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.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

I'd Be Lying If I Didn't Say...

  • Last night might have been one of the greatest nights of my life.
  • Sharing testimonies, feeling the Spirit, and understanding doubts with a friend is the sweetest piece of grace I've ever received from the Lord.
  • The friend understands me better than I understand myself, and I know everything about him without his knowing so.
  • The Lord has built what was a horrible relationship into the best friendship I could have ever imagined.
  • He is the best guitarist I've ever heard, and he's going to teach me how. Thanks for the lesson last night.
  • My guitar sounded A-M-A-Z-I-N-G when my friend was playing it, despite what he thinks and says...
  • Michelle Branch and Aslyn brought about one of the strangest moods I've ever had, and just sitting in that room, hearing their voices, and singing with him was pure contentment.
  • Garden State is a fantastic movie. I've never felt more at ease or comfortable with myself as I did when I watched that movie.
  • Peach oatmeal is disgusting. Period. Makes no difference if you use water or milk. It's just gross. OH, but thank you for making it for me.
  • Our honesty with one another about what happened with us, about our faults, about trusting God, and about where we want our lives to go goes against my wanting to hide my feelings. He brings out the best and worst in me, and I'm thankful for that.
  • I feel human when I'm with this friend. I'm not overwhelmed; I am insecure at times, but then he reassures me not to be; I feel comfortable and safe when he looks at and talks to me. I feel like this is what God wants a friendship to be like, and even though, we've dated, I have no doubt about our intentions. I know he loves me, and I know that we're always going to be friends.
  • That no one should never stay up until 5:00 in the morning. You'll have the worst headache ever.
  • Eyedrops are a gift from above. My eyes breath because of you.
  • I didn't know how fun sitting on a couch, doing nothing, would be.
  • God has a hand in this. Another friend of mine last week told me to ask God to give me the opportunity to share my testimony, my faith, God's love with someone each week. I was discouraged because yesterday was the last day in the week, and I hadn't talked with anyone. Last night changed that. We shared our testimonies, and we discussed how God has moved into my life. He doesn't always feel that, and maybe this is why God waited until last night to open up this particular door for me and for him...

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Nothing Matters Like These People Do

My friends that I never see anymore have become a huge part of my life recently. I cannot go to bed tonight without mentioning some of their names... I am blessed beyond measure.

(In no particular order...)
  • Jase has become the friend I never thought I'd need, but just sitting in his presence makes me realize how God works. I ate supper at his place tonight, and seeing his smile, hearing his jokes about me, and talking about nothing made everything so easy. I never have to doubt with him; I know he's my best friend, and he knows I am his.
  • Jerm is truly a miracle of God. After almost losing his arm in a freak accident a few weeks ago, his humility and patience overwhelm me. He makes me want to be a better me. His obnoxious way of calling me an idiot, never saying my name but this hideous nickname he gave me when we were kids, making me cut his fingernails, taping his bandages for him, yelling over the Duke game, and reading his fifth grade poetry book tonight were memories I will never take forgranted. I love him more than life itself. He is everything to me, and almost losing him was enough to remind me that God wants us in each others' lives.
  • The Ghost from my past has really stepped in lately. We hadn't seen each other in five years, but after that time and space, somehow and in someway we manage to have the strongest friendship we've ever had. Our late night phone calls and honest remarks that cut to the bone oftentimes are a true testiment to a great relationship. I'm so proud of him for what he's becoming, what he's finally doing with his life; he's going to be so important one day... I'm just glad I realized how important he was to me over 10 years ago.
  • Random phone calls from a random guitarist really enlighten me, excite me, and intrigue me. He has taught me more about relationships than I could EVER expect to know. In that process, he has taught me what friendship is. I'm so thankful that he considers me a friend, and despite my innocent nature, he finds me exactly what he needs.
  • K. Howard is my true blue friend. We met each other in American Sign Language class, decided to become partners for the homework in there, and haven't been able to STAND being separated by states. I love her more than she'll ever know. She opens up her house to me, makes sure I'm warm, listens to my advice, and makes me laugh, usually in one sitting. There is none like her. She's everything to me.
  • Lindsey Lo has brightened my days by just sending hearts and updates almost daily. Everyone needs that friend that just makes you feel better by just having them in your life. Lo does that for me. I'm honored to be her friend after years of thinking we could never be. She's a complete doll, a true, beautiful friend.
  • I have to mention the friends that I have recently come back into my life though only years ago we were inseparable... Brit, Em, Erica, Cec, Jess... You girls have completed me for years; from cheerleading to choir, from singing at the apartment and at campfires, from teaching to understanding me and my fears, from Kiss Me Kate to our freshman year, from the Beatles' music and boyfriend hook ups to Math Team and everything else in between. You all have been there for me when I've needed you, and I cannot tell you how much I love you for that.
  • Oh, there's this group of people who make friendships SO worth their while... My church friends, from Victory, McFerrin, and everywhere else... I won't mention your names because you know who you are and you know why I love you so much. Life has taken us in different directions, but God has given us a bond that will never subside. I will miss corn on the cob, being Not That Far From Bethelhem, Catch Phrase hilariousness, not understanding boys and nodding along, and Jamaican bonds of friendship that have carried on back home... I love you, I miss you, and more than that, I'll see you all when we get home if not before.
  • The Rock makes my life make sense. She understands it all. She inspires me to inspire others. She's amazing. She praises the Lord when praising Him is not the cool thing to do. She shows me what a friend should be. I just miss her so much...
  • The Mac has given me more in friendship than I have gotten in 23 years. We've only known each other about a year, yet I feel like she's part of my family and I a part of hers. Something about feeling each others' pain, understanding trials, hysterical laughter, and pirates have brought us closer than I could explain. Even when we don't talk like I know we wish we could, I feel her with me.
  • Mardi B. is a kindred spirit kind of friend. She knows when I am hurting, she knows when I need to laugh and when I'm ready to be quiet. She prays for me when there's nothing to pray about. She shows in her actions through cards and phone calls how much I mean to her. What I've figured out is that I don't deserve her, yet I'm so blessed and thrilled to have her in my life. Date Night is my favorite night of all times!
  • Jeeca is the most important part of my life without doubt. The first and only friend I've ever had the audacity to be a complete fool towards, she has stuck by me like only a sister can do. I wasn't what I should have been to her, and I could never repay her for the love she gave me when I was unlovable. She is my best friend. No one could ever mean to me what she does. You have to know her to understand.

