Thursday, December 2, 2010

Love Letters

"Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry." Ephesians 4:26 and "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." Romans 12:18.

You may or may not read this, but I hope you do. I've been praying on ways to make this better, and the one thing I've learned over the course of my life is that God doesn't make mistakes. We are part of each other’s lives because God found us worthy of each other. There’s not a doubt in my mind that He knew we would push each other’s buttons. Say hurtful things. And come out better, stronger, more faithful people because of it.

I have hurt you. I have hurt you in the worse way possible, and you didn’t deserve it. You should know that it wasn’t my intention to lose, hurt, or dishonor you any way. I had every intention of finding a way to incorporate you into the decision I was making. But when we stopped speaking, telling you was no longer an option, and I lost you entirely. My first reaction being anger, at some point it was frustration, and at another point I was just hopeless and alone. But I must say, I have learned so much in the past few months that I would not have, if you were still the crutch I leaned on.

At this point I should get right down to it.

I’m sorry.

I’m so sorry that I hurt you. I can’t tell you how truly sorry I am that this is the way things played out. That no matter how hard I prayed to make this decision in a way that no one would get hurt, you still did. You became a casualty in a battle you were supposed to sit out, and that’s my fault. You are absolutely right and I was wrong. I do want to say, that if I could, I would do things differently. I believe that I still would have made this decision; I can’t say that that was a mistake. I can’t apologize for something that I don’t believe is wrong, but is actually very very right. I just didn’t do it the right way.

You were right about something else too. I haven’t been acting very mature about this at all. I know I let my emotions get the best of me, and I’m starting to see that I’ve been lead by emotion and I don’t want to be. I want to be mature and responsible, and capable of handling the curve balls God throws sometimes. I know that you do too. I know that above all, you love God and want to be right by Him. So at this point, what do we do?

Well I came across these verses and as I was praying, and I just felt like letting you know. I considered sending an email, but how could I make this more honest, than to put it out there for everyone to see. This is me saying I was wrong, and I’m sorry and now everyone knows. The verses at the top are important, maybe not for you, but for me.

The first one saying that I won’t go to bed angry. This is crucial. No matter what happens in the future, I’m going to do everything I can to not be mad about it. Not at you, God, or myself. While I’m not sure (and may never be) of how this will fit into God’s plan for us, I’m sure He doesn’t want us living in anger. Things happen in life for His glory, and that’s how I’m going to try and get through this. I think it’s how God wants us to get through this.

The second is for peace. This is the tougher of the 2, I’d say. It means that when we get at each others necks and fight and don’t speak for months, or if God’s plan is that we never speak again, I’m going to be at peace with His will for us. My life is His to rule, not my own. I’ve learned that God is more concerned with what is best for us, and His glory and plan than if we’re happy with it. I don’t know where God will lead us, or what will become of our relationship, and us but I have to be at peace with the fact that it isn’t for me to decide.

I love you. More than you know and certainly more than I show and let on. I pray for you and us and that God will keep us together. In His time.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


So, I don't know who else to talk to. Luckily for me, there's always you. And also luckily, typing doesn't require me to choke out words.

I have been SO excited about next year. I've been so thankful and still am. I consider myself very blessed, because like I said, I know that I don't deserve any of it and I know I couldn't have pulled it off on my own. There has just been one snag in my plan. My mom.

I've had my car this past week so I needed to take it home. I also intended on telling her the good news. As I started to drive into Farmington, I began thinking of how I would tell her. How to approach the entire situation. My reaction? I started to cry almost immediately. Before I ever even got to my street, I was terrified so I prayed that God would just make it ok.

Horrible is understatement for the way I left my house tonight. I finally stopped crying long enough to tell her I had something to tell her, and although apathy was what I was expecting, it was still more than I could handle. I tried my best to stay calm, but that's never the go to response for either of us. When she'd raise her voice I made a conscious effort to lower mine, but it didn't make a difference. Her point has been made loud and clear, and not even me leaving the country will budge her decision.

Even though I know that my mom is good with her words, that she's good at using them against me, and I knew she would use them whenever I'd try to bring it up, it still hurts. It takes me right back to this summer and I just feel miserable. I'm trying to forget what she said, but now it's a ringing in my ears. I try not to believe her, but there's no one that could put on a better show. At least I hope it's a show. I hope that something I said got through. I hope that through my tears she heard me.

I think that this is also just what I needed. To bring me back to the reality of my life. To remind me how much I need God. I feel crazy. I feel like I not only had a cup of the punch but a pitcher or two of it. I just want to be angry. I just want to hate her. I want to yell and scream and hate God for doing this to me.

But I can't. I'd rather believe that it all has a higher purpose. I'd rather believe that I am the sum of my experiences and that this is making me a better person. I'd rather believe that it's not meaningless and that God's plan involves being broken. I'd rather believe that He loves me so much, that He's going to test me. I'd rather believe in God than nothing at all.

"Cast all your anxiety on him because He cares for you." 1 Peter 5:7

"God is our refuge and strength an ever-present help in trouble." Psalms 46:1

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power." Ephesians 6:10

"My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word." Psalms 119:28

"He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak." Isaiah 40:29

"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline." 2 Timothy 1:7

"But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Corinthians 15:57

"So we say with confidence, 'The lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mad do to me?'" Hebrews 13:6

"The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you." Romans 16:20

"The Lord is my light and my salvation-whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life-of whom shall I be afraid?" Psalms 27:1

"Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me." Psalms 27:10

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33

"No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it." 1 Corinthians 10:13

But mostly, this makes all the difference. I couldn't think of anything better to leave you with.

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all when he asks, he must believe and not doubt..." James 1:2-6

Maybe it's the kool-aid, but I believe every word I just read. And it makes me feel better. And at the end of today, when I pray, I'll thank God for my trials. I'll thank Him for the people He's put in my life to be here for me. I'll thank Him for this beautiful plan that I rarely understand. And I'll thank Him, so much, for saving me and considering me worthy.

I. Love. You.

And thank you for listening. You'll never fully know how grateful I am to have you.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

La Dolce Vita

Well hello. To what do I owe this unexpected visit? Good news. Of course.

So I guess I'll start where it all started...

Remember waaaaay back when I wanted to go to Math and Science School? "What?!" You may be asking yourself. Yes. Back to my 10th grade year in high school. Well initially, I wanted to go because it was a good opportunity. I wanted the relationship between me and my mom to get better. I wanted to be "grown up." After I got accepted, all I wanted to do was run. Run away from my mom. Run from an ex-boyfriend. Run from a small town. And I did, and it was great (besides school). As it turns out, I wasn't quite ready to be making "grown up" decisions, and I had to withdraw.

I haven't even tried to run since. Until this summer.

I know I said this at some point in some blog last semester, but just in case you forgot...I had a breakdown last semester. I was working in lab one day and it was nice when I went in, and when I walked out it was pouring. There was also a dead bird outside and all in that instant I felt hopeless about everything: school, life, the weather, Fayetteville, this country...I felt like it was smothering me. I know this is all very dramatic, but when I saw the bird, I lost it. I burst into tears-grabbed some gloves and a box- and took the bird. To bury it of course. Soon after that day, I found out I had gotten into LSU and I applied to South Carolina. It was mostly that I wanted to go somewhere, but there was also that feeling of needing to get away: from first semester, from boys, from my life here, I'm not sure. It doesn't matter, I still felt desperate to leave.

While I was in Baton Rouge, I got a taste of freedom. Real freedom. I'm not sure how to describe it, but I loved it. It wasn't like the first time, the ASMSA time, this was different. Maybe because I prayed for so long before. Maybe because it was all part of His master plan. Maybe because I wanted it to be part of THE plan. I don't know. I may never know, but it was perfect.

The next part of the story, you're mostly familiar with. After everything that happened with my family, I ran again. Anywhere and everywhere I could. As fast as I could. I didn't want to be me. My life had collapsed on itself. And I remember all too well thinking I'd never be the same. I'd never really laugh, or wear headbands, or fully enjoy anything ever again. Which is also very dramatic, but are you really that surprised?

So where is my life now? Well I love it. School is going well. I'm more optimistic than ever. My snob side comes out every now and then, but it's something I'll always have to work on. I have amazing friends. I love my church. My mom isn't speaking to me, but it's something else that I'll always have to work on. My life isn't perfect, but I'm ok with that. And more than everything else, I am constantly reassured of the plan God has for my life.

So before I get into all the news I have, let me give you some verses and another quick story:

"Be very careful, then, how you live-not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." Ephesians 5:15-20

High points: Make the most of every opportunity. Understand what the Lord's will is. Be filled with the Spirit. Always give thanks to God for everything.

"'For I know the plans that I have for you,' says the Lord, 'plans of peace and not of evil, plans to give you hope and a future.'" Jeremiah 29:11

High points: Peace. Hope. Future.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths." Proverbs 3:5-6

High points: First, it's the verse on the bracelet I wear every day. Second, well, I don't think I could say it better myself.

The last story for today? Well I've been meaning to blog about this since the beginning of the semester when it happened. Because of a lack of time and motivation, I'm just telling you now. So Megs and I collect MCR. Don't know what that is? It's better that you don't. At the beginning of the semester, I walked by like 6. And there they were everyday. Not being used, all I had to do was bend over and pick them up but instead I walked past them everyday. I kept telling myself I'd pick them up Tuesday morning because that's when the recycling usually gets taken out. But Monday night they were gone. The recycling got taken early for whatever reason and I had lost my chance. Lost that opportunity.

I started thinking about how many opportunities I pass up everyday. Not just with God, but in my life in general. Not only do I want to be more like Jesus everyday, I want to be living my life to the fullest. I want to take opportunities that are given to me, because sometimes the recycling gets taken out early and then that chance is gone.

