Thursday, December 24, 2009

over it.


Most of the time, this is how Leland and I "spend time together." I'm over it. Don't get me wrong, thank God for skype--it makes the long distance thing a lot easier. But GEEZ I'm ready to be with him for ten days! And all summer. :) Counting down the days until we get to spend real time together... (7 days)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

no place like home for the holidays :)

I've been home a full 24 hours now, and it feels great to be here. There are so many things that I think I take for granted when I haven't been home in a while. It's so good to wake up and have coffee already made, lay around in my PJs as long as I want to, open a fully stocked refrigerator and pantry and snack all day long... gosh, what a life of luxury! Haha.

It's fun to hang out with my sisters. We have so much fun together... it really kind of sucks that we only get to all three be together a few times a year. It makes for some very special time together though! I envy people who get to be with their siblings all the time.

I spent some time with my best friend since about age 5, Ashlee, today. We're going shopping together tomorrow. She is pretty fabulous. She's that one friend that you can always count on. We've just been through life together, from the beginning until now. She's so solid in her faith, and comforting to be around. When life gets hard to handle and I feel like things are out of control, Ash always puts things into perspective for me. What a blessing that girl is. I love that I have memories of us as little bitty kids all the way until now... you don't get many of those kinds of friends in a lifetime. Time spent with her makes me realize how truly blessed I am by the relationships that I have with the people that I love the most.

Christmas break is off to a good start. I love being with my family and other loved ones. I'm enjoying the fam and Houston friends, and looking forward to some sweet time with my sweet boy over New Years in Nashville, along with some more of my very favorite people!

I hope your break is wonderful, too.
Blessings, friends! Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Longest day ever.

Today I drove 548.85 miles. 9 hours. Alone.

It was a long one. I'm exhausted. Laying in bed like a zombie right now.

Glad to be home. More to come tomorrow. Just thought I'd post in honor of making it home in one piece... that was my first time to make that entire drive by myself. What an accomplishment.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

what a lady


My Mom's birthday was this weekend, sad I had to miss it. According to my sister it was quite the party. In honor of sweet Trish, I wanted to post my favorite photo of all time of her. I found this in a box when we were moving two summers ago, and I have kept it ever since. Here she is, about 17 years old, sassy as ever.


Haha! Happy 41, my dear mother!

3 more days until home... can't wait to be done with the semester. I need a month of rest.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

wax lips and giant cupcakes!

Today to take our minds off of finals week, my very talented friend Kelsey did a photo shoot of me and our friend Haley with some fun props that she's been wanting to do for a while. We had so much fun just goofing off with wax lips, some cardboard glasses, and a giant cupcake! Here are some of my favorites...







So there you have it... a spontaneous photo shoot that turned out to be oh so fun! Kels is pretty flippin talented... cause I definitely am NOT as great looking as these make me out to be! Haha. She's interning at Elle Magazine in NYC this summer... pretty big time. My best friend will be famous someday...

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

DECEMBER!


I can't believe it's already December! Instead of posting an angry "I hate finals" post, I'm going to post a happy, "I love Christmas" post! I'm excited to go home next week, and then to spend New Years and the rest of my break after that in Nashville! I can't wait t just have a month off to rest. I need that. I'm pretty pumped about Christmas in general... hot chocolate, movies with the family, good food, cheesy Christmas music, Christmas Eve service, etc.

We had our ReMix "tacky Christmas" party last week... it was a good time. My attire:


Things on my Christmas list this year:

1. NEW YORK! (Spring Break this year--Mission Trip with my church! I told my parents all I really wanted was the money for this.)


Alicia Keys and Jay-Z just make me really excited to be going there...

2. This neat-o hat from Urban Outfitters!


3. Sweaters... Scarves... wintery things!

4. Fingerless gloves!

... that's about it. Pretty much I just want NYC for Christmas this year. I'm struggling in figuring out what to get the boy... ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Merry Christmas to all!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Pray Earnestly.

Prayer has been on the mind a lot lately. Not just my mind either... I feel like I've had different variations of the same conversation with people over the last few weeks. Why do we pray? So many people have so many different answers to that question, and so many people have so many more questions. Some people say, "What's the point? God's going to do whatever his will is--why should I ask for anything different? It makes for false hope." Some people pray at meals and before bed, some only pray when life gets hard... some pray only when they feel hopeless. Some have given up on prayer. Too many people have given up on prayer. We talk about this God that we love, the creator of the universe that wants to have a relationship with us, but how much time do we really spend daily in conversation with him? Sometimes I talk to God when I'm driving, or when I'm walking around campus. Lately I've really felt challenged to pray differently--to pray earnestly. I think often we "commit" to pray for something or someone and eventually it fades because we don't think we're "seeing results." It sounds silly when you put it that way--seeing results--as if prayer is some get rich quick scheme or work-out plan. But that's the nature of people today. We don't wait patiently for the Lord to work. One thing doesn't satisfy us quick enough so we move on to the next thing. But it's biblical! To pray earnestly and wait patiently. Why don't we take it seriously?

Psalm 40:1 ... "I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry."
Romans 12:12 ... "Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer."
1 Thes. 5:16-18 ... "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."
Matthew 21:22 ... "And whatever you ask in prayer you will receive, if you have faith."
Acts 1:14 ... "All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer..."

I would encourage you to look up the context of each of those verses. The Lord has really been teaching me to pray differently lately.

Funny enough, I kind of had a revelation about prayer while watching "A Christmas Story" not too long ago. Prayer is one of our means of communication between us and our God. For me, prayer and worship are the two biggest ways that I feel like I connect with God. So, in the spirit of Christmas, think about this: if your parents didn't give you everything you wanted for Christmas, would you stop talking to them? Of course not! That's absurd. So why do we do that to God? We pray for a while and when we don't feel like it's working, we stop. Why don't we trust that the God of the universe knows best? We get frustrated and we cut off this sacred, beautiful communication called prayer. We need to realize that maybe He is doing what He is doing because if he gave us what we wanted right now, we might "shoot our eye out."

I'm learning to pray earnestly. To devote myself to prayer, and trust that God will do the rest. It's been a cool learning experience. Praise Jesus!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

10 things I adore...

Inspired by bleubirdvintage, I've decided to post my own "10 things I adore". In no particular order, here we go...

1. Chocolate chip pancakes! For some reason I think they taste better at night...



2. Volkswagon vans! I want to buy one and travel the world in it. OK, maybe just travel the USA


3. Babies. I can't wait to have "little me's" running around someday... look how cute!


4. Fun headbands that Brittany makes me! Or just fun headbands in general. I really love this one though:


5. ENO Hammocks! Best $50 I ever spent, for real. It's my favorite place to nap. Or read. Or just lay... it's basically heaven that you can take with you anywhere.


