Wednesday, December 17
So I am writing from my family computer at home. I got back today... I had been planning on coming home yesterday, but the roads were too dangerous. So Lacey, Rachel, and I made music videos. If you want a good laugh, check out the three videos on our facebooks... So What, I Can Hear the Bells, and Rockstar... the latter two are my favorite, for sure. Each provides a unique form of entertainment. In Rockstar, watch Rachel the whole time. It's hilarious.
I went to my old church tonight and sat in on the youth group study... I learned something... or realized, I guess... high school students are shallow. hah. I mean, who could blame them, I guess. Their lives thus far have been solely about themselves. I doubt that very many of those kids have truly been challenged to think outside of themselves. And even if they did, high school is a weird stage... you can see that life is not about you, but until you are forced into a senerio where it really isn't, you don't understand what that really means. I wrote a research paper on the Little Rock 9, and I read an interview with some of the white girls who were seniors at Central High School that year... they were mad because those kids were ruining their senior year. That's all they cared about... they did not want them there because it was their senior year and it was supposed to be perfect. I think that's how most of us grow up... senior year... it's supposed to be perfect. Our parents try to make our experiences the best and most memorable. But then there is a major wake up call when you move in with someone else, have to find food for yourself, do your own laundry, take care of yourself when you're sick, take care of school and teacher and administration and registration and graduation issues on your own... All of a sudden, the people around you have different agendas. They are no longer there to make your life easier. I hope that I will raise my children knowing that there is so much more in this world than their perfect little suburb homes with perfect friends and perfect cell phones and perfect hair. They will know that there are hurting people around the world... even in those perfect suburbs... They will be shown that Jesus told us to love those people, and regardless of our family's status, we are blessed.
That's what the group was talking about tonight. The teacher asked for ways they had noticed they were blessed over the past few days. A few of them said a few odd answers... All along the lines of, "Well, I prayed that my exams would be easy, and they were..." I wanted to be like, "What about the fact that you are breathing right now? Or the fact that you ate dinner tonight? Or the fact that you are wearing shoes? God has blessed you with so many more things than you could have ever asked for, with things you definitely never deserved. He did not bless you because you prayed to Him... You are blessed purely by the fact that He loves you."
I am definitely grateful for the fact that God has stretched me and challenged me so much this past semester... I have learned so much. Life is not black and white, and God's love for me is so much more complex than, "for the Bible tells me so." So complex, yet so simple. So undeserved. So unconditional. Not because of what I have done, or anything I could do. But merely because He is.
This passage has been on my heart today:
Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything,
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,
present your requests to God.
And the peace of God, which
transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-- think about such things...
I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me.
Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it.
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever
the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.
I have learned the secret of being conent in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.
My favorite hymn:
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot, thou has taught me to say
It is well, it is well with my soul
Though Satan should buffet, tho trials should come
Let this blest assurance control
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
My sin-- oh the bliss of this glorious thought
My sin, not in part, but the whole
Is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more
Praise the Lord Praise the Lord O my soul!
And, Lord, haste the day when the faith shall besight
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll
The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend
Even so, it is well with my soul.
Sunday, December 14
- My favorite color is orange... I really do like it a lot... I get excited when I walk into target and see a lot of orange things... or just when I walk into Home Depot... I really don't like pink... although my phone and camera are pink... in moderation, pink is fine.
- Pictures are basically my favorite things ever. My rooms at home and in Waco are both covered in pictures... I especially love old pictures... When I go to Barnes and Noble just to chillax, I head straight to the photography section... old pictures of Dallas, NYC, the Great Depression... They tell such a story!
- I would definitely say I have childish interests... I never want to stop seeing the world with the curiosity and joy of a child... however, I would say I am also responsible and know when it is time to act like an adult... :)
- I don't think I'm that great at listening... but I don't like talking either... well, I love listening... observing... but I think I don't think I'm a good listener because I don't know what to say most of the time... and sometimes I get distracted in my head... something I need to get better at.