So now for the good news: I've been accepted to study abroad in the spring! I actually found out a few weeks ago, I just didn't know all the details of how I would fund it and how everything else would work out. But now all my papers are in. I'm not registered for any classes here next semester. I'll be moving to Newcastle, Australia sometime in February :))

There's more...every fall and every spring, the college of engineering holds engineering expo. Since my freshman year, I have spoken to the L'Oreal Operations company in hopes that they would one day get back to me. This year, I didn't speak to them really expecting anything but free make-up. And then I got an interview. And then it had been a few weeks, and I found out last week that I'm being offered an intern position for next summer :))

After this, there's no more...I also interviewed a few weeks ago with Eastman Chemical Company. I thought it had gone well, but I hadn't heard back from the man I interviewed with. And then I got the call. They are offering me an opportunity I don't want to miss out on. For next fall. :))

So what does all this mean? Well it looks like I won't be in Fayetteville at all next year. As of right now, all of it is going to work out. One right after another, I'll move to Newcastle, the Little Rock, then Longview. Madness, shear madness! And for the first time, I'm not running from anything at all. I love my life here and I'm just so thankful for the opportunities ahead. I felt blessed by my experience in Baton Rouge and this summer everyday, and there's not a doubt in my mind that God is behind all of this. I know for a fact I'm not capable of this. I know for a fact that He had a plan all along, and in the midst of facing one miserable pixel piece of my life at a time, He saw a much bigger picture. One that included peace and hope for my future.

I'm scared, of course. Not of leaving, but of the first thing that goes wrong. I'm scared I'll know it was all too good to be true. So like other things, I'll pray for strength to praise God for the good and the bad. To be blessed by all my experiences and to remember to be thankful for everything God does. Sure, it's easy to say now. Very easy. The words, like my life right now, are sweet and flow so nice. The real test will come when it's all gone and I try to say, whole heartedly, "the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, the name of the Lord be praised." Job 1:21

The other crazy thing about all this? I wonder where I'd be, what I'd be doing, or what I'd be telling myself if 1: my life hadn't gone topsy turvy last year. 2: God didn't love me (and everyone) as much as He does. 3: my mom and I were still speaking. It's just a thought. There are no coincidences in life. Just a perfect plan with specific intentions by a masterful creator.

I hope you see the wreck my life was, and everything God has done for me because of nothing I did at all. He loves me and He loves you. And trust me, I don't deserve it. Not one bit.

Goodnight. I love you. And of course, God loves you

Thursday, October 14, 2010

World Food Day

Hey! I don't have a whole lot to say, mostly because I don't have a whole lot of time. I hope you've been well!

I just wanted to take a second in between things and tell you about World Food Day, which is actually this Saturday on October 16, 2010. First of all, Megs invited me to this presentation for it today and a couple of people spoke and they had a traditional Langar lunch and it was pretty neat but more importantly, very informational.

Second of all, I thought I'd lay down some facts. Some of these were given in the presentation but then I had to look them up because I couldn't remember them exactly:

~In NWA alone there are about 100,000 hungry people.
~1.3 billion people live on less than 1 USD a day.
~There are about 1 billion people who are hungry in the world right now.
~160 million children under the age of 5 are malnourished.
~1 in every 8 children under 12 in the US will go to bed hungry tonight.
~Every 3.6 seconds someone else will die of hunger.
~4 million people will die of hunger this year.
Yikes, right? $1?! How many movies do you go to in a year? Say 1 every month. That's $48 if you went to a $4 movie, but it's $96 if you went to a regular movie. But this isn't a pitch for you to give anyone money. Why? Because I know it's something that everyone struggles with. It's just a thought.
What I really want to tell you comes from the book I read this summer, Red Letters. I know I talk about it a lot, but I guess that's how you know it's good! At the end was this 5 for 50 plan that the author suggested the reader attempt. There are 5 steps and you add on as you go. At some point I will have given them all to you, but for today, there's just one that's important.
So the book is about HIV/Aids in Africa and the plan is 5 steps to help the 50 million people in the world suffering from the disease. So what does that have to do with the hungry? Well what you may not know is that when parents have Aids and can no longer provide for their families (specifically in African countries), the children are the ones who attempt to. Unfortunately, their skills are limited at 10, 11, and 12 years old so many times people with food take advantage of these children and their situations and the kids don't see another way out. They're responsible for their families at such a young age and their dedication should be admired, but instead it's used. For what? One or maybe two meals, but by then they've already been infected with the disease and soon they won't be able to care for anyone, including themselves.
Hunger is what drives this process. Step 2 of the 5 for 50 plan is to fast for 5 hours just once a week. It can be while you're in class or at work, or maybe you could just try it once. Not anything. No food or drinks (besides water). I remember the first time I tried it, and it had only been about 3 hours since I had had breakfast and I was already hungry! It took me a while to really realize the purpose of it. That small grumble in my stomach from not eating in 3 hours is a large pain to those who haven't eaten in 3 days. From that point, I started saying a quick prayer for those who are hungry all around the world and I thank God for how blessed I am.
So how about this: it doesn't matter if you don't finish you're meal at dinner, the truth is, you can't send it to starving children in Africa. It doesn't matter if you can't send money. What do you have to offer? A prayer. Or even a thought for those less fortunate. Don't even fast if you don't want to. Being hungry at some point in your life is bound to happen, and I hope you remember this, and I hope you remember all of them.
I'm sorry to be such a debbie downer. On another note, if you would like to donate to NWA directly, there's the, and there's not a doubt in my mind they won't appreciate whatever you have to offer.
I love you! Have a wonderful Thursday and super great weekend :))

Sunday, October 3, 2010


Well hello there, fancy seeing you here! Or wait, is it more interesting that you're seeing me here? Unfortunately that's the truth. I haven't blogged in a considerably long time. Why? I'm not exactly sure if I can pinpoint it on just one thing. My theory? Well I'll tell you a little bit about what I think is going on, after I tell you what's been going on recently in my life!

So I'm not sure if I've told you or not yet, but I am going to the most amazing church (for me :). You know how I've gone to a conservative church my whole life? I never thought I'd be comfortable in any other setting. I went to lots of non-conservative churches this summer, that further confirmed that fact that I could not worship in a non-conservative setting. Well that was just a big fat lie I told myself. When school started, I tried out Church at Arkansas on Mission, and I loved it! Truth is, I had gone once before...Freshman year...but I went for the wrong reasons. Yes, a boy. But because of that, I never formed a real opinion about it. Now I went knowing what I was looking for in a church, it was perfect. And week after week, I feel reassured that I'm in the right place. It's nondenominational, and the music is contemporary, but not overwhelming. They also dim the lights during worship to emphasize the importance of it (I think), and I look forward to waking up early on Sunday mornings to go. Will I stay forever? I'm not sure yet. But for right now, I think God led me here and I'm looking forward to getting more involved with it in the next couple of weeks.

In addition to attending a new church, I got a little more involved in the organizations I've been a part of. I love making presentations and talking to groups of people about whatever I can, so it's perfect. I love going to meetings and being involved, and I'm thankful for the opportunity to. One event I'm temporarily involved with is Make a Difference Day. It's October 16th from about 9 to 1 and it's just a service project day. I'm a project leader for the Yvonne Richardson Center: Playground "Beautification" project. I'd love for you to sign up and join me! It's on the website, but it's not just restricted to university students, so this should be the biggest year yet! There are a lot of other projects going on, so if you're more interested in another project, sign up! I'll understand :))

Remember when I started my blog? I may not have fully explained how all this got to be, part was because I was inspired by a dear friend, but the bigger part is the impact lent had on my life at the time. You'd think giving up something would be easier if you slowly got rid of it, but for me, it was a lot easier giving up something cold turkey, knowing I was doing it for a higher purpose. Now? Well it's 40 Days For Life! Yes, I am pro-life so I'm happy to be part of a national movement of people trying to make a difference about it. You can find out more about it on the Facebook page 40 Days for Life. And if you have any questions about anything I'm doing or a part of, feel free to message me and I'll try and clear things up!

And as for school? Well it's going. My classes aren't too bad this semester, and I'm trying to stay on top of things, which has worked surprisingly well so far. Although I know I owe a big thanks to big man upstairs for helping me stay focused in between all these activities. Megs and I are going to be taking lots of trips in the next month or so. Lots of little celebrations along the way. A concert here and there. Ridiculous outfits, activities, and jumping pictures whenever we can. $4 dollar movies. I still go to the Farmer's Market on Saturday mornings. I attempt to stay positive....

Can you hear it? (my life is normal). I'm scared to say it out loud because as soon as I admit that things are perfect, something is going to fall through. Any second the balloon of my life that I've been blowing up again, is just going to pop and all I'm going to have are pieces of what used to be perfect. Yikes! But that's where I'll start. It's too normal. I'm too happy with life right now.

I keep in constant communication with God throughout my day: thanking Him for little victories, asking for motivation or patience whenever I need. On the other hand...through all the tests and activities and lack of caffeine in my life lately, I haven't been getting up early to just focus on us. I mean God and me. No reason in particular, other than I'm just so tired! It's not that I don't want to, but there isn't anything absolutely pressing in my life right now. We're still close, but I'm starting to feel more independent because I'm not constantly asking Him to just help me make it through another day. I mean, I know God is always there. He's still looking out for me, we're still communicating, but something is different! I think I'm in rut. My relationship with God is in rut, maybe.

It's like in relationships when 2 people have been together for so long they just get comfortable with each other. They stop going on dates or looking nice for each other. They stop trying to get to know each other because they think they know it all. They've lost the spark. And so have I. It's not that I don't love God. It's not that I don't want to do more for Him. It's certainly not that I don't need Him or want Him in my life. I'm just struggling in a completely different way.

