Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I would like to take a moment to reflect upon how overwhelmingly proud I am of my boyfriend Nathan.

Yesterday, he had his official Honors Thesis defense for his 100-page research paper on Modern Bohemianism. After a year & a half of hard work and dedication, Nathan finally got his thesis completed & passed. His thesis committee seems to only have good things to say about him & his work. I am just so impressed by this accomplishment, and I am so proud of all his hard work.

Today, he found out that he won an award from the Sociology Department.... and it has a small monetary award attached! He is being recognized by the faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences as an outstanding student.... wow!

Nathan is about to graduate after 4 years of incredibly hard work. I've known him the majority of his time at Belmont, but in the last year I have grown to know him better than probably anyone else does. I am constantly impressed by his perseverance and his positive attitude. I have hardly ever heard him complain, even while he was working 40+ hours a week, in school full time, and living in the most horrendous apartment in existence. In the midst of a tiring & busy life, he still found time to love and care for me, and for that I am so grateful.

Nathan has been accepted into Vanderbilt Divinity School for this fall... and with 60% tuition covered! I cannot believe that MY boyfriend is going to Vandy for GRAD SCHOOL. I feel like a grown up.... and I am just so amazed at how much he has accomplished at such a young age. He has already done such amazing things, and done it so gracefully and willingly. Nathan is one of the hardest working people I have ever known, and he is also the most loving, caring person I have ever known.

I am SO proud of this man. And I feel so beyond blessed to have him as such a central part of my life.

The talented Stephanie took this photo of us at Centennial Park!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Love and Lotus

Today is one of those days when I can't stop thinking about how much I love Nathan. It's a good feeling. In the midst of being overwhelmed by so many other things in my life & feeling rather beaten down, I'm able to be overwhelmed by my love for him.

We recently received my Valentine's day present in the mail- a print by my favorite artist & blogger!!! Nathan originally got me interested in Geninne a year ago or so, when he posted a lotus print of hers & a link to her website. I've been a fan ever since! He knew I loved this print (which has a beautiful lotus in it, too!) and got it for me for Valentine's day. Since it traveled from Mexico, it took a while to get here. But it has finally arrived & taken residence on my wall. I need to find it a pretty frame soon though.

I adore my pretty Geninne print, and I can't wait to see it hanging in my apartment with Caroline this summer... and eventually in my home with Nathan. =)

Love is currently getting me through the week. Thank goodness for love.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Denver, please

Last night, I was looking through an information packet from Iliff School of Theology in Denver, CO, and I sort of fell in love. I would love so badly to go to this divinity school! They have some excellent programs that match my interests.... and they offer an MDIV (Master of Divinity) with a Justice and Peace Concentration, which can be paired with a Masters in Social Work from Univeristy of Denver (dual program). They're "committed to social change and diversity" .... plus, they're located in DENVER.

One thing I really like about Iliff that I wouldn't get at other div schools is that it is solely a graduate school. The only students I would be with would be graduate students, and it seems that they have a lot of older adult students. It would be really neat to be with a close community of students interested in the same thing as me, and I would LOVE to meet people with different backgrounds & different life experiences. That's something that's kind of hard to get at Belmont.

They also have some student organizations that I'm all about. There's a GLBT allies group, a woman's alliance, social change society, students of color group, etc. Everything about this school makes me want to go there. Plus, they're on quarters instead of semesters, which sounds awesome.

All I've got to do now is make it through my last year at Belmont, wait around Nashville for Nathan to finish Vanderbilt, and then make him move to Denver with me for 2 or 3 years while I go to a really awesome Divinity school. Sounds like a plan. But do I have enough patience to wait two more years!??!

Oh, the future has so many exciting things in store. =)

Friday, March 12, 2010

John Sessoms

Well, this has honestly been one of the hardest weeks... not a very "fun" spring break. But, definitely a meaningful one.

I spent much of my break with my grandparents in Murfreesboro, helping my mom & grandma keep my grandpop comfortable in his last days, and trying to prepare for his death. He's truly a wonderful man, and I am so glad that I was able to spend time with him during his last lively days. I am so thankful that I got the chance to tell him how much I love him and how much he has impacted my life, and to hear him mumble "i love you sweetheart" back to me. It was truly a blessing to be with my grandma and get to see her smile and laugh despite such a difficult, heartbreaking time in her life.

I had originally planned to work the first half of spring break & then go home to be with my mom & dad Tuesday-Sunday. Instead, I only got to come home and be with my dad for one day while my mom stayed in Murfreesboro to help my grandparents. Definitely not the ideal spring break... and I'd be lying if I said that I've had a great attitude the whole time. It's been really hard not feeling grumpy & jealous that my friends are off at the beach & spending time with friends & family, while I deal with the death of a man I love so dearly. But why on earth should I pity myself? This week has been one that I will remember for a lifetime. I got to have a few great conversations with grandpop in his last days of being able to really talk. I got to be with my mom & keep her company during a time when she has felt stressed and homesick. I have strengthened my relationship with my grandma so very much, and I feel really close to her now. I got to tell my grandpop how much I love him, and how much he's taught me. So, I should really consider how blessed I am, rather than being bummed I didn't get a tan this week.

I'm honestly ready for grandpop to die. He isn't truly alive anymore. Seeing his body in this state, and watching him suffer is much harder than knowing he's about to die. He's ready to make it to heaven; he's had an excellent, full life. And grandma is having a hard time seeing him like this. We want him to finally be able to rest; he deserves that much.

