. Sightsinging isn't too hard, but I've never been very good at eartraining. That said, I'm excited to be able to practice all that. The prof is great. I really like her. Not much else to say

1:30PM- Environmental & Technological Science
This class just sounds intimidating, doesn't it? It actually was at first, but it's really growing on me. My prof is very much a believer in not simply feeding us information but making us responsible for our learning and teaching us how to become life-long learners. I am excited to learn about the environment since conservation and "going green" are such hot topics right now. One bad thing (and possibly a good thing) is that we'll be doing a lot of group work. I'm not very good at group work, so it will definitely be a learning experience for me.

3PM- Lifetime Wellness
This is going to be the one class that will take everything in me to attend. I don't know anyone and frankly, it's not my favorite subject matter. I'll get through though, I'm sure. Hey, maybe I'll actually learn something!

Well, I guess that's it for now. I have homework to get to now. Oh joy! Truly, I can't wait until Thanksgiving! Blessings all! Love you and miss you!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

A New Dawn: A Connection to Joshua of Old, an Allegory

Here's a story God gave me the other day. I've felt really connected to the story of Joshua this summer and if you've read the book, you can understand why. The story of Joshua is one of new horizons, new lands, and the inevitable unknown. More than that though, it is a story of God's faithfulness and power. As I prepare for the first day of classes tomorrow, I stand at a strange vantage point. Looking one way, I see a vastness, a land waiting to be conquered, and yes, I feel fear. I wonder if I can face it. Looking back, I see the beauty of the land I know and I'm reminded of the huge victory that God brought this summer. I love it, and I already miss it, but thank God for the opportunity to move forward and continue on the journey to the promised land. It's not easy. I'll be that honest. Praise God, it's been amazing, but it's still hard. No matter what though, I'M BELIEIVING GOD! Enjoy! Stephanie<><
A New Dawn: A Connection to Joshua of Old, an Allegory
By: Stephanie M. Frakes
August 18, 2008

Staring into the distance too shocked to join in the victory celebration. Afraid that it was all just a dream, an elaborate story conjured up by my deep sub-conscious desires, I replay the events in my head once more. It was no dream. No question the battle was real, too real. I can still see the scars from before I was ready to fight back. The enemy had the power to crush me completely if I had not had the Almighty on my side. It was only in the confidence of His Spirit that I stood in battle for hours.

I looked at the sun. It moved across the sky in the same leisurely motion it always has, unfazed by my pain, almost mocking my struggles. I knew I was running out of time. If I lost the light, I would lose the battle as well. I cried out to the Almighty. I had no preconceptions of what He should do; I simply knew He needed to move… and quickly.

He heard my cries, and to my astonishment, I saw the sun stand still. This manifestation of His faithfulness gave me strength, and now, as I fought, each blow made me stronger, and each fall taught me new and unsearchable things until finally the enemy was defeated. The camp received me with great joy and they too marveled at the work of the Almighty. The victory was real. The sun truly stood still. Glory!

But now I stare into the distance and the sky fills with the familiar orange, pink and purple hues that signal sunset. I realize it’s time to move on and my heart sinks a little bit. What will happen in the dark? How long must I wait for a new dawn? Will I ever see His glory like that again? Will I remember this moment and His faithfulness, or will I lose sight of it all as day fades into day?

As purple fades into a deep, deep blue, I smile, for the Almighty whispers to me, “The sun sets, and the dawn breaks, but I never change. As the sun stood still in battle, so I stand every moment. Simply learn to believe.”

Friday, August 22, 2008

By the Light of a Thousand Candles

Wednesday night was our Candle Light Devotional here at ACU. It was amazing. I have no other word to describe it. All the incoming students (about 1500 of us) walked from Moody Colliseum to the ampitheatre while the sidewalks were lined with hundreds of upperclassmen, faculty, and alumni holding candles and singing worship songs. Once we were seated, all 1500 of us lit our candles (you know, the whole passing the flame along one by one). It was a beautiful picture. There were thousands of candles burning, and then the stars were just beautiful! It was really great.

