28 December 2011

2011 Mixtape

Here's a list of songs that absolutely touched my life in 2011:

Aftermath - Hillsong
All My Fountains - Chris Tomlin
All To Us - Chris Tomlin
Always - Kristian Stanfill
As Long As It Takes - Meredith Andrews
Beautiful Exchange - Hillsong
Beautiful Things - Gungor
Broken Bread - Rend Collective Experiment
By Our Love - Christy Nockels
C.S. Lewis Song - Brooke Fraser
Carbon Ribs - John Mark McMillan
Carry Your Name - Christy Nockels
Dearly Loved - Jimmy Needham
Deeper in Love - Charlie Hall
Dress Us Up - John Mark McMillan
Everything - Tim Hughes
Falling - The Civil Wars
Farther Than We Can Fall - Daniel Doss Band
Forever Reign - Kristian Stanfill
Getting Into You - Relient K
Give Me Faith - Elevation Worship
Giving Up - Ingrid Michaelson
Heaven Song - Phil Wickham
Here for You - Chris Tomlin
Holy - Matt Redman
How He Loves - Kim Walker
I Will Follow - Chris Tomlin
Lead Me - Sanctus Real
Let Me Feel You Shine - David Crowder Band
Let the Waters Rise - MIKESCHAIR
Lord, I Need You - Chris Tomlin
Love That - Grace Midtown
Made for You - Matt Gilman
Magnificent Obsession - Steven Curtis Chapman
Micah 6:8 - Charlie Hall
Movements - Rend Collective Experiment
My Brightness - Charlie Hall
My Master - Christy Nockels
New Beginnings - Luminate
Only You - David Crowder Band
Our God - Chris Tomlin
Poison & Wine - Civil Wars
Restless - Audrey Assad
Roll Away Your Stone - Mumford & Sons
Send Your Rain - Passion Band
Shadows - David Crowder Band
So Good To Me - Cory Asbury
Sometimes - David Crowder Band
Sparrow - Audrey Assad
Stained Glass Windows - Daniel Doss Band
Stronger - Hillsong
Summer of '89 - Butch Walker
Symphony - Chris Tomlin
Take Heart - Hillsong
The More I Seek You - Kari Jobe
The Reason I Sing - Jimmy Needham
Times - Tenth Avenue North
Waiting Here for You - Christy Nockels
You Are Love - Rend Collective Experiment
You Said - Hillsong
Your Love Never Fails - Chris McClarney

26 December 2011

Christmas Break Goals pt 2

Here's a mid-break glance at my goals

1. Exodus - I've made it through chapter 15
2. Infinite Jest - psge 40 of 981
3. half mile on my bike and a half mile walk in 40 degree night time rain
4. Master the art of sanding
5. I haven't touched my closet. It's too scary.
6. Fundraiser list is coming together. I still need to think about a t-shirt design. Help?
7. Catch up on Passion podcasts (and John Piper for fun)
8. Buying towels/socks in Dvegas this week!
9. No visit to baby sister & second mom because they're in FL. :(
10. Serenbe will be conquered with bffl's new camera as soon as I get to Dvegas
11. Crafties to come! (I finished one big one, but can't post a picture until later this week)
12. Gumbeaux's with Sar, Scottie, & Madi - this weeeeek?!
13. I've been blogging. I think you've noticed. :)
14. No letters.
15. I've seen 3am a lot more than originally planned.

Accomplishments not on the original list:
1. Christmas cookies with Riley
2. Mario Kart
3. Clean & reorganize my bookshelf; get rid of a few books
4. Lie to Me seasons 1 & 2
5. Balance checkbook
6. school textbook list, etc.

Recent Discoveries

These are a few articles, videos, or quotes that I've found resourceful over the past few days (please excuse the length of the videos, but note that it's worth watching them in full):


(via NPR)







Louie Giglio mashup of stars and whales singing God's praise




"Maybe it's just be, but redemption means so much more when it's not a story about me. When Jesus and I stop being the main characters in His sacrifice, I can see the scope of God's love in a way that is so much deeper, so much more complex and beautiful, than just a simple girl and a handful of people who are just like her." - http://midenianscholar.livejournal.com




John Piper: Bloodlines Documentary





Give Me Faith - Elevation Worship




 
(they go local: Atlanta)



 and    





"The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else." Acts 17

23 December 2011

Memory Verse Recap: Jan 1

When there are many words, sin is unavoidable, but the one who controls his lips is wise.
Proverbs 19:10


This was my memory verse from January 1.

This verse reminds me to think through what I'm going to say before I say it. Even if I know it's something I should say, pause..wait on it. Don't let my tongue control me. Don't let my thoughts erupt, but rather savor them.
I've done an awful job of this in 2011, but I've learned so much at the same time. I've learned that it's important to be honest, but more importantly I've learned that the way I am honest matters.

There's a difference between brutally honest and lovingly honest.

Brutally honest gives no care to the situation, the people involved, or the hearts of others.

Lovingly honest cares about how someone else will feel, think, and react.

I'm a good bit brutal when I feel strongly about something, which is unfortunate. I believe in standing strong for what I believe and in forming my own opinions, but that doesn't give me, or you, the right to walk all over someone else in the process. That's where love comes in -- love bears ALL things, even the strong opinions that may differ or potentially cause strife.

God calls us to be honest, but calls us to honesty in love.

22 December 2011

Neglect

I've made a point of being honest and transparent over the past few years, but the last few months have been lacking in that department on this little blog. Let me fill you in on a few secrets:


  • I've been alone SO much in the past two weeks, but I still feel like I've had no alone time.
  • Instead of getting in the Word on the daily, I usually watch tv or read another book...even when I know in my mind and consciously realize that I should get in the Word.
  • I don't know where to start. I'm overwhelmed by the opportunities God's presented me, but I just feel like I have a writer's block..a spiritual block and a big part of me doesn't want to know what it is or how to get rid of it.
  • I feel like I'm completely unfeeling when it comes to my family. I'm leaving two days after Christmas and not coming back until March or May, but my house is suffocating. It's not the size, it's the fact that I have so little to do. I feel confined. At school I can at least walk somewhere on campus.
  • I depend too much on my friends. I think that's part of why I feel the need to go (along with a ton of other reasons) after I graduate. I depend on them for everything..to the point that I sometimes think I can't make a good decision without them.
  • That's where my lack of spirituality comes into play. So much of me is tired of this complacent me and wants to get rid of it, but I don't know where to begin so I just ignore it.
I miss being in the Word. I miss blogging about all the things God's taught me. I miss being saturated in it. Praying through this drought because I know where I need to be and I know how to get there...even when I'd rather not acknowledge it.

19 December 2011

Hey lunch plans

Tomorrow = getting together with some of these fun kids:


and probably a few of these children:


and this incredible lady who is pretty much a miracle:



and a few more important people that I'm really excited about seeing.
Oh hey PHS reunion at Mexican. #fouryearslater #stillbffls 

15 December 2011

Community

I'm sure this blog post has been written and rewritten, published and republished, countless times, but I'm going to take a stab at it once more on a really personal level that I hope won't bore you.

I've spent the last three days visiting (and there's more to come). My grandparents have come a few times, I've seen family friends, and I've visited teachers. I know that's a surprise to a lot of you - I'm a senior in college and I'm going out of my way to visit teachers from high school. Let me fill you in on a little secret:

Perry has the best teachers ever.


I'm not exaggerating. I'm serious. Our schools are mediocre in that they don't always offer everything and they're sometimes a bit rundown, but I can tell you that the teachers do everything in their power to make it worthwhile for us. It gets a little hard when the students don't care because these subjects they're teaching are what these teachers fell in love with in high school and spent their entire college career soaking up in order to teach others about it in hopes that they, too, will fall in love.