Mom and I wrote his obituary the other day, and that was a really hard thing to do. Although, it was neat to see how big his family is, and to know how many people absolutely adore him.

I'm really sad that I won't get to spend any more time with grandpop, and that he won't get to see me graduate college or get married. I have so much that I want to talk to him about, and so much I want to experience with him. But I know he loves me, and I know he's proud of me. He'll never truly be absent from my life; he is such a part of me and what I know of love. John Broadus Sessoms loved so deeply and genuinely, and he taught me so much about love. I'll never forget his dinner-time prayers of thanks for his family, inevitably followed by tears of happiness.

I love you, grandpop.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Wise words from a wonderful man

While I was at home with my grandparents, I went rummaging through some drawers. Among the love letters from my grandpop to my grandma, I found some old copies of Grandpop's sermons. This is my favorite passage from his sermon titled "Doxology", likely written over 40 years ago.

"Worship does not interrupt theological study, theological study grows out of worship. We do not attach worship to church life as something extra, it is at the very heart of our fellowship together. A mother does not put a pretty ribbon in her daughter's hair to make her pretty, but because she is."

-John Sessoms

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Happy Birthday, Grandpop

Today is my darling grandpop's 87th birthday. I'm about to head to Murfreesboro to be with him and my family at the hospital. We found out yesterday that his heart is only pumping at 25%, so his organs are beginning to slow/stop functioning. We're looking into hospice options to make him happy and comfortable in his last days.

Please pray for my family, especially my grandmother.

My grandfather is one of the most genuinely kind, passionate, thoughtful, vibrant men I've ever known, and he is so deeply in love with his family. Today we celebrate the 87 wonderful years of John Sessoms's life, and what a life it has been. I really don't think he has any regrets. He seems like a truly happy person. And I can't wait to go see his precious smile.

Off to Murfreesboro.

Friday, March 5, 2010


During spring break, one of my main priorities (aside from sleeping in & wearing pajamas for the majority of the day) is going to be to finish my thesis prospectus!! My working Thesis title is "Bringing Justice to the Justice System: A Liberation Theology Approach to Non-Violent Drug Offenses in the U.S."

Here is my introduction so far-

The purpose of this study is to use Liberation Theology as a lens through which to view systemic social oppression as institutionalized in modern-day prisons, focusing specifically on non-violent drug offenders and the need for rehabilitation and reconciliation. I will be researching and presenting information on the demographic predictors of non-violent drug-related criminal offenders and how these demographics represent and are the consequence of an oppressive social structure. I will then argue, using Gustavo Gutierrez’s model of liberation theology, that a criminal justice system focused on punishment rather than reconciliation and rehabilitation is an example of unjust, institutionalize oppression. I will use liberation theology to discuss how to find true justice in these situations through community and the liberation of the oppressed, both spiritually and physically. My thesis will also contain exegesis of Luke 4:18-19 to demonstrate Jesus’ calling to Christians to join with the poor and oppressed and work together towards liberation.

I'd love any opinions/comments!

Happy Friday!!!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Mid-Paper Happy Thoughts

I'm currently toiling over a last-minute Greek paper, and decided to give myself a little break to think happy thoughts.

Lately, I've been getting really excited about the future, both immediate and long-term. I'm certainly still enjoying the present, and refuse to let any of it slip by whilst I dream of things to come, but I think it's healthy to have a little anticipation of all the good that is headed my way.

Here is a little happy list of things that I daydream about:
1. Spring break!!!
2. Going to see my wonderful Grandpop in the hospital
3. Going to Chattanooga to see my Nana & the otters at the aquarium
4. Turning 21 and being able to buy a glass of wine at dinner
5. Living in a cute little apartment with my friend Caroline, and getting to have intentional time together with my best friends
6. Getting a kitten
7. Visiting Nathan's family for his brother Jared's highschool graduation
8. Sonja & Brandon's wedding in June!
9. My roadtrip with Nathan (Asheville, Amish Country, Ohio, Chicago, etc.) this summer
10. Finishing my thesis
11. Graduating college
12. Marrying Nathan
13. Moving to a new city for graduate school
14. Having a job that I'm really passionate about

But for now, I must return to my Greek paper. I only have 8 more hours until it's due!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

uh oh, Elle

This morning I decided to go to the gym before class & attempt to work off the lemon cake I ate the previous night at work. Being as it was 8 am, I was not entirely thrilled to be there. I decided to grab one of the gym's magazines to browse through while on the elliptical just to keep my mind off of how badly I wanted to be back in my comfy (perhaps too much so) bed. Unfortunately, I grabbed Elle. I perused through the pages of fancy rich people in their glamorous outfits, until I landed on an article that disgusted me beyond words.

The March 2010 issue of Elle features an article on the inclusion of sportswear in the latest fashion lines (such a thrilling, important topic to humanity in these current times of earthquakes, poverty, and tragedy!), titled "Separate but Equal"... now, perhaps the presumably white, presumably rich editors and writers of Elle didn't realize the importance of their language. But I see no excuse for using racially oppressive phrases as a title for a flippant, vain article for the privileged. Using "Separate but Equal" to title a piece for rich white folks just demonstrates the sheer lack of solidarity and compassion in our society. I'm sure no one meant harm by this statement, but that is the problem- no one even thinks about these things. As a society, we refuse to acknowledge that racism and classism exist, harshly and unjustly.

Well, I'll never be opening the pages of Elle magazine again.