Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I think of you.

Why, hello. It's been about a month since I last wrote.
Things have been pretty pretty crazy.
The semester is over. What a horrible horrible last two weeks; which were thankfully made better by Jesus. And friends that care. :)
I am home now. Being home is weird - I have not transitioned from the busy-ness of College Park to relaxation of Kennesaw. I miss CP a lot, but I think once I start working and seeing old friends, I will become more acclimated to it.

It's been a really wonderful semester; maybe not the most fun, but I definitely learned so much in it. (I'd like to think that I've grown a lot through it.) One of those things that I have learned is in time management. It's all a balancing act - school, teaching, IV, friends from IV, friends outside of IV. Mid-semester and towards the end, I found myself having a really really hard time spending time with my roommates from last year. They weren't present, as classmates and roommates were. Each encounter had to be planned or scheduled; and even with this, it did not always work out - cancellations were prevalent. It really reinforced that I miss living with them. Don't get me wrong - I love my house and the ladies in it. But I really do miss being able to come home to the apartment, going to Ashley's room and spilling my guts about my day. Now, it's hard to even remember important things to tell her - it's more of a condensed version of what happened in the couple of weeks that I have not seen her.
Purposeful relationships take time. And effort. And intentionality. I guess this is really making me think about how and where I spend my time, especially next semester. I will have a much lighter course load (only two real classes, plus placement). PLUS, I am taking West African dance with Ashley! This will be a real treat! Class with her is fun.
I think I have a better idea of how much I am able to handle.

2008 was a great year! Soon to come will be some of my favorites of the year.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Today I had an awesome time in DC. It was kinda disheartening, but I saw Jesus' hope shining through. Storytime:
I walk up to my friend Brian and ask him how he was doing. He looks at me, with his awesomely clear blue eyes, and asks me if I really wanted to know, and I tell him I do. I walk closer to him and he grabs my hands and tells me he's really scared. As I move closer to him, I smell alcohol on his breath. His eyes are droopy and he looks really out of it - not the Brian that I have talked to in past weeks. He says me he can't live this way. My heart drops. I let him talk for a little bit - a lot about how he doesn't feel like people get him, how relating to people is hard. I am not sure, it was a little incoherent. Still, he has a really great attitude about it all and says he loves God. As I was getting ready to leave, he grabs my hands and bends over and touches them to his forehead. He tells me that I don't know what I am doing out here and that he loves me.
I want to cry thinking about it. They don't know what they are doing for me - it's such an experience in humility, in friendship, in seeing God's hope. It's amazing to me to see people in such positions seek God as refuge, as comfort. I am going on Friday, since we will not be able to go on Saturday.

To our weaknesses, He is no stranger.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

So I had forgotten to post about this a long time ago; but I think it's quite beautiful.
Saturday mornings, a group of us go down to Union Station and hand out bagged lunches to our homeless friends down there. It is usually a pretty convicting experience. There are two super cool guys named Hunt and Erik. They are best friends and are usually found sitting on this wall near the street. Hunt also always notices my necklace and asks me about it, haha, which is really endearing. Anyway, a couple of Saturdays ago, I was talking to them, and they started feeding the pigeons cupcakes they had. They also gave away the foods in the lunch we gave them to a family.
Wait, backtrack. What? The homeless were giving away the little food that they had? A lot of the time, we are unwilling to give away what we have, even if we have much of it. Hm. I feel like I learn a lot from these experiences, from people who are at different stages of their lives, in different positions. It's quite humbling; I am not sure if they are Christians or not, but it's an amazing and encouraging example of of giving and complete reliance of the One who provides eternally.

Retreat just happened. The topic: Throw your life away. I was very challenged. Jesus kind of rocked my boat, especially in thinking of the future. It's all in His hands, but He definitely opened my mind up to the different possibilities and ways to use the talents He has given me.
Acts 20:22-24 is sweet. Despite how uncertain Paul is in going to Jerusalem and his past experiences in every city (hardships and obstacles), his life is worth NOTHING compared to being able to carry through with what Jesus is telling him to do, which is spreading the awesome love of Jesus. Gives me a lot of perspective to the questions/doubts/fears I have in my mind.

Through a couple of conversations, I have realized just how much I love talking about Jesus and what He is to me and what He has done for US to people. To non-believers. It makes me really excited and I definitely feel the Spirit's presence in all of those interactions.

