Archive for September, 2010

Living on French time

Monday, September 20th, 2010

Leaving from Chicago

So, this post should have been written about 2 weeks ago, but since I am trying to get into the mindset of the French, I figure being 2 weeks late is exactly on time here.

But, back to me. For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Michelle Sweeten, and I am in Paris, France this semester, and Dijon, France next semester studying French (duh). I am a junior this year with a double major in French (again- duh) and Graphic Design. What, you may ask, will I ever do with those two majors? I have absolutely no idea… If you come up with something that covers both subjects, let me know.

Besides just having a different concept of time, the culture here is definitely taking some getting used to. It’s been hard to walk around with a neutral expression all the time, and receiving neutral expressions in return- smiles are not common place here. The concept of personal space is also completely different, in the fact that it doesn’t exist. Since its a big city, there are usually some pretty horrible smells, especially in the metro. But, not everything is bad. The city is surprisingly safe. I’ve seen many younger kids (10ish-15) walking home from school by themselves. If you have a problem, Parisians are pretty good at helping out- I’ve watched many people run onto the metro as the doors are closing and they get their bag or coat stuck, and everyone around them jumps up to get the doors back open. A lady even stopped to help me today while I flipped through my map book, utterly lost.

Bacon flavored chips... not really considered a French culinary masterpiece

With all their cultural oddities, the French definitely know how to do food correctly. I have yet to eat anything I didn’t like (although the bacon flavored chips are really sub-par). The bread is fantastic, the cheese- well, when your country makes 300+ varieties, it had better be good- the pastries are mouth-watering, the deserts are to die for, and it’s really refreshing to buy foods without all the preservatives that american food have. The milk and eggs are probably the most different from in the states. Milk is sold in boxes (like Silk Milk in the states) and is not refrigerated until after you open it. The eggs are also bought unrefrigerated and can be put in the fridge when you get home, or left in a cupboard. They made me nervous at first, but if the French can handle warm milk and eggs, why cant I?

Even with all their weirdness, the French are definitely growing on me. They have a pretty bad rep in the States, but they are just people, with a different  history and culture that causes them to act different then Americans.

~Michelle Sweeten. Paris, France

I FEEL ALIVE!!

Saturday, September 18th, 2010

G’day from New Zealand!  I should let you know I spent most of this Saturday enjoying a serene pine forest.  Lunch was lovely: a peanut butter and Nutella sandwich,a blueberry muffin, and cool, sweet, Christchurch water.

This is NOT me. ...Could be my mom....

I should probably mention however, that this particularly serene forest is named ADRENALINE!! When I wasn’t clinging to a tree trunk 20m (60+ft.) above ground, I climbed swinging logs or a highwire, with only a waist harness to catch my falls!  As the Kiwi’s would say, I’m not “too keen” on heights, and let me tell you, when the wind picked up in the afternoon, I may or may not have been freaking out…  When you can look across most of the forest and ALL the trees are swaying, notably the one you are ATTACHED to, the adrenaline does start up.  I was on a “Nepalese bridge,” or four wires (one for the harness, two to hold on to, and one to stand on) when the wind really picked up.  There’s nothing quite like standing on a wire that is bucking and jumping with every gust that hits the trees.  The happy lady above would NOT have had that expression on her face had she been in the sort of wind we had today!!  Her hair would be frazzled, shirt would be pink, and I’m sure even with deodorant she would be smelling quite ripe by the afternoon.  After a week of watching movies and trying to make myself be productive, today’s outdoor activities were a fantastic change.  Thanks to the Arcadia Study Abroad program via Grace, I could conclude my week with adrenaline!  :)

Get the Zombie EP!

Tomorrow I’m going to a Parkway Drive and The Devil Wears Prada concert, and I am SO STOKED!!  If I didn’t mention it in my last post, I kind of love heavy metal.  In addition, I haven’t been to a show since June. I get the itch for ridiculously loud distortion and screaming if I don’t get to a gig every few months.  When I found out TDWP was doing a NZ/Aus. tour, I was elated to say the least.  METAL!!!

In conclusion, I don’t know how much adrenaline and metal have to do with studying abroad or New Zealand, but I’m here, and the experiences are happening!  I should also mention that Brennan Manning’s book The Ragamuffin Gospel offers a refreshing perspective:

“When Jesus tells us to become like little children, He is inviting us to forget what lies behind.  …Whatever we have done in the past, be it good or evil, great or small, is irrelevant to our stance before God today. It’s only now that we are in the presence of God.”

