Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning

This is my second Christmas break from college experience where I have to say goodbye to people I spend all my time with for about a month. I remember it being hard last year, but this year it has an extra-special heart-wrenching quality. Kristen came to visit this weekend, and today she and Rebecca both left. It's so weird to think that neither of them will be a part of my next semester at Belmont. Of course, they will both still be my friends, and we'll keep in touch, but I haven't fully grasped the concept of neither of them being around and in the next room anymore.

This is a somewhat surreal experience, but I know it will all be okay. Kristen is coming back, and Rebecca has not escaped our friendship! Now we just have to make a little more effort. I hope you two know how much you mean to me and how much I've enjoyed living near you guys and hanging out for a year and a half. Don't forget about me when you're on SNL and working for a record label. Come get your coffee from my Starbucks every now and then!







And this poem is heavy on the romance, but I feel like it has some relevance here because space can be overcome.

A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning
by John Donne

As virtuous men pass mildly away,
And whisper to their souls to go,
Whilst some of their sad friends do say,
The breath goes now, and some say, no:

So let us melt, and make no noise,
No tear-floods, nor sigh-tempests move,
'Twere profanation of our joys,
To tell the laity our love.

Moving of the earth brings harms and fears,
Men reckon what it did and meant.
But trepidation of the spheres,
Though greater far, is innocent.

Dull sublunary lovers' love
(Whose soul is sense) cannot admit
Absence, because it doth remove
Those things which elemented it.

But we by a love, so much refined
That our selves know not what it is,
Inter-assured of the mind,
Care less, eyes, lips, and hands to miss.

Our two souls therefore, which are one,
Though I must go, endure not yet
A breach, but an expansion,
Like gold to airy thinness beat.

If they be two, they are two so
As stiff twin compasses are two:
Thy soul, the fixed foot, makes no show
To move, but doth if the other do.

And though it in the center sit,
Yet when the other far doth roam,
It leans, and hearkens after it,
And grows erect, as that comes home.

Such wilt thou be to me, who must
Like the other foot, obliquely run;
Thy firmness makes my circle just,
And makes me end, where I begun.


You guys have been the highlight of my college experience so far.


Friday, December 12, 2008

A Rare Political Post

I rarely express opinions about politics, and I'm fairly apathetic about a lot of policies. I have my beliefs and I vote, but I'm not one to push people very far. That said, I found a cause I believe in enough that I'm actually willing to get involved. So this is one small way for me to share it, and if you feel the same way, I hope you'll vote.

Nashville is holding a special election to eliminate the use of any non-English language by Metro government. I think this is a horrible policy for several reasons. First, it does nothing to make people learn English, it just makes it harder for people who are in transition and learning English to do anything in the city. It doesn't do anything to stop illegal immigration either, which is the angle the people pushing this are taking. What it does do is change the way we treat immigrants. While I think people should make the effort to learn English, I understand that learning a new language takes time. This would make Nashville a city that has zero compassion for people who are trying to improve their quality of life. This isn't about immigration. This policy perpetuates racism and hate by affirming the close-minded people who believe they are superior because they happened to learn English first.

I don't want to go off on a political rant because it's just not my style. But if you live in Nashville (especially my Belmont friends) and you want it to be a compassionate city, register to vote in Nashville and vote against English Only. And if you want more information about English Only, you can find it here.

This is pushing the line about as far as I want to go because I still don't like politics or pointing people out and saying I know better, but here is an article from the Nashville Scene about the councilman who is pushing this.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

No More Class!

This semester seems like it's been ridiculous compared to the last. Instead of much Brett Michaels and Celebrity Rehab watching, I've done nothing but read and write. I realize that's what I do, but I really enjoyed that slacker second semester of freshman year. The scary thing is it's only going to be worst next semester. The two literature classes I'm taking are going to be brutal, but at least I like to read!

I still need to take some time to think about all that's happened this semester (which may not happen until after finals). I feel like what I've learned this semester is how hard it is to spend time with the people I love when things get busy. People I love is such a huge phrase because this semester it's been my family, my friends, and sadly God. It's basically everyone in my life, and I feel like I've neglected them all at some point.

So even though this hasn't been sorted out yet, I'm looking ahead and trying to see how I will apply this recognition of my neglectful tendencies in the future.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Where Did the Focus Go?

Not that I've been super focused all semester, but I feel like I'm having more trouble focusing than ever at this point. I think it might be because I'm so over school at this point that I can't bring myself to do my homework. I was finally able to have some time to relax and I would have been able to prolong that if I had done just a little homework, but instead I managed to get behind and lose a lot of sleep. Oh well, two more days of class and then all I've got to suffer through is finals until January. The break will be beautiful.

And on another note, I need to get this out. I've complained in the past about being single and the feeling that it would never go away, but I can say that lately I've had some people who seem to be showing interest who I would like to escape from. Really, I am super content with being single right now. And honestly, I don't want to have to turn people down, but I'm just not interested. It's like the right guy isn't ever around at the right time. Oh well, I guess I can be flattered by the interest and honest about my desire to stay single for now. That was random, but whatever.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Why Home is So Much Sweeter

I think I discovered over the break why I have been so much more attached to home lately. Part of it is the fact that I didn't go home this summer. After that I felt more of a need to go home and see my family as much as possible because I neglected them a little this summer. More than that, though, I think the fact that I've gone home a couple of times recently has had a huge impact, especially since my two closest Belmont friends will soon be gone. I still have lots of friends here in Nashville (and if you read my blog, you're most likely one of them), but I think there is a part of me that is resisting change. When I went home, I was reminded that those friendships I cared about in high school are still there. My best friends in Gainesboro haven't left, so I feel like that won't change. There is stability at home because those friends aren't going anywhere and neither is my family.

This is coming across sounding worse than it actually is. I don't have a huge complex about Kristen and Rebecca leaving, I just have this natural pull toward home that hasn't been there in the past. I'm glad to know I have that stability at home, but I'm not discounting all of you here in Nashville. I hope you all know that you are wonderful friends whom I love and feel so blessed to know. And I hope that this simply means we will have more time together and I will get to know you all better. God has been really faithful with the friends he's placed in my life, and I know he shuffles them around for a reason. It's good to know why home has such an appeal and that those friends will always be there, but I also love Nashville, and I know every friend I have isn't leaving. So to those of you who are here, thank you. And even though home is so nice, I have a lot going for me in both places.

Monday, November 3, 2008

I am learning that I love to have conversations with people I don't know very well. People who know me would point out that I have always loved that, but lately I've been able to recognize when these conversations are happening, and I love it. I have had the chance to talk to some really wonderful people who I've known for a while but never had a chance to get past much more than a "Hello, how's class?" It's been enlightening, and I hope those people know that their company was much appreciated.

I'm so impressed with the wide range of personalities God created. I forget sometimes that we're all different. But when I remember it, it makes me really happy.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Running and Reflecting

I ran the Team Nashville 10-Miler yesterday, and I found it interesting the things that come to mind when you're running ten miles. I didn't have many distractions because I was running at a pace where there were very few people--somewhere between the really slow people and the fast ones--so I got to see a lot of the scenery. When all you're doing is running, it's amazing the time you have to yourself. I had time to reflect on my semester and how stressed I've been lately. I remembered running with specific people, including every little tip they gave me. I even remembered my dad teaching me to drive and telling me to straighten out the curves on our country roads. So much to think about for an hour and a half.

It occurred to me that all these things I remembered while I was running had something in common: the people who were right beside me when these things were happening. My semester has been stressful, but it's also been awesome. I've kept my old friends (something not everyone does year two of college), and I've made some fantastic new friends. As busy as I've been I have had people to share my busyness with, and they make it worth it. And as for the people I've been running with, there have been so many and I feel like they were the only thing keeping me accountable. I didn't want to let them down now that they've been kind enough to slow themselves down to my pace and constantly offer advice. Not to mention, they've given up a good deal of time to go on longer runs with me. It's been a blast getting to know them, and I can only hope we continue running together. In both of those categories is Rebecca, who got up before the sun yesterday and was standing at the finish line. That meant more than I think she'll ever know. Dad's driving directions reminded me of the amazing parents I have. Mom ran the race with me yesterday, and Dad came to cheer us on. I have been so blessed to have great parents who love me and love each other. I'm so happy that we still find things to do together even though I'm not living at home.

The race was a good experience, and I feel like I got more out of it than exercise and a keychain. I learned something about myself yesterday that I haven't fully processed, but from what I've got so far, there are some really great people in my life. I hope they know how much they are loved and appreciated.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

What I really need to be doing is some homework. However, I'm in a really weird spot because it's Tuesday night and I'm in a hotel in Lenoir City. I've never stayed in a hotel alone before, so that's a very new, grown-up kind of experience, and I'm just really tired, but I have so much to do. I should start working on a paper, but I'd rather lay down in this bed that I just spent sixty dollars to sleep in one time. And of course, the later I stay up, the harder it will be to drive home tomorrow; it's still several hours back to Nashville. We'll see if anything gets finished.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Overwhelmed

I feel like that's the only feeling I have any more. Every time I think it can't get worse it does. But I know I will be fine, and I also know there are much bigger problems in the world than mine. For now, I'm in North Carolina and even though it makes the homework slightly harder to accomplish in time, I know I made the right decision to come. I wouldn't go back and change it for anything.

