Wednesday, July 18, 2012

On Sadness and Joy

"For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.  And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies." Romans 8:22-23

I promised some friends on Sunday night that I would blog on Monday.  As you can see, I'm a few days late...and for good reason.  Monday I got a text from my Dad that my grandma was in her last hours.

I, along with the rest of my family that lives in the DFW area, headed straight to her side.  My dad read scripture to her, us girls sang some old hymns out of the hymnal she had on the bookshelf.   Throughout the day, constant memories of her flooded my head: sleepovers at her house, the blackberry bush in the backyard, the music room, watching movies together, the way she played the piano by ear, and she played it well too. Very early Tuesday morning, my grandmother passed away peacefully. I wanted to write an eloquent post about my grandma and how wonderful she was, but there are too many thoughts swimming in my head right now to focus enough to do her justice.  All you really need to know about her is that she loved the Lord and she loved her family.

I cannot fully describe all of the emotions felt throughout the past few days.  It's as if the vines of sadness and joy have grown and entwined themselves tightly around my heart.  I will miss my grandma terribly, but in reality, I started missing her prior to her physical death.  The sadness of losing her, however, is overcome by the joy of knowing that she is free of this world.

My grandma is with Jesus. Face to face.  I cannot even fathom.  My heart yearns for it, my heart longs to see Jesus in ALL his glory.  Even my grandest imaginings seem meager for the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. 

And so I wait, eagerly.

"One thing have I asked of the Lord,
that will I seek after:

that I may dwell in the house of the Lord

all the days of my life,

to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord..."

Psalm 27:4 
Me and my Grandma this past Christmas.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

On Love

What do I know of love? 

It’s a word that carries more weight than we give it credit.  We use it in abundance when speaking about frivolous things and we use it sparingly in regards to personal relationships, and even less do we actually verbalize it towards one another.  We fear the admission of love opens the door to vulnerability, which in turn could lead to the revelation of our innermost fears and weaknesses.  And for whatever reason we've told ourselves, we’ve felt they are an easier burden to bear on our own, or at the very least, less humiliating if we’re the only ones who know about them.   

But the truth of the matter is that love is spelled out pretty clearly in the bible in words and in action.  

"But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great LOVE with which he loved us, EVEN when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ-by grace you have been saved-..." Ephesians 2:4-5 (emphasis mine)

He has shown great love, he is our great love, and at the very least, this much I do know.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

On My Last Night

Here I am, sitting in my quaint apartment looking at all the boxes I have packed up and reminiscing about my past three years here.

When I got out of college, I wanted to get my own place immediately, but the full time job didn't come immediately, so neither did my own place.  I ended up moving back in with my parents and then at the end of the year, once I got my full time job, I got my own place.

I remember sitting in my room the last night at my parents house and I had been rushing around, so excited about the new place, that I hadn't taken time to realize that this was my last night in my parents house.  It was actually a little bit sad.  I love my room at my parents.  It's big and spacious.  It's comfortable, it has memories.

So now I sit in my little apartment and I kind of feel the same way.  I've been so excited and crazed about moving into my new place, that I haven't thought too much about all the great times I've had in my own little place.  I'm not really sad per se, I know I'm moving on to a great house that will be filled with great girls. 
But I do feel like this is the most opportune moment to produce...

a Top {Five} here it goes...

Here are my Top {Five} Memories in My First Apartment
(I know "Top" lists are supposed to be in order...but these really aren't in order, they're just the five I remember best)

5. Move in day- I remember lying in my bed the first night taking in deep breaths and realizing that this all means I'm an adult now.  I have a job, I have a place of my own, I was officially grown up.

4. Valentine's Day SND- A couple of years ago, SND fell on Valentine's Day.  Well, knowing that the majority of us would not be out with the loves of our lives, I hosted Sunday Night Dinner for the first (and only) time.  It turned out great!  The crowd that night was small enough to fit into my apartment, but it was still a good number of people.  It was also the night I introduced cake balls to everyone.  You all can thank me later.

