Thursday, December 31, 2009

Remember That Time We Got Free Thrashers Tickets? That Was Fun.

Obviously I am way behind in my blogging, so everything is going to be a recap basically. Sooooo a few weeks ago our Sunday school class planned to go to Centennial Olympic Park and ice skate and eat at the Varsity. When David was waiting in line, a lady offered him 16 tickets to the Thrashers game the same night. Needless to say, we abandoned ice skating and headed to the game and had so much fun!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Is That Even Really A Book Of The Bible?

That's the reaction from more than just a couple of my friends when I told them I was studying Habakkuk. Oddly enough, Habakkuk has a very special place in my heart.

My grandparents, Ma and Pa, live in Suches, a little down 30 minutes north of Dahlonega. Also known as the middle of nowhere. They just got internet last week. They have had their cell phones for about 3 months now but have only actually used them twice and don't know their phone numbers. There is no cell phone service in Suches. When we're there we are completely disconnected from the rest of the world. I read a lot when I'm there. It was really late on May 14, 2005 and I was sitting on the bed reading my Bible. For some reason I decided that I was going to read Habakkuk. I read this verse: "Look at the nations and watch and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told." (1:5). This verse came to me at exactly the right time. A month earlier I really felt God calling me into ministry. I was confused and scared and didn't know what anything He was showing me meant, but, through this verse, God showed me that He had it all under control. I wrote the date next to the verse in my Bible and have come back to it more times than I can remember.

For this reason, I decided to start studying Habakkuk. I have a really hard time when we're not having Bible study because I'm not specifically given something to study, so I chose Habakkuk. Random, I know, but it's something I've always wanted to do. Mostly because I do not understand it at all. So I have been studying it one little bit at a time using any commentaries I can find and my Greek/Hebrew dictionary. And it has blown me away! God has showed me so much that is so applicable to my life right now. The first section (1:2-4) is Habakkuk's questions. He's looking at the world and wondering why there is so much sin and wickedness. Why does it seem as though God isn't even there? Habakkuk asks, "How long will I cry for help and You will not hear?" (verse 2). This clearly isn't the first time he has prayed and asked these questions. Sometimes I think that I get the mindset that I am not allowed to ask these questions. I am supposed to just accept God's answer, not tell Him my real feelings on the issue (which is dumb because, hello!, He already knows them), and move on. Even Habakkuk, a prophet and a man of God, asked the hard questions. Maybe, just maybe, it's ok for me to ask too.

In the next section we see God's answer to Habakkuk. After so long, God is finally giving an answer! ...and it is far from what Habakkuk expected. God basically tell Habakkuk that He has this under control, the Babylonians will get what they deserve, and for Habakkuk to just do what he is told. And when Habakkuk realizes that it is all out of his control, he praises God- I mean really praises Him!

God doesn't always answer prayers the way that we expect. In fact, I feel like He, more often than not, answers them completely oppositely of what I expect. But that's ok. Because I am not in control. Thank goodness, because I would make such a mess of this life! How could I do anything but praise Him?!

I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in God my Savior! -Habakkuk 3:18

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Weekend of Epic Proportions

Last weekend was one seriously fine weekend to say the least. Everyone was finally home for Christmas!

Friday night started with going to the Bethlehem Walk with Mary, TK, and Mike. It never feels like Christmas until you go to the Bethlehem Walk. Mary and I were way more into it than TK and Mike were though. We went back to Mary's house and some more people came over and we had a nice little fire in the backyard. Nothing huge, not a big deal to most, but I waited all week for this night. I seriously love these people and love being with them so much.

Saturday night Kelly, Mary, Nelly, Susan, Kevin, David, Mike and I went to the Chris Tomlin concert. Y'all, it was one of the best concerts I have ever been to! and not just a concert- a complete worship experience for sure. I'm talking bring you to tears, leave you speechless kind of worship. Now, backing up a little, Nelly, Mike, and I met Kelly, David, Kevin, and Susan down there and Mary had to come later. At the end of the concert, we told Mike to go with Mary so she wouldn't be by herself and we would all meet at the Varsity shortly. Suddenly Nelly and I could not figure out where I had parked my car. We wandered the street a little and finally had to call Mary and Mike to come and pick us up and help us find the car. We finally found it... locked inside the parking deck. I had a bit of an emotional day that day (I woke up to news that my dog died for starters...), and this was the last straw for me. I started freaking out and crying and we could not figure out how to get my car out! We eventually found a little open door that we could walk through, found a phone number to call inside while Mary and Mike waited outside for us, and eventually got my car out. What an ordeal it was though! Overall, an amazing night with some sweet friends.

Sunday after church Mary and I headed to Brunswick for the annual December visit. That drive always seems to miserable, but this time it wasn't bad at all. We learned all the words to Down, Whatcha Say, Party in the USA, and Baby, It's Cold Outside. Lil Wayne better watch out because we do the rap part of Down better than he does. *disclaimer: we actually never listen to this kind of music which is what makes the whole thing even more amusing. Yes, there are videos. Haven't decided if they will ever surface or not. Anyway, we got there just in time for church and spent the rest of the night (after the boys went to bed) talking with Coach and Jessica. Until about midnight to be exact. Which is very late for them, but they love us. :) It is so good for my heart to be with them. I know I have said this before, but I am so thankful that they are in my life. The next 2 days were full of precious little boys who I love more than life itself, playing non stop, a trip to Goodwill, "pounding it" more times that necessary, listing 5 words that describe us, Jessica being really "good" at everything ;), learning to cook things, awesome apple pie, wearing flip flops again, a "who is funnier" competition between Coach and Jess, cuddling with Kirkland, How The Grinch Stole Christmas, and the list goes on and on. Point is, many good times and many laughs and many great talks with some seriously awesome people. Every time it gets harder and harder to leave them.

Could there possibly be a better start to Christmas break? Definitely not.

Friday, December 11, 2009

I Kissed Dating Goodbye?

I will be the first to say that I have developed some rather prudish opinions on dating. I'm not trying to be cynical at all, in fact I am very hopeful, but I've been hurt too many times and I'm done with it. Obviously the way I have tried to date in the past has not worked, so I am dedicating the next... who knows how long? to really seeking God on this and learning as much as I can about how God wants me to handle dating relationships in the future. We started Louie Giglio's series, Boy Meets Girl, in Sunday school and I decided to start reading I Kissed Dating Goodbye. Now, don't think I am saying I will not date, because I'm not, but the whole book is about letting go of the world's views and living to a higher standard, which includes my dating life.

I in no way intend to bash any of the boys I have dated, but I have always felt like I have had to set the physical boundaries or take control of situations and lead us, and I am learning that I am designed to be led. I want to be led. And I need a man who is stronger than me. Who will fight to protect my purity as much as I have fought to protect it. Someone who isn't afraid to be drastic if necessary to make sure that we do this God's way. And I refuse to ever settle for less.

I have learned so much and am so excited about what God is going to do in my future and how He is preparing me for my husband. These are just some of the things I have read or Louie has said over the past few weeks.