6. Handwritten letters and postcards. No one does this anymore. I love getting letters. :)


7. A good cup of coffee. Goes well with friends, books, music... pretty much all things wonderful.


8. Sunflowers! They just look happy, like they want to brighten your day. There will be sunflowers at my wedding someday.


9. Hats! Of all kinds, really....



10. My sisters... my two favorite girls in the whole world! Miss them. Can't wait til Thanksgiving and Christmas time!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Stories...

Tonight at church, JR talked about how we all have a story, and my "brother" Cody got up and told his story, which left me in tears. I think one of the biggest reasons that I'm so passionate about writing and about pursuing journalism is that I love to know people's stories. I think if anyone stopped and took the time to know someone else's story, they would be surprised at how many people around them have stories that they had no idea about. That's what I love about going into an interview with someone, is that I come out with a story, and then I get to share it with the world. Well, OK, right now I just share it with ASU, but you get the point. I just love that everyone has a story. I wish I could stop every person I ever come in contact with and take out my recorder and ask them questions (as creepy as that sounds). It's amazing how much of a person's heart you can get to know just by showing interest in their lives.

My favorite story I did this semester was on two guys from Nigeria, and it was about their love for soccer and how different it is for them to be in America, especially at a school where there isn't a mens soccer program. I probably only needed ten minutes to ask them the questions that I had written down, but we ended up sitting and talking for over an hour. We had this common bond in this game that we all love, and so many other interesting conversations stemmed from that one little common interest we shared. I left that interview on that Saturday morning thinking, "I love that I was just randomly connected with those guys--two complete strangers, that I ended up sitting there talking and laughing with for over an hour."

The bond that was formed over something as small as soccer is such a great example of the Kingdom of God to me. All we need is this one common love--the love of Christ--and our stories begin to unravel. I could talk for hours about all that the Lord has done in my life, all of the grace and mercy he's had on me in all of my imperfection, all of the things he's done that I don't deserve... and I'm sure all of you could also. I wonder if I could challenge us all to learn someone's story this week. It could be someone you've known for years that you've just never really gotten to know deeply, or a complete stranger. The thing is, everybody has a story. There are stories upon stories out there to be heard, and who are we to think that we're above listening to them? God may use the story of a complete stranger to change your heart. And hey, if nothing else, you'll get to know something interesting that you didn't know before.

Maybe you know someone who's story is "still being written." They don't really get it yet... they're still searching. I know some of the people in my life that I love the most are in that place right now. For them, I've learned to pray. I heard an old mentor of mine say once that she's learned that her job isn't to tell people about Jesus--it's to tell Jesus about people. I've never prayed the same since then. I tell Jesus their stories, although he already knows them--I tell him how I can't wait to know the rest of it, when he's done with it.

So learn a new story this week, and pray for the happy ending of a "story gone awry" of someone you love. I know we all are capable of both.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Better Love

Tonight JR did what he calls "the princess talk" for a bunch of girls at church, and it got me thinking just about how the world gives us so many false beliefs and ideas on what love is. So we search for all these things that are going to fill us, and we miss the greatest love there is, a love that makes it possible for us to even have love. All this reminded me of this song. My friend Jamie Bosanko actually wrote this song, but it's recorded by Drew Holcomb, and it's just about this "better love" that we can only get from a relationship with the Lord. It's about searching and not being satisfied with worldly love, and finding that there is this better love out there. It's a great song... here are the lyrics, but I really recommend that you download and listen to it.

"Better Love"
Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors

So stop me if you've heard this one before.
I'm walking out the door, I'm done.
Cause this counterfeit love that we've been served
is like a band-aid for cancer, it won't stop.
How long can we survive on chocolates and movie lines?

A better love, a better love I see.
A better love, a better love I see...

Stop telling me that everything is fine.
I see straight through the lies that we're told.
Cause the love we've seen is tired and abused;
it's made us all confuse dust for gold.
How long can we get by with breakups and sad headlines?

A better love, a better love I see.
A better love, a better love I see.
A better love, a better love I see...

And in the middle of the night,
I try and try to fight the taste of the world gone bitter.
But somewhere out in the streets,
there's a melody that speaks hope for something bigger.
So don't you try and talk me down this time.
There's something more to find out there.

A better love, a better love I see.
A better love, a better love I see.
A better love, a better love I see...

Monday, November 9, 2009

not myself these days... i miss me. sounds vain, but that's not what i mean.

Man... it's been an interesting couple of weeks. I almost feel like I've walked around in this cloud, not physically feeling like myself because I've been so sick, which made me struggle to feel like myself emotionally and spiritually also. I just sort of woke up, went through the day, went to sleep, and hoped maybe the next day would be a little better. I kind of checked out, and unfortunately that always seems to happen when I feel like the people I love need me. When people's grandparents pass away, and parents file bankruptcy, and ex-boyfriends make sisters cry, and pregnant best friends are hypersensitive and need someone to talk to... life happens, and its problems seem to pile up when you shut the world out for a while. But don't worry, they wait for you to come back, and when you're exhausted from catching up on a week's worth of missed classes, feeling physically, mentally and emotionally drained, that's when they really like to make sure they get to you. The thing is I have been so drained that I haven't been able to be there for some of the people that I love the most, and I'm so frustrated with feeling this way.

Today I'm tired, and I'm feeling overwhelmed, and I'm not really feeling good again. It's like a vicious cycle, and I just want a break. I need a break. I want to go home, let my mom cook for me, play fetch with my dog, watch football with my dad, and have coffee with my sisters. I know all of that is right around the corner, but Lord, I need you to help me get through these next couple of weeks. I don't want to walk around in a cloud anymore. I don't want to be sickly anymore, or sad, or overwhelmed. I don't want to be too drained to pour into other people. I'm struggling, Lord, I haven't felt like myself in weeks, and it's really starting to wear on me. I'm leaving my burdens at your feet, God, because I can't carry them anymore. Heal my body, restore my soul, and bring back the spark of energy that I haven't felt in so long. I just want to be able to love and invest in the people that I love so much, and I haven't lost my heart for that, but I don't have the energy or strength to do it. I'm so sick of feeling this way. I want to be me again.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Visitors, hospitals, and fire alarms.

