Tag Archives: college

Why Notre Dame?

Wednesday Wisdom 🙂


Inspiration this week comes from 1 Corinthians 12: 12-13

The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit.”


Last week, we took our favorite brunette to college. This week, she begins her Notre Dame journey with an intent to study Political Science and Spanish. After spending the last couple of years watching her investigate various colleges and universities all across the country, it is rewarding for me to see her settle in a place where she feels at home.

You may well ask, Why Notre Dame?

I’ve heard the question many times since she made her decision. Why does an intellectual farm kid from “small town America” — a dedicated member of the Parkview Baptist Church family — choose to study at an elite Catholic University? It’s a reasonable question. While you’d have to ask her for her specific thoughts on the topic, I find direction in the above bible verse from 1 Corinthians 12: 12-13.


She’s grown up in a pretty unique house. It’s likely her dad’s fault that she is intellectual by nature. And, many may tell you that growing up with ‘Coach Anne’ as her mama left its mark as she is known for always being inspired to work diligently to use the gifts with which God blessed her. That being said, her faith in God provides her anchor and she walks with Jesus in her heart and the Holy Spirit guiding her steps.

She travels the journey as a child of God – a member of the body of Christ. I love how she lets her faith guide her — it inspires me as well as brings peace to my heart. We visited Notre Dame for the first time almost two years ago, and I could tell as we walked around the campus and interacted with the students that she felt God’s pull to join the Fighting Irish family. She had three main requirements for college and Notre Dame had them all:

  1. To attend a school where she could continue to build her faith.
  2. To be a part of a family that valued service to others.
  3. To find intellectual challenge as she worked to broaden both her perspective and her empathy.

When it came down to it, the religious label mattered little to her as she centered her focus on the foundation of Christian faith:

A belief in God the Father

A loving relationship with Jesus the Son who not only gave us Salvation but also the gift of the

Holy Spirit to guide us in our human journey.

She reminds me that the important question is not whether we are called to be Baptist or Catholic, rather it is are we willing to accept God’s love and submit to His guidance in order to strive to live a life of faith and grace. The team is stronger when its dedicated members are both passionate and diverse. The Holy Spirit likely does not speak to any two of us the same way, but He calls all of us to be a member of God’s team.

Answering the call will enable her to develop and deepen her faith during her time on campus through a focus on service, learning, and spreading the hope that stems from Jesus’s love.

In a time of chaos — In a world of conflict  — In a culture riddled with labels

I think that perhaps many of us could find a lesson in her journey. Her decision was not a comfortable one, and she will experience both times of joy and times of trial throughout her life as a member of the Fighting Irish family. But, Jesus calls each one of us to be a member of the body of Christ. We truly say “yes” when we submit to His invitation with a heart full of love and a mind rooted in His word for guidance.

I left her Saturday morning with a few tears in my eyes, but confidence in my heart as her eyes radiated God’s love and her Bible stood proudly on her desk.

 

 

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Guided By the Light…

Wednesday Wisdom 🙂


Inspiration this week comes from Psalms 119:105:

“Thy word is a lamp to my feet, And a light to my path.”


Our family road tripped across the country last week combining family visits with college tours.

9 days – 12 states – 5 colleges – 3 family visits

We rented a van and packed our faith as we set out on our second family road trip in 22 years 🙂 My favorite farmer laughed that who wouldn’t want to explore the eastern half of the United States with four teenagers! It amazes me that our children are old enough to be thinking about college, but that appears to be the reality. My favorite brunette ships off to begin her college journey in a few weeks, and our next two are starting to figure out where life will lead them after high school.

Learning to trust is hard, but it is an important requirement for letting go. I have loved and cared for my children for 18 years. There is a part of my heart that really hurts at the thought of having my babies leave my home and travel out into the world. While my head knows that leaving the house prepared to share their faith and talents is the ultimate goal, my heart doesn’t want to let them go.

As I personally struggle with this, I find comfort in the knowledge that my kids are learning to be anchored in faith and guided by the light. We travel that spiritual journey together. None of us have all of the answers, while all of us have questions. That’s okay. We are called to be faithful — to find wisdom in God’s word, Jesus’s love, and the Holy Spirit’s influence — not to know everything. Faith is about living in the moment and opening your heart to God’s mission. It’s not about answers, it’s about trust.


The above passage from Psalms appeared on a plaque inside an academic building at Davidson College. My sister-in-law is a Davidson alumni and my favorite blonde cowgirls are enamored with the school. We visited it as a part of our family road trip. I love to see scripture posted on college campuses. College students are just getting used to “adulting” and likely need a gentle reminder to look to God in order to live in the light. A supportive spiritual setting allows them to find success amidst the freedom of living on their own for the first time.

I remember a car ride a couple of years with the girls. As we neared home, I turned to Ashley Grace as asked her, “how do you know the path that God wants you to take when you have to make a decision?” She confidently responded, “I open up my bible and read whatever page it falls open to. Some passage always jumps out to me so that I find God’s guidance.” That conversation has come to mind several times over the past few weeks as I prepare to begin this next stage of parenting. Despite the fact that I have to let go, it comforts me to know that her faith is strong — anchored in a loving relationship with God and influenced by His word and active presence in her life.

It is much easier to travel the journey when the path is glowing with light 🙂

 

 

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Heading East…

My favorite farmer and I met my freshman year at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire.  Although we have only returned back to visit twice in the last 19 years, the school holds a special place in our hearts.  Matt is the best thing that Dartmouth gave to me, and our journey together reflects two decades of love and partnership as we work to create a meaningful legacy on our farm.

My dear friend, Karyn, is the 2nd best thing that Dartmouth gave to me.  I met Karyn when I visited Dartmouth on a swimming recruiting trip the fall of my senior year in high school.  As a freshman member of the swim team, she had the privilege of “hosting” me on my weekend trip.  She did such an awesome job that weekend that she became “stuck” with me for her remaining years at Dartmouth…  Although our lives headed in different directions (thousands of miles apart) after graduation, I still count on Karyn’s support and friendship twenty years later.

Last week our family headed east to visit Karyn and her family as well as look at colleges for my favorite brunette who thinks that New England is the region of choice for college.  While it seems hard to believe that I am old enough to have a daughter looking at colleges, the years tell a different story.  We had an amazing trip — catching up with good friends and discovering more about the 5 colleges that Ashley Grace picked to visit: Cornell, Williams, Dartmouth, Colby, and Harvard.

tripfamilygroup

This photo reminds me of how much Karyn and I have to be proud of — 23 years after fate brought us together in the mountains of New Hampshire…

Karyn "squared" outside the library at Dartmouth College...

Karyn “squared” outside the library at Dartmouth College…

My favorite brunette enjoying the Williams College campus...

My favorite brunette enjoying the Williams College campus…

The girls took a brief moment to dig their toes in the sand on the beach in Maine -- remarking that there were likely more people on that beach than our entire town of Cozad...

The girls took a brief moment to dig their toes in the sand on the beach in Maine — remarking that there were likely more people on that beach than in our entire town of Cozad…

Matt and I felt the need to wear our Dartmouth shirts as we walked around Harvard's campus -- still feeling the competitive rivalry 20 years later...

Matt and I felt the need to wear our Dartmouth shirts as we walked around Harvard’s campus — still feeling the competitive rivalry 20 years later…

tripacaitlinI think that we even talked my favorite horse-loving God daughter and her big sister into coming out to the farm to visit next summer — with any luck they’ll bring their Mama with them 🙂

I know that the trip reminded me how important it is to take a break from a crazy busy life to spend some time with those I love — refilling the cup giving thanks for all of my blessings.

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