will be canning soon.

I think when I was younger, I always wanted to grow up a bit faster because it represented freedom. People tell me that when I'm older, I'll want those years back and wish to be younger because it represents a different kind of freedom. Right now, I feel fairly in the middle - that's why the college years are some of the best, right? Much of the freedom of an adult without the added responsibility of seven different types of bills, plus the sweet blessing of dorm life and a tightly knit community. There are still many days when I wish I was settled with a family in a home of my own. But right now, this is what the Lord has for me. I'm excited to get really involved with my church this summer and grow richly in that community, and I am excited for all the time I will get with my family in the next few months. Aunt Molly and I are in the beginnings of planning a canning party with Mom, Grandma, and some of the other women on the Bernhagen side - I just received an email from Grandma B this morning about how Uncle Ron planted lots of tomatoes, and we will have cukes around the first part of August to pickle. We might do some jams too. Also, as of late, Seattle plans are coming together nicely, and we might spend some time up in Banff and Calgary in Canada for part of the trip as well (shameless plug for Bon Iver's new album: download the early release song free - Calgary).

From where I'm sitting, if I crack the blinds on my window about two inches, all I can see are different shades of green from the pines and the old trees next to the refurbished farmhouse. The new puppy, whom I suggested we name Andy Warhol or Devotchka but is now tritely named Paityn, is curled up in a ball on the fluffier part of the white duvet. I have a mug of Good Earth tea beside me, and the whole house smells like rain.

Some days I feel overwhelmed because I thought I had this whole growing up thing under my belt already, and often, I don't. Learning to trust truth over emotion each day because the heart is deceitful above all things. There was a group started by some men on campus last semester called the Unfading. They wanted to encourage the women on campus regarding the world's lies about body image and work through other struggles while also helping fellow men make war on pornography addictions and a range of other issues like these. We discussed the verse that talks about "the beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit" and how this doesn't refer to a woman being shy and literally quiet. It means that before the Lord and, consequently, before others, that spirit is at peace and rest because this woman is finding her joy and strength in God.

This was a great encouragement for me. Being peaceful before the throne is one of the best feelings in the world.

This summer in the Cities is filled with hope.  Looking forward to what it holds.

That's all for now, lo