It's been an interesting few days... let's just hit the highlights:

1. Thursday night, Kelsey and I went to the ER, because I was having some pretty intense headaches that were making me dizzy and light headed. They did a CT Scan, blood test, and pregnancy test (just in case Jesus was coming round 2). The results: nothing. So they treated me for migraines, with Lortab.

2. Friday Leland came, and Saturday I started feeling worse. I was really cold, my body temp dropped to 94 at one point, and I was starting to feel some numbness in my arms and legs. So we went back to the ER, they did some more extensive blood tests, a chest x-ray, and yet another pregnancy test. The results: x-rays were fine, besides the fact that apparently I have big lungs. My swim coach father would be proud. Preg-test was negative (surprise), so Jesus is in fact only coming once. BUT they did find low potassium levels in my blood, which may be the reason I was feeling numbness and coldness. So they have me on a potassium pill, which has helped a lot so far.

JR and Britt came up to the hospital to be with me, which was so comforting. I'm very thankful to have them here... JR has a new iPhone, so he was "twit-pic"ing while Brittany held me...


3. Leland left yesterday afternoon, and my mom flew in last night to be with me. I was referred by the ER doctor to a neurologist, who hopefully can see me this week while my mom is here.

I'm feeling OK, the headaches come and go, and my issues with numbness have gotten better since they put me on potassium. Hopefully we can find some answers to this nonsense very soon. In the meantime, my mom is here for my b-day, so that's kinda fun.

Fun fact: the fire alarm has gone off twice in my building since my mom has been here. (this has not happened once all semester) One of the two times was this morning at 8:45 am, so Trish got to meet all my neighbors in her PJs... haha!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

October is my favorite :)

I love October. I always love October, because it's when fall really starts to feel like fall, and it's also my birthday month! But, this year October has been extra special. And there are still a couple more weeks of it! I started off the month in Knoxville, where I got to see my sister, boyfriend, and two best friends from camp, plus a few old high school friends, all whom I love very much! The week after that I got to see some sweet friends in Little Rock, which was also a lot of fun. This weekend, my sister and her friend Liz spent their fall break here in Jonesboro with me! We had SO much fun! Steph had never been here before, so it was fun to show her around and let her experience what my life is like here. But that's not all! Leland will be here on Friday to spend the weekend in Jonesboro. My birthday is next Wednesday, the 28th, and that weekend I'll be ending the month of October the same way I started it--in Knoxville! This time, I'll be there with my parents! I'm meeting them in Nashville and driving to UT with them. That Friday morning I have a meeting in Nashville with a guy from the Nashville Scene about an internship for next summer... I am really hoping that works out! It would be great to spend the summer at "home" in Music City! So if you're a frequent follower of my blog, please be praying for that!

Yay for October! I hope everyone is having as great a month as I am!

Off to cheer on my roommates in their game against North Texas... Go stAte!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Homesickness: cured.

I had the hardest time bouncing back this week after being in Knoxville with my sister last weekend. I was really feeling homesick, especially Monday and Tuesday. Plus I was exhausted from a lack of sleep, so I was just not very pleasant to be around.

Last night I went to Little Rock for a Young Life banquet, and it could not have come at a better time. My good friends from Nashville, Drew and Ellie Holcomb, played music at it, and it was so good to see them. There is something about the family that Young Life creates that can make anywhere feel like home. It was so good to sit and catch up on life with Ellie. She is one of those people that is just so encouraging to be around, and every time I see her I leave feeling so loved--each time my life is enriched a little bit more. Plus she just cracks me up--we laughed a lot last night! It was also great to see the Greens--YL staff people in Little Rock. I like to refer to them as my "Arkansas parents." They're pretty great. They love me well! I'm blessed to have them so close by, since my real family is so far.

This morning I'm tired from driving back early to make it to class, and this rain is making me sleepy, but I've been spending time with Jesus just thanking him... for the people he has placed in my life who are such a pure example of his love for me.


6 days until Steph comes to Jonesboro. :)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Missing Music City...

Everyone is going to Nashville this weekend... I want to go. :( Can't miss class again on Friday. Could go after... can't afford it. Lame. Why can't gas be free?

On the bright side: Stephie will be in Jonesboro for the first time ever in t-7 days! YES!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Rocky Top you'll always be home sweet home to me!


I can not even begin to express how great my weekend was. It was well worth the seven hour drive to see all of my favorite people! Thursday I crammed lots of visits into a very short day in Nashville. I saw Meredith and Liz at Vandy, went to see Rachel at her house, went to a Brentwood girls soccer game with Adrienne, hung out with Annie and spent the night at her house, and had breakfast with Eve on Friday before going to Knoxville! I love breakfast with Eve... there is never a time that I spend time with her and don't come away with little "nuggets of wisdom."

Knoxville was out of control. SO MUCH fun! I got there Friday and went to lunch with my sister. Then we hung out at her house for the afternoon, Leland came over, and he and I walked down to our friends Kayla and Caitlin's apartment. Then he took me on a date to Wasabi--it was delicious. After dinner we went back to Steph's and waited for the arrival of Beth Overcarsh! When she finally got to Knoxville, we went to pick her up, where the two of us shared a very special embrace after not seeing each other since camp! So fun! We went back to Kayla and Caitlin's for a while, then back to Steph's. Saturday we slept in, got up and hung out at Steph's house until Sarah Womack arrived--alas, the threesome was finally reunited! Leland came over and grilled some burgers, then we headed down to Neyland Stadium around 5. The game was a lot of fun even though the Vols lost. Sarah and I had front row endzone seats (thank you, Gerald Jones!). Highlights:
1. Erin Andrews, my idol, walked right in front of us like 5 times. Don't worry--I creeped a picture.
2. We got on ESPN! My phone blew up after the first Tennessee TD from everyone who saw me on TV!
3. Smokey peed on the field, which was quite entertaining.

Saturday night was pretty fun. Steph's house ("the Spot") got pretty crazy after the game. I think half of the football team was there. It was a good time. We were up a little too late--and I had to drive 7 hours today to get back to Jonesboro, but it was totally worth it! I'm a little sad tonight after being with all of my favorite people. Definitely suffering from post-Knoxville depression. But it was so great to spend time with Stephie and Leland, and so much fun to see Beth and Sarah! Love them.

I put about 1,000 miles on the Ranger this weekend. She's tired. Resting up until we head down to Little Rock on Thursday.

Some photos from the epic adventure...


Me and Steph at her house after the game!
Erin Andrews walking right by me... I was so star-struck!
The ever so lovely Sarah Womack and me, in our seats before the game started!

(Beth has a picture of the three of us--waiting for it to surface on facebook so I can add it here!)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

On the road again!