Cheers!  -Karl Johnson, Christchurch New Zealand

Currently listening to: Evergreen Terrace’s Almost Home and Stray From The Path’s Villains

Just watched: Mark Wahlberg in Shooter; and the tv series Samurai 7

Grace Sets New Enrollment Record

Friday, September 17th, 2010

Grace College and Seminary reports a record enrollment this fall for the fifth consecutive year. A total of 1,773 students have enrolled for the 2010–2011 academic year, topping the 2009 enrollment of 1,641 by 8.0 percent.

The combination of new students and a high student retention rate of upperclassmen have contributed to the increase this year.  Strong enrollment in the college’s GOAL adult degree-completion program and graduate programs resulted in the new record.

Grace President Ronald E. Manahan said Grace is attracting a record number of students because of innovative new undergraduate and graduate academic programs, the development of scholar and leadership programs, and the college’s continued commitment to its mission. In recent years, the college has offered new programs such as its GOAL adult degree-completion program, as well as several new master’s degrees with online components. In addition, the college has introduced new undergraduate degrees in Environmental Biology, Political Science and Web Design and Development.

Grace expects to see continued enrollment increases in the upcoming years with the implementation of a new academic design. First announced in June 2010, Reimagine is an accelerated degree program that will allow academically aggressive students to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in any of Grace’s majors in only three years, or with a combined bachelor’s and master’s degree in four years. Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels has publicly voiced support for the program, calling it “academically innovative” and noting Grace as a leader in higher education.

“It is encouraging to see our students respond to the innovative scholar and leadership programs that Grace offers, and we are excited to see students begin to pursue a more time and cost efficient education at Grace in the coming years,” Dr. Manahan said. “This year’s record enrollment affirms that Grace continues to move in the right direction in providing for student needs. This positive momentum, combined with the accelerated degree option is affirmation of how Grace continues to listen to people’s needs and respond to the issues facing higher education.”

Grace College is an evangelical Christian community of higher education which applies biblical values in strengthening character, sharpening competence, and preparing for service. The academic, residential, athletic, and social aspects of the college are designed to encourage intellectual and spiritual growth in a supportive campus community. The 165-acre campus is located in the historic resort town of Winona Lake, near Warsaw, Ind. It has historically been among the top schools of its size and listed in U.S. News & World Report as one of America’s Best Colleges. The Princeton Review has regularly awarded it the title of a “Best Midwestern College.”

A New Adventure

Monday, September 13th, 2010

Here it is…my sophomore year. I feel like the past few weeks have been the longest, craziest, and quickest days of my life. I got to Grace a couple weeks before the majority of the students arrived, and it was so strange having the campus and the dorms be soquiet. The halls seemed lifeless and boring without decorations and people crowding.

It felt weird. 

However, training soon began, and it was good to see some familiar faces. It was wonderful reconnecting to some, and getting to know others. I was exhausted by the end of the week, but I was absolutely anxious and excited for the freshmen to arrive and for the rest of campus to come back. Now everyone is here, and campus is full and beautiful and back to how I remembered it. There’s a slight hint of changing leaves, and I am getting ready for the beauty of a Mid-West autumn…it’s my favorite :)

Although campus feels normal now that students are back, I can’t help but realize how different this year is for me. I went from a scared little freshman who didn’t know anyone to a sophomore that feels far more comfortable and a lot less frightened. Still, I am a little intimidated. This year will take some adjustment. My friendships and relationships from last year have evolved, and I’m closer to different people now. I have a lot more responsibilities as well. I’m a Growth Group Leader, I’m helping lead for a local youth group, and I’m working my 2nd semester as an Ambassador. Wow, that’s alot. 

The great thing about Grace is that I have amazing friends and professors here that encourage me and keep me in check. I know that this year is going to be a world of “new.” New adventures, new friends, new classes,  new activities. There’s a lot to do, but I am so ready to see what God has in store for Grace and for my life.

Let’s do this.

-Colleen Yoder

Self-Control

Monday, September 13th, 2010

One of the greatest paradoxes of the Christian life revolves around the issue of self-control.

It’s something that you are taught about early on in life, because it’s a fruit of the Spirit and teachers love to tell little kids in Sunday School about the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5. The fruit of the Spirit is easy to conceptualize and a thing like self-control is important to teach to kids who are often very much out-of-control.