I read a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt that says "So much attention is paid to the aggressive sins such as violence and cruelty and greed with all their tragic effects, that too little attention is paid to the passive sins, such as apathy and laziness, which in the long run can have a much more devastating effect." If you didn't know, she's one of my favorite people ever. She has all sorts of the most wonderful quotes, that just make so much sense! This quote is best for situations of giving back and volunteering, but I think this is where I am. I think I've worked so long on the "big" sins in my life or the "big" problems I had, that now my only problem is that without any problems, I'm lazy and apathetic. Not about life in general but about my relationship with God. Somewhere in this newfound happiness, I let all these other things become more important than being with God. And I have to reinvest in our relationship now, because when times do get hard again, I won't have any savings to fall back on.

Even now, even blogging. It doesn't feel right. As much as I love to, I haven't wanted to recently. I think of all sorts of things to talk about and then I just don't. I'd rather do something else. That isn't praying or spending time with God. Weird. And then I try and pass myself off daily as a righteous person.

This morning we sang a song, and it hurt because I knew it wasn't true for me. So instead of singing, I prayed them. And if you're anything like me, then maybe this will help you too. It's called Center so you can look up the real lyrics if you'd like, but here's my prayer for this week:

Oh Christ, be the center of my life
be the place I fix my eyes
be the center of my life
Lift my eyes to Heaven
and help me wrap my life around Your life
help me lift my eyes to Heaven, to You.

This very well may not be the underlying problem. No matter what though, it has to help. Prioritizing Him will only lead me in the right direction. So yes, I want to continue to talk to Him throughout the day, but I need to set our own, just the two of us time apart again. No matter how happy or satisfied I am with my life, it won't feel right if I'm not putting anything back into our relationship. Our relationship rut, was just a rut I've put myself in. I let other things become more important, and I asked God, probably very nicely, to sit in the backseat and let me drive a while. I'm not even a good driver, so I don't know why I thought that'd be a good idea! But seriously, in letting other things become more important and then being happy with how things were going, I thought I could leave Him back there, knowing that wasn't His place in my life. I guess that's the key. Just because you're happy, doesn't mean you're life is great or where God wants it to be.

So I'll continue this prayer. I hope I get to be less apathetic and lazy about this, because it means a lot to me and I just can't will it to it's normal state of importance on my own. On another note, I probably won't be blogging until I get out of it. It's like having writer's block. I force each word I type. But I guess that's when you'll know we've worked through it!

Ok, I love you. I never stopped. I always will. And no matter how apathetic you may be, God still loves you and He's ready when you are :))

Have a great week! Let me know if you need something!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Cheap Thrills

Good morning/afternoon/night!

That's much easier to put. You see it's morning right now, but I won't finish this until at least the afternoon. I might not even post it until tonight though! It's a complicated process but if it was easy it wouldn't be mine. Over-complication is my specialty!

So far today has been great! A little prayer meeting this morning. A little in the book of John. And a little Ben Rector to top it off. Who, by the way, will be at George's on October 28th! Please let me know if you're going so we can go together!

I hope you had a great Labor day weekend! Mine couldn't have been more perfect. My least, yet most favorite person in the world was here! I jam packed our weekend with the fair, the farmer's market, cheap thrills, hiking, Camp Rock 2, sour gummy worms, Naked, church, and then the lake! I am so thankful for her and my friends and my new friends and for fellowship and for Green Valley Bible Camp for bringing us together. I couldn't have asked for more! But so much more was given to me.

While our weekend was great, and yours probably was too, not everyone's was. In case you haven't heard the devastating news, a local girl died on her way home from the John Mayer concert in Tulsa on Friday night. I heard about it at church and while I forgot about it at the time, I was reminded again later when some of my younger church camp friends were updating FB statuses in remembrance of her. I don't know her, but I saw that many of them were writing on her wall, so I did a little investigating to find out more. She was a senior at Har-Ber High School and she was only 17 years old. She's beautiful and she is going to be greatly missed by not only her family, but her peers. As I read through her FB page, I was encouraged by her life and what she had on there. And this is where I'm at today.

So yes, I suppose I am a creep, but I'm curious, and can't control that very well. I have so much that I want to say about the situation and I feel as though so much is being said to me through what happened, and I feel like there are opportunities left and right and I just hope that I take them all. For now, there's just one point I want to make and I'll get to the rest in a matter of time. And that is? To put it simply: I Am Legend.

I was reading through a few of the posts to Micayla's wall and there's no doubt in my mind what an amazing, funny, charming, and inspirational girl she was. Although I don't know her, I started to feel very upset for the loss. I do understand loss, and I understand losing someone to an unfair situation. The feeling of being robbed of a blessing. It's all too real for me, and I hate for her friends and family and for my friends that knew her to feel anything like that.

But of course, in the midst of my frustration, I found this on her quotes:
"Peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. Peace means to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart. That is the real meaning of peace."

I'm not sure how many people that have been posting on her wall have read this, but I hope that at some point, they all do. I don't think it could have been said any better and there it was. At the very top. Peace. The one thing people probably need to hear more about right now. Dealing with the loss of someone you love isn't about how quickly you can get over it. It's not about how fast you can forget and get back to work. Really, I don't think it's something you can ever just get over. It may always hurt just a little, but that's the importance of peace. You don't have to like the outcome of a situation, you might never know every detail of what happened or why, but fully trusting God is the bigger picture. Trusting God should give us peace. Overwhelming peace, I'm sure. Because when we fully commit ourselves to Him, we have nothing left. That's the way it's supposed to be I think. We're supposed to be left with nothing because we aren't anything and God is everything. Right?

*Intermission* So I started this yesterday...being Tuesday. But it's now today, being Wednesday. I promise not to sleep until I finish my thoughts this time though!

So I continued to read through her page and I bought into her humor and could see joy in her face in the pictures I skimmed. She didn't seem like just any girl. She still isn't just any girl. She is legend. The posts on this girls wall are witness to the kind of life this girl led. People that don't know her, know of her faith. Her wall is covered with comments about what a great influence she was, and how even now she's inspiring people. One comment was about how she had wanted her school to join together for something, and to be more like a family and the commenter said Micayla was finally getting her wish. What an amazing girl! What an amazing Christian.

I've read even more comments about how she's brought people to their faith. This is serious stuff. Remember on my birthday when I talked about wanting to be so strong when I die? There's not a doubt in my mind that this girl is the embodiment of that. There's not a doubt in my mind of where she ended up. There's not a doubt in my mind that God was using her, and is still using her. That's the most wonderful thing I could ever ask for and she was only 17! I'm not going to lie, when I was 17, I thought I had bigger fish to fry. Verbally, God would have been at the top of my list of priorities, but in reality, He couldn't have been closer to the bottom. When I was 17 I was more focused on the "cheap thrills" of life than anything everlasting or where my soul ended up. It wasn't until recently that my priority list reversed it's order!

Life is fragile. That's obvious. We still have to take it by the horns though. Micayla Patterson knew exactly who she was and had an identity in Christ. I think it's safe to say that she lived by that everyday. She didn't skip out. She has a legend.

You and I? Well I guess we're in the process of fixing our legends. Toss the cheap thrills for some eternal adventures. Get out of the dark by starting up our lights. Start shouting from mountain tops. Become more malleable. Learn to be more dependent. And give it all up.

"Do not love the world or anything in the world...For everything in the world....comes not from the Father but form the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever." 1 John 2:15-17

"Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things...Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry...But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator." Colossians 3:2-10

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:19-21

"Each tree is recognized by its own fruit." Luke 6:44

"I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth..." Isaiah 42:16

"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in teh house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, theat they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:14-16

"Let the desert and its towns raise their voices...let them shout from the mountaintops." Isaiah 42:11

"...'Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand'..." Jeremiah 18:6

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and lean from me, for I am gentle and bumble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28

Overloaded? Sorry about that. I hope you understand what I'm saying. I hope that I start doing a better job a living the way I should be so that when that day comes, I leave behind a legend not of myself, but of the life I led for Him.

Good night! I love you dearly. I hope you join me on Saturday morning at the Farmer's Market! I'm getting a head band :)) Have a fantastic Thursday. And Friday. And weekend. And did I mention I love you?

Thursday, September 2, 2010


Oh hey! Happy Thursday! Night at least...

I hope you had a great day! I had walking this morning, that's always good. I saw an old friend, also good. I led my first chem e meeting, I hope I did well. Oh yeah, and I was a big fat jerk...maybe not as good as the rest of those.

That was a nice and subtle :))

First I'll start with some very important verses:

"Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." Matthew 5:48

"Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ." 1Corinthians 11:1

"And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus." Ephesians 2:6&7

So I guess I'll go back to a situation from what I think was last weekend. You see, I'm not even sure when it happened. Just that it happened and after it did, I blew it off. It wasn't a big deal to me, but it should have been.

The book I was telling you about the other day, Red Letters, is all about being like Jesus and leading lives of love. It was all about AIDS in Africa, but being like Jesus doesn't just pertain to extreme situations. I know you know that, and I consciously know that, but clearly I need a little more practice.

In 99% of cases, I love meeting new people. On this particular off day, I was less than enthused to have game night with girls I had never met before. It was a mixture of things, but I shouldn't use that as an excuse. While we were in the process of starting a new game, I rudely stated that this was wasn't the better way of playing for whatever reasons and one of the girls didn't hesitate to comment back. I left after that game in a worse mood, and then completely forgot about it.

Until today.

This morning I was in the HPER and a girl walks up and sits directly across from me. I recognized her, so I smiled but she looked away before she saw. And then I realized that she had been the girl that had disagreed about the games. The whole time she was in front me, she stayed on her phone and wouldn't look up. She left soon after that.

