Monthly Archives: November 2011

Smiles, leaves, & frozen yogurt

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It’s too bad we don’t live as if every day was Thanksgiving. I know I’m guilty of taking each day and everything I have for granted.

Thankfulness should really be something that we put into practice regularly, not just brushed off and given a single day of the year (to eat and watch football).

This semester, I have about an hour break between classes, so I usually find a quiet place to sit and either do homework, listen to music, or doodle in my notebook. Several weeks ago, I decided that when I was on break, I would take a minute to write in my notebook one or two things that I was thankful for that day. A couple of things I wrote were “gentlemen who open doors for girls” and “86% on my history exam.” It’s a good reminder for me not to take things for granted. It’s also nice to look back on and realize that I have been blessed with so much, even when I don’t think so.

Nearly every Thanksgiving, I compile a list of things I am thankful for. It’s interesting to look back and see how things on my list change or how different things are added. Usually my list includes the major things, like my family, friends, Thanksgiving dinner, etc. This year I am including the small things as well. I am thankful for soft hoodies, frozen yogurt, little kids’ smiles, wading through leaf piles, and being able to listen to my favorite cds. And people in my life who are willing to keep me accountable.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

“Every time I think of you – and I think of you often! – I thank God for you.” ~Philippians 1:3

Ahh…Good Times

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It’s so fun to sit with friends and talk about memories and things we remembered doing ‘back in the day.’ Some good, some not so good, but always lessons to be learned and things to share. While I absolutely LOVE sharing stories with people, I have to confess that I’m not at all good at coming up with things to talk about right off the top of my head.

One thing I always loved was doing crazy stuff with my cousins. We would stay up late talking all night about everything and nothing. Actually, most of the time it was me doing all the talking, they would fall asleep on me way before I was finished. But in more recent years, I would be asleep before we even finished the newest puzzle while watching reruns of Monk. One time we raced barefoot around the block – just because. On a Fourth of July, we set up a game of volleyball in the middle of the road, using folding chairs as our ‘net.’ We would lay on floor in the living room, shooting rubber bands at the ceiling to see who could get the most caught on the top of the ceiling fan. Or we would throw M&Ms, marshmallows, Skittles or grapes up in the air and attempt to catch them in our mouths without dropping them on the floor or chipping a tooth in the process.  We spent hours in the bathroom, fixing each others’ hair, experimenting with makeup, and talking about boys. We were crazy.

Fun stories also come out of times spent hanging out with friends. Like that time we almost got crushed in the mosh pit at a Disciple concert. Or the time we dressed up in costumes and walked around in a field, gathering stares from curious people who happened to be driving by. Or that one September evening we went for a walk in the pouring rain. Last year on the Fourth of July we took old VCR tape shells and karate chopped them into smithereens in the driveway. And there was a summer at camp when we didn’t have a card deck, so we ripped up pieces of notebook paper to use as playing cards.

What would I ever do without good friends?

For instance, I always hated public speaking. When the time came for me to take speech class , I was terrified to say the least. I would always hope (and even pray) when the day of a speech came that the professor would not show up. Unfortunately, this only happened maybe one time. One day, my professor decided that it was me who would have to get up in front of the class to deliver my speech first. I of course, was appalled and ‘not ready’ yet. Then my best friend, who I was taking the class with, graciously volunteered to go first in my place. I was incredibly relieved that day, as well as thankful to have such an amazing friend.

I can only imagine the great stories we’ll get to hear someday when we all get to Heaven. And not only stories of funny things that happened or that we did, but also great stories, our stories of the faith. We’ll get to hear from other believers we knew and learn how we encouraged them or made a difference in their lives while we were still here. Or did we?

As long as you’re still alive, you still have the potential to make a difference!

 

 

What’s your Dream?

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Growing up, we all have ideas of what we want to do or be when we grow up. As we get older, our dreams and ideas change and grow, and we also develop more dreams, plans, and goals for the future.

I remember always dressing up and acting like a princess when I was little and wanting to be that way when I was older. I always looked up to characters like Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty because they pulled it all together, they were beautiful and nice, and hey, they both got the guys. But more than just the looks or the man, what I really wanted was to be treated like a princess, to be admired and cherished, to be different than all the other common people who just blended together.

When I was maybe 7 or 8, the Backstreet Boys were my favorite band. I had written in my Lisa Frank diary that I wanted to become a great singer and sing with them in their band when I grew up someday. I remember the day my little sister read what I wrote and would not stop laughing at me at the time. I can laugh about it now, but I remember being completely mortified and upset at the time.

In high school, I felt very strongly that I was supposed to be a missionary in the future. While I would love to go to South America someday, I think that God also wants to be a missionary right where I am now.

Up to this point in my life, I have changed my mind about my major many times. It has gone anywhere from auto mechanics (because I want to be able to fix my own car problems), to paramedic (after completing EMT); Culinary school (because I like cooking) to education (I wanted to teach) to joining the National Guard. For a time when I was 14, I even considered becoming a neurosurgeon. This was partly due to reading about Benjamin Carson, a neurosurgeon who successfully surgically separated Siamese twins several years ago. And of course my dream job when I was little was to become an astronaut and fly to the moon.

I think the biggest struggle for me in school is that there are so many choices! There are many things that I could become very good at doing, and also many things that I would really enjoy doing. I almost wish I could do everything!

So when confronted with the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I just have to laugh and say that right now, I have no idea where God will take me next.

But that’s ok.

Aside from education and career goals, I also have been compiling a list of things that I hope to do or accomplish before my time here is up. A few things on my list include:

–          Skydiving

–          Bungee jumping

–          Ice skating*

–          Donate blood*

–          Sponsor a child

–          Snowboarding

–          Graduate high school*

–          Run a marathon

–          Start a blog*

–          Write well with my left hand

–          Scuba diving

–          Drive a racecar

(* = completed!)

I remember reading about Walt Disney and one thing that I remember was that he was never without a dream or hope for the future. That’s part of what made him so successful, because he never gave up, he always kept ‘moving forward.’ It’s really important for us to have dreams too. Otherwise what purpose do you have?

Something that really bothers me is when people don’t have goals for their life and are content to waste their lives sitting around complaining. Instead of having goals and preparing for their future, they sit back and wonder why they are not successful in their jobs, relationships, and spiritual maturity.

I can totally understand that sometimes we start out with big hopes and dreams for the future, but things change and we don’t end up where we thought we’d be

I picture my dreams as each being beautiful glass ornaments. Sometimes I get to hang them up on display and delight in their beauty. Other times I get to give them away and share them with others.

But other times, they fall to the ground and shatter into a thousand tiny shards. They are taken away, never to be seen again. And sometimes they are still a work in progress, going through the furnace to become perfected before I can have them back. And it hurts. A lot.

Sometimes we can’t have what we want most in the world, but we still have to hold on to the hope that everything will work out. Never give up hope.

“Now we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” ~ Romans 8:28

I don’t understand why God allows things into our lives that can hurt so much, whether it’s the death of a loved one, a relationship, a dream, or simply a disappointment. But I know that He loves us through the pain, and that He will “never leave or forsake” us. Sometimes the only thing I have to hold on to is the promise that He is enough; He is everything I need to get me through the day.