Today was beautiful.
I have much new music to listen to.
And a lot of homework to do.

Listening to: If I Am Brave, Alli Rogers

Monday, October 13, 2008

There are still things to be done here.

Crazy happenings of last week:
-Fell off of my bike trying to prevent my pant leg from getting caught on the chain - silly that one moment can have such effects. Chipped my two front teeth, among other bruises. I was pretty torn up on the inside that day - it was pretty shocking, a huge ego blow and chipping my teeth had to have been my WORST fear. Haha. I shudder every time I think about it, but I am fine. Pretty good, actually. God is good and have put wonderful people in my life. It's been teaching me a lot of things - joy, humility, confidence from God, not relying on what the world thinks of you, etc. God is so sweet!
-Around the World dinner was a hit (in my humble opinion)! There were so many good foods that people brought and people brought their friends, which was extra exciting!
-Team Fausome Possum is underway - lost our first game but it was so much fun! We had an awesome group of people cheering us on. :) Friends are amazing gifts from God.
-EDSP499C is a pretty sweet class - I know a lot of people don't like it, but it makes me think a lot. Yesterday, we talked a lot about education and poverty, the difference between high poverty schools vs. low poverty schools (teacher quality, facilities, class size, salaries, etc). It reminded me a lot of what we talked about on the plunge and really reminded me of why I want to be a teacher and where I want to teach (intentionally in an area of need). The system is so working against these kids, along with the many other factors, outside of academics (academic experiences, parents, opportunities, etc). Some teachers just don't want to deal with it - they'd rather have security, comfort even (who'd blame them?). To reinforce this, a couple of weeks ago, she posed the question: If DC public schools offered to pay you $70,000 to work there, vs. the $45,000 dollars you'd get with MCPS [Moco], would you take it? Even with the huge pay hike (not that we do it for money anyway, haha, which kinda skews this example... but whatever), all of the teachers she asked said no, with one girl even saying that her life is much more valuable to her. There is much fear, biases, insecurity. And so the system perpetuates itself. Sure, there are a lot of initiatives going into it and a lot of proposed change; but is that really going to change such a long running system?
I guess the only thing we can do is hope and trust that Jesus will make it right.
It was an interesting class for me, to say the least. ALSO, we are doing NCLB "at risk" subgroup presentations and guess which group I got - children living in poverty!

Crazy happenings to come:
-SG Dinner at El Taco Dinner Thursday!
-Tyrone Wells at Fe Friday night!
-I start teaching next week! In a self-contained special ed classroom, in Anne Arundel County. 40 minutes+ away. However, someone from my class will be teaching there too, so carpooling will happen.
-KNES160N starts on Monday!
-Fall retreat

Listening to: God of this City, Chris Tomlin

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Jesus, take my life and lead me on.

Sometimes there is such a disconnect for me. I often feel in between joy and guilt. Joy in what I see God doing in my heart/life, on our campus, within our fellowship, in friendships, in intentionality. Guilt in how hard it is for me to leave behind what I hold dear, in not living up to my potential. I am so selfish and I am realizing it more and more each day. There is a lot in my heart that I am unable to let go of, things that I want. I feel so unworthy sometimes and God knows my heart, but His goodness and mercy are overwhelming.
"To starve is to feast and less of me is more of Jesus." -- I gave a little speech about lordship at this retreat I went on this weekend - 3-5 minutes. It's pretty funny I got to speak on this topic because it's been increasingly difficult for me as of late. At one point, I felt so unfit to talk about this because of my struggles due to the selfishness that I have. I wanted to change it at one point; I was having a lot of trouble writing/thinking out what I wanted to say. But I remembered a truth that I often forget. Something that I love so much about God is that he is working on us all, continually and every day. And His grace is there, when we fall short, despite anything and everything.
Philippians 3:7-9 is amazing. The more I come to know God (and read verses such as this), the more I am convicted to give my life over to Him, the more I am convicted that what I hold dear in my life here is worthless in comparison to what Jesus is. However, there is a disconnect between this strong conviction and living it out. I read passages like this one and am so moved. Change may happen but I fall back into the same sin eventually. Still, another amazing example of His grace.
But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith
I will try to be better. I will be better.

Photo compliments of Allison.

