Thursday, September 30, 2010

The thorn in my flesh.

"God, I want to be challenged, but I know where you have called me. I know that I am to be a behind the scenes prayer warrior. You have not called me to speak to the church,"
Merely hours after praying this, after working with the kids to escape being in the service and facing the chance of speaking, I found myself standing in front of a church in Romania speaking about the definition of family. 

"Southeast Asia, but not Thailand. . . I don't know where the trips will be headed, but I know you want me to go to that general area, just not Thailand,
See anything familiar here? 
Because I do. 

Today, I had my interview to be officially approved or rejected from the Real Life trip with Adventures In Missions  that I applied for. 
I was approved. Guess where I'm spending two months this summer?

Yes, Thailand. God has a funny way of directing me towards the things I am most scared of or feel least equipped for. But through this, He is made even more glorious. Though I feel incredibly inadequate, I know I am not headed into this on my own; He will be with me the whole way, and He will equip me with all that I need to minister to the women of Thailand. See, I'm not the first one who saw how Christ's glory is made apparent through my weakness. This guy you might have heard of, named Paul, realized this long before me. 
"So to keep me from being too elated by the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' "
- 2 Corinthians 12:7-9. 

You see, I don't have to feel adequate, because I'll never be adequate. I'm human, and just like all other humans, I'm incapable of accomplishing anything on my own or ever being perfect, because I'm human and we kind of suck (Actually, more than kind of. We're basically the worst). We are sinners, we are imperfect, and we will never be able to do anything without Christ. He works through our inadequacies and leads us to things we could never do on our own, but with Him, we conquer. With Him, we cannot be defeated. With Him, we are unstoppable. With Him, we are MORE than adequate. And because we only succeed with Him there to back us up, His glory is made apparent through our failures and He is given the praise and acknowledgment He deserves. 
So through Him, I have the strength and grace to face my fears and go to Thailand. We'll be spending two months working with past and present victims of sex trafficking, showing them that they are more than a body and a pretty face. They are God's beloved, His precious daughters and they are His beautiful masterpiece. We'll be restoring hope to the hopeless and showing a kind of love many have never seen before. Lives will be changed, and it won't just be the ones of the girls we'll be working with. Yes, even though I'm really excited, I'm scared. Am I adequate? No, but I have Christ on my side, and He will speak through me and allow me to be His light in this dark place, and He'll shine through my inadequacies and make Himself known as glorious, deserving, and Holy, Holy, Holy! 

And if that's what it means to have a thorn in your flesh, throw me into a whole patch of thistles, because I'm ready to be punctured by that kind of thorn. 

"Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong,"
- 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 

Sunday, September 26, 2010


I kind of would love to just stay at home forever. This is going to be the longest semester of my life. 
This weekend I've been at home visiting my family for the first time in weeks. It has been way too long since I actually got to watch SNL with my brother, get breakfast with dad, run to Target with mom, or just hang out with my little sisters. Instead of living in a small room with someone I don't even know, eating crappy food three times a day, and feeling like an incompetent idiot during ASL, I've had 3 days of hanging out with people I choose to be around and LIKE to be around. Charis and I did a mini-photo shoot and I rode around her with her and Daniel blasting Paramore and RENT. I went to MY church this morning and got to catch up with two of the people from the youth group who I haven't seen since I left for school. I got to control what was on the TV and not be forced to listen to the Kardashians for once, and I got to sleep in my own bed with the blinds open and shower barefoot without fearing fungal diseases. 
Basically, being home is just far better than college. I'm so ready to end this semester and move on. 

(One of the pictures from the photo shoot with Charis. She is kinda talented.)

Code Red Intake: 3. 
Days Until My Birthday: 7.
Days Until Thailand: 250.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I can be thankful too; people edition.

