Monday, December 14, 2009

There's This Line...

That I'm still working on finding.  It's the line between trusting in God and being proactive in fulfilling His will.  Where is it?  I so often mistake it, thinking that there must be SOMETHING I can do to make the right things happen.  I find myself wondering what I'm missing, where are the perfect words I can say to that person to make it clear.  I've never thought of myself as much of a leader, but somehow I can't sit back and let everything happen without trying to do something to help it along.

It seems that to some extent we all struggle with letting things go.  One night in our church community group we went around telling whether we were laid-back people or more controlling.  Most people said they were more controlling, but even those who considered themselves laid-back had things that they wanted control over.  The latter is more my area - I am a laid-back person....until I feel like I can do something or that I'll go crazy if I don't.  One of the hardest things for me to be laid-back about is struggling friends.  If someone is hurting, I am rearing to go, ready to beat anyone I have to or stitch up their wounds.  This also applies if one of my relationships is struggling.  As much as I hate confrontation, I will initiate it if I believe it to be necessary.  I am a strong believer in communication, even though I'm not near as gifted in it as I would wish.

I've found that being useless scares me.  I think that's another thing that most people have in common as well; we hate to think of ourselves as adding nothing to the world around us.  So for God to call us to "Be still" - we find that very difficult indeed.  Yes, we trust God, but is there nothing we can do to make everything better??  God tells us to do all things for His glory, but sometimes that includes sitting back and watching, as much as it may pain us to do so.  I typically consider myself a patient person as well, but the list of things I am patient about is not a universal list - there are a few exceptions. 

Another thing I have found is that when I finally do calm down and be still, God does amazing things.  Not that He doesn't always do amazing things - it's just that subconsciously I somehow think that me not moving, not doing something will not produce anything for the glory of God.  Do I think that much of myself, to think that God cannot move without me?  How delusional and egotistical!  I have to laugh at that ridiculous notion, and I can imagine God does as well (in a "That's cute, funny little human" kind of way).

Yesterday one of my friends was discussing how something she had been waiting on forever had just happened after she had given up on it, saying, "I guess all I really had to do was let it go and truly give it to Him [God] after all."  Amen.  Easily said but hardly done.

Honesty time:  I was one of those Union girls looking for a Mrs. degree.  Especially in the first couple of years, I was on the lookout for my future husband.  I do realize how desperate and romcom this sounds, but I prefaced this by saying it was honesty time.  Whether or not I admitted it at the time, I know this was my mindset.  However, by the end of my junior year, I quit looking.  The thought process was this:  "I have only one more year left here.  I'm going to grad school far away, so there's no point in trying to find Mr. Right here when I'll just be moving away.  I'll find him at grad school."  Haha...  Yes, I'm a dork.

Of course, what happens?  Just when I finally give it up and sit back to wait, God jumps in with His own (and infinitely better) plan.  Someone asked me a few days ago, "Last year, did you think you would be engaged at this time, just a year later?"  My reply was, "No!  I'd given up on Union guys!"  Lol.  My plans changed because God moved, and I could not be happier for it.

I wish I could draw a line and say, "This is where you need to step back and give it up."  Really, we should always be giving it up to God but ready to move when He asks, but I understand how difficult that can be.  And sometimes I've misunderstood what God wanted from me, probably because I had my own plan of how I thought God wanted it to go.  We always get in the way of our own obedience.  In my case, a lot of it is over-analyzing. 

I pray that we all have peace about what God is doing, whether we're moving or not, because God is constantly moving.  He never rests and always knows how it's going to go.  Things always work out for His glory, and we know how it all ends!  Why do we worry so?  Yes, we should obey His commandments and work to live for His glory, but in the end our mistakes will not matter.  So why freak out when we make them?  I am completely guilty of that, worrying about making mistakes and despairing when I make them!  God works through us, with us, around us, and - most important to me - despite us.  To me, the last is ultimately reassuring.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Our Wedding Website!

I know I've been due for a blog since I got engaged, but I decided I would put the important stuff on our wedding website - like the proposal story, for one!  Nothing is planned, really, at the moment, so it's mostly empty otherwise.  Anyway, here is the address...

Enjoy!  :) 

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Another Funny for the Day...

Back in my high school senior year, the family took a trip to Washington, D.C., over spring break.  There were a LOT of Asian tourists running around taking endless pictures.  While we were in one of the Smithsonian museums - I believe it was the Natural History one - Kellen decided to have some fun and jump into people's pictures at the last minute.  He especially loved getting into one Asian family's family portrait, and we have always said since then that we would give anything to see their reactions when they realized this random American kid was in their photo.  Well, I might have found the picture - or one similar to it, anyway...

My New Career

This past week, Mom and I flew to Washington to visit Lauren and see some grad schools.  I was excited to see Lauren's house, since the last and only time I'd seen it all I got to see was the outside, since she hadn't finalized the purchase yet and therefore had no keys.  Her house is awesome; it's basically two stories with a loft.  The stairs leading from the first floor to the second are pretty creaky, I soon discovered.  When I mentioned this to Mom Thursday morning as we were preparing to leave, she said, "Yeah, I don't think anyone's going to be sneaking up on you going up those stairs."  Being me, I had pretty quickly figured out that if you skip every other step, you can get around the loudness.  I tried it out, and sure enough it worked pretty well.  When I pointed this out to Mom, she had to try it.  After she tried it and realized I was right, she stated, "You would make a good criminal."

