Category Archives: Just a thought

The Journey Home

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Sitting and talking with Jane in her colorful crocheted hat and red jacket felt like any everyday conversation. You wouldn’t know that behind her glasses and New York accent that she was a tornado victim with a mental disability.

More unexpectedly, you wouldn’t imagine that she was teacher with her masters in education and once an elementary school teacher. However, here she and I sat at the Journey Home this evening after my BCM family served her and several others a meal. Jane was unemployed and a little down on her luck, something she wasn’t afraid to share with total strangers.

The Journey Home, the facility where Jane and I sat and bantered, is a safe haven where the homeless or people just down on their luck come to find  food and love. They serve meals regularly throughout the week, and this Monday the BCM decided to offer dinner for anyone who needed it.

When I walked into the building tonight with the rest of my group, I didn’t know what to expect. Sometimes, I don’t feel like being a people person, and today was one of those days. I wanted to serve, but I was tired and it had been a long Monday. So, I offered to serve the food instead of talk to people.

God surprised me, though. I thought I had gotten out of talking with people until we ran out of people to serve. I took off my clear serving gloves and threw them in the trash. That’s where I saw Jane talking to one of my friends. Her mouth was going a mile a minute, and she intrigued me.

Michael, the man in charge, urged us to go and sit with the people who were eating while they finished their meal. I was hesitant. I was not in the right mindset to deal with people today especially people who I thought were sad and depressed.

So, I sat down in a green plastic chair and introduced myself to the woman across from me. She was friendly and had a smile on her face. Her smile surprised me most of all. I was not anticipating it at all.

I caught her in the middle of her story, but I remained quiet and listened attentively. She had just reached the part about her backpacking all over the country. I thought to myself, “Wow, she’s backpacked all over the country?” My curious nature always wants to know how people are in down-trodden situations. So I sat, waiting, hoping to find my answer.

She concluded by telling my friend and I that her house was torn to splinters a few years ago in the Good Friday tornadoes. Her house may have been almost rebuilt, but her spirit and mind weren’t. Despite her smile, her tragedy left with her with a disability and hard times.

I left the Journey Home with a great realization. Not everyone who are in terrible situations are sad. Lord knows I would be sad, depressed and irritable if I had to deal with the life hurdles Jane did. However, she kept her chin high and was open to telling her story and testimony.

Everyone has a story and sometimes it’s only a matter of sharing. More importantly, it’s only a matter of someone to listen to you. I am thankful and humbled by her story. She gave me a gift. I may have given her something to eat, but she gave me the gift hope and renewed light in this world. A light that isn’t so easily blown out.

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My Favorite Distractions

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There are a lot of things I should be doing right now. I need to be writing an article for Sidelines. I need to be finishing up my honors speech class homework. I need to be doing a whole host of other things on my way too long to do list. However after being up so long, I have run into my wall so to speak. The energizer bunny within in me is slowing down.

In light of slowing down, I get a little distracted. I am not on task one bit and my mind is wandering. When this happens, one of two things take place. I either stew on my entire day, and I think about everything I have to do while I am sitting here not doing it. OR, and this is a big or, I decide to distract myself if only for a minute or thirty.

So, my favorite distractions. What are they you ask?

1) TV. I love watching re-runs of NCIS religiously. My favorite past downtime hands down. Except when I am away at school, I face one problem: no TV. There is currently not one in my dorm room, so I have to find something else to occupy my thoughts which really isn’t that hard.

2) Since there is no NCIS, I love creepin’ on Facebook. Yeah, don’t think I am weird. I know you do it, too. The newsfeed is full of interesting information. Sometimes, it just requires a little time to sift through all the stupid to get to the good stuff.

3) Reading a not required novel. I have to transport myself sometimes to a different place and time entirely. Escaping reality is one the best stress relievers of all. That is until I enter back into reality.

4) Taking a nap. I have a strong conviction that naps are the key to grappling with life. Someone once told me organization was. There is truth in the statement. I just have a different mantra. I love naps. They give me a little boost. The extra get-up-and-go I need. Taking naps aren’t the best thing to do at eight o’clock at night. Those naps turn into full on sleep. Be careful.

5) Cleaning. I love cleaning my dorm room for some reason. My bedroom back home is something of a mess usually. I have a good reason, though. Nothing has an exact place back home. Everything has a true place here. Plus, it’s smaller, and I hate having it dirty. Sometimes, I can’t do anything until my floors have been mopped. A little anal retentive don’t you think?