I have three papers due on Friday. One of the assignments I just got today. I also have several projects to work on, and I don't know when I'm going to fit them in. I've learned this semester to make the decision to be a friend before being a student. I don't think I've found the perfect balance, but I'm getting there. The best part is that those friends are worth it.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

I hate to see the people I love hurt. And I also hate that I can do so little to ease the hurt. I get caught up in the things going on in my life and begin to feel overwhelmed, and then something happens to shake that up, and I realize that my busy school schedule is not the most important thing in my life. I just hate that those things have to happen. I wish I could do something to make things better, and I wish there was something I could say, especially since it's so unlike me to be at a loss for words. I don't have those words for you, but you've got my prayers and all my love.

Monday, October 20, 2008

People, Stories, and Obvious Connections

I'm glad I am constantly learning new things about myself, but I have to say I feel like sometimes it's obvious things I learn and life would be easier if I would realize them earlier. Of course, I guess it wouldn't be life if it worked that way.

I realized this weekend the reason I am a literature major. I knew I liked lit, but I never made the connection of why. This weekend, however, I had to do an activity where I wrote about my strengths, passions, and values, and I made possibly the most obvious connection ever. I love to tell stories, I love to hear stories, and I love to read. These came up in all three categories--the strengths, passions, and values--and I realized it all made sense: My life is all about stories! This doesn't seem like a huge revelation, but it was big for me in a way that I'm not yet able to articulate.

I know that God's plan for me, even though it's so unclear in my mind, revolves around people and my relationships with them. I want to love people and be as much like Jesus as I can be in this life, so whether I get a real job or work at Starbucks after college, my life is about people and relating to them. I feel like this is stuff I've known for a while, but I'm trying to figure out what it means for me right now. I realize relationships are not just my future, they are most definitely my present. I'm figuring out what God is trying to show me and learning more about how I relate to people, and it's coming in revelations of the obvious.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Where Do I Go From Here?

I'm enjoying a rare quiet moment, and as usual there's some reflecting to do.

My life has been relatively intense over the last couple of days, and I'm still trying to process everything that's happened. My best friend at Belmont is gone now, and since it just happened I haven't figured out what that means for me yet. I'm not completely in agreement with the reasoning behind her leaving, but I'm trying to be the kind of friend I want to have. I'm trying to understand what's going on, and I'm trying to be supportive even though I don't understand. I wish I knew a way to make things better. I wish she didn't have to hurt.

Things also didn't go the way I would have expected with her leaving. I was a little disappointed with the way it happened, but I can only hope that we'll all come out of this okay on the other end. Things are still so surreal right now that I don't have any concept of the near future, but I'll get there.

Right now I'm just trying to process things. This will all settle down eventually and we'll attain some normalcy, but I'm hoping that will happen sooner rather than later. Right now I'm just a little drained, and I'm praying we'll all feel better soon.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Debate '08!



The break is finally here, and I'm so happy to not feel overwhelmed by my homework. I didn't leave myself much of an actual break though because I'm volunteering for the debate. Small inconveniences or otherwise, I'm super excited that Belmont is hosting the debate, and I'm even more excited to be working with the Commission on Presidential Debates! I worked an 8-hour day today, and it was long but really cool to be so close to such a historic event. I haven't started running into people I recognize yet, but I'm sure I'll get my fill of celebrity (in the news media sense) sightings soon enough.

And speaking of the debate, election day is swiftly approaching, and I'm finding myself unprepared. I don't have a clue who I'm going to vote for. I believe voting is important, and I plan to participate, but I don't know what to do! My indecisive personality shouldn't extend to voting, but so far it's been taking control. I'm finding myself incredibly apathetic about politics, but I also sit here knowing that this election is a big deal. Hopefully I'll have an update soon and I will have figured out who I think should be the next President.

In other news, I just recently learned what ChaCha was in my Bible study on Monday. I am super excited about this site, and I took the test yesterday to become a guide. I love the fact the world moves so quickly that there can be a free service devoted to answering nearly any question that can be asked in a text message. It's a beautiful thing.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

One Peaceful Moment in the Midst of the Chaos

It feels like it's been forever since I've had enough time to sit still and do anything, and I'm really happy for the break. So far this year has been packed full of stuff to do--mainly homework. I'm still learning how to make myself schedule fun things to do, and I'm also figuring out how to get the me time I know I need (except the answer to that lies in getting up super early). It has been a great semester so far, even with so much to do.

Today I'm going to the park with some of the girls in my SLA Bible study. I'm super excited about spending some time with them in a non-leader capacity. I hope to get to know a little more about them because they seem like a fantastic group. I'm so happy I get to work with them this semester!

Overall, things are good. I'm learning to deal with a crazy schedule, and I feel like I'm being stretched. And so far I think stretching is a good thing, but if I break, I may rethink this.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

My Musical Devolution

I am slightly overwhelmed with homework right now, so I'm blogging to make it all go away. I am already aware of how successful I will be, but I'm going to blog anyway.

I've met a lot of new people in the last couple of weeks, and I've been asked the typical Belmont question: right after what is your name? and what is your major? comes what kind of music do you like? While this shouldn't be a hard question to answer, I've been having a little more trouble than I ever have in the past, and I'm just now noticing this and trying to figure out why.

It's funny that before I came to Belmont, where everyone is constantly listening to something, I was very similar to everyone else here. I wanted to work in radio, I looked into majoring in music business, and I was actively listening to everything I could get my hands on. I've changed a lot though since those mid-high school years, and I feel like I'm so musically ignorant now. I was convicted about what I listened to two or three years ago, and it's interesting that when God revamped what I was listening to, he also changed my desire to listen. That's not to say that I don't love music now. I still listen to quite a bit, and I still believe music is fantastic, I have just become passive in my listening. I no longer seek out music, but I take what finds me. I still enjoy it, but I'm not obsessed.

As for the question of what I listen to, I'm not really sure. I'm still obnoxiously fond of Relient K, and I have my other favorites--Michael Buble, Frank Sinatra, ABBA, and others--but it's weird that when asked what I like nothing comes to mind. What's even more weird is that I'm okay with that. I may never fit in as a Belmont kid, but that doesn't bother me, and as long as I am still able to appreciate music and musical talent, I'm content with being the weird girl who listens to whatever. I'm just so thankful that when music had become the thing I worshiped God didn't just ask me to give it up. He asked me to take a step in that direction, and then he changed my heart. I'm so thankful to know that he doesn't ask the impossible, he makes it possible!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

It's Been One Week

Today made for exactly one week in school. I think I've finally adjusted to this newly re-discovered idea that Belmont is where I take classes instead of just where I live, but it took some time. As for those classes, I really like them. I have a ton of work to do this semester, but I feel like I'm going to learn valuable things. I don't feel like I'm wasting my time this semester. Instead I feel like I'm being challenged to know what I believe and why, as well as what I don't believe and why. I'm also learning to think about the world differently than I ever have before. That's a little scary, but I really like it. And in the classes that aren't having a profound impact on the way I think, I still feel like I'll be able to use what I learn. It's an amazing breakthrough to feel like school is doing me some good. I feel like my money isn't being wasted. And no matter where I go after this semester, here or elsewhere, I know that life is good, and I feel like I will have grown some more. I wonder if there's ever a time when I'll stop growing. And if I do, will that be okay with me?

I still feel slightly overwhelmed with all my work, but I know I'll be fine. My main goal is to not lose the important things. I know what should have top priority in my life, and I want to keep it in that position. All this growing does me no good if I don't stay spiritually and mentally healthy. I'm working on keeping my head above water and doing so in a way that keeps me even from beginning to sink. I don't want to crack mid-semester.

And for an interesting update on my life: I'm running ten miles on November 1st. That's kind of epic for me, and I go back and forth from being excited about it to worried that I won't ever be able to do it. I've got a goal to work towards though, and I'm looking forward to seeing it accomplished. 59 days to go!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Retreat

The University Ministries retreat this weekend was probably the first camp-like excursion I've ever been on that actually felt like a retreat in the true sense of the word. Even though I've gotten away from everyday life with groups from church several times in the past, I've never actually had the chance to personally retreat. This weekend, however, I was able to take some time off from the world and even from other people. The focus wasn't team-building exercises, nor was it constant preaching. Instead, I got to spend some time with God--about 8 hours of just us.