That's what moms do, right?  She opened up a whole new door for me!  Thanks, Mom!  :D

As for other funny stories, there are several from this trip.

Mom and I were boarding a plane, and in front of us there was a mother and her two children.  It was a boy and girl, probably around 5 and 6.  They started messing with each other, of course, and the mother said, "Stop touching each other!  Hands to yourselves."  The kids calmed down for a minute.  Then the boy reached out with his hand like half a foot from the little girl, and the girl said, "Too close!"  That's much more accurate than, "He's touching me!!"

On our way to Seattle Saturday morning, we stopped and got coffee and hot chocolate.  I got hot chocolate, of course, and told Mom she could just have some of mine instead of getting her own.  Her reaction when she tried it was, "This tastes like a melted milkshake."  What a revelation!  Who woulda thunk it?

Funny, but more sad...  Mom and I were in a Jack in the Box eating.  First of all, they had an automated machine to take your order.  I mean, you enter your order into this machine, and then someone brings out from the back.  Great idea - kill more jobs.  Anyway, we had gotten our food and were in the process of eating.  I saw this guy standing outside, and could pretty much guess from first glance that he was homeless.  He comes in and decides to stop at our table on his way to the counter.  He started talking about how there were a ton of chuck wagons outside, and we should unhitch all the horses and hitch them together.  We both just kind of smiled and nodded, and he moved on to the counter.  After he got coffee - no food, just coffee - he sat at the table that was on the other side of the wall from us.  The wall was short enough to only reach my shoulder sitting.  He once again started talking about wagons:  "I saw you pull in, I pulled in right behind you.  We just went down south, and everything's flooded!  Completely flooded!  Thank you, have a good day.  But then we went up north, and it's sunshine.  All clear.  Thank you, have a good day."  Interesting...  It definitely made me wonder where he came from and what happened to him. 

There were other stories, but that's all I have at the moment.  :)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Reporting Fail

Really?  It's a wreck?  I wasn't sure, because I thought maybe this was a picture of a bad parking job.  I mean, anyone who parks like that deserves to get towed.

Good job, Jackson Sun.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Funny Funny - Cause there's two of them.

First story:

I was driving to meet Ryan at Don Pancho's for lunch, and I came to the light where you get on Vann Drive off the bypass. At the corner was a homeless man, with the typical sign. I do have to give it to him; the sign asked for work, not money. Anyway, I had to sit at the light while waiting for a green, and just happened to see the man pick up a bag of food and sit it behind his backpack - trying to hide it from us possible benefactors. The bag was one of those to-go things, with the styrofoam box and everything. This alone tickles me. It's when he also picks up his drink to hide it and I see the Longhorn Steakhouse name and logo that I really find it funny.

Second story:

This is one of those moments when I really wished I thought quicker. I was checking out at Dollar General with just two items. The cashier rings them up, and I start to swipe my card when the older woman goes, "Ooh, honey, don't you want to buy one more thing??" I have no idea what she's talking about until I look at my total: $6.66. I tell her that I'll be okay, I don't need anything else. What I should have said was this: "Well, if Satan is going to get me through a six-pack of Cottonelle toilet paper and a Jimmy Dean's Breakfast Bowl, I just might let him take me purely on the basis of his creativity."

Friday, October 30, 2009

Here's to Punctuality

This guy was supposed to be in my office this morning, but thankfully I got here before Mr. Cranford, who is responsible for such pranks.

Monday, October 19, 2009

One of my Moments of Stupidity

Yes, just one of them. So I got my ears pierced about a week and a half ago. This is the second time I've tried this; the first time was when I was about twelve, I think. Less than a week after I got it done (the first time), Kellen and I were wrestling and one of the earrings was knocked out. I decided to take both out and then put them back in later. I forgot about them until the next morning, when Mom helped me painfully put them back in. Unfortunately, my ears got extremely infected and I had to take out the earrings and let them completely heal. After that ordeal I wasn't real keen on trying it again.

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago I felt like it was time I tried for pierced ears again. No biggie, just a little pain and getting used to the sight of me with pierced ears.

Well, this morning I was a genius and decided to see if I could take an earring out and put it back in. Now, I had tried taking it out right after I had a shower so that I could towel dry my hair the way I usually did - the piercing had gotten in the way of that. I couldn't take it out then, probably because my hands and the earring were still wet. At this point my hair was dry, so I decided to try it again while I was looking at my closet trying to decide what to wear.

Oh, it came out alright. The problem was getting it back in.