6) Angry birds. I heart Angry Birds. I love anything free to begin with, and I of  course love a good competition. I could sit and play that game for hours. It’s actually kinda sickening once you think about it. I thoroughly enjoy playing. Well, until it makes me angry.

We all have distractions that keep us from our true responsibilities. What are yours?

2011 Highlights

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There are only six more days until the year 2011 concludes. As usual, the old cliché of “where did the time go?” is on my mind. Because in all seriousness, where did it go? This time last year I was tuning the strings on my new Johnson guitar, and my only responsibilities consisted of nothing except finishing out the rest of my senior year.

Now, life is full of all sorts of responsibilities. College is a completely different world than high school. My life transformed, and it doesn’t seem real that only six measly months ago that I graduated high school in front 3,000 of my closest friends.

The year 2011 hasn’t been a piece of cake. Transiting wasn’t as effortless as I thought. Graduation itself was actually fast, and the last months of high school are all a blur of friends, breezing through homework, and tying up loose ends.

Here’s the highlight reel of 2011. The 12 highlights of the year thus far.

January: Snow days. Two simple words. The white fluffy fun visited Tennessee with a furry leaving me with one option: to play. I had some of the most fun with my best friends sledding down the snow-covered terrain and ramming into thorny bushes. I came away with snow burn and bruises. But hey, what’s a little pain?

February: Not that it will ever really matter, but I got into the top ten percent of my class. I got the 20th spot, too. It will never matter again in my life, and no one except maybe all the other people who snagged a spot will care. I guess it was just one of those accomplishments that will only potentially be remembered at my class reunion ten years from now.

March: The good–learning my newspaper was number one in the state. It was one of the best feelings of my senior year. It definitely is in the top five moments. The bad–the person who loved me, spoiled me through endless pots of macaroni and cheese, and was on my side no matter how wrong I was, passed away. And, I still miss her to this day.

April: What a blur. I did the prom thing. I finished up all my high school duties. In reality, I didn’t do a whole bunch of anything. Maybe that’s why it was significant.

May: I graduated with all the sashes I ever want. I didn’t fall in front of a very large crowd. I celebrated my 18th birthday with my friends. May came and went with much ease, not to mention a lot of goodbyes.

June: I’ll never forget walking on those cracked streets in the Memphis heat as I went door to door picking up children for bible club. Their faces are etched in my mind, and their stories are woven in my heart. I would do anything for those kids. I will go back to serve there one day. I just don’t know when.

July: Like Spongebob, I went stepping on the beach and watched the ocean waves crash on the shore. It’s always my favorite part of the summer. My mom and I always tease that we could be at the beach in eight hours when we feel like running away. One of those days, it will happen. No, I am not joking.

August: I finally left the little town that I have known all my life. It’s not like I went very far either, just thirty miles up the road. Sometimes, I wonder what it would be like to go further away. Nonetheless, I found myself walking the sidewalks of MTSU not knowing my place among all the people. Maybe I never will.

September: Only eight days after my first article published in my college paper, I managed to wind up with cover story. It landed in my lap. It was a God-thing, serendipity, an accident. I don’t really know what to call it, but it happened. I wrote the cover on an upcoming band that toured to our campus. It was the biggest story I’d ever done, and I got the entire band to sign my copy of the paper backstage before their performance.

October: Every girl deserves one perfect day out of this 365 day of the year, right? I don’t know what it was, but I had the perfect day in this month. My best guy friend from Bryan College came to visit. I managed to get all the work I needed to do that day, and I went with one my new good friends to an awesome worship service. I had the best interview of my life, and it was just an incredible day.

November: Two things: All Time Low concert and Thanksgiving Outreach. I finally got to see the band I had dreamed of seeing for the past four years. I had the best mosh pitting experience, and I held the lead guitarist’s hand (even if it was for just five seconds). I delivered meals to people who needed them, and I got to share the love of Christ. And of course, I couldn’t have a good adventure without getting lost along the way now could I?

December: This month is finally coming to a close. I finished my first semester of college. I got promoted to associate news editor of my college paper. I successfully lived on my own, and now I am back in my small, little town with all the same people. Christmas came and went. The wrapping paper is torn and already thrown away. I watched two of my new friends get baptized, and I had the blessing of helping with Operation Christmas Child. What more could I ask for?

As I ring in the New Year with my several friends in a week, I wonder what the new year holds. There’s no telling what God can do.

The Little Things

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Sometimes, I think God puts people and for lack of a better word “stuff” in our life to prove a point. Perhaps, it is even to get our attention. So over the past couple of days I am pretty sure God has gotten my attention by two things: losing/finding my debit card and through interviewing a genocide war victim.