But the truth of the matter is, self-control is impossible in and of ourselves. If we want to be more disciplined in our eating habits, or our entertainment choices, or our spending impulses, or in how we handle the our anger, we won’t be able to fully be self-controlled until we are Spirit-controlled.

And here is where we recognize the inherent paradoxical nature of this character quality. Self-control doesn’t come from inside me, it is a fruit of the Spirit! We can try our hardest to fix behaviors, but we won’t find real sustained success until we submit to the Spirit’s control. The Thrid Person of the Trinity must do the work inside us and empower us to change our habits from excessive and sinful, to controlled and godly.

Prayer and an attitude of dependance of God are key. The Spirit will convict us of the areas we need self-control and He’ll also provide the grace and strength we need to stick to our commitments to holy living.

Self-control can’t happen without the Spirit’s control. What a beautiful paradox!

Dr. Matt Harmon Has Dissertation Published

Monday, September 13th, 2010

Dr. Matt Harmon, Associate Professor of New Testament Studies, recently had his dissertation published, titled “She Must And Shall Go Free”. His own blog offers this description:

“Scholars have long recognized the importance of Paul´s citations from the Pentateuch for understanding the argument of Galatians. But what has not been fully appreciated is the key role that Isaiah plays in shaping what Paul says and how he says it, even though he cites Isaiah explicitly only once (Isaiah 54:1 in Galatians 4:27). Using an intertextual approach to trace more subtle appropriations of Scripture (i.e., allusions, echoes and thematic parallels), Harmon argues that Isaiah 49-54 in particular has shaped the structure of Paul´s argument and the content of his theological reflection in Galatians.”

A further description may be accessed at his blog at http://bibtheo.blogspot.com/2010/08/now-available-she-must-and-shall-go.html.

Salutations from Middle Earth!

Saturday, September 11th, 2010

Typically this is where I would begin telling you about myself.  For all intents and purposes, I would deem it necessary to inform you that I have shoulder-length hair, listen primarily to metal, and love being with friends.  I could try to convince you to refer to me as “Shaggy,” since 1,482 people have confused me with him.  No exaggeration.

My doppelganger.

I should probably mention that I plan to graduate from Grace in 2012 with a B.A. in P.R. and Int’l. Business or that I started snowboarding last season.  In theory, such details would conjure thoughts like, “oh, this guy seems interesting,” or “shoulder-length? I thought this was dude’s post?”

But frankly, after two and a half months of average introductions, I thought I should try to spice things up a bit.  Here goes nothin’.

Hey, uh, my name’s Karl Johnson, and this morning I discovered I have Athlete’s Foot.  Since a 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck Christchurch last Saturday and caused the school to be closed for two weeks (I’m studying abroad at Uni. of Canterbury in New Zealand), I haven’t really been doing much studying.  In fact, I’ve been making a sorry attempt to teach myself Japanese, playing Super Mario RPG (holla!), and much to my embarrassment, hunting down Taio Cruz’s latest club hit.  Don’t judge!  …too harshly…

For the record, this is my first blog, international or otherwise.  In all honesty, I love Grace College more than Quizno’s and Chipotlé Mexican Grill, which, by the way, is a big deal.  When my buddy Asher Bontreger asked if I would write this, I told him I would be more than happy to help.  (By the way, Asher, that’s a shout out.  You mah BOY!)  But seriously, being away from Grace for a semester made me realize that it really is my home away from home.  And to say that the friends I’ve discovered there are a second family would be an understatement.

Nevertheless, the choice to give up a semester at Grace to spend in another country was an opportunity I could not pass up.  I would be lying if I said it has all been peachy and I’ve loved every minute of my stay, but I have learned an IMMENSE amount about others and myself.  And ultimately, that’s why we attend school, right?

I would also be lying if I said my relationship with God has been perfect.  Being outside of the Grace/Christian family bubble, I’m faced with so many doubts and fears.  Living with Kiwi’s (New Zealander’s) who don’t give a rip about “religion” has me questioning my priorities.  But I know this is necessary to solidify my relationship with God.  To Him be the glory!

I hope that was atypical enough.  Better tales from New Zealand and abroad to come.  Cheers!

- Karl A. Johnson, in Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand

New Zealand. Get some.