I got it in, but could not for the life of me find the hole in the back to get it all the way through. It hurt, and I was getting upset imagining another infection coming on if I didn't get it back in in the next like five minutes. By the time I called my mom (I'm not sure what I thought she would do, really - I had to be at work in less time than it would take her to get there), I was really worked up. I was so worked up, in fact, that I almost passed out. Literally. I mean, I was pale as death, cold sweating, everything. I sat on the floor because I felt like I would fall there if I didn't. Another problem was that I hadn't eaten breakfast, which was obviously contributing to my desire to pass out.

I finally got enough strength to go to the kitchen and quickly eat some breakfast. Mom and I decided that it would be best if I just waited until I got to work and let someone else put it in, because I apparently wasn't going to be able to do it. I made it to work and asked one of the women to put it back in, explaining my stupid move. Thankfully, I didn't even really feel it when she pushed it through. I'm just praying now that it doesn't get infected and cause a lot of issues. I brought disinfectant, and I am utilizing it.

So there is just one of my moments of stupidity. Believe me, I am not taking another earring out for another month at the least.

This is one of the reasons why I don't want to mess with beauty stuff - it always bites me back when I don't get it right.

Monday, September 28, 2009


Before you freak out, let me just preface this with the statement that I am NOT pregnant nor am I anywhere near being so. No worries there. I just wanted to clear that up.

Ryan and I are in a community group through Fellowship Bible Church, the church we attend in Jackson. With the exception of us and two single ladies, it's all married couples. I don't find that weird or intimidating at all; I think it's fun to see how their relationships work, and I get the feeling that we're kind of in a marital counseling group - which appeals to my future-counseling-career self. Anyway, the study we're doing is Fearless, by Max Lucado. We're only one lesson in, but last night we started big with talking about our biggest fears. All the married couples have at least one kid, and as a result every one of their fears had something to do with their kids. Mostly they feared losing their kids, their kids suffering serious injuries, dying before their kids had grown up, or their kids being abducted. One father said that one of his greatest fears was what his son would get into, what trouble he would cause. He listed things like drugs, alcohol, getting in the wrong crowd, getting some girl pregnant...and so on. I began to think, "Geez, what is this kid already into that his dad is that worried about him?"

The kid is 12.

Once that was cleared up, the dad made it clear that his son had not yet exhibited any major tendencies towards fulfilling his father's fears; it was just the possibilities that scared the man.

Now, at this point I have to admit that I kind of worry about that now. Yes, it is a long way off to worry about who my future teenagers will become, but I just think of how much could go wrong with my parenting or despite of it. Ryan told me afterward that it made him nervous to hear the couples talk about the trouble they've had with their kids and the things they worry about. I told him that that's just how it is; I know I'll probably be just as worrisome as my mom is, and I pray that I will be able to see the fruits of my raising in my kids the way I think me and my siblings exhibit our parents'.

Obviously in talking about fear we discussed how fear can undermine our faith if we let it get to us, failing to give all our worries to God. We search for peace, but we constantly find something to worry about, something to control and bring into submission, when it is not our place to do so.

Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. If you do this, you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. - Philippians 4:6,7

I want that peace so badly. Sometimes I find that I can obtain it for just a moment, obeying God and giving my fears to Him. Unfortunately, it never lasts, and I pick up the same old worries and fears I had before, not feeling "comfortable" without the all-too-familiar shroud of fear and doubt. We are all burdened by this in different ways, but the answer to our problem remains the same:

Give it to God.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Here's the Thing...

I'm happy. That's a wonderful thing - as anyone would tell you - but it doesn't incite me to blog. It appears that because I am happy, I have nothing to blog about. Seems ridiculous, doesn't it?? I think it does. You'd think I want to blog even more, but noooo, that's not how it goes! I've always known that writing poetry, songs, or in a journal (whether private or not so much) has been a great way for me to vent and deal with the difficult things in life. It's healthy, and I enjoy it. Nevertheless, I feel as though I am short-changing my happiness by not exuding it through writing as well.

See, I'm blanking right now. I find that as hard as it is sometimes to put my moanings into words, it is even more difficult to express happiness. What is that?! It kind of worries me. I wonder if it is something within me that shuns the idea of putting into words that which could so easily depart. I admit that I am for the most part pessimistic. I realize this, knowing that I should know better - or have better faith.

I am digressing. And writing in a melancholy manner. Forgive me.

God is great. Did you know that? He shows me every day that He loves me, and though I so often miss it I would be lost without it. It's ironic how the things we thrive on the most, the things we can't truly live without, we forget or take for granted that we don't have to work for them. Maybe it's because of that that we do take them for granted. Or maybe it's because we don't think it could possibly be that easy.

I find that I am constantly trying to live up to standards, whether it be my own, someone else's, or the ones I think God has set for me. I don't see it as trying to work towards salvation; I think I see it as my God-demanded duty to uphold them. Somewhere along the line, though, it mutates.