-relationships are successful when God is first and foremost in our hearts.
-I have intrinsic value because I am created in God's image. And so does the man I date.
- when my man looks at me one day and says, "wow!" it will be 100 miles short of the "wow!" God spoke when He created me.
- stop asking, "what can he give to me?" and start looking at what God has given him.
- something is going on between him and God that I can't top. and I don't want to.
- I can't sit here and wait unless I'm trusting God.
- God intended for us to be together, be naked, and feel so shame.
- without a relationship with Christ and my Creator, I can't have one with a man.
- God is thinking about my marriage.
- God has a mission for our lives together.
- my relationship with God is the key to the success of my relationship.
- When we make God's glory and other people's needs our priority, we position ourselves to receive God's best in our lives as well.
- Deepening intimacy without defining a level of commitment is dangerous. An intimate relationship is a beautiful experience that God wants us to enjoy. But He has made the fulfillment of intimacy a byproduct of commitment-based love.
- Physical involvement can distort two people's perspective of each other and lead to unwise choices. God knows we will carry the memories of our past physical relationships into our marriage. He doesn't want us to live with that guilt and regret.
- Unless a man is prepared to ask a woman to be his wife, what right has he to claim her exclusive attention? Unless she has been asked to marry him, why would a sensible woman promise any man her exclusive attention?
- We cannot live in the future, but neglecting our current obligations will disqualify us for tomorrow's responsibilities.
- God gives us singleness- a season of our lives unmatched in its boundless opportunities for growth, learning, and service- and we view it as a chance to get bogged down in finding and keeping boyfriends and girlfriends.
- As a single, you have the freedom right now to explore, study, and tackle the world. No other time in your life will offer these chances.
- In its wild abandonment to obedience, the God fashioned life leave no room for pettiness, insincerity, wasted time, or selfishness.
- The Christian with his or her eyes on the goal of sincere and intelligent love will find throwing out the world's approach to relationships as no sacrifice.
- All of the world's deceptions flow from the belief that love is primarily for the fulfillment and comfort of self.
- The world takes us to a silver screen on which flickering images of passion and romance play, and as we watch, the world says, "This is love." God takes us to the foot of a tree on which a naked and bloodied man hangs and says, "This is love."
- True love waits, but not just for sex. It waits for the right time to commit to God's brand of love- unwavering, unflagging, and totally committed.
-We must stop trying to fit God's ideas into the lifestyles society has defined for us and allow His values and attitudes to redefine the way we live.
- Only by learning to wait, and by a willingness to accept the bad with the good, do we usually attain those things that are truly worthwhile.
- The right thing at the wrong time is the wrong thing.
- Our attempts to rush God's timing can spoil the beauty of His plan for our lives. Just because something is good doesn't mean we should pursue it right now.
- Before two people are ready for the responsibility of a commitment, they should content themselves with friendship and wait for romance and intimacy.
***this is my favorite: God has a perfect plan for your life. More than likely, that plan includes marriage and, somewhere in this world, God has the perfect person for you. You may or may not know this person right now. If you spend all of your time and energy trying to hunt this person down, you may actually do that person a disservice. This guy you will one day marry doesn't need a girlfriend or a boyfriend. What that person really needs is someone mature enough to spend the season before marriage preparing to be a godly wife.
- Waiting for God's timing requires trusting in God's goodness. We develop patience as we trust that God denies us good things in the present only because He has something better for us in the future.
- The key to contentment is trust. If we are discontented with singleness, we'll more than likely face discontentment when we're married. When we define our happiness by some point in the future, it will never arrive.

Ok, I know it's a lot, but it's good stuff y'all. Seriously.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

We're Halfway There, Livin' On A Prayer

First semester of the education program: check.

Things I learned this semester:
- I will survive.
- Sleep is essential.
- 4:30 will always feel too early, no matter how many days you get up at that time or how early you go to sleep.
- bring your iPod in the car or else sleep is impossible
- driving to placement alone almost always ends with a terrible fight to stay awake.
- no matter how great your lesson plan is, it won't go as planned and you will cry to your supervisor when the kids leave the room.
- someone's gotta cry. and most of the time it's me.
- nothing could replace the feeling you get when the kids run down the hall screaming your name and bombard you with hugs.
- the kids from your first placement will always be your favorite.
- there are great cooperating teachers... and then there are not so great ones...
- some supervisors are crazy.
- math is of the devil. oh wait, already knew that.
- so is phonics.
- getting dressed up every day is overrated.
- there will be days when the alarm isn't enough to wake you up but somehow a text message is. when this happens, it is necessary to throw on the closest outfit, grab makeup, and leave. in 3 minutes flat.
- a 15 to 20 minute nap after placement and before class is necessary in order to stay awake during class. so is doodling on your notes.
- lists, lists, lists.
- It's gonna be ok. Whatever it is, it's going to be ok.

With all of that being said, Christmas break has begun! I don't quite know what to do with myself. I actually still feel stressed out because I feel like I should be doing something. Weird, I know. Today I took my car to get new brakes, took a long bath and read, watched Bones, read some more, and made a cake. It's so nice to be able to relax a little. :) One semester down, 3 more to go!

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Favored Woman

Last week at church, our pastor talked about Mary. The older I get the more I appreciate Mary. She was younger than I am. I remember the first time I put myself in her shoes. I was 16. She was possibly about that age. But now I'm 20. Jesus had to have been a toddler by the time she was my age. Now I love babies. It literally hurts my heart when I see one and can't hold it. I just want to touch it and snuggle it. I am called to be a mother. I am going to be a mother. I need to be a mother. But y'all, I could not have a child right now.

Mary was an amazing woman. But she was just an ordinary girl. Why Mary? What would cause God to have favor on her? First of all, Mary knew scripture. I wish I could remember exactly how many times, but the whole conversation between Mary and Gabriel is full of references to scripture. She knew what she was talking about. She knew the prophecies that had been made about the Messiah. She was waiting too. Not only did Mary know God's Word, but she also applied it and believed it. Mary said, "I am the Lord's servant. May it be to me as you have said." Sometimes I wonder if I would be able to say that. Do I have that much faith? God picked Mary because she believed Him. Do I believe Him that much?

Second of all, Mary was submitted. Her entire life was fully submitted to God. Mary knew that submission comes with a price. She gave up her reputation. Everywhere she went, people probably judged her. How do you explain to people that you are pregnant with the Son of God? Who is going to believe that? How terrifying it would have been to tell Joseph. But she was committed to God's plan. Could I be that committed?

I want to be like Mary. I want to be the favored woman. What an incredible woman she was.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Baby, Baby, The Stars Are Shining For You

Linds and I were discussing how annoying it is when people put things such as, "can't wait to get home to see my baby!" in their Facebook status when they are clearly teenagers and only dating and, let's be honest, it's probably not even going to last because you are 14 years old and in no way prepared for the commitment of marriage. Perhaps I am excessively sensitive to this subject because of this new learn-as-much-as-I-can-about-Godly-dating kick I'm on, but nonetheless, it is obnoxious. In our attempts to avoid studying, we have composed what you are about to read. Feel free to add more, if the Spirit so leads you.

Qualifications to Use The Word "Baby" In Your Status:
- you have a car seat in your car
- you will be going home to a legit child
- you have an infant that you have recently given birth to
- you have bottles in your refrigerator
- you are a mom or dad
- you have changed at least 6 diapers in the past 24 hours
- you have changed clothes at least twice because someone spit up on them
- you got less than 5 hours of sleep last night and you are not a college student
- you spend more time at Baby Gap than Gap itself
- you accidentally call your husband "daddy"
- your purse suddenly begins looking more like a diaper bag
- you often find yourself talking to adults in baby talk
- your profile picture is no longer a picture of you, but of your child
- you have a crib, and it does not refer to your house

Reasons NOT to Use The Word Baby In Your Status When Referring to A Significant Other:
- it makes others throw up in their mouths a little
- your significant other is not, in fact, a baby. that would be called statutory rape/ pedophilia.
- said person does have a name that is intended to be used.
- there is a fine line when practicing PDA, and this has crossed it.
- his friends will make fun of him, and yours will too behind your back
- you generally want your legit baby to sleep in his or her own bed. this is not true of your significant other. AS LONG AS YOU ARE MARRIED!