First of all, it was a game. Not a big deal. At all! There was no reason for me to be rude. I was there to hang out with my friends and their friends and there's not a doubt in my mind, that I left a terrible impression of myself. I wouldn't have wanted to see me today either. Second, I'm a huge hypocrite! I sat here and blogged on Tuesday about how awesome I had been doing...NOT. I talk about wanting to live and love people, but that's not a "whenever I feel like it" kinda thing. Living by example isn't something I can choose not to participate in sometimes. Even if it is for only an hour or two.

That girl has no idea that I was at Service Saturday that morning, let alone that I wake up and read my Bible and pray everyday. How would she? I might as well not wake up early if I'm not going to commit to being a different person, a more Jesus person, ALL the time. Not just when I feel like it.

In my book there's a part that talks about how we should put things that are on God's heart at the top of our priority lists. To love people more than we love ourselves because God loves us more than enough. That if we take care of His priorities, He takes care of ours. But there are a thousand more verses like the one from Ephesians of why I should do this. Not because I want God to take care of the things that I can't (although I do), but because it's the least I could do. Being Jesus to people, loving them unconditionally, no matter who they are, IS being like Christ. I want to move to Africa and love people there, but I can't even love people here. God has done so much for me lately and I blew it!

Jesus never got a break from being Jesus. There is not a time I can think of that He wasn't the most amazing, most kind or most loving man in history. That's who He was supposed to be. God does so much for us, and Jesus died, the least we could do is be a little more nice. I say we. I don't mean to drag you into the same low category I'm currently in, but let's me honest, we're not always nice. We slip up, we forget, and hopefully we regret it. I had the chance to make up for it today, but when she wouldn't look at me, I felt ashamed of my behavior. I can promise you, if I ever see her again, I'm going to apologize for that night, no matter how many months has passed by.

All I'm saying is that we could all be a little more conscious of how we act. We don't have to be perfect all the time, but I do think we should strive to be and apologize when we're not.

On a brighter note, this is the 2nd blog in a week! I'm sorry I didn't blog in a whole month and am now overloading you.

On another bright note, I ran into a friend today who I hadn't seen in a long time. He got to tell me about his time China (which was actually a long time ago now) and I tried to catch him up on new things in my life. When we left I was thankful for friendship and fellowship :))

While I'm on the topic of fellowship: I really enjoy going to the farmer's market. It's in my top 5 favorite things to do. I usually walk around a few times. Get what I'm there for. And then I sit in the shade and read. I've been thinking, and if you'd like to join me, that'd be lovely. I promise not to bite your head off. I like to be there pretty early and I usually sit on the wall in front of the Town Center. Pretty soon it'll be over, and it'll be too cold to sit outside so I want to take advantage of this now. Please come join me :)) And maybe Facebook me to make sure I'll be there!

I love you. I'm sorry if I've ever been mean to you. I'm a work in progress. Thanks for keeping up with me :))

Here's a quote my wonderful roommate left me with, and I thought it was absolutely relevant. It's now Friday, so have a great weekend!

"Preach the Gospel at all times; when necessary, use words." Saint Francis of Assisi

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Man, I feel like Woman...

Good morning! I have so much to tell you! But first, you must admit, you've missed my attempt at relevant yet witty titles, huh?

So for starters, I'm so glad you're reading this! I haven't been the most consistent at keeping up with my blog recently, so I appreciate you reading when I do :)) Secondly, I'm sorry for not keeping up with my blog. I have a list of excuses, but honestly they don't matter. Thirdly, thank you for all your love, support and the prayers you may have been sending my way over the past few weeks. I know for a fact I couldn't have made it through the rest of summer without the help of God!

I think what I'll do is slowly tell you everything that's happened since we last spoke. I may never get to it! But I'll tell you what's on my heart every day and that should pretty well sum life up.

What's on the agenda for today? Well it's a modge podge of things really....

School has begun! We're a week and a day deep so far (for me at least) and it couldn't have sneaked up on me any faster! I still feel the anxious tinges every now and then from the prospect of a summer adventure...even though that summer adventure has come and gone. In the past few weeks I've had rush and more rush and moving and school starting and after all that I was tired. Again, it's no excuse, I had enough motivation to keep reading and praying daily, but after that, there was no motivation left to tell you about it. With little ambition to return to my writing, I prayed for a small ounce of a driving force to, at the very least, plan on blogging.

And then God happened.

We usually sit in alphabetical order for chapter on Monday nights, but last night being our first, the lines were messed up and people were everywhere so Compean came after Atchinson. After chapter she told me about their weekly prayer meeting at the house. I said I would definitely come today (Tuesday) and was super excited! And then she said it was at 6:30 in the morning. Excuse me? 6:30?! IN THE MORNING. You realize that means I have to get up before 6:30? Nevertheless, I said I would be there. I set another alarm before falling asleep and told myself that no matter what, I had to go. So when my alarm went off this morning and I realized it was still dark outside, I dragged myself up and tried to remember why I wanted this. And as I walked under street lamps that were still on, I reminded myself that this wasn't even about me. And all sudden there was a little bit of pink in the sky and the line "We cry Holy, Holy, Holy" came to my mind. I was still tired when I got there, but more so excited to see where this would go.

Girls continued to pile in after I did, and before I knew it, there was a full room. Of not only active members but older girls that had graduated too. As we bowed our heads to pray together I just listened for a while as these incredible girls spoke up around me. Pouring their hearts out to not only God, but to the others in the room. I felt so blessed to have such an amazing group of not girls, but young women around me. Women who have a passion and thirst and hunger for God. Who love and adore and thank and praise Him and want to live their lives for His glory. I almost cried.

I don't know how or why God puts certain people in our lives at certain times, but I know there are higher motives behind every tiny thing that happens in my life. This morning before we started, one of the young women in the group thought of this verse in relation to the situation and read it aloud:

"All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved." Acts 2:44-47

I've talked a lot over the past few months about being in good soil. Iron sharpening iron. Having a tribe. And while I knew my sorority was soil, and that there were lots of different kinds of soils in this mix, I didn't really know where to be and would have rather removed myself all together. These women, who by the grace of God I can call my sisters, are good soil. They are encouraging and supportive and loving and mindful and I would be crazy not to want my flowers growing like theirs. Although they may not know, they've encouraged me today. Yes, to blog, and to share the amazing things God does for me, but reach out a little more.

The book I finished reading a few weeks ago is called "Red Letters." I bought it as a self help book with it's modern paper back cover and chic lettering, only to find this it wasn't about helping me at was about helping others. Being the arms, legs, and hands of Jesus because the most important part of being a CHRISTian is Christ. It's living a life like He did; doing everything for God and everything in love.

So I've had these thoughts of reaching out on my mind a lot lately, and because of this book, I've completely changed my morning routine and tried to focus on what I would call the "extremes," which I can explain some other time. Anyways, yes, I have all this motivation to blog now, but I also want to focus on what I can do now. Who I can reach out to here. The people who are in my immediate contact list, rather than those I can't help right this second. Don't get me wrong, I still plan on praying for them, everyday, but all of a sudden it's important for me to reach out to people here and now. The girls in the new pledge class, the freshman in chemical engineering, and people I meet in my dorm.

So am I woman? Haha, well I don't think I'm quite there yet. It's a process I'd say. One that I have a pretty good hold of with the encouragment of those much stronger than me. That moment this morning was so incredible, and I will be there next Tuesday at 6:30 in the morning when the sun isn't up just yet.

In other news, today was the best Tuesday of the year so far. I'm not even sure if the Glee premiere in 3 weeks will top this.'s a little shorter than usual.

I don't have any fancy languages to speak.
I'm not about to leave.
I'm not overwhelmingly sad about anything at this exact time.
I am thankful for so much.
And I do, as I always have, love you :)) Good night!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Remembering the Alamo

Hello! It's been a while, again... and I'm sorry, again. I had to sort through a little more.

My struggles have shifted, yet again. Which I can explain, but first I have a thank you. Well lots of thank you's actually. This has been a really hard time for me and it's the most encouraging thing to know that I have the love and prayers of so many people. There are not enough words I could use to express how much the accumulation of thoughts has impacted my latest transition. Your encouraging words have...well been encouraging :)) One particular post hit me pretty hard though. I was asked if I believed the words that I said. When I thought about it, I didn't really think so.

I guess it goes back to trusting God no matter what. Obviously, it's a lot harder for me to trust pain and heartache, even though these things weren't from God. I didn't want to be a hypocrite and tell you all about the rest of my adventures and God when I wasn't really trusting Him. Does that make sense?

I also realized that life hurts when you want it to hurt. I mean, I don't want to hurt, but I wasn't letting God really take the pain away. I wasn't really believing what I said. But I guess life is easier said than done, right? Like a rope. If I hold onto it and it gets yanked away...I only get burned when I'm holding on too tight. As long as my palms are open, it's like the rope was never there.

So last weekend I went to Oklahoma City for this softball tournament. I've never been, so it was a great trip! Besides being with some of my favorite people for the whole weekend. It was my last trip of the summer as well. It hadn't been my plan for long, it was a last minute write in, but after a few days at home alone again, I was ready to get away again. Go figure.

And then it kinda hit me. I might not have been as sad or overwhelmed as I was right after I got back, but that didn't mean I was dealing with it either. I was still running. I've always run. It's always been easier and I thought I was dealing with life, but I wasn't. I was only pretending it was what it wasn't. Still with me?

Nevertheless, I had a great time with great friends. Where did God come in? Because you know as well as I do, He always steps in. This time? It was at the OKC National Memorial. It didn't hit me at first, but He kept spinning the wheels in my mind.

