Tag Archives: God

Drowning in the moonlight

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I always enjoy when the moon comes out to play. It lights up the ground before me, but I get shadows to explore and watch the bright stars above.

Full moons and the ocean make me think more than anything else . I am not sure what is, but both cause me to be still, which is something I rarely am. Being still allows me to try to listen to God since he ordered us to do that almost everywhere in the Bible.

I am downright horrible at staying at rest. You know what they say about bodies in motion and bodies at rest. I never like mine to be not moving. Right now, I feel like my life is in limbo. I am not really sure what my purpose for being home this summer is. I have no idea what I am supposed to be doing.

As of the past couple of weeks, I feel like I am walking outside on a night like tonight. Occasionally I am in the light and can see where I am going, but often times I find myself stumbling in the dark among the scary branches and the deep shadows.

I wish understood how to truly relax. How to truly become at ease. Hopefully, this summer can teach me how to do that. Perhaps, people are one extreme or the other because I certainly haven’t found a happy medium yet. For some reason, I feel like I must be the Energizer bunny who never quits moving. For those of us that are emotionally incompetent, downtime to lay around and simply think is never easy, and probably making us want to move even more.

Thoughts of my planner trickle by along with dates and deadlines, not to mention the emotions and thoughts I just never want to really handle or confront. Behind every facade and face is a person with thoughts and feelings we probably never realized he or she had. The most composed people always surprise me when adversity strikes. Maybe being composed isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

My mind is restless like it is every night. The noise of my fan and curtains rustling against the blinds aren’t the lullaby that will put me to sleep tonight. Not even the Golden Girls can silence this pensive mood that is weighing down my thoughts.

I don’t what I am supposed to do this summer or what I need to see. I want to learn what it’s like to not microanalyze every decision and thought. Traveling this path probably won’t be easy. It’s sorta like the moonlight. The moonlight only takes you so far and the journey has to be slow.

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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.

Laundry room ramblings

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Between the fire alarms and alarm clocks, I never have time to write for myself. Work and school take up 90 percent of my time while the little sliver I have left is dedicated to my social life. Yeah, my social life is small. Don’t judge.

I feel like life has turned a 180 on me. I look back at last year, and I am simply amazed. God has obviously worked in my life. Never in my wildest thoughts would I have imagined that I would be sitting in my dorm laundry room writing a blog. I was unaware that any of the things that have taken place would have ever happened at all.

So, here I sit at a Formica blue table listening to the dryer hum as I wait for my towels. Doors are slamming, but people are quiet for the most part. It is Friday night after all, so the majority has already hit the party scene.

Before I could put my fingers to the keys tonight, the fire alarm went off in my building. I was merely thankful I was awake for this one instead of grudgingly sliding out of bed half asleep.

Usually, I am seething when the fire alarm goes off. It always disrupts something I am trying to accomplish such as this blog post for instance. However, this time I grabbed my brown leather jacket and walked outside. Since it’s not really winter, it’s not terribly cold. Actually,  it is bearable so I didn’t mind. I hate standing with the crowd so I ventured down the sidewalk to a quieter spot. I stood and I thought.

I love my new life here at MTSU. I truly do. But as I have just finished one incredible week, I find myself missing simple things.

I miss…

  •  having a window that opens in my bedroom.
  • my church family.
  • all the people I left back home.
  • taking naps every day after school.
  • sleeping in late.
  • playing a sport.
  • seeing my best friends every day, all day.
  • having time to read a book.
  • writing for myself.
  • random trips on Saturdays.

And to be honest, that’s about all I miss for the time being. It’s a pretty short list compared to a lot of others I make. In hindsight, I am one blessed girl if that is all I am lacking in life.

We all want the past to the extend, but I am really looking forward to the future. Right now, my future consists of a laundry buzzer and folding towels.  Oh, college life.

Operation Christmas Project 2011

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Part of the 157 boxes my church unloaded this morning at the loading dock at the Atlanta distribution center

Green and red boxes filled the entire trunk of the Ford Excursion I rode in for four hours today as I watched the sun rise in the Chattanooga sky this morning.

This tired college student rolled out of bed at three-thirty this morning to travel to Atlanta, Georgia, with my church family to deliver Operation Christmas Child boxes. Plus, we got to help pack the last boxes that needed preparation for Christmas.

To say I played my little part in something big is an understatement. My friend Kourtney and I contributed one box. My church contributed 157. But this year in Atlanta, the distribution center collected 1.2 million boxes that will ship all over the world. The goal for Atlanta was one million. They obviously surpassed that goal. What amazed me the most was  the United States collected 5.8 million of the 8 million sent around the globe. Now, that is amazing.