*side note: I am not opposed to the use of the word "baby" as a term of endearment, just the ridiculous use.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Give Thanks With A Grateful Heart

I feel like everything about this post is going to be totally cheesy, but I finally decided I don't care and am going to write it anyway. Lately I have felt totally overwhelmed with how much I have to be thankful for.

A lot has gone on in my family over the past few weeks, and I have seen how truly blessed I am to have my parents. They support me in everything I do. When I thought I wanted to transfer, they helped me look up programs, figure out scholarships, and find out which classes would transfer. They prayed and fasted with me over my decision and agreed when I felt like I needed to stay at North Georgia. It took them a few years, but they have come to fully support my passion for missions. They talk to me about my future all the time: where I want to student teach, where I want to go to seminary, and about leaving the country for 6 months or so after I graduate. They encourage me to go where I feel God leading and pray about all of it too. They pray for the man I will marry and talk to me about him. They show me what it means to have a God-centered marriage and how to love other like Jesus loves. They encourage me every single day. There isn't a day that goes by that they don't tell me I am beautiful, I can do all things through Christ, and I am loved. As if all of that weren't enough, they love me unconditionally. They think I am the funniest thing in the world (come on, who doesn't love that?) and laugh at everything I say, even when no one else does. They listen to me talk incessantly about my friends and sorority and what is going on in my world, even if they have no idea what is going on; and they don't even get annoyed by it. They never tell me to stop singing. They don't think I'm weird. I wouldn't be who I am without them and even though they drive me crazy sometimes, I am so thankful that they are my parents!

I am thankful for my friends. We laugh sometimes because we act like we are in love with each other. They encourage me every single day, no matter what the day brings. They don't mind when I randomly start crying over seemingly stupid things or have bad days when the tears just can't be held back. They have been there for the good, the bad, and the ugly. They ask the hard questions, hold me accountable, and challenge me. They make me laugh more than anyone in the world and always put a smile on my face. They indulge me with long conversations that most would blow off, such as which Biblical man they have a crush on. They love that I am obsessed with my Greek and Hebrew dictionary. They hardly notice my outbursts of song or unrecognizable words or dance. Somehow, they love me. I could have never made it this far without them and I love them more than words could say.

I am thankful for so many godly women in my life to show me how to live. They allow their motherly instincts to kick in when necessary but know when not to. They put aside their titles of "mom of so-and-so", "sunday school teacher", and "person who took me on my first mission trip" and replace them with "friend". They know when to call me out and when to let me make my own mistakes. They never judge a single action I take or a single thought I have about any given situation. They have listened to me pour my heart out, sometimes in the most pathetic way, and have been a shoulder to cry on. They have stopped me from making stupid decisions and helped me make the most difficult ones of my life. They have been a safe-haven in times of trouble and a source of laughter when I had none. They show me that it is possible to live a godly life in an ungodly world and inspire me to be a better person. If I can be even half of what they are when I am their age. You know who you are. Thank you for investing in me.

I am thankful for the joy I feel in my heart every day when I wake up. There are always going to be days when I don't want to get up: school is too hard, I don't want to answer to 56 fifth graders, I'm scared of what the future holds, my heart feels heavy, and nothing feels right in the world. But then I am reminded that God is on my side. He is for me. He will never leave or forsake me. He loves me! He pursues a relationship with me. He pursues me! He has forgiven me. He has set me free. He has redeemed me. Satan has no power over me or my days! I can jump out of bed every single morning knowing that my Savior has conquered anything and everything that the day could throw at me and I don't have a single thing to fear. I have said it before, but I have never been happier in my entire life than I am right now, which is a total God thing. And for that, I am forever thankful.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Squirrels vs. Diabetes

It suddenly occurred to me that I never wrote about Gold Rush, which is only the biggest thing that happens ALL YEAR in Dahlonega! They close all the roads down, and basically it is a huge craft festival and is so much fun. Ya know, if you're into that kinda thing. Which, turns out, I am. For our philanthropy, we do this thing called Rock-A-Thon. We set up rocking chairs in the square and rock and sing songs all day and people donate their spare change. All of the money goes to the Alpha Gamma Delta Foundation, which supports diabetes research. This year we raised about $1200.

Kelly and Mary came up on Friday and we had a mini birthday party for Kelly, complete with cake, streamers, junk food, really late night, party hats, and noise makers. Then Saturday my mom came up for the day. Good, good weekend. :)

too much party for Mary...

Noonday bunch at lunch. ha.

we didn't want to go downstairs to drink our hot chocolate, so it came to us

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Bless Her Little Heart

My car has had some rough times over the past month. Let's back up to a few days after I returned from Mexico. Allow me to set the scene for you. Linds and I both had our cars at my house all week. We have more cars than people at our house anyway, so this made for way too many cars for us. My dad lined all the cars up going down our rather steep drive way: Lindsey's closest to the house, mine in the middle, and my dad's city car at the end of the drive way. Earlier that week, my dad had cut the grass, which caused much grass to be on the drive way, and it was now pouring rain. This information will be important later. So there I was, looking real cute, ready for a great lunch with some great girls. I got into my car and thought that I could back around my dad's car because I hate having to go up the driveway when I'm in the middle of it like that. I was wrong. So I tried to go back up the drive way, my tires spun on the wet grass on the drive way, and I rolled back and hit my dad's police car. He drives an Expedition, so my little car was no match for it. After about 45 minutes, we got his car moved, and mine back up the drive way and I made it to lunch. His car was untouched. Mine has a rather large dent, missing paint, and crack in my bumper.

Fast forward from that story to last Tuesday. Our movement class is at an elementary school about 15 minutes away. Savannah and I were sitting at the stop sign at the end of my road, about 3 cars back, waiting to turn when homeboy in front of me decided he needed to back up. So he did. As if I weren't even there. Of course I didn't have time to react, and all Sav could do was yell, "watch out!" and he hit us pretty hard. I got out of the car, and I didn't know what to do. The man asked me if we should call the police (as if this kinda thing hap
pens to me all the time and I know exactly what to do. 20 year old girl here, hello!) and I told him I had no idea so I was going to call my dad. Of course my dad said yes, so I called the police to come out and file a report (bet 911 isn't on your call log right now). The police man was accompanied by a state trooper, who was much nicer. He kept asking Sav and I if we were ok and if anything hurt. Turns out he's from Hartwell, so he was on our side. The best part of this little ordeal is that homeboy legitimately had Safe Auto Insurance. As in 1-800-Safe-Auto, pick up the phone the call is free... for real. We found this very amusing. Who knew people actually call the people they hear on TV. Needless to say, we were late for class. We're ok, but my car suffered a little damage. We were shaken up and really sore for a day or so, but nothing major. At least the front matches the back now... :(

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Come As You Are

I should be writing a 10 page case study on a 6 year old student from my first placement right now. That's precisely why I am writing this now.

During recruitment (aka rush), there are girls who disassociate from their sorority and are recruitment counselors, called Pi Chis. They're not allowed to wear letters or talk to their sisters much from Thanksgiving break until after recruitment, which is Martin Luther King weekend.

Savannah and I applied to be a Pi Chi this year and we got it! Training started today and I am so excited! Basically our job will be to guide the girls through the recruitment process, answer any of their questions, get them to the parties on time, be a shoulder for them to cry on when they get dropped or have a hard time making a decision, and take care of them. This year's theme is "come as you are" and I am really excited about being able to practically drill into these girls heads that they truly can come as they are and be loved and accepted by the women who will be their sisters. Basically, I get to be their mom for the weekend! I can't wait to carry a backpack containing proper mother objects for a whole weekend. It's going to be just like camp again.

