Saturday, December 23, 2006

Soundtrack to My Life...

If Your Life Was Set to Film, What Would the Soundtrack Be Like?
Here's Mine...

Just so you all know, this was the hardest thing to do for me E.V.E.R., and I mean it. Music is my life, and to have to sit and pick out songs for certain parts of my life on a movie, well, that's just too insanely difficult. I'm pretty proud, however, of the outcome. Well-rounded in musical genres as well as artists, and pretty much just shows how stinking old I'm getting...

Opening Credits:
“Everyday is a Winding Road” – Sheryl Crow
Every road trip I've ever been on has started with this song or with Sheryl Crow... I love how it talks about how life changes and that each day we get closer to finding happiness.

Waking Up:
“Brave” – Nichole Nordeman
I remember hearing this song for the first time and thinking, "That's exactly what I want to be." The lyrics say, "You make me wanna be brave...," and she is talking about God and stepping out in faith. Everyday I try to remember that I'm living by that.

First Day at School/College:
“Wide Open Spaces” – Dixie Chicks
My dad "checked the oil" a million times that day I left for school although Western was 45 miles north of home, but the sincerity in this song was exactly how I felt when I stepped onto that campus for the first time.

“The Lion Sleeps Tonight” – Four Seasons
“Hard Candy Christmas” – Dolly Parton
My daddy used to sing "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" to me every night. I had a dislocated hip when I was born, and for the first six months of my life, the doctors had me in this awful brace to get it back in place. Because of the uncomfortability of the brace, I didn't sleep well. My daddy would sing this song to get me to sleep, and it always did the trick.

"Hard Candy Christmas" was my FAVORITE song as a child. I remember playing that Christmas tape out in our Maxima and singing that song at the top of my lungs. To this day, it holds a very special place in my heart.

Falling In Love:
“I’ll Be” – Edwin McCain
“Angel” – Shaggy
"I'll Be" was a huge part of my BEING in love for the very first time. I can't hear this song without thinking back to that first relationship and that emerald ring ("Emeralds from mountains thrust toward the sky...").

"Angel" is more of a song that started my liking someone. This song always seemed to come on when we were together, and he always sang the words to me. I hated it, but the more we were together, I grew to like the song...

Fight Song:
“Bad Company” – Bad Company
What can I say! This song has always gotten me pumped up, back on Friday nights and then at parties afterward in high school, this song brought out the rebel in everyone I knew.

Breaking Up:
“Cryin” – Aerosmith
“Halo” – Bethany Joy Lenz
"Cryin" is my ultimate break-up song simply because it always expresses what I need to say. I'm angry but I'm sad; I'm hurt but I'm over it. It's just perfect.

"Halo" is a different kind of song; it's the kind that says, "You're making me into something I'm not..." I've had that happen, and I've also let myself become someone I'm not as well, so I REALLY relate to it.

“I Could Not Ask For More” – Edwin McCain
I nominated this as our theme and it ended up being it. It also represented my relationship with a good friend at the time; we had dated for years but ended it right before prom and previously promised each other we'd go together. We did, and this song just said everything better than I could that night...

“Holy” – Nichole Nordeman
“Leaving Town Alive” – Bethany Joy Lenz
Listen to "Holy" and you'll understand. As for "Leaving Town Alive," my life has been a mixture of regrets and reoccurrences. I have made a lot of mistakes and though I've changed them, I've never been forgiven by some nor have they been forgotten. I feel as if this song explains how I sometimes think I have to live life...

“I’m Moving On” – Rascal Flatts
Wow, driving in to Western for the first time with my Honda loaded down, I played this song and nearly died. I was so excited to be going to college, but I felt so torn to be leaving home.

High School:
“What I Got” – Sublime
HA HA. I love it. I just love it. It reminds me flirting with boys and screaming the lyrics at the tops of our lungs just to impress them...

Mental Breakdown:
“Angel” – Sarah McLachlan
When I ever felt down, Sarah McLachlan could always find a way to make things comfortable again.

“Hold On” – Wilson Phillips
“Days of Thunder Theme” – Hans Zimmer
Yeah, I like 80s music when I'm driving. "Hold On" is a classic; if you don't know it, you should. And well, "Days of Thunder," that goes back to high school and then to college driving a stick shift with Brent and imitating the movie...

“Wonderwall” -- Oasis
8th grade. That's all I'm saying.

Getting Back Together:
“Home” -- Chantal Krevaziuk
“Crash Into Me” -- Dave Matthews Band
This song, "Home," breaks me down every time I hear it. It's beautiful because he used it every time we were getting back together... EVERY TIME. And it worked EVERY TIME.

"Crash Into Me" takes me back to a time when I was incapable of making good decisions when it came to relationships, but if I would have truly listened to that boy sing this song to me, it should have been all that mattered at the time... HA HA.

“Time After Time” – Cyndi Lauper
The lyrics are amazing. Period.

Birth of Child:
“Sweet Child Of Mine” – Sheryl Crow
I know this song is ROCKING, but the lyrics are precious. And I'll cry enough as it is, so I'll need a cool song when I have kids.

Final Battle:
“Faint” (instrumental) – Linkin Park
I've started playing Linkin Park instrumentals in the classroom with my Kindergarteners... When I heard this song on piano with NO lyrics, it was amazing. Chills. That's what I imagine a "Final Battle" being like, although I don't imagine myself having one.

Death Scene:
“Love Song” – Third Day
"Just to Be With You, I'd Give Anything; I Would Give My Life Away..." That's what I want to be willing to say when it's my time. When the Lord calls me home, I want to be ready to meet Him.

Funeral Song:
“Ten Thousand Years” – Hymn
I can't talk about this song much because even as a child I knew I wanted this song to be played at my funeral.

End Credits:
“Legacy” – Nichole Nordeman
"I want to leave a legacy;
How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love
or did I point to You enough to make a mark on things?
I want to leave an offering,
a child of mercy and grace
who blessed Your name unapologetically,
And leave that kind of legacy."

Saturday, December 2, 2006

So It Proved Itself Controversial...

I went to see the Dixie Chicks concert tonight. A few years back when they came to Nashville before all of the nonsense started with big mouths and huge egos, I missed out on seeing them because of money issues. This time around, I swore, despite the controversy, I would be there. So tonight, I'm more than likely going to start my very own controversy because I feel like sharing.

I never imagined that just telling people I was going would cause such heated discussions on politics, and anyone who knows me knows that I'm not one to just jump feet first into political debates. However, I've found that being a Chicks fan has gotten me into a few uncomfortable situations since those 12 words were spoken two years ago.

I will never say that she was wrong or right for what she said, but I will say that I have never admired someone more than I admire the Dixie Chicks tonight. They stood on that stage united by a common bond, proud and unwilling to let their freedom of speech be taken from them. Yes, they made jokes, and they walked out in true "Presidential" form. But, when she sang those few lines about, "And how in the world can the words that I said send somebody so over the edge that they'd write me a letter, saying that I better shut up and sing or my life will be over?!," I really understood why I had backed them this whole time despite my being a Republican.

It's not about whose side I'm on. It's not about how I vote. It's not even about whether I like W or not. Honestly, the truth is, like it or not, he's the President, and my liking him or not has nothing to do with this. He has made some awful choices. He has made some terrible sacrifices. He has done some horrible things that will always effect this great country. What president hasn't?! They've all made their fair share of mistakes, and when they leave the office, the bad things they've done are what we'll usually remember. I'm sure Natalie Maines had some of those decisions Bush had made in her mind when she made her comment, and I don't blame her. We all have somehow been affected by the choices every president has made, and yes, we have the right to speak out about it. So, good for HER.

What's been not so good for her is the negativity the comment brought, which she SHOULD HAVE expected as soon as it left her lips. Being from a southern state, she should know that when you speak out against your own, your own will turn on you. It's just a proven thing around here. I remember thinking that I'd never be able to support the Chicks again after having heard that because they weren't patriotic and didn't care about our country. I remember feeling so torn because I LOVED their music, which was what I was ALL ABOUT anyway, but thinking that I should get rid of it. I was still young, and I was slowly learning. Natalie Maines was a good example during my youth.

I didn't burn my cds like most people did. I didn't actually listen to them as often; honestly, I probably haven't pulled any of the old ones out until tonight when I got back from the concert. I bought the new cd the night it came out, and played it over and over again, trying to understand what they were feeling. And the more I listened, the more I learned that it wasn't about coming out on top or selling more records or being better than someone else. It was about accepting the fact that she had made a comment that may have offended some but she would defend herself no matter what. If that meant losing her career, she was willing. They had faith in themselves when NO ONE else did. To me, that should be the true controversy here... While we were busy fighting over which "team" we were on, they were chasing a dream. I'm just glad I was there and was a part of it tonight.

I support the Dixie Chicks, and yes, I enjoy their big fat mouths. They announce things we only dream of saying out loud.

And by the way, their music, yes, it was INCREDIBLE. 2 and a half hours of nonstop musical genius.

Now, with that being said, I must comment on the fact that I support Bush as well. I support him because he is my president, and when it came down to my vote, I placed my trust in him. As for events that have occurred throughout his time in office, I will never say anything disrespectful about someone who is making most of the decisions for the United States. I don't always agree, but for now, I have decided that our country can either stand united DESPITE who is living in that mansion or we can divide. Seems to me that we spend too much time worrying over which side we're on rather than the issues themselves. I honestly believe where this country went wrong was not with Bush or Nixon or anyone for that matter; it's when they lost faith in God. They lost hold of what our country was founded upon. The things our forefathers held so dear mean nothing to us today. We'll bash anyone who has an outspoken opinion, and we'll let any guilty man go free. Just seems to me that even patriotism has reached an all-time low. The polls were full in November with many waiting 3 and 4 hours, but people went not knowing the issues, what matters most.