A couple of months back I wrote a list of things I'm thankful for. That list included things like ice cream and indoor plumbing and the Winter Olympics. Well, I'm not only thankful for material things in my life. I've been blessed with some pretty fantastic friends and family members, and I've decided to compile a little list of a few people I am especially thankful for these days. So, in no particular order, here we go.

a. Charis Pope -When I see you, I see confidence. I see ambition. I see love. You inspire me to aim for excellence and you usually see to it that I'm on that path. You are so incredibly talented and you are using your gifts for the glory of Christ, and it is such a beautiful thing to watch and experience with you. I'm so thankful to have you in my life not only to experience your great ability to love, but to be silly with you. You are always there in a moments notice when I need anything from a verbal vomit time to just time to ride around in the car and belt Michael Buble. You have given me more than I could ask for and stuck with me through the recovery. I'm so thankful to call you my friend and sister and have you to be insane with.
b. Carrie Lee Arant - You are in Ireland, and though I joke about hating you for that, I am so proud of you. You are such a confident, beautiful woman of God. And you are so insightful and encouraging. When I see you, I see peace. I know very well that you have been stressed like everyone else and have your own confusions, but I genuinely never remember a time when you were visibly anxious. You have such a strong faith in the peace of Christ, and I love it. You are truly in love with our Creator and striving to be more like Him each day, and anyone who knows you can see that. You're an inspiration to many and I feel so BEYOND blessed to have you as my cousin and get to experience life with you first hand and process it over the same kind of coffee at the same table in Caribou while Trippy Barista sings out orders in the background.
c. Ashleigh Pirtle - Oh, Ash. How I love you. I love your spirit and your energy. I love your boldness to pursue the questions you have and get answers, even when it isn't comfortable. I love that you don't let hardships stop you and how you press forward through the dark to reach the light. We've been through so much together, and I wouldn't trade a moment of it. You fill my life with laughter and spontaneity; you keep things an adventure. You are so honest about what you are feeling and thinking, and I love that. From our videos to Bible study dates, I love everything about our friendship and the beautiful person you are.
d. Betsie MacLellan -Betsie Boo Boo, you are something special. You are genuinely passionate about everything you do and give all of yourself into the things you get involved with, even if you don't want to be where you (which you'll admit yourself). You have such a childlike faith and are so ready to trust God and completely let go. Watching you grow and learn and work is such a joy. You're one of those people that is a natural thermostat: you control the environment around you, not vice versa. You light up everywhere you go and fill those around you with such great joy. I love your heart. I love hearing your struggles and victories and getting to witness firsthand the results of you really pressing into God and His will for your life.
e. Ian Newman - Despite that I find malicious happiness in punching you in the stomach and calling you a Boy Scout, I think you are pretty great. I love how much you love Jesus, because you get so genuinely excited about Him and just who He is. It is obvious to everyone around you how on fire for Christ you are, and it's such an encouragement to see Him working in you. You truly have the spirit of David, and you are being made into a leader. I know I've said it before, but you have HUGE things coming for you. He has more in store for you than you can imagine, and I can't wait to see how that manifests in your life. I'm so thankful for your friendship and that I can call you my brother. I love just talking about the greatness of our Savior with you and hearing how He is working in you. Plus, having someone to drive off a mountain in a rock slide into a river and make up ridiculous hypothetical situations with just makes life most festive.
f. Haley Robertson - I wish I could type in your southern accent, but I immediately wanted to yell "HALEY!" in said accent when I got to your name. Haley Robertson, I love your gentle spirit. You are not always quick to speak, but when you do it is always worth hearing. I love your maturity and your ability to hold those around you accountable. I love how you look for the best in situations and are the first one to turn to Scripture in a time of frustration. I love how you attempt to be sassy and just make me laugh, and I love how you don't let other people influence who you are. And I love your pretty face. Seriously, you are gorgeous.
g. Kelsey Taylor -KELTHY. I'M THANKFUL FOR YOU. No really. I love your strength. I love that you know who you are and what you want out of life. You don't let people shake you. For someone who has seen so much pain, you love with all you have. I love how you are so loyal. You aren't one who takes relationships with people lightly, and you make such a fantastic friend because of it. I love how you are so real, and you tell it to people exactly how it is. Getting to talk with you and really get to know you this summer was such a blessing and one of my favorite things about our trip. And I love our phone calls while you drive like a mad woman and make me nervous, and how you aren't afraid to put your phone in a plastic bag and talk to me while you shower. You are something special.