And, in case you were wondering, this is what I plan for my backpack of goodness to contain for my sweet girls, who I do not know yet but I am sure they will be sweet:
- hairspray
- makeup
- mints
- candy
- lotion
- chapstick
- tissues
- Tylenol, Excedrin, Midol, etc.
- water bottle with little cups
- and more. I just can't think of anything else right now.
*edit* -also band aids

It's gonna be the best backpack ever. For sure.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The B-I-B-L-E, Which Man's The One For Me?

Lindsey and I have had a very interesting night here in Ruby Hollow (that's our residence). In fact, we have been very funny.

What I need to know, sweet bloggy friends, is this:
"What Biblical man could you have a crush on?"

I'm serious, y'all. I need your answers. We have put much time into this question. There are only 2 rules.
#1- you have to say why.
#2- you can't say Jesus. that's cheating.

can't wait to see what you people have to say about this!

Y'all Pray For Him

It has recently been brought to my attention that I am a strange individual.

Someone whom I love dearly said, "I pray for him because he's going to have to be very special to be with a weird girl like you." I'm alright about that.

The more I thought about how strange I really am, the more I realized how much I love that about myself. Turns out I can actually be kinda funny sometimes. And I feel like I am more me right now than I have ever been. I love that I can finally totally be myself and not worry about what anyone thinks. It amazes me that there is a man out there that could possibly love that about me.

This conversation was had tonight about the subject...
Me: I already love him, so I'm sure he already loves me.
Linds: I wonder if he knows he loves a weirdo.

I think he does.

Y'all pray for him. He's gonna need it to put up with me. :)

Autumn Acoustics

Every season/ road trip/ event of any sort requires a new playlist. Fall is no different, and I must say that this fall playlist pretty much rocks. I realize many of you don't love music like I do, but for those of you who do, enjoy the latest creation :)

1. Table For Two- Caedmon's Call. "we made speculation on who's in the web of our futures. and how everyone's lonely but still we just couldn't complain... but it's not my job to wait by the phone for [him] to call... and You know the plans that You have for me. and You can't plan the ends and not plan the means"

2. By Your Side- Jamie Slocum. thank you, Shazam, for helping me identify this song.

3. City On Our Knees- TobyMac. It needs to be said that I didn't love him for a very long time and I am not pleased to announce that we are very much so in love.

4. I Am In Love With You- Darrell Evans. "because Your love is better than life, Lord, I long for you more than I ever did before. I can't get enough of You, 'cause I am in love with You."

5. Never Alone- Lady Antebellum. such a sweet song.

6. Wanted- Jessie James. don't judge me.

7. Whatcha Say- Jason Derulo. how can you not love it?

8. Before the Storm- Jonas Brothers and Miley Cyrus. I won't pretend I don't enjoy them. once again, don't judge me.

9. Big Green Tractor- Jason Aldean. in honor of the tractors in the Gold Rush parade and Athens farm day.

10. I'm Yours- Jason Mraz, Lil Wayne, and Jah Cure. I really loved Jason alone, and now it's even better.

11. Sweep Me Away- Kari Jobe. I pretty much love any of her stuff, Spanish or English.

12. You Are For Me- Kari Jobe. Like I said, love it.

13. Everyone To Know- Bethany Dillon. I'm pretty sure she took my heart and put it into a song.

14. Vanilla Twilight- Owl City. I also did not love him because everyone else did, but now I have repented and we are great friends.

15. Hold Onto Hope, Love- Amy Stroup. "hold onto hope, love. I've searched high and low for you. Each day gets closer so hold on stronger to me and you. Someday soon I'll find you. Someday soon I'll know you."

Also, the new Fee CD is INCREDIBLE!!! I am seriously obsessed and do some serious worship/ car dancing with this CD.

Good stuff friends, good stuff.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

First Grade

I realize it has been 3 weeks since I left my first grade placement, but I am just now getting around to this. So here are a few cute/ funny/ favorite stories from my 6 weeks in first grade.

On my first day...
T overflowed the toilet in the boys bathroom and had to fill out a behavior slip. They have to write what they did wrong on the slip and then it is stapled in their agenda for the parent to sign. T wrote, "I overflowed the pot because I put 7 paper towels in it."

Friday before Labor Day weekend...
Me: What are you doing this weekend, A?
A: Well... (thinks real hard, then says, very rapidly) I have a real fairy godmother and she is coming to stay with me and she will come on her own airplane only she is bringing her boyfriend and I do NOT like him because he tells jokes all the time and he thinks he's funny but he's not. (finally breathes)

One day E's zipper got stuck at the top and the whole zipper separated. It made something that resembled a cape, if you will. This was really cool and by the time they came back from P.E., at least 7 other kids had done the same thing.

Because the students also learn Chinese, an announcement was made about Chinese Independence Day. S and T are big buddies. S is Asian. At the end of the announcement, they said something along the lines of "be sure to tell every Chinese person you see 'happy independence day', and T said, "too bad S isn't here today. I don't know any other Asians."

This version has been edited for the appropriateness of my readers: A came to me very upset one day. She's also very dramatic.
A: Ms. Moss! Tell Andrew to stop touching himself!
Me: umm... what..?
A: Andrew won't stop touching himself! Tell him to stop!
I believe I just told her to ignore him... oh my...

L: What year were you born?
Me: 1989
L: You were born in the 1900's?!?!
Me: Yes, what year were you born?
L: 2003. How old are you?
Me: 20
L: Twenty?! Oh my goodness!
Made me feel real old...

S used pencils for chopsticks. Enough said.

E has a really hard time in math, so I helped him a lot and did his tests one on one with him. He is still struggling, but I really developed a great relationship with him. He gets jealous if I help someone else and makes up excuses for me to help him. He told me he has a crush on me. He's precious. Is it wrong to love how much he loves me?

N hardly looked at or spoke to me for almost 2 weeks. I don't know why but I was just drawn to her sweet little smile. By the time I left she was sharing her stories with me and talking about Mexico with me all the time. I see her in the hall every day on my way to this placement and her face just lights up when I say, "Good morning, N" and she says, "Good morning Ms. Moss!" It makes my day...

I still see my sweet first graders all the time and they just make my day when they swarm me with hugs. I love that they still get that excited to see me and they love that I still remember all of their names and talk to each one of them. I just love them a whole lot. And that's all I have to say about that.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

My God Is The God Who Provides

When I first got back from Mexico, things got really rough for a few weeks. Even though I got a lot of work done before I left, I was still behind in school. I had an art project due, 2 big tests, a few quizzes, and all my regular classes and school work. Throw in placement every day and sorority on top of that and you have recipe for stress. I had only been back an hour Sunday night and I found myself sitting in my chair crying uncontrollably. Yes, I'm a crier, but this was far more than expected, even from me. I thought I was perfectly fine to be coming home, and I was wrong. I wanted to be in Mexico more than anything in the world. I didn't want to face real life. Real life is hard. Real like sometimes just stinks. Real life is stressful. Mexico was perfect. That's where I belong. That's where I want to be.

So there I was, crying and stressing and asking God what I was supposed to do in that moment, and He brought me these words: "I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God which cost me nothing. " 2 Samuel 24:24. I gave this verse to my sweet friends as they went on their way to Costa Rica this summer and talked about it repeatedly to my precious girls at camp, but I had let it slip from my own mind. If going to Mexico didn't cost me anything, it wouldn't be a sacrifice. I found peace in the knowledge that God had already taken care of it all and all I had to do was believe that.