It's not about what SIDE I'm on. It's not about WHO I support. It's WHAT matters to me most, and HOW I am going to go about making a difference. Standing up for what I believe in starts now; for some reason I think we've all been a little too scared to see the truth.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

There Is Always Room For Doubt...

When you spend your time doubting yourself.

All it took was taking a look around and seeing what has been there all along. God has placed the most wonderful thing in my life, and I took an awful risk and could have lost it. I stopped feeling sorry for myself, and that something proved to me that he had NEVER left my side. Once again, I realize that I'm learning as I go, but I also know now that instead of following a crazy idea of "what could be," I should always stick and trust in "what already is." It might not be what I want it to be, and I can spend all of my days hoping for it to make a turn around. I just don't see the point in that now. My life is perfect just the way it is, with the people who are in it, and now that little bit of doubt has quickly faded away.

He always shows up when you need Him.
Never doubt the One you're talking to.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Getting Your Hopes Up Again...

I just have to laugh at myself this time...
Only because I'm so good at doing this.

I don't think life is about planning, although I am a HUGE planner. Seems I spend my weeks around this scheduler in my purse, and it kills me when something's not in place or comes up spur of the moment.

I don't even think life is about figuring out what it's all about, although I try my hardest to overanalyze every situation I am in. I want to understand the things I go through, and so I will spend hours writing out my thoughts about what has happened, and though it makes me feel better, nothing has been figured out.

I don't believe that life is about discovering what makes you happy, although I wouldn't mind finding out how happiness comes so easily to others. I've realized that no one can make me happy. Happiness comes from within, and it's not just being happy that makes life worth its while.

I don't know why life has to be so difficult yet so simplistic at the same time, although I'm finding that I believe that's the whole point: finding a common balance between the two. Life has to be hard and simple or it wouldn't be worth living. I just can't imagine a life that was just one way or the other.

But of all the things I don't understand and don't know yet, I really haven't learned how to be patient. In my life, with everything I've ever faced, I always get my hopes up. It's not always hoping for something amazing; I may see the 99 ways the situation could come out in a negative manner. Even after having done this all of my life, I STILL DO IT. I guess that's what I most wish I could figure out. How to not look ahead... Get my hopes up... Look so pessimistically at what might happen next... In the process, I've ruined something great for myself, and I'm a bit disappointed but I've noticed yet again that this is what I haven't LEARNED.

Friday, November 24, 2006

My Thanksgiving Regrets...

I sat there tonight wishing you were there. I kept hoping you'd walk through the back door, giving that big grin, and "Hey" that you always did. I hoped you'd come sit on the couch with Jessica and me, and I promise I wouldn't have even squealed about your pinching me and I'm sure Jess wouldn't have minded your calling her "Festus," even though she's hated that nickname for years. I never had to answer to "Egghead" tonight; no one calls me that anymore. I never thought in a million years I'd miss being called that. I wished it was louder in the living room from all the noise you were making in the den. I kept wondering if Wyatt has realized you're gone, because although no one mentioned it, we all knew you weren't there. I know it's been almost six months, but I don't think it ever gets easier. The scenes of that day and losing you replay over and over again. But, I never expected holidays to be this difficult. I have never drove away feeling as sad as I did tonight. I have never had to drive by the cemetery on my way back to the city after having had Thanksgiving.

Tonight I did.

And I thought I should tell you that I miss you, and what I'm most thankful for this year is you. I wish I would have told you before you left us is how thankful I am to have had you in my life. You were and will always be the reason I love the farm. I hope you know that. Thank you for all you have done for our family, and thank you for the impact you've left on my life. I miss you so much.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Rolling with the Punches.

Remember hearing that as a kid? I do. My dad used to tell me that all of the time. I always remembered thinking that I wasn't being punched so I didn't have anything to roll away from or with. It's taken years for me to understand what that meant... And now, I have a new perspective on what my daddy was trying to say.

I've spent my life rolling with the punches the devil has given me. It seems as if he's handed out an awful lot lately. I'm not meaning to sound negative or sad because I'm not for I've found that when I'm at my lowest, I seem to be closer to God.

I just don't seem to understand why things in life have to be so difficult, so incapable of understanding, and ridiculously impossible to face alone. And yet, I find that I can face them, and I prove myself and my childish ways of thinking wrong.

Maybe, you're thinking, "Wake up, Jenna, that's where God's coming in." Let me just say that that's NOT where God's coming in; it's where He's hitting me in the face. Sometimes that's the only way to get my attention lately. Knock me completely off of my feet, pull the only level ground I have out from underneath me, catch me on unsteady bridges and broken paths, and TOTALLY throw me off guard.

Things aren't easy in my life right now; I seem to crave simplicity, but if I had it I'd be complaining that I was bored. God has given me some amazing opportunities, "punches" as I like to call them, and I sometimes pass them right up. It's ultimately up to me to take my life and make it what I want it to be. I can choose to live it for the Lord or not. I'd rather be given God's precious punches than hits from the devil any day...

Not every punch I'm given is a bad one. Some just take me off of my "high horse," while others teach me that my mouth has gotten the best of me yet again. More times than not, however, the hits I've been given have been for the best. They've been blessings in disguise from the Lord. I guess when you are hurting, you see it as a negative thing; you don't stop to see the growth God is providing.

That's what it's all about; I'm rolling with His punches...

Sunday, November 5, 2006


I really don't have much to say for once.
I've been that way lately...
I have really enjoyed being quiet.
I've never been that way before.

I love being the center of attention and being recognized, but now that I'm older and less concerned with things of my own, I'm completely content watching the world around me and being in the audience instead of center stage.

Somehow some people understand this part of me: the part that has changed.
That sometimes I need and long to be silent.
Not because I don't want to be heard,
but because I'm tired of talking so loudly.

I've worn myself out looking for the attention of others so much so that I've forced myself into finding out that the only person I really need is myself. God is good to point this out to me when He oddly takes things away from me that I clearly needed to learn that I didn't need to begin with. God's also good with giving me people that hear what I'm saying by not saying anything... I don't have to say much at all to have them understand it. I think God has been trying to teach me humility and grace, and so much of those qualities come from doing more listening than talking... I'm a talker; it's what I do - it's who I've become. Yet God's proven to me that He wants me to be still. Not only be still but be quiet as well. I've really learned how to enjoy the silence and listen to the wonders of what's going on around me...

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Hits, Misses, and Hurtfulness

So, just when I thought teaching couldn't get anymore difficult, I am faced with a situation that has proved me wrong. Without giving too many specifics, let me just let you in on what's going on in my classroom. Friday was our Halloween Party, and yes, it's my first one, and no, I didn't know what to expect. The kids were outrageously rambunctious, and I could not get them to settle down. Everything we tried to accomplish from the bat cupcakes to the bat pinata which I got knocked in the head with, all pretty much were disasters. Well, that was until the unthinkable occurred.

I had heard that teachers are faced with some pretty awful situations, from kids getting angry and throwing books to taking their agression out on classmates, but never in my life did I expect to be hit by a Kindergartener. AND YES, I was. An emotion came over me that I've not had before; I've never been so angry yet hurt and upset for this child that I wanted to cry, but I grabbed his arms and became so overwhelmed with disgust that I yelled at him. A LOT. That's not how I handle situations like that anymore or how I like to handle them, but in that instance, I couldn't help what I did. I was so torn. I realized my grip was a bit too tight and let him go, but knew that this would be something we'd have to handle on the following Monday, which was yesterday.

I dreaded it all weekend. I even asked some of my friends and family to pray for me and the child. I was SO torn up over it. I had mentioned it to my principal, and he planned to come get him when he was able that morning. However, as soon as we got to the classroom, I was told by another student that my "hitter" had kicked a child in my room. Fury would be a way to describe it. I calmly held his hand but walked him STRAIGHT down to the office. Needless to say, he was suspended yesterday for the remainder of the day. And as strange as this sounds, I was both relieved and saddened by his punishment. I hated that this child had let his aggression or need for attention get to this level. I hated that I hadn't been able to help him. I hated that I wasn't there for him. I hated that I didn't handle it better. Then again, I have tried time and time again with him... This started when school began with him, never has he hit me until Friday, but it has escalated to a point that I can't tolerate anymore and it breaks my heart...

He was to return to school today... And he did. When I went to pick the children up, he was sitting on the stage which meant something had happened. He had poked a child with a pencil. Completely unacceptable. He was punished in an awful manner today, one I support, one I felt was necessary, but one that hurts my heart. It hurts me because I know it hurts him. I started out teaching a single woman excited about her career, but now 2 months into it, I have 19 children that I spend my everyday with, and even when I'm not with them, my mind is CONSTANTLY wondering how they are, what they're doing, if they are alright. Now, one of those 19 is broken and hurting and in a situation that I cannot fix. I need your prayers for I cannot do this alone. I know there are children all over this world who are faced with situations like his, but these are my kids, and one of mine needs your help as do I. Please help me pray.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Honestly, I'm Going To Be Content...

Something about sitting in a truck watching the sun go down on a fall afternoon makes you think about where you are...

Not where you're sitting or who you're sitting with, but whether or not you're happy.

I haven't truly been happy in a long time. I don't know what it will take for me to be happy. I think it's been made clear to me that sometimes people are happy with being unhappy, and maybe I am truly unhappy. But honestly, it's not that. I just realized today that it's not about how happy I am or how happy I've allowed myself to be...

God has given me every opportunity to be not only happy, but content. Happiness comes with contentment. All this time I've been praying for happiness, whether it be for God to send me someone to make me happy or my job will become a happier experience, when all along I should have been asking for contentment in Him...