3. Dinner Parties-I have had various girls over for dinner parties at my house.  I usually end up experimenting recipes, and if you know anything about my cooking, you know my meals usually come with asterisks.  However, along the way I had some successful ventures.  I made Pioneer Woman's pot roast and I've made Giada DeLaurentis' Orzo Stuffed Bell Pepper recipe, I think both turned out very well!!

2. Tuesday Nights with Maggie and Stephanie- I loved spending my Tuesday nights with Stephanie and Maggie.  We would get together, eat dinner together, and then watch "The Biggest Loser" and/or "Glee".  I liked these nights because I got to spend time with these two girls who are so wonderful!

1. Christmas Party with the {Five}- I have four special friends from college who were all able to come to my apartment for a small Christmas party together the first year I lived here.  Of course, it being my first place, I was all excited to have them over.  Now, with all of us being so busy all the time, I'm just grateful we found time to all be together because any time I spend with them is considered precious to me!

{Bonus Memory} Snowmageddon 2011--Four magically snowy days that I spent couped up in my apartment. As you see from previous posts, it was both wonderful and terrible! However, I did love that I got to play in the snow and go on a snow walk with Stephanie, it felt great to get out of the apartment (even if I did slip and fall on the ice).

I'm excited to move on to the next chapter, my next place.  I know that living with other girls, my "Top" list will probably increase and I'll have way more than five special memories that stick out. I'm ready to get into the new place and ready to unpack all my stuff!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

On Change

I realize that I haven't blogged in a few months (terrible, I know), so I decided now that my life is in a complete whirlwind, it'd be an excellent time to blog!

You see, I'm moving out of my very {first} apartment (seen below) and into a house with a few roommates.

I've lived in this apartment by myself for {three years} and for the first two years, I definitely wasn't ready to have a roommate. But throughout the course of the last year or so, a little desire to live with others has sprouted in me. So, luckily for me (or just the Lord's plan), the Lord worked things out so that I will now be moving in with some other fabulous girls! Where are we moving, you ask?? Well, that's the fun interesting part...

I have to move all my belongings from my current humble abode in exactly one week and we don't have a house yet. You may be asking, "Aren't you stressed out?" The answer to that is yes...and no. Overall, I'd say not that much, but I've had my moments. I called my apartment complex to ask if I could stay longer in case we don't have a place and was kindly told no. I subsequently hung up the phone and started laughing hysterically and then crying hysterically, followed by some more laughing. It was very weird. Overall though, I'd say that I know everything is going to work out because I know that the Lord has a plan. And I should've known that everything wouldn't be on my time table...after all, when has anything ever been on my time table!

So regardless of our house status, things will be changing for me in a major way in the next couple of weeks. Because eventually we will find a house and we will get settled in. In addition to that, I'll be starting back up with school stuff, a new year, a completely new schedule, and a new crop of girls to work with. I've also decided to train for a {triathlon} (I know, I know, I'm crazy), so implementing vigorous exercise into my daily life will be another change (though I suppose this is not a bad thing).

I'm not usually one for change. I like change I can control, for example, I like to rearrange my furniture a lot. It provides the change I crave, but it's within my own control. I don't usually take to change that I cannot control. My typical reaction is to hate it at first, then slowly grow into it, it becomes the norm, and then something else changes and I go through the same process again. I do think, however, that the Lord uses all the changes in my life to grow me and stretch me.

So here's to {change} , here's to not knowing what comes next and fully having to rely on the Lord to provide, which he will. So I welcome you change, maybe not with my arms open wide, but hey, they're open...and, hey, that's a start.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

On Royalty

Well, here we are, {10 days} away from the Royal Wedding. As one who is obsessed fascinated with royalty of all kinds (but especially British), I've decided to tell you how I will be celebrating this "Wedding of the Century"...

1. Royal Movie Watching
Starting with the most historically recent movies and moving back in time...

We have "The Queen" which chronicles the days immediately following the death of Princess Diana in Paris. It's an interesting film and a great performance by Helen Mirren. I still remember coming home and seeing the news about Diana's car crash. Not the most chipper of movies, but historical nonetheless...

"The King's Speech" just happens to be coming out on DVD, so we move here next. If you haven't seen it, you MUST hit up your local red box and rent it the moment it comes out. You won't regret it. I promise.

