“What are you thankful for?” – With the frequency and exuberance that this question is asked every fall, I am inclined to believe that the majority of society harbors an unconscious fear that the fourth Thursday of November may never actually get here if you don’t ask, and answer, that question. Nevertheless, it doesn’t seem to matter how many times the question is posed to me, it always goes down about the same way:
Friend/Family/Stranger, innocently: So, what are you thankful for this year?
Me, flustered: Uhhh, well…
Me, in my head: There are so many things I’m thankful for, how do I pick just one? Let’s see, I’m thankful for my family… but, I don’t want to be predictable; everyone says ‘my family.’ What about ‘the promise of classic, corny Christmas movies’? Now I’ve taken too long to answer… just say something!
Me, still flustered: …My family.
Friend/Family/Stranger, in his/her head: Way to be conventional…
This year, however, I’ve decided to be prepared; I have a few sincere, and hopefully slightly original, answers already figured out. This year, I am thankful for…
The break part of Thanksgiving Break!
Even though I have more work due the week after break than I’ve had due any week this semester so far, and even though I’m not leaving campus until Sunday afternoon in a vain attempt to finish this work, and even though I’ll have to spend a good portion of my break reading and writing papers instead of watching football and shopping, I’m still excited to go home! Actually, if I was really intent on finishing all of my homework before the end of break, I should really just stay on campus. Let’s be honest here, when I get home, my mom’s going to want to go for coffee (and I want to go too, because I miss her), and my brother’s going to want to drive me around town again (he’s only had his license for 7 months, so it’s still a big deal), and I promised to watch Outsourced with my dad before he leaves for India at the end of the week, and there’s at least one other special person I would like to spend a fair amount of time with, oh, and I would really like to sleep a little too… Basically, once I’m home, my academic productivity will inevitably go way down. So, even though I probably shouldn’t be taking a vacation right now, and my stress level afterwards will be through the roof, I’m still thankful for the prospect of break.
Food! Specifically, home-cooked meals!
This is my third year on campus; I’ve done the dorm thing, and I’m currently doing the apartment thing, and, really, it’s a lose-lose situation on the food front. When I was eating dorm food for every meal my freshman year, I nearly became a vegetarian – it’s tough to mess up a salad you assemble yourself. Now, two years later, I’m all grown up and living in my very first apartment, and while I really enjoy the freedom it offers, my sad, empty fridge and barren cupboards sometimes make me wish I was back in the LAR dining hall. It’s not that I actually miss the taste of the food, or that lovely cafeteria smell, it’s more the dependability that I remember so fondly – dinner was ready and waiting for me between the hours of 4:30 and 7pm, no forethought or trip to County Market required. This Thanksgiving, more than ever before, I am looking forward to turkey, mashed potatoes, corn, and homemade baked goods! Dinners at home are way up there on my list of things to be thankful for.
Sleep. Also, no alarm.
I honestly can’t remember the last time I didn’t wake up to an alarm. I’m not sure I even remember what it feels like to wake up naturally, fully rested, and ready for the day. Needless to say, I am not a morning person. It doesn’t seem to matter what I wake up to – preprogrammed cell phone tones, iPod playlist, the classic “EHRR-EHRR-EHRR-EHRR!” – nine months out of the year, I wake reluctantly, sometimes angrily, and always defiantly (the snooze button and I are best friends). People keep telling me that, someday, I’ll turn into a morning person out of necessity, like when I have a real job, but I just don’t see it happening… not unless we shift our perception of time and have ‘mornings’ start around 10am. Either way, I am thrilled at the prospect of falling asleep a few nights next week, knowing full well that no electronic device will wake me come morning.
No, I did not go see the midnight premier, but I already know what happens, so you can’t ruin it for me. I’m seeing the movie on Monday though, and I am really excited! I grew up with HP; his was one of the first book series that I read all by myself. When Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was first released, I was 8 years old and in the third grade! Every other summer, up until I turned 17, I anxiously awaited the next installment of our whiny hero’s life. Furthermore, for the brief moment in time when our ages aligned, I felt an even stronger connection to his plight. Could you imagine learning at age 11 that some wacko’s goal in life is to kill you? I sure couldn’t. Harry is quite brave; that’s why the sorting hat let him into Gryffindor… I should probably move on before I embarrass myself… Thus, this Thanksgiving, just like every alternating Thanksgiving for the last few years, I’m very thankful for Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Warner Brothers. (On a side note, Microsoft Word recognized “Gryffindor” as a word; I was impressed.)
There, now this Thanksgiving I won’t be caught off guard. Even if I draw a blank when someone asks me, my answers are up online for the entire world to see… The fact that I’m prepared is officially undeniable! I can see the conversation now… It’s still awkward, but at least it’s something different:
Family/Friend/Stranger, innocently: So, what are you thankful for this year?
Me, confidently: Can I borrow your laptop real quick?
P.S. I’m thankful for my family too.
