Sunday, October 28, 2007

Football Friends Food

Saturday was a great day! I got to run with Bobbi Jo in the morning. I love getting to know friends better :)

Then after a couple hours of school work, we went to Mandy and Daniel's for a home tailgate celebration. Aren't the boys cute (I mean tough, with the football and all)...

Some of our family came by to see us too! That was great! Congrats Liz and Elliot, I'm glad ya'll got to hang out with our friends too.

We then got to enjoy the Wolfpack Win!! I watched the cheerleaders and recollected my glory days, while Matt pensively considered the best next move for the Pack.

Afterwards we wanted to celebrate. But, our friends have a tough time deciding where to go... We can never decide where to eat and when we want to move from one location to the next. We missed the Ellis' in helping us to decide.

Finally, we picked mexican, but when we walked in to the deserted restaraunt and saw the the ten year old boy vacuuming at 10 minutes to close we decided to take Meredith's advice and hit up Chili's.

Good times with friends.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Competence, Autonomy, Relatedness

For all of the complaining that I have done about my academic life, I need to do some positive writing as well...

Ryan. M. R & Deci, E. L. (2001). On happiness and human potentials: A review of research on hedonic and eduaimonic well being. American Review of Psychology , 52(1), 141-146.

I just read this article and it made me think. It is part of the Work Motivation class that I am taking. Here is how the article concludes:

Perhaps the concern of greatest importance, not only for psychological theorists, but also for humanity, is the study of the relations between personal well-being and the broader issues of the collective wellness of humanity and the wellness of the planet. It is clear that, as individuals pursue aims they find satisfying or pleasurable, they may create conditions that make more formidable the attainment of well-being by others. An important issue, therefore, concerns the extent to which factors that foster individual well-being can be aligned or made congruent with factors that facilitate wellness at collective or global levels. Such research will one would hope, point the way towards means through which individuals can seek hedonic or eudaimonic outcomes in ways that are sustainable in the context of the four billion others who also aspire to be fully functioning and satisfied in this earthly life. p.146

This may be confusing without reading the entire article, but it points to again some of the concepts that were touched on at the conference I was just at and what I believe deep in my soul. I don't want to sound arrogant, but maybe I will...

Is research the way to find the answers to these questions? I don't think so, but maybe there is a way to make a connection?

I see this all so clearly because I just left a meeting with Jeff, Jason, and my brother where were talking about the core foundations of Visio Dei. When God is the center of these questions, we do have guidance on the ways to walk as individuals in connection with community toward discovering not only our role in this earthly life, but also in the bigger picture.

Learner: Our story, God's story, Our culture
Lover: God, One another, the world
Giver: Our character and gifts, As the church, In missional communitas

Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted... Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled... blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth... The first shall be last and the last shall be first... trust in God... don't worry about tomorrow... love one another as I have loved you... for God, who began a good work in you, will carry it to completion... folllow Jesus and he will make you fishers of men... freedom for the captives, release for the prisoners, sight for the blind... freedom from oppression... humility... gentleness... truth...

These things are made real in relationship with God and with others, in acceptance that we can't do it on our own, in realization that there is something more... in recognizing what our gifts are (Competence), with the ability and empowerment to use them (Autonomy), and in community with others who are reciprocally seeking Competence and Autonomy towards the kingdom of God (Relatedness)


I know this was real long, but I needed to get it out and I'm not ready to put it in an academic journal yet.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Justice and Jubille

Please take a moment to check out ths website Jubilee

My friend Amy did a fabulous job putting it all together, I am way impressed.

Please spread the word that David Batstone is coming to Vintage 21 on Thursday, Nov 8th at 7:30PM.

We can all celebrate freedom together.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Tastes from the past

Yesterday afternoon I met a friend to talk about life including the various twists and turns we take on our journey towards discovering and embrasing our true identities. We met at McDonalds for an ice cream cone.

In the midst of thinking about my present and future I was sent to my past...

The first Young Life Camp I ever went to was in New York. Just outside the camp we stopped on a huge bus at McDonalds. While the (what seemed like forever) we waited in line, friendly people from McDonalds came to these high school kids providing free dream cones. I was shocked! What wonderful service. They said it was because we were having to wait so long and they were just being friendly and welcoming to their area... but, I will never forget the taste of that ice cream cone or the amazement of how generous the people were.

Once we got to the camp we learned that the program staff had been the ones posing as Mc emloyees (I'm not sure how they worked that out?). Pretty Cool!

So yesterday, as I licked my soft serve I was reminded of how wonderful Young Life is (not just for the ice cream of course) and how much God still has in store. When I was 15 I had no idea where I was going to be at 26.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Civic Engagement?

I am at a an Academic Conference for the Association of American Colleges and Universities. It is facinating in many ways and I am still processing as I write. The title of the conference is: Civic Learning at the Intersections: U.S. Diversity, Global Education, and Democracy's Unfinished Work.

