Friday, May 22, 2009

New beginnings and sad goodbyes

As I write this post it really is my last day of college. It's about 12:20 in the morning and it's so weird to think that in about twelve hours I'll be leaving this dorm room, packing stuff into my truck and my dad's Rav-4, and telling my roommate goodbye. And I'll officially have enough hours under my belt to be classified as a sophomore in college. Crazy right?

In a way, this is a new beginning. I'm going to be interning at the youth group in my church. I'm on the verge of having a work of fiction published, and I'm leaving my first year of college. It's all so new and different, but I like it, and it's all very welcomed.

I have come to the very profound and unshaky revelation that I have fallen in love with writing. God is my first love and always will be. That is not something to be questioned. And my family comes next, as they should. But I know that God has given me this gift of writing for a reason and that when I write, in any way, shape or form, I am praising him. To call it a passion would be a very harsh understatement. It is something so much more. I feel in a way it is a part of me that needs nourishment just like my soul or spirit would. It's just that little added part inside of me created by God. I don't know what I would do without it.

In the movie "Serendipity," there is a statement made at the end that I don't think will ever leave me. It says something along the lines of how a life is not worth living unless it is lived with passion. I love that. Do you have passion? Are you passionate for something? Is there something that moves you beyond words and expression?

There are little things that move me in life: black and white photos of deep meaning, star-filled nights, the movie "Elizabethtown,"but then there also big things that move me: God, writing, classics written over one hundred years ago by authors such as Charlotte Bronte and Jane Austen. Stories of missionaries like Jim Elliot and the other four who were killed for their faith in Ecuador; these are the things that move me.

I don't care what it is that fuels your heart and stirs you to want to be a better person. It doesn't have to be the most profound thing in the world. It can be as simple as a sunrise. But whatever it is, do it. If you love to sing, do it. If you love to help others, do it. If you love to take long walks in the park with just you and God, do it. I am more than passionate about writing so I do it, and I do it often, and I do it to praise the passion-giver. God has given me this gift, this ability, and words cannot express my gratitude for it.

This could be one of my last posts for awhile depending on how often I will be near the Internet when I return home. I will keep updating about the publishing process and everything that will be happening with that. I will also update about the internship and all the camps I will be attending.

Seek God. Run to him and fall into his arms of love. You will find him if you seek him with all of your heart.

Lost in his immeasurable grace and love,

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Always Trusting

With this being my last week of college and having four possibly five finals, God is demanding my trust. I have to trust him with money, time, and the newness of leaving school. I've lived here for nine months and now packing my room isn't as fun as I thought it would be. My room looks bare, and it's weird to think that this time next week, this room will be empty and I'll be at home trying not argue with my brother.

It's also sad because my roommate that I've lived with for nine months is not returning in the fall, and I'm afraid that when this Friday rolls around, it will be a tear-filled day. It will also probably be a tear-filled day because I'll be seeing my mom who I haven't seen for a month and a half. Probably the longest I've ever gone without seeing her.

I'm not eating gluten-free foods anymore because they are just too darn expensive for a college student, and I feel bad asking my parents for money all the time. So I'm still not feeling that well. I know a lot of it is probably due to lack of sleep, exercise, and stress. The three worst things in a person's life. But I'm hoping that after I go to this specialist next week, things will hopefully look a little better. And I'm hoping that being away from the stress of school and having more time will be easier on my system.

I received an email this week from a Publishing company who I emailed one of my manuscripts to about eight weeks ago. They want to publish my book. Contrary to what most of you think I did when I read that email, I was silent, too stunned for words. I still don't think it has set in. Part of that is because there is a stipulation that is rearing its ugly head. I know I need to give it over to God and that if this is his will, he'll bring it to fruition. It's just so hard with something like this. This is a very big thing, but it's also something I've dreamt of forever. Being a published author would be like God handing me the moon. I want this so much, but I also know that God is in control and I wouldn't have even made it this far without him. So I will keep waiting and trusting and praying and see what he does. He is a big God, and my trust is in him.

So please pray that my doubts about this will pale and that my faith will grow with each passing day as I find out more about the publishing process. I will keep you posted if you will keep praying. Thank you so much.

May God Bless You.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Two More Weeks!

(Warning: This is a long post, so if you don't have a lot of time set aside to read blogs today, you might want to come back and read it when you can.)