- Pine Cove... well... Pine Cove was a passion of mine for eleven years. Love and obsession do not even give how I felt about that place justice. Before I turned 20.5 years old, I had spent 34 weeks in the summer and around 35 weekends during the school year there. God used Pine Cove to transform my life... Now, I know that those doors are closing... It's hard, and I haven't written about it because it still makes me want to cry, but I know that God has a different plan for me that will bring about just as much joy as Pine Cove used to when I loved it more than anything.
- I love to read... in general. But really, my favorite books are the classic novels. Tale of Two Cities, Grapes of Wrath, Les Miserables, Pride and Prejudice, To Kill A Mockingbird... I also love books like Harry Potter and the Chronicles of Narnia... Actually, I like CS Lewis a lot... Till We Have Faces and Screwtape Letters are both awesome books I read when I was in middle school and high school. And what kind of Christian girl would I be if I didn't like Francine Rivers? :) I don't really like nonfiction Christian stuff... I get bored easily... That's why I was surprised I liked Crazy Love and Wild At Heart... probably the only two I've ever finished.
- I don't really care about clothes, I hate shopping, and if I didn't have to wear shoes, I wouldn't. I wear makeup maybe once a week. I own 4 dresses... 2 prom dresses, my graduation dress, and a sundress. Before prom junior year, I hadn't worn or owned a dress since elementary school. I do like skirts though... but skirts I can wear t-shirts with. Maybe it has to do with a mixture of my gymnastics and pine cove influence... I'm not entirely sure, though.
- I'm pretty easy to please when it comes to movies, although romantic comedies are not generally the way to my heart. There are a few that I absolutely love... Sweet Home Alabama and How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days.... Probably the 2 most girly movies I love are Pride and Prejudice and The Notebook. However, I would much rather watch movies like Remember the Titans(sports movies!), Braveheart, Harry Potter, and Lord of the Rings... oh and I like Star Wars... what are you going to do about it?
- I am on facebook too much. I have become a really really really creepy person, bc my stalking skills have been almost perfected.
- I love country music. and chill music. and broadway music. and random pop songs. and Hannah Montana. and High School Musical. No screamo or crude rap, please.
- I like authority... but I don't like self-proclaimed authority or passive agressive authority. I will do everything I can to avoid conflict but I am not afraid to approach it if necessary. I'm a lion, so people assume I don't like authority. false. authority gives me boundaries. i like boundaries.
- I like chaos. I don't mind it... I actually thrive in it. I dislike quiet houses where everything is perfect and clean and uncomfortable. I really don't like matchy stuff. ew. I can't study in the library. I have to have movement, noise, chaos. However, I realize when chaos is dangerous and structure is necessary too.
- I'm terribly uncomfortable around people in general. haha. except kids. haha that's not true. People don't bother me, I'm just not really a people person and I don't like initiating conversations... especially with girls. Guys are easier becuase you can just make fun of them... girls... not so much. I love silence. It doesn't bother me at all. which can be awkward bc sometimes it does bother ppl I'm with.
- I do not like cake. I would never choose to eat it over other things. But I do like wedding cake. and the cake with sprinkles in it. Chocolate cake is disgusting. so it plain chocolate ice cream.
- I want to live in London. and visit Romania. I've wanted to go to Romania since I was 8. It will happen one day.
- I love my best friends... For the most part, I'm a pretty loyal person. I don't make friends quickly, so once you're in, you're in.
- I like decorating. I don't like matching things. I want my house to look like a mixture of Common Grounds and UBC.
- I'm really bad about wearing my emotion on my face. If I don't like it, and I don't care if you know, you will know I don't like it... I'm not good at lying, either. So I keep my mouth shut if I don't want to hurt someone's feelings. Most of the time that works. So if I get really excited, it's legit. haha.
this just in[totally unrelated to previous statements]: I stink as a friend. dangit.
Wednesday, December 10
I'm taking a quick study break during my last dead day of the Fall 08 semester... I just got finished studying for my History of the South final, which is tomorrow at 9. Monday cannot get here quick enough... History of the South tomorrow, Greek and Research Methods on Friday, and Group Processes on Monday. My Lifespan class didn't have a final... we had to turn in a chart we had been working on all year instead...
