Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Thoughts: Shane Claiborne

It is always a good moment when your teacher/professor says "I'm going to let you go early." It is even better when he says "I want you to go hear Shane Claiborne on campus." This was my Master Teacher class last night. Strong.

Just thought I would post a list of short statements/thoughts made by Shane last night. (All are reflected in his book Irresistible Revolution.)

The church should be the instrument for transformation.
Often times we don't take responsibility for our ideologies.
The best thing to do with the best things in life is to give them away.
In the book Unchurched, survey asked what do you think of when you think of Christian... top results... (1) anti-gay (2) judgemental (3) hypocritical
Intentional community : surrounding yourself with people you want to be like
We are not saved because we are good, we are good because we are saved
We need to have humility to learn from each other
Best critique of church is actually doing something to change it
Calcuttas are everywhere... find your own Calcutta

He really is a wonderful speaker. If you have the chance, Shane will be speaking tonight at Westminister Pres. Church at 730pm.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Ranting: Television

In case you didn't hear, last week was ABC's "National Stay At Home Week".

Can I just say how upset I am with this????

I first noticed on Facebook how many people referred to Grey's Anatomy, The Office, etc. on their status. Then, while catching a few minutes of the news the other morning, I saw the ad promoting "National Stay At Home Week." Don't get me wrong, I love a good episode of Project Runway, Law and Order and even The Office, but when a "holiday" is planned around it or we MUST schedule our lives around a program then I have a serious problem with it. Whatever happened to planning weekly bowling nights or going out to eat with the family?

Wow, it gets under my skin.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Paul Newman

What a good looking man...

Sad to learn of Paul Newman's death.

He was classic.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

A Nice Day

It was a really nice day.

Last night I tried getting all of my homework finished, but sadly fell asleep. I got up early this morning and finished everything including the Saturday paper! Strong. Then, I went a got my haircut. Pretty pleased. No tears. Went to the Farmers Market. $9 for a huge bag of veggies. Yum. Then, this evening I went to a friend's birthday picnic at Arrington Vineyards. The weather was perfect, food great, raspberry wine delish, sunset beautiful, but most of all great people. Afterwards, caught up with Mr. and Mrs. Davis. Now I am settled down to watch a little Law and Order before going to bed.

Did I mention what a nice day it was? :)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Swell Season

It is nice to be in the land of good music and concerts.

On Wednesday night, Brian and I headed to the Ryman to catch a concert. The Ryman really is such a great venue, full of history, rather pretty and great sounds.

We went to see Swell Season. Who, might you ask, is Swell Season? Well, I have to thank my good friend Katie McGunnigal for my introduction. Swell Season is the band featured in the movie "Once". (Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova) Check out the soundtrack...

The concert opened with Bill Callahan. I still have "Will you dress sexy for my funeral?" in my head. If this guy can play at the Ryman then anyone, ANYONE can who can play one chord on the guitar. We just laughed all the way through it.

Swell Season was pretty wonderful though. Hansard has a witty personality and made a hysterical Johnny Cash impersonation. I was amazed he did not bust every string on his guitar at points. They played a series of 3 new songs and I am now looking forward to their next album. My photos did not turn out all that great because of the blue lighting, but this was a decent one of Marketa. Overall, very glad I was able to see them.

October brings Matt Nathanison, Ben Kweller (again) and my absolute fave, The Features. (Also, cheaper tickets. Strong.)

Yea for music.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Thankful Thursday

This group of girls is the best thing that has happened to me since being back in the States...

I joined a community group at Fellowship.

Slowly getting back into the "American" life and I am thankful to have this group to help me in my readjustment and Walk with Dad.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Marvelous Monday!

It was an absolutely marvelous Monday! (Anything could be better after the ridiculous "working" weekend I had.)

I allowed myself to sleep in until 6:30am! (Normally I get up at 530am)
I got Starbucks Chai Tea Latte on my way to work!
I was praised at work for the books being finished!
I got a dress at Target for $4.80 and it is super cute!
I got to leave work early on account of running errands and class!
I got a letter from Katydid!
I really enjoyed Master Teacher class!
I was able to get gas without paying a fortune (relatively) and no waiting in line!
I went to the Saucer and played cards with some awesome friends, spoke with a lisp, and just enjoyed a great night!