Tomorrow I set out on a new adventure! Nashville for about 24 hours, and then Knoxville for the rest of the weekend! Reasons it's going to be phenomenal:

1. Haven't seen my sister since July!
2. Haven't seen Leland in 5 weeks! :)
3. Beth and Sarah, my two besties from camp will be there!
4. Front row end zone seats at the game! GO VOLS!
5. New fun CD's to rock out to during long drives alone.
6. Haven't had a good long adventure in the lone ranger since my drive back up to J-town from Houston in August.

Looking forward to it--so much that I can't sleep tonight! Can't wait to write about it later. :)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Reflections on an encouraging weekend...

I got to spend this last weekend at Young Life camp for "Arkansas College Weekend." It was a lot of fun, and I brought a couple of friends from Jonesboro, which was great because they had never seen YL before. God really spoke to me in a lot of ways this weekend. Jamie, our speaker, talked all weekend about how we react as Christians when life gets hard, and how we often get hard-hearted instead of being soft and moldable for the Lord to use it in order to shape us even more into his image.

This morning he talked about hearing God's calling and being obedient to it, and he said something that just made me think, "gosh, that's exactly where I am right now." He was talking about how when we feel God calling us to do something, He never shows us the big picture--he shows us one little step at a time, and we take that one step and sometimes we stay there for a while before he shows us the next one. I feel like I took the step to quit soccer and start Young Life in Jonesboro, and it's kinda been in this place like, "alright God, what's next?" And somewhere along the way I've gotten a little overwhelmed and a little impatient, and instead of softening and being moldable in this time when I need to be completely depending on God, I kind of let myself subconsciously get hard-hearted about it. Maybe not necessarily hard-hearted, but I definitely haven't spent enough time alone with the Lord lately asking him for guidance and more importantly thanking him for the amazing things he has already done to get the ball rolling on YL Jonesboro. So that was the first thing that was great about this weekend--Jamie's words just really spoke to my heart.

The second thing that was great about this weekend was the encouragement that I got from it. It was cool, because Fayetteville just started Young Life a year ago, and I just got to talk with a lot of U of A students who have seen its growth over the last year, who were exactly where I am now a year ago, and to be encouraged by my peers and just know that this is doable was such a breath of fresh air. I feel like God used that more than anything to speak to my heart this weekend, and to calm my heart. 

I've been reading Psalms at night, as kind of a "bed time story" I guess. Tonight I picked up my Bible and was reading Psalm 22, and it was so encouraging to me, especially with where I'm at in my life and my walk right now. I read it in my little ESV Bible and in The Message, and I want to share a little bit of the version from The Message:

"I have discovered this praise-life, and I'll do what I promised right here in front of the God-worshippers. Down-and-outers sit at God's table and eat their fill. Everyone on the hunt for God is here, praising him. 'Live it up, from head to toe. Don't ever quit!'

From the four corners of the earth people are coming to their senses, are running back to God. Long-lost families are falling on their faces before him. God has taken charge; from now on he has the last word.

All the power-mongers are before him--worshipping! All the poor and powerless, too--worshipping! Along with those who never got it together--worshipping!

Our children and their children will get in on this as the word is passed along from parent to child. Babies not yet conceived will hear the good news--that God does what he says."

Friday, September 18, 2009

What's God teaching me today?

I'm about to need a new journal--I have about 3 pages left in mine right now. I think this is going to be my new focus. A daily effort to figure out, "What is God trying to teach me right now?"




I know it's been a while since I've updated the blog--lots has happened since the last time I posted something! Stay tuned, I think it's going to be an interesting year for me. :)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Char-town: great way to wrap up my summer!

I got to spend about 4 days in Charlotte this week, and it was such a great way to end my summer. I went out there to visit some of my friends from Summer Staff, one in particular, but the others that live there were an added bonus to the trip for sure! It was just such a breath of fresh air to get to see my friend Sarah for a few days. She is a special one. Our friendship has been such a blessing to me this summer. She is such an example of how God has brought so many neat people into my life through Young Life over the years. I have to say, she is one of my favorites so far! I can't wait to see her again in October!


Sarah passed on the "yellow indian sack" to me when I left, which was VERY exciting. The indian sack is a little something that we stole from camp, and Sarah, Beth (my other fave friend from the gap), and I have been passing it around with a scrapbook all summer that has pictures of us doing funny things with the sack. It made me laugh pretty hard when I got to the airport, and definitely kept me from being able to stay sad after saying goodbye to Sarah! I have to think of something really good to do with it this time.


This week is going to be pretty crazy. I have lots to do before I go back to Jonesboro. Hopefully I'll be able to get some quality time with the little sister before I leave. I'm definitely praying that that happens. Life is crazy right now... lots of transitions. I'm excited though. Feeling very refreshed after spending some time in NC, and ready to get back to J-town!



We decided it might be fun to mattress surf one night... there were only a few minor injuries! Haha this is one of the many reasons I love this girl--there is never a dull moment!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

What a strange 3 months...

This has been the strangest summer. So many highs and lows--so many trials, yet so many blessings. I feel like God has had so much to show me this summer, so many lessons to teach me. Now that it's coming to an end and I'm starting to be able to look back on it, I keep finding myself thinking, "God, it's been great, but please let me pass this test so that I never have to take it again." I think more than anything, I have truly learned to listen for His voice this summer...

The amount of personal growth and just life-changing (or at least "life-shifting" for the time being) things that I experienced at camp was pretty amazing. God really placed a lot of people and situations in my life during that month that made it so clear to me that ministry is where my heart needs to be. And not just where it needs to be, where it really longs to be. I've just been afraid and uncertain about whether or not it was time to make a decision that would change a lot about my life. To make a long story short, I quit soccer. All year I struggled with the fact that I give my whole heart and soul, all my time and energy, to soccer. And I really do love it, and I really love my teammates more than anything, so it was a hard decision to make. But God has made it so clear that it was the right decision to make. Through the people I've crossed paths with and the opportunities to truly be a part of "His mission" He has made it very clear that there is something so much better ahead. We're going to start Young Life in Jonesboro again. When I say "we," I mean that I've been talking with the regional director, and he wants to come up and do some leadership training with some ASU students (which is my job--to find them) and get reconnected with some of the adults in the community that he knows. I've left a lot of little details out of this story that make it all make a lot more sense, because I don't want to write an entire novel tonight. But it's really been cool to see God use so many random people and situations to get me to this point. It was definitely not by chance that any of it happened.