h. Emily Stoker - I know this is incredibly ironic, but you're a BIG person. You are another one with big things ahead of them. You never let discomfort stop you and you are so quick to serve, even when it isn't your first choice of ways to spend time. When ANYONE sees you, it is so obvious how much you love Christ and are ready to embrace His plans for you. Anyone can see that you are hungry for His word and ready to just run head long after Him. You're a beaming light amidst the darkness, and you are going to rock the world far beyond what anyone could ever expect. You're going places, Stoker, and those places are going to be blessed beyond belief by the impact you will have on them. 
i. Sarah West - My walk with God and way of approaching situations isn't the only thing you influenced this summer; my vocabulary seems to have increased as well. Sarah, you are just COOL. Not only are you a strong woman of God and a role model to so many, but you are such an awesome person. I love your dancing and your crazy phrases like "barf in my pants" and how you have a song for every occasion. I love how you are ready to challenge everyone and keep them moving forward, but you do so with love. I'm so thankful for all you've done for me, for keeping me uncomfortable and for always pushing me to strive for more, even when I don't want to hear it.
j. Jessie Miller - I just love you, SMJ. I love how real you are. You don't hide who you are or try to cover up anything, you are just you. I love your honesty and how completely open you are, and how ready you are to teach and see growth. You go out of your way to do for people and you always give your all to anything and everything you do. I love your maternal spirit and how you bring life to those around you. You never give up or leave anything incomplete, and I love how you are so faithful. You can see it in all aspects of your life, especially in your relationship with Christ. You are always striving to know Him more and more and to truly embrace the love He has for you and the world around you. You are a healer and you bring life to the places you go and the people you encounter.
k. Bryan Marsh - I don't even know where to start with you, friend. When I tell people stories about you or have to explain you to anyone, I always just immediately say, "It's Bryan," and feel that should be enough. You are something else. I've never met anyone as unique as you or quite as lively. And man, the FIRE inside of you is captivating. I've never before in my life met someone who loves God the way you do. You're radical. You're serious business. You are the real deal. I get Holy Spirit chills just thinking about the way you love our God and how you are constantly in pursuit of Him and the love He has for you. You are the embodiment of a man of God and are an example to everyone around you. I still cannot believe how blessed I am to know you and to continue to see the ways God is using your life for His glory and how all the things you do are a testament to His greatness.
l. Daniel Arant - Hands down, I have the greatest younger brother in the entire universe. God obviously knew what He was doing when He decided to make us siblings. You are a mess, but that's what I love about you. I love your fun spirit and your wit, and I love how you are the first one to lift me up when I am down. Despite the fact that you crawl into my room and fart and seem to think it's funny to sit on me though you're twice my size, I wouldn't change anything about you or our relationship. I love how we've become so close and how instead of fighting like regular siblings, we shoot zombies and watch Jimmy Fallon and belt Taylor Swift songs in the car. But more seriously, I love the actual conversations we have. I love going to the gas station or just sitting in my room and talking about life together. I can't wait to see the places you're headed and all the things God has in store for your life, because I know they will be amazing.
m. Grant Matthews - I think you deserve a medal for sticking around for so long, friend. Not many people would have tolerated me for all these years. You are the brave (or insane) one. But I don't know where I'd be today without you in my life, McGee. You're the logical one who keeps me sane. We've been through a lot together, everything from learning to walk to my first car accident, and somehow we've only become closer. Heck, we survived PROM together and we've convinced an entire home school community that we are in love with each other. I mean, that only should show you how awesome we are. I'm so thankful for your friendship and the insight you provide on life. You are one of my most favorite people on the face of this planet, and I can't wait to see what other adventures we are headed for as the years go by.
n. Kelsey Barham - And last but most definitely NOT least, I could write ten million novels about how much I love you. Just covering all the things we've been through alone would take ten million novels, let alone how thankful I am to have you in my life. I wouldn't be where I am today without you. You have been my rock throughout middle school and high school and we've hit our best and worst moments together. We've gone from the goth girl with two toned hair and the Hermione-like brace faced loser to these college students with much better hair discovering where our lives are going. And yet we still giggle over farting and hold bamboo leg races. I adore so many things about you. I love your quirky personality and your absolutely bizarre sense of humor. I love your passion for the broken people of the world and how you will firmly stand for what you believe in. You are not an easy one to shake, and I love that about you. Thank you for all the laughs and the tears and the nights spend watching horror movies or choking on way-too-vanilla lattes.