Then, I'd move to "The Young Victoria". I remember being in London in 2009 and seeing posters all over for this movie. Since I was on vacation, I didn't have time to go to the movies there to see it. Upon my return to this side of the pond, I searched everywhere for it and found it didn't release here until SEVEN months later!! But, alas, it was worth the wait. It is a great movie and there is even a cameo by a true royal, one of Fergie's daughters!

I find there is quite a gap in royal movies after "The Young Victoria", so I move to "Elizabeth". One of the greatest Queens in history and certainly a great British royal...not to mention an excellent performance by Cate Blanchett.

aaand then there's this. Not royalty, but equally British and wonderful...and newly released on DVD (!).

2. Tea and scones
Since the wedding will be at odd hours of the night, I will probably need a pick-me-up with some tea (with milk and sugar, no less) and some scones. Ok, maybe not scones....ok, so I don't know what scones are exactly. But tea! There will definitely be tea to drink in my recently purchased pastel tea cups and saucers. Yay!

And of course to go along with my tea (and scones) I will have my commemorative tea towels!! (I especially love the second ones!)

Will you be watching?

Monday, April 4, 2011

On Church

So for the first time, I'm participating in another person's blog fun! I often visit Kelly's Korner because not only is she a believer, but she has such a fun personality and cute style! You should definitely check her out!

Anyway, I'm a little late on posting, but Friday was Show Us Your Life: Church. I know I'm behind on posting, but I couldn't resist talking about and sharing about my church, The Village Church here in Flower Mound, Texas (or Denton, or Dallas-I'll explain that in a bit).

My church is a larger church and it even has three campuses. Our pastor, Matt Chandler, speaks at the Flower Mound campus and then the video is fed live to campuses in Denton and Dallas. For a lot of people that might not make sense, and it didn't to me either at first. But you see, our little church has grown so fast that there wasn't anywhere to put all the people coming. People were literally being turned away because there was no where to sit. But God knew what he was doing and he opened up an opportunity in Denton where another church that was struggling GAVE us their building. This was truly a God send!! There were many people that were driving in from Denton, so now they could attend the Denton campus. About a year or two later, the same thing happened in Dallas. A church GAVE us their building, which meant all those driving in from Dallas could now attend the Dallas campus. I was one that was skeptical about the idea of multiple campuses, but each of these opened up only by the will of God. Each time our church sought the Lord through prayer and fasting and both times he literally gave us buildings! But that just explains WHERE we are. I want to explain more about WHO we are.

I have been at The Village since 2008 and I love it so much! Our church can be summed up in this way:
The Village Church exists to bring glory to God through lives changed by the gospel of Jesus Christ. We do this by (1) actively proclaiming the gospel in our community to those who do not believe, and by (2) actively pursuing the ongoing renovation of our own lives through the grace of Christ.

We believe the Bible is inerrant. We believe in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as the Trinity, three in one. We believe that Jesus Christ came, lived a perfect life as both fully man and fully God. We believe he died on the cross and three days later, rose from the dead. We believe in community, we believe in missions, these are just a few...

I appreciate that our pastor, Matt Chandler, speaks bibilical truth to us, even when it's stuff we don't want to hear. I feel like our pastors and elder staff are honest with us, they don't like to sugar coat things, which I appreciate! I love our children's programs, I volunteer in the preschool area every Sunday, it's called Little Village. And the elementary kids are in Kid's Village. In both Little Village and Kid's Village, the children are taught not only bible stories, but each story is linked to the nature and character of God. They explain who God is, God is Loving, God is Just, God is Merciful, and so on. They even begin the teachings as early as one year old! The youth programs are solid as well, though I haven't gotten a chance to volunteer there.

I love our music. We have been blessed with many talented musicians, lyricists, and singers. They even recently put out a new CD, so if you're looking for some good music, I encourage you to check it out here. I have been listening to this in my car all weekend, and it's good stuff!