I went home for the weekend because it’s fall break. Saturday was one of those perfect fall days, and I was blissful. I hung out with some of my best friends, and I didn’t have a care in the world.

My break was wonderful until Monday afternoon I drove up to the Starbucks window. I reached into my backseat and grabbed my purple wallet to get my debit card. As soon as I unzipped it, panic took over my body. Where was the gray piece of plastic that held all the money to my name?

I immediately went into my own form of panic. I was having all sorts of weird panic sensations, and when I reached the window I told the barrista, “I’msorryIcan’tpayforthisdrink Ihavelostmydebitcard.” . I freaked out. There are truly kind people in this world because the man just smiled at me and gave me my order.

I had other stops to make and errands to run, so I just decided to push it out of my mind. I had just run to the bank, and all my money was there. I reasoned no one had stolen it. I had simply lost it. I eventually returned home, and in a calm manner I searched my backseat and went through all the clothes I had worn in the past three days. However, it was in none of those places.

My best friend suggested I call the place we were Saturday to see if it was there. The entire time I was looking for the card, I was praying out loud. I kept telling God he had to help me find this debit card. He obviously knew what would happen if I didn’t. Luckily, the restaurant we were at had my card. I apparently dropped it on the way out, and the family behind my friends and me turned it in.

God got my attention Monday for certain, and he got my attention today. It wasn’t as little as my debit card (well, that is probably important actually, but still). I am doing an article for my college newspaper on the Holocaust/Genocide Studies Conference here this week, and my path crossed with a victim who survived genocide in Rwanada.

I barely talked during the whole interview. Nothing I could say or ask could contribute. I did simply ask if anyone had told her story before or at least written an article on her. She humbly said no, and I told her that was about to change. Her story needed to be shared, and I wanted to be the one to share it.

I am not going to go into detail about what she went through. When I write the entire story, I’ll definitely share. Point being, though, I am blessed beyond measure. I didn’t have to go through the horrific experiences she did. God never placed any trial of that size in my life. Who am I to even complain about anything? Compared to that, I should be perfectly content knowing I can live in a country where I am free. A country where no one is chasing me or my family. A country that is for the most part entirely peaceful.

Francesca Battistelli sings in her song “This Is The Stuff” one of my new favorite lyrics about in the little of our mess, we usually forget about big we are blessed. I am guilty of that on a daily basis. I get in small panics about little stuff, and I forget God’s even in the picture. Today showed me God is in everything. Big stuff or little stuff. Most importantly, God is blessing me beyond measure, and it would be silly of me to ever forget that.

My coffee love letter

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Dear coffee,

I have carried you in my heart since I was at the tender age of six. I know that might be a crazy thought. What six year old needs coffee? However, you captured my heart at young age. If weren’t for my grandmother, I would have never tasted those roasted coffee beans that make my mouth tingle every time I take a sip of you.

The older I have gotten though, the more my love for you has grown. I woke up to you every day in the eighth grade, and what would I have done without on those late night study sessions? I need you now  since I am in college. I am not sure where I’d be without you especially today since I have gotten so little sleep.

Today is National Coffee Day. I feel as though I should thank God he created you. Yes, my dear coffee. Your rich blends give me the energy to get through each day I drink you at least once a day, and I have all sorts of favorite kinds of coffee now thanks to you. To celebrate, I am going to get a pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks. Or maybe a mocha. And if I want to get fancy, I will get a white chocolate mocha.

I love you, coffee. Sometimes, you are the only positive part of my day.

Happy National Coffee Day!

Reflections and ramblings

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In attempt to just relax for a while after a five class day, I started looking through all my old blog entries. I was just curious. What was I thinking a year ago today? Did anything I imagine to happen actually happen? No, not really. We all have ideas, plans, and dreams. God changes can transform those plans, though. He does it everyday. Sometimes, it might not be what we consider for the better, but God’s way is always the right way.

Before Facebook decided to blow up and change today, I was enjoying the fact I could see what I posted a year ago today. Heck, I could see what I posted two or three years ago. I find it interesting, and I am generally amused by it more than anything. The statuses I posted seemed silly, or they do to me now. I find it odd that I worried about such little things. They were big things two years ago I suppose.

This big stuff in my life I posted about last year revolved around soccer and the Edge. I know I was working on my second issue for the newspaper, and I was probably freaking out over something that didn’t really matter in the long run.