Aside from big, life-changing decisions, God has just been so present all summer. It's been weird being at home in a city where I don't know anyone besides my family. My Dad has been gone a lot because he spent a month at camp right after I did, and this week he is at camp with his kids from Houston. So it's been sort of sad to not get a whole lot of quality time with him, but the little bit of time we have gotten has been really sweet. It's really just been me and my mom most of the time, and it is amazing how much we've gotten along. Not that we don't love each other, we just have always been so different and struggled so much in relating to each other, etc., that it's always been hard to be "good friends" I guess. It has truly been a god-sighting to me this summer to see how enjoyable our time together has been.

I feel like the loneliness has been good, even though it has really sucked. It's made me pray differently, almost more intimately, because my alone time with Jesus has truly been "time to talk with a friend"... and as lame as it sounds, I don't have any of those around here! I've learned a lot about myself, I've been alone with myself enough this summer to really see my strengths and weaknesses come out with nothing or no one to mask them. It's been a growing experience, for sure. I'm starting to reach the point where I might actually go insane soon--I'm glad to be going to Charlotte next week to spend some time with some friends from Summer Staff. I know that the highlight of my summer was definitely my month at Windy Gap. I'm sure it will forever be one of the highlights of my entire life. There was some scripture that we focused on the whole time we were there, and I really think it's been sort of a theme for the summer. If there is one thing I think of forever, every time I look back on this summer, I hope it's this:

"If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it." -Mark 8:34-35

I feel like I really learned what it means to live out that verse this summer. To lose your life for Him in order to save it. To completely deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Jesus. As much as it's scary and completely unknown, I can't wait to see where God takes me on this new journey over the next year. It will be fun to continue to look back as I continue to grow. But man, I hope there is never another summer as lonely as this one has been ever since I got home on June 22nd!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

My weekend as a river rat!

Wow, it's really been too long since I posted something on here. This weekend I spent a few days in New Braunfels camping on River Road with some of my friends from Windy Gap. It was great to spend some time with those three lovely ladies, and it was definitely an experience for the books. A few lessons learned and interesting happenings from our little adventure:

1. If you see a dark cloud in the distance, wait for it to pass before attempting to set up camp. Strong winds in dirt fields just might result in Dust Bowl 2009.

2. Stereotypical "River Rat Rednecks" are actually real. They really do have serious arguments about Nascar in which the threat, "I'll piss on your tent" is exchanged when someone hates on their favorite driver. They really do drink Crown with their breakfast, and let out "rebel yells" whenever they so please. If you have ever seen "The Turtle Man" on youtube, I'm pretty sure he was our neighbor. If you haven't seen him, you should watch it ASAP.

3. A group of four young girls in an environment when having all of your teeth puts you in the minority pays off. Discounts on everything! We even got a free cooler tube when we floated the river.

4. ALWAYS check your parking spot number and level in a parking garage. Especially when you're at the River Walk in San Antonio and there are typically 3 parking garages right next to each other.

5. When the bath houses are closed and there are hundreds of intoxicated people in one small village of tents, watch out for (a) girls peeing in strange places all over the camp grounds, and (b) women "showering" in the sinks in the one small bathroom that stays open 24 hours. Yeah, shimmying by a naked lady when trying to get to the toilet is a little awkward.

6. Make sure you throw away all your trash and lock your cooler when you go to bed at night... Raccoons like to make frequent visits.

7. If you actually intend on sleeping, bring ear plugs to block out the noise from your noisy "Turtle Man" neighbors. Although doing so might rob you of some serious entertainment.

We had a great time, and definitely experienced some "one of a kind" things! Next year we're going more prepared--christmas lights on the tent to make us look cool like our awesome redneck neighbors, A FAN, and more people! We were wishing we had more of our summer staff buddies with us!

Might upload photos later... stay tuned.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Moon is Round!

Well, I've been home for 2 days now and finally have been able to gather myself enough to sit down and reflect on my month at camp. There really are not enough words to explain how incredible it was. It was truly and indescribable experience. There's something really special about living in close community with people, where you worship together, serve together, love one another, and just live life like I really believe that God intended it to be. It was a blessing, and I am so grateful for the experiences, good and bad, and the rich friendships that I left there with. It was a beautiful four weeks, and will forever be a milestone in my life. I feel like I grew so much while I was there.
I heard a story while I was at camp that I have been thinking about all week since I left. It was about a little girl who was terminally ill. She kept a journal, and it was just full of scripture. She knew she was dying but she was so faithful, and only twelve years old. When she died, she left her journal to a spiritual mentor of hers. This lady flipped through this journal and in the midst of all of this scripture there was a page that had only one short sentence written boldly in permanent marker. It said, "The moon is round." The lady spent weeks trying to figure out what it meant until finally she realized exactly what it meant. It's a reminder that we all need: to be faithful, hopeful, and trusting. When we look at the moon, sometimes it's full. But most of the time it's not. It might be a half moon, quarter moon or crescent moon. We might not see the moon at all. But we always know it's there. It's the same with God. We don't always see God in a "full moon" sort of way. More often than not, we have to have faith that He's there. We have to be hopeful and trust that He will see us through whatever we might be going through. And as I come home to an imperfect world after spending a month in "spiritual paradise," I've had to remind myself constantly that the moon is round. I got to see a "full moon God" so often at Windy Gap, and that was amazing, and He taught me so much during that time. But now it's back to life and all of the issues that come with it, and it's good to know that even when I don't see Him fully, God is here.

The Moon is Round!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Off to Windy Gap...

Only three days until my month at Windy Gap begins! I am so excited. I'm ready to be settled in one place for a month and get into some sort of a routine. My life has been madness for the last three weeks. And what a great place to be spending a month at, with a "family" to serve with! I can't believe it's already here. I can't wait to write again in a month and look back on all the amazing things that God showed me. It's hard to even write anything right now because I know that my next post is going to be so EPIC! But I feel like I need to write something before I fall off the face of the earth for four weeks...

When I was in Nashville, I had breakfast with an old Young Life friend. She asked me to give her three things that I would like to see God do for me during my time at Windy Gap. My answer:
1. Teach me to be more of a servant. I think that was an obvious one... I'm going to serve, I'd like Him to teach me to be a servant. My job at camp is very "behind-the-scenes"... no one will see what I do, no one will know, but hundreds of kids will be served and blessed because of it. I hope I can keep a servant's attitude with pure intentions of blessing others during my month there.
2. That my month at camp would spark a deeper passion in me to grow in my relationship with the Lord, and that I would have consistency in that relationship. It would be so easy to leave there and get overwhelmed with my crazy life, especially with preseason coming shortly thereafter, and let my relationship with Him get put on the back burner. I think I let that happen last year and I don't want it to happen again.
3. That I would have a change of heart in my feelings about living in Texas this summer. All year I've had this lingering bitterness about that whole situation, and haven't been excited about being here with just my family and no friends. I don't want my six weeks here to be miserable, I want to enjoy my time with my family, because during the school year I miss them a lot.