Thanks to our almost 2 hour round trip carpool each day and my carpool-mates, I aced my special ed test. With some help from Savannah over a great Chick-fil-a lunch, I almost got an A on my child development test. I even got a B on my math test, which is a huge deal for me! The last problem was my art class. When I talked to my teacher before I left for Mexico, she told me that she was fine with me going but that meant I would get a B in the class because you can only miss one day and I was missing two. I was unhappy about it, but I told her that my trip was more important to me. Then it became a problem because there was even the possibility that I could get a C in the class if she counted the fact that I missed the first day, even though I hadn't added the class yet. Lots of stress there, but I just went on the trip and refused to think about it. The day that we turned in our final projects, she was going through my box of lessons and told me that she had been thinking about it and didn't think it was fair for me to get a B. Her exact words were something along the lines of, "I think it's a really great thing that you people do on those mission trip things"- too funny! So she decided to give me an A anyway! I could have just hugged her right then and I got a little teary eyed, but didn't make a fool out of myself, of course.

I am so thankful for the way that God totally provided for me in this area. I absolutely love knowing that I am exactly where He needs me to be, and He affirms that for me every single day! I love being in His will, because being outside of it is one of the scariest things I can think of. I can finally say with confidence that there is no where else I would rather be.

I'm Here To Meet With You

I am so thankful for a sweet friend who sent me a very generous check to buy this awesome chair and make myself a great quiet time spot. This is seriously my favorite spot in my whole room. Every morning (well, almost every morning) I have a great routine: get up at 4:30, get a shower, then I sit here in this chair for about 20-30 minutes and spend some time with the Lord. I quickly learned that I cannot make it through a single day without Him. Of course I knew this before this semester began, but as I said before, I am becoming more and more dependent on Him every single day. I found that I was in the worst mood and often felt completely defeated if I didn't begin each day with God. I do not love getting up so early, especially when there is no way that I can go to sleep at 9:00 every night like I wish I could, but I really cherish this time. I love having a spot where I can settle in and just meet with God. He is totally rocking my world these days and I absolutely positively love it! Though those 30 minutes are not the hour/hour and a half I got so used to last year and over the summer, I am finding random moments throughout the day to also spend time with Him. It's a great reminder that He is always with me. God is so good, friends! And so is this chair :)

love love love this place


Last week we had our first philanthropy of the year, Cheers for Charity. It is basically a mock cheerleading competition. All of the sororities and fraternities enter a team and compete. This year was the second year and we had a great turn out. We also tend to take awesome pictures. Turns out cheerleading makes us cute.

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Dream of Someone Else

There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about and pray for the man I am going to marry. I probably don't even know him, but something in me knows that I already love him. It might sound crazy, but it makes perfect sense to me. I have a journal where I sometimes write to him and I plan to give it to him when we get engaged one day.

I can't wait for the day we meet. Will I know he is the one? I can't wait for our first date. I can't wait for the first time he comes over to my house. The first time he meets my friends. The first time he comes home with me and meets my parents. For the first time he comes to church with me. I can't wait for the day he asks me to marry him. The day we get married. To live with him and for how much fun it will be to live with my best friend forever. For the day we go on our first mission trip together. To work in our first church together, in whatever country we may end up in. I can't wait to discover what country that will be. I can't wait for the day I tell him I'm pregnant with our first baby, and the day that the baby is born. For the day we go to China and Mexico or Africa or wherever else God leads to adopt our babies. I can't wait to do life with him, the way that God intended it.

Some days I get kinda mad at him for not being here yet. There are times where I feel like I just need him here, like there is something missing. But until he gets here, I'll just keep fervently praying for him. Praying that he is following God right now. That he is praying for me. That he is listening to what God is saying. That he is waiting for me like I am waiting for him.

I don't know who he is, where he is, or what he is doing, but I am always praying for him and patiently waiting for him to find me. And what a glorious day that will be!

I don't know if you're near or far away,
But I know that I'm praying for you today.
I don't know if I even know your name,
But I know that I'm praying for you just the same.
Someday we'll fall in love
You'll be mine and I will be yours
Our hearts will be one
And our love will ever endure.
-Someday, Larue

I can't imagine anything, anything better than
Someday falling in love with you
Holding your hand
Making our plans all come true
Someday under a sky so blue
I'll give you my heart
Our story will start
Someday soon
-Someday Soon, Francesca Battistelli

Darling, did you know that I dream about you
Waiting for the look in your eyes
When we meet for the first time
And darling, did you know that I pray about you
Praying that you will hold on
Keep your loving eyes only for me
-Wait For Me, Rebecca St. James

I want it to be like that: where I close my eyes and throw back my head with laughter and step up to dance with You. My tiny hand in Your infinite one; my steps so clumsy compared to Your graceful ones. The music begins and we step out onto the floor. My grip tightens, knowing I will fall, but also knowing You will guide me. The music swells, roaring into my ears until I am so enraptured that I can't look at anyone but You. My hands and feet poised for the next step, my head up, and a smile of love on my face. And maybe, just maybe, then I will not even notice when You turn to one of Your sons and invite him to dance with me.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

This Is My Declaration Of Dependence

So I started writing this September 29th. In case you didn't know, it's not October 9th. I have had absolutely no time to blog lately, but now it is fall break and I am probably about to go on a blogging frenzy. Even though it's not entirely accurate since I didn't finish when I started, I'm just gonna leave what I already had of this here post.

Here's what's up: I really shouldn't be typing this. I have a big math test tomorrow. But I also have a full heart that needs an outlet. So I turn to you, my faithful bloggy friends. And allow you to see what the past few weeks have been like for me, here in Dahlonega.

The education program may be the death of me. I am seriously reconsidering this whole taking 22 hours thing. I mean I seriously though I could handle this? It's insane. I haven't slept more than 5 hours on a week night in 2 weeks. I don't have time. There is so much to do and I spend so much of my time sitting in class getting more work assigned.

Lately I have been second guessing education completely. Do I really need this degree? I know that I want to do ministry. Don't get me wrong, I love teaching with all of my heart, but I don't want to teach math and phonics and base it all on the Georgia Performance Standards. I want to teach about love and forgiveness and grace and mercy and faith. I want to teach them about Adam, Eve, Noah, Moses, David, Paul, Esther, Mary, and Ruth. I want to teach them about how Jesus died for them and how much he loves them. I want to show them the joy and the freedom that He brings! I want to go to seminary now and learn about Greek and Hebrew and theology. Instead I am sitting here making a reading/phonics take home bag for my teaching of reading class. I started to wonder if North Ga is really where I need to be or if I should just drop this education program and head to Southeastern.

God quickly showed me that this is not His plan for me right now, no matter how much I wish it were. I really love Dahlonega a lot and I don't want to leave, but I also don't want to be here forever. Or for more than 4 years. Which is why I took 22 hours. What I have now learned is that there really is no use in trying to kill myself. I feel so dumb because my parents have said this over and over, and I have heard them loud and clear, but I didn't care. Because I am stubborn. Unfortunately, I have to learn things on my own, the hard way, by experience. And I always end up overwhelmed and/or hurt, but at least I learn.

So all of this can be summed up in saying that school is hard and life is absolutely insane, but God is SO good, friends! Every single day He shows me something that reminds me that He is here and He is in control. It comes in the smallest things: the beautiful sunrise on the way to school every morning, my precious Bible study girls, or lots of laughs with a friend. Through it all He is making me more and more dependent on Him. I have really gotten to the point where I sometimes feel like I can't make it through the day without Him, and I love that.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Best Is Yet To Come

Let's revisit Casey's engagement for a moment.

For a couple weeks before she got engaged, she had absolutely no idea that anything was going on. She was clueless. And it was perfect. But so hard to keep it in. I wasn't around for the hours leading up to the actual engagement, but I do know that Case was not exactly the happiest camper. She was mad because no one could decide on a place to eat (because if they had fast food then it wouldn't take long enough!). She was mad because she still had on real clothes and it was 10:00 at night. Basically she was just kind of in a funk. But when she walked up to that chapel and realized that Ryan was waiting inside. And when she walked down that aisle to him and he proposed, none of that mattered anymore. This whole day had a bigger purpose.