On April 19, 1995 the Murrah Federal Building was bombed at 9:02 in the morning. Half of the building was blown to pieces in the middle of downtown. It killed 168 people, 19 of which were children in the daycare. I was so upset walking through the memorial to know that someone so awful could exist. I read a comic strip in the memorial about how they "were defending freedom by bombing children and social security workers," and I was just furious that there could be someone so ignorant of what's going on or not really plan through something so destructive. It got better though, as I continued walking I read about how America came together and how firemen from all over America came to OKC that day to do what they could. How people were running to the streets with blankets that day and volunteers were trying to calm chaos. How so many people raised so much money for the memorial. How teacher's would explain what happened to children to lessen the fear. It was a group effort. The fear and pain didn't go away as soon as April 20, 1995 came around, of course not. It was a process.

Imagine if after the disaster they had left the building just as it was, half blown away with people still trapped inside. Imagine walking past that everyday. Imagine waking up and reliving that morning everyday. The streets flooded with bloody scenes and smoke. Do you think if it had happened that way, the people of OKC would have been coping? Could you just walk through the masses of people, smoke, or even the building everyday and pretend it wasn't going on or that it hadn't happened when there are people screaming all around you? Of course not. That's silly right?

That's where I was. In life at least. After my dad died, we moved to Farmington, AR where I could pretend that life in Texas with my dad had never happened. Crazy, right? But easier than dealing with the truth. Everyday I woke up being half of my mom and half of my dad and yet it was so easy for me to pretend that it didn't work that way. Like he never really existed. Like he had only ever been someone I had heard of, instead of someone I spent most of my life with.

I realized that with disasters, comes pain, but there also comes healing. Katrina, 9/11, OKC Bombing, Pearl Harbor, the Alamo. They were all disasters, but we're still a nation. So why is the Alamo the title? Because Texas lost the battle of the Alamo, but they won the war. I may go through a lot more pain, but I'll go through a lot more healing too. I may not win every battle, but I will win this war.

So how does our nation heal after a disaster strikes? We build a memorial. We educate others. We don't pretend it never happened. So how should I cope with not only 10 years of repressed feelings about my dad but everything that's been going on lately? I remember it everyday. I tell others about how God saved me yet again. And I stop pretending that life didn't happen.

From now on, I can think about the past, and cry about it if I have to. I'll thank God everyday for my life and live it for real. (Life is for living--Charlie St. Cloud :). I'll be grateful that I was blessed with my very own American Red Cross of support. And I'm getting back to this bigger purpose for a higher power.

This is what's enscribed on the entrance to the OKC memorial:

"We come here to remember those who were killed, those who survived and those changed forever. May all who leave here know the impact of violence. May this memorial offer comfort, strength, peace, hope, and serenity."

Perfect right? To remember the past, to know the impact of sin and satan, and to leave with comfort, strenght, peace, hope and serenity. All of which happen when I give it all back to God.

Today I went to the Farmer's Market, and then helped at a cook out for missionaries. I'm feeling so much better about everything. The more I experience, the less I realize I know. And the less I realize I know, the more I have to depend on God. I'm ok with that again.

My sarcasm is slowing coming back, along with my joy. Is my life any less bad than it was last week? No. But I think I'm handling life better than I have in a long time. And even thought it's not all better today, and it won't be tomorrow, next week or even next month, it will be eventually. Because at the end of the day, I still have God. Or I guess He still has me.

Thank you so much for keeping up with me. Thank you for your constant encouragment. Thank you for your prayers. Thank you for your friendship. Thank you for you love.

I love you! Very much so.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Wreckage

Miss me? I've missed you. I promise I did, although I left you high and dry without a warning. I'll explain just about everything. This isn't the easiest thing for me to tell you, nevertheless, I feel as though you have every right to know. And if nothing else, I want to make sure I remember this for later...And as a warning, this is going to be a long one.

The last you heard from me was about this grand adventure I was going on. And I did. I went into this adventure like road trip thinking of it as a vacation on my own. I could travel wherever, visit whomever, and stay for however long I wanted. And I did. I thought it would be like anything else I plan last minute. I trusted that God would lead me and I prayed for safety when I headed off again. And He came through. On everything He ever promised me. Everything from the very beginning.

I think that in order to understand it, I'll tell you the story and then tell you where God was and is, and then tell you where that leaves me.

My mom and I have rarely seen eye to eye on anything since I discovered I had an opinion. Our relationship is a journey and story and a blog post of it's own. For this post, all you need to know is that we stopped speaking at the beginning of the June. The reasons are even unsure to me. I don't want to be unfair or give anyone the wrong information and say that it was all her fault, when it could have easily been mine as well. Either way, we still stopped speaking to each other.

At first I just laughed when I realized she wasn't answering my calls or responding to my voicemails, because it seemed so childish, at some point it turned into frustration, which lead to anger, and finally apathy. I hate to say that I was apathetic towards her, it's just that I had been earnestly trying to communicate my point and from my point of view, I was the victim. I'd say God spoke to me several times since we've stopped speaking and the ultimate lesson I'm trying to learn from this situation is tolerance. Which doesn't seem like the nicest word to use, but it's the one that I heard in the lesson last Sunday morning. I love her a great deal through all this, and I realize now that all I can do is keep trying and pray that this will fade. But that doesn't seem like enough.

Remember when I was thinking about visiting my dad's family? Remember how badly I wanted to tell my mom before hand? I wanted to include her. It wasn't ever supposed to be her decision, but I did want her support. While I may never have gotten that, I wanted her to know the truth and I wanted her to hear it from me. Since the topic is a little too big to leave on a voicemail, she still doesn't know. And I hate that I feel like I'm keeping it from her, because I absolutely plan on telling her this and everything and everywhere else I've been, but I just can't. So what does this have to do with anything? Well I'll get to that...

The adventure I planned isn't exactly what ended up happening. Why? Because God's plan always wins. Always.

My plan was to visit my brother and his family in San Antonio for like a day. Head to Dallas to see my mom's family and spend the night. Visit my dad's family in the morning, very briefly, and head home. All to get done by July 4th.

Wellllllll, my first week in Baton Rouge, my air conditioner stopped working. Luckily my brother is a mechanic! He said he could fix it in no time. He also unexpectedly invited me to spend 4th of July weekend with them and head out Monday. Which was fantastic since I've never been very close to him, although I'd like to be. Of course then, the part he needed didn't come in until Thursday, which meant I left the Friday after the 4th of July. I spent just enough time in SA for God to remind me that there were people that I used to be close to (where I mostly grew up) in Kemp, TX and that it would be good for me to visit them as well. Although I had thought of them several times, I was never proactive about it, until then for some reason. My best friend back when I was 10 was Tabitha and there was a couple at church that I had always been close to who are the Pattersons. When I called Tabitha looking for the Pattersons number, she was able to help right away, and I gave them a call. To my surprise, they remembered me and offered for me to stay with them. Since I had been so close to them before, it only made sense for me to stay with them then. My detoured plan had at that point changed to visit Tabitha when I get to Kemp, stay with the Pattersons, visit my dad's family Saturday morning, stop by my mom's family on my way out of Texas and get home. But I had it wrong again. I was so anxious to see the couple that had left such an impression, I drove straight there and we chatted the entire night away. They offered me "my bedroom" yet another night and I agreed it was probably best to ensure so that I make all my necessary stops.

So I got back to Arkansas Sunday night and my life completely changed. But I'm getting to that. At that point, it was like I was a completely different person. I'm still not exactly the same and it actually worries me to think that I may never be the same. I had planned on visiting my friend Bekah in KS as a surprise for her birthday, but I wasn't even sure if I could muster the energy to do that. And I reeeeally like her. I figured getting away again would be my best option to regain sanity, and it was. And now I'm at my house. Until this weekend when I'll be able to leave again for OKC. You see, as much as I have loved being here in the past, I have no desire to spend more time here than I have I guess I can go back and fill you in on the necessary details of this adventure.

I'll go into more detail about how important it was for me to stay with the Patterson's the same weekend I met my family...later. Maybe tomorrow. There's just so much to fill you in on and I don't want to miss the bigger picture. Which was? The fact that I lost my dad.

In case you didn't know, he died when I was 10. That's when I moved to Farmington, AR as a chance to start over, among other ideas I had formed in my 10 year old mind. Despite my fantastic memory for everything, I only realized recently that there's a pretty big chunk of my memory that's just gone. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Not just after he died, but months before then too. When I went to visit my dad's family, it was never my intention to really think about him. Strange, I know, but it wasn't. I actually didn't even really think about him when I was trying to decide whether or not to see them either. I really didn't think about him much at all. I went there out of respect for my family, the whole institution of family, and to try and fill this hole in my life. I left furious.

First of all, I hadn't been anticipating the thought of my father and the whole weekend was not only filled, but overwhelmingly flowing with his legacy. I got to my family's house and it was all I could think about. Because I was so young when it happened, and because of circumstances at home, I've never had to think about him since the day I moved away. Not really think about him at least. And that weekend? All these people were telling me about how awesome he was. Videos, pictures, conversation...they all pointed to the same thing. He rocked. So why was I mad? Because he was taken from me. I am never going to actually get to know the man they were talking about. Never. I left feeling like I had just lost him all over again and my heart was just broken. On top of that, I was mad that I had been kept from his family for half of my life. Half. Gone. Forever.

I tried to stay composed as I visited my mom's family, not wanting to give them any idea's as to where I had been, I can't let my mom find out from anyone besides me. And then I went to visit Tabitha, which was where I learned that at some point when I was 10, my memory shut down. Not only did it shut down, it had formed fake memories for the lack of what I could remember. What can I remember? Oh yeah, nothing. Besides 2 memories I wish I could erase, which I'll also tell you some other time.