It was a really interesting experience because I don't ever have the time to just sit and be with God. I also don't usually have the attention span to sit around and listen to what God has to say. But this weekend, God found me right where I was and it was good. I was able to pray in a very passive way and allow him to do the talking.

I've only been in school for three days, and I'm already beginning to feel the overwhelming stress. My classes this semester require a good deal of reading and writing (as if I didn't do enough of that anyway in past semesters), and I have that feeling of having so much to do and so little time in which to do it all. I know it's going to be okay, though. I feel like I need the constant reassurance that things will work out, and this weekend I got that assurance. Of all the things I read this weekend there are two passages that stick out:

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore, do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Matthew 6:33-34

and

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
Philippians 1:6

While this semester seems overwhelming at the moment, I know that God will be in it. All I have to do is go about my life while seeking God first. If I do that, I won't have to worry about tomorrow. And I feel like right now there is so much uncertainty in my life. I still don't know if I'm supposed to stay at Belmont, and I've been led to the point where I will at least be researching other schools this semester. But whatever happens, I will be seeking God and making that my first priority.

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
Psalm 19:7-11

He has a lot of work to do in me still, but I know that he'll keep working up until the day he calls me home.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Year Two is Official

Things are really exciting right now at Belmont. For one thing, my loans have officially been approved, and I know I'm going to be able to stay. I couldn't be happier either because I absolutely love having my friends back on campus. It almost feels like we never left because we picked back up so easily where we left off, and I'm so happy to have Liz, Kristen, and Rebecca back on a full-time basis.

I'm having a little trouble dealing with the fact that classes start on Wednesday, but I guess it's inevitable and I'm just going to have to deal with it. I'm looking forward to a really busy but really good semester. Being an SLA is going to be a blast I think, and I'm really excited about getting to know my girls and spending time hanging out in Heron.


I've also been reminded a lot lately how much I love Belmont and why. I don't think I'd ever really forgotten, but it's been nice to think about this place as a school again instead of just the place where I live and work.


The fact that I think there might be another plan for me is still hanging over all the joy I am experiencing here. I'm still okay with the fact that I don't have a clue if I'm supposed to stay here, but I feel like the more time I spend here the harder it will be to leave. And I guess that might be why the plan isn't too clear. If I knew today that I would be transferring in the spring, I would probably withdraw from everything and everyone and miss out on a lot of really great things. I know that won't be able to happen now though because as far as I know I'm as likely to graduate from here as I am to finish school at all anywhere. I'm just going to keep on living because that's all I can do. And I'm going to trust that God knows better than I do where I should go and what I should do.

It's going to be a good semester, and I'm just going to keep reminding myself of that when classes start and I want to quit.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Transition

Today was my first day of SLA training. It was also the first day in several months that I have not been a full-time employee, and I have to say that part was glorious. It's weird because it seems like my entire summer has been leading up to this, and it's finally here. And I'm ready for things to change, but at the same time I'm going to miss the things I've been able to do this summer.

SLA training was fantastic. I didn't really know what to expect, but it's been refreshing. I really like the group of people I get to work with, and I'm really excited that I'm finally getting to make concrete plans for getting to know my girls and reaching out to them.

I'm excited that I'm leaving all of the frustrations of working 40-hour weeks for Reslife behind, but I'm also sad to be losing my stress-free nights. Homework wasn't something I had to think about when I was spending time with my friends this summer, but it will be something I think about a lot very soon.

And speaking of my friends, I'm sad that my summer friendships have to change. The people I've met this summer have been incredibly random, absolutely spectacular, and a literal God-send. I will still be able to talk to these people and spend time with them, but it won't be nearly as convenient as it has been. I know these are friendships worth preserving though, and I'm so thankful to have such great people in my life.

My Belmont friends will be back soon, and I'm excited about reconnecting with them. I've missed the people who I was spending all my time with over the last school year. It was like I saw them 18 out of 24 hours of every day on average and then they were gone all of a sudden. So, I'm really looking forward to them being back.

I'm excited about the changes happening right now, and I'm just enjoying the transition. Soon I'll have a brand new routine, but for now it's nice to live each day separately with a different schedule each morning.

And as for changes and transitions, I'm once again confused about my life. I won't go into too much detail because I'm not sure where things will lead, but I feel like something is supposed to be different as far as school goes for me. I haven't figured out yet whether I'm being led towards transferring or what, but I feel like there's a big change in the near future. I'm a little antsy to know what's going on, but God isn't letting me see the plan. I still have a peace about everything though, and I know that even if I'm not thrilled about every aspect of what's coming it's going to be good. I know there's a reason I've been where I've been, and a reason for where I'm going. I just have to remember that when the time actually comes and I might have to leave some things I love. For now I'm just continuing to live and learn and love.

Big things are coming.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

It Ain't Over 'Til the Fat Lady Sings, and She's Backstage--for Now

For some reason it's felt like my loan issues were over, but tonight my thoughts have been turned to the fact that they aren't. What's weird is that I've got a peace about everything, even though I don't have a clue which way things will go.

When the day to pay the bill came my loan had been pre-approved, but that was it. I talked to student financial services and was told that as long as everything was squared away by the end of the month I'd be fine. Now we're half way there and less than two weeks away from class, and things still aren't settled. But I'm okay with that. I am making plans right now under the assumption that I will be at Belmont for the fall semester, but at the same time I'm keeping my mind open to the possibility that I will be working at Starbucks and living somewhere else.

I've prayed a lot about this, and as usual God is assuring me in a lot of ways that everything is going to work out, but he always neglects to give me any more of the plan. I understand that's just the way he operates--telling me the end but never the means--but it's thrilling and terrifying living that way. I go from one second being ecstatic because I'm excited about this and the next frightened because I don't have a clue. It's such a quick change from one moment to the next that I am essentially just feeling both things at the same moment, and I feel it all the time. But through it all, I know it's going to be okay.

Whether I get to take classes in the fall or not, the plan has a lot of holes in it. There's so much uncertainty that I have stopped thinking about the near future in anything other than hypothetical terms. I'm along for the ride though, and I'm going to enjoy the trip. Life is good no matter what happens. And I might have to deal with other people in my life not understanding how I can be so calm if things don't go the way we always assumed they would, but I'm ready for that. I know with absolute certainty that my God hasn't forgotten about me. He's still actively involved in my life, and he's got the plan.

For now I'm just waiting. I've got about two weeks before the day when they tell me whether I can stay or not, and until then I'm going to go about my business. When the time comes I'll know what I'm supposed to do. That scares me, but I'll get over it. I'm just going to live and not worry about tomorrow because it will worry about itself.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Bliss


Today I had the most serene half hour I've had in a long time. On my lunch break I grabbed a sandwich and some fruit from What's Bruin and decided to eat in the courtyard around the bell tower. The weather was absolutely perfect--not too warm or too cold with a nice breeze. The sun was glorious, although not too hot, and because there aren't many people on campus things were pretty quiet. What sound I did hear was the bell tower playing hymns. It was absolutely perfect, and I was so sad when I had to go back to work. It's wonderful to have a few minutes to sit outside and not have to think too much about anything. I feel like even when there isn't much going on in my life I don't take enough time to just sit still. Today was a reminder that life is good, and I need to take a little time to enjoy it and the beauty of everything around me.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

People Need Faith in a Helping Hand

I can't quite get over how perfect my recently acquired friends are. I feel like I've known them so much longer than a couple of months, and I can't explain how attached I have become to them. I love the fact that someone I just met this summer would help me move. And not only will she help me move my stuff, she will help with someone else's--someone she doesn't even know. I also love that the whole time we are moving she doesn't mind listening to me vent frustration. And I'm glad that she's seen the frustrated, not-so-nice side of Kindall and will still hang out and eat Chinese while watching Will & Grace with Kindall.

What's even better is that she isn't the only one. I would have been thrilled to meet one person this summer who I absolutely loved, but God blessed me with so much more. I hope you all know how much you've changed my life and how much I love you. You people are amazing, and I'm happy to know you exist and that you don't mind wasting some of your time with me. Until you get sick of me, I'm here for you!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Mamma Mia, Yeah I Went Again

Even though I said I wasn't going to watch any more movies for a while, I think I've seen more since that declaration than I've seen in the last couple of years leading up to it combined. And the craziest thing is that I have now seen Mamma Mia four times. That's a little ridiculous, but that movie is so stinking good. And when I say good I mean a very good bad movie. I still can't really believe I've seen it four times, but I love it. And if asked, I would probably go again today, I'm not above that.

I feel like I haven't had time to write much lately, and at the same time I feel like I haven't had much to write about. I've been pretty busy, but nothing epic has happened, and I haven't had any life-changing revelations lately. I think I may just need a couple of days to rest and collect my thoughts. In my compulsive journaling over the years, I have noticed a direct correlation between my mental health and having things to write about. It looks like I'm on auto-pilot right now, and I need to get out of that. When school starts back I'll get enough coasting to last me until next summer, so I'm hoping I will be able to spend some time thinking and reading soon. I just need a small break from life every now and then to keep me sane.