And last but not least:

  • My dearest friend, the closest one I will ever and always have, my Lord and Savior. You are there when none of these are, and I put You last so many times before now. My life is all because of You, and I take that forgranted so many times. You make each day what it is, You make me feel safe and secure, and more than that, You are the one who gave me all of these wonderful friends, and I will never cease to praise you.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Some People Say What I Mean To

"God is constantly molding and shaping those who seek Him, I think I am starting to feel the burn... I have no idea what that means except that I am excited to see what He is doing."

I read this tonight in a new friend's blog, and was totally overwhelmed by what she had said. It was more beautiful than I think even she knew, but I read it time and time again because she took the words right out of my mouth. I have "felt" God so much more lately than I have in years. When I say years, I mean like almost five of them or at least that many. I have been on FIRE for the Lord this week. Nothing has been able to bring me down; it's like I wake up ready to give my day to God, and when I do that, nothing can stand in His way. I understand the "burn" because I have it. I want to see what God can do, what I know He can do, how He's been wanting to for so long... So I've been molded and shaped, and I'm continually growing in His will, and I cannot wait to see what happens when the fire is truly lit.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Best Believe, He Takes Care of It All...

Jeremy went back to the doctors today to get the wrappings off of his arm and wrist... Here's the email I got from his mom. From what I've been told, he had a rough day as it became very real to him how injured he actually was...

I just wanted to let you know how Jeremy was doing. We went back to the surgeon today and everything seems to be doing well. His main concern now is to get movement back into the wrist and hand so the tendons that he repaired won't "lock-up" and impair movement. He is still reserving judgement on the skin graft on the hand and will look at it again next week when the stitches come out.

After seeing Jeremy's arm today it is truly a miracle that his hand is still there. I am so very thankful that God was watching over him and I know that things could be so much worse than they are. We can't express our gratitude over everyone's love and concern for Jeremy and ask for continued prayer for him. He has taken the first steps on a very long road to recovery.

Thank you so much for your prayers; Jerm's doing great considering. He's got months of physical therapy ahead so it's going to get tough, but there's nothing God can't do. He's going to take care of this too.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Won't You Marry Me? Then Pray With Me. That's Not Too Much To Ask.

