Thursday, November 11, 2010

Bad Hair, Baby Fat, and Braces: Lessons from a Seventh Grade Classroom

Last time I was home I had the chance to look through my old 2002-2003 yearbook. When I was in the seventh grade I would have used one word to describe my friends and me—cool. However, looking back almost ten years later, there is only one word that comes to mind—awkward. We thought that our school spirited braces bands, brightly colored Saucony’s and Shox, Abercrombie baby tees, and Nokia cell phones were the greatest things since sliced bread. Dances at the armory on 468 were the social event of the week and if you didn’t attend you were a lost cause (sadly, I did not attend). We lived such simple lives. The smallest things could make us happy or turn our world upside down. What a crazy, wonderful life.

I would have thought that in the years since I was in seventh grade, the seventh grade population would have gotten at least a little bit cooler. Maybe they’d realize that Clark’s Wallabees aren’t the coolest shoes they’ll ever own, wearing too much eyeliner isn’t attractive on anyone, and no, that Abercrombie baby tee is not worth the $40 you paid for it. However, I can safely say that today’s seventh graders are no different than my friends and I. Unfortunately, awkwardness during the pre-teen years is a universal epidemic.

This semester I have been so very blessed with the opportunity to observe in a seventh grade Western Civilization class at Lafayette Middle School. When I changed my major to education I was certain that my heart was for high school students, not smelly, hormonal preteens. I could not have been more wrong. Their weird fashion sense, awkward questions, and desire to know everything has surprised me and they have stolen my heart. Watching them I have learned so much! There isn’t a single “cool kid” in the seventh grade. Everyone (including myself ag age 13) has bad hair, baby fat, and braces.

For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:26

But, the beautiful thing is—we’re all God’s children! No matter how bizarre or off the wall these kids might be, they are all children of The King and they are all beautifully and wonderfully made. Regardless of how different they all are, they have incredible potential and I can’t wait to see where they all end up!

I am so excited about being a teacher one day and influencing children’s lives. My teachers had a lasting impression on my life and I hope one day I am for my students the example they were for me! To all of my fabulous teachers, thank you.

Peace & Blessings

Lessons from a Book of Days

My mom sent me something today from my “Book of Days” that is totally applicable to my life lately. Who would have thought that something from my Sunday School teacher my Junior year would still be so true in my life four years later? This is a letter from the Heavenly Father to one of His most valued creations. It is a reminder of how great His love truly is, and assurance that His wisdom and power surpass all understanding. Regardless of what the world says, God has a beautiful and perfect plan for my life. I just have to learn how to wait patiently for Him to move in an amazing way. As Chris Tomlin says, He sees the depths of my heart and he loves me the same. My frustrations and fears should be cast completely on Him. When I allow God to shape and mold my heart into the woman He wants me to be, I will be complete and satisfied in Him.

“Everyone longs to give himself completely to someone, to have a deep soul relationship with another, to be loved thoroughly and exclusively. God to a Christian says “No, not until you are satisfied, fulfilled, and content with being loved by me alone, giving yourself totally to me, having an intensely personal and unique relationship with me alone. Upon discovering that only in me is your satisfaction to be found, will you be capable of the perfect human relationship that I have planned for you. You will never be united with each other until you are united with me exclusively of any other desires or longings. I want you to stop planning, stop wishing, and allow me to give you the most thrilling plan existing – one that you cannot imagine. I want you to have the best. Please allow me to bring it to you. You just keep watching me, expecting the greatest things. Keep experiencing the satisfaction that I am. Keep listening and learn the things that I tell you. You just wait, that’s all. Don’t be anxious; don’t look at the things you want. You just keep looking up to me or you will miss what I want to show you. And then, when you are ready, I’ll surprise you with a love far more wonderful than you can dream of. You see, until you are ready, until you are both satisfied exclusively with me and the life I have prepared for you, you won’t be able to experience the love that exemplifies your relationship with me, and this is perfect love. And, dear one, I want you to have the most wonderful love. I want you to see in the flesh a picture of your relationship with me, and to enjoy materially and concretely the everlasting union of beauty, perfection, and love that I offer you with myself. Know that I love you utterly, I am the Almighty, believe it and be satisfied!”