Why is that so hard? When all I have to do is "BE STILL AND KNOW..." It's time to lay down my false pretenses and stop pretending to be happy. Instead of working on being happy, I'm going to be content and not just content in life, content with my life in the Lord. That's TRUE contentment - the ultimate test.

Monday, October 23, 2006

What's This About Changing?

It's hard to keep up with time when you've got none to spare. I really love to write, but I've spent day in and day out cutting out witches and bats, planning Halloween parties, and getting evaluated by my principal (which went AWESOME). It's just hard to find all the time I need to be the person I am. Does that make sense? I don't guess it has to, because it does to me and I'm my own sidekick these days.

I have found out that Pumpkin Patches are dirty, hayrides are fun even when you're old(er), hot chocolate is the best thing on the face of the Earth, Caramel Apple Cider from Starbucks is a daily must have, and the changing of leaves is exactly what you need when you're driving home feeling like nothing's ever going to change.

I've noticed quite a bit lately that I'm content with being alone, but no one else seems to be okay that I'm alright with it. It may be years before I'm in a serious relationship again, and I'm completely and utterly content with that. I may be single for another five years. This singleness is something I like about myself, my inner strength, my independence, my inability to change for anyone. Change is the key word right now.

I've gotten sick often in the past two months. I'll go outside for two seconds, and I'm down with bronchitis again. I remember when Fall was my favorite time, playing in the leaves, watching football and cheering them on, going to Haunted Houses, but heck, if I went now to even one of those events, I'll have a bug that lasts for two weeks. I just can't risk that. Yet again, my inability to change is now for weather.

I miss my friends, I mean, I am not sad about it. We don't have time. Maybe we do, we just don't make it. I guess when you're at this age, you realize that you're either going to be friends despite how often you see each other or you're just not. A few years ago, I would have never accepted this statement from a friend or even had made it myself, but the truth is, I know that life is more than the fights we have over where to eat or how much time we spend with our significant others. Life has become so much more to me now that I spend everyday with a group of nineteen little children who WANT me to be their best friend. I believe they'd be there even if the county didn't make them. We enjoy each other that much. That part saddens me; that my best friends and I can't find time for one another but I'll spend 22 hours working on projects for these kids I may never see again after this year.

Think about that statement and how selfish it sounds... If I haven't made time for you, let me make one small change right here and now by taking the time to say I'm sorry. However, my life has a huge purpose right now, a path God has put me on, and my friends will always be my best friends and nothing will replace that, not time or distance, but these kids... I have one chance to get it right, and this is my shot. Please understand, I haven't changed. I'm still the same me, I'm just giving most of me to a classroom of children who may someday change the world.

Monday, October 9, 2006

I'm Not Together, But I'm Getting There.

I've learned that...

Patience is something I don't have. God throws me in situations that force me to realize that I don't and start asking for it.

Time doesn't always heal every wound. Some things will always hurt. There will be people you will always have feelings for. The death of someone you love will never be any easier than the day it was before. Time in itself is just that. It keeps going, and God wants us to cherish every moment we have.

Children are the true teachers in life. I learn something more everyday from five and six year olds than I did while I was in college discussing what it would be like to teach them. I am truly blessed to have the job I do and more so, that God chose me to have this position with THESE eighteen kids.

I'm not a tough as I think I am. I have a breaking point. I've reached it lately. I've had to stop and ask the Lord for help, and I mean, REALLY ask Him for assistance. I've always had Him there, but I've never thought I needed Him until now. That's refreshing and very reassuring.

I've got more creative talent than I know what to do with, and I'm more of a perfectionist than anything I've ever been in my life. Luckily, the carpal tunnel has kicked OUT of gear and the beautiful handwriting is back in action, but with that comes my need for perfection... And honestly, I'm wearing myself out.

Polka dots can brighten my day anyday. I see something with dots on it, and I am happier than you can imagine. The classroom has really taken off, and each day I'm gaining new trinkets and books of polka dots which make it even MORE worth my while.

Some people know what I mean before I even say it. Some people know how I feel before I even see them. Some people can put every one of my emotions into songs and sing them to me, and I've never felt better in my life. God knows what I need. Man, He does. It's crazy. He heals my heart before it even breaks, and He mends it when it begins to unravel. Strange how I never even have to mention it to Him. I've got the best of friends. I don't see them half as often as I should, but it doesn't take but a second to realize how blessed I am in that department. They know when I need prayer because I can tell when they're praying. It's unreal how they hear my thoughts when we don't speak. I'm just so thankful for who and what they are to me. Music has brought the sparkle back lately. You know, that shiny blue/gray sparkle that hits my eyes when I'm completely content? That one. It's back and it's because of music. Something about it makes things right. A specific artist has said everything I've been feeling, and seeing him in concert last night with my very best friend by my side was a huge healing process... I'll explain in not so many words: My best friend was by my side at the John Mayer concert. Not in boot camp, not in Iraq. At home, in Nashville. And though both of our hearts have been broken over things it seems we can't fix, we smiled and laughed together for one moment in time that I will NEVER forget. I just HAVE to thank God for that. Mayer says it best,
"Oh, it's taking so long.
I could be wrong; I could be ready.
Oh, but if I take my heart's advice,
I should assume it's still unsteady.
I am in repair.
I'm not together, but I'm getting there."

Sunday, October 1, 2006

And When I'm Broken, You Put Me Back Together Again.

Sometimes my doubt overshadows the underlying truth to every situation I face in life. I've come to realize that the pressures I have put on myself were all but merely ways of attempting not to fail at teaching. God is so good to me. He knows what I need. He gives me the words I need to hear. He knows when I'm completely torn, and He always sends people to help me make myself right again. This time, He's had to do all of it. I'm not saying everything's okay; I've just come to understand what's been wrong, and I'm now taking the steps to make it right.

After finding myself lower than I've been in quite sometime last night, I struggled to tell one of my sweetest friends my failures. I admitted my fears and each minute was another minute closer to God. She helped me to realize where I stood, although I knew it all along, hearing it from her made it so much easier to make sense of. I was trying to make things perfect, almost expecting them to be, but as Brittany said, "We put ALOT of pressure on ourselves to be perfect, even though we know perfection is a state we should strive for, all the while knowing it's one we can never realistically reach." And as I listened to her explain how far away from God I had gotten, she said something I really needed to hear, "Maybe He wants you to admit--to Him--that you CAN'T do it all." I haven't done that in years... Admitted that I CANNOT do something without the Lord. I just do it all by myself, when I know that He's right there with me. I never once have asked for help.

Until today. I listened clearly in church as my heart was burdened. I knew the Lord had something to say to me. Bro. Brian's sermon was "A Message in a Bottle." He talked about walking into a convenience store and trying to pick out a beverage to quench your thirst. Which one should we choose, and which beverage are our Christian lives most like? He discussed the beer can. Beer is appealing to some, even addictive, but more so it's intoxicating. If you are living your life in an intoxicating way, then others follow you in a way that's not pleasing to God. He then mentioned a coke. Coke is high in sugar and caffeine with provide immediate energy but once they wear out of your system, the high wears off and you feel tired. This is like being a on again-off again Christian; you're there when you need to be, full of life and ready to serve, but when the curtains close, you're nowhere to be found serving the Lord. He then talked about fruit juices and vegetable drinks. These drinks provide nutrients our bodies need but many of them are high in sodium and can dry out quickly, with your body not having what it needs. This is much like the Christian who claims to be a Christian on Sunday but live how they want to during the week. They get their drink in service and it dries out by the time they get home and never give it another thought. But finally, Bro. Brian discusses water. Water provides the purification and cleansing our bodies need. It quenches our thirst and gives stability. This is the type of life we as Christians should live. The life that is stable and glorifying God.

God knew that my life had become intoxicating, tired, and had more than anything dried out. When Bro. Brian finished preaching, I knew that I wanted my life's bottle's message to be of water - purifying, cleansing, and stable. I only had to trust in Him. I haven't done this in so long. It feels so good knowing where you fail the Lord and even better knowing how to change it. I love that He's going to be there with me every step of the way.

Barely Living the Change

Funny how just a few years ago I wanted to be a news anchor. Wearing nice suits with adorable hair and red lipstick flashing my smile every evening on the six o'clock news. I can't tell you how refreshing it is to not be on the news. I can't tell you how relieved I am to not be wearing suits and high heel shoes and awful, ugly red lipstick.

Instead I'm flashing my smile everyday at eighteen little five- and six-year-olds, and it's hard. It's not at all what I imagined it would be. I've never been this tired in my life despite the fact that I actually sleep 8 hours or more every night as opposed to my 2 or 3 hour nights of sleep in college. My feet are killing me, and I wear flat shoes. HA HA. Yes, ones that I used to find insanely ridiculous and old-looking; nevermind, that some of the 5th graders in my school are 2 feet taller than me when I wear them.

Being in the real world is hard. Getting that first paycheck was a shock. It wasn't what I expected. Being this tired and never finding time for myself really hurts. And most of all, I'm lonelier than I've ever been. I don't exactly know why. I don't want or need a boyfriend. I don't have time for it really. So what does all of this mean?

I've stopped turning to the Lord and completely relied on myself for all of the things that my best friend could have given me all along. I've found myself farther away from Him than I've ever been. Not in ways I've been before, with drinking, smoking, and the biggest mistakes of my life, but in the most hurtful way, and that is in denial. I've turned my back on God. I haven't asked for help. I haven't wanted it. I've fallen so far away that I've made my own self miserable without even noticing what I was doing. I haven't seen my best girl friends in weeks and some in months. I haven't seen Jared in, well, I don't remember when I saw him last. I haven't talked to my teaching buddy. I haven't called Rob or Jase. I haven't had a meaningful conversation in 3 months. All because I've consumed myself with my work because I'm insecure and scared of failing.

And that's the toughest thing I've ever had to admit.