I knew the moment I first saw you
Our love was meant to be
It was only a matter of God's time
My instincts said to marry you
And patience said to wait
But I knew to let you go would be a crime
Well I've seen so many places
And I've seen so many smiles
And you are the only one for me
I know what grace is
Because I've walked a million miles
And after that my Jesus set me free

So won't you marry me, I'm down on my knees
And carry me through the peaks and valleys
Pray with me, walk with me through this life
I'm asking you to be my wife

I can't wait to share my life you
I can't wait to make love
I can't wait to give you all I've got to give
A three way communication
And sweet compromise
I can't wait for God to show us how to live
I'll be with you forever
And I know you feel the same
There ain't no sense in getting married any other way
And I hear sweet music
At the sound of your name
I hope I never have to live another day without you so . . .

So won't you marry me, I'm down on my knees
And carry me through the peaks and valleys
Pray with me, walk with me through this life
I'm asking you to be my wife

I remember hearing this song for the first time my freshman year of college and completely being in awe of what it was saying. I could not believe the words had actually come from a man, but the more I learned about the love of God was that this song was written by a man who had the love God wants us to have for each other in relationships. More and more often, I am faced with the question of why I'm not dating or married even, and at first that's a hard thing to be asked. Of course, I want to be married (who doesn't?!) but the truth has been brought to my attention that I want what God wants for me. I don't want to date someone God hasn't placed in my life for a reason. I want true love like I've never had before, love that only God can give. All of this comes to mind after a situation occurred at church last night.

Yeah, so I'm at Victory's Revival last night (as was a certain great friend and preacher I know), and another young preacher who's been to Jamaica three or four times with my friend preacher says, "Jenna, can I talk to you about something in private?"OH, I know this was leading to somewhere no good. First of all, I thought he was asking me out. Which was too weird for words, then he says, "Have you ever thought of *insert my friend preacher's name here*?" I was like, well, yeah, he's my friend. I think of him often. Ha ha. I'm so special education. And the guy was like, "NO, I mean, like have you thought of going on a date with him?" I was like, "Heck no, I can't date my pastor." LOL.

The guy says, "Well, heck, I didn't know he was your pastor." I said, "Yes, I joined today." He goes on to say..."Well, see, that's the Lord working and putting you two together." UGH! Throwing up in my mouth by this time, because I'm sick of people putting thoughts like that in my head. It was awkward as my friend preacher then walks up and hugs me, and the other guy's grinning ear to ear. SO STRANGE.

Here's my point to all of this... People are great matchmakers when God is involved. Period. End of sentence. Secondly, God is the ultimate matchmaker. Period. End of sentence. My whole point. If it's in God's will, it WILL be. You know? Just because I'm 23 and have no boyfriend does not mean that God wants me to have one right now, and I DO NOT need people telling me how cute my friend preacher is because who doesn't know that. UGH UGH UGH. I only tell you this because I'm honestly frustrated when I should maybe be flattered.

I think what bothers me the most about all of this is that it's hard being patient. It's hard waiting for what God has in store. It's even more difficult wondering about who that someone He has in store for me might be. Situations like last night at church really get a girl's mind and heart racing, but I want God to be my ultimate matchmaker. I want Him to fix me up. I want Him to show me who to be with. I want God to take care of these things for me, and I want to be patient in waiting. And more than anything, I want to hear words like those from the song at the beginning of this post, and I don't think that's unrealistic. I believe that's what God has promised us, and what God intends for marriage to be like. I want that. I want a God-filled and led marriage. Anything less than that is not worth being fixed up on.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

You Told Me Who I Am... I Am Yours.

Wow, what a super-packed weekend. Left the elementary school Thursday afternoon with threats of storm damage and all that good stuff and headed home to pack for my usual trek to Bowling Green for class which ALWAYS includes a sleepover at my girl, K. Howard's place. It's always eventful with that girl, and God loves her for that. We need each other so much more than I think even WE realize.

Friday was a day of learning about food, the land, and people with the Kentucky Agriculture and Environmental people at Western's Ag Center. Let's just say I got to eat Barbeque, Lays Potato Chips, and a good ol' chocolate brownie, mix that in with the auctioneer's pit that smells like cow poop and me getting to act like a busy bee pollinating in one of the activities we did. Good times. Left that place after a graciously too long of a time, and headed back home to pick up that Ali Mac.