I figured that I should post during this final season, since last final season is when I started my blog! In this same church, actually... Studying for finals. I was about as unmotivated then, too.
I love history... LOVE it. But only certain parts of history... I first noticed in 8th grade when we learned about the Great Depression and then JFK's assassination that I liked the depressing parts the most. My all time favorite times to study are the Holocaust and the French Revolution... I also love studying the Great Depression, the attack on Pearl Harbor, and more recently, the Civil Rights movement. I love looking at how people reacted and changed and manipulated the situations they faced... I am stunned that mostly uneducated, poor French citizens were able to overtake the government and murder so many people. Look at what can take place when passion is met by large numbers! It's astounding! The Holocaust blows my mind, and like the Civil Rights movement, I love looking at how one race of people found it appropriate and even necessary to treat another race like animals. I love looking at how those mistreated people react... how they strive to maintain their dignity... how the trauma affects them psychologically. The Great Depression is just so sad... and FDR's New Deal is just so ridiculous... :) And then Pearl Harbor... the fact that the government had been warned... fascinating.
Anyway, I love history! Here are a couple paragraphs out of the sections I was reading about Civil Rights to study for my test:
* This part is talking about the march that Martin Luther King led full of black children because the adults could not afford losing their jobs. "The first day, May 2, the police were restrained. But the following day Bull Connor[The Birmingham Police Commisionor] reverted to form. His policemen tore into the defenseless black children, hitting them with clubs and siccing their vicious German shepherd dogs against the school kids... Connor ordered firemen to turn their fire hoses, with water pressure at 100 lbs per square inch, against the blacks. The powerful stream of water knocked people down, tore the bark off of trees, rolled screaming, terrified children across the ground and over curbs. Three days later it happened again..."
* This part took place a few months earlier, and involved students, both black and white, who were called the "freedom riders." Their plan was to ride on a greyhound bus from Virginia to New Orleans... Until they got to Alabama, their trip was pretty uneventful... After being stopped once by whites who caught the bus on fire and beat the driver, they tried again, with the "protection" of President Kennedy. "The twenty-one freedom riders noted the police protection as they drove along, but when they neared Montgomery, the protection disappeared. When the riders disembarked at the terminal, a mob crazed with anger attacked the students with frenzied violence. Hundreds of screaming people swarmed the bus, and even the presidential aide sent to observe was knocked senseless by a pipe-wielding assailant."
The most astounding part of this entire thing is the fact that a few years earlier, America had begun fighting in a cold war to protect the free world from communist slavery... even earlier than that, we had been involved in saving the Jews from the race war brought on by Adolf Hitler.
Anyway, enough with fascinating history! I was talking to my friend, Kimberly the other day, discussing life and such... and I told her that I feel a lot more "settled" in my life... I guess... I feel more mature, which is weird, and I feel more comfortable with who I am. I am beginning to understand that although my opinion might be based off of a right or wrong moral system, life does not always work that way, and issues are generally much more complex than just black and white. I can see that now, which is exciting, because I have always believed that in order to defend one side, you must be able to defend the other... Those who argue on a "this is wrong because it's wrong so it should be stopped" are still thinking on a conventional level... I want to be able to discuss issues on a postconventional level, taking into account every side and every reason.
I am beginning to understand how my dislike of titles plays into my role in society... I mean, some titles I don't mind. I don't mind Christian... although many, myself including, live in such a way that is embarrassing for Christ's name... I will never be ashamed of Christ and being His... I just pray that I will live in a way worthy of the calling. I don't mind the title "prolife," because I am all for life. But I am not afraid to look at the other side and examine their arguments. I think that Christians who are prolife need to approach abortion in a more gentle manner... Not apathetically... not sympathetically... but with the least force necessary. If being prolife makes me sound like a hateful, hypocritical person, I would rather do without the title.
I do not really know why I am talking about all this. The guy who showed us apartments said something funny today. He goes to Baylor, and is probably a senior... I could tell he thought we were freshmen, so I let him know we were actually juniors, and he goes, "oh! so you will be seniors next year?" "yes..?" Luckily he was not looking at me, because he would have noticed a face of complete bewilderment at such an obvious question... Funny man.