Monday, September 20, 2010

In which I am a stray puppy.

I don't know if you guys are aware, but without my awesome Savior, my life would be a hot mess. With that in mind, let us begin the tale of the kicked puppy. . . 

This past weekend has been more insane than I could ever explain. I had a paper to write, a play to read, a Psych exam to study for, and a Bible study meeting to have with my best friend. I spent the night with my grandparents Saturday night, and came back early Sunday morning all stressed about studying, unshowered, and ready to go into full out recluse mode until my paper was done. Well, this plan was changed when I found my roommate in bed with her boyfriend after I've expressed my discomfort with him being here overnight. Logically, I did the thing that all sane and responsible people would do . . . went outside, made a phone call, and cried. 
There I was, looking like a kicked puppy, unshowered with my hair in a pony tale, wearing my Evergreen t shirt and jeans, sitting under a tree full of squirrels, crying at 9AM on a Sunday morning. A girl passed me going into the dorm, and I know I looked ridiculous, but I was tired and uncomfortable and ready to just give up. I didn't know what to do. 
Five minutes later, I look up, and that same girl from earlier is coming towards me. She asks if I'm okay, and after denying my problems the first time around, I finally told her my situation. She invited me to her room and I sat on her bed letting my tears dry as she did her make up. She told me that she was going to church with a friend, and her other friend was supposed to go with her but bailed at last minute, so they had room in the car if I wanted to go. 
Basically, the next thing I know I'm at church (still unshowered, mind you) with these girls I just met, singing "Lead Me To The Cross" in a highly needed moment of worship. And I realized right then just what was happening; God was using my worst nightmare* to bless me beyond all imagination. Bethany (the girl who invited me to her room) offered to let me study in her room and use the shower on her floor, and went with me to get stuff out of my room so I wouldn't have to face my roommate and her boyfriend alone. Before we went down, Bethany asked if I wanted to pray beforehand, so we went in her room and prayed over the situation before actually facing it. 
Next thing I know, I have friends. I stayed the night with Bethany and her roommate Taylor, and they took me in like a stray puppy. I ate dinner with them and their friends, and met the guys on their hall. Tonight I went to a dance class ("Two words, one letter; Move N Groove") with them and realized how out of shape I am. 

I've had an incredibly stressful weekend between school work, the roommate situation, and other things that would be inappropriate to share with the blogging world. Coming back Sunday morning and walking into what I walked into, that was my breaking point. And right in my moment of complete weakness (I never EVER cry in public. I just don't.) God swept in by speaking to a random girl who lives a floor below me, and she chose to answer His voice despite how incredibly awkward it can be to approach that weird, dirty girl who is crying at a picnic table under a tree full of squirrels. I clearly see Him working through this entire situation, and not only did He provide me with a place to stay and a person to lean on during this, He provided me with friends. And they are all incredibly awesome, hilarious people that I love having the chance to get to know and live just one floor above. 
Our Creator never creases to amaze me at how He works through the worst situations and gets us at our breaking point. He speaks to us and cares for us and never leaves us when we are hurting or broken and in need of His love. He hears our calls and answers our prayers, even if it isn't in ways we expect. I don't know about you, but I think He is kind of fantastic. 

(I've decided to keep count of how many Code Red Mountain Dews I drink from here on out. The count starts today.) Code Red intake: 1
Days until my birthday: 13

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you!

Going back through my prayer journal (Yeah, call me a dork. I don't care), I found "Psalm 63" written in bold letters and surrounded by a doodle frame at the top of one of my entries from Romania. Curious, I went back to see why it had stood out to me at the time. 

"O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. 
So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory.
Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.
So I will bless  you as long as I live;
in your name I will left up my hands.
My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,
when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.
My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me.
But those who seek to destroy my life shall go down into the depth of the earth;
they shall be given over to the power of the sword;
they shall be a portion for jackals.
But the king shall rejoice in God; 
all who swear by him shall exult; for the mouths of liars shall be stopped." 

If that doesn't just rock the very depths of your being, I don't know what does. Personally, it makes me want to run as fast as I can and shout His praises from the mountains and dance for joy because we serve a Savior who is constantly romancing us and whose love is better than life itself and who upholds us with His right hand. No one can ever love us like He does, and we'll never deserve the love He offers, but yet we have it. 
How AWESOME is that? Seriously, it blows my mind. 