Monday, September 27, 2010

I Won't Have to Cross Campus Alone

“The devil has no power… except in the dark.” -Cassandra Clare

Dark? On an Oxford Sunday morning? A Sunday after the Rebels won in Vaught-Hemmingway? I know what you’re thinking-this absolutely cannot be true. But trust me, while the sun was shining and the birds were whistling Dixie all through Lafayette County it was dark in the big white house on campus. In fact, it was dark all over campus. Right before my alarm went off for church there was a campus wide power outage. The result: no alarm clock, no lights, and most importantly, no hair dryer. Lucky for me, I was already awake and watching “Meet the Press.” While they were concerned with the Republican’s new “Pledge to America,” I was worried about how I would get showered and ready for church in the dark. I had almost decided to skip church altogether, when just in the nick of time the lights flickered and power was restored! I leapt out of bed and ran to the shower. I seriously got ready at lightning speed. I’ve never moved so quickly before noon.

As we were driving to church I realized this was the second week in a row I almost skipped church. What is happening to me!? Am I turning into the stereotypical college student who quits attending church during her college years? I sure hope not. I refuse to be a statistic. Then it occurred to me. Maybe the evil one is at it again. How easy would it have been for me to stay in bed and study for the upcoming week? Or only get up for a trip to Bottletree or Emeliegh’s Table? Surely God had something great in store this beautiful Sunday morning at FBC Oxford. If he didn’t, Satan wouldn’t be trying so hard to keep me in bed, right?

Well, everyone at Campus Crusade knows that I LOVE hymns. I don’t care how old they are or how many times they have or have not been heard-I love them. So Sunday morning, when Dr. Dick Trott began singing I was absolutely ecstatic. Besides being one of the cutest senior citizens in the Oxford-Lafayette area, he has an amazing voice. I can assure you, lives were changed when he sang I Won’t Have to Cross Jordan Alone. I literally sat in the sweltering heat of the balcony thinking, “there goes God, playing DJ in my life yet again.” The words were so simple and the song was so short, but this old hymn holds a powerful, unwavering message. The message that Jesus is with us-EVERYWHERE, EVERYTIME AND IN EVERY SIUTATION.

What a comforting thought knowing that Jesus himself will escort us into Heaven! How much more comforting to know that we don’t have to walk through Oxford (or Brandon, or anywhere else) alone!? To know that the Lord of Heaven is by our side in our every day lives is more comfort than anyone should ever need. What unconditional and unexplainable love and devotion He has for his children!

Even though Sunday’s sermon was about living for God (and Sunday alcohol sales) I was absolutely blown away by the words and message of this old hymn. What an encouragement to constantly lean on Him for support, comfort, and guidance. Through all of the storms that college students face, we have a rock and an anchor in Christ Jesus.

Even though the weather in Oxford is absolutely glorious at the moment, the storms will come, and I know I have the grace and mercy of a steadfast Savior to lead me through the torrential downpour of struggles and temptations I will encounter.

So for now, I'll enjoy the cool weather and the changing leaves. However, I will prepare my heart and my mind for the challenges that are inevitably coming my way.


Monday, September 20, 2010

My Own Personal DJ

Sunday morning when my sister left town I thought I would skip church and stay home to study before Water Parties, but something inside of me cannot skip church on Sunday mornings. I just can’t do it. If I’m physically capable of going, I’m there. So instead of studying, I went to meet with Jesus at FBC Oxford.

The message was about the power of prayer, and the impact prayer would have on our community and school. The message came from 1 Timothy 2:1-8. Paul is writing to Timothy in Ephesus and giving him instructions on how to worship. His very first sentence says to pray. The very first line of the chapter-pray. Not sing, or dance, or give our money or time to the church, but to simply pray. The main point of the message was to make prayer our initial imperative. Regardless of the situation we are to first go to God, then others.