I love this quote:
Following Jesus is simple, but not easy. Love until it hurts, and then love more.
mk back to studying... either Greek or Research Methods... I've hit a wall for both.
Tuesday, December 9
Saturday, December 6
Yeah, it's a list of the 50 most influential Christians in America.
Good ole Joel here is numero uno.
I mean, I am not surprised. I guess he is...
And I guess I missed the whole Victoria Osteen getting sued for being a diva while I was at camp... But that is not why I am posting. haha.
I've been reading up on Joel because I dislike him so much... In case you want to "spend an evening with Joel [and 20,000 of your closest friends]," you can spend 15 dollars to hear him encourage you!!
Also, act now, because his book is on sale from $25 to $15!
There is a variety of 47 message series you could buy... Including:
* Position Yourself for Greatness
* Live a Blessed Life
* Successful Relationships
* Achieving God's Best for Your You
* Six Steps to Enjoying Life
* Be Excited About Life
* Enjoy Every Season of Life
* Reach Your Highest Potential
Most of them all sound the same... He could just get it all out in one sentence: You deserve the best life God has to offer.
His church building cost $95 million dollars to renovate... I'm sorry... what?!? That actually makes me want to throw up. Not to mention all the money they would have to spend on electricity, etc. to keep a basketball stadium cool in the Houston heat and to run those huge mega screens so his followers can see his face.
I mean, I don't know, maybe he is a humble guy, but compare his ABOUT ME section to the letter Matt Chandler wrote to the members of The Village...
According to Nielsen Media Research, Joel is the most watched inspirational figure in America. His weekly sermon is broadcast into every U.S. television market where it is viewed by seven million Americans each week and more than 20 million each month. His weekly broadcast is also seen in almost 100 nations around the world.
In 2004, his first book, Your Best Life Now, was released by Time Warner debuting at the top of the New York Times Bestsellers List and quickly rising to #1. It remained on the New York Times Bestseller for more than 2 years and has sold more than 4 million copies. Most recently, Joel was named as one of Barbara Walters’ “10 Most Fascinating People of 2006” and he was selected as the “Most Influential Christian in 2006” by the readers of Church Report Magazine.
Joel’s extraordinary success can be found in his core message: That our God is a good God who desires to bless those who are obedient and faithful to Him through Jesus Christ. It is Joel’s deepest desire that his own life be an example of that principle and that everyone who hears this message of hope and encouragement would choose to accept God’s goodness and mercy and to become all that God wants them to be.
Serving a body our size is both a privilege and blessing. Getting to know each one of you personally is something I might never achieve but I'll be working towards it as long as I am here-- which is until the Lord kills me or He makes His triumphant return.
But The Village Church is not a one man show. We have some incredibly gifted pastors and staff who carry much of the ministry workload. Help me serve you by utilizing The Village Church staff.
There seems to be a different approach... Interpret it for yourself. There is so much more I could say about this man, but I will refrain. I just have to wonder what he has to say to all the Christians who have died dirt poor because they had given everything they had to serving Christ...
The list also included Billy Graham, Franklin Graham, Rob Bell, James Dobson, John Piper, President Bush, Max Lucado, Rick Warren, Joni Earekson Tada, Chuck Swindoll, Beth Moore, Phil Vischer, and Ed Young...
A lot of them were from Texas, something I found interesting...
I also think it's funny that I have been to 3 of these people's churches (Rick Warren, Chuck Swindoll, and Ed Young) but I really didn't like any of them... too impersonal.
My favorite part of the list was this statement about Joel:
Always humble, Pastor Osteen gives credit to his wife, his staff and his church family for his success and the many blessings of Lakewood Church. Pastor Osteen has a gift for reaching unchurched people with his message of positive thought and God’s plan for our lives.
mmm yes, please credit everyone but God for your success... Way to be, Joel Osteen, way to be.