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Where's MY lightning bolt?!

This time last year, I had just finished my application process and had been approved for the month long Romania trip through Adventures In Missions. At the time, I didn't realize what this meant for the nearly 17 year old un-admitted Agnostic that I was. I spent the next few months fund raising, connecting with my team mates on Facebook, and counting down the days until we left for our trip. I spent a month with them growing, being broken and learning what it really means to love like Christ has loved us. My life was turned around, and before I knew it, I was a new person and I was home. Home. . . and that trip that had consumed almost a year of my life from application to preparation to actual travel was over. I had been uncomfortable and pushed past my limits but given so much more than I could have asked for, and I was ready to get right back on a plane and go on another adventure in the name of Christ. But it wouldn't happen until the next summer. 

That being said, AIM just posted their Real Life (college age group) summer 2011 trips. There are 13 of them, each one different and ranging from anywhere to Africa to Southeast Asia to Central America. They all look awesome and I'm so excited to see the stories that come from them. I've been waiting on this list since before we got home from Romania, anxious to be signed up and fund raising for my next adventure. When I signed up for Romania last year, I knew immediately it was where I was supposed to go. I saw the trip on the list and felt immediately called there. I don't even know what the other trips they offered where. I guess I expected the same thing to happen this year, so I read over the list. . . and read over the list. . . and did the same thing a few more times, and I got nothing. While I'm reading over the list for the millionth time, my Romania teammate Ian text messages me and says he's going to the Amazon; he got a "lightning bolt from God" about it. "GREAT!" I said aloud to God, tossing my head back, "Where's MY lightning bolt?!"
Patience isn't exactly my thing. Honestly, neither is just trusting COMPLETELY on faith. I really struggle to just go with something without God providing a solid sign that it's what I should do, especially if He draws it out over a long period of time (I have a tendency to say, "Okay, if you REALLY want me to talk to that girl over there, make her scratch her nose when I look over at her!", you know, stupid stuff like that). And those kinds of struggles, impatience and complicated trust, are exactly the kinds of character flaws I learned to overcome in Romania, and when I prayed that the things I learned this summer would continue to be taught to me as I came home, God didn't ignore that prayer. Needless to say, He isn't going to send me a lightning bolt. He's going to make me work at it. 
Through two days of pretty extensive prayer, talking with a close friend, and praying some more, I've gotten it narrowed down from 13 to 2, even though last night I was pretty sure I had gotten my "lightning bolt" and figured out where I was going. 

The two? Uganda or Thailand. 

These trips are both very different. These trips are both very difficult. Uganda is a country that has been plagued by war and seen so much hurt, and Thailand is one of the biggest countries of human trafficking. Uganda is full of children who have lost their families to the war and fought as child soldiers and so much more, and Thailand is filled with women looking for hope after escaping the sex trade. 
Uganda and Thailand both break my heart. Uganda has the kids I thought I could work with, Thailand has the girls I know I'm called to work with. Uganda means public speaking and Thailand means incredibly spiritual and emotional strength. When I prayed over the unannounced trips, I prayed that if God sent me to Southeast Asia, it'd be anywhere but Thailand. When I prayed to be sent to a country to work with kids, I prayed that it wouldn't involved as much public speaking as Africa always does.
Obviously, I'm facing a challenge here, since He has narrowed it down to these two for me. Being completely honest, Uganda just scares the life out of me because I don't feel comfortable speaking, but I don't feel adequate enough to help the women of Thailand, even if I know those feelings of inadequacy are largely Satan whispering death in my ear to discourage me from God's plan. 

I'm not getting a lightning bolt. I have to learn patience in this one, and I have to learn to trust where He needs me to go without some grand feeling of security or miraculous sign of confirmation. I have to learn to rely completely on Him for this one and risk feeling really stupid or entirely uncomfortable. 
Thankfully, I have time to pray this one out.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Another little breeze.