How often in my daily life do I call on my mom, my roommate, my best friend, or my sister before I call on the Lord of the Universe? Before taking our issues to other sinful human beings, we should go before our holy and perfect Father. We should take our needs before Him boldly, with confidence that all things will work for the good of His will.

Anyone who knows me knows that I have an obsession with musicals. Give me a predictable plotline, a sappy love story, and a few good show choir songs and I’m hooked. From Glee to Oliver to Wicked, I love them all. I dream of choreographed musical routines in the cafeteria and of dancing around town singing with the birds and the chimney sweeps. While my life lately hasn’t exactly been an episode of Glee lately, I have noticed that there are so many songs that actually apply to my daily life. Sometimes it’s as if God is my own personal DJ and he’s creating the soundtrack for my life.

After a message about prayer on Sunday I got in my car and Casting Crowns’ “What if His People Prayed” was playing on KLOVE. How incredibly convenient. Not only did God speak to me during the eleven o’clock service, He was driving it home, making sure I heard Him loud and clear. I really am beginning to wonder, what would happen if His people prayed? What change would we see in our community if we were all so diligent and dependent upon prayer that it consumed our thoughts on an hourly basis?

What an incredible challenge.

Now I will prayerfully consider studying for my test tomorrow J


Saturday, August 14, 2010

Back to Oxford. Back to Blogging.

So apparently I fell off blogging bandwagon halfway through the summer-but I'm back!

The second half of the summer FLEW by, but here's a quick recap. After Upward basketball camp I went to Destin with the fam and Saralauren and then met the youth group in Orange Beach for StudentLife at the beach! It was a busy week, but so relaxing at the same time! There was some oil at the beach, but the weather was great! I love going to the beach, the ocean always reminds me of Gods amazing power and strength-even through the nasty oil spill! Then we came home for a few weeks of Chaos, Refuge, and TNT. Being back in the normal routine was awesome-I live for routines. The last week of July we went to Port Arthur Texas to spend a week working with a missionary and his team there. They are targeting the huge Vietnamese population there and want to start Vietnames church! We did a prayer walk at a buddhist temple that was formerly a Baptist church--crazy, I know. Then we spent the week passing out Vietnamese gospels and loving on the people in the area. It was definitely a new experience for most of the people there, but such an awesome experience. Then when we came home it was time for me to get ready for college again and back in the real world :(

I learned so much this summer and grew in so many ways. I am so blessed to have had such an awesome opportunity. I made lifelong friends and the greatest memories! I am so thankful to have such a loving church family to support me and trust me with their kids! I saw God move in new ways this summer and definitely got out of my comfort zone. I could go on for days! However, its getting late for me and I've been moving all day--finally back in Oxford!

This semester I will not be a slacker and I will update my blog. I cannot wait to see what the year brings!!


Sunday, June 20, 2010

"Jesus is good and the devil needs his arm ripped off..."

"You have taught children and infants to tell of your strength, silencing your enemies and all who oppose you." Psalm 8:1

This verse could not be any more perfect to describe the last week.

We had the opportunity to spend the week at Southside Baptist Church providing a free Upward Basketball Camp for local kids. In the morning we taught the basketball basics (passing, shooting, rebounds...) and then we had a Bible story and discussion time before the kids could scrimmage--which was definitely the only reason they came back every day. Macy and I had the first and second grade girls and what a challenge they could be! They had so much attitude, sass, and energy! Our patience was tested and our eyes were also opened by our small group of sweet girls. Even when we didn't think they were paying attention in Bible Study, they always surprised us in our discussion. They answered all of the questions and always remembered the memory verse. A few of them even had questions about just how big and great God was and we got to answer them! Hearing their innocent explanations of God's creation and the simple everyday things they were thankful for made me really examine what I value. Rather than being miserable on rainy days (which we had a few of this week), we should rejoice! Without the rain there wouldn't be soft green grass and shade tress for us to enjoy on sunny days! Working with inner city students was definitely a challenge, but such a rewarding experience. I really saw that no matter what background a child may come from (Kanakuk families or families in South Jackson) they are all full of life and joy and a willingness to learn and soak up everything around them!

