Tag Archives: life

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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These are my people

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Most of the times I come home, I drive my car past my grandmother’s old house and her farm and think nothing of it. It’s just part of the scenery I have driven by my entire life. Today, though, I decided to drive my car on the old dusty path past the red barns and the silo and made a right. My mom told me yesterday that my cow had a new baby calf, and I wanted to see it.

I took my sandals off and walked barefoot through the pasture. The grass was still wet from last night’s rain, and I walked slowly to the fence row to see Survivor. Survivor is my red cow that my dad saved when I was about eight years old. He found her stuck in the swamp on the back of our farm. She was malnourished and close to death.

After he rescued her, Survivor became my pet. I bottle fed her back to health and watched her grow. I gave her shots, and I wanted so badly for her to play with me. I soon realized that cows don’t make the best of pets and that included baby ones, too. I remember I used to hop in her pen with her after I fed her in attempts to pet her. Looking back on that ten years later, I realize how stupid that was. Survivor could have trampled me. Thank goodness she was not too rambunctious for that.

I made it to the fence row today, and Survivor was way far down into the pasture lazily laying under a tree. I couldn’t see her cow from where I was standing, so I guess I will try the next time I am home. Defeated I walked back to my car, and I started to wonder about my grandparents. They farmed the grass and land beneath my feet for more than 50 years. I wonder what they would think of it now. More importantly, I wonder what they would think of me now.

Only my mom’s mom watched me grow up. My dad’s mom was already passed by the time I entered the world, and his dad died when I was seven. I barely remember him. My mom’s dad is only faint memory of Carmelo bars, tan skin and overalls. He died when I was four, so I never got to know the man I watched drive the tractor away to tend the land.

I am so different from all of my grandparents. No one in the family was a writer. I don’t think they cared about commas and grammar and breaking a top news story. I know my mom’s grandparents knew the South. My grandparents herded cows and grew crops. They raised tobacco, too. I remember being younger and wearing my overalls and claiming to be a farming kind of girl. I loved cows, and I always wanted to hop on the tractor with my dad. Occasionally, I got to help build a fence in the scorching June heat, and I remember getting to drive my dad’s old red Toyota pickup through the pasture at dusk to just check on things.

Now, I wear dresses and tights, and my fingers are glued to electronics half the time. My nose is usually in a book studying away, and the only barn I see is the one lone barn on campus for the ag kids.  I claim I am simply Southern. I don’t think I deserve the title of farm girl anymore.

Had my grandparents stayed alive longer than they did, I wonder if I would be any different. I wonder if I would want to live on a farm the rest of my life, or if I would still have the same desires I do now, which consists of writing other people’s stories every chance I get.

I love small town life. I love the fact that I grew up on a farm, and that I still have a cow. At almost 19, however, I am the point where I want to explore the world a little. I want to see and do things my grandparents didn’t have the opportunity to do. I am not sure what they would think of me as I am living on my own in what they would consider a big city. Who knows, they might think I am heathen.

I hope they wouldn’t though. I hope they would see themselves in me what ever little part they contributed. Despite that they are long gone, I know that I got all the traits I have from those before me. My sense of adventure had to come from somewhere. I am going to guess it is from dad’s dad. He was a skydiving, motorcyclist riding kinda guy.

My love for the acoustic guitar probably came from my mom’s dad. Mom told me he used to have one and pluck a string or two every now and then. What I would give to have played a song with him, or even just pick a few chords.

As for all my other traits, I am not sure. I know there is a piece of them within me, and perhaps the more I grow the more I will know what comes from who. Regardless of where I live someday whether it is where I grew up or somewhere else, I am proud of where I came from, and more importantly, I am proud of who I am came from.

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?

2012 To-Do List

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So in a short few days, the ball will drop on Times Square, and we have a brand new year, a fresh slate. I always love the beginning of each new year. For me, it’s filled with endless possibilities, and I always look for new ways to make myself a better person.

A few days ago, my friend Milton asked if I had any resolutions. I couldn’t think of any except the fact that I want to lose weight. What girl doesn’t set herself that goal at the dawning of the new year? Other than that, I couldn’t think of a single one.

I’ve tried making my resolutions stick since middle school. But around the middle of January, I usually find myself back to my old habits and routines, and my resolutions are absent. So for this new year, I decided upon a different approach. Yes, I want to be a better person, but I am not going to do it through resolutions.

Call it a bucket-list if you want, but I really don’t plan on dying in 2012 even though most people think the world is going to end. I don’t. Jesus is way more creative with that. Like He’s really going to let the world know when it’s going to end? Yeah right.

For 2012, I’ve made a to-do list of things, places, and tasks I want to do. All of the items on my list I have never done or been able to fully complete before now.