Isn't that exactly how we are with God sometimes? I look at my own life and think how many times I have gotten frustrated and even down right angry with God for whatever He was doing in my life at that time. Even how many times a day I wonder, "what are You doing with me right now?" out of frustration. He has captured every tear I have ever cried, held me through the toughest times of my life, and never left my side, all the while knowing what lies ahead when I can't see it. Just like how we all knew the amazing way that Case's night would end, God knows what lies ahead. Just like we were beside ourselves with excitement, God is anxiously awaiting the perfect moment to make everything make sense. I love imagining God that way: huge smile across His face, practically jumping with joy about what He knows the end holds. And I can't wait to see what He has planned, because I know it is going to be incredible and far beyond my wildest dreams.

I'm Bringing Back Dirt Via My Chacos, Should I Declare That?

It's possible that I have been avoiding blogging about the last day. I hadn't thought about that fact until this moment when I sat down to write this, but I'm pretty sure that may be the case.

Anyway, leaving was really sad. And that could actually be almost the understatement of the year. I have never left a place feeling so much like I left a piece of my heart behind. I am perfectly content with knowing that I need to be here in Dahlonega and I really love it here, but a big piece of my heart is still in Mexico.

When we said goodbye to Saul and Mama Tori, Saul started crying. So sweet. I just love them a whole lot. So off to the airport we went, for more goodbyes to Mauricio. Also so sweet. He just has a wonderful heart and I feel so blessed to have been able to be a part of what he is doing in Cancun, even if for a short time.

What you need to know about flying with Henry is this: he's a big deal. And by that I mean he gets to get in front of everyone and we get to go with him since we're his companions and all. And it's great. That's what happens when you've been to 122 countries I suppose.

Linds fell asleep a little while into the flight and I was reading my book and listening to my ipod and just feeling weird. Not sad, not gonna cry, but just weird. Then this song came on my ipod that goes a little something like this: "the plane had barely touched down, she was taking photos for her friends back home. this was always where she felt her heart belonged. she was finally here. the sky was bright and clear" and then the tears came. Glad I was by the window because that could have been embarrassing. Hearing the words of a song I hear all the time all of a sudden touched my heart in a new way. Those words were the exact words of my heart. Mexico is always where I felt my heart belonged. And all week I just kept thinking "this feels like home. I could totally live here." All of a sudden, everything within me wanted to turn that plane around and run back to the mission house and region 235. It's so hard to walk away from a place that holds so much of your heart. But life must go on. And I am very much aware of that. So I sucked it up and continued with my book. Which also made me cry and gave me an excuse to continue crying. Kidding, kinda :)

We encountered some thunderstorms coming into Houston and we ended up barely having enough time to make it to our next flight. Homeboy in customs was chattin it up with the man in front of me, rudely being inconsiderate to those of us behind him who had a flight to catch! If Henry didn't have the hook ups, we would have missed it for sure. So we almost literally ran through the Houston airport to get to our next gate. Dodged the ridiculous carts that are all over Houston. Broke up some hand holders. Took down some small children. Were sweating more than a person really should. Heard the last call for our flight as we came around the corner. Were the last ones to get on the plane. Couldn't find a place for our luggage and almost had to check it until the nice man (who we are sure loves Jesus because people who don't love Jesus don't shine like he does) moved some stuff around and found a place for ours. Then we got delayed 30 minutes. Seriously? That just happened.

The flight from Houston to Atlanta was the only flight that Linds and I didn't have a seat (for Jesus) in between us. There was a lady from Cambodia sitting by the window. She had a massive tumor on her neck and was coming to Atlanta for surgery. Her family was behind her and none of them spoke a word of English. The lady was fascinated with everything about flying. She kept lifting up the shade on the window and peeking out and then closing it, only to repeat a few minutes later. One time when she opened it, we were in the middle of a cloud and she tapped my shoulder and pointed out the window. She was amazed and I loved sharing that moment with her. A little bit later, we encountered some more turbulence (of course we did). In case you have forgotten, I hate flying. So when that plane started bouncing around, I grabbed Lindsey's hand... and the little old lady next to me grabbed mine and held on tight until the flight smoothed out. I know it's not a big deal, but for a moment, we connected. It didn't matter that we didn't speak the same language or that I accidentally spoke Spanish to her earlier. It didn't matter that we had never met before that day. What mattered is that we had done everything we could to show her love, and she saw it. Love knows no language barriers; a common theme for the week, so of course it carried over to the flight.

The first few days back were tough. I wanted to be in Mexico. I would wake up in the morning and think I was still there and then realize I wasn't. It was sad. On top of that, I was overwhelmed with school and hated being back in the real world. The real world stinks. And Mexico is awesome. It took a few days and many tears, but I finally got adjusted back to life here and all is well. It's been stressful and I kinda hate it. I still think about Mexico every single day. I still wish I were there. I still feel like my heart is incomplete. But I love life. I love Dahlonega. I love being here. I am so content. And I love that feeling more than I love Mexico.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Ryan Liked It So He Put A Ring On It!

Thank you, flood, for making nothing go as planned.
It took Ryan 7 hours to get to Dahlonega. It should take 2.
Case wasn't supposed to beat him here, but she did. By about 4 hours. Maybe more.
Beth, Em, and Linds were great and stalled a lot and kept her occupied.
She had no idea.
I'm so incredibly happy for the two of them!

this makes me smile

Sunday, September 20, 2009

It's Impossible To Have A Bad Hair Day When You're Wearing A Do Rag

Thursday was our last day in Mexico and was our "play day". We slept in late and had an early lunch before heading out to spend the day on Isla de Mujeres. (translation: island of the women. real funny.) It is about a 30 minute drive and 30 minute ferry ride from Cancun (another side note in which you can laugh at my expense: I accidentally typed "fairy" instead of "ferry". I'm real tired, obviously.) Mauricio is working on another mission house over there so I was real excited to be able to see it too! We rented a golf cart to take around the island, and off the mission house we went!

We had plans to bring Mauricio's truck back to Cancun via the ferry when we came back so that he could sell it so buy a BIG something special for his precious girlfriend. When we pulled up the mission house, Mauricio's first words were "guys, where's my truck?" That's never a good sign. The poor guy seriously could not catch a break this week. So long story short, his truck was moved by some careless road pavers when they needed to pave the road and they did a little bit of damage, which sent us to the police station to file a complaint. Seems monotonous and not so leisurely, but I really loved driving all over that beautiful island, smushed in that tiny golf cart.

We spent about 2 hours (maybe?) at the beach and had so much fun just hanging out. I really love this place. It's so beautiful. I can hardly believe it. I am really praying about what to do next as far as Mexico goes. I really feel like God has given me a huge heart for these people and this country and I really feel like He is not done with me there. I don't know what that means yet, but I'm ok about it. I am praying about seeing what I can figure out for going back this upcoming summer, but I will definitely be back in September again!

Needless to say, I was not ready to say goodbye so soon.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

I'm Glad We're Going To Heaven And Not Hell Because If It's This Hot Here...

Wednesday was actual Independence Day. This was awesome because that meant no one would be working and the kids would be out of school. We went back to region 235 to meet more people and give out candy and invite them to our block party that night. This place is huge! And HOT! I seriously never sweat so much in my entire life. It's ridiculous. We hung up our clothes to dry when we got back.