I was reading my Bible last week, and felt like reading some of the study guide stuff at the bottom. In one of the paragraphs I found a sentence that I desire to be my mantra:
"In essentials, unity; in nonessentials, liberty; in everything, love."
How succinctly does that sum it all up?? If it involves something important, we as a Church are supposed to stick together and work it out with our fellow believers. In the stuff that doesn't really matter to anyone but little old ladies or self-righteous conservatives, we are free! To me, that includes things like whether or not to drink, tattoos, and a ton of other things that people scream and shout arguing over - they don't matter. Maybe I'm taking a liberal view on it, but to me that's what it's saying. The Bible does say, however, that we must respect others and respect how their belief system works. If your friend cannot drink without feeling as though she nailed Christ's hand to the cross (which "technically" we all did anyway), don't tempt her into it and stay away from it while you're around her. <-- There's the unity part! Actually, even more that unity, that is the love part exemplified! By respecting her beliefs and accommodating your own with hers, you are love in action. It all comes together. This is the time at which I have to say that this is not permission to go buck-wild and disregard any moral code. This is when you should listen to the Holy Spirit within you, working with you to show God's love through your own personal life and therefore testimony. We are called to hate what is wrong and stand on the side of good (Romans 12:9-11). I read through all of Romans the past few weeks, and it may possibly be my favorite book. At the very least, it has my now favorite passage. The passage hit me as beautiful and absolutely joyful.
I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love. Death can't, and life can't. The angels can't, and the demons can't. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can't keep God's love away.
Romans 8:38
Gah!! I love it. How amazing is that?! Nothing we or anyone else does will ever separate us. Satan tried that, and Jesus shot him down. To me, that is incredibly encouraging, because I've worried so long about all the things I could do wrong, all the ways I could mess up God's plans, all the ways that I've failed the people around me. This Scripture once again shows that we are free in Christ to live our lives without worry or fear that we will ever be separating from our heavenly Father.

We don't always understand how God loves us, because we get blinded by the people who hurt us, the loss of loved ones, and the suffering we endure. I'm helping with a 5th grade Sunday school class, where they are learning that God has allowed Satan to rule the world - for a short period of time. God is with us, however, giving us the strength to fight Satan each day and live for the glory of God. It's a difficult war in which we lose many battles, but we know how it ends. ;)

Friday, June 26, 2009

I'm fully aware that it's been a little over a month since I graduated from Union, and I have yet to deliver on the "reminiscing" post I promised so long ago. I guess I've been waiting for the right mood to find me, enabling me to express all that has transpired over the last four years - or at least the important parts.

I believe I would not be remiss to say that my four years in college were the hardest years of my life. It would also be correct to claim that they are - so far - the most important and transforming. I can hardly remember the girl I was in high school; she seems so very different and somewhat lost from me. I say this not to be remorseful, but because it is the truth. There were many times that I wished I could be that same person I once was. Things seemed easier then. I seemed so less complicated and scarred than I am now.

Before every YoungLife club, we had a leader meeting to discuss our plan for the night. Each time we were asked a question, and each person gave an answer. About the only question I can now recall is, "When you go to visit home, at what point do you feel you are truly home?" I contemplated my answer, and responded that I always felt like I was home. To me, Union was home. My closest friends were there, my whole life seemed to be there. Now my house in Big Buck was simply an extension of my home.

Other times I felt this very way. However, there were times that I would have given anything to be anywhere else. I considered transferring schools, primarily to get away from certain people whose presence pained me. I went into a flight-fight response and strongly desired to fly. I thank God that I didn't.

I feel as though my losses were not that many; it was the quality that hurt me the most. Those I trusted the most turned away, or - to my great regret - were forsaken by me. The latter grieve me most.

Sometimes I still wonder how different my life would be had one thing not happened. If I hadn't gotten so close to that one friend. If I hadn't wimped out and scampered away on another. If I had transferred. If I hadn't gone to Union at all. If I hadn't changed my major twice and ended up in Theories of Personality class when I did, sat next to this guy that made me laugh (I'm a sucker for those guys), ended up dating him then falling in love with him...

Who would I be?

It's so instinctually human to question what could have been; we can never quite be satisfied in thinking that this is just the way things are. Things could always be different. Decisions always affect what happens next. Time always slips away from us, and before we know it we're in this place we never thought we'd be but somehow feel is right.

I've wondered before and discussed plenty about the possible conflict between the fact that God knows everything and yet we have free will. C. S. Lewis explained this in that God knows how every decision we make will affect everything else. He sees every path we could possibly take, of which of course there are an innumerable amount.

Sometimes I wish I could just get a glimpse of how my life would be had I gone to Belmont instead of Union, or transferred to Bethel like I considered doing my sophomore year, or actually stuck with my first choice of major. Call it curiosity. I am confident in the fact that no matter what other direction I could have taken, God would have been with me through it all, just as He has been and is now.

Forgive me for taking a more sorrowful slant on my years at Union; it would appear that I for the most part was downtrodden and hurt. Such is not the case. I was a part of an amazing soccer team, of which I was the first signee and played all four years. I've gained some absolutely incredible friends for whom I am eternally grateful. I am the holder of a great degree from a great institution. I am a different and possibly more grown-up person than I was four years ago. I found my amazing boyfriend whom I can't imagine being without. I learned that God is merciful, forgiving, teaching, and most importantly loving. Well, I guess I knew that before - but isn't such knowledge so much more real once you've actually seen it for yourself?