I went home this weekend for Mother's Day Weekend despite the fact that my mother is in Oregon with her mother. I'm very thankful that my mom is not gone all the time when I come home because there was no food worth eating at my house, and the house was a mess. Our little dog sure was happy to see me though. Since my mom's been gone her world has probably been very bleak as my mom is her companion, if you will. Hopefully when I come in two weeks the house will have returned to its normal state. Let's hope.

I met with my pastor about the internship at my church this summer. It will be a lot of work, but I'm excited, and now I have a lot of respect for youth pastors. They really do have a lot on their plates. We have to plan a lot of events and activities for the youth, but I think it will be worth it and a lot of fun.

Before I left for the weekend, we experienced a small tornado/thunderstorm here on Friday morning. The rain was horrible, trees were knocked down, and all of our campus lost power. Classes were canceled and I went home early. It was so nice. God worked it all out because I had ordered a new laptop the night before since my other one was broken, stopped in Joplin at Best Buy on my way home to have them start setting it up and loading stuff onto it, and I still had time to get home for my hair appointment. I think this is like the fifth different hairstyle I've had between 2008 and 2009 so far. But it's really cute and I think it will be light and cool for summer.

I went to one of my very good high school friend's wedding shower on Saturday, and then after that my brother and I went to Joplin to pick up my laptop which I must say is very nice. I'm very pleased with it. My brother and I also saw "17 Again" on Saturday night. It was really cute, and contrary to what I thought, it taught some very good morals, although there were some parts that were a little questionable. Overall, though, it was pretty good.

I've got two weeks left of my freshman year of college. I can't believe it. I took a lot of stuff home with me this weekend so I wouldn't have as much to pack up when I go home for good. I also have some more good news. I've been hired as the Forum Editor for the school Newspaper next year. I don't know if I've mentioned this yet or not, but I'm very excited. I'll get paid better than I've been paid on Yearbook this year, and I'll get to write more.

I've also changed my major. I've decided to go with English Education and minor in writing. I've never really had a passion for Public Relations and I just don't want to go into it. Teaching just seems more exciting to me and I've dreamed of doing that forever. I was so disappointed because this semester I didn't have any language or English courses. Well, next semester I have four. I think I'll be making up for the lost courses this semester.

Here's what my schedule looks like for the Fall 2009 semester:
Astronomy (I have to have it for my physical science.)
American History 1492-1877 (also a general education course, but I think I'll like it)
World Literature (a gen ed, but it's about literature so that's good.)
Fundamentals of Speech Communication (also a gen ed)
Writing Fiction (a class for my minor)
American Literature (a class for my major)

I'm very excited for my fall classes. I'm taking 18 hours, so I'll have a full plate, but I think it will be fun. I'm also still hoping to get to study abroad spring of my junior year, so I'll be praying about that as well.

There is this song that's been playing through my head since last Monday in chapel. The lyrics are as follows:

He is jealous for me
Loves like a hurricane
I am a tree
Bending beneath
The weight of his wind and mercy

When all of a sudden
I am unaware of these
Afflictions eclipsed by glory
And I realize just how beautiful you are
And how great your afflictions for me

Oh how he loves us so
Oh how he loves us
How he loves us so

We are his portion
And he is our prize
Drawn to redemption by the grace in his eyes
If grace is an ocean we're all sinking

So heaven meats earth like a sloppy wet kiss
And my heart burns violently inside of my chest
I don't have time to maintain these regrets
When I think about the way

He loves us
Oh how he loves us
Oh how he loves us
How he loves us
Oh He loves

These lyrics have been swimming through my mind, and I can't seem to forget them. It's kind of nice though. I don't really want to forget them. I need to be reminded on a second by second basis of how much my Father loves me. I forget so often.

I recently finished a book entitled The Shack. If you haven't read this, get on Amazon, go to the bookstore, I don't care what you do, just find a copy of this book. It's written by W.M. Paul Young. I'm not going to elaborate on the story line because if I did, I would ruin it. It's probably the best book I've read in a very long time. It's fiction, and it's just amazing. I say a lot of things are amazing, but this is like ultra amazing. I will say this though, have a box of Kleenex's near by because you will cry. And it's not like a gushy romance story cry, it's like God's changing your world cry. But that's all I'm going to say. Just find this book.

