Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Curse You Swine Flu

I realize that everybody and their mother's brother is talking about the swine flu these days, but this problem that seems so far from really affecting us actually affects me in a huge way. As many of you know, I am supposed to leave for Mexico in 12 days. It's funny because yesterday I was crying because I was so nervous and really second guessing my ability to stay away from everything that I know and jump into another culture for a month, and today I am crying because my trip has been cancelled. I think I was somewhat relieved for a second, thinking that I could be at home or be in Dahlonega if I want and hang out with my friends. I wouldn't feel as rushed and like I had such limited time to see everyone. And I was so nervous about the whole thing that it suddenly seemed like it wasn't a problem. But someone just asked me how I feel about it being cancelled and I just started to cry. I don't think I had really thought about it all day. The past few months have been such a battle against discouragement for me. Everywhere I turn doors are closed. I think it's all making sense and then it all falls through. I truly want to be where God wants me, I just can't seem to figure out where that is. I am really struggling with trying to decipher if all of the complications we have faced with this trip are God telling us to stay away or the Devil trying to keep us from doing His work there. An official decision will be made on Friday, but there are a lot of factors that make this a very difficult decision for many people. I know that this is going to work out the way it needs to, so please just be praying that all of us can accept whatever is decided.

"You are all I need, my portion forever, the strength of my heart and my life. My sufficiency, in You I take refuge. You're my all when all is gone."

"You don't have to look for anyone else. I want to go. Here is my time, here are my hours, here I am. My life is for You, in You I want to invest. Here are my hands, here is my voice, here I am."

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Forever My Heart Will Sing of How Great You Are!

Though I do not particularly enjoy being outside a great deal, and would most definitely classify myself as indoors-y, I spent the entire weekend outside. Friday afternoon my AGD family hiked up the Preacher's Rock. Surprisingly enough, this was actually partially my idea. I had seen pictures and it just looked so beautiful that I felt like I needed to see it for myself. When we got to the top, it just took my breath away. I am so thankful that Linds is so great at capturing moments with that camera of hers. Even then, words cannot describe what I felt when I looked out over the mountains. The beauty of God's creation never ceases to amaze me. The best thing about living in the mountains is that I am daily surrounded by His beauty. I hope I never get over seeing this. Even when we were camping and white water rafting in the frigid water, I found myself looking beyond the fact that I was sleeping in a bag on the ground or freezing cold and praising Him.

I am also continually blown away by how blessed I am to have such wonderful people in my life. I know I talk about them all the time, but they are truly some of the greatest people that I know and I really don't see how I made it 18 years without knowing them. I had no idea that the girl standing behind me at Big/Little reveal over a year ago was my soulmate and would bring such joy into my life. No matter what is going on, Casey can always bring a smile to my face. When Lindsey first sent me that message on facebook telling me that she was somehow part of our family, and when we met (and took 500 pictures) a few months later, I had no idea that her and I really share the same heart and that she would become my future roommate. When Alison moved in on my hall freshman year, I had no idea that she would become such a significant part of my life, much less my sister- in Christ and Alpha Gam. When I need a hug, she has a plethora. My first day of our wellness class, I had no idea that the girl sitting 2 seats over would become my Little and my constant source of laughter. Brittany's energy is contagious and it's impossible not to catch it. And when I met Melea's roommate that day, I had no idea that Sara, too, would become my Little and also share my heart for missions. It is so amazing how the Lord works and how He brings the perfect people into our lives at the perfect time. And now, I couldn't imagine living without them.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