I'm scared of failing. I'm terrified of everyone else not seeing the perfectionistic world I try to make for myself when I'm teaching. I'm so afraid of not being good at this. I'm scared that I'm going to spend so much time trying to make myself a brilliant teacher that I'm going to miss out on other things in life like friendships and relationships because honestly, there's not time for them. When does it get easier? When do I feel like it makes sense? When is it okay to break? I've built this wall that I didn't want broken and here I am, lying beneath my own bricks.

I know that God doesn't put anything on us that we can't handle, and I'm making it through this... It's just not at all what I thought it would be. I need Him more now than I ever have. And as afraid of failing as I am, I'm more terrified of not pleasing the Lord... I know I haven't. I've heard it said that you have to "Live the Change." Things have to change, and I'm starting today...

Sunday, September 10, 2006

It's Hard to Imagine...

That five years ago tomorrow I was waking to the sound of crying. I remember Scott turning on the t.v. and saying, "Jenna, you have got to watch this." I realized that life would no longer be the same. I had a sense that I had no protection, and I worried that the world was ending. I knew that I was ready for the end; God had reached down, convicted my heart, and I had been saved as a 10 year-old girl. Honestly, though, I wasn't ready to die, and I wasn't prepared to see hundreds lose their lives that awful day.

September 11th, 2001, changed many things for me, and I believe it's not until now that I'm older and what I seem to believe as wiser, that I can look back on that day with humility and glance into the future with pride. God shook our nation that day; I remember praying to God that afternoon, "How could you have let this happen?," and now that shows how young and innocent I was. It was not the "how" but the "WHY" He let this happen that makes the difference.

It takes life-altering experiences for people to change, realize their faults, correct their wrong-doings, and admit their mistakes. I firmly believe that is what God was trying to have us realize that day. I know that our world had/has fallen so far from the truth that I am often times ashamed of what I see in my daily life. I remember how much I had changed right before 9/11; I had lost every ounce of faith left in me by drinking and smoking it away. Imagine if this Christian had drifted where others must have been. Think of those who don't know God at all. Our faith was tested so far beyond comprehension, and I believe that God had a reason for "why."

I won't begin to think of what reasons He had for America to fall on that tragic day, but I continue to seek His face in every situation that befalls me still today. Only God had the ability to save that day, and He had the ultimate choice of taking away. I don't understand it and I probably never will, but I could never forget September 11, 2001... My prayers are still with those who lost more than just their faith that day.

Saturday, September 9, 2006

And It's Okay to Admit You're Scared... Heck, It's in Print.

First year teacher here.
First time to be featured in a year long article.
First time to admit I cried on the first day of school.
First time was the last time because now it's in print...


I've never been more proud of anything in my life, other than the day I knew I was changing my major to Elementary Education and then again when I was actually graduating. But today is just different; knowing that others can read publicly how I have been feeling and have felt for the past two weeks is incredible. Not to mention, the journalist who is doing all of my 6 interviews this year and writing them is fantastic and quotes me word for word. She even put my quotes about God in there. HOW COOL IS THAT?! I am so blessed, ya'll. Really, I am.

Check out the story here.

And visit my teacher page here.

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

The Things I've Come to Love...

The Racket of Kitchen Utensils
The Sound of Paper Cutting
The Smell of School Lunch
The Sight of Ribbons and Bows
The Thought of Tears from Little Ones
The Unexpected Hugs I Receive
The "Kiss Your Brain" and "Looking Good" Positive Reinforcements
The Honesty of Children
The Dirtiness of Runny Noses
The Nastiness of Goldfish Snacks All Over the Floor
The 19 Hands that Raise to Give Me an Answer
The 38 Feet that Make Constant Noise
The Simplicity of Being 5 Years Old
The Joys of Singing "The ABC Disco" and "Rise and Shine"
The Overwhelmed Feeling of Not Knowing What I'm Doing
The Proud Moment When I Pull It All Off
Their Beautiful Smiles (Whether Their Teeth Have Been Brushed or Not)
The 10 Minutes of "Rest" Time
The Black Carpet
The Short Hand on the 2, and Long on the 6... It's 2:30.
The Nights of Working All Night Long
The Carpal Tunnel from Dotting Every Letter
My Perfectionist Ways
My Organizational Skills
My Inability to Get Anywhere Early
I'm Gaining Patience And I Don't Realize It
I'm Having Hot Flashes
My Class is Late to Everything...
We're Even Late for Recess.
And The Idea that My Kids Love Me Anyway

Saturday, August 19, 2006

These Days, Everything is All Business.

So, I'm a Kindergarten Teacher.

I'm extremely excited as today I was given the list of students who will be in my class this year. The first week was just testing and getting to know these brilliant children, so we weren't all that busy but I've been so tired, I've not been much for going out or being on. I'm too overwhelmed and jam-packed with emotions to think straight.

Everything's good. The classroom's ADORABLE. Miss Warren's Dot Spot is fantastic with polka dots and "spotted" sayings posted all around the room. I'll take pictures this coming week. Thank you everyone for your prayers and sweet words. Forgive me for being so distant, but I'm worn out from chasing after little feet...

Monday, August 7, 2006

The Shoulder You Seem To Lean On...

Isn't the one you want to rest on.

That bothers me. I've always been one to have quite a few friends, and when I say quite a few, I mean, I couldn't count them if I had to. Same goes for the relationships I've had. The only difference is, there are relationships and friendships that REALLY matter, the ones that never leave me or my memory.

Friendships that haven't always been easy or ever made sense are the best ones for me. Hearing one of my best friends say today that she is FINALLY engaged was amazing, and then I stopped and thought about the last time I saw her and couldn't remember when it was. Those are the types of friendships I have. I'm not saying that's a good thing; I'm just saying that's how it works in my life. Maybe it's my fault, maybe there's something wrong with me, but it's just the way it works.

Relationships are the exact way. There will always be these special ones to me, the ones that broke my heart and the ones who changed it for the better and in a terrible way. There are those who have made me want to guard my heart and there are others who have allowed me to see that love is all there is. Just like friendships though, relationships come and go, and sometimes, more times than not, they seem to come back.

I'm in that process right now. Figuring out if it's coming back, holding on, or letting go. Or maybe it's all three. We may be so comfortable with one another that we're scared of walking away from one another. I know I don't want to. I want to know what we are, why I'm so attached to him, and why he and I both keep finding ourselves on each others' shoulders whether it be because of laughter or tears. Maybe we do love each other. Maybe I'm just too scared to say that out loud. But maybe, just maybe, I don't have to because I just did.

If my life is in this whirlwind of change with my new teaching job, the SUV I'll soon be getting, among other things, I want to make this pattern of friendship/relationship succession end here and now. And more importantly, I want it to end with him. I want to be able to call him when I'm actually upset and it not be something I'm scared to do, like he did tonight. I was the shoulder tonight. I just wish he'd stayed there a little longer...

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

There's A Whole Bunch Of Getting Nowhere Going On...

And I'm here to say I'm sick of it. My major test of faith lately has been patience, and yes, mine wears extremely thin. I know it's my downfall, it's the pit I seem to always find myself in, but I can't help but wonder why things in my life must always feel as if they are on hold, or mute, or pause, or temporarily halted, or just stopped altogether. And for once, I'm okay with saying I'm not okay with it all.

I've been patient about college; I've finally graduated. I was patient about finding a job; I got one fairly quickly (let's just say I had one before I even graduated, thank you Lord). I've been fine about living at home; I actually enjoy it. I love where my life is, for the most part, but certain areas seem to perplex me more than others and patience is hard to come by.

He's there for me when I need him. He calls quite often. He's become my best friend because he's always been since probably freshmen year. We're ridiculously closer than most couples are. I've known he's liked me before. I think he knows I like him now. We talk everyday. But something tells me it's going nowhere. Am I wrong for wondering, "Why not?!" We call before we go to bed. We act like a couple does. Why aren't we one? I'm not sure. I know it's about patience, and that I'm supposed to wait. I don't know how much longer I can.

Maybe it's because this isn't what God wants for me. Maybe this friend doesn't actually like me back. Maybe he likes my company and enjoys our friendship and thinks that's all it is. Maybe girls think too much into things. Maybe I try too hard. Maybe I don't care if I do. Maybe I wish that God would help me out with this. Maybe I already know He is. Maybe I just feel as if there's a whole lot of getting nowhere going on, and maybe I'm ready to be moving on...

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

So, Just In Case You Didn't Know...

God's in the Blessing Business.

How do I know this, you might ask?! Well, let me just say that I've had my fair share of blessings my whole entire life. As I look back and think on all of the times God's blessed me or my family and friends, I feel completely unworthy... Like falling out of the boat that was parked in the garage at age 3, or falling off of the curly slide at Moss Wright Park at age 5, or choking on a chocolate Easter bunny at age I'm not so sure, or getting dropped out of a cheerleading stunt onto the back of my neck at 17 years old, a year later crashing through the windshield without any recollection of the accident... It's purely God's grace that I made it through any of those accidents alive, but even as I have, I have taken each of them forgranted.

I graduated college a little over two months ago, and before I even had graduated, I knew I had a job... That job is now OFFICIAL, and I will be teaching Kindergarten in the fall at Gene Brown Elementary School in Hendersonville, TN. Five years of work, five years of struggles, five years of great memories, loss, and heartaches... This, though, was what it was all for... My freshman year I thought Communication was the Major for me, but God spoke to me one night and let me know that Education was where He wanted me, and that if I would change my major the next day, He would take care of the rest. Five years later and He held true to His word. I can't believe I ever doubted it. Like I said, our Lord is in the Blessing Business.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

I Love This Love / Hate Thing We've Got Going

Yeah, I like him. He knows it. He likes me. I know it.
It's a strange thing, knowing everything. But I like it.