Auto-pilot or otherwise, life is pretty good right now. I've still got some summer left, and I plan on enjoying every last minute of it. Not that school will be a bad thing, it will just be different, and I like things the way they are now. Everything is pretty uncomplicated, and I'm going to enjoy it while it lasts.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Home Stretch

I have moved in possibly the slowest fashion ever, but I'm finally hitting that point where I am close to being finished and my mind is at ease. Tonight will be my first night sleeping in Thrailkill, and even though it's a downgrade I'm happy to be here. I really like the room, and I'm looking forward to having other people living on my floor. Alone time in the apartment was nice, but I think this is going to be good. I'm still in the process of figuring where to put all my stuff because I have a lot less space now, but that's the only drawback I've seen so far. Living with other people will present a few more I'm sure, but there will be huge perks to that as well.

And the really good news is that I won't have to move out in a couple of days because I can't afford to go to school. My loans are officially approved, and I'm going to be able to stay! I knew things would be okay, even if the loans hadn't been approved in time, but this is so much more comforting.

Even though the summer isn't over yet, this move makes its coming to a close official. I'm a little sad that things have to change, but I'm also really excited about this year. I've learned a lot about myself this summer, and I'm looking forward to putting that knowledge to good use in a new situation. Sophomore year, here I come!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Moving On, Again

I absolutely hate moving. I am not the cleanest person in the world, and I have my fair share of clutter, but when I am in the middle of a move the mess kills me. I think it has something to do with the fact that until all that stuff is put away in its new home I'm not finished.

Right now my apartment looks like it was hit by a tornado; the amount of crap sitting in my living room is unbelievable. And for some reason my brain confuses clutter with huge life events that aren't so great, so while my apartment looks like this I'm going to be stressed. Even if I'm not at home the thought of all that junk is plaguing me.

I get to start moving tomorrow, but I'm moving literally four people's stuff, so it's going to take a while. And I can only move my stuff out tomorrow because the other room hasn't been cleaned yet. I know it's all going to be okay though, and I've got people who love me to help.

I'm looking forward to having a permanent residence for a while. Even if it's only 8 or 9 months it will be so much better than having things stored all around me and boxes I never unpacked. I have loved living in my apartment, but I've known all along how temporary it is. I'm just hoping that through all of this I don't lose my mind. And when it's all over I plan on sitting back and enjoying my new space. I'm really looking forward to the awesome year that I'm going to spend in that room. I'm ready for Liz to come back, and Kristen and Rebecca. I've missed them all, so I can't wait until we're living together again. As much as I hate the moving process, it's going to be a good experience, and I'm looking ahead to good times with great people.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Still Content

I have been so sure this summer that I'm in the right place, and my friends have been a huge part of that affirmation. Even though I've only known these people for a couple of months I genuinely care about them, and I know they were people God put in my life. He knew the perfect time and place, and he brought us together in a very random and very cool way. I'm so thankful to know that I'm loved and to get to spend time with amazing people. Even if things will change when school starts back and other epic events take place in our lives, I feel like they will always be around, and we all understand that this friendship is different but so good.

And to those of you who are concerned when I freak out and consider the possiblity that I might not be at school next semester, thank you. I'm almost positive I'll be here, and I'm just thinking worst case scenario, but I thank you for caring. Thank you for your concern, for wanting to talk, and some of you for offers of a place to live if something happens. You people are amazing.

I'm so glad that God uses people in my life to show me things. I'm so glad to know that people I care a lot about care about me too. And I'm so happy with where I am. Contentment was a big deal at the beginning of my summer, and I'm seeing it coming back up in my life. I don't have a clue what's going to happen, but I know at this moment I'm in the right place, and it's a good one. It may not always be as good as it is now, but I can be content in any of those places. I can be content because I know my God loves me. He has proven so faithful, and he has given me so much more than I deserve in my friends.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

I May Not Be A College Kid Much Longer

I know I've said since I started college (and even before) that all I really want out of life is to work at Starbucks. I'm still sure I would be perfectly happy with that, but I'm afraid I may be following through with that plan earlier than expected. I waited a little long to start applying for student loans I'll admit, but now I've been in the application process for a while and nothing has been approved. The bill for next semester is due August 5, and so far I don't have the money for it. I know there is still time, but I'm just getting a little antsy.

I feel like it's important to consider the idea that something might go wrong and I might not be able to go to school next semester. I don't think that's what will happen, but if it does, what will I do? I guess the first thing I'll have to do is go home. That sounds a little ridiculous considering I'm one of few students who don't come home after freshman year, but I may be one who turns right around and moves back in with the family. That's a little scary. And then there's the question of school. Do I wait a semester, apply for loans, and come back to Belmont? Or do I spend some time at Vol State or Tech (which is a nightmare in my mind)? And of course, I will have trouble living at home and working anywhere because I'll be so far away that gas will take my entire paycheck, but I can't afford to live in Nashville.

I know that I'm going to be taken care of. I've been so well-provided for this summer that I can't question God's plan or provision, but it's still strange to be so uncertain. I guess it shouldn't be strange because my life is pretty much defined by uncertainty, but I'm just so curious because I don't know the plan. So for now I'm just going to wait it out. Until August 5 rolls around I'm going to keep living like I have been and assuming I will still be a student next semester. If that doesn't happen though, I am going to know that I'm where I'm supposed to be, even if I don't understand why. And if I end up working at Starbucks this fall, I'm just going to enjoy having fulfilled my life's dream.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Thank You Small Claims Court

I don't understand what it is that draws me to shows like The People's Court, Judge Joe Brown, and Divorce Court, but for some reason I love to watch stupid people arguing stupid cases on television. I spent a lot of time watching these shows with my grandfather before he died, and that is most likely the root of their attraction, but I feel like I enjoy them way more than I should. Right now I am watching a woman who wants the court to order her ex-husband to pay $24,000 for weight-loss surgery because she gained 100 pounds during the twenty years they were married because of stress. And when they argue these cases these people are completely unreasonable and usually have horrendous grammar. They have no idea how stupid they sound, and I love it.

What's really fun is the progression of these shows into something more interactive. Divorce Court has a myspace profile, but that's nothing compared to The People's Court. On The People's Court website, you can send a video of your side of a case and then invite the other person via e-mail to argue his or her side. Once both parties have a video online, people vote to decide who wins. I'm so happy that so many people in the world have so much free time and so little sense. Small claims court makes my day.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Lullaby

I took a nap after work this afternoon because I was absolutely worn out, but the nap got a little carried away and I slept for three hours. Now, unfortunately, I need to go to sleep but I can't because I'm not tired anymore. I hate it when that happens. And so I am now going to attempt to make sense of what's happening in my life right now.

My movie detox isn't going very well. Since I said I didn't want to see any more movies for about a month I have been to Mamma Mia! twice. That makes a total of three times. And sadly, I would go again. I haven't watched anymore Batman movies, though, and I don't plan on it in the near future.

Summer is starting to wind down, in my mind at least, and I have to say I'm ready for it. I've been having an absolute blast this summer, and I've learned a lot about myself and life and God, but I'm ready to move on in some parts of my life. It's bittersweet because I've made so many new friends and I know those relationships will change when school starts. I'll still see them all, but we'll be juggling new commitments and new schedules and we won't be able to be anywhere near as spontaneous and random as we have this summer. That's so sad because that Harry Headbanger spontaneity pretty much defines our friendship, but I don't think anything will be ruined, just different. And change is good.

I think what I'm most looking forward to is the time when I don't work so much. I like the life where I do something other than my job every day. At least I have different classes on different days of the week and I'll have some change in my routine. My personality doesn't work well with doing the same thing day in and day out. I'm also really excited about living somewhere I know I'm going to stay for a while. I love my apartment, but every time I think about it I remember how temporary it is. I would be happy to give up the perks for some permanence. I know the dorm isn't going to be as nice, but I get to stay for a while so at least I can actually unpack everything.

While not everything is great about summer coming to a close, I'm still excited that it's reaching that point. I'm going to enjoy every minute that's left, but I'm also going to take the change without complaining.

And now all I really want is to go to sleep because I have to be up early in the morning. However, I'm pretty sure I'm going to struggle a little while longer.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Up All Night for the Dark Knight

I tend to suggest ridiculous things, and every now and then people go along with me on them. That was the case with yesterday.