Listening to: Lord You Have My Heart, delirious?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Waiting for One Tree Hill and having talked to a friend/wise old man about this past pastime of mine, I have decided to write a post and post the "soundtrack" of my life. I've done it a couple of times - it is pretty fun to see how my songs change for various "scenes." It's pretty dorky, but it's the little fun things in life that get you by, right?
Opening credits: Shine Your Light on Us, Robbie Seay Band
Waking up: Let Your Light Shine, Bethany Dillon*
Average day: Everything is Beautiful, Starfield
First date: Feel This, Bethany Joy Galeotti w/ Enation
Falling in love: mid-november, Johnathan Rice
Fight scene: Apologies, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals
Breaking up: Near to You, A Fine Frenzy
Getting back together: Life is Beautiful, Ryan Adams
Wedding Song: So You Are To Me, Eastmountainsouth
Life's okay: Fix You, Coldplay
Mental Breakdown: Ruin Me, Jeff Johnson
Driving: Can't Stop Loving You, Phil Collins
Flashback: Lie in the Sound, Trespassers Williams
Partying: Calabria 2007, Enur
Happy dance: Southern Girl, Amos Lee
Long night alone: Lonely Tonight, Matt Wertz*
Death scene: Beautiful, Shawn McDonald
* = Have not changed since the last time I did this.

What I am looking forward to this week:
-New Student Retreat!
-Tutoring Isaiah
-IV and small group!

Listening to: Dance All Night, Ryan Adams

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Can we go back to the beginning, when everything was easier?

I've been feeling God's presence in my life so deeply lately. Like, I can really feel Him. I don't see why He trusts me with so much sometimes. I hope I don't (slash I can't) let Him down. And I'd like to think He won't let me.
Things are so different right now from what they were two years ago.

Listening to: Radiance and Reason, Josh Johnson

Sunday, September 7, 2008

School is in. There is lots to do. It's been a couple of really hard, testing days. But God is good and is always with me.
I've decided that I will be trying to right the wrong this semester.

Listening to: True Love, Phil Wickham

Thursday, August 14, 2008

So I'm going through my old things and found a piece of paper entitled, "50+ things I want to do in a lifetime," written on April 26th, 2005. This was a project for my AP Lit class, taught by one of the most animated, energetic, vivacious teachers I've had - crazy old English teacher, haha.
Some of the list, I found I've accomplished:
15) Let people know I love them.
16) Make mistakes and learn from them.
31) Continue to attend BRLS, even after my 6th year.
40) Be spontaneous.
45) Dance like a maniac. (Haha, what the.)
Some to be accomplished soon (hopefully):
4) Graduate from college.
6) Have a career I love and enjoy.
8) Live in a 3rd world country.
11) Go to graduate school.
Some things, I now would NOT want to do:
32) Swim in a pool of apricot jello.
33) Name a wing after myself or something ridiculous.
51) Go to see the Kings during the playoffs (mainly, because it's not going to happen for them).
54) Live in NYC.
55) Live in Boston.
Along with a lot of other silly things I don't think I will do/want to do.
Things sure have changed since high school.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

So there is this little boy in camp named Joseph. Joseph has Down syndrome and has such a big heart - he's not even in my camp but is still incredibly friendly with me. He loves hugs and attention, as most kids do. One day, he showed me a doodle, and on it, was a bunch of little drawings. One was of Jesus on the cross (smiling, which was a cute addition on Joseph's part) and he scribbled a bunch of little phrases (the ones that I was able to make out), like "Rock," and "Strong Tower," with the penmanship of a 5 year old, rather than the 11 year old that he is.
Children with Down syndrome have lower than average intelligence and their communication is usually impaired; Joseph barely verbal, which is why this struck me.
It just shows how powerful/big/loving Jesus is - this kid really loves Jesus and what He has done for him. I sometimes doubt that He can enter into lives, but He can - and I am so weak for doubting what He can do, which I do a lot, subconsciously.

Camp is over tomorrow. More to come later.

Listening to: Never Let Go, Matt Redman

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Blackbird singing in the dead of night..