...so that's how my friend Ellie will be praying for me this month, and if you're an avid reader of my blog (I'm sure there aren't many of you--this is where I shout out to my Dad, thanks for reading), I hope you will too. I'm excited about the adventure ahead of me, and I can't wait to come back and share it with you. Thank you for your prayers!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Texas Adventures!

I'm finally at home in Houston! I haven't written in a while... I've been too busy wandering all over the United States. I guess this post will just be a re-cap of my last week or so, for those of you who actually care to know what I've been up to! I left Nashville on Tuesday, picked up some friends along the way in Arkansas, and we spent a few days at my grandparents' lake house in Crockett, TX. Friday we drove up to Dallas for JR and Britt's wedding... had to be at the rehearsal dinner Friday night, which was a lot of fun. The wedding was on Saturday and it was so precious! I cried like 3 times during the ceremony. The reception was a blast... I was a dancing fool, naturally. Today was kind of sad because I had to say bye to all my friends and Leland. Won't see most of them again until August... working on not waiting that long to see Leland. I'll see him on Friday but only for a little while, he's picking me up from the airport in Nashville, but I'm leaving that same day to drive to Knoxville and break up the trip to camp. It's gonna be a crazy week trying to unpack everything at home and then pack for my month at camp. I'll write something more meaningful later this week, I suppose... for now I'm just going to post some fun pictures from the last week!

The girls at the lake... so fun!


Noland, Kai, Leland, Me, Corbett, Kelsey... what a fun group!


Me and Kai, pre-rehearsal


Me and my wonderful date/drummer at the wedding


The girls and the groom! What a guy. Love him.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Jesus was a nomad

"Foxes have holes and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head."
-Luke 9:58

I like that. The ironic thing about this verse is that the title of the passage it comes from is, "The Cost of Following Jesus." I joke and complain about being "homeless," and roaming around Nashville like a nomad when I'm here, but this is the way Jesus lived. Except He did it on foot! He just traveled around and spread His love. So I think it's cool that I get to do that. I get to be here, and spend time with people, and I have the opportunity to spread His love while I do that. I get to do that in North Carolina, and Texas, and everywhere in between. And I really think that maybe God did that for a reason. I get to cover so much ground this summer, and I get to bring Him with me everywhere I go! So I hope that the people that I come into contact with along this journey that I'm on this summer will see Jesus in whatever I do.

The passage that the above verse comes from talks about two different men who Jesus is calling to follow Him. The first one says, "Lord, first let me go bury my father." And Jesus says to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go an proclaim the kingdom of God." (v. 59-60) The second man says, "I will follow you, but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family." Jesus' response is, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God." (v. 61-62) So pretty much Jesus is saying that nothing, not even burying your dead father or saying goodbye to your family, is more important than following Him. And He takes us on these bizarre paths that we don't understand, but that's "The Cost of Following Him."

Basically, my point is that I think God has me feeling homeless for a reason. And my Mom would probably say, "You're not homeless, your home is in Texas, and you need to stop holding on to Nashville." But I don't think I'm done with Nashville just yet... there are too many people here that are still impacting my life so much, and helping me grow so much, for me to just leave and never come back. I cherish my time here because of that. I had breakfast with a special old friend this morning, and that two hours with her was so encouraging, and I felt like I grew so much just in that short amount of time that I spent with her. And I've found those kinds of people in Arkansas, and I'm sure I'll find them in North Carolina and Texas too. And the cool thing about finding people like that is that those are the people that can make anywhere feel like home.

So what I think I'm trying to say is that maybe God has things to teach me in all of these different places that He is taking me to, and staying in one place just for the sake of "having a home" isn't anywhere near as awesome as the path He has me on. Jesus never really had a home... and if we really desire to be Christ-like as Christians, we shouldn't become so attached to these places that we make our homes, because His plan is the one that matters, and by staying on the path that He has chosen for us, we'll all end up in the same eternal home. That's the place I want to call home.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A Tribute to "The Swedes"...

Now that the craziness of packing up and moving out is over, I want to take a minute to post a tribute to two very special people. This year, we had two girls from Sweden on the ASU soccer team. They were only here for one year, but I'm positive that they made a permanent impact of every person that they interacted with over the last year. They loved to ride in the bed of my truck... in the fall, before it started getting cold, they would stand outside of their dorm and wait for me to drive by to go to practice so they could ride back there. My favorite thing about them was the communication barrier. They both spoke good English, but it was muffled by their Swedish accents. Elin, the tall, blonde, more "graceful" of the two, did a better job of thinking through things before she attempted to say them in English. The thing that cracked me up about her was that she could not for the life of her grasp the concept of the letter j. To her, a joke was a yoke, jogging was yogging, and our trainer John was Yohn. I loved to give her a hard time about that. But she wasn't as bad as Sofia, or as most people called her, Fia. Fia is just this ball of happy energy. She doesn't walk, she bounces. And when she talks she's usually really excited, so nothing comes out right. Some of my favorite "Fia-isms"...
1. Me: Fia, what class are you going to?
Fia: um... retard English!
2. When she had a cold... "Krimm! I have so many sneezes in my nose!"
3. When I asked her if she was going to let me dye her hair... "Um... I will have a conversation with my brain, and I will get back to you!"
4. When she noticed I was having a bad day... "Krimm, why do you have a little sad in your eye?"
5. When we were playing the "vegetable game"... "I don't like this because I do not know any of the 'wegetables'"
...there are so many more that I can't think of right now. I wish I had written them all down all year.

The first time Fia and I bonded was in August when the team went to the lake. We were tubing together, and Fia was not exactly an expert in shifting her weight when the tube got thrown around, so I took it upon myself to keep us both on board. I would throw my leg up over her and pull us both in one direction, and the whole rest of the day the team made fun of me for violating Fia. From that day on, Fia and I had a special bond.

