Why Online Learning?

I studied online to get my Associate of the Arts Degree. I am now attending RU online as an English major. Online learning is great because I can study and still adapt for life’s other happenings (doctor appointments, travel, etc.). I enjoy online learning and recommend it to anyone who already has a full life and wants a good education.

Why English Major?

I chose to major in English because I enjoy writing. My husband and pastors have encouraged my writing talents and abilities. After fasting, I decided God, too, was telling me English was the field I was to study. An English degree will allow me to enter my dream field of publishing, or give me plenty of flexibility for other career fields.

Why Regent University?

I had been watching The 700 Club for a few years. They showed many Regent University commercials and I determined to attend RU someday. I am grateful everyday that God grant my desire to study at a Christ-centered university. The ability (if not the requirement) to apply a biblical worldview to all my assignments is helping me develop into a high-quality religious writer.

English Major

14 May 2010

Breaking Out of the Box

This summer I am pursuing many interests I have always wanted to pursue. Too often, lack of resources (money, places to go, etc.) and lack of time prevented my ability to do many things I wanted to do.

This summer all of that changes. I now have the time and money to do just about everything I ever wanted to do. I am taking tennis and ice skating lessons and scrapbooking and basket weaving classes. I have joined a type of book club at church, and I have begun my first redwork (embroidery in all red) quilt project. All these things are a my own efforts to break out of my box.

See, I have never considered myself athletic. In fact, I have always dislike sports, especially team sports. And, I was never very good at them so I was always embarrassed to play sports around other people, particularly as a child when being poor at sports only got me ridiculed. I love watching ice skating competitions, and though I like skating some, I have always been too afraid to learn to do it well. I do not like the feeling of falling, even in a controlled apparatus such as a roller coaster. So, the thought of falling from a triple Lutz with no control or safety scares me to no end. Scrapbooking even scares me because it is not structured enough. I like quilting and knitting where the instructions are laid out, and if I follow all the instructions step by step my project will turn out "just right." Basket weaving isn't too scary. However, there are a lot of different types and colors; and weaving too tightly will make your basket turn out differently than if you weave it too loosely. The part that scares me is getting more creative on my own once I learn the basic methods and patterns.

I started the exit from my box with tennis lessons in April. I went to one lesson, and I liked it so much that my husband got me a new racket and supplies for my birthday. Last week, I continued my box exodus with my first ice skating lesson. These first two things on my list of box-breakers were great, but they are not as "daring" for me as learning to scrapbook. This brings us to this week and my new-found freedom in creativity.

I took my first scrapbooking class this Wednesday. It was actually an altered book class. An altered book is the art of taking a book, any book, and decorating the pages. You may cut a hole in a stack of the pages to make a window with some interesting object in it. Or, you may paste pictures or words on other pages. It is entirely up to you what you want to do with your book. When I first heard of this technique, my greatest question was, "Why?" As an avid reader and a writer, I could not imagine bringing myself to commit the sacrilege of cutting up a book. I was sure it was something I would never do. But, I determined I was going to do something totally out of the ordinary and have complete fun doing it. I wasn't going to worry about whether it was right or wrong. I took to altering my book so quickly and so creatively that I made my teacher proud. She said, "Wow. When you get it, you really go. I just gave her instructions and she took off." (I don't REALLY remember if this is exactly what she said, but it is a summation of what she was saying, anyway.) I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I now LOVE feeling free to be creative, to take ideas and put them down in a comprehensive art form.

And, I think this indicative of how God created us. No, not everyone will be "crafty," but everyone can be creative at finding ways to do what God has called them to do. Additionally, everyone has at least one hobby, sport, or activity they like to do that may be just recreational, and outside his calling. Why not find that one extracurricular activity (or several, as in my case) and do it with as much gusto and joy of living as one can conceive?

I have discovered the ability to let God be creative through me. On Wednesday, when I was finished with my scrapbooking class, I was so inspired and proud of myself that I devised this little quote:

When you break out of the box you should break out hard enough and fast enough so as to destroy the box to the point that it cannot be entered again.

I have now broken completely out of my box, and I do not want to go back. I like being free to be me. Freedom like this is something I don't believe I have ever had, and it is something I certainly do not ever want to lose. My prayer is that all who read this will be inspired to do something they have let fear keep them from doing. I hope the freedom they feel from doing something so out of the ordinary will be a tangible example for them of the freedom we have in Christ. And, lastly, I hope they find a boldness that will translate to every area of their lives, and aid them in evangelizing and discipling the world as Jesus commanded.


  1. Nice blog Michelle. I'm so proud of you breaking out of your box. I never doubted that you would. I'm glad to see that you decided to do an altered book. I remember the discussion we had when I first introduced this creative idea to you. I'm glad that you now see this as a creative art and not the destruction of a book. Remember that your beginning is not your end. I'm waiting to see the page by page progress and finally the end project. Don't forget to post. Sheila Tatum, Fayetteville NC

  2. Oh Michelle - such a great post! It was exciting for me to watch you break out of that box. I suppose that is why I enjoy helping others to create!! I have always disliked classes that had rigid rules and you had to make it just like the teacher's sample. So I try to teach techniques and leave plenty of room to let the ideas flow freely. I believe that God wants me to use the talents that I have to share with others, leaving them inspired and finding joy in all the little things! In that I also find that I become the student and learn from seeing what happens!

  3. Oh Michelle this is a really brilliant blog, beautifully written and has inspired me to think a bit more about where I am. I am very stuck at the moment and would dream of the freedom to be so creative and give God all the glory. Thank you for making me think.