It has been a busy/lazy/tiring July for me, which explains the lack of posts.
Camp has been camp - I have been having a strangely good time with it, despite the hot hot heat and lack of voice. It's definitely a great change of heart that the Lord gave me, in regards to the kids and my co-workers (whom I've grown to love working with, after a shaky start). Everything is just so much more positive - and I have so much more energy and excitement to go and play with the kids. They are really what keep me coming back and sane. There are three in particular that just make my days so much better than they would be. Really awesome thing to be blessed with - actually loving the job you do and the people and kids you work with. It has really cemented that I've chosen the right path for my life.
I just can't believe that the last week is THIS week - I am really going to miss it, I think. It has been the best year, camper wise. My kids make me so happy and bring so many smiles and laughs to my face. It has definitely been hard, with many challenges, trying to really bring a light to camp and be the "different" - but I think God has given me many lessons and experiences to reflect on - patience, love, humility, etc etc. Some very hard truths to deal with, at least for me.
And I had SO much fun!

As much as I miss Maryland, there are a couple of people in Atlanta who I feel so connected and close to. I always say it is my last summer in Atlanta, but by the end of it, I guess I always rethink my statement.

Listening to: Blackbird, The Beatles

Sunday, July 6, 2008

There's nothing better than knowing that we are redeemed.

I really really needed that 3 day weekend - camp really tires me out. It also went by way too fast. Some highlights:
After work Thursday, Ryan and I were supposed to do cardio-kickboxing and zumba classes, but we ended up being way too lazy. We proceeded home, which took an hour and a half! What? Without traffic, it is a 30 minute drive. But the roads were vicious, and it took an hour more than it usually does. I've re-realized my angry tendencies when driving, especially in traffic, that day (which I don't like at all).
So Friday, the 4th, my mom, brother and I went out, to browse cars, and ended up buying one. I have never bought a car before, but those salesmen are pretty convincing. He gave us a sweet deal, though, and because it was the 4th, there were extra discounts taken. So there is my baby, it is dark blue, with a lovely Maryland window decal on it!
I got to hear from Aida today! It made me miss her a lot. It was great to hear what she is learning in the city through the program. I am really excited about what God is teaching/showing her through her experience and through Bible study. It makes me really excited for the end of summer and the start of the school year, when I will be able to see my college friends again. But I need not let my summer pass me by and I also need not let that be what motivates me through each summer day - I really need to be there for the people in my life here and the camp kids.
I like the church I attend here in Kennesaw more and more each week that I go. What a blessing it is to find one minutes from my new house. The pastor really goes in depth with the scripture and shows us just how applicable it is in our lives now - he is awesome and reminds me somewhat of Lon. We are going through a series on joy over the summer using the book of Philippians. Going through it has made me re-discover how awesome the messages in Philippians are. Topics have ranged from characteristics of people who increase joy in our lives, how to remain a difference maker (and not complacent in our faith), ways to diffuse conflict, and today, how to maintain joy. One way to maintain joy is to keep walking by Grace and resist legalism. He showed how Paul was once legalistic in the scripture. He then used Gal. 5:1, speaking about the freedom in Christ. He touched on 3 areas that keep us from being free, burdens if you will: past sins, current sins, and spiritual "obligations" (obligation in the way we view it/our motive). He talked about how a lot of people view their sins (past and current) way too "big" to be able to be forgiven of, things we won't "let" God forive us for, things we consider his grace not great enough to conquer. He gave this awesome verse in Psalms, touching on the multitude of Christ's forgiveness - as far as the east is to the west. After becoming a Christian, I definitely struggled a lot with who I was before I found Christ. While knowing that He has forgiven me, I guess I didn't realize the depth of it, and it was really keeping me from getting closer to the One who loves me so much. When I hear messages like that, it really touches me because it hits so close to home. The rest of it really motivated me to try to walk by Grace, to remind myself how great God's grace is everyday, and to focus on showing people the Love I have been given.
Which is really hard in Atlanta, I've realized. Especially in camp. When my patience is so incredibly tried. But it's something I have prayed about a lot and I have definitely seen Jesus working in me.

Listening to: Devotion, Hillsong United

Sunday, June 22, 2008

God in my hurting, God in my healing.

