Once again, the press underestimates me!

Fourth article for the Beacon! Also unedited…

Theater Department prepares for “39 Steps”
by Sydney Sheltz

The Bethel College Theater Department is finishing rehearsal for Hitchcock spin-off comedy “39 Steps” which premieres Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.

The show is described as a realistic and slap-stick comedy with a fast-paced plot. With allusions to several Hitchcock films, the spy story is full of intrigue and clichés that only add to the seriousness of the international organization and the manhunt within the plot.

Junior and theatre major Sarah Beason said, “The funny appeal of the show is different from what we’ve done in the past and it’s definitely student-friendly. It’s a good show for our demographic.”

The production features a cast of four people playing a total of 24 roles. Beason has three roles as the lead female while her lead counterpart, Cam Matteson, only plays one. The other two supporting players play a total of 20 roles. Theatre Department Chair Richard Young is directing the performance.

For the past few weeks, rehearsals have been lasting three or four hours a night, depending on how many scenes the cast is working on. The rehearsals are scheduled from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. However, the rehearsal times will change from 6:00 p.m. to midnight the week before the show opens.

“We auditioned the first Monday of school and started rehearsals that Wednesday,” said Matteson when asked how long preparations for the show have been under way.

Since the story is so complex as compared to other shows, there will not be a material set on stage. There is a minimal set and only a few props to account for the many scene changes. A white blank wall has been constructed on the stage and pictures of the set will be projected onto the screen in order to create the background.

This unique aspect of the show isn’t the hardest part. “The real challenge is not laughing during rehearsal,” said Beason.

“39 Steps” will premiere Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. There will be another night showing at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 3, 2014. A matinee will be offered on Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014 at 1 p.m. followed by the final performance on the same day at 7:30 p.m.

The first bite of an apple is always the best.


Go then, my little Book, and show to all
that entertain and bid thee welcome shall,
What thou dost keep close shut up in they breast;
and wish what thou dost show them may be blest
to them for good, may make them choose to be
pilgrims better, by far, than thee or me.
tell them of Mercy; she is one
Who early hath her pilgrimage begun.
Yea, let young damsels learn of her to prize
the world which is to come, and so be wise;
For little tripping maids may follow God
along the ways which saintly feet have trod.

adapted from John Bunyan

What will Hell sound like?

I visited Hell once.

I didn’t like it.

It sounded like chainsaws gnawing through trees, it’s ferocious teeth ripping through fibers, the splinters yanked off and sent flying like so many hunks of flesh.

It sounded like nails on a chalkboard, the screeeeech gripping it’s talons around your spine and blowing it’s icy breath between the vertebrae.

It sounded like a pen rapping against a clipboard, a declaration of judgment with every hollow thud that mimics the racing of your beating heart.

It sounded like projectile vomit splashing against the toilet bowl, gurgling as your stomach protests against any sustenance and the bile bubbles within you like poison in a witch’s cauldron.

It sounded like a fire alarm, deafening your ears with the screams of panic as flames lick at the exposed skin and devour your trembling nerves and tender dermis layers.

It sounded like angry children wailing, the cries of the self-righteous railing against you and drawing the noose tighter as you struggle against the constraints to pacify the mob with empty promises that will never satisfy.

It sounded like squealing violins, their foul notes clinging to the air like the last breath of life as the bow delays the swing of the ax and prolongs the inevitable slaughter.

I visited Hell once.

I didn’t like it.


When I say I’m hitting the books, I really mean that they are bashing me over the head.

I studied about 5 hours of organic chemistry yesterday. This is proof of my early morning haunting of the campus coffee shop. And if that isn’t enough, I have several loose sheets of paper with practice problems that should suffice.

orgo SG

Let’s be honest though, the best part of the morning wasn’t finally figuring out the nomenclature rules or sipping that hot cup of coffee…

it was obviously the Trix yogurt. That made me happy 🙂


Make it a double plus one.

Third article for the Beacon! Also unedited…

Bethel entertains concept of welcome center
By Sydney Sheltz

Although Bethel College hasn’t had an official welcome center since it opened in 1947, current President of Bethel College Dr. Gregg Chenoweth and the Board of Directors are working to approve a plan that would allow the construction of a new welcome center and conference space.

The idea of a welcome center is not new and has been thrown around for about 40 years.

“You can only sell nostalgia for so long,” said Dr. Chenoweth. “It fulfills both a need and an opportunity.”
The current Admissions Office was renovated from a barn that remained on the property after Bethel College was constructed. Since the college has grown, this facility is no longer large enough to accommodate all the offices needed.

Bethel College also caters to many organizations that hold conferences over the summer months. For example, Conn-Selmer, a company who specializes in the making of brass instruments, has held their national conference on campus for the past 4 years.

The goal of the new welcome center is to provide more offices for admission counselors and financial aid, offer more areas for graduate and adult studies, and present a new conference space that could hold 400-450 people from visiting organizations.

The new welcome center would potentially be attached to the Dining Commons, across the street from the Wiekamp Athletic Center.

The current concept of the two-story building would split the floors. The top floor would combine the conference center and office space. The bottom floor would hold more office space and include a student community center.

“I want students to be able to get together and hang out, play cards, and watch movies,” said Dr. Chenoweth when asked for the reason behind the addition of the student center.

Currently, the plan only consists of schematic drawings. Upon approval, architectural drawings would take another 6-8 months. Construction of the building would last one year after that.

The project will be split into two phases. There are not enough details at this time to determine the two phases.
The total estimated cost of the project is 7 million dollars. All money will be raised through philanthropy and approximately 3 million dollars has already been pledged. Bethel College will not take on any debt during this project so that student tuition will not be affected.