I think the reason that I love my church the most is because we seek to bring glory to God in everything that we do. Just like everyone else, we mess up a lot. We don't always get it right. But I love the honesty and sincerity in our church. I've gotten to know people in the church and I've found a smaller community within the church that I can grow with. I feel so blessed that the Lord has put me in this place. The church (the bride, not the building) has been by my side in times when I needed encouragement and when I needed to be pointed back to Christ. I'm so thankful for this body of believers and if anyone is in the Flower Mound area (or Denton, or Dallas), we'd love to have you come visit!!

Overall, I think the things that have been engrained into my mind and onto my heart while I've been at The Village is that He is good and He does good, it's all for my joy and His glory. CHRIST IS ALL!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

On Drill Team

This week is tryout week for our little drill team here in suburbia. I happen to hate tryout week. I just want so badly for my students to do well, and it's sad when some of them don't make it. I want them to experience the things I got to experience. I want them to make the friendships I've been able to make. I want them to love it the way that I love it.

I can't tell you all the reasons why I love drill team because, let's face it, there are just too many, but here are a few:

1. Sweet Outfits

I mean, what's not to love about wearing a sequined hat and fringe?!? I was lucky enough to get my old high school uniform because our team got new ones my senior year (pictured here). However, in college we don't get to keep our uniforms, so if I wanted it, I'd have to pay a pretty penny! I did manage to lobby long and hard enough to keep my college hat, gauntlets, and scarf. It may not have been that big of a deal to my director to give them away...but for me it was.


This is an early picture of my college drill team, the Apache Belles. The Belles began all the way back in 1947. I loved being a part of a history, a legacy. My high school drill team has been around since 1975. I was lucky to have a high school and college director who both have spent more than 25 years directing the teams I was lucky enough to be about a legacy. In addition to the history of the teams I was a part of, there is also drill team history in my family. My sister Beth was a Trinity Troy-Ann, and my sister, Sarah, was a Fillie, too. My sisters paved the way for me, they made me interested, they made me believe that I could do it, they encouraged me, and they taught me. I was lucky enough to be on my high school team with Sarah for one year, her senior year, my sophomore year. The second picture is at our Fillie banquet in 1998 right after I made the team. I think both of us would say that that year as a Fillie was probably the most memorable...the most meaningful for sure.

3. Travel Opportunities

Because I was an Apache Belle, I got to travel to China to dance and represent the school as well as the city of Tyler. The trip to China was something that only eight of us got to do and it was something that was very special to me. I hope to create special memories for my girls as well. So far, we've taken our girls on a cruise and most recently to Disney World. We're still discussing next year's location...hmmm...where should we go...

4. Lifelong Friends
These are all the high school friends I still keep in touch with...all were on drill team with me. Kristi, Meagan, and Audrey. Love you!

These are my college drill team girls that I love ever so dearly! Tori, Cassie (who is a lifelong friend and was also on high school drill team with me), Valerie (and her little boy Carter), and Rachel (the Director of our team). Something about spending hours upon hours sweating, working, crying, and trying makes you grow closer together! I love these girls and I am so grateful that God placed us together and I look forward to reminiscing about our more fit and flexible days when we are old and gray! :)

5. Performing

How could I forget performing!! I loved dancing on the star at Texas Stadium for football playoffs and a State Championship! I loved competing for those ever-elusive National Championship jackets! Despite the fact that we never won them (at least while I was on the team), I can honestly say that performing for it was worth every moment of practice. I loved dancing in the stage lights in college, opening the State Fair, dancing in China, dancing at Disney World, pep rallies, football games, all of it. I loved performing, the knots in your stomach, the thrill, the anticipation, the adrenaline. It was my way of acting, of being someone else for just a moment. When I performed I wasn't just me, I was a Rockette, I was a James Bond girl, I was even Elvis! I got to be all kinds of things. I got to release the tension, let my emotions come out in my performance and leave everything I had on the dance floor. I'd say, as a teacher, that's the thing I miss the most as I don't get to perform very much anymore...

So here's to all the young ladies that will be future Silverados! May those who make it find friendship, love, and loyalty. May they feel they are a part of a legacy and seize all opportunities given to them through this wonderful world! May they embrace each performance and make all their sweat, tears, and joy worth it each and every time they dance.