So last week I went to Blue Ridge Leaders School, one of the my favorite places ever. I've been going since the young age of 13 and have had a really awesome, changing experience each year. This year was no different.
Coming for my 8th year, it was a little rough at first - a lot of my friends from years past did not get to come back, so I felt a little weird about it all. I guess I didn't feel as comfortable, especially with the people I know being gone/busy with leader stuff. However, Jesus changed my attitude about it and made me a happier camper, literally. :) From the point at which my mindset changed, Blue Ridge began to feel a lot like it had in years past, so that was really great.
I guess a couple of the things that struck me about BRLS this year:
-A lot of what I go through, I take for granted. It is really a shame too, because I can definitely look back on a lot of experiences and say that I wish I had taken a lot more from them than I had.
-I have been learning a lot about the opportunities God has been placing in front of me - BRLS was no different. It was something God wanted me to take full advantage of to shine for and exalt Him in my actions. He provides me with so much daily and has given me so much in the past (HIS SON!), so it only seems reasonable that I give him my all/best. So hopefully, I can really bring this home to Atlanta.
-The two devotions, the virtue and faith ones, were so heart-felt to me and I am really praying that it touched others as it did me. I am really excited that BRLS is becoming more Christ-centered (at least it is something that I have been taking from it) - it is a really awesome opportunity that the YMCA has to be able to disciple young leaders and an awesome gift to all those BRLS attendees.
-It is in situations of uncomfort where Jesus challenges you and grows you the most.
Dangit, I had a longer post written up, but it didn't save. Boo technology!
Before this post disappears too, I'm out. :( More later: Teen Bible Study! Can't wait to tell y'all about it and what God brings it.

Listening to: Everything, Tim Hughes.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Hear me, if you're out there, take these words and try to understand.

Being back in Atlanta is weird. I feel so out of touch. Not that anything is out of the ordinary. It's just different from what I am used to at school. Weirdly, I am "home-sick" for College Park. I miss late night talks with my roommates, being busy, class, teaching, the mall, random get-togethers to play games, jamming out to music in my room, small group, cooking, Tuesday night dinners, McLean, carpooling to McLean, etc etc. Hopefully, I can get back into my groove. Soon.

I guess part of my dissatisfaction with life in ATL is just that I feel like I am not living up to what I feel is expected. I've been praying to be a light for Jesus here in Atlanta, and I just am not. It's pretty disappointing - I should be really on fire after that awesome week at camp. But I find myself quiet when I could be shouting the Gospel, not taking the opportunity/willing to speak up. So it's time to step it up and really shine for Him.
I also don't really like the feeling of dissatisfication - it's just very ungrateful/inappreciative with what God has given me.
Dunno if I am making sense, but hopefully, I can get out of this funk. It's only been a couple of days, so I can't be too weird about it.

So onto happier things:
-I had really good frozen yogurt the other day - it's from this awesome place called Yoforia. Look at how delicious that looks. The yogurt blend is citrus-y and you can add fruit (which I did - raspberry, blackberry and blueberry)! There is also a pomegranate flavor, which is awesome. There is green tea and dark chocolate as well, but those don't appeal to me as much. Yes, go go Yoforia!
-Camp kids are cute. I am doing soccer camp - 7-10 year olds; it's fun, but I miss my 5-6 babies. They are more inclined to give hugs and cling to you and just be cute all around. Maybe I will get moved next week.
-Hillsong United's song, "One Thing" is an awesome worship song.

Listening to: The Kingdom, Bethany Dillon

First entry!

SO: My first entry! I am very excited to begin blogging (again; I used to have a livejournal but that is way obsolete). I am thinking it's going to be a boring summer, so I decided to be productive and grace y'all with my Carolisms. So with this being my first entry in my new blog, Megan suggested that I write 10 things that I feel like people should know about me. So here it goes!

1) I try to follow Jesus. Somedays, I feel like I have a clear picture of it, somedays, not so much. But I love Him so much, He saves me from myself everyday.
2) I don't like immediate change, but it is constant and I am so grateful to have been changed.
3) One Tree Hill is the only TV show I watch!
4) I am really excited to become a teacher; I feel called towards and eventually want to teach in inner-city DC. For lots of reasons. I could go on for a long time - maybe I will one of these days.
5) I am a vegetarian and do so for economic/world poverty issues, as well as the meat industry not being very ethical. Maybe I will go on about this one entry, as well.
6) I love camp! Any type of camp. I've gone to camp for 7 summers of my life (this summer will be 8!), have work at a YMCA day camp for 3 years and have gone to camp with Intervarsity in college for 2 years now.
7) I have the best friends in the world. Seriously.
8) I looove music - if you really want to stalk me, here is my music profile. I am especially partial to Hillsong United.
9) My worst fear is rejection... From anything. Being told I am not good enough.
10) I want to live in love with my Savior.

Listening to: Worlds Apart, Jars of Clay