There are safety policies to keep the college from taking on too much debt. For example, when an idea is approved by the Board, 115 percent of the funds must be pledged or raised. Before construction on the same idea has begun, it is required that the college have 75 percent of the cash in hand.

Nevertheless, Dr. Chenoweth said, “I am prayerful and hopeful that in a year’s time, we would have enough commitment for at least the first phase.”

The specifics of the idea have not been worked out at this time and the Board has not yet approved of the concept.

People try to bottle up emotions, as if it’s wrong to have a natural reaction to life.

You know that feeling.

That one that pierces your heart as soon as you notice the leaves starting to change color. The stirring in your breast as you realize that it’s time to break out the mugs of spiced apple cider and hunker down cozily around a dancing bonfire. It’s almost like nostalgia is dripping through your veins like an IV needle, slowing you down and forcing you to actually see what you’re walking by and feel in response. The leaves fall and their constant rustling is a lullaby that rocks you to the core and makes you realize that every end is also a beginning. Whatever came with summer is gone but that doesn’t mean that autumn can’t give you something even better.

You know that feeling.

That one that surges through your veins with anticipation as you take a few more steps closer to that huge puddle that you can’t resist jumping in. Your rain boots poised at the edge of the unknown and your fists clenched as you prepare for launch. A smile slips to your lips because, even though you know you’re going to get soaking wet, it’s going to be worth the rush of dopamine that slaps your synapses. Spring has a way of exciting your neurons like they are being attacked with a defibrillator to rescue them from the comatose wintery state. Coming back from the dead is a high energy expenditure though and the muddy paths prove that you don’t exactly cross back into this world looking pretty.

You know that feeling.

That one that seeps into your skin like poison, dulling your senses as the rays of yellow sunshine pour into your pores. Your skin looks like it’s cast in gold — and it feels like it too because you are bound by the warm embrace of Helios. It leaves it’s mark upon you, scorching your tender flesh until it’s red as a hot iron and scarring in shades of toasted marshamallow, anywhere from golden brown to burnt black. It’s one of those feelings where you know that you shouldn’t linger any longer and you should stop toeing the line so that you don’t accidentally slip, but it’s intoxicating. The summer reminds you that you have all the self-control in the world but you can’t quite grip it in your sweaty, sunburnt hands.

You know the feeling.

That one when the cold seeps into your bones and huddles there, rubbing it’s cold fingers against your spine until you shiver. Good or bad, you can’t tell. Winter is the season of extremes, whirling a storm of emotions inside until you get numb from the intensity. Oddly enough, you like it that way. Deep down, you don’t fight the freeze because if you go so far, if you can drink in the snow till you get drunk, there’s a warmth at the end that burns like blue fire. There is only one remedy: hot chocolate. The first sip tingles your tongue with teasing sweetness and the thawing of your throat as it slips down is so gentle that you don’t even realize that you are warming up until you’re at the ideal temperature.

Fall may be for new beginnings, spring for the reincarnation of the ugly, summer for the delightful death of us all, but winter is the season that reminds you that you’re alive.

I know you know the feeling.


I am Catwoman. Hear me roar.

Sophie surprised us with a roomie date to the zoo after church today! While I like looking at all the animals, I’m always drawn to the bigger cats.


These babies were laying down and lounging in the sun. But when I came over, they walked around gloriously!

snow leopard

Whenever I spoke and whistled, the snow leopard looked up from his nap and stared at me. Know this: I was the only one that the darling bothered to noticed.

walking tiger

When I asked this precious one to stop sleeping and get closer, he walked from the other side of the cage to drink from the puddle in front of us and then walked into the perfect picture spot to lay down.

I am truly a cat whisperer. And that makes me very happy 🙂

What will Heaven smell like?

I have this feeling that when I go to Heaven, my olfactory glands (or whatever they are called) will explode. This might be a good thing because we will have perfect bodies then and maybe God’s idea of perfection is a noseless face. Maybe, after all this time on Earth, we will go to Heaven and find out that noses were a result of the Fall!

…But maybe not. Maybe we will still have noses and I will be assaulted with celestial scents so divine that they will clear out my sinuses for all of eternity.

I hope it smells like communion. I hope I will be enveloped by the smell of fresh bread, still warm from the galaxy-gas ovens. I hope there will be a sickly, sweet stench of red wine that permeates the atmosphere.

I hope it smells like dryer sheets, like the godly garments that He has freshly folded out of the Elysian laundry basket. Whenever I get dressed, I hope that that clean smell with always tickle my nostrils, teasing me and reminding that I have narrowly escaped the earthly curse of never-ending laundry. Now I shall suffer no more.

I hope it smells like bonfire, like the acrid malevolence of the splintered cross succumbing to the sulfurous flames. I hope the faint smoky smell with follow me wherever I go, clinging to my hair like the ghostly presence of a nearly forgotten friend. In fact, that’s how I got here.

I hope it smells like dude. Not a bad dude smell, but a good dude smell. I hope that whenever I give God a huge hug, that the rich masculine smell of my Father would pat me on the head as I go about my day. I hope that whenever I give Jesus a fist-bump, some of his essence would linger on my fingers — not a sweaty, awkward, “when-did-you-last-shower?” smell, but a comfortable big brother smell that beckons a smile to my face. And whenever the Holy Spirit greets my with a holy kiss (because that’s His thing and everyone just goes with it), I hope it’s accented with the teasing spice of expensive cologne — strong enough that the musk is noticeable but not so overpowering that you can’t breathe.

I hope that Heaven smells like communion, dryer sheets, bonfire, and lots and lots of dude.