I guess that since I'll be around Union (technically) for another year, it doesn't feel as though I've truly left. I didn't fully cry at graduation (shocker, I know); at my high school graduation I cried three times and walked out nigh bawling. Maybe when you leave high school you know you're expected to grow up in college; maybe subconsciously we know how hard that will be. You leave childhood behind in high school, you leave the friends you grew up with to meet completely new people. Maybe you're just naive at that point.

It's possible I am simply rambling now. For fear of boring you with another few paragraphs of my reminiscing or whatever this is, I shall cease. :)

Friday, May 08, 2009

Two Weeks is Too Long

One more week of classes, then almost freedom. I have never been more impatient for summer to get here.

Graduation is May 23rd, but it seems farther away than that with all the stuff that still needs to be done. Hours for practicum, four tests, research papers, journals... Ugh. However, I feel like I've got a pretty good handle on it all and plan to get everything done in a timely fashion - including starting my research paper at least three days in advance. ;)

Soon I will blog and reminisce about my time at Union, but for now I'm keeping it short and mainly expressing my desire to be finished with the semester and get a break from schoolwork.

Sometimes I feel like I'm not really leaving Union, since I'll be here for almost another year and a half working (hopefully at a counseling center). I'll definitely be going to see the team play in the fall - BOTH teams. I'm kind of glad I'll be around for this next year, because I have a lot of great friends graduating during that time. I can delay being away from them for another year, and that makes me happy. Of course, I am mainly glad to be around for Ryan, this guy I kind of like. Kidding! I love him. :)

The date is closing in, but time seems to speed up and stand still all at the same time. I'm beginning to realize that I should be relishing the busyness that my life is right now, because it means I'm at the end of being a college student and the beginning of (almost) being an adult. That adult thing should be looked at with some trepidation, which I have in a healthy amount.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

23 Days

And I will be graduated! Holy crap. Exciting, yet a little frightening. I'm really more excited to just get this semester over with so that I can spend more time with Ryan, watch movies, read a lot of good fiction, and just chill. Of course, I will be studying for the GRE so that I can get a better score when I take it again some time this fall. Eh, no problem. :)

It's amazing how God works things out. I always knew He would, but sometimes I get so caught up in waiting for something to happen I forget that when it doesn't happen or doesn't happen the way I thought it should I should accept it - because God has a plan in it.

A couple weeks ago I was really stressing out about what my plans were for the next year or so. I started flipping through Psalms looking for some comfort. Of course, Psalms pulled through for me.

"The Lord will work out His plans for my life -
for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever.
Don't abandon me, for you made me."
Psalm 138:8

We're told not to worry about anything, but of course we all do. Blasted human nature... I also came across Psalm 103, which I really liked. Now I will give it to you. :)

"Praise the Lord, I tell myself;
with my whole heart, I will praise His holy name.
Praise the Lord, I tell myself,
and never forget the good things He does for me.
He forgives all my sins
and heals all my diseases.
He ransoms me from death
and surrounds me with love and tender mercies.
He fills my life with good things.
My youth is renewed like the eagle's!
The Lord gives righteousness
and justice to all who are treated unfairly.
He revealed His character to Moses
and his deeds to the people of Israel.
The Lord is merciful and gracious;
He is slow to get angry and full of unfailing love.
He will not constantly accuse us,
nor remain angry forever.
He has not punished us for all our sins,
nor does He deal with us as we deserve.
For His unfailing love toward those who fear Him
is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth.
He has removed our rebellious acts
as far away from us as the east is from the west.
The Lord is like a father to His children,
tender and compassionate to those who fear Him.
For He understands how weak we are;
He knows we are only dust.
Our days on earth are like grass;
like wildflowers, we bloom and die.
The wind blows, and we are gone -
as though we had never been here.
But the love of the Lord remains forever
with those who fear Him.
His salvation extends to the children's children
of those who are faithful to His covenant,
of those who obey His commandments!
The Lord has made the heavens His throne;
from there He rules over everything.
Praise the Lord, you angels of His,
you mighty creatures who carry out His plans,
listening for each of His commands.
Yes, praise the Lord, you armies of angels
who serve Him and do His will!
Praise the Lord, everything He has created,
everywhere in His kingdom.
As for me - I, too, will praise the Lord."

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Are You a Mannequin?

Think about all the Bible heroes and heroines. The men and women we hear about in Sunday School and at church as Christians who did God's will. Ruth, who decided to take care of her mother-in-law instead of running back to her family; David, who was God's chosen king; Solomon, who asked God for wisdom and was blessed with that plus everything else; Peter, whom God used to build His Church.... I could go for days.

But wait a minute - these people were not ideal role models. Adulterers, murderers, liars, deceivers, lawbreakers - these are the people we look to for models of Christian faith??

What a lot of non-Christians want to see is those people's mistakes. They had affairs with married women, slept with their family members, disowned Jesus, broke all the rules of custom, ran from their responsibilities, etc. How are we supposed to be "good" Christians if all we have (minus one) for examples are these sinners who a lot of the time seemed to only be living for themselves?