It was the prime example of a Marvelous Monday!
Could tomorrow be a Tubular Tuesday? Guess we will see... :)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Grad School Blues

Grad school... Kill me now.
This was a $12 assignment that nearly caused me to quit school altogether. It was a simple poster created using Powerpoint and then Excel. Normally easy, but when you are tired nothing can be more frustrating...
Except that you still have a paper due (the dreaded Saturday paper than has been blogged about twice already and not because it was a good thing!) and then a 30 slide presentation on an issue you have not researched yet.
It will get done. It always gets done.
Needless to say, the stress is showing on my face. Some things Noxema cannot cure.
Next Saturday I am going to do ABSOLUTELY nothing. I am taking a personal retreat day. I will not be doing work, homework, cooking, cleaning, getting up early, or hanging out with anybody. (I am begging you not to ask me because I have a hard time saying no. But I will this time!)
Back to the books...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Jakson's Arrival

Jakson Robert Valenta
9 lbs. 7oz.
It was one of the happiest days ever! Emily and Sean welcomed Jakson into the world. It is hard being still so far from them, but soon... I am just so overjoyed. My little sister is going to make such a wonderful mother.
I started several project for my precious nephew (only the wall art was successful!), but I thought I would also start a little scrapbook of things I want him to know/remember. So here is my first entry in Jakson's book.
Today is one of the happiest days of my life... the day you came into the world. While we have not officially met, there is so much I can already tell about you.
You are a loved child. I wish you could have heard the excitement in your grandfather's voice when he called to tell me about your arrival. Your dad sounded like the proudest man to ever walk the earth. Your mother sounded groggy and tired, but I could tell her heart was about to explode with joy. Your aunt Beth cried because that is what she does. Everyone though loved you more than they could ever imagine. We always will.
You are going to be punctual. You broke your mother's water while she was getting ready to go to the hospital to be induced. Good timing! Maybe you can teach her to be on time...
You are going to minister to others. You already have. Just by seeing your beautiful picture, Jakson, I am reminded of how awesome God is. You are perfect. Your strawberry blond hair, blue eyes and the tiniest fingers... all created for a purpose. Loved. Combination of two of the dearest people on earth, but also utterly unique. If I feel like this and I had no part in your creation, I can only imagine what God feels for each of his people. That is awesome. Thanks for the lesson,Teach.
There is so much I want to share with you, teach you, tell you, and show you. I am sure I will have chances when I can steal you away from your mom. But today, if I could tell you anything, it would be this... Love the Lord and love your parents. The Lord will always take care of you, Jakson. He already has and is. Your parents are so happy and they love you so much. Some days will be easier than others to love them (trust me I know... I lived with Emily over half my life!), but even those days when they are upset, they will love you without condition. Looking back, this will be the greatest day of their lives. You will probably understand only when you make them grandparents.
Welcome to the world, Jakson Robert!
I love you.
-Aunt Beth
ps- Get your mom to teach you how to spell your name right away because it comes up incorrect on spellchecker... don't worry if your teachers get upset because they think you are spelling your name wrong. Trust your mom on this one!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Roadtrip Weekend

Saturday morning, my little sister Caitlin and I headed north to Cincinnati. It was so wonderful to get to finally spend some quality time with one of my sisters. I really have not had that in a couple of years. I did learn that we really don't have the same taste in music, except for our dear love for the Plain White T's. She also introduced me to a new song "Love like Johnny and June"... kudos for that.
In the afternoon, we walked around the city. We gobbled up some Greaters ice cream. (Twice in one year... I am a lucky girl!) We people-watched in the square, bought some postcards and just soaked up the day. We found a great hotel within walking distance to the river, stadium, etc. for a great price thanks to Travelocity!
Saturday evening, I got to meet up with some of my pen pals from my time in China. For almost 2 years, Brad's great aunts kept up with me through email. I always looked forward to their emails and was excited about getting to meet them in person. We ate dinner with Mrs. Ruth, Mrs. Mina and Mr. Woody. Brad's grandfather showed up later on in the evening. We sat around playing cards and talking until it was definitely time to sleep. Caitlin fell in love with them too!
On Sunday morning, we got to spend time with Family. Class was based on a book called "11". (Once classes are over I hope to read this book! It sounded really great.) After Family time, we went with the Ellis/Turner family to Skyline. It was pretty easy to see where Brad's greatness comes from. After lunch, it was time for the real reason why we went to Cincinnati.... Titans versus the Bengals!
Paul Brown Stadium is exceptionally nice! I wish I could say that for the fans. There was a fight that broke out in our section. (Bengals fans againest each other!) The stadium's niceness was also overshadowed by the debris floating around due to strong winds. During the halftime show, the tuba players were struggling to stand because of the gusts. It was really beginning to look like a landfill. Early in the fourth quarter,we could not take getting hit with beer bottles anymore (this was because of the wind, not because Caitlin was wearing Titans colors...) so we left. After making a pit stop into Greaters again, we were homeward bound.
It really was a great weekend. I am so thankful I was able to spend some good time with the Ellis/Turner clan (maybe the Pratts should be next on my list!),but it was especially great to share everything with Caitlin. I cannot make up for all the things I have missed the past couple of years, but I can enjoy every second I have now and live it to the fullest. Adjustment is getting a little easier with time. Part of it also comes from all the good people in my life.
Thanks Caitlin for being my roadtrip buddy! This will always be a special memory for me.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Death of the Dell

Another weekend out of town... another paper due on Saturday. Lesson still not learned, but hopefully this time!