After basketball camp and lunch we went to We Will Go Ministries in downtown Jackson. There is a group of missionaries living in one of the worst parts of our state capitol who are daily ministering to the people who live there. They provide food and comfort to the people in need and they even have a church service on Sunday mornings! We had the privilege of helping them gut a house they recently inherited in preparation for the sheetrock man. We pulled nails and pulled down walls, we even pulled down a ceiling! Lots of manual labor on one of the hottest days of the summer, but so worth it! We also got a little preaching in from one of the women who started the ministry. She encouraged us to go out into our local mission field and make a difference. Spending time in this area of Jackson was another eye opening day. People live here in abandoned houses with no utilities and walls literally falling down around them. This incredible ministry is working to get these people back on their feet and to restore this community. They have a huge passion for the people of Jackson and are doing so many incredible things.

Friday night we had a worship service for the parents and families of the campers and it was a huge success! There were so many families there and they heard an incredible message! The week was great and hopefully we will have an even bigger turnout next year!

I was also the dog/housesitter for the Peacock's this weekend because Abby couldn't stay alone! Macy and I slept all day Saturday then laid by the pool! It was so relaxing to have a "Big Girl Day" to rest and recover from the last week. On Saturday night we had dinner at the boys house! Spencer and Chris cooked spaghetti and we brought the salad. It was so much fun and SO GOOD! We have such a fun intern family.

This week is super busy, I have three tests before we leave for the beach Thursday! Needless to say, Thursday cannot get here fast enough! After the family beach trip its off to StudentLife at the Beach! I can't wait!

Off to more studying...story of my life until Thursday-then I'm FREE!


Saturday, June 12, 2010

new blog title. thoughts?

So, after much consideration I've changed my blog title. I'm fully aware that this a county song, but thats okay with me. Sometimes I feel like I live in a country song, so maybe its appropriate. Not to mention the word "hallelujah" is a Hebrew word meaning "Praise Yahweh," what an awesome word! My prayer is that I daily live out my "Hallelujah song," or my praises to my Heavenly Father! A lofty goal, but hopefully an attainable one.

My other idea for a new title was "The Climb," you know, like the climb to the top of the mountain, facing struggles daily and overcoming all of the obstacles. Then I decided that paralleling my life with my girl Miley might not be such a great idea. She's not the same "Hannah Montana-girl-next-door" she was a few years ago.

I've also discovered that I have way more friends who are bloggers than I thought. Johnna, Anna, Katherine... the list goes on and on! Katie pointed out today how exciting it is that we can all be so spread out and far away from one another this summer, yet still be so connected and up to date on each others lives! Its like we're never more than a blog post away from one another. And if I can't hear Anna read sunshines every Monday at chapter a blog has to be the next best thing.

ANYWAYS, yesterday and today were two pretty average days at Turkoyz. Other than selling a few pairs of earrings and a purse or two nothing exciting happened, except two unexpected visitors! Lori Beth and Katie Smith! How exciting! Loved catching up with them, I seem to become a hermit whenever I come home to Brandon. And this summer macroeconomics and western civ are taking over my life.

Next week we're taking the high school students to Southside Baptist Church in South Jackson for a mission project. The first part of the day we will be running a basketball camp for local kids, and after lunch we'll be ministering to the local community! I know that God has so much in store for next week and I cannot wait to see! This is sure to be an eye opening experience for all of us, this is a part of Jackson that I am not at all familiar with.

This isn't a super interesting post, but I have successfully procrastinated even more. Now its off to do more homework!


Friday, June 11, 2010

FInally, halfway.

Today is the day. I am officially halfway finished with my 7:30 am Summer School class! Only two more weeks of rising with the sun and fighting traffic to get to class on time! I can hardly contain my excitement. As soon as I take my last test in two weeks its off to the beach for a week with the fam, then on to Student Life at the beach with my favorite group of high schoolers!!

