Sunday, December 28, 2008

Thoughts Before I Leave

Last night at dinner I sat down with tears in my eyes and hoped no one would notice. Michael, my brother-in-law, asked me from across the table if I was alright. I said yes and looked away but the tears still fell. A lot. I started crying, and when I looked up, my sister was crying as well. This is so hard.

Tonight at dinner was a different story though. Everyone was eating and during the silence I broke out in laughter. My family stared at me and wanted to know what was so funny. I told them I was picturing myself refusing to get out of the car at the airport, missing my flight, cancelling my "plans" and coming back home forever. This was a really funny scenario in my head...until I realized I could actually do that. Unpacking my bags wouldn't be near as hard as packing them, and then I could stay in my comfort zone! I didn't let myself dwell on this past two seconds, otherwise I might do it.

This feeling is like none I've ever experienced. I'm not going three hours away to college or even just a few states over to work at camp. Nope. I'm flying 4,759 miles to an unfamiliar country with no place to live and no job lined up. I don't feel adventurous right now. I feel weird.

Final thoughts:

1) I packed too much. My bags are heavy, and I don't know how I'm going to cart them around for two weeks until I get settled.

2) I wish they had Dr. Pepper in the UK.

3) How cold is it actually going to be in England?

4) I'm tired but know I won't be able to fall asleep.

5) I didn't pack enough. What am I forgetting that will pop in my head while sitting on the runway?

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Alyssa and I waiting to play Ping Pong

Austin and I before I beat him :)

Going into this Christmas break, everything seemed to be going wrong. Two weeks ago I started having sharp back pains, leaving me unable to bend down or sleep on my back. I found out that I have scoliosis with four curves in my spine...this is not normal. I had a few adjustments done at the chiropractor that took away the pain for the time being. One week ago, my brother, Austin, was in a serious car accident when his Jeep hit a patch of ice and rolled over into a ditch on the highway. He is alright and is just having to suffer through some muscle pain, but he definitely scared my family. All of this happening right as I'm getting ready to leave started to worry me. I let fear take over my thoughts and didn't understand why things like this were happening right before I left.

God is so good though. My back is feeling better, and my brother is pretty much back to normal. He does have chest pain when he laughs, so naturally us siblings try and make him laugh and then watch him try not to. It's quite entertaining! This past week has been amazing, and I feel lucky to have the family I do. Seriously. I cannot describe how much fun I have being with them. This week we paired up and each took a night to cook dinner. This is a new tradition with us, and I'm thankful my night is over! Today was a wonderful day spent playing in a two hour ping pong tournament, playing games, and eating lots of good food. I have always said that the 4th of July is my favorite holiday, and although I really do love it, this Christmas is giving it a run for its money.

Last night at the Christmas Eve service, I was again reminded of what a great season this is to remember God's gift to us, His son. All of the classic Christmas carols sing about this truth. My dad talked this morning about the history of the song "The 12 Days of Christmas" and what it really means. It's not just a song about random gifts some guy gave a girl, instead it is full of parallels to the Bible. The line "My true love gave to me" is referring to God, and all the gifts given are ways for us to remember what He has given us. For example, the partridge in a pear tree represents Jesus. Check it out here.

My heart is full. New memories fill my head. I am blessed.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

It's really happening...

I'm moving to Sheffield, England in 18 days!

That means in less than three weeks from now I'll be boarding a plane that will set down in London and then take off again without me. For five months I will be living in the UK while working (please pray I find a job) and serving in a local church.

I'm so excited for this opportunity, and I want to share more about how God orchestrated this adventure. In the next few posts I will be doing a lot of backtracking since I didn't have a blog when some things took place and also becasue I simply didn't blog when the rest of it happened. For some reason the thought of having to sit down, gather my thoughts, and then write about them doesn't appeal to me, but I'm making a committment right here and right now to improve on this. Blogging will be my main source for updating friends and family on my weekly happenings in Europe, so I want to keep it updated. ( Plus I don't want anyone to forget about me while I'm away!)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

I love to cook now!

Okay, I really don't.

But I like to think that one day I will.

I received this apron as part of a graduation gift from my friend Tracy. (We've been friends since the 3rd grade...crazy!) As I'm writing this post, I'm wearing my apron and loving it. I don't know what it is, but I get this amazing feeling when I wear it, almost convincing myself that I really do in fact know how to cook and prepare a healthy and appetizing meal.