All of my life, and nothing less

It's so hard to believe that I only have about a week and a half left before I am half way done with college. Even as I write this, I have 2 tests tomorrow (yes, the week before finals, please explain the logic behind that) that I should be studying some more for. This semester has been the most difficult time of my life as far as school goes... and those of you who were around during the times of Mrs. Harrell of Algebra 2 '05 and Mr. McAree of Statistics '07 in high school know that those were trying times, dear friends. Chances are that I am going to lose the HOPE Scholarship. I am not being pessimistic, I am simply stating the facts. My grades have dropped significantly this semester. I have done everything possible to keep from losing HOPE-extra credit constantly, visiting offices until the point of being somewhat annoying-and none of it seems to be helping. Tonight, Daddy called and I just could not stop crying. Once he got me to calm down, he told me that the only thing that him and my mom expect from me is that I do my best and that he is proud of me no matter what. Talk about taking a load of my shoulders! That's all I needed from him in order to be confident that I can do this; I can finish this semester. I will survive.

Thinking about this made me realize that the way that my Daddy sees me is exactly the way that my Heavenly Daddy sees me. He is proud of me. When I hurt, he hurts. When I am stressed, he wants to calm me. He wants all of me and my very best, nothing less, but nothing more. He is not disappointed in me. The only thing that He requires of me is my very best. He wants every bit of my life to be totally and completely devoted to Him. He wants me to give my all, and that is always enough. In these last few weeks of school, I want so bad to just slack off and not care, but as a child of God, I am called to give my all in everything I do, even when it is not something I enjoy. Has everything I have done this week been my very best? Honestly, probably not, but it's never too late to change that.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Spring Formal

I am SO happy that she is finally back...
sweet friends, sweet sisters
the fam
and extended family

got along without you before I met you...
...can't get along without you now
the wonderful social coordinator and I.
she did an amazing job planning formal.
The Fabulous Freshman and Sister Who Most Exemplifies Epsilon Pi

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The British Are Coming, The British Are Coming!

Casey, Bethany, and Katie went to England for a month to teach. It was an extremely long month for Linds and I. Last Sunday they finally came home!! We were planning to surprise them at the airport, but they got suspiscious and hacked into Lindsey's Facebook and found out we were coming. If I wasn't so happy they were home, I would have been real mad. They had spring break with their elementary schools this week, but I can't wait until they are finally back up here!

finally home!!!

sweet sister mother, sister daughter

so happy she's home!!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

My God is the God Who Provides

This is the first time I have really had time to sit down alone and think about the whirlwind of today. In order to explain, we must back up to about a month ago, give or take. It was announced in church one day that Noonday will be starting a church in Cancun. I knew I wanted to go, but looking back I am not entirely sure why I wanted to go. Even though I wanted to go, I still think I wanted to go to Africa more. I talked to Henry and it was decided that I was going to Cancun. Soon after, Africa plans fell through, the possibility of plans for a Haiti trip fell through, and my heart for this Cancun trip just grew and grew.

Last weekend I found out that the trip is in September. I start teaching in the school in the fall and am taking 18 hours of classes. I really didn't see how it would be possible to miss that much school and didn't think I could make up my placement (that's what it's called when you're "placed" in the classroom). I just sat on the phone with her and cried and cried and cried. God had put this trip on my heart so much since the first time I heard about it and now He was taking it away, just like Africa and Haiti. I was heartbroken and discouragement really took hold of me. The next few days were really hard because I felt like that's all that consumed my mind. I eventually came to the point where I had to just acknowledge that God was going to put me where He needed me and allow His truth to replace my discouragement.

I decided that it would be a good idea to just talk to my advisor, Dr. Mas, about the situation and see what could be worked out. So today I did just that. She said that there are always a couple students who miss a week because they get married and go on their honeymoon or go on a trip or something and that teachers are flexible for such things. The only issue would be making up my placement. We played around with some ideas for a few minutes, and then she realized that I can just stay in the school for an extra week at the end of the semester and make up my days. My eyes just welled up with tears and I really wanted to just do a dance all around her office and jump up and down and hug her. I restrained myself though.

When I called my mom tonight, she was totally on board. It's official. I will be going back to Mexico in September.