At that point, what I wanted were familiar arms. I wanted my dad to be able to hold me like when I was little so that I could just cry. I wished that my mom were speaking to me so that she could just hold me. But I was alone. And the thing is I can think of plenty of people that would have been there for me. That would have answered my call. That would have given me a shoulder to cry on, a place to crash, a hand to hold, but at that point no one could make it better. Not my friends. Not my family. Not my sister. And not God.

I thought my 5 hour drive home Sunday would give me a chance to think and take it all in. A chance to change my mind about the events that had just happened, but honestly they're a blurr. It only got worse when I got back to my house. Remember how my mom is mad? I came home to not only an empty house, and a 4 page letter but things had started to be packed away. My house will stay empty for the remainder of the summer, besides me. My mom decided it would be best if she stayed away. The packing? I'm not sure, and I can't really ask the one responsible. The letter? Well it destroyed the little sanity I was holding onto. In case I was planning on bouncing back from the shambles the weekend had already left me in, the letter made sure I couldn't.

So the title of my post? Well that's where I am right now. Right in the middle of a disaster zone. It was like the past few months I was able to pick myself up and build my life together with God. It wasn't perfect, but I liked it. I liked where God and I had gotten. And then God dropped a wrecking ball through my life while I was painting the inside. I wasn't expecting it. I never saw it coming. And it happened so fast I ended up under all the rubble. I was so shocked when it was all over, I didn't even think I could get out of it. Nor did I really want to. I think I was exhausted and figured it'd be easier to stay there and play dead then to even try and get up.

But God? Well He didn't give up.

The 2 days I was in Farmington before I left for Wichita are also a blurr now. I didn't get much accomplished and I didn't have the motivation to really get anything accomplished. I didn't talk to anyone or respond to anyone's calls or texts until I had already left again for Wichita, KS. Rebekah Lewis? Well she saved me. She just doesn't know it. You see we grew up going to church camp together and around the same time in High School we kinda grew away from church but stuck to camp. Nevertheless, we always had a serious conversation about everything every year. This time, I told her everything, but I couldn't choke out actual words saying that I basically hated God for ruining my life. Why? Well probably because it wasn't true. But I think that in not being able to admit that to one person I knew I could always tell everything to, I was able to realize wasn't true. Besides that, Bekah has this amazing personality that brings out the most laughter. I laugh so hard, it's silent. A problem most people don't know I have, and even I forget, but God so kindly reminded me. There's God.

The second sign God sent to tell me it was time to get up and get over it was a FB message sent from a girl who reads my blog, whom I've met once, and was roommates with a girl I was kinda friends with freshman year. Weird how He works huh? She sent me a message as a response to my Adventureland post. Remember when I said I wanted to do more? And then my life really sucked? And then I was ready to give up on God but He's cool enough to show me that He's still working? Exactly. God knows exactly what to do to draw me back in. He threw in the element surprise. He chose the most random friend of a friend to tell me that she felt like God was telling her to message me. I cried. There's God.

And finally, yesterday night, Monday, our last night in Wichita, we decided to go to the Keeper of the Plains. I had already been, but had missed the fire that happens at 9 and we almost missed it, and didn't think we'd make it in time and almost decided not to go, but we did. And as my friends walked up they were approached by a fairly large, balding man with a microphone asking if they'd answer a few questions. Hesitant, they volunteered me. Me? I love any chance to get in front of a camera. He explained he was putting together a documentary and would just ask me a few questions. My thoughts? It would be about the Keeper of the Plains or Wichita or Kansas....The documentary? About God. He proceeded to ask me questions about Heaven and Hell and what I believe and why and where I thought I was going and why and a whole bunch of on the spot questions I wasn't prepared for. Romans 10:9 had been a verse that popped up on my phone that morning and the man with the microphone had again restated it and asked for my thoughts. I wasn't prepared for those questions, but I'd say God was. I don't entirely remember everything I answered, but I do remember him being surprised and telling me I was wise, and I almost immediately thanked God for the journey that we had been on. Looking back, everything about the situation and the pressure and knowing the only thing that's been on my mind lately, tells me that I should have told that man exactly how I thought I felt about God. But being angry and upset, was only how I thought I felt. It was how I had twisted my emotions to be bad feelings, when honestly, I don't think my real feelings for God ever changed. Apparently this short film will be on YouTube...we'll see. There's God.

You know the best thing about God? Despite the fact I was ready to give up on our relationship, He wasn't. Which is part of what has made life so hard for me lately. I have so much anger and bitterness and resentment, none of which I want to have, especially not towards Him, and yet here He is blessing me anyways?! Holding my hand. Leading me. I have been so confused because I know what's right, and it's obvious to me that He's still around and here I am trying to get rid of Him almost, and being super mad, and He won't give up! I couldn't see it before, but today I'm thankful for it. I'm thankful that yet again He's proven that our relationship is not only 2 sided, but even when I give up and want to call it quits, He won't. He was there the entire time. Constantly and continuously blessing me, even though I didn't want to see it.

The other interesting, yet somewhat angering concept in this mess is the fact that I know that all things serve a purpse. I can't see what that is right now, especially since I'm still mostly upset about everything, but I know that for whatever reason, that God shouldn't have to explain to me, I need to be really broken right now. I need to really let go of everything so that something better can come along and I can be entirely focused on how I use it to better serve God.

What I decided is that God didn't drop a wrecking ball on my life. He may have very well let it happen, but the fact that it tore me apart means that it wasn't very sturdy to begin with. The important thing? The foundation is still there. And now that I can see how God blessed me with this huge family, and wonderful friends, I know that the new life I start to build will be even better. I have to start by clearing away the mess from before, which will be hard and painful, but it'll only work when it's all gone.

What I've learned is that I have a great deal of learning to do. Maybe that's why I need to talk to more people. Maybe that's why I felt like I should be doing more. Maybe it was never about me helping but more about how mutualistic journey's to God can be. Maybe that's why I started to blog. Who knows.

When I took a closer look not too long ago I prayed that I would have faith like Job's so that I could lose everything and everyone I love and still say "Blessed be the name of the Lord." In my situation, nothing was permanently taken away from me. I was greatly blessed to have reconnected with so many wonderful people and yet I was so ready to close up shop because it hurt too bad to remember. I guess Satan knows that sometimes you don't have to take everything away to hurt someone. Crazy how sneaky he is, huh? Needless to say, it's something to work on. I mean my defense mechanism. Maybe that's where you come in.

Something else to work on? Getting my personality back. I'm not sure where it went. The glimpse I had has come and gone as quickly as my trip to Wichita. I'm sure it will take time to be myself 100% of the time, so until then, bear with me. That's in the Bible too ya know.

And the final thought I wan to leave you with, is a sentence from the beginning: when I said that God had come through on everything He had been promising from the very beginning. Well remember when I was dying to go to South Carolina and I kept having to tell myself God must really want me in Baton Rouge? I think what He was actually saying is that I couldn't be somewhere far away for the whole summer because then I'd never go on my grand adventure. I'm not sure if I served a higher purpose in Baton Rouge, but I can't look at the disaster of a life I have now and not say that it has to be serving a high purpose at some point down the line. I refuse to believe that this has been for nothing. It was never about not getting what I wanted, it was about getting what I needed. God is my Father. He always has been and He's always treated me as such. I'm starting to see His fatherly tendancies. I hope to start appreciating them more and more and seeing them more as well.

As always. I love you

Sunday, June 27, 2010


Bonjour ami! Just a few more days left of my Baton Rouge adventure. I can't believe it's almost over! I'm not sure why I was ever so scared now :)) This has been a great experience and I've really learned a lot! As far as graduate school, research, and most importantly God. The best part? My adventure isn't over yet! I'm spending the next week driving through Texas to visit family and friends! Which leads me to an important lesson I think God has been trying to teach me...

It started last week. I got a little (or very) dramatic with my last post and I didn't ever really get to tell you what I learned at church. I remember listening to the preacher last week and thinking that what he was saying was really important, but being so focused on the fact that it was Father's day, the pity party I was planning was the only thing I told you about. I officially know that God was in fact trying to tell me something more important because He told me again today. Luckily, today I was less focused on myself and more focused on church. Hmm, I guess life works better, and I listen to God better when I focus more on Him and less on me. Just a thought

So what is this incredible message that God's telling me? Well it comes from the book of James 1! And before I start yapping, I'll start with a relevant story! The preacher used it last week, and I think it helps to make sense of the situation. Let's say you wanted season tickets to see your favorite football/baseball/basketball/soccer whatever team...but they were either too expensive or all out. Now let's say that someone you don't know very well called you and offered you season tickets to this sporting event. They said that all you had to do if you really wanted them was stop by and pick them up. Free of charge. That's it! Easy peasy lemon squeezy, right?! It wouldn't be a hard decision at all to get in the car and go pick them up! Well that's a lot like God. He's offering more than we could ever want, or ask for and all we have to do is pick it up! Problem? Sometimes, it takes a lot more to get into that car. The doing something part is hard. For everyone, I think.

This morning at church there was a similar lesson presented. Today was geared towards the importance of leading children and he tied in leading the children of Israel is Deuteronomy. The preacher talked about how kids learn by example. Last week, the preacher gave a statistic saying that if the mother is a consistent church goer then there's a 15-20% chance that the child will be to and for the father to be a consistent church goer the percentage goes up to 70-90% chances. Sure, the percentage goes up a lot for father's but the important thing is that it makes a difference.

So you may be wondering what exactly James 1:22, well here it goes! "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says." Starting in 19 all the way to 27 is awesome, but this was the important clip. Last week I learned about how dad's teach this kind of stuff to their kids and this week, I learned about how important it is to teach this kind of stuff to not only kids, but everyone.