The block party that night was awesome! I only wish that the mosquitoes did not come to the party. I seriously have 21 bug bites, 15 of which are on my feet. I wish I was exaggerating. We planned to have a movie for the kids, Pastor Marcial and/or Henry speaks, and then pinatas for the kids. We weren't sure how many people to expect, but we kept having to get more chairs! At the last count we had about 175 but more came in after, we just didn't have time to count them all. It was awesome! While Pastor Marcial was talking to the parents, Mama Tori took the kids and did an activity with them. 30 kids made decisions that night. I started to get sad when we were cleaning up because it was our last night with them. We had a meeting with the family whose house the new church will be at and it was a really sweet time. Just seeing how far this church has come in the week that we have been here is incredible. Of course, I got real teary eyed when we left. For the first time, it wasn't just the kids that we got attached to but the adults too. Almost more than the kids. We really connected with them on a different level and got to know and share their hearts for this church.

It was a great way to end the week and I am so thankful for and in total awe of what God did for this church, these people, and us!

We Shall Henceforth Call This The Night Of Brotherly Love Con Las Hermanitas Companeras

Tuesday morning Henry did some marriage counseling with Manuel and Elaina. We all definitely supported and agreed that it was a good idea, but it didn't leave us much to do since we kinda needed to make ourselves scarce. So we spent the morning by the pool. I actually kinda feel bad for the tan that I've gotten here, but in my defense, it doesn't take a whole lot of sun since it's still so close to summer.

We spent most of the late afternoon walking around region 235 talking with the families and playing with the kids. The whole goal was to build relationships, and if you are nice to a person's kids then they will love you. It's scientifically proven. We got to talk to a ton of people and gave out lots of candy and balloons. These kids loved balloons! And they were hilarious about the candy. They would run to another street and meet us when we got there, as if we wouldn't recognize them. And they always needed one for their little brother, little sister, or cousin. So cute.

That night is when celebrations for Independence Day start. (contrary to popular belief, Independence Day is not Cinco de Mayo) Mauricio took Sam, Linds, and I to hang out with some of his friends. His friend Oscar is a pastor and also has a rehab center. He is an ex drug addict and alcoholic and has a heart for helping those people. Right now he has about 35 in the rehab center and is running about 250 at his church each week. God is really doing great things through him! Point of that is 1. to brag on God and 2. that we went to a party at his church where we had ice cream in a bag and it was the greatest ice cream I have ever had. After the party we met up with some other guys and played pool. They were so much fun and seriously some of the sweetest guys I have ever met. Great night with great people.

At First I Thought You Were White Invaders

On Monday we started the day with our first visit to region 235. The easiest way to explain it is that the different regions are basically smaller cities near the big cities. Region 235 is the place where the new church will be. This area is such a sharp contrast to the hotel district: unpaved roads, houses made out of cardboard boxes, five or more people in a one room house, no air conditioning. It's like a whole different world. It's not as if I had never seen anything like it before or that I didn't expect it, but seeing it always has the same effect on me. It's just sad that so many people could vacation in Cancun and never have any idea what it's like outside of the resorts.

We spent most of the morning walking through the area praying and meeting people who go to Pastor Marcial's church. The people from region 235 walk 8-10 miles to go to church. They were so kind to invite us into their tiny houses and spend some time with us. The majority of our time there was spent praying together. A lot of people would probably look at that and say that we could have just as easily done that at home, but I disagree completely. I know that my prayers never fall on deaf ears and I will definitely continue to pray for Cancun and region 235, but there's something really special to be experienced by praying on the land with the people who live there. Sometimes I understood what they were saying and other times I had no idea, and I know none of them understood when we prayed, but it didn't even matter. I am so thankful that we serve a God who transcends any and all language barriers!

When we were done with our prayer walk, Henry had a sweet surprise: he was taking Manuel (Pastor Marcial's son), Elaina (Manuel's fiance), and Pastor Marcial to get Elaina a wedding dress. Linds and I got to see the dresses she tried on. She looked absolutely beautiful and was just beaming with happiness. Before we left, Manuel thanked Henry, told him how much they had been praying that his would work out, and invited him to come back for the wedding in December. It was such a sweet moment. I am so thankful that it worked out the way it did and that we were able to be a part of it.

Every day we had lunch around 1:00 (have I mentioned that Mama Tori makes amazing food? because she does) and then things are kinda dead. It's so insanely hot that no one really does anything until about 5:00. A little siesta, if you will. After being in that hot sun all morning, we were always exhausted. Perfect time for a nap or some time on the roof at the pool. I became a huge fan of this time of the day and am really going to miss it. 4:30 am and I are going to hate each other even more as of Tuesday. We had a prayer meeting back at the church site that night. Another time where I wasn't really sure what was going on sometimes, but still really good. I just really love being with these people. Plus there were chickens. Running all over the place. At our prayer meeting. I don't care who you are, that's funny.

Mama Tori Makes A Mean Ham And Cheese Sandwich

Sunday morning we went to the church we will be working with and met Pastor Marcial. Church was... interesting. The music was the sharpest contrast possible to anything that we ever sing at church. All out of a hymnal, sometimes straight from the Bible itself-which always made us laugh for some unknown reason. Most of the time I had no idea what anyone was saying. I could catch page numbers for the hymnal and different words here and there, but not a whole lot. Most members, including Pastor Marcial, are Mayan and also mumble. These two things make it very difficult to understand. I was assured that it was their accent and not my lack of Spanish knowledge, but I still feel slightly discouraged. Hopefully it will get better throughout the week.

The afternoon was spent mostly playing with Gabriel and Sophie. It was a quiet afternoon, but I really loved it. I love spending time with them and getting to know them and their hearts. Linds taught Sophie how to braid. Sophie also loves High School Musical, so we talked about that a lot. I knew God would use my uncanny love for HSM one day.

Late that afternoon, Pastor Marcial came over to talk with all of us. We started talking about things that are going on in his family, and he just looked so burdened. His son is getting married in December, and the whole situation has been very stressful in every way possible. It's a long story and I also don't feel it's my place whatsoever to be sharing it with the bloggy world (not that I don't trust you, my faithful bloggy friends, but this isn't a private blog), but please keep his family and the marriage situation in your prayers. We really felt like we needed to deal with part of this situation before we could move forward with the new church. It's so sad to see a grown man so broken and defeated. At the same time, seeing Henry and Mauricio reach out to him and minister to him was the perfect picture of fellowship in its truest form, as God intended it to be.

We went back to church that night and I still didn't really understand. In fact, I have no idea what even went on. And that's all I have to about that.

Except that we had ham and cheese sandwiches for dinner and they were the best I have ever had. The end.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Prepare For Take Off!

I'm going to update this ole blog here using my journal from each day. So here's day one... numero uno, if you will.

I could barely sleep the night before we left. I was so excited and so nervous at the same time. We had to be at the church at 4:30 that morning, which is yuck!, but I was so ready to go! We were very entertained by the people at the airport, especially the lady with a full head of curlers. When we got on the plane, I had to use Google to find out how to turn my phone off. Clearly I am still very iPhone illiterate. We also had some friends in front of us suddenly realize that they are Facebook friends. From the sound of the conversation, it seems as though they are not legitimately friends or barely acquaintances, and the man was very awkward while the woman was rather enthusiastic about the situation. There was an empty seat between Linds and I, which made for a great place for all of our People magazines (thanks for that Tam!), which I insisted had to be read in chronological order. We also decided that Jesus was sitting in that very seat with us. He makes for a most delightful flying companion. Unfortunately, not too long after take off, Lindsey started to feel sick and was able to experience the joys of through up in an airplane bathroom. She doesn't recommend it. Thankfully, she was feeling better by flight #2 (Jesus joined us here, too), which was good because I really needed her to hold my hand during the most intense turbulence I have ever experienced. I probably shouldn't have chosen to start watching Lost so soon before getting on a plane. I. HATE. FLYING. We were going through some thunderstorms and hit ice in a cloud (who knew that was even possible?). Henry said we dropped about 500 feet. Not cool. Toward the end of the flight we had to start filling out our customs forms, which always give me trouble and stress me out. The flight attendant kept reminding us to fill out our "large visitor's form". Linds took this as "large" describing the visitors, not the form, and we got a good laugh out of that for a long while. So funny!