These teachers are the kinds that push you to your limits just so you know become all that you are. They want to know what you're doing after you leave their class. They're going to be there if you need something or want to talk, even after years.

One of my teachers put it this way today: "We're you're base community. I don't know about you, but that's comforting to me. Even if we don't talk every day, you know you can come to me or I can come to you and if one of us needs something we will work together as hard as we can to make that happen."

Community.

I promise you that's what it's all about.

Small group. Church family. Town/city family.

Community.

We need it. God's called us to build each other up, support each other, and be community. Acts 4, Galatians 5, Ephesians 2, Luke 14.  All of these talk about reaching out to others, including others, building community.
I'd move back to Perry just to send my kids to these schools.

14 December 2011

Hi, my name is Beth and I am going to spend today listening to poetry online because I miss writing it.

13 December 2011

high school

I went to visit a few teachers from high school today that I adore and miss terribly.
I realized how much I miss writing incessantly and obsessively. I miss that. I miss my poetry and my writing.

Here's to rediscovering that over the next few months. Join me? I'm fairly certain the beginnings will be rough and discouraging, but it's still inside me somewhere. I'm determined to find it.

Take Your Shoes Off

Exodus 3 always moves me so much, but especially verse 5 when God says, "Do not come any closer. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground."

1. Here's to encountering the God in the wilderness while you're shepherding sheep. I don't know anyone who wouldn't first think s/he was hallucinating.

2. Can we talk about how I'm pretty sure God, up to this point, hasn't told anyone to take off their shoes? If you think about it, these people are roughing it. We're talking the epitome of backpacking, but in long robes. They don't take their shoes off because the ground is probably hot, they don't want diseases, and it's customary to wear shoes. I'm pretty sure that most people of Middle Eastern/African/Asian descent did not wear shoes inside at this point because they had really ornate rugs on the floor and didn't want to soil them. Also, they ate on the floor, not on tables or with chairs like Europeans.

This being said, God is basically saying, "Hey, come into my house." ... Say what? Come inside God's house? That's pretty intimate.

I know Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph have all had pretty intimate encounters with God by this point, but outside of Adam and Eve in the Garden, I'm pretty sure they all wore those Jesus sandals.

Talk about being best friends.

I'm the kind of girl who, upon arrival at almost anyone's house, takes off her shoes. I'm not a shoe-wearer. I'd rather be barefoot.  Maybe God understands that?

I think it also says a lot about God's character - He obviously didn't care if Moses had smelly feet.

Fun fact: in transliterated Hebrew, Moses is actually Moshe, which is much more fun to say in my opinion.


"Take your sandals off your feet because [you're standing inside my house]."

12 December 2011

New World Race Update here: Being Called

homelessness

Academically this has been my best semester at Berry. I aced all of my classes except one of my three writing intensive literature classes (but I got a B, so that's still acceptable). On all other fronts, it's been four months of stretching. God has pushed my comfort zone beyond what I thought was possible and it's left me feeling a little homeless. Last Friday night, while my senior friends were going out to celebrate Kaf's graduation the next day, I carried my belongings by the armload (a quarter of it) across campus (about 100 yards) to my 'new' room that I will be moving out of on May 5 (move #8 in 3.5 years). Needless to say, I sat down and cried after my fifth or sixth trip. I've never felt so homeless in my entire life, but my best friend showed me that where I am or who I am with does not determine my home.  What matters is whether or not I'm living where and with whom God wants me. The rest is just doubt.

His ways are higher.

11 December 2011

Christmas Break Goals

I need this list. I keep thinking of new things to put on it and forget them within the next hour. I'm convinced that vegging out in front of a tv does that to you.

1. Exodus - I want to get through the whole book.
2. Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace (for 20th century American next semester, obviously)
3. 1 Mile on my bike non-stop
4. Master the art of sanding
5. Clean out my closet
6. Finalize my fundraiser list for WR
7. Catch up on Passion podcasts
8. Towels/socks
9. Visit baby sister & 2nd mom
10. Serenbe
11. Crafties with my best friend
12. Gumbeaux's (Scottie Knollin, you need in on this)
13. Blog often (preferably daily)
14. Write letters
15. Not stay up so late

(to be continued)

07 December 2011

Observing the rain

Today I want words to flow from my sporadically moving fingertips onto the screen of my falling-apart computer (I'm afraid the screen will completely detach itself in a matter of minutes), but today I'm doing nothing but observing.
People. Objects. Weather. Blank Word documents. The writing of others. Musical movements. Grades.

Observing.

Today I feel so heavy that moving isn't possible, but I want to move. It has nothing to do with this one Shakespeare essay hanging over my head, but rather with the subtle hints at my inability to do what I feel I need to do to survive.  Rather than finding myself encouraged, I'm finding myself flawed and, perhaps, childlike in my attempts to write.


06 December 2011

SSMT Verse 23

"I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also bring you back." - Gen 46:4


This seems like a pretty crazy verse to have as a memory verse, right? But God promised. I'll hold on to that.

03 December 2011

The simple truth about ignoring your dream.

The simple truth about ignoring your dream.:

In the third grade, my teacher Mrs. Harris laminated a collection of poems I wrote and bound it with a ribbon.


I felt like I had written my first book.


I felt like I would one day write another book.


It took me 25 years to do that.


Why?


Well, a lot of reasons.


I was really passionate about bike riding in the fourth grade. In the fifth grade, I felt like Frisbee was pretty important. In seventh grade, I discovered you could slow dance with girls at awkward middle school dances to songs by Bobby Brown.


No one would fault me too much for not writing another book in elementary school, but what happened to me from 21-33? From college graduation to my early 30s, I didn’t spend a lot of time writing. Why?


I wish I could give you some good reasons. Some noble reasons. Some, “Look at what I was focused on instead.” But I can’t. That wouldn’t be honest, and recently my five year old taught me an important lesson about honesty.


She loves to draw. When her older sister L.E. signed up for a gymnastics class, McRae didn’t flinch. She signed up for art. She loves art. She always has a fistful of crayons in her hand. Art flows out of her effortlessly.


But one night when she was brushing her teeth, she told me something surprising. Here is what she said to me:


“One year I focused on TV and didn’t do my art.”


That’s funny, because she’s only had four years before the one she’s currently in. But in her little mind, there was a year when during family free time she chose a 30 minute television show over 30 minutes of drawing. Thinking about that, she added, “Sometimes the Wii draws me away from what I really love, art.”


That’s silly and cute and adorable, but it’s also honest.


She loves art more than anything, but some things are incredibly sticky and pull her away from art. Like TV and the Wii.


Most of us never draw that same conclusion about our own lives and dreams. We start out with something we love doing, we bump into some passion as a child, as a teen, or as a young adult. Then life gets busy, we get distracted, and we get dishonest.


I didn’t write a second book for 25 years because I was watching TV.


I didn’t write a second book for 25 years because I was downloading music.


I didn’t write a second book for 25 years because I was wasting time online.


I didn’t write a second book for 25 years because I thought I would later.


I don’t know why you’re not writing your book, or starting your business, or going back to school, or doing whatever it is your dream is, but today I have one dare for you:


I dare you to be as honest as a five year old.


That’s it.


Don’t wait until you’re 70 or 80 or never, to ask yourself these questions:


“What do I feel called to do? And why am I not doing it?”


And then be as honest as a five year old with your answers.


Question:

What’s the biggest reason you’re not working on your dream?