So far I have heard some fabulous renound scholars speak about very practical issues concerning the role of higher education in developing civic agents that are able to participate in social change.

One of the reasons that I applied to the PhD program I am in was because I wanted to be able to help students recognize and build their capacities to do these very things. Recently I have been lost in the midst of figuring out if I even have the capacity to do these things, and still struggle a bit with that. However, part of my identity formation is recognizing my gifts and talents and how they intersect with the world around me. I have a ton of choices, as do the students I will work with and the faculty members who are here with me.

The Plennary speakers have provided insights that I agree with and point to some of the goals that Visio Dei has set out to be a part of as well. I think I see another intersection...

Harry Boyte spoke of the hope that we have to offer to students using a couple quotes 1) "We are the ones we've been waiting for"... realizing that we have the capacity to become who we are created to be 2) We do this by unlocking our gifts and talents and connecting them with whole of life... Does this sound familar to the body of Christ at all?

When we don't function to our capacity society suffers, individuals and communities need a sense of agency and the capacity to use their various talents in ways that benefit the common good. Our role as educators is help students recognize these talents and build their capacities to use them in a wholistic sense that integrates their lives with the lives of other in the communities in which they live... I can get excited about that.

Another speaker, L. Lee Knefelkamp said that we can't recognize our civic identities in isolation, but need to act them out and refine them in the context of community. A civic identity is intended to be one that develops the capcity for love, wisdom and courage in the face of challenge and difference and complexity... does this sound biblical at all?

I post this to say that it appears there are ways that my academic life can intersect with my spiritual life in a non over spiritualized way. I also post this to say that I have a TON to learn and process. I also have some questions...

Is Higher Education the "best" place to help people recognize their talents and how they intersect with the world? Maybe its just oe of the places... If we don't take that approach what are the implications?

Is Democracy the end goal of all of this? If not, what is? Does it matter how we define what democracy is?

If we are helping to develop students with the capacity for love, wisdom, and courage, can we do that without sharing the redemptive power of Jesus? What are the implications when we don't?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Family Fun

Tonight Matt and I had dinner with my brother and sister-in-law. It was delicious (thank you Danielle)!

Then we went together to work until midnight. I studied for my second midterm as a PhD student and Matt estimated a detailed job (he is actually still at the office as I am typing this, its 12:48AM).

So, My commentary is on how hard it is often to understand ourselves and to trust God in the process. Somehow my brother and I feel burdend to perform and perform well. We both (or I should speak for myself more so) want to live up to some standard that we have set for ourselves. I think this has to with what other people think, what we think God thinks, and what we think matters... its very complex inside the Paxton head...

I didn't think I was going to cry or be as honest as I was with them. I don't have a history of being completely honest with my brother (with out the aid of a therapist) and it felt good to be able to say exactly what I was feeling. My how we are growing!

I am encouraged. I am encouraged that they are taking 40 days to pray and seek God in the matters of their life. I am encouraged to listen to God and let go of some of the should's in my life. I am encouraged that I have a husband who loves me, laughs with me, and helps me to let go of perfection.

But Matt and I struggle too! We both are facing changes and challenges and questions of what our purpose is. Sometimes its chyrstal clear and sometimes is a mystery. We face jealousy and fear, but we live with hope and faith.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

State Fair

Last night I went to the North Carolina State Fair with some wonderful friends. I wish I had remembered my camera because then I could've posted pictures of huge pumpkinds, cows, sheep, racing pigs, racing ducks, delicious fried food and scary rides galore... If you can't picture it you need to go!

My recommendations:

1) Learn something about the state agriculture. Does anyone want to share a new fact they learned?
2) Go with a group of friends or a romantic date :) Sorry Matt is taken already.
3) Eat some fried OREOS, but stay away from the fried Reece's cups.
4) Try a root beer float (from the red tent) Jason's favorite.
5) Watch the pig races. I had never seen a pot belly before. Its pretty amazing.

Off to study for Mid Term #2

Monday, October 8, 2007

Update on Life

I feel like I have been distant from the blog world recently, and I have... but, just an update on life. Things are good, but busy. I'm thinking about how wonderful of friends that I have (see pics).

I am thankful for discipleship relationships that I had in college and continue to this day.

I am thankful for people who speak truth into my life and care for my whole being.

I am thankful for my wonderful husband. It was just our two year anniversary on Sunday. We went to dinner and got to walk around down town and spend time talking about a lot of life. This is so needed!! My feet hurt though, because I wore my awesome hot black high heals for the two-three mile treck around Glenwood and Fayetteville St. Man, fashion hurts.

I will never forget my mother's advice from a young age... always wear comfortable shoes :)

Anyways, I'm off for another busy week, my first midterm as a PhD student on Wednesday, reading, research, and writing... coupled with watching The Batchelor, Jubilee meetings, The Office, Meeting with friends who are sick and have praises, waiting expectantly for a new baby to come into the world, and hope for heaven on earth.