I think I fell in love with Mexico the moment I saw it out the window of the plane. I have to admit that I even got a little teary eyed. I just couldn't believe I was finally there. God is so faithful and His timing is so perfect!

Mauricio, the guy we're working with, got his dates mixed up and thought we were coming on Sunday, so we had to wait for a little while for him to come pick us up. As soon as you meet Mauricio, you can't help but love him. He is so much fun and I love his heart for the Lord. We enjoyed a great lunch and time getting to know each other.

We are staying at the mission house in Cancun that he built, which is awesome! There's even a pool on the roof. Welcome to Mexico, kids. The house"parents", if you will, are Mama Tori and Saul. They are some of the sweetest people I have ever met. Mama Tori loves to serve and barely lets you do anything for yourself and Saul loves to tell stories. He's a talker! They have been married over 40 years and are so obviously in love with each other and the Lord. It's so precious. Also, Mama Tori is the greatest cook ever! Seriously.

Mauricio also has 2 kids: Sophie is 7 and Gabriel is 3. We immediately fell in love with them, too. Sophie is spiritually wise way beyond her years. When we were at Costco, she asked Lindsey why we grow and plants and animals grow but other things don't, like the buggy. Linds asked her what we have that the buggy doesn't. She started naming things like lungs, brain, etc. and when she said "heart"she said, "We have a heart so we can love Jesus and love each other." So precious, and so true. Sophie speaks great English, but Gabriel doesn't really speak any at all. But that did not stop Gabriel and I from falling in love. I probably only understand about half of anything he says to me, partly because he is 3 years old and partly because he speaks much better Spanish than I do. He insists that my name is "muchacha" and I love it. On our way to Costco he was playing with my hair and asked me why I cut it. I didn't really know what to say because it's not like he knew me when I had long hair or anything. Before I could say anything, he said, "it's short like my dad's". Awesome. Thanks, buddy. Too funny.

In less than 24 hours, I'm already in love. This feels like it could be home.

Friday, September 11, 2009

I'm Leavin' On A Jet Plane

T minus 4.5 hours until we pull out of the driveway! While my excitement has been increasing every day, I don't think it really hit me until today. I had some time alone in the car today on the way to WLA (another story for another day) and just started crying because I can't believe this is really happening. I can't explain the love I feel for this country and I haven't even been there yet. I will be updating this and facebook and twitter from time to time so be sure to check on it this week!

things to be praying for:
-the church we will be planting.
-the people we will come into contact with.
-health for everyone, but especially Linds because she has been sick all week.
-the hearts of the people we will encounter.
-our hearts, that we would be totally focused on God and why we are there.
-that we would be free from distraction from school or stresses back home.
-that we would be free from discouragement. personally, Satan has been really trying to get to me this week already.
-the language barrier. that I will be able to speak with confidence in what I know that I know and not be so timid and that God will give us all the words to say so that it is truly Him speaking and not us. all of that so that there will be seemingly no language barrier at all.

thank you for all of your support and prayers. know that we are taking each of you with us on this journey. love you all!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Live Love

Last weekend Linds wore my "Live Love" t-shirt from disciple now. It's one of my favorite shirts and I've worn it plenty of times, but I haven't really thought about it since that d-now weekend in March.

What does it mean to live love? John 13:35 says that all men will know we are God's disciples by the way we love one another. What does it mean to love someone? Love is an action. Love is a choice. Love is not always easy. We are called to a lifestyle of love. When it comes to my friends and family, this is not difficult for me. Savannah and I often joke about how frequently we tell people we love them. It almost feels awkward to leave someone or hang up the phone without telling that person I love them. I am a very loving person. I love wholeheartedly. It's all or nothing. I'm either all in or not at all. To some, that could be a bad thing. I know how to guard my heart when it is needed, but I still know how to love at the same time.

I used to really struggle with loving people who I wasn't so much friends with. Someone once told me to pray for a girl who I was having differences with, and I thought she was crazy at first. But one day something in my heart changed, and I have been doing it ever since. I feel like this is one of the many ways that God has called me to love: to love the people who hurt me the most. To pray for them until there isn't a single sliver of bitterness about the situation left in my heart. To be able to be so committed to God's will that I can say that I don't harbor negative thoughts because I choose to love my brothers and sisters in Christ in the way that I have been commanded; in a way that causes people to wonder how it's even possible; in a way that always only points to God, because I could never do it on my own. It's hard, but I, we, are not called to live an easy life. We are called to a higher standard. To try hard things. I want to be a part of something that could bring God that much glory, even if it means a little bit of difficulty for me. I want people to see something different in me.

Linds is reading Blue Like Jazz, and reminded me of this quote: "Sometimes you have to watch somebody love something before you can love it yourself. It is as if they are showing you the way." I want people to see the way that I love the Lord and be shown the way. Now, I don't think highly enough of myself to think that I am just going to lead the multitudes to Christ, but I want people to see Jesus in me, not me at all. I want them to see the joy and the happiness that He has to offer. I want them to see what He has done in my life and want to experience it too. I want to be used to love like He loves. I want them to watch me love God so passionately and desperately that they automatically fall in love with Him too, and then give Him all the glory.

Who Are We That You Would Be Mindful Of Us?

Linds and I have been working on memorizing Psalm 139. I first came up with this idea because I feel like, as a girl, there are times where we really need to be reminded of who we are in Christ and reminded of the way that God sees us. I have spent the past few months delving into different scriptures that are about who I am in Christ and just making sure that I am completely defining myself in Him and nothing else. It has been really good for my heart and has brought me to a new level of confidence and joy in knowing who I am in Him. How could I not walk around with a smile knowing that my Creator is madly in love with me and wants to have a relationship, a friendship, with me?!

But let us not be quick to forget who we really are apart from Christ. I am a sinner. I am unworthy. I am inadequate. No matter how hard I try, I can never be worthy of love, forgiveness, grace, or mercy, much less salvation. Every single day I wake up and commit to living for Christ and trying to make my life a living example of what He can do with a life. But my best intentions don't matter. I am sinful. No matter how hard I try, I turn my back on Him and go against Him every single day, whether it be in thought or action or the condition of my heart toward a given situation. I want so badly to please Him and my human nature causes me to do the exact opposite all the time. I don't want anything I do to be displeasing in His eyes, and the next thing I know I am in a compromising situation. Without Him, I am a failure. The wages of my sin are death. I am nothing.

God sees hope in the midst of hopeless me. He thinks I am worthy. He thought enough of me to give up His only son. I know that this is basic Sunday school stuff, but how could anyone possibly get over that fact? How could that ever cease to be anything but incredible? With Christ, I am a completely different person. I am redeemed. I am set free from all of the bonds that my sins hold me in. I am full of so much joy! Sometimes it makes me want to dance and other times it brings me to tears in total awe. I am loved more than I could even begin to comprehend. The Creator of the world passionately pursues me every single day. He wants me. He wants to love me and wants me to love Him. He wants to be my friend. He will never EVER leave me, no matter how many times I leave Him. I am His forever. Nothing or no one could change that as long as I live. I am not worthy of being called His daughter, of being saved, of being given eternal life, but He doesn't see it that way. I will never understand how He could love me so much, but I am so thankful that He does.