The List in the making

  1. Fly a kite
  2. Read 50 books in a year
  3. Read the entire Bible in 364 days
  4. Go somewhere I’ve never gone before
  5. Photograph something incredible
  6. Color an entire coloring book
  7. Successfully do yoga
  8. Somehow run a mile each day
  9. Try sushi
  10. Play in the rain barefooted
  11. Visit my best friend at UTC
  12. Master five songs on the guitar
  13. Learn how to use bar chords on the guitar
  14. Learn how to properly use Photoshop
  15. Make myself more vulnerable
  16. Keep a journal each day
  17. Try everything on the Starbucks menu
  18. Lead others to Christ
  19. Be bold in my faith
  20. Go back to Memphis
  21. Watch all of the Star Wars movies–even though I didn’t even like the first one
  22. Straighten my mom’s insanely curly hair
  23. Write a blog at least once a week
  24. Watch every episode of Psych
  25. Shoot a gun–like at a target or can. I just felt the need to clarify.
  26. Take a road trip with just friends
  27. Take a road trip just me and mom
  28. Write a poem worth reading
  29. Bake 100 cookies and randomly give them away
  30. Start writing a novel
  31. Write a song
  32. Build a sand castle
  33. Make fried pies
  34. Be in a flash mob
  35. Climb a tree
  36. Document my entire day with a camera
  37. Go completely silent for one entire day
  38. Make dinner for my family and friends
  39. See an SEC team play that I’ve never seen before
  40. Do a one handed push-up
  41. Stay in Barnes and Noble for an entire day
  42. Visit the creepiest, scariest, most haunted house I can find on Halloween
  43. See an 80’s band in concert
  44. Let my dog ride in my car with his head hanging out the window
  45. Go to more than 5 concerts
  46. Stay an entire night at Bonnaroo
  47. Sleep outside in the summer without a tent in my yard
  48. Make 4 new friends
  49. Go horse back riding
  50. Vote in the election
  51. Paint something for my apartment
  52. Throw someone a surprise party
  53. Finish a scrapbook
  54. Work an entire jigsaw puzzle by myself
  55. Learn how to play one song on the piano
  56. Make a snow man with 3 people–providing that it snows
  57. Learn how to sew on a button
  58. Straighten my hair every day for an entire week
  59. Do a backhandspring at MTSU
  60. Win a game of laser tag
  61. Make someone’s day


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.

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.

A Tale of Three Cities: A Christmas Tradition

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Hello from the North Pole

Every year at Christmas, we have three different worlds all in the same household. Of course, it is like this every year, and now the trilogy is complete. This past weekend, we put up my so called world before I went back to school for my last 10 days.

I’ve had the North Pole in my room during the holidays as long as I can remember. Santa and his elves have been working hard on my dresser since 1993.  The Department 56 Christmas villages have been apart of my family since the 80’s, and between mine, my mother’s, and my grandmother’s, we have three different villages that reside on our tables, entertainment center, bookshelves, and dressers.

I really didn’t understand the point of anything breakable when I younger. If I couldn’t play with it, what was the point? I remember unwrapping Christmas villages to add to my collection over the years when I was younger. I never got excited, nor did I really care.

Mom's village

My tune since my seven-year-old days have changed of course, and I look forward to helping my mom set up our villages within our household. The tradition started way back when my great-aunt got my mom villages one Christmas. They are called the Dicken’s villages, and the city is set up in old England. I am guessing the 1700s. When I was younger I remember sitting in my living room, and I thought the people used to come alive at night. And when day time rolled around, they would freeze back up again in the same position. I eventually learned that was not the case at all.

I am not entirely sure when my grandmother started her collection. I can see from the boxes that different friends gave her some pieces, but for the most part I think my mom got them for her. Either that or she bought them on her own. Compared to my mother’s collection, hers is small with only about seven or eight pieces. Her collection is the New England collection, which is set up in colonial America.

Nanny's Village

When my grandmother still had her house, I remember they perched up on one of the tables in the living room. After my grandfather died, Nanny didn’t really decorate her house for Christmas. She spent 90 percent of her time here in our house since she lived right next store. However, that is one of the few things she would put up in her house at Christmas time before she officially moved into our house. This Christmas her village sits in the dinning room, and I helped mom put it up. While it makes me sad, it wouldn’t be Christmas without her villages too.

Out of all three of the collections, I have accumulated the most. Ever since I was born, mom started the collection of the North Pole. Even though I couldn’t really touch it or play with it, I still liked them in room sometimes. I especially like it at night when I laid down to go to bed. The glow from the lights lit up my room, and it just made Christmas seem even more real for me. What kid doesn’t like having the North Pole in their room? Over the years, I have collected 18 different pieces. As we were buying my newest addition, my mother told me she couldn’t believe she was still buying these. I have to agree with her. I can’t believe we still are buying them too, but it wouldn’t be Christmas without a new addition to the North Pole.

My village

Of all the ones we have, mine is my favorite. It truly captures the whole spirit of Christmas. I have my own elf land that sits on my bookshelf. On top of my dresser, the remaining villages sit. I have several different pieces ranging from Santa’s boarding house to the Naughty and Nice Center. I guess if I am not good,  Santa will catch me from my room I suppose.

Nonetheless, I hope this is a tradition that I continue with my own kid Lord willing. My family isn’t really huge. We don’t have that many concrete traditions. However, this is one tradition that is three generations worth. Maybe one day it will be four if I ever have my own daughter. Maybe the North Pole can live in her room too.