Ali Mac and I headed to Chapel Hill, TN, to attend a Women's Retreat with our church. We jammed to classic 80s music and really got in the spiritual mood with Casting Crowns and our best friend, Nichole Nordeman. We had some good discussions about life, church, and love. ("I will not join the church until he opens the doors of the church." I believe were my exact words.) After all day Saturday of learning about prayer, I realized I'm not one of the best pray-ers. I wanted to get in bed and really TALK to God that night, and so I did. For an hour, I laid there, just talking to him, pouring out my thoughts, asking Him so many questions, I needed to know where He wanted me to be (for a church home). All He kept saying was, "Tomorrow, we will talk about this tomorrow." I was so frustrated, but after the weekend of learning how to pray and what to expect from prayer, I knew I had to wait. God really moved this weekend. Taught me how to pray again. Lit my heart on fire. I'd been missing that feeling.

Headed home today and heard one of my most favorite Casting Crowns' songs, "Who Am I," and knew it was going to be an amazing day. Got to Bethelhem church, Bro. Brian asked me to sing, "Who Am I" was today's choice of song, and got filled up when Brian then "opened the doors" of the church. I mean, FILLED UP. I couldn't even hold my songbook. I just sat it down, I might have ran to him. I don't remember, but it was a feeling I've only felt once before and that was when I was saved over 10 years ago. I felt that pounding in my heart, God was saying go... "Go. This is where I want you." He answered my prayer. Just like that. I joined; Brian must have known. I mean, he really had to have had God talking to him too. I wasn't joining until those doors were "opened" up, and then they were. Wow. Check that off.

Tonight just added on to my weekend. I went to my home church (Victory), I had gone there all of my life, over 20 years, but God told me to move on. Everytime I go back, it's like a homecoming for me. I love seeing everyone. EVERYONE. Their smiles, the music, oh, words cannot express it. It's just that feeling of coming home. I just love it. My friends there and hearing their testimonies, hearing how God is working and moving in their lives is amazing to me. We're all growing together although we're separated. It's so fascinating what God is capable of doing. I mean, really. Oh, not to mention, I love having people try and play matchmaker... LOL.

I'll tell you what else I have given much thought to this weekend... That person I may or may not have met already. God is really impressing me to begin preparing myself for him. I know he is out there, and I pray he is as anxious as I am, and I can't help but be impatient for I want to know him. I just wanted to say that I thought of you this weekend even though I'm not sure who you are. Oh, and Lord, thank you for being my best friend, and thank you for being the love of my life when I was so busy thinking it was someone else.

Monday, March 6, 2006

What God Can Do

It's amazing what God can do,
when He works His wonders in me and you.
When you trust in Him your whole life through,
it's amazing what God can do!
He will answer when we pray,
for in His will, there is a way,
to solve every problem, work things out.
He said it and I have no doubt.
In His will's where we belong,
when we are weak, then He is strong.
He knows everything we hunger for,
He longs to give us so much more.
It's amazing what God can do,
when He works His wonders in me and you.
When you trust in Him your whole life through,
it's amazing what God can do!

My cousin, Anna Laura, sang this simple song when she was a little girl, and it's been running through my mind all day long because I just feel like God has blessed my life so much. He takes care of so many things, and He has done so just so amazingly this past weekend. I am so thankful right now for so many situations in my life, and I know I've been writing quite a bit lately... I'm just filled up. God has over-filled my cup, and it hasn't always been this way. I just need to make a little (little always means not-so-little around this blog) list of the things I'm indepthly grateful for.
  • Jeremy's Recovery, His Salvation, His Spirit
  • My Salvation, God's Grace
  • My Family, Their Support, Their Love
  • My Sister, My Ultimate True Friend
  • My Friends, Consistent Way of Proving What It Means To Care
  • My Education and the Kids I Work With
  • The Sunshine, Rain, Air, and Flowers
  • Music and The Opportunity to Make It, Hear It, Love It
  • My Sweet Girlfriends, Mardi, Mimi, Britt, JP, etc.
  • My Best Friend, Jase, His Strength, His Courage
  • My Great Guy Friends, AT, Jrod, etc.
  • Rebuilding Bridges... Mending Broken Friendships with Ghost.

Take a moment to be thankful today, tonight, or whenever you get the chance. After seeing one of your best friend's lying in a hospital bed and being told they may never use their left arm again, and then having them come through that surgery days later and being told everything's going to be fine, you can't help but stop and praise God for His goodness. I just do not deserve it, so I needed to stop and say thank you and make mention of what our God can do.

Great News is the Best News

After the recent shock of my good friend, Jeremy's accident at work, it's been a roller coaster of emotions I've put myself through, and today was no exception. The news I received today sent my emotions on an extreme high, and I couldn't help but sit and cry like a child at the work of my Creator and Almighty Lord and Savior.