Obviously Jesus is the only perfect example we have to follow. All of the others in the Bible were simply human, like ourselves. They made mistakes - just like we do - that we should be able to learn from.

More than that, I believe there is a more general lesson to be taken from the stories of these great people's mistakes.

A lot of Christians worry about looking "good" - and not just physically. One thing I've heard from Christians and non-Christians alike is that a lot of Christians are just straight up fake. I've seen it myself. I've honestly done it, as well. We love to play this game, wear this facade that everything is okay because we love the Lord! Yes, we love the Lord - but everything is not always okay. You can raise your hands during worship at church all you want, but if the conviction is not there, if the faith and confession are not there, you're just waving your hand at the ceiling.

One time I was going through a really hard time in my life, and I was constantly in a depressed mood. A friend (who was struggling as well) told me, "If you act like you're okay long enough, eventually you will be." I didn't quite agree with it then, and I don't agree with it now. I am not saying that you should tell everyone you see your entire sob story; not everyone wants to hear it, trust me. I am saying that you should be honest about not always being at the top of your game. Everyone has bad days, everyone struggles with their faith at some point - it is okay. One day an acquaintance asked me how was I was doing as we walked towards each other on the sidewalk. I can't quite remember my answer, but it was something along the lines of, "Well, I've been better." She said, "I'm glad you were honest! Most people just say 'Fine' and move on!"

I strive to be a good role model, and fail quite often. I'm bound to mess up, but that does not mean I give up trying. Nor do I try to hide the fact that I do in fact fall. Jesus's message is about forgiveness, but so often we try to act like we don't even need it! His forgiveness doesn't just forgive what we did before we were Christians; it completely covers us after as well! Why do we keep missing that or try to cover it up?? Are we ashamed that we still need to be forgiven? When we try to act like we're perfect, we give others too much to live up to. If we want to reach others, why do we set ourselves so far apart? We're not helping fellow Christians by pretending to be perfect; those that are struggling are afraid to shatter their image enough to ask someone else for help.

Why do we have to look so good? Yes, we are called to follow Christ's example, but that does not mean hiding our indiscretions and praying no one finds out. The people in the Bible who tried to hide their mistakes were always revealed; they were always brought to judgement. Why do we think we won't meet the same fate? Those people were most of the time publicly confronted about their sins by prophets who were sent by God to show that no one is above reproach and no one is inaccessable to forgiveness.

God never asked us to "look" like we were doing His will. He actually practically asks us not to do that - yet we still try. We are saved by faith, not by anything we do, say, or think - and definitely not by how people see us. What are we living for if all we worry about is what someone else thinks of us? God calls us to live for His glory - not our own nor anyone else's.

Own your mistakes, learn from them and move on. Learn your weaknesses, work on strengthening them and ask for help. Confess your sins, know that everyone messes up and don't try to hide them. We are all human and shouldn't be expected to be anything other than less than perfect - that goes for you, too.

By the way, mannequins creep me out (see title above). I always hated that I could mistake them for real people, yet they weren't. It's unnatural. Literally.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Up Next?

I got a rejection letter from Appalachian State University, my counseling program of choice. When I first got the news (the letter was sent home), I became upset. I wasn't sure what to do next. I'm still not %100 sure, but I know everything will be okay. Right now I'm going to work on getting accepted later to App State and getting a psychology related job somewhere here in Jackson or nearby.

God has a plan and He is in control - that settles my hearts more than anything. Things may not be going the way I thought they needed to, but there is a reason for this. I knew that this was a possibility, and I am taking responsibility for my own fault in this. I know where God has put my heart, and I am determined to get there with His help.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

The Past and Now

Holding on, letting go
To all that ever made me who I know
Bring me up, tear me down
Challenging everything I thought was sound

Looking to the past
While still moving forward
Am I stuck in limbo
Starving myself?

I am here, fully
Because I've hurt and been hurt truly
It's my own fault
For imagining what could be

Nothing to regret - maybe
How can anyone be sure
When all that happened
Is set in malleable stone

Words restrict me, hold me back
My heart can say so much more
Tell my story, tell my truths
But only God can hear it all

He brought me here
And I am finding daily
That His strength is all I need
His grace gives me my love

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Riding Planes and Jumping Out of Them

I'm sitting in the Denver airport, waiting until my 7:00 flight - with seven more hours to go. Blurg! I'm coming back from San Jose, California, visiting Tiven. Before San Jose, I was in Tacoma with Lauren for a few days. I love traveling, except for the fact that it costs money. :)

While it does cost quite a bit of money - especially a trip to Ireland, Scotland, and England for two weeks - to me it's totally worth it. Since I'm going to grad school in the fall (from my keyboard to God's ears...), I know that it'll be a while before I can do stuff like this, flying all over the country and at least one part of the world. I love to travel, and I wanted to take the opportunities I received to do so.