This week has been pretty uneventful in Intern World. With the middle schoolers and most of the staff out of town we haven't had much to do! We did, however, have the joy of cleaning out a "Mucho Nacho" nacho machine that was probably used in the late 1970s and a popcorn machine that had at least 15 years of popcorn grease built up, how fun! Oh, the things we do for TNT. Which, speaking of, was a success. TNT #2, "Nacho Libre" night was great! The movie is no Academy Award winner, but the popcorn, nachos, and pink lemonade were the best Brandon has ever seen. I'm so sad I have to work at the store this week. Yesterday, at noon, Dorsey and Tyler decided to go to Atlanta to meet the middle schoolers at SixFlags! I'm so jealous, and wish I was going too.

I'm also upset that I missed out on lunch with the Middle Schoolers yesterday. They had my (not) favorite, corndogs. Everyone on staff makes fun of me because I referred to LSU fans as "corndogs" and called something in Baton Rouge "corndogy." I would appreciate some support from the Ole Miss fans out there who know our unofficial nickname for our biggest rival.

I also got a new phone yesterday! Its the same ole iPhone 3G model, but it will stay on silent and doesn't have any hairspray build up, well, not yet anyway! But I haven't gotten my numbers to transfer from my computer to my phone just yet, hopefully that will happen sometime today. I think I'll reward myself with a new phone cover since my phone lasted a year and a half without me breaking it! So proud.

Thats all for now, off to the working world.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

First Blog. Ever.

Due to a bit of peer pressure, and the need to feel like I fit in, I'm going to start blogging. Nick is blogging (and vlogging) about his trip to Italy, Mallen is keeping everyone filled in about DC, Katy kept everyone up to date on martin9 last semester, and my two fellow interns, Macy and Dorsey, are bloggers. I follow my friends blogs and twitter accounts, so I figured creating my own blog was the next logical step. I guess I'm a bit late starting since this is week three on staff at FBC Brandon, but I guess better late than never, right?

Our first week was your typical intern work--all the work nobody else wanted to do! We cleaned out closets at the east campus and threw away thirty years worth of junk. Not to worry, we kept all of the important things, such as Softball Trophies and old Bible Drill Bibles. However, the electric drum set from 1994 and the couches crawling with who knows what kind of bugs had to go. Then it was off to Kids Kamp! My cabin of second graders was definitely the best, even if we didn't win the spirit stick. And, on a side note, Kids Kamp made me miss Kanakuk and the beautiful Kountryside more than ever!! Then when we got home from Kamp the other girl interns, Macy and Kristen were in town! Yay! Finally more estrogen! Being the only girl staffer with Kevin, Rushing, Tyler, Spencer, and Chris was starting to get old. Then we did more intern work, but this time at the west campus! We organized and cleaned and now we have shelves with labeled drawers and neat bins! How nice, all it needed was a woman's touch. Thursday we had an intern/staff retreat then TNT! Thursday Night Throwdown Round 1 was a HUGE success. Glow in the dark capture the flag was the most fun I've had in a long long time. Then Friday we went to the MBraves game and had a blast. I love baseball!

We had our first college worship service, Refuge last night and it was great! Turnout was better than expected and I can't wait for the CYPs Bible study tomorrow night! Today me and Kristen got to sit in on a staff meeting! Woo!! We're so powerful now. Officially on staff and running the show-ha! This week the Middle Schoolers are at Student Life in Shocco Springs so the office is going to be slow. We're having a "Nacho Libre" night for TNT this week and tomorrow we get to clean out the vintage nacho machine! How exciting.

Oh, and on a side note-not intern related-I made a 95 on my Macro test! Finally, success in a business class. The fact that the class is a Hinds summer school class is only reinforcing my decision to be a high school teacher, rather than an accountant.

That's all for my first blog, maybe one day I'll be advanced enough to vlog. Who knows, maybe I'll get inspired like "Julie and Julia" and I'll start cooking and blogging about it...?