One of the notes I took said that the best way to do this sharing is to speak from experience. Nothing is more of an impact than telling something what has earnestly happened. For kids, they are a lot more likely to keep up with stuff that means a lot to their parents. If nothing else, they remember the stories that were told to them about how God has impacted the immediate people in their lives.

The rest of the lesson was mostly about the importance of obedience and the word obey.

Obey (v)- To comply with or follow the commands, restrictions, wishes, or instructions of; to respond conformably in action to; to submit or conform to in action.

As much as I learned this morning, the definition only clarifies it that much more! In Deuteronomy 6:3 Moses says "Here, O Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your fathers, promised you." So, in order to get what was promised, I must obey. And from the definition of obey, I must act. And if that isn't reason enough, James said that I need to be a doer and not just a hearer. If I don't act on the things I read and learn and hear, then it's like looking at my reflection in a mirror, only to walk away and forget what I looked like, James 1:23.

The preacher said this morning that a lot of times in the Bible and in different translations of it the words 'walk' and 'live' are interchanged. So when a scripture says to walk in the light, it's the same as needing to live in the light. It makes a lot of sense because being a Christian and being Christ like are a lifestyle, not just a part time job. Being doers should be second nature. I learned that the willingness to obey comes from a love of God that we have. Which also makes a lot of sense. I talk about true love and agape and only wanting what's best and helping that other person, well being a doer and sharing my faith is one of those investments into a good relationship with God. I learned that obeying His will, is an expression of faith in God's faithfullness to us. Which also makes a lot of sense because He has promised us these season tickets in the sky, but we need to do something about it, like get in the car, or else we'll never get to them.

I don't want to be "decieving myself," or decieving you and I know I can't decieve God, so I want to do more. I think that God is calling me to do more. Why else would He have reminded me of the bigger picture I was supposed to get last week? You see, I decided to try something new. When something happens, anything...good or bad or just a happening...look at it and think about what God may be trying to tell you. I've always had this problem where I pray but I don't listen. I don't listen because I think I was always literally expecting God to appear and just let me know what was up. In believing in God, I know that there are no coincidences, just opportunities. It's important to take these opportunities and find what God wants us to do in whatever situation He presents us with. This is what I think God wants me to do. I'm not entirely sure how, but I think I've got a few ideas...

So what does this have to do with adventuring? Well not knowing what's going on all the time is an adventure. Therefore, life is an adventure. I want to make the most of this adventure by doing and not just hearing. I want to be a better servant. Regan and I were talking not too long ago about starting devos and gearing them towards a more college age level. I said I would pray about it, and he joked and said something like, yeah like God would turn that idea down, lol. So yeah, when I get home, that's something I want to start. Something else I was thinking about...making things more personal. If you want to hang out and talk about God, just let me know. If you're going through something and just need someone to listen to you, please don't hesitate to ask. I don't have all the answers, but I know that the big guy in the sky certainly does.

I think this is really forward. I hope this is what God had in mind. I'm not perfect and I certainly won't claim to be, but if I can help you in avoid mistakes I've made, or if I can listen to you, or if I can pray with you, or if I can even just pray for you, or if you'd be interested is starting weekly, or biweekly or monthly Bible studies, please please let me know. I want to take my relationship with God to a whole new level. And I want to take you with me :)) If life is an adventure, then I know I could use a few extra hands getting through the tough stuff and maybe you could too.

I love you! And thank you for reading. And thank you for being part of my adventure. I'll be home in just over a week, so plan accordingly to fit me into your schedule :)) Oh yeah, and the last thing is this little saying that the preacher said this morning that I wrote and found helpful:

"As I walk and as I talk, rest, and as I stop and I start I'll bring it all back to You"

Just a helpful reminder of 5 areas of life that we could attempt to bring God into. Which is everything about everyday, but the more we do it, the easier it'll become. Like riding a bike :))

Au revoir!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Who's your Daddy?

A couple of weeks ago on Gossip Girl, this was the line on the trailer for the following weeks episode and I loved it. I was already going to watch it, but this fact that they threw this line in assured that.

I have so much to say! I'll do my best to cut out the fluff, but you know how talkative I can be...

First, I have a crazy story to tell you. You may not know this, but I started wearing this small silver anklet a couple of months ago. Yeah, I know, "no one wears anklet's anymore, Amanda," but I don't care, I do. I found it in a basket from home and I'm not even sure why it was in that basket because I hadn't thought about it in years. My dad gave it to me. When I saw it, I figured I was ridiculous enough to attempt to bring it back...and if nothing else, maybe it would distract from the scare on my ankle. Occasionally when I run, it gets knocked off, but I usually feel it and can pick it up and put it back on later. Last night, after we had gotten back from shopping, I put on some leggings and after a while I noticed it wasn't there anymore :(( My heart sank a little. I went to my room and checked for it. And then checked in my car and on the sidewalk, but it was gone. I considered crying, but decided not the think about it, and watched Twilight instead :)) I decided to blog about it today and say something along the lines of "I don't need it to remember my dad," because I don't. I think about him a lot. I even started carrying a picture of him and my mom on their first date in my Bible. It was going to be ok. I wasn't losing him again, it's about keeping him in my heart. This morning when I woke up, my leg itched...the kind of itch you get when you leave something on your finger or wrist that's too tight. I changed into church clothes...and there it was...on my ankle like it had never left. And I guess it never did, but surely God had something to do with it

Serena Van der Woodsen (the girl on Gossip Girl) finally had the chance to meet her father this season. He was charming and elite, like the Van der Woodsens, and Serena wanted to see the best in him and believe in him, but he turned out not to be a good guy. Why? Because he wasn't her daddy. Althought Rufus (her mom's husband) hadn't been in there lives for long, he was already the best dad for Serena.

Last Sunday at church there was a young couple at church with a daughter at around 5. The mom was carrying her at first, but after a while, she started getting fidgety and reached out her arms towards her daddy. He took her, of course, and held her until she was ready to be put down. I admired the way he held her and the way her head fit perfectly in the space between his head and shoulder. I was jealous.

When I was 10 my daddy died. Just a month before my 11th birthday. That's almost 11 full years that we spent together. Unfortunately, I don't remember a whole lot about us. I have a handful of sweet memories that I hope I never forget, but there's also a handful of terrible memories that I wish I could replace. Times I misbehaved or wasn't nice or said things I didn't mean. All these things that I wish I could go back and redo. I've been told many times that my dad knew I loved him, but I wish I could have told him, one last time.

Well, it's Father's Day. The one day a year I could probably do without. I hate this yearly, consistent reminder that I don't have one. It used to be a lot harder, for example when I moved to Farmington. If you went to middle school there, then you know about the Watch Dog Dad's program. I remember getting papers about it and just feeling so sad for myself. For months after his death I would have dreams about him, but I could never see his face and then I realized I was forgetting him. I wished for a t-shirt or a bottle of his cologne or anything to remember him. I wished I could feel him rubbing his scratchy beard against my cheeks when he'd kiss me, just one more time, even though I used to push him away when he would.

This morning at church, there was a whole piece on father's, of course. And a part where they prayed for all the father's and despite the girls I was with didn't have there father's there, I don't have one at all. And they were talking about all the important lessons kids learn from there father's and how father's are fixer's and special times that they have with their kids, and me? My dad wasn't there the day I had my first kiss, or the first time my heart was broken. He wasn't there when I graduated from high school and he won't be there when I graduate from college. He won't be there to give someone permisssion to ask me to marry them, or to give me away, or for my kids and I hate feeling sorry for myself, but I know if it was someone else, and not me, I'd feel bad. I hate throwing pity parties that only I attend. One of the lines that stuck with me this morning was that even when we can't fix something, we should always be part of the solution.

So I'd say it's impossible to bring him back. I think it's safe to say that I will never be able to replace him as well. So how can I be part of the solution? Well, I don't know for sure, but I think that focusing on the one person who has always been there, is still always here, and will always be here would be a good start. I can certainly keep my dad in my heart, so that he'll be at these events, but God is constantly proving to me that He's my daddy. He always has my back, is constantly comforting me, and only has the best planned for me. He says, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you..." Jeremiah 1:5. "For I know the plans I have for you...plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future," Jeremiah 29:11.

I heard recently that you can't know where you're going unless you know where you're coming from. Deciding to give my life back to God was a pretty change for me. Now I'm in the process of finding what these plans for my future are and furthermore, my identity in God and as a Christian. I can't know where I'm going without knowing entirely where I came from.

After my dad died, I completely lost contact with half of my family. That's half of who I am. That's half of my medical history that I know nothing about. That's my blood, and my DNA and half of my identity. I'm friends with a few of these family members on Facebook, which only peaked my curiosity to the situation. It's been over 9 years since I've seen them and there's so much that I don't know and am completely clueless about. My sister was telling me recently that I should get to know them, they're fantastic people. Again, my own family and I don't even know what kind of people they are.

I was told recently that honoring your father and mother doesn't end when they die. By avoiding my family, not getting to know them or keeping in touch with them, is not honoring my father. Honoring him is keeping him with me and his memory and knowing more about him, his life, and our family. So I've decided to see them in a few weeks before I head home.

I'm terrified. This is all a lot of change for me. It's a whole lot of thinking about stuff I could easily avoid thinking about. I could always wait, but I don't know the next time I'll get a chance like this. I'm very scared and I wish I had my dad to comfort me and hold me and wipe away tears, but I do. I have God. He's my daddy. I've been praying about this and I feel like this is the next step to growing up that God wants me to take. And as for my fear, well growing up isn't supposed to be easy. Sometimes dad's have to push their kids to do what's right, even if it's hard. It would be nice to physically have someone sitting there, holding my hand as I reconnected with half of my life, but if I've learned anything the past few months, it's that God knows my every thought. And usually, before I ever ask, He gives me an answer and comforts me.