It was so hard to say goodbye to our sweet Swedes. I'll miss the gentle, kind spirit that Elin had about her. Conversations with her were always special, because she always had a genuine concern for how you were doing. I'll miss the way a room lights up when Fia walks in and says, "Hellooooo!" in her Swedish accent. She brightened my day every time I saw her. I'll miss all the strange cultural differences that made it so funny and interesting to be around them. They were such a blessing and joy to get to know this year, and as hard as it was to say goodbye, I'm so grateful for the friendships that I got to have with them for a year. Hopefully they will be back to visit us sometime... and someday when I have the money, I hope I'll get to go see them too. I can't believe how fast a year with them went by. I miss them tremendously already...






Thursday, April 30, 2009

His power is made perfect in weakness.

From "Jesus Calling" today...

"When some basic need is lacking--time, energy, money--consider yourself blessed. Your very lack is an opportunity to latch onto Me in unashamed dependence. When you begin a day with inadequate resources, you must concentrate your efforts on the present moment. This is where you were meant to live--in the present; it is the place where I always await you. Awareness of your inadequacy is a rich blessing, training you to rely whole-heartedly on Me. The truth is that self-sufficiency is a myth perpetuated by pride and temporary success. Health and wealth can disappear instantly, as can life itself. Rejoice in your insufficiency, knowing that My power is made perfect in weakness."

I was just telling my friend Megan last night that I just feel like life is draining me right now. So this really spoke to me this morning, because I feel like my attitude lately has been, "come on God, give me a break here." But here He is telling me that it's good for me to feel exhausted, and ill-equipped to take on my daily life right now. He's teaching me to cling to Him  more and more. And not only to cling to Him, but to rejoice as I do so. JR preached last Sunday about being joyful always, and how we as Christians should be an example of joy in harder times, because if we react just like the rest of the world does to our problems, who is going to want to know our Savior? So that's something I'm working on right now; as I struggle to get through finals, moving out and going home, getting ready to take on my summer, and dealing with whatever life throws at me along the way, that I would be joyful always. That I would rely on the Lord to strengthen me through everything, and that I would rejoice in Him no matter what.

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."
-2 Corinthians 12:9

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance."
-James 1:2-3

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Is it summer yet?


I'm taking a study break to gather myself. My life is really going to get much better when finals are over... I'm so sick of school. Classes this semester were not fun at all... three honors classes kept me nice and busy. I can't wait to be in Nashville. One more week. I get to be with my 4 best girl friends for a week, and my boy for 2 weeks. Yes!

Good news--I don't have to drive all the way to NC by myself anymore. Papa had a free Southwest ticket he has to use before July 1, so he gave it to me. So I'm flying to Nashville and driving from there.

Back to the books... after I get a coffee refill.

Monday, April 20, 2009

my life is quite the adventure...

I'm starting to get a little bit nervous about my summer... I'm super excited about it, but there's so much that is still uncertain about it. Right when I get done with finals I'm going to Nashville for a week to spend some time with my friends there before I go to my "new home" in Texas. From Nashville, Leland, Kai and I are road-tripping it down to Dallas and picking up my friend Corbett on the way for JR and Brittany's wedding. Noland and Kelsey are meeting us there. That will be a really fun week. We're going to my grandparents lake house for a few days before the wedding. After that I'll go home for about 4 or 5 days, and then head to North Carolina for Young Life camp! I'll be there for a month. That's probably what I'm most excited for... it's going to be amazing. I'm driving all the way there by myself... my sister was originally supposed to be with me, but now she won't be. So I'm stopping in Little Rock and either Nashville or Knoxville along the way to break up the trip... it should definitely be an adventure! After camp I'll head to Texas for the rest of the summer. Not really sure what I'm doing with my life once I get there... I need to find some way to make money, but I'll only be there for like 6 weeks, so it will be hard to find a job.

So, I'm excited for all the adventures ahead, but a little nervous/stressed about all of the craziness of it. I was telling my friend Meredith about all my summer plans today and her response was, "Wow, you really are homeless!" So, in a way, I guess she may have a point... let the vagabond lifestyle continue! Maybe this is my calling. Perhaps God is preparing me for a lifetime of travels... that would be neat! I'm diggity down for that.

Ellie asked me on Friday night, if I could sum up in one word or phrase what God has been to me in the last year, what would it be... and my response was, "full of surprises!" One year ago I didn't even know that my parents were moving yet. God threw me quite a few curve balls this year... but I've seen fruit from it for sure! And obviously He is still at work in my life with all of the craziness, because there is much more to come over the next couple of months. However, underlying all of the chaos there is a peace about it... I know He knows what He's doing. I know my month at camp will be a time of tremendous growth, and surprises as well I'm sure! And I'm kind of excited for my lonely road trip... I think me and God are gonna have some good bonding time during those long drives. As for my lonely time in Texas, I hope He's got something exciting for me, because as much as I'm excited about being home with my family, I feel like I'm gonna get bored real fast. Especially since Dad will be at camp for most of the time that I'm home. =(

2 weeks of school left, and then let the adventures begin...

Saturday, April 18, 2009

what a night!


Last night was so much fun! I saw Drew and Ellie Holcomb for the first time since August... way too long! It was great to get to catch up with them, they are precious. I got a sweet little surprise while I was there. Leland wanted to come to Memphis to surprise me but couldn't really afford to make that drive two weekends in a row, so he called Drew yesterday and had him dedicate a song to me. I cried.

It was a special night... glad I got to see some old friends that I miss so much, it was great getting to sit and talk to Ellie for a while. One thing I love about Young Life is that I've met people that become like family so quickly, and even if I only see them a few times a year for a very short time, that short conversation I get to have with them is so special. I feel like that's how it's gonna be in heaven. We're just gonna connect with people so easily because of this common love for Christ that we share. It's amazing how different relationships can be when that one common bond to Jesus is present. Love it!



PS, if you don't know Drew Holcomb, you should.
www.drewholcomb.com

Thursday, April 9, 2009

He always shows up at the right time!

God has been loving on me this morning...

Last night I was kind of sad because my sister was supposed to come visit me today and she can't come anymore. So I went to bed pretty bummed, kind of expecting to wake up feeling the same way.

I woke up to a text message from one of my favorite people in the whole world, an old YL leader, friend, and "sister" from Nashville, just saying that she misses me and was praying for my day. Then I sat down to do my daily devotional, and this was what I read: 

"Each moment you can choose to practice My Presence or the presence of problems."

And that was all the encouragement I needed. I feel like God just woke me up this morning and said, "I'm here. That's all you need." I don't know how anyone gets through their hard days without that, because His love and presence is the only thing that I know is always there, and it's all I need to get through my day.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Unanswered Questions

Last week was a tough one. Leaving Nashville was hard, it always is... leaving all of those people that I miss having around all the time always makes me a little bit sad. Leaving a good friend of mine who's really struggling a lot right now was probably the hardest part. It's hard to watch people you love hurt and not be able to do anything to fix it.