Tuesday, December 2
Anyway, I was reading in my journal... It was an entry from week 10 of camp this summer... Wednesday of Week 10 to be exact. I can't remember writing the entry, but I imagine it was around 6:30 in the morning and I was sitting on the counter in the bathroom with my back against the wall and my knees up in front of my face. That or I was laying on my stomach across the counter. I had 5th graders that week. By that point, I knew it was my last cabin. My girls were studs, but there was one who was very hard to love. This is what I wrote:
I'm so tired! I feel so bad.
Give me patience when mine is wearing thin.
Give me joy when I'm not content.
Help me smile when I can't.
I am inadequate. I can't love, be patient, be joyful, wake up without Him.
In my quietness, He speaks loud and clear.
My body is falling apart yet He continues to give me strength.
My voice is gone, but He speaks.
My only reason for being here is to give myself away.
I took a study break and just read my Bible earlier, and this is what I found:
The unfailing love of the Lord never ends! By His mercies we have been kept from complete destruction. Great is His faithfulness, His mercies begin afresh each day. I say to myself, "The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in Him."
The Lord is wonderfully good to those who wait for Him and seek Him. So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord. And it is good for the young to submit to the yoke of His discipline.
Let them sit alone in silence beneath the Lord's demands. Let them lie face down in the dust; then at last there is hope for them. Let them turn the other cheek to those who strike them. Let them accept the insults of their enemies.
For the Lord does not abandon anyone forever. Though He brings grief, He also shows compassion according to the greatness of His unfailing love...
Can anything ever separate us from Christ's love? Does it mean He no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or are hungry or cold or in danger or threatened with death?
No, despite all these things,
OVERWHELMING VICTORY IS OURS THROUGH CHRIST, WHO LOVED US.
Monday, December 1
I sat outside for the first 10 minutes because there was no seating inside... but the wind is blowing so hard and it's freezing. I came in and found a seat after a few minutes of misery.
I can't believe December is here! I am trying not to get stressed... I feel like my life is saying, "Welcome to December! aka the worst, most miserable 2 weeks of your life!" When I fail out of Baylor, maybe I will just move to London.
Two modern day miracles today:
* In Greek, I was translating a sentence out loud... something about the speaker acquiring the prizes we see with no help from any of the gods in heaven. Anyways, there was one word that I did not understand... So I said, "Not without... something..." Turns out that word meant "something." aha!! He had no idea that I had no idea what the word meant! I was so overjoyed I almost gave myself away... but I refrained from shrieking.
* There is this song that I was trying to explain to Lacey and Rachel last night... I could not remember any line from it or anything... I had heard it on the way back to Waco last night, when I was sitting in stop and go traffic 45 miles north of Waco. I actually heard just about every song ever written through out the course of that trip. And each of them at least twice. Anyway, I heard the song and I couldn't remember anything about it, but I was trying to tell them about it... so I spent seriously 20 minutes trying to find it on Kiss FM's website... no luck. I was rather bummed. So I got in the car earlier today to drive to CG, and THE SONG WAS ON THE RADIO!! I screamed. For those of you who want to know the song, it's "Let It Rock" by Kevin Rudolf featuring Lil Wayne. It's a few months old but it's good. haha.
Speaking of new obsessions on the music front, Live Your Life by T.I. and Rihanna is a fave. I mean, everyone knows I am a paper chaser.
Christmas on 5th Street on Thursday!! aka Steven Curtis Chapman slash Robbie Seay Band!! yeahh!
I went to church last night, and it was so good! It was the start of Advent, so Dave led us in Christmas songs!! hooray! And Josh used clips from Polar Express to discuss faith and belief.
Listen to Matt Chandler's sermon from 11.29.08!! oooh man it's legit! Seriously, listen to it!
Book quiz on Wednesday, Research Methods exam and Lifespan exam on Thursday, 10 page paper due on Friday.
Answer me, for I need Your help
Protect me, for I am devoted to You
Save me, for I serve You and trust You
You are my God
Be merciful, O Lord
For I am calling on You constantly
Give me happiness, O Lord
For my life depends on You
O Lord, You are
so ready to forgive
so full of unfailing love