I woke up this morning with an outlook that seemed very familiar. It was exactly like the morning at training camp for Romania when I crawled out of my second level bunk and looked at my teammate Kelsey, groaned and went, "I woke up this morning and just kind of thought, 'Hmm, how 'bout not?'". I had slept quite hard and had been dreaming all night and didn't feel well rested as I rolled out of bed (literally. . .) and trudged down the hall to the shower. It took forever for the water to heat up, the shower curtain was hooked wrong, and I got shampoo in my eye. I lacked all desire to do my hair or look pretty, which was odd since I just got one of my dresses back from being altered by Nan. So I tossed my hair into a ponytail, pulled my bangs back into a headband, and donned my gym shorts, grey tank top, and light jacket before heading to get breakfast before Psychology this morning. 
The moment I stepped outside the front door of my dorm, something wasn't right. I could tell immediately. 
It was. . . cool. The humidity was gone, the sun wasn't beating down, and I actually felt a little bit chilly
Suddenly, as the breeze picked up a little, I felt very alive

God speaks to me in funny ways. Sometimes it's a well timed text message or a verse of a song, sometimes its a random stranger passing me on my way to class, and sometimes it's a slight breeze that picks up at the right moment. It was like that little breeze was my own little gift this morning, telling me to perk up; I have plenty to be happy about, and cool weather isn't even the top of the list. 
The rest of my morning went really well. I made excellent time at breakfast, leaving me with enough time to get a chai latte AND knock out a chapter of my book before Psychology, which was let out ten minutes early, allowing me to actually walk instead of run across campus to make it to my ASL class. I made an A on my first ASL exam, and actually got to talk with the really intimidating girl in my class and found out she's actually super nice. I got the first serving of the fresh batch of curly fries at lunch and came back to my room to find my afternoon class canceled, opening up my afternoon so that I not only had time to do all of my homework but to devote more time to my Bible study. My room smelled like an exploded Hot Pocket and no amount of Febreeze could cover it up (nor could it block out the latest episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians my roommate was watching, with the blinds shut, while doing her homework), so I packed up my books and my computer and headed down to the coffee shop just off campus, where I've been sitting for the past two hours. I've had a two hour Bible study and quiet time, praying and listening to worship music and reading back through the verses my teammates gave me in their encouragement notes. This little corner of the coffee shop, while I'm surrounded by a ton of students and adults meeting for coffee or to study, seems very quiet and personal and exactly the kind of spot I've needed to spend some quality time discussing life with the one who gave it to me.
God blows my mind, plain and simple. It never ceases to amaze me how the Creator who is so perfect and Holy and everything good chooses to love someone as disgusting and short tempered as me. He chooses to send me the breeze and speak to me in a coffee shop, asking me to uncomfortably open my palms to Him as I pray around these strangers but follows the discomfort with His soothing and loving voice. He continues to romance me and lay His plan out before me bit by bit each day. He places people in my life who encourage me and push me forward and challenge me to really press into His plan and process, even when I feel unworthy and discouraged. He has redeemed me and blessed me, made beauty from the ashes and covered my inadequacies with His blood. 

And to think, if that little breeze hadn't blown this morning, I'd probably still be grumbling and groaning about being awake today.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Independent variable.

My mom called me a grown up the other day. 

Grown up. Adult. On my own (as my grandmother so "lovingly" likes to remind us). 
Yes, I am 26 days away from legally being an adult, but my family has started acknowledging me as an adult, an independent factor in the family dynamic.

Holy crap

Lets stop and look at this for a moment, shall we? I do not feel like I should be considered a "grown up". My mom should still be telling I'm too young to date boys and I should have to ask her permission before I go somewhere and she should still be driving me there. I shouldn't be making plans and living on my own and having my own fridge to put magnets on and open to find my roommate has filled it with Hot Pockets. I shouldn't be one of those cousins that you don't know if they'll be at the beach or home for Thanksgiving or not because their schedule is not dependent on their family anymore.
I feel like just yesterday I was a kid. I feel like I should still be playing Indians and getting mad at my brother for making the Barbies jump off the roof instead of going to the parties I pretended they were having. The other day, we were watching these old family videos from when my cousin and I were probably six years old, and I was running behind her screaming her name and feeding a goat with her. THAT is how old I feel. 
Instead, I'm a college student handling her own life and figuring out what in the world I want to do (or more like what I'm supposed to do/called to do, whatever you wanna call it. All I know is Jesus is handling it.) and trying to survive a life filled with cafeteria food, the "flawless walrus", and new-found-independence crazed young people. And now I have a potentially huge change coming up that will change a lot of things.
Oh, and I am ready to know where I'm going this summer. I've gotten past how weird it'll be to be a member of a new team that isn't Team Romania and I'm just ready to be fund raising and praying and getting ready. I want to go and love and be impacted as much as I impact and hug people for Jesus. Basically, I want another chance to do what I'm going to be doing for the rest of my life instead of all of this collegiate crap. 
And I can, because apparently I'm a grown up