01 December 2011

12/1/2011

I am currently sitting in an uncomfortably hard wooden chair, the kind you would find at a dining table in the late seventies, on the second floor of the library. The carpet is pale blue shaded with the ding of countless students, coffee that shouldn't be here, and any number of other accidents. The table is nicked and maroon. I'm not sure which eighties interior designer came up with this color scheme.  Among other students who glance up on occasion, Martha Berry is staring straight at me from her perch in a similar maroon chair on the wall directly ahead. Her pale blue dress mirrors the carpet in color and dusty shading. The orange power outlets directly to my left don't work.  Why? It's Berry College and I'm sure that's enough.
I'm easily distracted here perhaps because I'm uncomfortable or there are too many people around or...
it's practically finals week once again and my mind is alert for any possible distraction from the numerous papers and novels that I've forced it to consume over the past 4 months. Twenty-Seven novels, short stories, and plays, to be exact, not counting handouts and various other readings given by professors. Just a short time, yet.

28 November 2011

26 November 2011

Saturday update

1. Georgia is playing Georgia Tech. Larry Munsen died.
2. Red Rooibos Spiced Chai Tea in white Fire King mug
3. King Lear
4. The Bedford Companion to Shakespeare chapter 9 Politics & Religion: Early Modern Ideologies
5. Edith Wharton's The House of Mirth
6. Madison's flight lands at 7pm.
7. Christmas tree decor.
8. Andrew Ripp's new Christmas EP

23 November 2011

A little late night fun

I just spent a few hours playing Mario Kart on Wii with Riley, which was more fun than it should have been (so much so that I forgot to skype with Madi).

SO..to make up for such sadness, I decided to finally put together this wonderful little collage. Enjoy!




(by the way, this is my best friend...she's incredible.)

20 November 2011

Weekend of confirmation

Thanksgiving break, for me, starts tomorrow. I'm in the middle of a six-page essay right now that is to be turned in tomorrow before my departure.
This weekend has been extravagant. My cousin came up and we've spent the weekend thrifting, driving, talking, laughing, sleeping, eating, and just being friends. We're close for cousins and it's fun. We're friends.

Today at church was phenomenal and, honestly, not so groundbreaking. God confirmed a lot through Josh's message today on Daniel. It, again, goes back to the fact that we are to act in obedience to what God has called us to in order to activate His omnipotence. This particular passage caught my eye:

"By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I've got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward--to Jesus. I'm off and running, and I'm not turning back. So let's keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything that God has for us. If any of us have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision--you'll see it yet!" - Philippians 3:13-16


That's it.

I'm not an expert at chasing after God. I'm easily distracted, really, but I'm doing my best to keep my eye on God's purpose.  Sometimes that means keeping my eye on absolutely nothing. It sounds abstract, but God doesn't always reveal what He wants you to do until what we consider the 'last minute.'  I've answered the "what are you doing after college?" question countless times with, "Well, I'm not sure yet. Maybe I'll move here or there or get a job somewhere over there." I've never been quite sure, but God provides because He is enough. Always.  I don't want just half of what God has for me - I want it all. I want to be selfish with my 'purpose' in life and have it all. I don't want to get to 30 or 40 and feel incomplete because I failed to take an irreversible step for God (see Joshua 3).  I want to totally commit. now.

Josh said the "bow" is that we have victory today. It sounds cliche, but victory is ours today because God's kingdom is alive in our lives. We have to live it.

17 November 2011

World Race

Well guys...................................

I got this phone call today informing me that I've been accepted to the World Race.

That's right.... I'm officially a World Racer.

I have two weeks to give them a definite answer. After that it's a whirlwind. I'm already making lists...tons of them. I need a small army (to which Madison has already proclaimed her loyalty. I think she's Team Captain at this point..) to do all this fundraising, planning, buying, lettering, listing, living.

I have to do school between now and then......and graduate. I.am.overwhelmed.

but so excited.

This coming week is Thanksgiving, as you all know, I'm sure. I'll be discussing WR with my parents and praying heavily for God's blessing over this trip. I would be honored to have you be prayer warriors with me about this. It's a big step. I'm not afraid of God moving me in a huge way - He has so many times. I'm willing to take this irreversible step, just like the Israelites took their irreversible step into the Jordan River in Joshua 3. God can and will do big things. Just pray with me that this is the time and place for this to happen and that I will trust Him to provide...that my family and friends will trust Him as well.

It's in His hands.


15 November 2011

Kate

I've blogged about Kate McCrae before. She's this precious little girl who was diagnosed with brain cancer a few years ago. I came across her family this time last year right after she'd gone into remission. I've kept up via her CarePage and tweets from Matt Chandler as well as tweets from Kate's parents. Seriously, this girl is incredible, but more than that...our God is so huge. She went back for an MRI today and, without going into a ton of details, the MRI had no changes from last time (which is ridiculously good).

Gosh.
God is so good.

http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/mcraekate

14 November 2011

My life this week

1. I never realized how intense Genesis can get. We're reading 15-25 right now in Bible study and I'm overwhelmed. It reminds me of Beth Moore's Patriarch study and chapter 16's title "The Trouble with Helping God." How often we fall short.
2. I'm a good friend. I'm a child of God. Remembering and being found in Him this week. His truth is Truth.
3. Shakespeare paper in progress: Cleopatra, Shakespeare's Masculine Feminine
4. A Visit From The Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
5. The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
6. Shakespeare's Hamlet and King Lear
7. By Thursday I will find out if I've been accepted to the World Race.
8. Spanish quiz.
9. Family dinner with two girls I've been friends with since freshman year of college: proof that not all is lost.
10. Lunch with dear, sweet Leigha.
11. Bible study and dinner at the Hollingsworth home. I'm terribly excited. Callette is such a grand cook and fun spirit. I'm excited to do three of my favorite things at once: eat, be with best friends, and talk with/about God.
12. Breaking Dawn premiere. You have no room to judge me, and yes, I'm going at midnight.
13. A visit from my dear and incredible cousinfriend, Lauren! What a weekend!! It took me three years to get her here.
14. Sleep and rest.
15. Lots of fun times with my best friend.
16. Countdown until Miss Willoughby returns to the great US.


God is good. I've had my first cup of coffee in about a month. It feels good to only have it once in a while rather than on a daily basis. I'd much rather indulge in a pumpkin chai spice tea regularly. So delicious.

So thankful for how God's moving my life. So thankful that His plans are far above those that I can comprehend. So humbled and grateful for His greatness.  Sometimes it's so incredibly great to just know that God is big.
God is big.
SO big.

He is incredible.

10 November 2011

09 November 2011

Without You - S&S

I think these lyrics give you a little glimpse into the cry of my heart lately..



Here I am.
I'm calling out, "Father!"
Can You hear me?
I don't want to go without You.
Here I am.
Can You talk a little louder?
So I can hear you.
I want to hear you.
I don't want to move without you.
If your presence goes, I don't want to stay.
If your presence stays, I don't want to go.
I need you.

-Shane and Shane

08 November 2011

There are weeks when God is sure to move. In those weeks I feel the most at fault for every issue in my life and the lives of those around me.

and if I may be so bold as to quote a country song: "Even on my weakest days I get a little bit stronger." -Sara Evans


Ezekiel 1:28 "...This was the appearance of the form of the LORD's glory. When I saw it, I fell face down and heard a voice speaking."





05 November 2011

Being Small

Have you ever felt completely unprepared, unequipped, and unable?
I'm not entirely sure what God's plan is for me in five months, or tomorrow for that matter. My ideas of sleeping in on a Saturday may be completely changed depending on Him.
One thing I do know is that my life after Berry College is going to change a lot, regardless of where I end up. A very real possibility in my life right now is that I get on a plane in September to spend eleven months making God's name big in eleven different countries. That's one month in each country, potentially eating things and sleeping in places that someone with first world problems would rarely find even in their dreams. The possibilities are endless because God is endless and nothing is impossible with Him.