I went skydiving in Hollister, CA, with Tiven on Friday. Holy crap. I was perfectly fine until we actually started moving towards the door; when we got there, I believe my brain shut down and all it could manage was thinking, "WHAT THE H-E-DOUBLEHOCKEYSTICKS WERE YOU THINKING?!?!?!" I completely shut my eyes for the backflip we did out of the plane - at least I think I did, because I can't remember seeing anything at that point. The whole time we were freefalling, I tried to focus on breathing like Coach always told us to when we were running our butts off - breathe in through the nose, out through the mouth. I was freaking out. When the parachute came out, I was so relieved. That part was actually pretty cool. It was a beautiful view, of course.

I paid to have it videotaped, and my expression when we jump out is pretty priceless; you can see the terror on my face, and even see me mouthing some not so nice words when we got to the door. :( Sorry, Mom. However, I'm pretty sure you're going to say the same thing when you see it. It's pretty funny, actually, to see how terrified I was.

I think a lot of people are confused in this airport; I keep seeing a lot of the same people walk by with somewhat confused looks on their faces. And there's a guy trying to get people to sign up for a credit card. People are interesting to watch.

Anyway, the entire trip was fun, but I'm glad to be coming home. I missed Ryan. :) Now to get off and waste another seven hours...

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Bowling Prequel

It's pretty sad that it's been almost a month since my last post. I'd hoped I would keep up with this better, and up until this semester I did. However...nineteen hours of school, a few hours of work a week, and a boyfriend I want to spend all my time with - add it all together, and you've got blogging at the end of a very long and time-consuming list.

Not that I'm complaining. Well, about school, yes. I am beyond ready for school to be over this semester. There is so much to do. Blurg.

I am currently watching the 100 Greatest Rock Songs of All Time on VH1. I LOVE watching the 100 whatever, no matter what it is. But I just keep thinking that it's incredible how influential music is. It's something everyone can discuss, whether you disagree with someone's musical tastes or are totally in sync with them. There are band names that everyone in the civilized world has heard, even if they don't necessarily know their music.

Going to concerts is awesome. Especially rock concerts. I went to a Flyleaf concert three years ago - incredible! I typically don't like to look like an idiot, but I had my hands in the air (mostly with rock hands), jumping like a loon, screaming the lyrics. Awesome. When Lavon and I went to see Paramore in Nashville, "Misery Business" had me dancing in public - if you know me at all, you know that's a big deal. Certain music apparently takes away my inhibitions. Haha. I definitely plan to see Evanescence and Yellowcard in concert; they are two of my favorite bands ever and would be amazing to see live.

I also enjoy the not-so-crazy concerts, like The Fray, KT Tunstall, and Sara Bareilles. I just enjoy good music. Ryan and I are going to see Adele in Nashville in like a week and a half, and I am stoked about that. Her voice is fantastic.

Hopefully I didn't repeat any adjectives, because I'm pretty sure I used a ton in the last two paragraphs. Lol.

Random thought: Wouldn't it be interesting to see our parents and other adults in our lives at concerts when they were our age?? Hm... I saw Lavon at Paramore, and she was pretty hyped. It was awesome. Haha.

Another random thought: You know everyone has a personal scent? I wonder what mine smells like. Once I was in Idaho visiting a friend when I walked into a room and got hit with the familiar scent of one of my good friends back home - far far away from Idaho. That was kind of strange but cool.

I'm going to quit forewarning for random thoughts and now spout without preamble.

I am totally having a library and a movie room in my house. Separate rooms for each, mind you. My dream library would be one modeled after the library in the Biltmore House in North Carolina. Go see it if you haven't. I love that entire house and its grounds. My family has been there at least three times. I think. I'm not sure.

I don't think I could write a whole album. Not an entire album of decent songs, anyway. Haha.

Seriously, Bret Michaels? This is getting sad. At least Tila Tequila decided to call it quits after the second season. Sorry, VH1 is ridiculously and tragically addictive.

We're going bowling tonight! Fun entails...

Apparently the way to find true love is to put suitors through ludicrous games that are degrading and without viable reason. Therefore...Ryan, prepare to go through an obstacle course which will possibly include jumping into a pool with some liquid not meant to be used for swimming, dressing up like a complete tool and explaining your dress incompetently, engaging in a game that has only slightly veiled sexual innuendos, and proving that nothing says love like showing me how absolutely ridiculous you can be. Of course, that last one is totally acceptable. :) I guess they're trying to take being a "fool" for love to an entirely new and never intended level.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Whatup, Brand New Semester!

I know it's been forever since I posted anything, but there's been a LOT going on! You gotta give me a break. Work has been almost erased from my life, a new semester has started, I now have a boyfriend...a LOT. :D This semester will be one of the hardest from an academic standpoint, but at this moment in time I'm also sure it's going to be at least one of the best if not THE best semester ever. As my last at good old Union, it needs to be. School will not be neglected (entirely), but I will not sacrifice spending time with the people who mean the most to me. These next few months will be the last real chance I have to spend time with these people for a while, and I mean to get the most out of it. There are many people I will miss when I leave here. There are also a few I will not - to be perfectly honest. Which is what I strive to do on here and in general. I hate lying. It never does anyone any good.