Time flies way too quickly. My best friends younger brother is in the class level I considered my best year of high school, and now I realized how many years ago that was. The other day, I didn't even recognize one of the guys I went to both middle school and high school with when I saw his new pictures on Facebook. Everyone I grew up with is changing and getting older and all of the sudden we aren't those weird little home school kids who eat Lunchables out under a tree or skip around a neighborhood taking on the identities of characters from The Wizard of Oz (No, I was not 5. I was in 7th grade, and I was the Cowardly Lion. I even had a tail to prove it that was made out of yellow yarn. I was cool.). We're all college students figuring out our lives and getting serious (to some extent). Do I need to mention again how weird this is? Because I'm kind of freaked out by it.

(I think that whole "Holy crap I'm getting another year old in a matter of 26 days" feeling has kicked in and made me over think everything. I apologize.)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Doublicious merrilicious teammate meet up.

Labor Day weekend is upon us, which means I am home from school like most college kids, spending time with my friends and family. It's been a much needed break of getting to sleep in my own bed, eat jalapenos with my dad, hang out with my brother, and not having to worry about homework or walking down the hallway to use a communal bathroom each morning. Also, not eating caf food is nice. 
But as much as I am loving being home and chilling with my family, the best part of my weekend BY FAR was yesterdays mini-reunion with two of my Romania teammates, Haley and Ian. 
I arrived in Asheville around 9:30 on Saturday morning and met Ian in the parking lot of the hotel where I was staying that night. Our morning was spent walking around the mall, drinking coffee, catching up, searching (in vain) for a hat to replace the one he lost in Romania, and buying a tattoo sleeve from the Halloween store. Many jokes about rock slides, rivers, and falling off a mountain later (and many, many times singing along through the Romania CD Betsie made for us all) we arrived at Haley's house and our adventures began. 
One thing I just love about my Romania team is how even after a month apart, our dynamics don't change at all. It was like we had spent no time apart, the way we joked and picked at each other and found eternal amusement in poking Haley. Ian and I fought for who would sit in the backseat of the car (which resulted in me jumping over the front seat, pinning each other against the car, etc.) and he shut doors in my face while Haley didn't take sides. We watched a marathon of Super Sweet 16 on MTV, threw our hands up so we wouldn't have to say the prayer over our dinner at KFC, and left obnoxious videos for the rest of our teammates. Our night ended attempting to make gogoshi, the Romanian doughnuts we made during our trip, which surprisingly didn't go too horribly. They weren't as good as the ones we made in Viile Tecii, but they weren't too shabby for our first go round with a recipe. Even a month later, I had not lost my ability to evenly fry gogoshi! (Which is saying something, because I don't cook. Ever.) 

Leaving was just as bad as leaving after our trip, but I'm pretty sure anytime we get together it'll be that way. I haven't had that much fun or been that genuinely happy since the trip. I don't like to be all mushy and crap, but when I look at this team of people I've been given as my friends, brothers and sisters, I realize how incredibly, incredibly blessed I am to have them in my life. And I know we'll all be together for many, many years to come. Spending a very broken, challenging month where only a curtain separates the shower from your bed kind of bonds you in a way you can't really understand until you've been there. These people changed my life. 

Going back to school is not going to be very easy, but I'm pretty sure the fact I have homework to attend to tomorrow is going to be a bit of a distraction from my lack of love I have about college. A pretty gross end to a pretty phenomenal weekend, no? 

Happy happy happy.

Today was the first time I've been genuinely happy in a month and a half. 

Not to get all mushy on you guys and stuff, but I feel so undeserving of the beautiful people God has given me as friends. Today made all of that all the more evident to me.