Tuesday, July 4, 2006

Feels Good Knowing You Feel The Same Way...

Everyday brings about feelings I didn't know I could have about this boy. I could have had them years ago, but I forced myself not to. I wish I hadn't, but now I know that God had different plans because I need this particular boy as he needs me at this particular place in time.

We've spent the past week or two getting used to each other again, seeing how we've changed, being adults, and realizing that we have strong feelings for one another. Getting used to liking him is something that's so easy, but in the grand scheme of things, I want to control the situation and say that I do not want to be in a relationship. At this point, I will take whatever God is willing to give me. I like him and I trust God that much.

Tonight was different though. Tonight was the night we admitted to really liking each other. We hadn't done that before. He called while I was at my family's 4th celebration and he on the way home from his, and we talked for a good twenty minutes. Of course, as it always does, my mouth gets ahead of my mind, and I say, "This is weird." He asks what I meant by it. I told him that I thought "we" were weird now, that we weren't the same. He said, "Yeah, we're not, and I like that." I asked him what he meant. "This is what I've always wanted, and now you want it too." That's what I wanted him to say back in high school, that he liked me... Without doubt, I have my affirmation, and it feels good knowing he feels the same way.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Making Memories of Us... Didn't Really Know There Was An "Us."

On Sunday, October 30, 2005, I was feeling...
Confused. This is just because of a particular two people, and I'm not saying what in the world this has to do with. One of the two drives me insane because they won't just be honest with me and tell me how they really feel. We talk all the time, and they're more than a best friend could ever be for me, but it's like we're stuck being liars to each other. AND I'm not saying we're supposed to be more than friends, because I'm not sure that we are, but I sure would enjoy it if I knew where we actually stood. Why am I always feeling like there's more to it than we say?...

On Monday, November 14, 2005, I was thinking...
As for the second of the two guys who've been throwing me out and reeling me back in, well, who knows. He's about as unpredictable as this nice fall weather we've been having. I cannot stand change. I like for things to be the way they are SUPPOSED to be. I cannot stand for my schedule to get out of whack... If it's not on the calendar, then forget it. It's just not gonna happen. People just don't understand that, and this second of the two guys is a prime example of not getting it. I'm one of those people who need organization. I just feel much better about myself and about my life when things are nice, neat, and in an orderly manner. He does not understand that; it's like we'll go out and have a great time, but I won't hear from him for 3 weeks after that and when he calls it will be 1 in the morning. I mean, come on. I love him to pieces, and I would love for us to admit it, that, "Okay, yes, maybe I have liked you since I was 14, and yes, I would finally like the chance to make this more than we've said we want to make it, and no, I am not meaning I want forever, and I don't need a ring on my finger, and I don't even care if you go out with other people, but would you just make an effort to like me and maybe only me..." I'm just going crazy lately, and what I've realized in this weekend is that I don't really have to because God takes care of it all.

AND, on Saturday, December 03, 2005, things with the two of us were the best and worst they've ever been...
Yeah, I know it's Saturday morning, and I've yet to go to bed. Let's just say when you get a random phone call from a boy you really could squeeze to death because you love him so much, you don't miss out on a chance to hang out. So out I've been although I knew I had homework and things to get done. All in all, I really don't care. I'm feeling so great about going to see my boy Jrod tonight. I had missed that part of us. The part that no one else understands. When we laugh about singing "Hungry Eyes" and "Hold On" by Wilson Phillips and pretty much ANY 80s song at the effing top of our lungs. When he talks about farting and I have no problem with it whatsoever. When playing padiddle is cool again. When putting my rings on our left fingers is fun just so we can feel like we're married (it's just the hope that it will actually happen one day and probably not to each other). When talking about high school as if it was the worst time of our lives and laughing hysterically about stories we never told or had admitted to one another before. When driving around all night just for me to see a house with GOOD Christmas lights is his ultimate goal. Those are the moments I like the best. But of course, I go and screw things up.

It's always your mouth that gets in the way of things. The words that come out of it when your head can't catch up to what you're actually saying. That's pretty much what happened this evening. The night had been awesome. I could not have asked for a better night, and for a moment, I had almost forgotten we were just friends. I liked us, and for another moment, I think he might have too, just like he did back then. High school that is. (We had that whole conversation tonight too; how he always liked me and I knew it but I never acted on it because he just wouldn't come out and SAY that he liked me. He wanted me to do all the work, and I didn't like that. So I never really went for him back then.) Back to tonight. I think it was coming back though, that feeling that happens between us (we've always had it) that we could be something more, like we kept looking at each other, that look we got when we, before becoming awesome friends, would mess around in high school, and I had to blurt it out. "You know I don't want things to change with us. I don't want us to do something that would ever change this." I guess he thought I meant that I thought he wanted me in a way I didn't feel comfortable with. It wasn't that; I just was saying what I said. I love us. I love what we have. I love every moment we spend together, and no, I don't know if I want to be with him, but I know I don't want to ever NOT have him in my life... that's all I was saying. He got all KINDS of mad and drove my car back to his truck, and just like that, he was gone.

I called him, not five minutes after he drove away, my heart was killing me. I said, "Hey." He goes, "Yeah?" I said, "I didn't mean that back there like that." He said, "Yes you did." I said, "I'm sorry." I don't even know what I was sorry for other than the fact that he was upset with me for saying something stupid and WAY too sentimental. I don't know; my heart is somewhat torn. I don't want to lose him in so many different ways. I don't want to lose our friendship. I don't want to miss out on the chance I never took. I don't want him to NOT be there when I'm sad. I just don't know anymore. I guess I just can't sleep knowing he was upset with me. WHY DO GIRLS ALWAYS FEEL THE NEED TO TALK? Why can't I just sit still and enjoy the moment? I'm not complaining at all, but I just had a night on two different extremes. I love him and then he hates me. It is just so ironic in every sense of the word. You know what song he picked for his ringer on my cell tonight? Here are the words:

"I can’t fight this feeling any longer
And yet I’m still afraid to let it flow
What started out as friendship, has grown stronger
I only wish I had the strength to let it show

I tell myself that I can’t hold out forever
I said there is no reason for my fear
Cause I feel so secure when we’re together
You give my life direction
You make everything so clear

And even as I wander
I’m keeping you in sight
You’re a candle in the window
On a cold, dark winter’s night
And I’m getting closer than I ever thought I might

And I can’t fight this feeling anymore
I’ve forgotten what I started fighting for
It’s time to bring this ship into the shore
And throw away the oars, forever

Cause I can’t fight this feeling anymore
I’ve forgotten what I started fighting for
And if I have to crawl upon the floor
Come crashing through your door
Baby, I can’t fight this feeling anymore"

See what I mean, ugh, boys are so confusing. Off to dream what I hope are sweet dreams. Night all.

Last night has left me realizing...
So of course, that has been months ago; it's practically a different year. However, Jrod and I hadn't talked since then until my uncle died. He sent me a HILARIOUS text message the day we buried Gerald, and I texted back that my uncle had died. He texts back to say he is sorry and to call him sometime. Of course, at the time, I didn't take him seriously. After what I had done months ago, I didn't think we'd ever talk again, but that's what I get for thinking...

He calls last night out of nowhere, six months after our blow up. We talk and joke just like always, and I for once felt like everything was back to the way it should have always been. That's until I agreed to meet him at our meeting place... Waffle House. LOL, funny, I know. We drive, like we always did, listening to country this time and talking about how "bad" we "want" each other (we've always flirted this way but always done it in a joking manner, meaning we never actually meant it). He even said he had missed this between us, and I agreed. He put my ring on my left finger like old times, and I mention the picture of us at Senior Picnic of us feeding each other cake like those married couples do at their wedding receptions. He replied, "I need a copy of that." It was almost too perfect to be true. But it kept going... And I almost cried about seventeen times. The kiss we had, yes, we kissed, definitely changed things...

I prayed the whole time we were together last night; it was like I'd talk and then pray. I am never nervous around him. We're perfect together, as he so eloquently reminded me, but I couldn't help but wonder if it was going to end like we always do. We walk away. I sit and write about how great it was and yet nothing happens.

SO here I am. Writing about him and me.

I miss him. I didn't realize that I cared for him the way I do. And that's hard. He's one of the greatest friends I've ever had, and now, I know that I like him. Not just a little bit of liking here, I like him. I don't know what to do. Or what this means. I just needed to write. Seems like things work themselves out when I write them down. I'm hoping my situation with J is no different...

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Honestly, I'm Just Learning As I Go.

I haven't been up for talking lately. I haven't written any of my thoughts down in weeks. I have been holding so many emotions in. Usually, I don't do that. I'm the kind of girl who wears her heart on her sleeve, and in the past, I've found that doing so often gets me in a heap of trouble. I guess the emotions I've experienced lately though are ones that are common after you lose someone you love, not in a relationship sense, but in the sense that I will never ever see my uncle again. I've come to view the world and my life differently since he left us. It's a new kind of feeling I have.

I've been reserved. I'm not used to dealing with pain and hurt that way. Holding things in is a terrible way for me to deal with things because I get angry. I've realized how many people I've snapped at lately. I hate my job, the one I was so excited to come back to for the summer, only because I'm unhappy with life. I've not been as energetic, rambunctious, or hilarious as I've always been. I've found that I'm quick to judge and even quicker to get frustrated with my long-time friends. I've found that I am at times angered with myself. The things I once felt were so important stir up my temper now. Going to weddings, sitting with friends, and even getting prepared for my new classroom are starting to bother me which is completely ridiculous in itself.