Converted to Reimagine

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

Reimagine is a bad idea. Why would Grace even think about doing such a thing?  These were my thoughts from day one, ever since it was announced last Spring. Why couldn’t they just wait one more year til after I graduate? Who wants to take summer classes? Why graduate in 3 years when college is so much fun? And worst of all, why should I have to do this applied learning stuff? So I spent 6 months being bitter about how awful my senior year was going to be. Anytime Reimagine was brought up, I cursed the very idea of it. And then in August I began to look for prestigious internships for next summer to get myself a better job the following summer when I graduate. So I applied to over 20 different positions in companies ranging from JP Morgan Chase to Nike to the NFL.  So what happened? Every single one I applied to, I was accepted into, and they all said the same thing: my work experience and references are what set me apart. Through a practical experience class, the basis of the Reimagine program, I was able to work for an NBA affiliate in Fort Wayne. I was able to put that on my resume, as well as two references that I got to know through this internship who work for the NBA. And then it hit me. I was accepted by these companies because of the opportunity I had through practical experience from Grace. This Reimagine program will allow every student to go through what I did: an amazing internship opportunity based on a Grace connection that leads to God opening doors that wouldn’t be possible otherwise. I know that without my internship in Fort Wayne, I would be scanning the want ads for a job next summer trying my best to hit minimum wage. And now? I have a multitude of positions to choose from. Now I’m a believer in Reimagine, I only wish it had started sooner so I had 3 years of opportunities.

-Aaron Pierce

The Last New Year

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

As my coworker Courtney read my title, she let out an audible sound of sadness.  “You should stay until I graduate too,” she said.  Honestly, I feel so conflicted about that idea.  My first notion is, “YES! I would LOVE to stick around Grace College for a few more years! I mean, I only transferred here last year, so I feel like I got ripped off anyways.”  On the other hand, life is exciting at this point. I have one more undergraduate year.  I’m about to either enter the job market or grad school. Woah.  I’m at this awkward developmental stage where I feel as if I could take on the world and do things on my own, but I also, honestly, feel like I could easily be exploited by this big scary thing called “real life.”   I’m not going to think about that anymore right now though.  We’ll get there later…

Being a senior in Beta is weird.  I think most seniors get the idea that they are too busy, too old or too cool to spend time with the Freshmen.  Therefore, I am the only one (I think).  I love it though.  The freshmen on my hall, Beta 3 north, are really cool guys.  And, foreign though it may seem, I think they actually look up to me and see me as a social and spiritual leader.  It’s a responsibility that is both encouraging and humbling.  My prayer for the year is that God uses me to work in the lives of these young men.  One of my favorite things to do is sit and talk to someone one on one.  I want to be used by God as a tool in people’s lives.  I really hope I get a chance to show His love this year, not only on my hall, but as an ambassador here at Grace.  I want people to want to come to Grace because they see Christ living in faculty, staff and students here.

On a lighter note, my hall is also pretty awesome at sports this year.  We took 2nd place in the brother/sister hall kickball event and won 5-o in the first intramural soccer game.  Look out, Grace College.  Beta 3 north is here. Yeah... We're that good.

- Ian Christensen

Kastner Remembered on Volleyball Uniforms

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – The Grace College volleyball team will remember their freshman teammate, Mallori Kastner, by wearing a special insignia on their uniforms the remainder of the season. The insignia has Mallori’s initials “MK” stitched in white on a black circular patch located on the left side of the chest. “Mallori’s joy for life and impact on this volleyball pro- gram and campus will forever be remembered,” said head coach Andria Harshman. “This is just a small way to honor her legacy and a visible reminder that she is still a part of this team.”

Wildman Corporate Apparel, located in Warsaw, is producing the patch and covering all costs in support of Grace Athletics. “We are very thankful for Matt Churchill and Wildman Apparel’s support of Grace Athletics,” said athletic director Chad Briscoe. “We appreciate their support and generosity during this trying time on campus and in the community.”

Other teams are also planning to show their support of Kastner in some fashion during their seasons. The Grace women’s soccer team wore orange headbands, Mallori’s favorite color, in their home match against Indiana Tech on Wednesday. No player will wear the No. 7 jersey throughout the remainder of the 2010 volleyball season. There will be discussions at a later time about retiring her number. “It’s a wonderful way to honor her,” Harshman said. “The ensignias are a way to outwardly show our thankfulness of Mallori and the Kastner family. We are thankful for her legacy as a teammate, hallmate, and member of our Athletic Department.”

The insignias will be on display on Friday when Grace takes the floor for the first time since last Friday’s tragedy. The Lady Lancers will play Huntington at 7 p.m. at the OCC. Fans are encouraged to wear orange in support of Mallori.

This article was originally printed in the September 24, 2010 issue of The Sounding Board.