Sometimes, I feel like all we hear is negative news. Negative, negative, negative. We get mad at Occupy Wall Street protesters, and we don’t like how the Republican presidential polls are going. Either that or we are disappointed with Obama, or we agree with his nationwide health plan and get angry with the ones who don’t see things the way we do. There is a lot of angry stewing in the United States.

Today showed me God can prevail over any angry or negative news. We can come together as a country through God, and we can do something good for other people in nations across the world. I think we forget that underneath all the bad, we still are a giving country, and we have a massive heart for those in need.

The countries the boxes are going

I felt like I had a massive heart today as it swelled with joy. I don’t know what it was, but I was so blessed today working in the distribution center in Atlanta.  What was supposed to be a six-hour work day got caught in two as today was the last the distribution center would prepare and pack boxes.

Usually, they only let local people work on the last day of collection packing. However, my church slipped through the protocol cracks, and we ended being able to help.

The cool thing was that they shipped boxes from the North Carolina distribution center today just so those in Atlanta could prepare boxes. I am pretty sure that was one of God’s hidden blessings.

My friend and I packed a box for a five to nine-year-old boy this year. I always do a girl, but this year I did something different. Boys ended up being just as fun to shop for as we stuffed our box with dinosaurs, playing cards, jump ropes, a Hulk toothbrush, and much more.

I got a lot of good ideas for my box next year as my job today was to lift the lid off each box and collect all the donations for shipping that laid inside. Year after year, I always wondered where my box went when it left my hands. I am glad that for this holiday season I got to be the middle man. Maybe someday for all I know, I could be the one handing out those boxes to the children who receive them.

As a whole, I am blessed that I come from a giving country  not to mention it makes me realize how good I have it here in the states. I am not denying people live in poverty-stricken areas here, but for the most, we have it better than those other countries across. God has blessed this nation whether we want to recognize it or not, and He will do amazing things we can’t even imagine if we let him.

Can you pass the grief?

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Along with the turkey and dressing passed along at my Thanksgiving table next Thursday, I expect a big heap of grief  on my plate. A helping I plan to scoop right off and pretend it never graced my presence in the first place.

It’s hard for me to fathom the fact that Thanksgiving is next week. I usually embrace this time of year with open arms. I love the aromas escaping from my kitchen, and I always enjoyed the treats  scattered on my counter top. Some of those treats made especially just for me.

Recently, I read Rick Bragg’s Thanksgiving article in Southern Living magazine. His article was all about his mother’s turkey and mocking those perfect looking turkeys everyone sees on the front of magazines and on TV. Most importantly, his article was primarily about his mother and how she made their meal.  That is when it hit me. Thanksgiving will never be the same ever again.

They say the first year is the hardest. Whoever they even is. I am not sure how I feel about the holidays to be honest. I can’t exactly skip Thanksgiving and skipping Christmas is sacrilegious. Or at least it would be for me.

I dread November 24, and if I see that blasted commercial about sitting at the “big table” this year, I might just punch the TV.  I know when I wake up that morning from beneath all my blankets in my bed at home, my favorite southern cook won’t be scuffing around the kitchen in the grandmother sweatshirt I gave her 12 years ago with ragged jeans she took out of the closet just for this occasion.

I sat here wondering recently who was going to make all the things my grandmother made. Given in these past few years my dad put on his apron to help, but he’s not done the important stuff like the dressing, the macaroni and pecan pies.

However, despite the fact that it sounds like I am just missing my grandmother since she was the great food provider, that is not the case. Who is going to sit beside me and hold my hand as we pray and tell God what we are thankful for this year?

I share these feelings through writing. I don’t think I really can any other way. I am emotionally dumb, and someone the other day nicknamed a robot. Perhaps you think that is malice, callous, and all the words that have similar ending sound. I know I am not the only going to be facing losing someone this holiday season.

It’s hard for me to keep it in perspective. It’s hard for me to even write this because that means I have to remember and not just ignore it as I do every day.

Grief is the trickiest emotion of all to deal with, or so I have discovered. It can strike at any time and anywhere. I know it’s about to strike as I approach the great day of thanks next week.

Perhaps, among all the food on my plate and as I reflect on what God gave me, I should keep in mind this one important thought. God didn’t have to give me my grandmother for all 18 years of my life. Not everyone is blessed with having their grandmother living with them. Yes, I said blessed even though some days she drove me straight up the wall.

God blessed me with the incredible, hardworking, Christian woman I knew as my grandmother. She had her flaws and faults. She annoyed me, and some days all we did was argue. Despite all the negative, I know for a fact she loved me more than life itself.

That  in itself is a gift. The most precious gift I am thankful for this holiday season.

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.

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.