What I'm trying to say is that things happen that change who you are. They change everything about you. Graduation did that for me. I didn't feel that drinking, staying up late, and dating were my main priorities anymore like they had been all of those college years. I wasn't the childish twenty-something kid I had been for three years anymore; I was a young college graduate about to step foot into the real world and my priorities instantly changed. That day and those feelings I gained from graduating changed me. But nothing could prepare me for the changes that would take place when I lost my uncle Gerald. A friend of mine told me I couldn't let this get me down, and though he was right, I have. I'm not down, I'm not sad, and I'm not pitiful and pathetic. Honestly though, my heart is awfully broken, and a broken heart isn't easily mended. The changes that have taken place since losing Gerald have changed my life forever.

I guess what I've learned most through this whirlwind of change is to cherish the gift of life. I've stopped more times than ever before on the side of the road just to take a mental picture of a John Deere tractor or a cornfield. I've noticed the smell of freshly cut grass and the stink of a skunk. I've smiled even when I was hurting, and I've laughed when there was nothing to laugh about. I've taken pictures of everything I've encountered. I've hugged and kissed my dad more than I could have ever expected to. I've gotten frustrated and angered over the most stupid things and made fun of myself afterward because I sounded just like Gerald. I've waved at almost every single car I've passed on the road because it's what we do in the country and Gerald was the best at it. I've slept late and enjoyed it. I've stayed quiet and listened to the voice in my head for once in my life. I've realized that God is always there, and though I always have known this, it's taken losing someone I love to really see how much God cares for me.

So though I've been harsh, complained, been rude to everyone I know, not called friends, fought with other friends, just been plain ridiculous over the past few weeks, it's been a learning experience. Change is never easy, and I'd like to apologize if I've in any way hurt or worried you. We all deal with things differently... As I held in my grief for once and learned to appreciate life on my own, it reciprocated itself as me being an awful friend to some of you... I'm very sorry.

A Farmer's Daughter

(Posted On Saturday, June 3, 2006)

John Deere pulling that plow again...

It's been a tough week, but even after losing my uncle a week ago, our family has kept going with what they're called to do. Yesterday, they set the remaining 13 acres of the 53 acres of tobacco Warren Brother Farms had intended on setting this year. The brothers and sons of my uncle did what they would have done whether he was here or not and that's farming. Over 20 friends came to help and volunteer in honor of my uncle. Now that is truly amazing... Instead of working on their own fields, they were busy helping the Warren family with ours. I hope that explains why losing Gerald has been so difficult. He was a man that just had a presence. It wasn't always easy to be around. He bugged the fire out of me at times, all his pinching and joking, but he was just someone you loved being around. Always.

It's been years ago but I helped on the farm once. I am and will forever be a city girl although my daddy is a country boy. My dad and his brothers are farmers, and they love what they do. The one day I helped, I realized that farming wasn't for me... I actually couldn't stand it. It rained, and the tobacco gum was in my eyes and all over my clothes and I stunk like I'd never smelled before. My uncle Gerald laughed and called me "Egghead" all day long, and how appropriate it was that I had worn my Greenbrier Bobcats t-shirt that day. Needless to say, Gerald was thrilled when it rained and that shirt was ruined and became nothing but a "cutting the grass" one because he felt that's where it belonged. He was funny like that. I didn't like farming after that day, and I never went and farmed again. I rode the tractors from time to time, but I never cut again. As I look back on that day, it is now one of the most cherished days of my life. We took one of the only pictures I have with my uncle that day. I learned to respect my family and what their job is that day.

It's been a tough week in a lot of ways. Losing someone in your family is never easy, but learning to move on without them is even more tough. I know how sad I've sounded, and it's been because I am... You never are ready for your life to change this way. I wasn't at all. I've experienced emotions I didn't know I had this week. I've been to the lowest of lows and I've been happier than I've ever been. I have seen people crying that I've never seen cry before; I've seen grown men break down. I've seen children deal with the loss of their father, their friend, a mentor, a boss. I've seen a wife be incredibly strong for her family and friends. I've seen a family laugh and smile over the memories they now hold so dear. I've witnessed a family come together over the death of one of their own, and it's been tragic and fulfilling. It's been hard and exciting at the same time.

I have found that I'm not only a farmer's daughter... I'm a part of a farming family... I am a granddaughter, daughter, niece, and cousin to some farmer that I'm so proud of. This past week has really taught me to be thankful and grateful for my family and what it is they do... I am. I really am. And for as much as my uncle is missed, I believe he's proud that they've carried on, just as he would have done for them...

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

And The Hole Just Gets Deeper...

(Read Previous Post Before Reading This One)

It is never easy saying goodbye.

But saying goodbye for the last time is one I'll never get over. We buried my uncle Gerald yesterday in Lamont, Tennessee, in the graveyard where he and his younger brother Richie had cut grass many times to make extra money as kids. Before getting to the graveyard, the processional line of cars and the hearse drove by his house where the brothers and his sons had lined up all of their tractors and trucks that said "Warren Brother Farms" on their sides as a tribute to their brother and father. His tractor, the last one he had driven, was waiting for the line as the hearse rounded the corner and his house was in view. An old friend drove Gerald's tractor and led the hearse to the graveyard. It was an amazing day of tributes and honor paid to a man so deserving of praise.

He had called me "Egghead" for years. I guess because my parents had chosen not to live on the farm as the other Warren brother's families did, as we lived in Greenbrier. Greenbrier was once the home of an egg farm/company/factory, and Gerald always found it amusing that we lived right down the street from where it once was located. Thus, "Egghead" was appropriate. It could have also been for the many times I'd busted my head over the years... I'd run into brick walls, fall onto concrete, or get knocked in the head by something or another, and the nickname just seemed to fit and stick. He'd laugh at how frustrated I'd get every time he'd call me that terrible name.

I remember every year around Christmas time, Gerald would remind me that his birthday was coming up, and that I wasn't to forget to send him a card. He'd pinch me until a bruise would come up and I'd yell and knock on him until he'd let me go. Usually, I'd be laughing so hard I couldn't do anything, but he'd make certain I'd be sending him a check with his name on it for his birthday on January 22. It would be then, I'd laugh and elbow him in his side, reminding him to send me a card, as my birthday was on the same day. He'd say, "I know, I know. Don't forget my card." I'd tell him that I prefer cash. Of all of those years, I never once sent a card. Funny enough, he didn't either. But I'd receive a call that night asking for his money... Every year.

I can't imagine my life without him in it. I didn't see him all the time because I knew he was always there. I could always count on Gerald if I wasn't able to get a hold of my dad. When I needed help this past Christmas buying gifts for other family members, I called Gerald. Of course, he said they'd all enjoy a box of rocks, but then he gave me ideas as his wife gave them to him. There's just a part of me that seems to be missing without him. You know that life doesn't go on forever, but I sure wish I could have told him how much I loved him. I know he knew because we weren't the loving kind, he and I; we were the picking, poking, and joking kind. That was our kind of loving. I know the last time I saw him, he gave me his fair share of loving. I had the bruise to prove it for a week after seeing him. It's hard letting go of someone you weren't ready to. It's even harder knowing you're saying goodbye for the final time.

Until I see you again,

Sunday, May 28, 2006

And Now, There's A Hole In My Heart

I lost my uncle today.

It was unexpected, but really, when is death ever truly expected...

I know God has a plan for all of our lives, and as we sat with family and friends, I realized how fortunate we all are to have God in charge. So many things happen that we cannot explain or even begin to comprehend, but God knows what He is doing. My uncle had lived a short 47 year, but wonderful life. He had a beautiful family, amazing friends, and a sense of pride that none of us will ever understand. He was a farmer, and he worked everyday in the fields, as his father had, just as his children will do. I have never been as proud to be in a farming family as I was today. I realized how precious and important they are to one another.

I am saddened for our family to be without my uncle Gerald, but I know God knew what He was doing today. We have had to stop and reflect on life, the beauty of it, and the fact that it is so unpredictable and fragile. Things will never be the same without him, his laughter, his pinches, his jokes, his meanness, his presence. Nonetheless, life still goes on; that is the beauty of it, and my uncle is waiting to see what we will do with it.

My uncle Gerald and I shared a birthday... As I was telling a friend this piece of information and how my birthday would never be the same, he said this:

That, in itself, is a representation of what life is: beautiful, tragic, and timed by a clock we can't read. Your birthday is something more than it was: a reflection of life now.

I love you and miss you already...

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

I Thought They Hit You When You're Down...

Why is it that when things are going beautifully in your life that the smallest thing can throw your whole world upside down? Why is it that I can pretend that things don't bother me when I know as well as my closest friends that there are just some things that are tearing me apart inside? Why do people always look for things they don't have? What is it about the unknown that people are intrigued by? Why do we always want what other people have got? What is exciting about being insanely rude and mean? How can there be so much hate and inconsistency in the world? Does God really hand situations to you that He knows might challenge you? Does He do so to see if you're really willing to make the necessary sacrifices to be His child? Why do bad things happen to God's children? Why is being a Christian so hard sometimes? Why do people always seem to get away with the things they do that are wrong? Why can't people actually DO their jobs? What good is a police officer if he doesn't write a report? What is the point in exercise if it just makes me tired? Why do I have to have migraines all the time? Why does graduation have to be so exciting and scary at the same time? Why do thank you cards have to be so difficult to write? Why does my hair have to be so frizzy? Why does it have to be so cold in May? Why does finding a job in the teaching profession have to be so uncertain? What happened to getting hit when you're down?

I had never been happier, and I probably have never been. My life is where it should be finally after years of pulling myself down the wrong roads and making the wrong choices. It's funny how the smallest situations can almost break that happiness... The devil tries to bring you down in any way he can, and honestly, I've almost let him. I'm tired of being messed with. I'm sick of being on this roller coaster ride of life. I want some sort of consistency that I haven't had yet. I know there's no such thing, but I want just ONE week of it. I graduated on Saturday, and last night, I did the background vocals with a great friend of mine on a Gospel artist's upcoming Christmas album... There are two blessings in one sentence. Upon returning to my car, it's like Satan just knew how blessed I was and I saw the glass everywhere. It's funny what runs through your mind when you're not sure what's happened... I was safe; nothing had been taken. I just felt violated. I didn't feel secure anymore.