Friday morning I was up at 5:45 to run. Afterwards, I went to work and tried to make it through the day so Jessica and I could go see Mamma Mia!, which was a fabulous movie. When we bought our Mamma Mia! tickets, we also bought tickets for The Dark Knight on Saturday morning. Jessica found out Friday night that I had never seen any of the Batman movies, so we decided we would rent Batman Begins and watch it after Mamma Mia!. While we were at Blockbuster I made the ridiculous suggestion that we should rent all of the Batman movies and watch them that night. I knew that wouldn't leave time to sleep before we went to the theater for a 9:00 am movie, but it sounded fun. This is the part where the problem arose; Jessica agreed to the movie marathon. We also called Andrew since he was going with us Saturday and invited him to join us. I think they both had impaired judgement, but at 11:00 we started watching movies. At 7:15 this morning we had finished watching Final Fantasy, Batman Forever, Batman and Robin (hands down my favorite), and Batman begins. We got to theater before it opened and were the first people in to see The Dark Knight. So since 7:45 on Friday night I have watched 6 movies. I'm not sure I'll be able to watch anymore movies for several weeks, but I have to say I had a good time.

I now know that Jessica and Andrew are likely to agree to ridiculous things, so I'll have to start thinking about what I suggest. I'll have to keep in mind that I shouldn't suggest anything I don't actually want to do because they just might go along with it (the movie marathon does not fall into the category of things I don't want to do, don't get me wrong).

I'm almost positive that this is one of the most poorly-written posts ever because I haven't had much sleep since we got back from the theater, but I felt like this experience was pretty epic, so I needed to write it down.

Monday, July 14, 2008

You Said it ABBA, It's a Rich Man's World

I forget just how much a layoff effects my family sometimes. There is the obvious loss of my dad's income, but it's the little things I don't consider very often that surprise me because I've simply forgotten to think about them. I went to have a couple of prescriptions filled today and was reminded of the loss of Dad's insurance. The two prescriptions would normally have cost me $20 total, but today they were almost $120. We still have Mom's insurance, so it's not like we're all stepping out into the world without health insurance every day, but Dad's insurance is just better. We're back to the same spot we were in when I needed braces but had to wait because they were going to cost us so much more without Dad's coverage.

And if this didn't put money at the forefront of my mind, the student loan application process is taking care of that. With the layoff of course, I've had to find someone other than my parents to co-sign for me. My aunt is going to take care of that, but my mom is ready to kill me because it's frustrating to apply for a loan when she is filling out the paper work, I have to call the company, and my aunt has to contribute information too--all of this is made especially difficult because we are in three different locations, and we all work during the hours the loan company is open. My mom thinks I don't care because I won't just do all this myself, but the reason I don't is because there are questions I can't answer. I would be fine if we could sit down and do them together, but we don't live in the same place.

And to emphasize how serious I am about the loan process, while I was writing that last paragraph, my aunt called and we re-applied online ourselves. This is getting ridiculous, and I only hope that we are approved and don't have to go through this again until next year. It shouldn't be this complicated to go $18,000 in debt.

So for now I'm a little worried and uneasy about life because I don't know exactly how I'm going to make it. I'm trying to live on my itty-bitty salary because I know how hard things are for my family, and that's proving to be a test--especially now that my prescriptions are outrageously expensive. And the insane debt I am incurring is not making matters any better.

As stressed as I am (although I'm nowhere near as stressed as my mother), I'm realizing more and more all the time that this is the time for me to put into practice the things God was teaching me at the beginning of the summer. There was a reason this ResLife job fell into my lap and provided housing, and there's a reason I found a job while all my other friends were struggling. God was showing me that he's providing for me. I can't sit here now that things aren't as easy as they were before Dad stopped working and forget about God's faithfulness and his provision thus far. As long as I'm where he wants me, he'll be taking care of me. He has to keep reminding me, but it's finally starting to sink in.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Enough Like Old Times

When I left home to come to Belmont, I wasn't sure what to expect from my high school friendships. On the one hand, I knew I wasn't going to be that far from home so it would be very possible to still see my friends. I also knew I would be able to call and keep up with them online. On the other hand, I knew we would all be really busy, we would all be making new friends at our new schools, and it was very possible that we would quickly drift apart. I've been so happy to see how things have turned out now that I've been out of Gainesboro for almost a full year.

Sarah and Alana came to visit me this weekend, and we had a blast. Even though we went from seeing each other pretty much every day for several years to me seeing them on a very rare basis, we are perfectly capable of picking up where we left off. I'm so glad to know that we can still have conversations even though we aren't living such similar lives and surrounded by the same people.

It's interesting to see how our friendships have evolved into something different too. This weekend we discussed books, which we've never really done before. It seems like we might be forging a new connection that will keep us close to each other even though we're going to continue to spread apart in terms of physical location. We also have the ability to make some trips we couldn't have made when we were all still at home. This weekend we went to the Hermitage, and we had a really good time. We really like nerdy museum trips, and now we're old enough to make those without a mom in tow, so I'm looking forward to future educational experiences.

I think it's safe to say that the friendships I valued so much from Jackson County have for the most part remained intact. I'm not as close as I would like to be to some of the people I graduated with, but some of the most important people in my life who were huge influences on me in Gainesboro are still there. Things aren't exactly like they used to be, but that's such a good thing because they're only getting better with age.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

This Job's A Pain, It's So Mundane, It Sure Don't Stimulate My Brain

I realize this is childish and I was going to have to grow up someday, but I absolutely hate working a full-time job. I didn't love having irregular hours and no guarantee of enough hours to make working worth it before, but at least I wasn't doing the same thing every day.

Most of this frustration comes from the fact that I do absolutely nothing at work. For instance, I am at work right now writing this inspiring little rant, and I have already checked my facebook and e-mail numerous times as well as having cleared out all the new stories on my 13 subscriptions on Google Reader. I recently finished reading Pride and Prejudice; I read the entire book online at work. My mom sent me an e-mail this morning and I replied within four minutes. I'm going crazy because almost every day is like this!

If I just had a few days that were like this while the rest kept me fairly occupied I think I would be okay. I love being able to get some other things done while I'm at work, but when every day is filled with 8 hours where I am just trying to find something to do, that's not okay. The worst part is that when I get home at night I'm either bored or busy. There's no in-between, and I haven't mastered the art of finding things to do around the apartment. I feel like all I do is read, check my facebook, work--although not a lot, and sleep. Sadly, I'm longing for school to start again. When did my life come to this?

Friday, July 4, 2008

Love, Here and Now

I feel like I am finally figuring out what God wants me to do with my life. The exciting thing is that he isn't showing me these things from the standpoint of what I'm supposed to major in or where I'm supposed to be when I graduate, but from the view of how I am supposed to treat people.

One of the things I am learning is that God has not given me a heart for foreign missions at this point. That is one of those things that you think, It would be really cool if God sent me to Africa and I got to do big and dangerous things. But I know that at this point that isn't where God wants me. He's got people he wants to send to Africa and South America and China and everywhere else all over the world, but that isn't what he wants for me. There is nothing to say he won't send me somewhere someday, but for now he is showing me he has me exactly where he wants me, and that is in Nashville, Tennessee at Belmont University.

I am also learning that the reason God wants to use me exactly where I am right now is because he is putting me around the people he wants to reach. He made me good at establishing relationships, and he has put people in my life with whom a relationship was his plan. He is providing the people, and then he is showing me how exactly I'm supposed to love them. People is what it's all about, and I'm supposed to love every single one of them with a genuine love, just like Christ loves me. God is giving me genuine interest in people who need him but don't know it yet, and he is allowing me to do nothing but love those people. I don't have to push, I just have to be available and actually, genuinely love those people.

I feel like as God is showing me the way he's using me right here and now he is showing me that he wants to use me that way for a long time. That's why I'm where I am even though it doesn't make sense for me to be here sometimes. And I don't have a single clue what kind of jobs I will end up with after I get my degree (although my personal preference is Starbucks), but wherever it is I'm going to be there to build relationships with people and just love them. I'm the person who will be there to listen, to talk, to just sit with, to cry with, to celebrate with, or do whatever with, and that's really exciting to me. I obviously don't know all the details, and I don't think I ever will, but I know a little more of what God wants from me, and I can't wait to see where he's taking me.

All of this seems very simple because I know I'm supposed to just love other people. But God has taken me to a deeper level and a better understanding of what this means, and is beginning to show me how it's playing out in my life right now and is going to work in the future. Things are finally starting to come together.


Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.
Colossians 4:5-6

The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.
1 Timothy 1:5

And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness.
2 Timothy 2:24-25

Monday, June 30, 2008

The Processing Process

I feel like I'm finally getting to the point where I can begin to wrap my mind around my weekend. Today was not a good day at work, but this afternoon I managed to take a nap and then I had dinner with a friend. Dinner was fantastic because my friend was wonderful and she was perfectly willing to let me vent my frustrations. She is also my Avon lady, so I got to get in a little Avon therapy and order some new makeup.

One of the good things that has already come out of this is that I've learned that there are some people in my life who I knew liked me, but now I know that they also genuinely care for me and are concerned about my well-being. It's one of those moments when you realize that God has blessed you with some really great friends, and he did it at the right time and in the right place.