Jeremy is alright. He came through his surgery okay; no skin grafts were necessary and his tendons and muscles seem to be healing as they should. Yes, there will still be months of recovery, but no bad news is a great thing in this case. We were given high hopes of Jeremy's chances of a full recovery in time. I am so thankful today. It's amazing what prayer will do. Let go and Let God.

Sunday, March 5, 2006

Seeing Him in that Hospital Bed...

I take so many things forgranted, and sitting in a friend's hospital room last night, I wondered why I do. His life has somewhat been put on hold. He doesn't know what his next step is, if he'll ever have use of his hand again. He doesn't know if he'll be able to graduate in May like we'd planned on doing together. He's not sure if the job he'd planned on interviewing for will even want to interview him now. He's not even sure if he'll get to drive himself home. He's not positive when he'll get to even go home. He's just not sure. I'm sure he was thinking the same thing I was to a certain degree, except he had a LOT of morphine and I didn't, but I'm almost positive that it crossed his mind once or twice that he'd taken some things forgranted.

You don't realize how precious your friends' lives are until you think they could be gone. You don't understand how important your friends are until you receive that phone call that tells you they're in the hospital fighting to get their left arm back... It's crazy. I never knew how precious all of these things were to me... our lives and my friends, and sitting in his room last night, surrounded by my friends and his family, which has become my own over the past 20 something years, I couldn't help but feel like I had taken it all forgranted.

Please pray for my friend, Jeremy. He was in an awful accident at work that nearly took his left arm Friday night at work. No details are needed simply because they make me sick to talk about, just know that he needs prayers and lots of them. God was watching out for him and still is, but Monday he'll be having skin grafts put on his whole arm and from what I've heard, this is not going to be an easy surgery, and it will take months for him to recover. Please remember him for me when you pray...

Wednesday, March 1, 2006

It Didn't Feel This Real Until Today...

I'm graduating.

I guess it's something I've longed to say for years, but I've never really been able to until now. I went today to get measured for my cap and gown, bought graduation invitations, got my class ring ordered, took my graduation pictures for my yearbook, among a million other things that revolved around graduating from college. I have never been as proud as I felt today. I had this huge smile plastered on my face, and as I walked around this group of graduating seniors, I realized I may have been one of the only ones. I can't tell you how important this is to me. I guess when you go from nearly ruining your GPA your freshman year and drinking your college experience away, you can't help but feel elated when you are standing there being handed your cap and gown. I couldn't help but smile. I couldn't help but feel so blessed. I couldn't help but be so thankful. I couldn't help but be proud. This is not just something I've done for myself.

For the most part, it is my accomplishment. It will be something I will always cherish whole-heartedly like no one else can understand as no one else has experienced my same college experience. However, this accomplishment is also my father's. He instilled in me the will to succeed. He made me determined. He wanted this for me. He gave all he had just to see that I made it through this. He worked two jobs. That diploma I will receive in two months is also my dad's.

This accomplishment is also my mother's. She taught me to be patient. She helped me to believe in myself. She encouraged me and was humbled by my work. She stayed up late typing papers, making copies, and cutting out shapes for lessons I would teach. She deserves this diploma as much, if not more than I do.

This accomplishment is also my sister's. She has proven what a best friend is and should be. When everyone I thought I needed let me down, she proved to me that she was the only one I really wanted. She believed in me always when everyone put me down. She always listened to me cry. She laughed at my ridiculously stupid jokes and silly children's songs. She and her husband opened up their house to me and let me "live" there throughout my senior year/years. This diploma is shared with my sister (and Angrew).

This accomplishment also belongs to my Pop, Nana, Cacky, Ricky, Zach, and Anna Laura. Their continuous support through email, phone calls, and letters have gotten me through the past 5 years of school. Their cheers and tears as I called to give news over my exams, test results, and lesson plans meant so much to me. The drive I had was for them. I wanted to prove to them that I was as great as they believe me to be. I share that diploma with them also.

This accomplishment is also for Miss Morris. My fourth grade teacher and greatest friend, she's no longer with us. I laid an apple on her grave the day she was buried that said, "My future is for you." I wish she could be here now to share in this excitement. I did this because she inspired me to become a teacher. She made me love what she did by how she did it. Her encouragement, grace, and love are things I will never forget, and each day in the future as I step into the classroom, it will be to prove my devotion to her love for learning. As I walk across that stage on May 13th, 2006, and receive my diploma, Miss Morris will be on my mind for I dedicate it to her.

I guess it just didn't feel so real to me until today, and I am feeling extremely blessed to be graduating.