God has been good to me, and I just needed to share this for some reason. I know it's usually that when it rains, it pours. Sometimes, the devil gets you when he knows you're most vulnerable, and that's often when you're happiest and closest to God because you wonder, as I have, "How can bad things happen to God's people?" It's not about that, though. It's about handling situations God sends your way and making Him proud that He is your Father. Yes, my smile might have left me for a while last night, but today, it's back, and I'm thankful that God was looking after me and mine.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Life Has Been Patiently Waiting For Me

As I sat in my sister's chair today while she cut and styled my hair, a familiar song played. One I heard years ago when driving away from Greenbrier to Western Kentucky University for the first time. One that brought me to utter tears almost five years ago. One that really moved me in a completely different way today.

I'm moving on,
At last I can see that life has been patiently waiting for me,
and I know there's no guarantees but I'm not alone.
There comes a time in everyone's life
when all you can see are the years passing by.
And I have made up my mind that those days are gone.
I'm moving on.

I've walked in and out of the same buildings, sat in the same desks, and seen the same faces for five years. I've made the same mistakes time and time again. I once was a child driving into a world of unknowns. Now, I am the person I always hoped I would become, and I've chosen the career God has intended for me. I will walk across that stage tomorrow a better person than when I walked in. I could blame Western for all the mistakes I made: the parties I went to, the shots I put down, the things I don't remember. What I have realized was that each of those situations made me who I am. I am thankful for each time I messed up and made a fool of myself because I've learned that I am not as perfect as I thought I was... But I've seen who I can be and who God has made me, and I know that each day is a step in His direction whether I make mistakes or not.

I am humbled by the outpouring of God's love as shown by my family and friends. When I drove into Bowling Green with my car packed to the ceiling and crying with all I had, I felt like I was losing everyone that meant everything to me. It was hard stepping into a scene of unfamiliar faces. It didn't take long for God to show me who was important. Soon I had some of the best friends I'd ever had in my life, and these are the friends that I still have today. God has given me who I need when I needed them. My family has been there for me throughout it all, and no matter what, they are the people that put the drive in me to be better and do more.

College has been an experience I cannot express in words. From humility to pride, from humiliation to triumph, from boys to the best girls in the world, from dorms to apartments to houses to flooding apartments to burning the kitchen stove, from parties to more of them to many I still don't remember, from boogie barning to glasses and dress-up, from Spice Girl videos to "Peas in a Pod" to Gravy and Biscuit, from doughnuts to smokes, from Cracker Barrel hostessing, serving, and training to eating at Denny's at 4 in the morning, from TV nights to Birthdays to Corn fields and somewhat being forced to get over my fear of bridges, from karaoke to REO Speedwagon, 80s, Michael Jackson, and Bowling to Skynard, Hank, The Drinking Team, Mario Brothers on Nintendo, Figaros, Being Pulled Over, late night Walmart trips and car destroying, from Mimi to Lucy, from Ali Mac to J-Na, from Ghost to old friends and rebuilding bridges to Lo and B for dance moves, venom, quotes, and truth...

My college life has been amazing. I have been so blessed. Life has been waiting, though, and it's time to move on. I have a world full of little minds waiting on me to fill their heads with new knowledge. I'm so excited to see what God has in store.

Sunday, May 7, 2006

A Part of Me Will Always Want to Stay with You.

"You aren't staying?" he said, as I got up from the couch. "No, I need to get home." I saw the look on his face, and it wasn't the look that he used to have. When I stay now, it's because we truly enjoy each other, and being around one another makes us happy. In the past, I would have stayed with him for all of the wrong reasons, but our relationship has turned into something so much more than that in recent months. We're now friends, and spending time with each other means more to us than anything else we do. Sounds strange, I know, but as I left his house tonight, I kept thinking about what I should have said when he asked if I wasn't staying. "A part of me will always want to stay with you." That's what kept replaying over and over again in my mind. That's what I wanted to say. That's what I needed to say. But I didn't. We went from being friends, to being more than friends, to being in a very serious relationship, to being nothing, to now being best friends, and I can't say that there aren't times when I wish we could have that relationship part of us back. I don't want to lose him again though. I cherish our friendship that much. I just love him that much. He was the last person I gave my heart to, and I guess, a part of me doesn't want to take it from him even though that was over a year ago. I don't know that I want a relationship or if I just care so much about him I can't see my life without him... Either way, being with him is so easy, so natural, so real. And I'm not saying he's the one for me because he's more than likely not because I know God has plans for me in that department, but I sure do like the picture we make when we're sitting there laughing at and talking about nothing. He'll never know this, but yes, a part of me will always want to stay with him.

A part of me will always want to stay with a certain someone I know as well. I spent Friday with a very special friend of mine, and I cannot tell you how well this time was actually spent. When you walk away from dinner with a smile on your face not from the food but from the company you've just kept, you know you've got amazing friends especially when the food itself was amazing and free. This person has showed me so many things throughout my life. He's given me a friendship like I've never known, one that has withstood the tests of time, one that has proven itself through triumphs and trials, one that has never ever changed. As we sat talking and laughing about old times, I knew we were creating new moments and memories we would remember forever. I wanted to just soak in every second for I knew he would be leaving soon and heading off into this great big dream he's created for himself. And though I'm so proud of him, I'm saddened by the idea that I may lose him again. I know distance hurts friendships, and I know that when lives get hectic, friends often forget one another... He and I have done it before. So, although I feel our bridge that was once burned has been rebuilt and it firmer than ever, I just want him to know that a part of me will always stay with him. I'm so proud of what he's doing and who he's become. I'm so honored to be your friend...

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Does Time Heal Brokenness?

What's going on will just take some time. Let's just say that. Time. It's a good word. As well as "broken." It's another good one. I feel that one a lot now. Everything and the people who mean most to me right now are "broken."

Brokenness is not a fun thing ever whether it's glass or your heart; it just doesn't work. Time doesn't heal it either... Brokenness just is. Time can't fix a broken glass. Glue does. Time can't mend a broken heart. Love does. I feel confusion and pain and broken and tired and hurt. And really, I don't feel like not crying. It's a complete cryfest. All the time.

Please continue to pray for us. We need it. I'm trying to understand God, why He works the way He does, because nothing in my life makes sense. I'm not sure how to accept healing from Him, but I know I have to because our broken hearts aren't all that matter. That's also hard to make sense of. I think I know the answer to my question, Does Time Heal Brokenness... And no; it's God who does the healing, and it is He in combination with your spirit who decides the time it takes. I'm not ready for it yet... I know He can make this better and I know He will. I want to see why this has happened. I don't want to just throw my hands up in the air and give up. I want to fight it out, but really I'm not. It's hard to pray when your heart is broken sometimes... I know that doesn't make sense, but it does to me. It's like I'm so hurt God can and would allow this to happen that I don't necessarily feel like talking to Him, even though I know it is all the devil's doing. I'm so confused. I want peace. I want understanding. I want time. I want the broken pieces to be put back together...

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Let My Heart Rest In Pieces...

Sometimes things happen that change everything. They make the air smell different. The sky isn't quite as blue as it was before. The grass just isn't that green. Everything around you seems to keep moving, but you...

You are standing still.

This is where I've found myself. This is the road most of us have been down one too many times. It hurts not saying what you want to say and knowing how things can change in an instance.

There aren't answers to life's questions, and we are too small and unknowing to understand anything that happens in our lives. There is always something to be said though, and there is always someONE to look to.

Prayer is the most powerful tool, and He is always listening when it seems no one else is. Prayer is the one thing you have when we can't make sense of things; it's the one thing that can be said; it's the one thing that leads you to the ONE person who can make things right again.

Pray for the healing of brokenness... That's my only thought right now.

Friday, April 14, 2006

If One Door Opens to Another Door Closed, Keep On Walking Until You Find the Window.

My life was a mess. My life wasn't what one would call living because I was dying inside and out. My life was a broken record, every mistake I made, I made over a hundred times. My life was an open book and a mystery all in one; I let some in and I locked others out, fearing if they saw the person I was, they'd put the book down. My life was full of happiness that I couldn't find because I always knew there was something more.

My life began to change. My life started to mean something to me because I had shattered it, I had become a piece of broken glass. My life was living behind a closed door because I was ashamed of who I'd become. My life meant hurting those I loved , loving those I shouldn't have, and hating myself. My life also meant losing precious friends, meaningful relationships, and amazing memories. My life was overshadowed with addictions and lies. My life needed something I already had but kept ignoring... God.

My life keeps falling into place. My life keeps getting better. My life isn't at all what I expected it to be at twenty-three. My life is not exactly what everyone else thinks it is. My life is what I've made it. My life isn't always something I'm proud of. My life changes from day to day. My life is filled with people I never thought would be my friends. My life is sometimes empty because I've lost people I thought would be in it forever. My life gets lonely because I allow it to be. My life is confusing because I don't look for guidance from God. My life is often a disaster because I am one big mess myself. My life is a one way street; I've chosen both paths at times, and I've finally decided to take the road less travelled. My life is an accident waiting to happen for things just seem to fall in my lap or I'm falling into something in the most literal sense. My life is as far from perfect as it comes. My life makes me happy because it is always something different, there is always someone special, and I can always find a reason to smile. My life doesn't seem like much to many, but it's all I have, and I'm so proud of who I'm becoming and where I've been. My life is not my own; it's my gift from God, and I plan to start giving more of it to Him.