Tonight, after a long skype session with a dear friend, I went back to worldrace.org to go over the FAQs and "what do you expect from a racer?" again.  I found myself completely overwhelmed and unprepared.

I'm made up of half city and half country. I grew up in a really strict church. I've never been on a mission trip. I don't own Chacos or a really awesome Kavu bag. I don't have a car. I don't have a 'home church' in my hometown and in six months I'm leaving the place I've called home for the past 3 years. My spiritual life is awful in comparison to how good my God has been to me. I often feel inferior to others because I fall so much sometimes, so short of the person God's called me to be. I'm selfish and unsure. I'm a coward and I neglect my relationship with God so much. The last blogs I read on my list are the ones that involve a lot of spiritual conviction because I "don't have enough time to handle that" on the week days. I'm attached to my friendships and have a separation anxiety that only plagues me when I know that I'm doing what I should. I give half my effort to most things because I don't know how to push myself to my limits. In the past few months I've felt farther from God than in all my years of college. I've become too comfortable here.

I've been convicted of my extravagant lifestyle. My closet is full of clothes. Sometimes I have so many t-shirts that my drawers won't close. I have two heavy coats, a rain jacket, several smaller jackets, and more shoes than I care to count. I have new, good underwear and socks.
I have options.
I have a fridge, freezer, and cabinet full of food. I have toilet paper, three kinds of shampoo, sweatshirts, three toothbrushes, coffee mugs galore, kitchen appliances, more books than I could begin to read, and at least 4 extra blankets in my room right now.
I have so much that I can be picky.
I have so much that I am complacent.

God's given me some kind of gift for understanding the ins and outs of Spanish. I love communicating. I am an artist. I love new things. It bothers me that others are without and I have a computer and tablet at my disposal right now. I even have two boxes of crayons and four coloring books on my bed right now.
How many kids could use a good coloring book and crayons? How many people just need to be smiled at today? What could that do?
Hallelujah, Christ is near. 


God is near to us. God is near to me. God has called. Maybe I'm not 'the type' to go on an eleven month adventure into the world without carrying with me five or seven of my closest friends, but I'm walking in faith. I'm going to walk in the truth that God has purpose in my life and wants to use me to reassure His people of His love.

I don't mind being small if it means I am able to make God huge. Let's go.
My phone interview with WR is on Thursday at 4pm. I'm desperate for your prayers. I refuse to commit to something without God's affirmation of peace, but I know it's time for me to move. He will equip me for His purpose, but the honest truth is that I'm scared to death.

it's time to stretch these legs of faith, and run into this unknown width. The truth of Your love for us.

03 November 2011

writing intensive life

The last two days in this week just got twice as busy as before. It's frustrating when I forget about mandatory meetings with my professors, a mandatory 4-source annotated bibliography for a 10-12 minute presentation, and a thesis and two body paragraphs due in another essay.
The most frustrating part about these assignments is not that they are all due within a few days of each other, but rather because they are all assignments from the same class.
I honestly don't know how an English major can live without book summaries and reviews online. It's impossible to take more than one literature class and keep up with the reading, assignments, and homework and still be able to breathe.

The saddest part about it all is that my spiritual life is suffering the most.  My grades are grand. I'm seriously doing better than normal in my classes and I'm so thankful, but my spiritual life, the most important, is suffering.


College is taking a toll on my heart.

01 November 2011

My body is being stretched, both literally and figuratively, in some absurd desire for a change of pace and place. One day, my dear heart and soul. One day we'll watch the sunrise on another word in another town.



Audrey Assad – Sparrow on @Spotify
http://open.spotify.com/track/07YraAmiSmRomj2HjROlcS

26 October 2011

To-do lists

This is a run down of my agenda tomorrow:
8:15am wake up, shower, breakfast
9:30am Shakespeare (watch Hamlet in class and fall asleep)
11am lunch, work, Hermann attic party, do notecard for Contemporary
2pm Contemporary Lit
3:30pm work
5pm make dinner, work on Realism/Naturalism notecard
7pm Up Til Dawn letter writing
9pm study for Spanish test (Friday 9am) - vocab, lab book, study guide
11:30pm (hopefully) sleep

Friday looks a little like this:
7:30am breakfast, study
9am Spanish test
10am badminton
11am shower, snack, finish R/N homework
12pm R/N class
1pm nap
2pm spend time with my best friend
5pm dinner with friends
9pm Nightmare on Elm Street (maybe)
11pm Waffle House
Sleep
Birthday

Did I mention that I love my best friend? She's pretty awesome. Thankful for her.

25 October 2011

Three years

Three years ago I was in the middle of one of the worst semesters (my first) of college and one of the worst breakdowns I've ever had. I'd spent the last month in and out of school and the hospital in Macon with my Papa who was unresponsive.  This came on the eve of losing my great-grandmother and elderly best friend six months before.
Three years and two months ago my grandparents came to visit Rome on their way home from a vacation in the Tennessee mountains. That was the last time I saw my Papa in a conscious state.
September and October of the past two years have wrecked me in more ways than one. I've spent so much time dwelling on the hurt and anguish. Death makes you feel like you're drowning in a sense. I can't quite grasp it well enough to explain it beyond the blanket of gray that covers your life. It's just a gray haze.
This year has been different. I'd almost forgotten, but my memory doesn't come with heartache and sadness. Rather, I'm joyed to know that my Papa is resting. I'm at peace knowing that I've made it through that gray haze of frustration, confusion, emotion, heartfelt hurt, and simple anger.  I'm thankful that I lost him, but not in a narcissistic way. I've learned, grown, and am now here..on the other side...still me. I didn't lose me. I didn't lose God. And I didn't lose my Papa. He's still in my heart - all the books read and lessons learned. Family meals (and I mean BIG family meals) are still difficult. By no means have we forgotten, but we are still living now.

I had dinner tonight with two of my very favorite guy friends, Zach and Josh. It's been a while since I've laughed so much and felt so awkward in the presence of testosterone. That sounds really odd, but sometimes it's just so good to go out with guy friends and have a good dinner. It doesn't hurt that they are absolutely hilarious and never run out of things to say. They have an obvious bromance.

I've also come up with two essay topics, 34 addresses for UTD, finished guest cards, slightly outlined my upcoming presentation, and am in the process of finishing my notecard for tomorrow. Then I will finish my Spanish homework, get in the Word, and sleep.

This week is good.
God is good.


24 October 2011

Shameless plugs

Hey family. I hope you're all doing well on this overly productive Monday. I'm not sure what got into me, but I'm practically finished with my homework for tomorrow and I've tackled several tasks that have been daunting to say the least.
I'm begging, again, for some deep prayers.  This World Race deal is 11 months in 11 countries. I would miss quite a few things that I'm not so sure I'm ready to miss yet. Granted, It's October and my potential departure is 11 months away, however, I'm beginning to get cold feet. Whether or not God wants me on this trip is uncertain to me, but I know that I need to follow through on this application, regardless.
A good friend of mine, Josh, is going on a trip in the fall to Asia with his BCM. He, honestly, only asks for your prayers because that's the best thing, but is also in need of financial support. Go to this website and click on "General Donation" (not the SE Asia trip..that's from last year). If you'll add a special note to the recipient that says "For Josh," that would be awesome. I know he'll really appreciate it.
In other news, CAC and the Relay for Life committee are preping for our Kickoff this Wednesday night. I'm super excited. If you'd like to donate here's where you go: Http://relayforlife.org/berrycollege


20 October 2011

9 days until my birthday!

My to-do list for the remainder of October is large and in charge right now. I've marked off a few things that have been consistently listed for the past few weeks including my World Race application and letter to my Granny who wrote me a sweet card a few weeks ago during my hardest week of midterms (if there was a hardest week). Tonight at our CAC meeting we're making cards for Kody Lucas, which has also been on my to-do list.