The whole evening spoke volumes to me about unity, unity not only within ACU, but in the entire body of Christ. Seeing all those different faces and hearing all those voices just blew me away. God is so awesome (and I do mean that as in I am truly in awe of Him). He's an artist with limitless creativity. I mean, not only did He speak the beautiful stars into existance, but He formed and made so many people, each with their own specific gifting, passion, and purpose. Billions of people on earth, each different and each deeply loved. He's a Father with limitless love. God's devotion to us in His love truly blows me away, and I pray that by His grace and His strength in everything I do, every choice, every relationship, I would be devoted to Him. We've been talking a lot about revolution (our theme for Welcome Week is rLOVEution) and I had to stop and wonder as I saw all those candles burning: If we each have Christ's power in us, shouldn't revolution be a natural byproduct of our coming together as a body? More than that, (and to be honest, this is more of a comfort than a conviction) if God's Spirit (His Word, the sword of the Spirit) is living and active in me (as Ms. Beth Moore would say) shouldn't there be revolutions occuring daily in my own life?

I hear a resounding "YES!" echoing off the walls of my heart even now. And that is precisely why I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God has some amazing stuff waiting for me on the horizon. I don't know what it is exactly, but I can hear God telling me to simply trust His limitlessness and say yes to Him daily. The truth is, whether we realize it or not, revolution does happen daily. Each morning when I climb down from my bed (haha.) and recognize the fact that it is the Lord's day and make the choice to "rejoice and be glad in it" even when there's really nothing special going on, that's a revolution. I pray that that will become my mindset once again, and that God will use that to make a difference somehow, and maybe, no definitely, that will lead to even greater things as I venture on this beautiful journey with the Lord of the Universe. Oh what joy it is to think that I walk each day hand-in-hand with the Lord of the Universe!

I love these times when the Lord ministers to me and I feel so confident and victorious in His Spirit. I'm still blown away when I think that the Lord of the Universe (I use that repetitively because to me it speaks power, grace, control, radiance, victory, and beauty) makes His home in my very heart. My Jesus conquered the grave and now He is living and active in me. How can I not embrace the fact, yes pure, unshakeable fact, that we are all "more than conquerors" because of God's amazing love?!

Oops. I think I started preaching there. Haha. I guess it's a good thing. It means I'm doing well right now. On a lighter note, I'm meeting tons and people and making friends really quickly. Last night was really fun, and refreshing. I was starting to feel overwhelmed with all the activities and information overload that is Welcome Week, but last night our whole floor got together in the hallway where we have some couches and just started sharing stories. It was really really neat and relaxed and I met some great people through that. It was the first time that a lot of people on our floor had really talked. I'm really excited to see relationships form. Good times!!!!!! I miss you all though. Really. Until next time, be blessed all!

More than a conqueror,

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Picture Perfect?--Wow I wish I were more clever!

Here are the pictures I promised you all. This is home for the next few months. Sometime soon I'll try and get some pictures of campus up. It's really beautiful. Blessings!

Closet & door. Kudos to the girls back at the office, and my favorite cousins!

Sink, books, etc.

Keyboard area. Shadowboxes from my favorite sister and card from my favorite Maribel!

My bed and two of my favorite pictures. Thanks Lisa & Ms. Morton.

Desk and entertainment area. Yes, I have a SWEET tv! Kudos to my favorite aunt. ;-)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A New Journey

Greetings from ACU and welcome to the initial installment of my new blog, "A Journey in Grace." I hope that this will be a place where I can stay connected to the people that I love, but more than anything, I hope this will prove to be a medium through which I can share with you all how God is moving and what He is speaking to me for His glory. With that, enjoy, and please, check in often! From poetry, to deep thoughts, to pictures, to simple updates, you never know what you'll find!
As I sit here in my new dorm room, I can't help but smile. I can't believe I'm finally here! More than that, I can't believe how happy I am! It's been raining all weekend (praise God, it stopped just long enough for me to get moved in yesterday), but then again, I love rain; it reminds me of renewal and grace. I guess I don't really know what to say. The last couple of weeks have been an emotional rollercoaster, but I'm amazed at the peace that I felt the moment I walked onto campus. God has it all planned out. This is where I belong, and I am so blown away to see how God has prepared me for this. Even as I look around my room (this little world of pink, black, and treble clefs...) I see little reminders of all the people who continually cover me in prayer as I live life to seek His face. I can't wait to see where He's taking me!

Speaking of seeking God's face, I visited Univeristy Baptist Church this morning. I really liked it. It was a strange combination of BT and Trinity Baptist back home. It was Trinity's feel and small congregation with BT's charisma (no, not Charismatic... just charisma) and music. I'm not sure whether or not this church is "the one," but we'll see. It's going to be hard to find a new church family, but I'm believing God.

Well, I guess that's enough for now. Be blessed y'all!

Always smiling,