I'm going home this weekend, and I'm hoping to just spend a lot of time with my family. I doubt I will be any better at communication, but my goal is to leave knowing that they know I really do love them. I still hate the fact that they feel like I don't care about them and it's really hard to deal with. We definitely have some communication issues, and I think this weekend will be a good time to DTR and deal with the weirdness that comes from me moving out.

Overall I think things are starting to look up. I know everything is going to be alright, I just still need some time to deal and figure out where things stand.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

A Lot Can Happen In Three Hours

I went home yesterday afternoon so I could go to Alana's birthday party. I spent the night at my house and went to church with my family, and I was actually at my house and awake for a total of about three hours. Somehow in the course of those three hours though I was given a great deal to think about. One night in my house, and I'm overwhelmed with thoughts.

The biggest issue I'm dealing with is a comment my brother made about me this morning on the way to church. He said, "She really does think she graces us with her presence." I was really taken aback when I heard that because the way he said it and in context I could tell that it came from a conversation he had actually had with my mom recently. I was kind of hurt to hear that my family thinks of me that way. One of the big things about my relationship with my family is that I don't think they have ever seen quite the same personality that everyone else who knows me has seen. I don't know why it's that way, but for some reason I'm completely different around my family and I always have been. There's nothing I'm hiding, but I'm just not quite as uninhibited when I'm with them. That has confused me for years, and I'm still no closer to figuring out why they make me feel that way. Another problem is that I don't do a very good job expressing affection. It makes me feel a little like the freak of the family because I'm so awkward. It's another one of those things I don't understand, but I'm not at all touchy-feely and vocal expressions of affection from me don't sound sincere. If you don't know me you might think I don't love them. But I do love my family; I love them a lot. I don't think they always realize it though because like I said, I'm really awkward when it comes to showing affection.

To add to all of this, my awkwardness extends to my transition into living alone. I thought I was going to be home this summer, so when all of a sudden I wasn't I didn't really have a clue how all that was supposed to work. I knew I would move out someday, but that was in the future so I wasn't even thinking about how all of that would work. Now that I'm living alone, my parents and I are both working on a medium, and I think they feel like I just don't want to come home. The reason I don't come home that much is the fact that gas is stinking expensive and I'm trying to balance two lives. There is stuff I want to do here in Nashville, and because I work forty or more hours a week I tend to do a lot on the weekends. If I'm not working, I probably have another plan. I also feel bad if I go home and just hang out and eat Mom and Dad's food without contributing (even though I know that's ridiculous), so I try not to impose. My parents however, feel like I just don't want to be home so I don't come.

All of this really comes down to my parents misunderstanding my thoughts and intentions. Of course, the misunderstandings are pretty much all my fault, but I don't know why I have so many issues with outward displays of affection. I don't know where that awkwardness came from, but I'm very aware of it, and I'm not sure my parents fully understand that I just have some issue that has nothing to do with them. I always have to hope that they just know that I really do love them and I really do appreciate them, but it's apparent that they don't know that for sure.

While the fact that my parents don't realize I love them is currently weighing very heavily on my mind, it's not the only huge thing I'm dealing with since my trip home. Even though I keep up with the news, I somehow missed out on the fact that Peterbilt employees are locked out, and although I understand organized labor and the necessity of it, it's times when my dad is not working that I can't stand collective bargaining. The economy is already unstable enough that my dad not working is a really uncomfortable spot to be in. Of course we have to make some changes in the way we are spending, and I know we will be fine but it's definitely scary for Dad to be out of work. What really sucks is that in the past he has always been able to lay brick with Jeff when he wasn't at Peterbilt, but now Jeff doesn't have enough work to need him. It's even scarier when I think about the loans I'm taking out for my next year of school that are going to be so huge. I really don't want to think about it all, but it's most definitely plaguing my thoughts.

There was more I was planning to write about, but this is absolutely exhausting and depressing to think about so I think I'm going to stop for now. I know it's going to be okay, but I just don't want to dwell on any of this too much.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

What I Need Is A Little Compassion, And Maybe Some Scampi

I have a really good memory. It's what has helped me to do well in school for so many years, and it has been a huge blessing. Unfortunately, I also tend to remember things that I should forget, and I remember them for a long time. I am really bad for holding grudges. And while I don't feel wronged very often, when I do, I remember.

There is one relationship in particular where things went south--way south. It's taken several years, but that person and I have tried to fix our incredibly broken friendship. We both realized it would never be the same as it was, but we've both given a little and tried to make it work. We are still friends, although the friendship is a different kind from what we had in the past. The thing about it is that I realize I am still holding on to some things I shouldn't be, and that is keeping the relationship from being as good as I would like. I am not looking for what we had before because I know we can't go back to it, but I want the different to be good, and God has shown me that I am the one hindering that. I need to let go.

I've been reading Jonah, and it strikes me that he and I have so much in common. The reason Jonah didn't want to go to Nineveh was because he knew God is "a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster" (4:2). He knew God didn't want to destroy Nineveh, but Jonah didn't feel quite so compassionate toward the people of Nineveh. He wanted to see them destroyed, and so he ran from what God wanted him to do. In the same way, I know I felt so wronged that I didn't really want God to restore our friendship. I was running from what I knew he wanted me to do because I didn't want things to be fixed.

When I read about Jonah, I think Wow, what a jerk. How can he have zero compassion for those people and not want them to be saved? And then I realize that I am just as much of a jerk. When someone else does it, it seems so petty.

The really crazy thing about all of this is that it's been under the radar for so long. I didn't see this in myself, and it really wasn't an issue. But now God has brought this to my attention in a big way. He's using other friendships to fix this one, and he's doing big things in the way I view the situation. I'm letting go, and for real this time. I'm so thankful that God is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love because if he wasn't he would have stopped putting up with me and my selfish attitudes a long time ago.

"Well, I did my job. I warned them they would be punished, and now we're going to watch them get wiped off the face of the earth!

I picked a safe distance so we won't get singed."


"What you need is a little compassion."

"And maybe some scampi."

-Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie

Friday, June 27, 2008

How Practical Is It to Steal Cell Phones?

It's interesting to me that I've never heard of a cell phone store being robbed. Of course that doesn't mean there haven't been cell phone thefts, but I've never heard of them.

I realize this lack of theivery can probably be attributed to the fact that it won't do much good to steal a cell phone because the company would have to activate it and they would have a list of serial numbers and ways of knowing it was stolen. I still have trouble believing that there isn't a crook dumb enough to try it anyway. And wouldn't that idiot want a really nice phone so he could run the crime empire he's planning in his mind with style?

I'm going to have to do some research on this because it's a very intriguing thought.

Monday, June 23, 2008

A Major Discovery...Especially for My Major

I have found possibly the most exciting website ever thanks to the glory that is Stumbleupon. ReadPrint.com is the site, and on it one can find a ridiculous number of books in full to be read online for free. How incredible is that?! They can put anything that is in the public domain on the site, so if it was written before 1920 and it's well-known, chances are it will be there. You can read all of Uncle Tom's Cabin for free online. I just don't know if life gets any better, especially for a lit major.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Where Did This Unmotivated Apathy Come From?

I have now been home from the beach for more than twenty-four hours, and I still haven't unpacked. I should have done it last night, but I didn't feel like it. I justified that because it took so stinking long to get home from Alabama. This morning I went to church, then I ate lunch and shortly after that went to the mansion to work a twilight party, and now I am back in my apartment doing nothing but sitting here compulsively checking my facebook (oh the withdrawals I had) and I still don't have any desire to unpack. I have no motivation whatsoever, and for some reason it doesn't bother me.

Tonight I think my excuse is going to be that the twilight party was too much right after coming off vacation. I also haven't given a tour in about three weeks and tonight I gave three one right after the other, so it was a little more trying on me than usual. I realize I'm just making excuses, but as long as I make myself feel better I'm okay with that. Eventually I'm going to have to get my clothes out of my suitcase and wash them, but as long as I have stuff to wear I guess I can leave the bag packed.

I'm really hoping that tomorrow I will have more motivation because this is ridiculous and also very sad. Right now I would really like to sleep, but I can't even find the motivation to get off the couch and get ready for bed. I'm so incredibly pathetic!

Thank goodness that tomorrow my life will be pretty much back to normal. I will have a schedule again and my normal commitments, and hopefully the routine will help me to stop this mess. For now I'm going to try really hard to get to bed and wake up a different person tomorrow. If I don't, I may be in trouble.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Maybe I Did Want it to End Eventually

Okay, I said I didn't want it to end, but by yesterday I was completely over vacation. I had a really good time, but I guess since I knew it was going to end I just wanted to be home where everything is normal and has a schedule. Today, however, did not quite get me home the way I would have hoped.