It's magical.

Because of the pretty fabric, it makes me feel girly and domestic. I know that one day it will come in handy. In the meantime, I'm going to wear it in my room whenever I feel like it and suggest that every girl have one.


It's so much fun.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Boardwalk, Free Rides, and Passing Go

Everyone has played it.

Not everyone has won.

Most people go bankrupt.

That was my position around 1:30 a.m. even after I consolidated all my property and money with my brother. We still didn't stand much of a chance.

Prior to this hopeful merge, my mom decided she was too tired to continue and wanted to go to bed. She gave all of her property and money to my brother so he could pay off his mortgages and come out of debt. Everyone else was in disbelief (and a little jealous, ha). My mom didn't have to do any of this, but she wanted to give it all to him. No strings attached.

This was just a sweet reminder that when Jesus died for us, there were no ulterior motives. He paid for our sins. We have no debt to God. Salvation is a free gift!

If I have learned anything, it's that God is in the details. He always has an object lesson for me if I am paying attention.

Psalm 25:4-5

"Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long."

Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Gap

I'm not talking about khaki pants with pleats and button down dress shirts or front teeth, braces, and your 7th grade class picture.

I want to know who is standing in the gap for the lost?

While at work yesterday, I sat down on the pavement to enjoy Rice Krispy Treats and chocolate milk with four first grade boys during snack time, when normally I enjoy eating with the kindergarten girls because they are my favorites. (You know in elementary school when one kid gets deemed the teacher’s pet, and the teacher insists she has no favorites…well she lied. I have favorites, and they’re the kindergarten girls at Kids Klub).

Anyway, these four boys in particular tend to be the ones constantly getting sent to “the wall” for their five minutes time out for hitting, not doing what they’re told, talking in line, etc. but despite all this, I still love them. So we’re just sitting there enjoying the beautiful weather, and I ask them what their favorite movie is. What was I thinking? In less than five minutes, they’re talking about inappropriate things they’ve seen in movies.


What just happened? When did six year olds start watching movies where their parents have to tell them to cover their eyes during certain parts? Yup, one boy was laughing as he told the other boys how he always leaves a big hole in between his fingers when his mom tells him to cover his eyes. HELLO!!!

Is it not a RED FLAG that your child shouldn’t be watching something if you have to tell them that?

I sat there not so much stunned but burdened. Burdened for these boys and for the rest of the seventy kids I have come to love so dearly in the past year. I prayed for these boys in particular that they would become great men of God. That He would get a hold of their lives and use them. Then I began to wonder….

But how?

Their parents aren’t believers. They’re not going to church. No one is telling them about Jesus.

How will they know the truth then? Will I see them in heaven? What are the odds that these boys will come to know the Lord before they die? All seventy kids? Does it sound harsh to think like that? NO! If I don’t think about it and PRAY for them, then who will?

“You!” This was my friend’s response tonight as I was talking about this situation. It was a good and necessary reminder that I have a responsibility to the lost.

Does this feel overwhelming? Yes. Is this why God sends us into different ministries and into different people’s lives? Yes. Are you praying for and seeking the lost around you? Yes? Maybe? No….?

I have in no way stepped up to the plate and prayed for them like I should, but I’ve started to see change in my life. The last couple of months God has been slowly transforming my thoughts into an eternal perspective. I’m still learning. He’s still teaching.

Ezekiel 22:29-31

29 The people of the land practice extortion and commit robbery; they oppress the poor and needy and mistreat the alien, denying them justice.

30 "I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none.

31 So I will pour out my wrath on them and consume them with my fiery anger, bringing down on their own heads all they have done, declares the Sovereign LORD.”

Friday, February 22, 2008

Who would've thought?

Me? A blogger? Yeah right!

I never imagined I would be the next person to join this time consuming hobby. I'm the girl who enjoys reading about everyone else's lives while procrastinating on my own. Now that I've added myself to this mix of crazy people, I'm going to be avoiding my "to do" list even more...and I blame yall.

You know who you are. The ones that have been entertaining me for the past three years with humorous stories or thought provoking ideas. You've caused me to stay up late, put off assignments, eat at my desk, not return calls...

Okay, maybe it's not that serious...yet. We shall see.