I can't believe that in two days it will be a whole year since my great-grandmother passed away. The days have gone by so fast. I miss her so much. Sometimes it's still hard to comprehend that she really is gone, and that her beautiful house is just sitting down on the farm empty. I ask God to send her my love often. I miss her smile, her cute, fragile self, and the way she would laugh when we caught her without her horse (walker). This has just been a very different year. It's been a year full of change and a year full of learning new and valuable lessons about life. In a way, I'm glad to be going home in two weeks, but on the other hand, I love this town. I this college, I love the friends I've made, I love my roommate who will be leaving me, and I love the sense of independence that I have. It's great. Time just doesn't care though. It just scoots along, and we have to accept its speed whether we like it or not.

You probably didn't know this was going to be such a long post, but I feel like I've just got a lot going on. By the way, if you are a praying person, you can pray for me this week. I've got a lab final in Biology and Computing (not sure which one of those is going to be worse), and I've just got a busy schedule on top of all of that. We'll see how much sleep this girl gets this week. Hopefully more than last week, but we'll see.

If any of you would like to discuss The Shack after you read it, please feel free to do so, but I don't want to ruin it. It's just so good.

Let this week be a God blessed one for you.

Monday, May 4, 2009

A Weekend Down South

I went to Texas with some friends over the weekend and had a blast. There were five of us stuffed into one car, but it was worth every scrunched minute and hour. We had a few awkward moments on the road and off, and I think I took in enough calories over the weekend to make up for the next month. I did go work-out tonight, though, so I'm trying to get back on track from my food and fun-filled weekend.

On Friday night, we ate, watched a movie, ate some more, and then we went to bed. Well, we tried to go to bed. Sarah and I stayed up talking until around 2:41am. That's going to be something we'll have to watch next semester as she will be my roommate and that will not be a good habit to start.

Saturday we woke up and had breakfast that was very scrumptious. We even had thick crisp bacon. Definitely better than cafeteria food. Then we went to Dallas. That was so fun. I hadn't been there in around four or five years, and it's changed so much. It's so pretty in a modern, sophisticated sort of way. It's definitely not as beautiful as my family's farm, but it's still pretty. Before we headed to eat lunch/dinner, we stopped at the Dallas Cowboys' new football stadium. It's still under construction, but it's so pretty. I'm not really a fan of the Cowboys, but it was an NFL stadium, and anything NFL is awesome for me.

This first picture is of the stadium. The second is our whole entourage. From left to right: Katlyn, Me, Sarah, Katie, and our wonderful host and dedicated driver from Oklahoma to Texas and back, Christina (A.K.A. Nina).
That was so much fun. I was so thrilled just to be that close to the stadium. Pretty sure that's the closest I've been to anything NFL. Now if only I could just get in one. One day.....
Then we went to Frisco for lunch. We ate at on the border and OMG, it was amazing. The best food I've ever had, hands down. They came out and made guacamole for us right there at our table, and I about died. So good. Then I ordered a shrimp fajita, with really good vegetables, and chipotle honey sauce. Let's just say my tummy was very happy.

Then we went shopping at Frisco's Mall. That was fun, although, it was a little ritzy. I did get two really cute shirts, some earrings, some workout shorts, and a great scarf. Sarah and I also tried on some dresses and we have a great memory from that that we won't soon forget. Let's just say it was a little awkward, so much so that I won't discuss it on the World Wide Web. But it was very funny.
We went back to Nina's house and watched Mama Mia, which I must say was a little corny and I ended up getting that song stuck in my head, and we ate more food. Story of our lives. It was fun, though.
Sunday we went to Nina's church, and then afterwards we went to her Mimi's house and had lunch. More food, but it was great too. We had fried chicken that was breaded perfectly, mashed potatoes, green beans, rolls, and a salad, and for dessert there was Italian Cream Cake. I could've burst. I really wanted to curl up sleep right there at the table.
Then we had to leave and Nina's mom gave us all little goody bags filled with candy and little nick-knacks to remember our time in Texas.
The ride back was fun. We stopped to use the restroom as our first stop and then Sarah bought a Diet Mountain Dew. About twenty minutes later, she had to use the restroom again. That was at Big Cabin, and I thought we should leave her. Ha ha. But we didn't. We got back to good ole college town at around 9:30 last night, and I was so glad not be scrunched in that car anymore.
We have plans to return to good ole Texas soon. Probably in the fall semester. I loved everything about our trip. The girls even got me with the classic rattlesnake eggs in the envelope trick. Let's just say there were not rattlesnake eggs in the envelope.
Three more weeks of my first year of college. Two of classes, the last one finals. Can't wait. I'm hoping to make A's in all my classes, but we'll see what happens. I'll post later about the update with my major and all. I've got to go now, though.
May God Bless you, wherever you are.