I know it takes forever to get home from any trip just because you want to be there so badly, but today it took longer than I would have liked. First, there was construction on I-65 in Alabama so we were going to get off the interstate and go around when it went down to one lane. When we got off though, we barely moved. We went less than five miles in longer than an hour. When we finally got moving again, we stopped in Athens to get gas and had some sort of battery issue that killed our car. I didn't think I was ever going to see the glorious Tennessee soil again.

But now I'm home, and it feels so good. I'm already adjusting to living alone again (a week with my parents, brother, aunt, and uncle was a different experience after having my own apartment), and I'm just looking forward to a little normalcy. I loved the vacation, but I'm happy to be home.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I Don't Want it to End...Ever

Writing here has become such a compulsion that I can't even tear myself away while I'm on vacation. Going a week without Facebook wasn't going to be a problem, but I have developed a Starbucks-like dependency on Blogger. Oh well, I guess there are worse addictions I could have--I ought to like writing since I'm majoring in English.

So far my time at the beach has been spectacular. I haven't done much, and that's just the way I like it. I have finished a couple of books, started a couple more, and gotten in a lot of umbrella time beside the ocean.

I was enjoying the family time, but today Kristen and Jada came down, and I have to say I'm looking forward to all the friend time. It's a completely different trip when I have people here my age who aren't strangers. I'm having a blast though, and I am so happy to have until Saturday to keep enjoying this.

For now, I am just planning to play a lot of cards, sleep, and sit by the ocean. Life doesn't get any better.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Vacation

I don't think I could be any happier that today is Friday. I just have to get through these eight hours of work, and then I get to go to the beach with my family for a week!

I'm excited about the vacation for the obvious reasons--who doesn't love the ocean?--but it also has some other perks that vacations haven't had for me in the past. For one thing, I've never gone on vacation with my family while I haven't been living with them. It's odd to not be living in our house and seeing my parents and brother on a daily basis. As much as I love my independence and living in Nashville, I do miss my family, so it's going to be really great to get to spend a week with them. I will probably be ready to get back to my Belmont lifestyle this time next week, but for now I'm really looking forward to being with them.

I have also never actually had a full-time job to take a vacation from, so it's going to be nice to have a break from my forty hours of ResLife next week. It's not that I don't like my job, I'm just really happy to have a chance to take a break from it.

Overall, this vacation is going to be incredible. I plan to sit by the ocean and read with a few swimming breaks in-between. And that's it. I don't want to do anything except be. It's going to be glorious!

And on a completely random and unrelated note, I was up until almost three o'clock this morning because I decided I was going to read a couple more chapters of my book last night and ended up reading the last three hundred pages. It was a really good book (Twilight by Stephenie Meyer), but I'm so tired today that I'm questioning whether or not it was actually that good. Deep down I know it really was that good, but I'm tired, so I'm not thinking clearly. Anyway, read Twilight. I'm anxiously awaiting getting to the rest of the series when I get back from the beach.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Too Much TV

This story sounds exactly like something from CSI. A suicide, or at least a possible suicide, and a car with a note written on it that comes from a song used in MASH during a fake suicide. An escaped criminal and baffled police. I think this guy was a little bit of a drama queen who watched way too much TV. I wonder how much thought he put into this escape (either from life or just the police).

Monday, June 9, 2008

Lemonade

I've been very aware lately of how great things are for me right now. It's one of those times in my life where I realize what I take for granted and have such gratitude for the way I see God working in my life.

I've got friends who are frustrated because they keep coming up short in the job search, friends who have been taken by surprise in relationships that they thought would last, and cousins who just lost their father to suicide. It seems like there are people all around me who are hurting, and I hate to see that. I feel like maybe the reason I'm so very okay and taken care of right now is to be here for those people. I don't know what I can do for them exactly, but I know I can let them know I'm here for whatever they need.

And while I'm being available, I've got time to reflect on how blessed I am. I know I take a lot for granted, but right now I'm seeing so many things that are part of my life only because God has been so good to me. I can't even begin to comprehend how amazing it is that I have a job, my family, and so many people who love me. And I have to remember that God is still good even when things aren't running as smoothly as they are right now. I know this won't last forever, but I also know that I am supposed to use this time to love other people. I'm here and I'm available, and I am learning just how wonderful my God is.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Strategic Placement

It's really exciting to me when I can see God working in my life and how he places me in the locations and situations where he can work out his plan. I've been noticing recently how he's been doing that on both small and large scales, and it's so comforting to know that he's involved directly in everything that goes on in my life.

One area of my life where I see God's hand so clearly is my situation this summer. Things could not have worked out more perfectly for me. I have two jobs, both within walking distance of my apartment. That means I don't have to buy a lot of gas. I am also guaranteed a certain number of hours of work every week, which is phenomenal. Had I gone home, I might not have even found a job, and when I did, I might not have been guaranteed enough hours to make it worth the drive from the middle of nowhere to whatever place I was working. And on top of everything else, one of my jobs covers my housing for the summer and makes it possible for me to be here with these two jobs and make a little money instead of spending it all on rent.

And on several smaller occasions I've noticed God's strategic placement recently. Seemingly random events have put me in a position to be available to people who need me, and it's been such a blessing to be able to be there for those people. I couldn't have planned it any better.

It's so exciting to actually see things work out. What amazes me is that I can still doubt so often that everything is going to be okay. God is showing me that he is so dependable. Things may not always work out the way I expect or would have planned, but they will always work out the way God wants them to. And it's incredible to know that the God who can orchestrate everything to work for his purposes lets me be involved in his work. To know that he is actively involved in my life is crazy to think about, but it is also so very comforting.

And on the grandest of scales that I am capable of imagining right now, it's so good to know that I'm not crazy for believing that God is going to work things out in my life career-wise. I've struggled so much because I know I am where I'm supposed to be, but it doesn't make any sense. I can't afford to go to Belmont, and it seems crazy to be here when I could have made financially more sensible choices, but I know this is where God wants me. It's scary to not know why he wants me here or what I'm supposed to do when I get finished here (and really only a little of what to do while I'm here), but I have to trust that it is all going to work out. There is no way I can doubt the God who has so perfectly designed every moment of my life so far and made everything work out for his purpose, so I'm going to keep trusting. I'm learning how awesome it is to see the plan working, so I'm expecting to see that continue to happen. I am learning that no matter how crazy an idea sounds, if it's God, it's going to be good. And I am looking forward to seeing all of this play out.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

A Fine Line

I am learning that it is incredibly difficult to remain somewhere in-between my lonely contentment and healthy social life. Today was the first time in a few days that I haven't had plans, and I felt like I had already forgotten how to function when I don't have an activity.

One of the many things I'm learning is that I am so ADD that I have to have a minimum of two things to focus on, or there is no hope of focusing. The only way I am going to be able to direct my attention is if I am forced to consciously work on two things at once and divide my energy between them. That might not have made any sense, but that's what it feels like. When I don't have any set kind of plan, I have trouble because I try to read or something and I get so distracted by everything around me that I want to quit. The really bad part of all of this is that when I get frustrated with being unable to focus, I go to this place in my mind where I kind of give up. I have started watching more TV, and that really bothers me. At the beginning of the summer when I was being brought to that place where I was okay with being alone, I didn't really watch TV. It's so mindless, and it seemed like the stuff I filled my time with, although not necessarily productive or spectacular, at least required me to use my brain.

I have got to re-learn the art of sitting still. Somehow I've forgotten how to just be because all I can think about is doing. There is a balance somewhere that will allow me to have my days that are packed with people and activities while still enjoying the days that consist mostly of Kindall time. I just haven't quite found that balance yet.

I also feel like I've lost ambition, or something that might not be ambition, but some other something I can't quite put my finger on. That feeling is kind of random, and it may just be an in the moment kind of thing, but it seems like I care less about something, even if I can't quite pinpoint what that something is. My biggest fear is that I'm already becoming burned out on the life I'm living this summer. I don't really think that's what is happening--I really think I'm just in a weird mood because that's how I get sometimes. I only worry about burn out because part of me isn't quite satisfied with the fact that my life is so normal right now. My schedule is the same from day to day, and I don't know if I've ever actually felt that before, at least not in the last few years.

I really just don't want to become complacent. I love living life, and I don't want to turn off my brain and miss out on things I enjoy and people I love because I find focus hard to come by. I want things to keep changing and I want to keep taking every one of these crazy steps in my life. Especially since lately it's been fascinating to watch the new people coming into my life and the new situations I've been put in. It's been exciting, and I don't want that to go away because I'm sitting in the apartment watching TV.

Overall, I think I'm just in another weird mood. I feel like anyone who doesn't know me very well and reads this thing might think I'm absolutely ridiculous because it seems like all I do is whine. I would like to say to anyone who does come across this and has limited knowledge of my personality that I am only this much of a drama queen here. This just happens to be the place where I let the drama queen go, so it's a little more of an emotional rollercoaster than my actual life.