My computer has died. :(

My trusty (ha!) Dell died on Saturday before I could write my paper while I was in Cincinnati. Late submission, but some of the most reflective work I have done. Let's hope that will count for something.

Procrastination really can be painful.

Friday, September 12, 2008


I really could not have picked a worse time to take a road trip. Gas has gone up almost 50cents just today! I paid $4.01 for a gallon.


Thursday, September 11, 2008


If you have a friend/family member in another country, you must check out...


The best thing since the invention of International Milk Day!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


This just in...

Beth Quarles completed an assignment and turned it in 4 days early...

That is right, ladies and gentlemen... early... the opposite of late which is usually how my life runs...

Being sick does have a couple of little perks.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Gustav Weekend

On Thursday afternoon, I received an email looking for people to go to Louisiana for the weekend to help in the Gustav clean up. Why not?
After a Chinese dinner on Friday night, I went home to work on some school work. The bus was to leave at 5am so I thought I would have plenty of time for work and sleep. I was wrong. I pulled my first grad school all nighter and still did not finish everything. But off at 5am did I go to Baton Rouge.
Baton Rouge is 9 hours away from Nashville. A 9 hour ride in which I wrote a paper and slept. Pulling into the area, I was stuck by the difference between Gustav and Katrina. When Katrina hit, I went on 4 trips to AL/LA/MS areas to work. Katrina was mostly flood damage whereas Gustav was wind damage. There were trees down everywhere. Stoplights were out. We had to stop in MS because we did not know if gas would be available.
Our base was the Goodwood Church of Christ. They did not have power and had people stopping by asking for supplies continuously. Our friend Doug drove us a little bit around some of the worst hit areas. Such beautiful neighborhoods in ruins... LSU campus was looking pretty rough. We spent Saturday afternoon cutting down trees/limbs, hauling limbs to the sides of the roads and just doing whatever we could to help out a little. Everyone seemed to be in good spirits considering the mess... Even this car owner... All 3 of her cars were destroyed and her house was smashed literally to pieces..
We worked until about an hour before the citywide curfew. Then it was off to finish my paper. Because there was no power, I could not email my assignment in so I had to call a friend and read my paper over the phone. He typed it up for me and sent it to my professor. Talk about pain staking! (Kenny, I owe you big time!) I fell asleep to the symphony of men snoring around me in the heat of the Cajun south. (Did I mention that I was the only one under 40? Sandra was the only other female.)
Sunday morning, we got up early to go take care of some more yards. This time we cut down about 7 trees in the period of 3 hours. Getting to be pros! We met some really amazing people and were so encouraged by everyone's attitudes. When we got back to the church, we showered in scalding and I do mean scalding showers. (They has this tractor trailer that had 8 showers in it. It was super nice... I am thinking the solution to all church camp problems!) Then, it was time to hit the road for the long trip home. More studying. More sleeping.
All in all, it was a great weekend. I probably did more studying than if I had stayed home. I got a great battlescar... the bruise of all bruises... I did wind up getting a nasty cold which is keeping me home tonight. Yuck. But other than that... so thankful I went!
Ike is gulf coast bound so please keep these people in your prayers. They have already faced so much devastation! If you would like to help in the clean up efforts, please just let me know.

Thursday, September 4, 2008


When I posted earlier on this afternoon, I did not realize the full extent of my phrase of the day.

It was a great evening. (The day itself was only mamahuhu (so-so), but the email...)

I got a flippin scholarship!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I wrote a letter about how I wanted to use my education maybe not just in the classroom, but to be a better Ambassador/teacher of life. Then tonight I got an email saying my award letter is in the mail. Strong.

I also got insurance on Monday which is HUGE relief.

There are tears my friends, but this time out of happiness.

Thousands of thanks to our Father for providing...

Phrase of the Day

Tusen takk...

It is Norwegian for "thousand of thanks" according to my Chinese friend Kristy. Kristy is living in Norway and has to figure out how to make a sandwich, pick out meats and cheeses, and order food from a menu. There is only so much one can do from thousands of miles away to help. She is living out an adventure I am sure.

Talking to friends all around the world, I am reminded of just how good and faithful our Father is. He is taking good care of his children. He has taken good care of me by providing such wonderful friends in my life.

Tusen takk to our Abba.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

It Finally Happened

It finally happened...

Ladies and gentlemen, I made myself sick on dairy products. It was/is not a good time. Tomorrow there will be no milk, ice cream, cheese, or whatever. (I would say never again, but let's be realistic... my life was a little sadder the past two years without... I mean, did you see the milk video?!?!)

Oh mercy...

Monday, September 1, 2008

Labor Day

and Friends
Make for a great Labor Day Bash!

This year I really appreciated the holiday... Back to work tomorrow!