The Proverbial Grindstone

I hope you have all had a restful and restorative Christmas holiday, and are ready to get your noses back to the proverbial grindstone.

This was from an e-mail I received from one of my professors.

Well, it definitely was restful. I probably slept more over the last month than I did over the previous two months. My bedtime moved up two hours and my wake-up time moved back two hours. I had more free time than I knew what to do with. That’s saying a lot since I’m in college and free time runs rampant.

Restorative also seems fitting. There’s that restore option on I-pod. It wipes your hard drive clean, no music, no pictures, no movies. All that’s left is the basic software that comes with the I-pod. My break was restorative in the sense that I probably forgot most of what I learned and a lot of peoples’ names and where my classes are. A month of break is a long time.

I think they make winter break really long so that you’re excited to go back to school. A week into break, the proverbial grindstone sounded about as pleasant as actually putting my nose to one of those grindstones they used to make flour back in the day. Two weeks in, I started to miss my new buddies at school. Three weeks in, I started to miss the intellectual challenges and the stimulating conversations. Four weeks into break, I’m chomping at the bit. I can’t wait to get back. Baylor is where I’m supposed to be.

I’m supposed to be learning, thinking, and growing. I’m supposed to be rubbing the sleep out of my eyes in a lecture hall. I’m supposed to be cramming for tests. I’m craving the schedules and the deadlines like a Texan craves fried chicken.

The proverbial grindstone isn’t limited to schoolwork though. It’s reading the Bible with buddies as we hammock in the quad and worshipping God under the I-35 bridge and hitting happy hour at Sonic with my K-life guys. It’s good to be back. It’s good to be where I’m supposed to be.


In college, I think you learn more during the breaks. There’s something about stepping away from your life. Stepping back from everyday life, you realize some things that you can’t see up close. This thanksgiving break has been a full 18-hour credit load of blessings.

7 Reasons for thanksgiving realized over break:

1. Family: I don’t think you fully appreciate your family until you go to school. I could write a whole post on this alone and probably will sometime. My family, nuclear, extended, etc., knows me, loves me, and never lets me question those two things.

2. Old friends: It’s an amazing thing to be able to pick up friendships right where they left off. I’m blessed to have so many relationships like that to come home to.

3. Pillow Talk: There’s nothing like your own bed, but I sure missed pillow talk with my roomie. Those last five minutes before sleep are when conversational greatness occurs.

4. Homes: It happened a couple days ago. Someone asked me when I was driving back to Waco. “I’m driving back home on Sunday.” Wait a second…did I just call Waco home? Yeah, I did. And it’s not like Ames isn’t. It dawned on me I’ve two places where I’m in community, two places where I’m loved, two places I’m on mission, both of them with just the right mix of comforts and challenges. I’ve got two homes, and they’re beautiful different and alike in all the right ways.

5. He put a ring on it: Wednesday, my brother got down on one knee and asked my soon-to-be sister, “Emily Cole, would you go with me?” Her response, “por supuesto,” Spanish for “of course.” Despite their unconventional proposal verbiage, I can assure you that they are very much engaged and ready to live life together, dedicated to serving each other, their God, and the people around them. To symbolize this, after he asked, Miles washed Emily’s feet right there on the dirt path, He used his Nalgene water bottle and a washcloth. What a stud. I couldn’t be more excited about these two lovebirds and to help his fiancé out, I wrote her a couple tips for the Nichols( my mom’s maiden name) annual thanksgiving gathering. Which brings me to another realization

6. Thanksgiving with the Nichols: This one I’ve known for a while, but no one, and I mean NO ONE, has more fun on Thanksgiving than the Nichols family. To give you an idea of the experience, here’s a couple pieces of advice I offered Emily.

  1. Practice your farmer talk with Uncle Craig and Randy. Throw around words like yield, bushel, and acreage, ask them about their combine, and tell them you’ve been praying for rain
  2. Ask Cousin Sam or James about their no-huddle offense football coaching schemes. Sit back and relax and enjoy their 30 minute answer.
  3. Ask cousin Rich if he has any pictures of cows on his I-phone. He will. Proceed to compliment their bone structure and deep, rounded flank.

7. The gospel:  but I’d be leaving out the greatest reason for thanksgiving not just on the Holiday designated by President Lincoln(great movie by the way) but every single day. Friday, I got up early, and by early I mean 9:00, and went on a run. The shorts and t-shirt was a bad call, I realized that when I ran over a bridge and saw a thin film of ice on the creek. The good call was the Tim Keller sermon I listened to as I ran. He preached about money( yeah I know, preachers are always preaching about money) but this one was different. He talked about our treasure, where our treasure is, our heart will be and our lives will be. And then he related that to Jesus. Jesus died for us. Keller says people don’t just die for anything. They die for what they treasure. See what he’s getting at? We are Jesus’ treasure. Realizing and dwelling in that truth makes everyday a holiday.