Apart from these crazy lists, I've learned a few things lately. I struggle with being sensitive to the feelings of others. I feel that, at one point in my life, I was highly sensitive to how others would react to my actions or simply considerate of what effect my actions would have on another.  I don't think I've quite abandoned that  mindset, per se, but I believe that somewhere in my desire and growth toward being independent and not allowing others to take advantage of me, I've lost the mindset that my actions are felt by others around me, and can be destructive, even if I don't intend it. This comes into play lately with my attempts at acclimating myself to the idea of graduation and "life after Berry" as if it's somewhere I've been for my entire life. It's the place I've grown up, to say the least. Unfortunately, there are quite a few people and groups from which I'm not entirely ready to flee just yet. Maybe that time will come, but I pray it doesn't. I pray that, instead, these friendships will be some that I keep for a lifetime. They are crucial. God is my core, and they are next. I love them. I definitely appreciate prayer for these upcoming decisions and my current sensitivity to the feelings of those around me concerning it all.

The next few weeks are busy. We are kicking off Relay for Life at Berry next Wednesday which is always an exciting time. I am heading up Team Development again this year with my partner in crime, Hannah. We're excited to work together again and I'm excited to be back in the Relay groove again. This is such a crucial part of me as you can read here.  This year, I'm relaying in honor of LaDonna Kersey. She's a sweet woman that has been in and out of my life for as long as I can remember. She is the mother of a young man who played little league baseball with my older brother and the mother of another young man that I was close to in high school.  She was diagnosed with cancer in her leg a few years back, went into remission, and the cancer is back again. She is also the mother of another boy who is, if I'm not mistaken, a middle schooler now. Her family is precious and she works as a custodian at my high school. She's an incredible lady with tons of advice and encouragement, even on my worst days.

Among other things, my birthday is next Saturday! I'm excited...for selfish reasons that do not include presents. My best friend planned my birthday this year. I've had absolutely  nothing to do with it. Last year I had my first "surprise party" (that I knew about in advance, but that's okay) and it was precious. This year..this year it's relaxing. Close friends, time with my BEST friend, and just an overall incredible time. I'm excited and I've no idea what lies in store. Bring it on. I am so blessed and so thankful for my best friend. Beyond words.

In terms of school, I've got another paper due next week, a Spanish test, and a paper due the week after that. My grades are sufficient and I'm reading much more than I have in the past three years. I was scared that my science class would not fit into my schedule, but due to some last minute changes on the part of the faculty, I will be taking 14 hours next semester. It would be 13, but I'm taking yoga for fun. I've always wanted to and now is definitely the time.

Potentially, I will have two sets of visitors (outside my parents next Sunday) before December comes. My Aunts are both planning visits to good ol' Berry College for a bit. I'm terribly excited. I've only been pleading with them for three years to come. They'll be coming in time, I hope, to see the beautiful trees.
So thankful for my family.

It's been 5 days short of 3 years since my Papa died. I miss him, but I've made it through this fall without breaking down about it. I'm thankful for God's provision in times that seem unbearably dark and inescapable. His mercies are, indeed, new every morning.

I'll leave you with this thought: We have the opportunity to be face-to-face with Yahweh. Moses asked and was denied face-to-face because we cannot handle the shikhinah of the one true God. Paul speaks frequently in 1 Thessalonians about desiring to be face-to-face with other Christians. Jesus was face-to-face with the disciples. Let Him be face-to-face with you. Let everything filter through Him. He is good.

16 October 2011

The Exodus

Well this weekend has been an interesting one full of relaxation and stress all at once. I'm too fearful of separation anxiety to long for an extended break from school and its many facets
Friday night I was able to meet a dear friend for much needed quality time. It was in
credible to get some of those things off my mind, drink pumpkin spice tea, hear quality music, and just delve into one of those spirit-to-spirit encounters. I'm so thankful for the beautiful kindred spirits God has placed in my life.
I spent the majority of Saturday alone outside which was perfect. I'm well aware of the general disdain for the warmth among my peers and others in Georgia, but I am ever so thankful for it. Winter and I don't usually get along and, after pulling out my year-old long sleeved tees, this year will be no different. None of them quite fit after my weighty summer which according to my health is an incredible thing, but according to my bank account is not so fabulous.
It was wonderful to be back at Connect Rome today. I love that I can just worship there with no insecurities about what others may think. That's a God thing, not a CR thing, but there is just something about worshipping among your family.
We started our trek through Exodus, which has to be one of my all-time favorite books in the Bible I know that's ironic considering that it's an Old Testament book, part of the Torah, and really seems to have significance beyond simple Bible stories and illustrations from childhood, but it's incredible. I love chapter 3 when Moses tries to make excuse after excuse and God just says "do what I say..oh, and tell them to call me Yahweh." Talk about personal.
Even better is when the plagues are all over and God tells Moses that each first born male in Egypt will die, but He gives special instructions for the Hebrew people.
Kill their healthiest, purest lamb or goat and put the blood on the lintel and doorposts - the motion of this, as I learned to day, is in somewhat of a cross-shape.  Inevitably, they were putting the blood of an innocent on their doors in order to keep them safe. God told them to eat the meat with bitter herbs and leave none of it left for the morning.  This is the origin of Passover. God basically said, "Do what I tell you and I'll pass over you."
Isn't it so fitting that He died during Passover and rose again? He shed his blood to put on the doorposts and the lintel in order to save us. "Do this in remembrance of me," Jesus said. What an incredible picture of His salvation from beginning to end. Two times God has shown us an exodus through the spilling of innocent blood.
Wow aren't we blessed?

12 October 2011

two f words

As some of you know, I'm deleting my Facebook. It's not front page news or anything that should really be discussed in large detail, but it does require that I update my blog a bit more often than I have been (this is one of the reasons I'm getting rid of it), so get used to more updates.

Right now I'm in desperate need of prayer.  I'm praying through a big decision to somehow be involved with World Race Missions next September. It's a big leap, especially when I could be attending graduate school, but I know God has a big plan.