But it gets better. Daddy called me tonight and told me that he had a cool story for me. Apparently he has been meeting with our pastor, the guy in charge of the Mexico trip, and his friend on Tuesday mornings and doing a Bible study. Today the study focused on when God opens doors just to close them. My dad brought me up and what I had been experiencing and told them how upset I was about not being able to go to Mexico. Daddy said he just really prayed about it for me this morning. The best part is that I didn't tell either one of my parents that I was talking to Dr. Mas today. So when my dad got home, the first thing my mom told him was that I was going to Mexico.

I feel like my heart is just about to burst with joy! I have continually be brought to tears today in utter amazement of the way the Lord is working. It amazes me that He took something I was somewhat apathetic about and turned it into a burning passion. My biggest prayer through the past few weeks has been that I would have a discerning heart to listen to what He is saying to me and to go where he says to go. My God truly is the God who provides!!

this is from my sweet friend Lindsey...

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!" -Romans 10:14-15

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Ne'er I Forget All the Joy That is Mine Today

Sunday was initiation for our 35 new members. The festivities began at 9 am. With my Littles (hope no advisors come across this) got initiated, it reminded me of the moment that I found out that they were going to be my Littles. I was so excited at that moment that I just wanted to jump up and down and do a dance. In fact, I did when I found out about Brittany, but I was not location appropriate when I found out about Sara. I am so proud to call them my own. Putting that pin on them as they officially became my sisters, once again, just filled my heart with pride and joy. As I said on bid day, “I feel like the happiest girl in the world right now.”

The ceremony was followed by Feast of Roses, which is a banquet for the new members and their parents. When all the sisters stood up to sing “Today” it gave me chills and brought tears to my eyes, for the thousandth time that day. What a blessing to be a part of such a wonderful sisterhood.

even though they're in England, Beth and Case were with us

Sunday night was lapboard revealing. I was so nervous about it, but they loved them… I think. It is also tradition that Littles give their Bigs a present. I got some wonderful presents from my Littles! They are awesome! The best thing of the whole night was seeing Linds scream when she got a zebra double back from Brandi. Linds does not scream. Oh what a wonderful night!

Tuesday our newest sisters finally joined us in chapter! I have never seen the room so full! When we stood in a circle, we could barely fit around the room! I have tried to form some wonderful thoughts about what these women mean to me, but all my feelings can best be summed up by this: “From the outside looking in, you could never understand it. From the inside looking out, you could never explain it.”

The Road to Sisterhood

Last Tuesday at chapter, the baby squirrels… or new members… had their return pin ceremony. Basically, this is where they give back their new member pin and say a tid bit about what Alpha Gamma Delta has come to mean to them during their pledge period. I got a little teary eyed when precious Emily read this to the chapter: "They are the family we choose to surround us, the sisters bound by love instead of blood. They know when we are lonely, and appear without being called. When we feel lost, they provide a living map to what comes next; when we doubt everything about ourselves, they remind us who we are." ~ Barbara Alpert. That’s exactly what my sisters are to me. As I helped my Littles… or, Sister-Daughters (gag me)… undo their new member pins and placed it in their hand, my heart was so full of pride and love. I can hardly believe that a year ago I was in their same place. At the time, I had no idea how much my sisters would come to mean to me in such a little amount of time. I cannot wait to see what each girl has to bring to the sisterhood and what Alpha Gamma Delta can bring to their lives.

Last week was also Family Week. On the first day, the new members get a ton of squirrels. (in case you hadn’t figured it out yet, that is our mascot) The second day is red, buff (aka yellow to you non-Greek people), and green day. Everything that they get that day is, you got it, red, buff, and green. The third day is when they get their pattern. Each girl has her own pattern that all of her stuff is made out of and no one else in the sorority has. It’s a big day! Much to my relief, both Sara and Brittany loved their pattern and all their stuff!

Brittany's red, buff, and green day
Sara's red, buff, and green day
Brittany's pattern
Sara's pattern