“I came to dance, dance, dance, dance, yeah… Give me some space for both my hands, hands, hands, hands… I throw my hands up in the air sometimes sayin’…” “Just Dance! Gonna be O.K. (da-da, doo-doo), just Dance…” because “when the music drops, we both put our hands up… so dance, dance like it’s the last, last night of your life, life…”
*Try reading that out loud for a good laugh.*
Last Saturday from 8-11pm, just over 50 people danced the night away at Axiom’s first ever Formal! There was rockin’ music, sparkly lights, candy, pretty dresses, balloons, awesome masks (it was a masquerade themed dance, after all), and, of course, lots of really cool people having a great time! The Axiom Formal was more than just a chance to dance like crazy with all of our friends, however. It was also the first missions trip fundraising event of the school year! By the end of the night, we had raised a little more than $300 for the trip to Romania in May! Basically, the night was a huge success, which means that, hopefully, the Axiom Formal will be something of a tradition in the years to come! (*If you missed it this year, try not to be too bummed; you may have another chance to get in on the fun next fall!)
At the risk of turning this into an obnoxiously long and awkward acceptance speech from an awards ceremony, I do want to take a moment and say thank you, because I know first-hand just how much work went in to making this event happen. To the four lovely ladies who worked alongside me to sort through all of the little details – you rock! And to the rest of you – those who offered suggestions and advice, requested songs, danced in our announcement videos, gave donations, offered encouragement, bought tickets, brought friends, danced with us, helped set-up and tear-down, transported our stuff back and forth – we couldn’t have done any of it without you! Thanks for “taking care of business and working over time!”
Being that this was the first of its kind for Axiom, we did learn a few key things about the members of our ministry, and how to host a successful dance. First, Axiom-ites are fantastic dancers (“I like to move it, move it!”). Second, candy is always a great idea. Third, have a few people on hand who know how to fix the speakers when they start acting up. Fourth, Axiom-ites are all for supporting a good cause. Fifth, the Cha-Cha Slide never fails to bring every single person to the dance floor (“to the left now, ya’ll”). Sixth, Axiom-ites are classy dressers. Seventh, everyone claps along to Are You Gonna Be My Girl (“1, 2, 3, take my hand and follow me…”). And, finally, we’re all really excited about the upcoming trip to Romania!
PS. The first Axiom-ite to comment with the name/artist of every song referenced in this post will get a candy bar of their choice from me!
This fall, the Axiom Service Team came up with a great new way to show love on our campus! Here’s what Sarah and JP, two of our Service Team leaders, had to say about the Axiom Rake Raids:
Before last month, Axiom didn’t really know who our neighbors were, and we weren’t into that; we wanted to get to know them! So on October 15th and 22nd, we set out from the Axiom House with a mission to be good neighbors; to show that we’re not just concerned about the people in our ministry, but that we care about those outside of it too. How did we show our love? By raking yards!
While it might not sound like a HUGE service for a bunch of college kids to have their yards raked, it’s not about the AMOUNT that we do, but the way that we do it… and we ROCKED! With 15+ people showing up to each Rake Raid, we stuffed over 50 yard bags full of leaves, hit about 15 houses, and made several new friends.
With each new house, we experienced quite a bit of suspicion when we introduced ourselves. People were baffled as to why we wanted to rake their yards… even to the point that several people thought we wanted donations. They just couldn’t believe that we were doing something for them, for nothing! A few of our neighbors were just as excited to meet us as we were to meet them; some even mentioned that they had always been curious about us, and now had a good reason to check Axiom out!
We took it one step further by giving them cookie dough once the job was done. The shock on our neighbors’ faces was priceless… they couldn’t decide how to react to this random act of kindness. Some thought it was the weirdest thing they’d seen all year (and considering we’re on a college campus, that’s pretty funny), and some thought it was the greatest thing in the world – like that cookie dough was pure gold!
And that was the point. We wanted to make a connection; do something nice. This was just one way for us to open a door into their lives. On those two Fridays, we went out and gave up our afternoons to love on people; most of whom probably aren’t used to experiencing unconditional love. Raking yards may not seem like that big of a deal, but then again, neither does washing feet.
We have one last Rake Raid coming up on Friday, Nov 12th. from 4 to 5:30pm. We really want to push this one and see if we can get the biggest turn out yet! The cool thing about service, is that it’s not all about you… in fact, it has absolutely nothing to do with you. It’s all about the other person: what you can do for them, no strings attached and no questions asked. When you serve someone, you have no room to be selfish; if you’re thinking about yourself and what you can get out of the experience, then you’re probably missing the point. But, in a lot of cases when you serve, there are rewards. You know you did something for the betterment of another person, and maybe now he/she will share that service or love with someone else. You’re doing some good in the world; you’re being Christ to those around you, and that’s a reward in and of itself. November 12th is the last Raid of the semester, and you don’t want to miss out on this fantastic opportunity. See you there!
Sarah Dexter and Justin Pettit