It's a sticky situation. They haven't even agreed to see me yet, nevertheless, it's what I want, eventually. Whenever they're ready. I was scared about coming to Baton Rouge, and now I can't imagine spending my summer anywhere else. I know I'll feel the same for this.

Honor (n)- honesty, fairness, or integrity in one's belief's and actions; high merit, as for worth, merit, or rank; such respect manifested.

Used in a sentence: My father's family deserves the same honor that he did.

According to

Daddy (n)- The word daddy is not defined by wether or not a man has a biological child. You can never produce a child and be a daddy, likewise you can have 20 kids and never be a daddy. A daddy is a man who cares for a child's both physical and emotional needs. He puts the child's wants and needs ahead of his own. A true daddy is hard to come by, and a truely special thing.

Used in a sentence: God is my father, but he's also my daddy.

Urban dicionary isn't usually a site I refer to, but I knew it'd have something slightly ridiculous yet very appropriate for God. I suppose I got very personal with you today. I'm sorry if it crossed any boundaries for our poster/reader relationship. A piece of advice, don't wait for Father's Day or Mother's Day to celebrate your parents. Spend time with them and always let them know how much you appreciate everything they do. I'll take my own advice as well :))

I'll be home in about two weeks! I'm sure you miss me very much :)) Have a fantastic Father's Day! And week. I love you! Au revoir

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Blindside

The turn around rate for my blogs is usually a day or 2 at the least, but sometimes, I just have tell people important stuff! For instance, what I learned at church this morning :) I could wait until after I finished my personal statement, but really, I might as well do this now because it's all I can think about! If I get it off of my chest, then maybe I can focus.

Praise: I went to the "dashboard" of blogger last night after I posted and I was looking for updates in my friends' blogs. After I read their updates, I noticed how many people were following them and I had a tinge of jealousy. I automatically felt ridiculous, because one of the main reasons for my blog is to help myself. It's selfish, yes, but sometimes I need reminders and uplifting and there have been times when I make a lot more sense then I do at any given point in a struggle. So yes, my blog is for you, but it's for me too. I canceled the pity party, and called it a night! This afternoon, I received a message on Facebook from a sorority sister of mine telling me that she and another sister had been reading. I am so thankful for them being encouraged by what I have to say, but more than that, I am so encouraged that God took my jealousy and helped me see that it's not about how many peoples names I have attached to my blog, it's the shear fact that one person may read the one thing they need to hear exactly when they need to hear it. I'm so thankful that He is more amazing than I can even begin to comprehend.

I love that God can take what I think I know about something and twist it and let it still mean the same thing, yet so much more. I brought up the flowers for the second time yesterday. This morning at church, which was an interesting experience in itself, the preacher talked about tribes. And as it turns out, there are just a whole lot of words that mean exactly the same thing. Gardens, tribes, cliques, clubs, friendships, and finally, marriage.

Now, in case you haven't noticed. I don't date well. Especially recently when I think too much about it. On top of that, I change my mind all the time. Sometimes it's exactly what I want, to be serious and to have this significant other. Then other days I wake up and I can't imagine always having to be considerate of someone else. And even more on top of that, I'm very picky about everything and I do want certain aspects of my life to be a certain way. I guess I avoid dating because I don't think there is someone that will ever meet every expectation I have, so why bother? That's a terrible attitude to have about it, but when you throw in expectations and broken hearts and trust, it's just a whole lot of gumbo I don't want any of.

When the preacher started talking this morning, he was talking about all the bad stuff that's been going on in that area. Hurricane after hurricane and now the oil spill! But that in February, that entire state was able to join in one cause, the superbowl. That after that day, everyone wanted to be part of the "who dat" nation. I wasn't sure where he was going until he started talking about all the other "tribes" we belong to; the whole "i" nation, with iPods, iPads, iTouch, iPhone...gym memberships, work, clubs, etc. These are all gardens that we're part of. Soon after, he started relating everything to couples and to marriage and at first I was not pleased, but the more I listened, the more I was able to relate what he said to all the areas of my life, including dating.

So the first thing he talked about is how we have all these tribes, but really, the idea of tribes comes straight from God. The 12 tribes of Israel, Noah being called to save his tribe, but most importantly, God giving Adam a tribe. So when we think about dating we have a set of things we want and don't want and we often tend to make it more complicated than it has to be. I've heard so many times to be patient and it'll happen when it's meant to happen, which is all true; however, it made a whole lot more sense when he was talking about Adam and Eve this morning. He brought up the fact that God had Adam fall asleep. He didn't send him hunting or fishing or give him a task to accomplish while God made Eve, God told him to rest. And while he was in this deep sleep, God took a single rib and formed Eve. And after Adam had woken up, God didn't tell him that he had to go find her now, or that she was being hidden from him, but God "brought her to the man," Genesis 2:22.

I'm not a man :)) haha, but after reading this story, that I've heard a thousand times, presented like this, I can't imagine God doing it any differently. I absolutely believe in this fairy tale story that God has planned, where I don't go looking, but where I can sleep and wake up one day and everything will fall into place. So I guess this was step one of the preacher's lesson: starting your tribe.

The next things he talked about was how to make your tribe last. Like I said, it was mostly geared towards couples so his advice (mostly for men) was that everyday for the husband to look at his wife at random times and say "you know what I really love about you?" I laughed because it's ridiculous for me to think that any guy would say that to any girl, but here he was saying that he did it all the time for his wife. He started talking about unconditional love and there's a saying "that if dating brings out the best, then marriage brings out the rest." It doesn't sound appealing, but if people can't make it through "the best," they certainly won't make it through "the rest."

He finished his thoughts on making it last by describing marriage as a bank account. We all make deposits and withdrawls to our accounts, some more important than others, but as soon as our investments get low, then we have nothing to gain from it anymore and eventually, the bank has nothing left to offer us. In the same way, couples must make investments to their marriage and relationships. It's things like making coffee for the other person, or making breakfast in bed that are substantial investments to relationships. It has to come from both sides and from our hearts or else we really just end up with 2 seperate bank accounts. When we stop investing in it, that relationship or marriage has nothing left to offer and it becomes void.

Finally, the last point he made was the importance of having a tribe. He refered to the saying "if you mess with one of us, you mess with all of us." In the same way, tribes have must have each others backs. He then referred to Ecclesiates 4:9-12 that says "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of 3 strands is not quickly broken." Obviously, this makes a lot of sense when it comes to friends and being in good soil, but I've never thought about it in the sense of marriage.

The way he put this in perspective was by having a guy come up on stage and face the opposite direction. He then asked the audience if they thought that he could take down the man standing there and the audience agreed that he could. Afterall, the man standing there was facing the opposite direction. He'd never see it coming. Then he had another man come up, a very large, scary looking man who had been in the Navy, and had him stnd back to back with the other man. He then re-asked the audience if they thought he could take down the first man standing there, and the answer was of course no. Now, the man had his blind side protected by someone who could see things that he just couldn't. In the same way, men and women are good at picking up on completely different things. We're not supposed to be the same or have the same talents, and in a marriage, all of these talents gets used. He said that marriages should be a balance of those talents and constant fight, not with each other, but for each other. He said that one of the most important things couples can do is to establish early that giving up is not an option.

Ok, so all of this was about marriage, but the more I think about it, the more I can relate it to not only precursors for dating and friendships, but in my relationship with God. Step one, I recognize that I need help, and God comes into my life and takes care of the rest. Step two, His investment was His son, I must constantly be investing my share to ensure that our relattionship never reaches NSF. And why is this all important? Because God will always have my back.

On the other hand, I also realized a little more about what I want out of relationships and my marriage. I'm extremely ridiculous. I come up with outlandish ideas all the time and it's hard for me to imagine that I will ever meet someone who compliments that perfectly. Someone who can see all my flaws and know all of my past and love me anyways. Someone who will always go along with my ridiculous ideas and play along. The other day I decided that after I get married, I want my husband and I to get stage our engagement everywhere we go! We can cause a huge scene and everyone will think we're just getting engaged, but really we're already married. Don't ask me where I came up with this, it just happens, lol. Genius :)) The point is that if I told someone I liked that, they'd probably laugh and never see me again. On the same note, I am 1000% in love with God, and when I tell someone I'm dating how important He is to me, what if they laugh and never see me again. "...perfect love drives out fear..." 1 John 4:18, remember when I used this a few months ago? It's the same thing now. I don't need to be afraid of silly things like that because God doesn't want me to be with someone who doesn't love Him as much as I do and He won't send me someone who would laugh at me and leave me because I have crazy ideas.

Have you heard that saying "A girls heart should be so lost in God, that a man will have to seek Him in order to find her?" Well, that's what I want. I don't want to have to work to make something happen, or to force something to work. A square will never fit into the round hole, but one day, I'll find the square hole. I've said this before, and I still believe every bit of it. I know that God made someone who is absolutely perfect for me. Someone that I will be able to pray with and share God with and start a tribe with and be silly with. So step one, I stop looking and worrying about it and I let God lead him to me. And I worry about step two later :)) Of course. But for right now, I need to be more lost in God or else there won't be anything to find.

Yesterday one of the things that Shirnelle inspired me with, was when she told me that her and her boyfriend prayed together all the time. They're in a long distance relationship, so it happens over the phone. Phone conversations, and long distance relationships are hard enough without throwing in the added pressure of trying to stay religious, so for her to tell me that she has someone so special, and for the preacher today to share the good things in his marriage, gives me all the confidence in the world. I am so thankful for God's continuous encouragement that I'm playing for the right team and for all the proof that He has it all under control.

Whew! I'm glad I told you all of that. If you laugh and leave, well ok, then it wasn't meant to be to begin with, but God always has a plan. Now I must be productive on this road to graduate school. Je t'aime :)) Au revoir!