According to Facebook I sounded like Jimmy Hoffa, and I remember that I got a signed copy of Ellen Hopkins book, Fallout. I was loving the fact that pumpkin spice lattes were here, which I am still obsessed with.

More importantly though according to my blog, I still loathed the thought of coming to MTSU. I hated it with every fiber of my being. I could never tell anyone why I never wanted to come here because I didn’t really have legitimate reason. I was like a fussy three year old throwing a tantrum about not getting my way. That’s how I was with the thought of going to MTSU. I wanted to God to let me go to college anywhere but there. I begged and pleaded, and with all my groveling I got an answer.

It just wasn’t the answer I wanted. Surprise, surprise, God placed me at MTSU, and I am blessed that I am here.

God surprises me all the time. I never thought I’d end up at MTSU and want to be here. I am in the right spot. I know that for certain. God wouldn’t be putting all these opportunities in my life if I was in the wrong place.

A lot of stuff in my life and other’s around me have drastically changed a year ago from today. People have come and gone. Some of the voids from the people that left I never think will be filled again. And maybe they won’t. I guess it’s all just an acceptance type deal.

I rarely try to make my blog like a journal. That’s not normally how I roll. Normally, I try to always write my blog with a purpose or some type of positive message. I always want my words to uplift others. I think that’s what God gives me the ability to write.

However, maybe God is trying to make me realize something with this ramble. Most of the time that is where God reveals himself to me. It’s always when I write. God reveals himself to us in numerous ways. But do we take the time to really listen or maybe even to reflect?

God can change the course of our lives in a year. He can basically the change course of our lives within a minute. It’s very humbling though to think about everything God has done for us in a year. But other than the fact that it’s humbling, it’s sometimes reassuring. If God came through once, he’ll always come through again. It might not  be what we want or what we envision our life to look like. It’s God’s way, though. God will always plan it just the right way.

The ultimate anchor

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And it goes on and on and on and on...

I’ve got my toes in the water and toes in the sand and all I am lacking is a cold Sun Drop in my hand. I am at one of my favorite places in the world: the beach. However, every time I come, I always think about how big God really is.

The last time I was at the beach, my grandmother passed away back home, so I didn’t get a whole lot of just sitting and thinking time. This time, though, I will get several days to sit back and just think.

I am not sure what it is that causes me to be able to sit and stare blankly at something for just so long. I can sit and watch the ocean for hours until the sound of the waves becomes one big lullaby and gently puts me to sleep.

The ocean is my optimal thinking spot as I watch other people and let me toes sink deep down in the sand. I especially love watching the sun set and come up above across the horizon. It’s almost hypnotizing. But nonetheless, some of my best ideas of things have come from sitting and staring at the ocean. But as I sit, I usually think about how big the ocean is.

It goes on and on and on and on. It doesn’t stop for thousands of miles. It’s just so vast. Too vast for me to sometimes even comprehend. And you know, that’s how God feels sometimes. Too big to even fathom or imagine.

I read this book today for four hours straight on the way here. It’s called Christian Atheist. I bet you are thinking that’s a contradictory sort of title. But it is not completely. The books goes into grave detail about how we believe God is really there, yet we live our lives as though He doesn’t even exist.

Yeah. It’s a big thought to chew on, and it is going to take me awhile to absorb all that the book talks about. It does hit a lot of high notes though as it talks about our prayer life and what we level of a relationship we have with God.

The sun is finally setting at the beach now and the sky looks like shreds of cotton candy have sprinkled across it. And as the day draws to a close, I have come to realize something that for me is just as big as the ocean.

God doesn’t have to be fair. He is just.  God doesn’t have to always be understood. I’ve just got to learn to roll with it.  God is bigger than anything I could ever imagine. Bigger than the ocean of course.  God is my best friend. Yeah, the creator of the universe takes the time to love me out of all the other six billion people on this planet just like  He takes the time to love you too.

For months now, it seems like I am sort of out in the ocean being tossed around by the waves. Nothing really feels secure, and I perfectly aware everything in my life is about to change. In fact it is already is.

I realized though God will always be my anchor even when I live like He’s not there. He will always throw me a life preserver even when I don’t think I need it or I am strong enough to handle it all by my little big girl self. The book I read talked a lot about trust.

I rarely trust people here on earth, and yet  I still find trouble trusting the one entity that loves me more than anything. Before the craziness of my life begins again, I think I am going to grab onto that life preserver. Floating in the ocean just waiting for the waves to hit isn’t quite fun. I need to cling to an anchor, and who better to cling to that ultimate anchor of all.