Thursday was the two year anniversary of the death of a close family friend. He was my dad's best friend and my best friend's dad. I had known him my entire life, and pretty much grew up just as much in his house as I did in mine. He died on his way to pick up my best friend from rehab, when he crashed his little private plane. As much as I miss him, and it's just hard to think that he's not around anymore, the thing that breaks my heart the most about it is that his family is still hurting so much. When he died we all thought, "maybe this is what it will take for things to change... for his kids to stop walking down the dark road they're on." Two years later, not much has changed. It's just one of those things that I don't know if I will ever understand. It's something that often has me thinking, "God, where are you in this situation?!"


I guess my point is that it's situations like this when I think it's really hard to just have faith that it's part of God's plan, because there is so much pain and heartache involved. It's hard to just be prayerful about it and not be able to do anything else at all. If it were up to me, I wouldn't have taken my best friend's dad so that she would draw closer to Jesus. But maybe that's what had to happen... and maybe God's timing is different than mine, and I shouldn't be frustrated, because to him two years isn't very long, even though it seems like forever to me. I can say all of this, but to really believe it is different, and honestly, my first thought on the situation is, "God, I don't understand. This can't be part of your plan, because it's not working."


... I don't have a thoughtful or clever way to tie this all together like I usually do, or any last thoughts at all, really. This is just a real, frustrating thing that I struggle with, that I'm still searching for the answers to. After two years, I don't even really know if there ever will be an answer. I'm just gonna keep being prayerful, I guess. Someday maybe it will all make sense. Maybe one day everything will fall into place and I'll look back and think, "that's why God did that." At least I hope that's what happens.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

"These vagabond shoes, are longing to stray..."


Well, it's day 4 of spring break, I've been in Nashville since Friday night. It's been fun, but a little bit weird... for the first time ever, Nashville really doesn't feel like home anymore. I think because last semester it was the first time I'd been back, so it still felt a little bit "homey." But this time it feels different. Like, there are certain people here that are like family to me, and I feel at home with them, but I really don't feel like I have a home here... which was to be expected, since I don't have a home here. This was bound to happen eventually, it's just weird and a little bit bittersweet. I'm really excited to go to Knoxville tomorrow and see my sister. It will be good to see real family... I haven't seen her since January. We're gonna have lots of fun!

The good thing is that for the first time I think I actually miss Jonesboro. Not that I don't love visiting Tennessee, it just gets a little bit old living out of my car. I've decided the ranger is my "home on wheels"... I feel like I need to write a funny song about it. I think it's good that I miss Jonesboro, because I think that might be a sign that I'm actually starting to love it there. And it also might be good that I'm not feeling at home here, because it's making me miss my family, and my "real" home, I suppose... which will make my summer a little bit easier. So, although it's a little bit sad that I'm slowly becoming detached from Nashville, I'm glad that I've found reasons to miss Jonesboro, and I'm glad that I might actually be content with Texas being "home" now. Maybe I have 3 homes now... and the ranger really is my home on wheels. I can be a wanderer... why stay in one place? I've got "family" everywhere!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

"tough love"...?

Oh, what a week... it's been easier than I thought it would be. I've been kind of sad about my family being on vacation without me, but life has kept me busy and unable to dwell on it too much. Brittany is in town, which is a great distraction! =) Love her. And Leland comes tomorrow, so I've had something to look forward to.

I was reading my daily devotional today, and it got me thinking about some things... this is what it said:
"Rejoice in the one who understands you completely and loves you perfectly. As I fill you with My love, you become a reservoir of love, overflowing into the lives of other people."

So, let's break that down. Sentence number one: rejoice in the one who understands you completely and loves you perfectly. The phrase "understands you completely" is enough to write an entire book on. God knows everything about us... yet he still loves us PERFECTLY. Perfectly. There are no conditions, just this never ending love. It goes back to him being "omnipresent"... he's always there, always knowing. I mean, I think even if the people who love me the most, my family and closest friends, knew absolutely everything wrong that I've ever done, especially things that would hurt them, they wouldn't still love me unconditionally. Even if they tried, they're human and they wouldn't forget those things that I did to offend them. Yet I do things every day that aren't pleasing to God and he still loves me unconditionally. That's pretty incredible love. 

Then it says this: as I fill you with my love, you become a reservoir of love, overflowing into the lives of other people. That sentence hit me hard, and it made me ask myself, am I allowing God's love for me to overflow into my love for others? I don't know... I hope so.

Last night I was watching "Across the Universe" with my friend Kelsey. If you haven't seen it, it's a musical using only music by The Beatles... it's flippin awesome. You should watch it. And if you don't like the Beatles, you're a sinner. It's funny, because there's this underlying theme of unconditional love in the movie, and it's a very "secular" message of love. Like, just listen to some of the music, the lyrics are beautiful... Paul McCartney and John Lennon were poetic geniuses. They wrote about this undying, unconditional love in so many of their songs. They even went as far as saying that, "love is all you need." And this is what amazes me: the way the world loves is the way Christians should be loving. I firmly believe that we should love and reach out in a very "liberal" way, and a lot of Christians won't do that. We see the way people are living and we automatically shut them out. And then we wonder what's wrong with the world--maybe WE are what's wrong! Maybe Christians aren't doing what God told them was the greatest commandment--we aren't loving people. Not all of them, at least. We love the ones who we think are good enough for our love.

If we're gonna be honest, we're not even loving other Christians the way that we should. We judge, and we decide what we think people should be like, and we make ourselves bigger than we are, and we shrink God into something that we think He is, when really, we can't even come close to really knowing what He is. He gives us this simple commandment, and just tells us that He wants us to love Him, and love each other, and so many of us aren't doing that. And I really believe that we won't love other people the way that we should until we love Him the way that we should--with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength. So my prayer for myself, and my prayer for Christians is that we would get that straight. That we would fall so deeply in love with Jesus that His love overflows into the lives of others. Because honestly, right now, the world is loving people the way that Christians should be loving them. And if Christians were loving that way, maybe the world wouldn't view us as such hypocrites. Just a thought...

Sounds of laughter shades of life 
are ringing through my open ears 
exciting and inviting me 
Limitless undying love which 
shines around me like a million suns 
It calls me on and on across the universe

-Across the Universe

Nothing you can make that can't be made. 
No one you can save that can't be saved. 
Nothing you can do but you can learn how to be you in time. 
It's easy. 
All you need is love.
-All You Need is Love