Mr. Lonely

It's so hard to believe that a couple of weeks ago I was bored out of my mind and people-deprived. When God started putting people in my path, he sent them from different cities, different states, even different countries. I've come across so many seemingly random people in so many different ways lately. These friendships have vastly different dynamics than the ones from my first year of school. For one thing, I am not constantly surrounded by these people so we have to make time to hang out. They also aren't all from Nashville, so it's a little more of a challenge to meet up with people when you have to coordinate schedules and figure out what the best thing to do is when we are coming from two different cities.

As random as all my friends have seemed, I know they are all so much a part of God's plan. They show up at exactly the right time, and they are perfect friend-of-Kindall material. All of my newfound friends are fantastic!

Ironically, tonight I made several friends with whom I went to see a movie called "Mr. Lonely". I would try to make some connection of myself to the main character in the movie who was lonely, but this movie had so little meaning that I don't want to go there. The point of the movie is that it has been something that has formed a relationship between me and a few other people who were in the exact same place I was in. We are all looking for things to do and trying to cope with the weirdness of being out of school and away from our "convenient" friends, and we all (in the strangest sort of way) ended up at that movie together.

It's amazing to see God working in the everyday weirdness of our lives. The people I've been meeting for two weeks aren't at all random; they've been strategically placed in my path, and they don't have any idea how awesome meeting them has been for me. I'm looking forward to what is in store for me because I've had the privilege to meet some fabulous people, and I feel like there are even more to come!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Sheepish

Now that I’ve had a little more time to think about things, I thought I might try again to articulate what it is that has happened in the last few weeks and how I am so thankful for that weird time because of what I’ve learned.

I’ve heard numerous sermons, Sunday school lessons, and Bible studies where the analogy of God being a shepherd and us being sheep is explored in-depth. From this I’ve learned a lot about sheep and their stupidity and dependence, and there are times when things I do make that sheep comparison so appropriate.

I have come to realize that my—let’s call it a “season of loneliness” even though I am not satisfied with that name—was a time for God to be my shepherd and tend his sheep. When a particular sheep in any flock has a tendency to wander off and go to places where he is not safe, shepherds employ the leg-breaking method of correction. Sheep with broken legs are not able to leave the shepherd; they are completely dependent. Obviously, the sheep probably doesn’t enjoy the leg-breaking process—the shepherd probably isn’t a huge fan either—but it definitely learns to trust the shepherd. And when the leg heals, the sheep doesn’t leave the shepherd anymore.

I know that for the few weeks when I felt like I didn’t have anything to do and that my entire summer was going to consist of work and reading with limited social interaction I had time to sit down and spend time with God. This was time I didn’t make when I had a lot going on, and I had lost a little perspective. During the “season of loneliness” (still don’t like it, but nothing better is coming), I wasn’t going anywhere; I was always spending time with my shepherd because that’s all I could do. And through it all I learned how much my shepherd loves me. I know he wants the best for me, and I know my place is right beside him. Having my legs broken wasn’t pleasant, but what came of it was glorious!

Unfortunately, I still have many sheepish qualities; I am still going to do a lot of stupid things. But thankfully, the shepherd is still going to be there. He is still going to know that I am a sheep and sheep are not very bright. He is still going to love me because I belong to him. He still thinks I am as important as all his other sheep, even if some of them are better behaved. And for all that I am so thankful.


O to grace how great a debtor daily I'm constrained to be!
Let Thy grace, Lord, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to Thee
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love;
Here's my heart, Lord, take and seal it, seal it for Thy courts above.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

It's All Coming Together

This week has been really exciting because I've been developing some relationships to go along with my contentment. I've seen existing friendships growing, and I've even picked up a couple of new friends in really random ways. It's been exciting to see a group of friends developing and finding people to spend time with.

I'm really glad I had some time where I felt so alone because now I value these new friendships so much more. I know how important my friends are, and because I've felt so lonely I know how awesome my time with them is. I hope this weird time in my life will serve to make me a better friend because it taught me a lot about what I am looking for in friendships and things that make me feel valuable. Knowing what makes me feel good will help me know what other people are looking for from their friends.

I don't feel like I've been particularly articulate or that I've gotten out what I wanted to say, but the point is I am still content, but I don't feel so alone anymore. It's a good feeling.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

What a Way to Go

Read this.

Being eaten by six caged lions would have to be the crappiest way to die ever. And it sounds a little fishy to me: nothing but a few digits and intestines left, and nobody saw it happen . . .

I think it was the mob.

The Great Green Experiment


Having green hair can now be checked off of my list of things to do before I die. It's a very small streak of my hair that most people probably won't notice, and it's really more blue than green, but as far as I am concerned it fulfills the requirements to check it off the list. I really like it though, and I'm thinking I am going to go back and get some more of it colored because this isn't really very noticeable. We'll see where it goes, but for now it's green!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Blissful Memorial Day Weekend

Hooray (I can't believe I used that word, but I really can't come up with a better one) for a job that has significant amounts of doing nothing and computer access. One disclaimer: this computer keyboard is sometimes ridiculous, so I apologize for the typos.

I went to my house this weekend for my brother's birthday (he gets the license tomorrow and the world is no longer safe), and I got so much more than good food, cake, and family time--although those things were definitely a part of my fantastic weekend. I got some much-needed time with some people I haven't seen in a while, and it was fantastic.

My social dry-spell was interrupted like crazy on Sunday. After church I went out to eat with Dawn and her family, who I have missed so much since I came to college and had to become an irregular member of Stevens Street. After that, Jill and I went to get coffee and talk--a lot, as usual. While we were at Starbucks, we ran into Josh, so we got to spend some time with him too. We caught up a little, but she is leaving for New Mexico (and her NASA internship!) on Wednesday, and her dad is also moving to a different church. So we will be separated by about 1500 miles, and when we are actually both home we won't even be going to church together anymore. I know that will all be ok though because Jill and I can always pick up where we left off.

After church Sunday night, Jill and I went back to Starbucks, but with Melissa this time. When we got there Tyler was there, and we had some fantastic, purposeless hangout time! And when Starbucks closed and Jill and Melissa went home, I spent the rest of the night (and about two hours of the next morning) hanging out with Josh and Tyler.

Basically all I did on Sunday was go to church and spend time talking to people. It was a fantastic weekend, and I am so glad to have been able to spend time with so many people who I miss so much, including my family. It was also really good to have so much activity for a few days. I remembered what if feels like to have a lot of friends and get to spend time with them face to face.

And even though the weekend is over and I am back to the life of pseudo-solitude, I feel like everything is going to be better. I just needed a weekend to be busy.

And I have an exciting announcement to leave with: I have an appointment at 5:30 tonight to get my hair dyed green! I can't wait to check that off of my list of things to do before I die!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Becoming

noun
1. any process of change
2. to pass from one state to another; to enter into some state or condition, by a change from another state, or by assuming or receiving new properties or qualities, additional matter, or a new character.

It's not like this is news to me, but I feel like my life is just one continual process of finding out that there are things wrong with me and trying to fix them. It's like every time God shows me one new thing and helps me out, we come right along to the next thing and start changing it.

Of course, all this change is a good thing. I am so thankful that God doesn't let me stay the same. For one thing, that would be incredibly boring. And on top of that, as much as I like the person I am, I fully understand that person has flaws (even though I will rarely admit that out loud to another person).

As all the posts I've left over the last week or so will attest, I have been undergoing a lot of change lately and doing a lot of soul searching. This has been incredible, and I'm really excited about everything I've been learning. However, it's been exhausting at times, and I'm nowhere near finished with all that God has to teach me. In particular I am learning that I have a tendency to try to force things I want to happen. God has shown me that I've been pushing for something that I'm not sure yet whether or not he wants for me. In my quest for this thing (and in other similar situations throughout my life) I like to think I'm trusting God to take care of things, but I just get impatient and worry so much about it that I lose all semblance of trust and become desperate. If I were really trusting, I would be waiting for God's next step instead of frantically trying to decide what I need to do.

Now that I've been shown this, I'm in a really odd spot. I have a decision to make because part of me still has trouble believing that I can just sit back and do the things I know I'm supposed to do while God works out the rest. Deep down I know that whatever it is God has planned is so much better than anything my imagination could ever conceive; I just haven't become completely convinced that there is anything better because I don't have the capacity to imagine the incredible magnificence of things yet to come. Because I am human I can't fathom how awesome God is. My concept of God is so constrained to the limits of my human mind that I think I know what the best is, but I have no idea!

So for now, I am attempting to wait for what's in store. I am trying to come to terms with the fact that what I want may or may not happen, but either way what is supposed to happen will. And it's really hard to think like this!

As far as the myriad of changes in my thinking and my relationship with God, they are wearing me out, but I know I am in the process of becoming.

"I am not who I want to be, but I am on the journey there, and thankfully I am not whom I used to be."
-Erwin McManus, Soul Cravings