05 October 2011

Reach for the Stars

If you'll bear with my nostalgia once again, I have a little life story to tell you. From birth to graduation from high school I lived in the same house on the same street with the same neighbors. One of these neighbors was an elderly lady who lived in a brick house across the street from us.  The red brick was accented by various flowers, plants, trees, vines, and colors that come with the territory of a green thumb. Her name was Alice. She was upwards of 60 years old the first time I met her. I, in diapers and still unable to grasp a bottle, don't remember this first encounter, but my memory is made up of so many more that age only wishes to take.  The first memories I actually have of this incredible woman are faint, but still terribly real.  I would toddle across the road into her yard and help her water flowers, pull weeds, and simply take in the beauty of God's creations right there in her front yard. Her back yard was in the shape of a triangle, tapering the farther back it went into a small rounded point full of trees.  This was my secret garden.  The entire yard was shaded by various tree and bush families - great oaks, dainty dogwoods, green and white magnolias, red-tips, and so many more.  Mom would often yell for me out the front door, knowing I had somehow wandered my way into the hands of this older friend.  Her heart and knowledge were huge.  Her husband had been lost in the Vietnam 'incident,' and she had raised two girls on her own.  She'd lost a baby boy and was one of many children, herself.  Her sister, Dot, lived in north Georgia. Candy, one of her daughters, lived near by and taught at an elementary school in another county - she had two boys.  Vicki, her other daughter, lived in Jacksonville, FL and had three daughters.  They traveled up at least once a year to see her and Mrs. Alice often traveled to see them.  She had bowls from Campbell's that said "MmmMmm..Good!" on the inside. Her kitchen was a shade of green and white.  Her front door was deep mahogany red and always locked.  The brown table in the kitchen was often covered with our latest adventures - cookies, crackers with various toppings, letters, books, magazines, and always a magnifying glass.  There stood a four-tiered clear glass shelf in the corner of her living room near the front windows that held any number of knick-knacks - mostly angels and one so beautiful peacock feather.  Her couches were a deep blue, but always covered with quilts or crocheted blankets. And she had her rocking chair with the blue chair-pad sitting beside a short, dark wood coffee table covered with neat stacks of various books and magazines (Guidepost and the like). A closet to the left of her television held a collection of movies sure to shame Hollywood, though most were recorded from GP-TV onto VHS tapes.  Each tape had label after label with movies marked out, circled, and rewritten in the oddly pointed cursive of her wrinkled hands.  Others included Shirley Temple, Angels in the Outfield, and the greats of Katherine Hepburn.  On the lowest shelf sat a blue spiral bound journalist notebook, well worn and full.  It contained specific location details for each specific movie on whichever numbered tape.  We watched the finals of the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, Japan more times than I can count. Figure skating. Tara Lipinski. I only wanted to be her.
It was here where I discovered book after book, great historian after great historian, and quilting.  We pieced a quilt once - "Grandmother's Flower Garden" - out of various dresses, t-shirts, and scraps.  We pieced it on the guest bed. This is the room where I found books - Nancy Drew being the first.
We sat on a squeaky swing under her carport often - she didn't have a car and had never driven - and looked around at the monkey grass, lightning bugs, squirrels, blue jays, and hummingbirds.  We walked to the mailbox often, avoiding the lengthy runners from Cherokee rose bushes that would 'reach out and get you' if permitted the opportunity. We raked with sklattering metal rakes, making lines in the dirt where the grass had rebelled against hot summer suns. (We avoided the concrete.) There was a vine of ivy here that I fell in love with, grasping tightly with its roots to the bark of an oak tree that dropped countless acorns each year.  I found a small evergreen pine tree here that I planted in the shade of a smaller pine on the opposite side of the front yard. Ice Cream. An odd name for an evergreen tree, but the name it is still named, standing proudly near the remains of a small field of lilies.
I only remember once instance of "getting in trouble" with her. I was thirteen or old enough to know better when I brought a small baby frog into her house. I was promptly and sternly chastened and sent outside. I was scared for a week that she didn't love me anymore. The end of the world. But my next big reading assignment proved that we were still the best of friends. I tackled Silas Marner, Romeo & Juliet, Hemingway, Steinbeck, Dickens, Alcott, Chopin, the Bronte sisters, and The Scarlet Letter under her supervision. I read and read and read - biographies, fiction, non-fiction, Mother Teresa, Princess Di, and I taught her how to use her first computer. Dial-up. We spent hours working on her book - a history, if you will, of her family and ancestors. I fear calling it a genealogy because it was so much  more than that - full of so much. Oh how I wish I knew her secrets to publishing such a masterpiece. Where was she when I wrote my first?
The summer before eighth grade was the last full three months I spent with her. Breast cancer took her to Florida to live with Vicki who could take care of her and drive her to weekly chemo treatments. I would miss pushing her buggy around Kroger (the only grocery store she ever stepped foot in) and riding with her and mom to various doctor's appointments or shopping excursions. I have no idea where she got her clothes - we never went clothes shopping.  She wrote letters to me from Florida for almost a year before returning to the humidity of our neighborhood.  The ruthless, emotionless parts of me want to know what it was like to go through chemo with her.  I know so much more now than I ever did then - oblivious as a child - and I know there was so much sickness involved.  I never knew. Now home, she spent her days doing fewer of her favorite activities due to arthritis and an overall exhaustion from the perils of the relentless battle within her body.  Her rosary was more present then than ever.  Enter my disdain for The Great Gatsby.  I saw her less and less as homework and friends took more and more precedence in life, but I would sometimes walk over and visit after school when I had little homework. Unfortunately, this happened far less than it ever should. I now know the meaning of regret. My older brother cut her grass and my younger brother took his pb&j over to visit her after school like I had done so many years before.  We returned from a family camping trip to find her, once again, in the hospital. Broken leg. A stupid light bulb told us the answers that had been hiding for so long. The cancer had spread. It had never actually gone away. She hadn't wanted us to know - the kids, I mean. I'm sure, somehow, that my parents were aware. Tonya, a neighbor, had checked on her while we were gone and found her soon after her fall.  She went into assisted living and I was still oblivious to her sickness. Her leg soon healed, but she never came home. We visited her there twice. In the dark she sat and we knew it was time. April of 2008 she became far worse than we'd ever imagined. I still wrote her letters.  Hospice was called, but we weren't allowed to visit. I still have no idea where she was when this happened, I just know it hurt to know I would be graduating and she couldn't be there. Her influence was immense and immeasurable. You will never know, I was told, and I still don't.
She died after the shields of her immune system dropped low enough to allow other diseases and germs into her frail body. You won't want to remember her this way, I was told, and I still don't. I still wrote her letters. Mom made her a blanket that I now sleep with every night. She was my best friend through more years of my life than anyone at this point can say and, I have a feeling, that will remain.
Above my desk there is a flat felt doll with uneven stitching and button-filled stars on a twisted wire stretched between its hands. "Reach for the Stars," she told me, and I am.

Happy Birthday, Mrs. Alice.

02 October 2011

A Call to Prayer

Nine months from now I will have my new mission.  A new place.  Part of my heart is too ready for that new adventure.  I can’t wait to find a new home, meet new people, and experience new parts of the world.  I can’t wait to grow.  I also experience nights and moments and days of sheer panic.  The thought of moving away from people, places, and things that I’ve become so accustomed to, so full of love for, causes my heart to pulse as if it is being suffocated and drowned in a sea of unknown.  I know this isn’t much, but I do pray so desperately that you all will pray with me.  I have options and I have grand dreams, but I’m never sure which task to check off my to-do list first.  I’m bound by the monetary worries of the rest of the world and the desire to squeeze every possible memory from the last few years with my granddaddy.  I’m not sure how all three of these things – dreams, money, and memories – will play into what God has next in my life, but I want more than anything to follow hard after what He has for me…even if that means giving up parts of my family that I hold so dear or friends that I cherish more than there are words on this planet.  Somehow, I know God has each of you in my future.  I know his plan for me includes you, but there may be distance there.  Please forgive me if it seems like I don’t care at times, but I’m really just trying to keep myself from hurting and crying and breaking in half at the idea of leaving.  I’ve never been so great at the task.  I dread it.  I dread the leaving and being left.  Please pray with me – whether it be the West, the east, another continent, or right here. Please pray with me.