Saturday, April 8, 2006

Yesterday Really Changed Things

On the radio last night, I heard someone say that yesterday would be one of those days that we'd look back on and say, "Where were you on April 7, 2006?" I cannot tell you how real hearing that was to me. Tornadoes happen all of the time, and I know this, but having it hit home is a totally different situation. As I hovered in the tornado shelter of Tate Page Hall on Western Kentucky University's campus, so many things began running through my mind. I didn't even realize at the time that the destruction wasn't happening in Bowling Green or even Kentucky for that matter; it was hitting the town I live in, my home, my neighbors, my friends even. All I could do was pray; I didn't close my eyes, I didn't cry, I just remember saying, "God, we need you now."

Needing God is a feeling I felt quite a bit yesterday. The hail and rain ceased and our teacher released us, and we headed to our cars. There were puddles everywhere, and when I say puddles, I mean one to two feet deep puddles. Small ponds, if you will. I grabbed my flip flops from off of my feet and went running, just took off. I wanted to be somewhere I felt safe, although I was in the tornado shelter, I wanted to be with people that made me feel safe, my family or my friends. That's exactly where I headed, to friends. Jeremy and A.T.'s house is in Bowling Green, and once I made it there, all my worries slipped away, at least until we began watching the news and realized that our homes back in Tennessee were in tremendous danger.

We sat watching the yellow, then orange and red, and finally purple shades sweep across the map over OUR hometowns, and although we were miles away from there, it was like we were being torn down with it. My heart hurt. My stomach was in knots. I haven't ever been as worried as I was watching all of this unfold on the news because I knew I couldn't make it home and shouldn't try.

Then the calls started rolling in... Their families first, and once we knew they were okay, I checked my phone. 23 missed calls. I had put my phone on silent when they had asked us to in the bathroom tornado shelter and forgotten to turn it back on. I found out that my daddy, mom, sister and brother-in-law, and my aunt and her family were safe, but there were others I could not reach. I started calling friends... I didn't get a hold of anyone, either my service would drop or I'd get voicemail, and then my Mardi called. It's funny who matters to you and who you matter to. She was okay, although the tornado had touched down steps from her house. I guess it was then that the tears started rolling. I guess it was then that I realized how serious this was. Life had changed for me, my small community, and for those I love, and those I don't even know.

I stayed at my sister's house last night in Portland, TN, because they had the interstate and all of the roads to my house closed last night. Electricity was out, and as I've now witnessed, the town was a war zone. It still is. I drove home from Portland today to my Pop's house in Ridgetop, and from there, I made my way down the ridge to home in Goodlettsville. What is normally a 10 minute drive ended up being an hour and a half. Pulling into the city, I saw trees everywhere, in the road, on houses, sideways, and upside down. There were workers in the roads. There were people walking up and down the highways. It was pure devastation like we've never experienced here. To see buildings you've gone in for years be completely gone and/or ripped to shreds is something I can't describe. Seeing the front side of Metro Baptist Church a mile and a half from my house caved in was too much for me. Seeing the looks in people's eyes, seeing the hurt, the loss, the tears, and the overwhelming feeling we all felt were things I'll never forget. It was hard. It was hard when I went into Target, Kohls, and other stores today, trying to make things FEEL normal, and hearing everyone talk about their homes and the deaths and all that has happened. It's hard.

I guess it's strange what you think of when things seem so out of hand... When I sat in the floor with some of my fellow future teachers in the tornado shelter at WKU, it was crazy all of the things that flooded my mind. I've always heard it said that the things that matter most to you, whether you know it or not, will come to mind in times of danger. It's never happened to me until yesterday. I've never been so scared that I've had a chance to worry or find out what matters most to me. Yesterday changed that. I wondered where all of those that mattered to me were. I thought of my house and my guitar. I thought of my church. I guess what hurt the most was being unable to do anything and being unaware of what was going on. It hurts not knowing. Sometimes it hurts even more when you know what's going on. When I found out that people had died, I just couldn't help but feel broken.

I know God had me in KY yesterday for a reason, and I know that all of this happened for a reason. No, I don't know what it is. I don't understand how this happened here in our small towns and to people I actually know. People died. My heart had been sinking ever since that tornado hit home yesterday. No, my house wasn't damaged and all of my friends and family are safe, but being helpless and seeing the destruction really took me to a place I've never been before, given me a feeling I've never had.

Please keep those effected by the storms in your prayers. Pray for the cleanup, and for those who cannot find the Lord in times like these. It's easy to be mad, it's easy to ask why, it's even easier to give up. Just pray that God will use this in a positive way... That hearts that haven't been seeking after Him will begin to. That things will change in a good way. That we find a way out of this without worrying over materialistic things, but begin worrying for things that really matter.

Here's a short video of some of the damage and cleanup:

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

What Are You Talking? God Is What I'm Talking.

So, come to find out, this "What are you talking?" is a new phrase I obviously invented today. I just thought it was hilarious, so it's today's topic. What's most important about today is the fact that God works in mysterious ways, and I'm sometimes oblivious to the fact that He does or I'm just too busy to figure that fact out. Or should I say that I'm too lazy, ridiculous, and/or impatient to figure God's ways out?! All of those would apply at times.

Today, however, I noticed it. I stopped at many points in my day to just thank Him for His goodness, mercy, and awesomeness. Here's what happens in a day when you let God take control and you take notice... Oh, and I'm putting God on the point system today... He's really outdone Himself.

  • He gives you the greatest friend ever to spend the day with. (1,673,000 points to the Man Upstairs for just being Him; 2,000 for kindred spirits found between two friends; and 5,000 points for Your giving me a friend who is true, makes me feel secure, sees me for me, and loves wasting the day away)

  • He's molded that friendship into one I'd never imagine having, yet has become the most precious thing in my life recently. (100,000 points for His Amazing Ways of Working; 75 points for Mardi's big glasses and hilarious talks)

  • This friend and I eat at Olive Garden which just happens to be my favorite place EVER, and I just so happen to have a gift certificate to there I'd completely forgotten about. (75 points for the food He always provides me with and an extra 100 points for making that certificate appear because the 7 bucks in my checking account only go so far...)

  • We spent 2 hours at Target... 2 hours. I didn't get bored, not once. I've never enjoyed Target like I did today. We bought baby gifts, wedding shower gifts, and randomly searched through every aisle to find "French Women Don't Get Fat." LOL. During this alotted time, we made 15,000 phone calls and learned about kitchen utensils we'd never even heard of before. The phrase, "What are you talking?" was invented while at there today. I, in my strange way of doing things, seem to ignore people when I'm on a mission buying baby and wedding gifts. It's hysterical. Mardi would say something clever or just ask a question, and I'd totally miss it, thus "What are you talking?". (50 points for Your giving us Target Time; 75 points for providing me the opportunity and money to get my friends great gifts; 80 points for good times and friendship; 25 points for Your making me incredibly A.D.D. and ignoring Mardi which helped in the creation of my new phrase; and a bonus 100 points for allowing me the opportunity to realize how wonderful my life is)

  • Starbucks was the place to be today. No joke. We walked in to get our Fraps (I have no clue how to spell the whole word), and I see one of my favorite people in the world, only because he was this awesome kid who made my working at the Credit Union worthwhile. So I say hi, and in my A.D.H.D. way of doing things, kept walking to get my drink. UNTIL I notice one of the greatest people I've ever met sitting with Mr. One of my Favorite People. This recollection could go on for hours as our conversations did; however, I'd like to make mention of a few things. After talking inside for a good 20 minutes, we convince the guys to head outside, in light of the "gorgeous" day, that only began the madness. Who knew the temperature could drop in 19 seconds and who knew that boys love Cyndi Lauper and like making deals about wearing pink?! I sat there looking at the clouds and thought about how blessed I was. (100 points for Your giving the person who created Starbucks a creative mind; 200 points for creating favorite people; 200 points for great kids with facial hair and piercings and guitars and for their amazing talents; 15 points for blessing me and most of my friends with A.D.D. or A.D.H.D. for it's been a wonderful addition in most of our conversations and makes for one extremely fun hour or two; 1,000 points for a beautiful day and Your awesome handiwork; 85 points for Cyndi Lauper and ringtones; 100 points for the color pink and boys who are manly enough to wear it and an extra 25 points for putting these boys in my life randomly; and 1,000,000 points for the opportunity to catch up with people who mean so much to me that are positive Christian friends)

  • We then headed to Brentwood Baptist for Kairos, a praise and worship service for college-aged students. It was incredible. Something I've been so strongly burdened for was tonight's message... The Lord's Supper. I know how wonderful it is and what it represents; however, it wasn't until tonight that I became aware of why it means so much to me and has for years. It's because The Lord's Supper is personal. It's not something that should be passed out to everyone. I believe Jesus Christ intends for His believers to take it in remembrance of Him. It's purely personal; no one can say how we pray or feel when taking it, it is something we do to honor and reverance our Lord. Praise songs were AMAZING. I just love hearing words that truly honor God. I want my life to be a song that blesses His name. (100,000,000 points for the experience You have given me tonight; for making me want my relationship with You to be personal; that it's more than just "accepting" You; it's about You being my friend; it's about how I prayed and found salvation on my own with You right there with me; it's about having Christian friends that share my faith and hold me accountable... Let me just throw in that these points are endless for this particular gift You have given me tonight, Lord.)

I didn't imagine my Spring Break to be this way. Spring Break has usually been about beaches, beads, and beer. I'm so thankful God has changed that in me. He's made me the person I should have always been. And even when I don't see Him or at least take the time to, He's always there giving me blessings untold. I love how the Lord works. I love how true He is. I love that's He's bigger than anything else in this world and that He always finds a way to show me... like today. What am I talking? I'm saying that God is good all the time; we just have to open our eyes, hearts, and lives to let Him in.