Adele won a Grammy for Best New Artist, which she so deserves. Lately her song "Right as Rain" has kind of been my anthem, mainly these words: "Who wants to be right as rain / It's better when something is wrong...Who wants to be right as rain / It's harder when you're on top." Those words are so true right now, when so much is going so well (cough*ryan*cough), but someone else is really worrying me. It's one of those situations where I want to help, to do anything to make it clear, but I'm not sure what the first move is. We all seem to have this mechanism that switches on when things seem to be going really great; this mechanism triggers that voice in our heads that says, "Something bad is about to happen, because all this wonderful can't last forever." Although it is true - everything can't always be fantastic - we should learn to sit back and enjoy the times that are. More than that, to enjoy the things that are wonderful, despite the things that are bad. Right now, I am enjoying the things - the people - that are wonderful, while not neglecting those that aren't. Ignoring it won't help either, although a lot of people like to adopt that strategy.

Anyway, school is going to be difficult, seeing as I'm taking nineteen hours - blurg! Nevertheless, I will survive. Lol. Only 102 more days, according to my graduation countdown. Sweet! :)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Trip Recap!

Right now I'm in one of those strange moments in time when time seems to slow down. I'm sitting here, basically ready for work, and it feels like it should have been time to go about thirty minutes ago. Therefore, to pass the time I decided to blog a bit about our trip!

We flew into Dublin (all at different times but within two hours of each other) on January 3. On the 4th we went on a day trip to Belfast in Northern Ireland. What an interesting city! Ninety-seven percent of the city is divided into Protestant and Catholic. Religious segregation in action, daily. There's even a wall that runs three miles between them. January 5 we left on our 3-day tour of southern Ireland. We hit a ton of stuff, like Galway, Killarney, the Blarney Castle, Cliffs of Moher...and so on. Our tour guide, Joe, was awesome. When we first boarded the bus, he said, "Is there anyone easily offended on this bus? If there's the door." I loved all the stories and his humor. We got back from that on the seventh and had a free day in Dublin on the eighth. We took the opportunity to visit the Guinness Storehouse, the Long Room at Trinity College, and went on a pub crawl that night. On the pub crawl (which was a musical one), they asked three of us (the crowd) to get up and entertain them. I went second and sang "I Wish I Was a Punk Rocker (With Flowers in My Hair)." It was a blast.

The next day we flew out of Dublin into Edinburgh, Scotland. Even at night we could tell that Edinburgh was an awesome city. Unfortunately, early the next morning we left on our three-day tour and never got to spend a full day in Edinburgh. Our tour took us into the Highlands of Scotland and the Isle of Skye. The Highlands were just gorgeous, and we all fell in love with the country. Glen Shiel was by far my favorite area to drive through. For the two nights we stayed in the Stationmaster's House in Stromeferry, basically out in the middle of nowhere. Two men live in the house and take care of, and one of them (Gordon) worked with Mel Gibson on Braveheart! He was hardcore, and we loved him. He now does a lot of scouting for movies all around Scotland. On the last day of our tour we visited Loch Ness - which I swam in. :D Yes, it was ridiculously cold, and, no, I couldn't feel anything when I got out. Haha. I know it was a crazy thing to do, but it was so worth just to say I did it. It was an experience, too, stripping on the beach when I got out. Lol. I had to get my wet clothes off and change, and I wasn't going to get very far. Meagan, Anna, and Tiven brought me all my stuff and covered me as best they could.

The day after we got back from our tour, we hopped on the train to London. I just realized that I stopped putting dates, but I think it'll be okay. ;) We checked into our hotel that evening, and quickly wished we were back in hostels. The room smelled bad, and Tiven's bed pretty much collapsed when she sat on it. After we got back from eating and walking around London, we ended up changing rooms - and arrived in a room whose heater was broken. The next day they fixed it, but it was dead again before the next night. Our first full day in London we went on a free walking tour (you could tip the guide) and went to see Sunset Boulevard, a musical production. It was a good show; we went in not knowing what it was about, but it turned out to be a good choice. We really wanted to see Dirty Dancing, but we didn't find discounted tickets until after we'd already bought tickets for the first one. We went to Dirty Dancing the next night, after we got back from our day tour to Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, and Oxford.

While we were in London, Tiven's flight got cancelled; she had to change her flight to the next day - MY flight! My original itinerary changed back in August, and I was already leaving a day later than the others. I was glad that Tiven ended up being on my flight and therefore being able to spend another day in Dublin with me. We flew from Luton Airport in England back to Dublin. Anna and Meagan flew out the next day, and Tiven and I had a free day in Dublin. We finished our souvenir shopping, watched Bride Wars in a theatre, and ate sushi for dinner. Ironically enough, that day was the only day of non-sunny weather we'd had the whole of our time in Ireland. Haha.

There are so many stories to tell, but I won't put them here. We all kept travel journals, which is great for remembering everything that happened - and there was a LOT. I also took about 860 pictures and video. I'm going to put SOME of them on Facebook soon; I had some serious issues last week just trying to get the data off my camera onto my external hard drive. Blurg. I do have it figured out now, though, so it's happy days. :)