28 September 2011

Life Aspirations

"I want to be an author who owns a small bookstore in some random town. But no one there knows I'm an author. And be happily married with some kids."
4/17/08

27 September 2011

Allison, Claire, Mark, Matt, Matthew, & Bruce

Tonight marks the last 11 days of the life of Cups & Mugs on Broad Street. The last.
I discovered this little gem in the recesses of my bedroom over Christmas break.  After watching Passion 2011 live online and streaming every episode of Pushing Daisies like it was the next big thing, I spent hours watching Twitter and Facebook for some semblance of life. Sure enough - a coffee shop in Rome, something unheard of since the Nest's closing a good six months prior. I was ecstatic and searched through the photos chronicling the makeover of a tiny space on Broad between Ginger's and Johnny's Pizza. Teal, brown, black, red and brick were prominent colors. The faces of the people training and working laboriously to have the space ready for opening seemed inviting, open, fun. Soon after getting home, and by home I mean Rome, I insisted that my friends take me (a carless college student) to this new found glory. "Sarah with an h" became a regular statement when we came in - the baristas knew us well. The owner, Allison Cox, knew us by name. Homework got the better of us and we were often stuck huddled in our little dorms, but as often as possible we made our way to this safe haven. And I do mean safe haven. The mugs were fun - owls, mustaches, superheroes, and so much more. The choices were endless...and you never knew which would hold your toasty beverage of goodness.  Now the baristas.. There was the ginger boy who was known for his espresso pours and rosettas - Matthew, not to be confused with Matt, a later addition though just as grand. He even once made a panda. Claire was precious and always in the cutest attire alongside Bruce, Jennifer Bruce. Mark and his mustache made marvelous mochas. And Allison - owner of it all.
I went on my official "date" here at this little coffee shop. I should've done homework that night, but I spent it talking over several cups of tea (they have the most marvelous teas in so many varieties!) with a boy I didn't even like, but found myself romanced by the atmosphere, a place I'd come to call home. My parents came to visit at Easter and I insisted the come by Cups and Mugs to take a gander. I bought my mother a tumbler and tea for Mother's day and she chatted about tea with Allison. Since then, my mom always asks how Cups and Mugs is doing (or mugs and cups) and insists I tell Allison she said hello.
I played guitar in the back where the upside down cake holder side table was with the tiny heater and television. Madison and I tried on our new mustaches and listened to the new Gungor CD. We spent our time in front of that TV doing homework in sour moods while our two other friends, Sarah and Susan, sat feet away chatting in the best of moods. Sarah and I spent countless nights in hoodies and pajama pants talking in front of that heater.  We played games on the floor there and completed assignment after assignment for class and spent hours in the Word, being good to our hearts.
After a few visits, the four of us migrated to the couch with the two purple chairs in front of the "Chai me!" sign advertising Big Train Chai. We had many a laugh, many a conversation here. We took pictures of all of us with long curly hair (not too soon before we all had it chopped off...except for Sarah). We came here after Friday night Sunshine Gang dates. We came here on random Saturdays for crepes and pick-me-ups after days of shopping. Jordan had his 21st birthday party here.
Our Sundays consisted of craving Chickfila .... and Cups & Mugs, neither of which we could have on such a day.
This is where Sarah, Madison, Susan, and I became friends - best friends. This is where we bonded. This is where I asked Claire to turn the channel to the Braves game one time so I could watch it. This is where we watched the most random things on the news. This is where the door to the girl's bathroom wouldn't lock for the longest time so we served as "door watchers" for Allison and made sure no one embarrassed someone in the bathroom. This is where we saw many an artist play on Friday nights - even Marc Johnson! This is where we learned to love good coffee - not the kind of coffee that Starbucks makes, but the kind that requires no masking to be enjoyed. This is where I learned about the African Queen and her many flavors, from lavender to a nutty flavor.  This is where I learned to love the Kenyan that one time at the beginning and never got it back again, but one day I will.
This is the place I cried when I realized October 8th Cups & Mugs would be closing its doors.
Most of this is for memory's sake. I don't want to forget this place and the memories I've had here. The coffee will be gone and the company will be different, but I'm so thankful for the lessons I've learned and the people I've met. I'm thankful for the laughs and relationships that are irreplaceable. Thank you Allison, Claire, Mark, Matt, Matthew, & Bruce.
It was an "honur."

17 September 2011

Matthew 25:20

"All the people answered, 'His blood be on us and on our children!'" (HCSB)

What Satan intends for bad, God will use for good.


His people were begging for His covering..
God, WE were begging for Your covering. We knew we could no longer stand alone. We needed to be washed in Your blood - covered with Your blood...and somewhere deep inside we knew that. It was brutal, but we called out for You...and You answered.

Proof that our hearts long for You.
Proof that You use all things for Your glory.
Proof that Your sheep know Your voice.

What kind of love..

14 September 2011

October

“Why do I think October is beautiful?
It is not, is not beautiful.
But then
what is there to hold one’s interest
between the various drifts of a day’s
work, but to search out the differences
the window and grate—
but it is not, is not
beautiful.
I think your face is beautiful, the way it is
close to my face, and I think you are the real
October with your transparence and the stone
of your words as they pass, as I do not hear them.

I think your face is beautiful, the way it is
close to my face, and I think you are the real
October with your transparence and the stone
of your words as they pass, as I do not hear them.” ~October by Bill Berkson

07 September 2011

Take Your Small Groups Off Life Support | The Resurgence

We weren't built for isolation. We weren't meant to live lives disconnected from one another. We are created in the image of a God who exists in community. We are created for community... Take Your Small Groups Off Life Support | The Resurgence

06 September 2011

Fascination

In an effort to get people to look into each other’s eyes more, and also to appease the mutes, the government has decided to allot each person exactly one hundred and sixty-seven words, per day. When the phone rings, I put it to my ear without saying hello. In the restaurant I point at chicken noodle soup. I am adjusting well to the new way. Late at night, I call my long distance lover, proudly say I only used fifty-nine today. I saved the rest for you. When she doesn’t respond, I know she’s used up all her words, so I slowly whisper I love you thirty-two and a third times. After that, we just sit on the line and listen to each other breathe. ~By Jeffrey McDaniel

24 August 2011

fall schedule

Last fall semester as a senior.

Monday:
:9am Spanish
:10-12 work/lunch
:12-1 Realism/Naturalism
:1-5 work

Tuesday:
:8:30 Spanish
:9:30-11 Shakespeare
:11-2 work/lunch
:2-3:15 Contemporary Literature
:3:30-5 nap or work
:5 dinner with Kaf, Bell, SarahS

Wednesday:
:9am Spanish
:10-12 work/lunch
:12-1 Realism/Naturalism
:1-5 work
:7 Bible study

Thursday:
:9:30-11 Shakespeare
:11-2 work/lunch
:2-3:15 Contemporary Literature
:3:30-5 nap or work
:5:30 Relay meeting

Friday:
:9am Spanish
:11 lunch
:12-1 Realism/Naturalism
:1-5 homework

15 August 2011

One Year

I've spent a lot of time in the past 72 hours thinking about my year. A lot of people do this in December somewhere between the extra wrapping paper and throwing out the Christmas tree (or avoiding such trees if you're Jewish or something besides mainstream, straight-up American).
My "new beginning" isn't quite the same as making resolutions or unpacking the heavy coats for the traditional New Year's Eve jam in downtown Atlanta or New York or Chicago or bigcitywherever, but more of a life lesson. It's hard to learn from something while you're in the middle of it.
If you don't believe me, ask me something about Calculus. I promise I understand it more now than I did three years ago during class.

My college years have been full of lessons - and tons of bee stings, scraped knees, paper cuts, and headaches - but the lessons are what stand out.

When someone tells you that your high school years are the best years of your life, don't believe them. Wait until you get to college - move out, try to make it on your own, pinch your own pennies, decide your own curfew away from home, take care of YOU.

I could go on for days about the crazy things God has done in the past four years - and the crazy things I'VE done, but I know for sure that the next year will be the same. God will wreck my world, make things insane, and drive me crazy, but I'll love Him more and more each day, grow closer, and somehow find more of myself.

This is my senior year of college. Bring it on. I'm ready.

13 August 2011

Summer as a waning moon

Alas, summer is almost over. The season may last for a few more weeks, but classes begin in a week. I'm not sure why the seasons haven't aligned themselves with the class schedule of a college student yet. It would make more sense that way, but asking for that big mountain to be moved may require a bit more than a mustard seed of faith.
Reminiscing over the last three months is wonderful and nostalgic as if it existed in years trampled deep below the dusty roads of today. The struggles of learning to cook and have self-control while trying to stuff summer full of adventures like filling the bed of a truck with watermelon seem so distant, yet just like yesterday.
I'm not quite ready for the cold. Autumn always makes me anxious. I know the bare trees and cold wind are coming soon enough. I'm not quite ready for jeans. My legs want to soak up more sunlight. They haven't quite gotten their fill with my 8-5 job this summer.
Oh summer. A breath of life. Full of growth. It's undeniable that we follow the cycles of the plants and trees around us. Grow, bend, sway, breathe in, breathe out, live.


25 July 2011

new Obssessions

I've been paying more attention to technological developments of late.

By that I mean I'm a new fan of Google+ and Spotify.

BIG fan.

Spotify is what Google Music wants to be..and hopefully will become in the near future. Spotify gives you access to all songs..ever. For free. Of course, you have to pay to alleviate commercials or use such an app on your iPhone or Android phones. However, its musical library is vast and limitless (unless you're trying to pull in songs from other countries. Some copyright issues prevent intercontinental sharing).

Google+ is the monopoly's newest attempt at social networking and I'm a fan. Biggest plus: Circles. You can share what you want with whomever you want - if you want to share with just one person, do it. A group of your nerdiest pals? Go for it. No one else will judge you because they can't see it. It makes planning parties more exciting and trumps Facebook's ever-failing 'Groups' option. My only hang up with the network is how hard it is to tell how something is being shared. When you see a post from someone else, you can't tell if it's shared just to you or to many people (at least not that I've noticed so far). Otherwise, I'm a big fan.

Google+ makes me want a smartphone for the first time ever...well, alongside Spotify.

Maybe one day.

08 July 2011

2 Corinthians 12:9

Have you ever messed up, have you ever stumbled back into a hole you’ve been in 19 times before, and upon hitting the bottom, thought to yourself, “When I fell, I landed on grace, and right now, in this moment, God’s power is being made perfect!” -SCL


But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more glady of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.


El-Shaddai - The All-Sufficient One

30 June 2011

Ethos

I don't usually feature bands on my blog simply because ... I don't. There's not a real reason. That's changing for a moment.

Don't let their age or skinny jeans fool you. These kids are legitimate. Their talent blows my mind. They take their influences from Chopin and classical arrangements...and somehow turn your typical punk rock music into something actually worth hearing. I'm a bit biased, possibly, because I know these guys on a semi-personal level (they're part of my church family) and I've seen their hearts when they worship, but all bias aside their talent is unreal and their mission for God is mind blowing. They're actively seeking and actively DOING for God.

On another note, they're doing this by themselves. That's just one more example of their drive and desire to go and do God's will that puts the rest of us - complacent and lukewarm - to shame.

Help them out.....then go and DO what God has called you to do.




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29 June 2011

butch walker < summer of '89

Sometimes I swear I have the oddest music taste in America, but then I remember that there are tons of people who like the music I like...maybe just not all of it at once.
This is one of those more random artists.

Butch Walker, Ladies and Gentlemen:


17 June 2011

06 June 2011

complacent prayers

"God, thanks for all the stuff you gave me and for the new day and for all the fun we've had. Help us follow you and glorify you in everything we do. Amen."


Wow. What a complacent prayer. I'm more ashamed at how many times this has come out of my mouth in the morning before work. Sure, there may be a few more specific details, but this is the gist. Thank you Lord for this day and help me be a better person.


But isn't it more than that? By it I mean knowing and loving and being with God - talking to Him.
Isn't ANY relationship more than that? Or shouldn't it be? 


Webster says a relationship is the way someone is connected to someone or something else. We're supposed to be connected to God by more than just a glimpse at the coffee shop or McDonalds Drive-Thru. 


If God is supposed to be our most intimate confidant, why do we not spent more time talking with Him? It's intimidating that He KNOWS...I mean..He knows everything before we tell Him, but does that mean we should completely alleviate talking to Him about everything? He knows our needs, but does that mean we should stop asking or stop telling Him we trust Him? 


When we pray, why do we skim the surface of what really needs to be said? Why do we "make do" with thank you for this and help me be better? 


Honestly, that's more similar to your "relationship' with your school principal - you only talk with them when you get in trouble and even then you're just trying to ease the consequences.


Why do we expect God to respond so actively and fervently to our lukewarm prayers and non-existent relationship with Him?


James 2:19 says, "You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that - and shudder!"




"Prayer isn't just an empty box to fill in on your morning checklist." - Steven Furtick


It's so much more than just lip-service.
It's a relationship.

02 June 2011

helpless

Today is one of those days when I just feel helpless all over and inside. I'm not in a bad mood and nothing has really happened out of the ordinary, but life seem so much heavier today.

I tend to take on the emotions and feeling of characters in the novels I'm reading - today might be a product of such. I started Francine Rivers's Redeeming Love this morning - yep, it's taken me this long to get around to it. That was purposeful. Everyone swears by this book and that didn't fit well with my anti-romance attitude a few years back. Part of that attitude came from the idea of fantasy - why build myself up for something that wouldn't happen to me (more the specific romance part, not the love part)? It was an understandable phase, but it's well past time to move on. It was a needed lesson.

Someone said something to me recently that implied that women are weak and therefore more easily deceived than men..and men are not weak or fearful. I'm having a hard time with this. Maybe it's the feminist in me? I believe with my whole heart that God created men and women for purposes specific to each, and I'm well aware that Eve took the first bite of the apple, but must we forget that Adam took the apple from Eve? Jesus says the Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak (Matthew 26:41). The flesh - all of it - is weak and easily deceived. Women are more emotional, yes, but do emotions signify weakness? If so, crying really is bad and we all need to suck it up, rub some dirt in it, and move on. A marriage is a partnership, not a dominion.

I'm not trying to cause controversy and I've never claimed to have anything right so please correct me, inform me, teach me.

01 June 2011

I always blog right before Spanish

Reading Beth Moore's latest blog post today for our Memory Verse #11 and WOW...



Exodus 34:4-7 first of all. I love the part in 33 when God hides Moses in the rock and he sees God's glory and all that jazz - talk about WOW moment. That's one of those climax, tension building, awe-inspiring, firework moments in a movie.
Okay, but now in 34 when God introduces himself as Yahweh to Moses - this is like the BIG DEAL - I mean God's saying "you don't have to call me Mr Awesome anymore..just call me Yahweh." that's like saying "I'm no longer Mr. President. Just call me Barak."
Hello. big deal.
But instead of just saying "Just call me Yahweh." he says "Hey I'm Yahweh. I'm gracious and compassionate."
God INTRODUCES Himself as compassionate and gracious. Because these are part of who He IS and He doesn't change, He is continually compassionate and gracious - He can't look at us without looking at us through grace and compassion..being slow to anger and FULL of faithful love.
wowowowow. Sometimes I think God can't possibly see me and show me compassion after some of the things I've done/thought/seen..or even just because I'm so mediocre, and yet He does. I'm not justifying any of my mediocrity or mistakes, but God is STILL God and He is STILL gracious and compassionate.

gracious.

compassionate.

faithful love.

wow.

26 May 2011

1 Peter 4:7-11

Now the end of all things is near; therefore be clear-headed and disciplined for prayer.

Above all, keep your love for one another at full strength, since love covers a multitude of sins.

Be hospitable to one another without complaining.

Based on the gift they have received, everyone should use it to serve others, as good managers of the varied grace of God.

If anyone speaks, his speech should be like the oracles of God; if anyone serves, his service should be from the strength God provides, so that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.

To Him belong the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.






Satan throws wrenches into our plans and God uses those wrenches to adjust us.
#equipped (Hebrews 13:20-21)


Now, may the God of peace, who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus--the great Shepherd of the sheep--with the blood of the everlasting covenant, equip you with all that is good to do His will, working in us what is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.