Saturday, April 30, 2011

study break

I'm actually supposed to be studying right now...surprising, I know. But I just can't.
As I sit here in the courtyard at Jittery Joe's with Amberleia (one of my best friends and roomies), my mind is thinking of everything but how to cover a court story, which is what it should be doing. The afternoon is too beautiful, the sun too bright, the breeze blowing too perfectly through my hair, my eyelids too heavy for such a task. I even walked to Yoforia for a temporary escape. It was gone in probably five minutes. Probably less--let's be honest.

So here I am, again. This seems to be my escape a lot lately. I might not be able to form one sentence for a research paper, but I come here and my fingers start flying.
I have found that the weekends just keep getting better as the semester comes to an end. And it's going to be over in a week and half...no! It can't end, because then that means I'm a senior and that's one less year of college life and one year closer to real life. Literally, my blood pressure is rising just writing about it. Growing up, everyone always told me how fast life flies by. It seemed like something that was just required for older people to say to those of us who were young and had our whole lives ahead of us, so I never believed it. There were also so many times where I felt like life was passing so slowly and I was never going to be 16, never going to be a senior in high school, never going to get to college...can I go back please??
Okay, not really. I don't miss high school angst at all, but I do wish I could put my life on slow-motion so I could have more time to soak everything in. Realizing how quickly everything is coming and going makes me want to appreciate everything so much more, even when it's hard to. It also has made me seriously think about what I'm doing with my life. Where am I now? Where does God want me to be? What is it that He wants to do with me and through me and is what I'm doing allowing him to use me?
Yes, this is why my mind is anywhere but on journalism.
But let's be real, I have to go study. No more blogging procrastination for me...until tomorrow.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

mac is back, and so are my blogs

I don't know about all of you...but I feel pretty small right now. The tornadoes that swept through the Southeast last night were quite a reminder of how tiny I am in the grand scheme of things. Sometimes I forget how big our world is, how powerful nature is and how defenseless I am against it.
Last night a tornado warning was issued in Athens-Clarke County around 1:15 a.m. Within about 30 seconds, my roommates and I had congregated in my bed, watching the weather channel and praying that the tornadoes wouldn't come our way (quite frankly, our house wouldn't stand a chance). Within about 30 minutes, we had moved to the bathtub--tight squeeze, mind you--just to be safe. And as we were sitting on the blankets we had laid in the bathtub, we began to realize the enormity of the storm that had hit. While we were sitting there, knowing that we would most likely be perfectly fine, we talked about how there were people who had already lost their lives, their homes, their loved ones. And we just could not even seem to imagine how scared we would actually be if that was us.
By the grace of God, the worst of the storm passed us. But there are so many others who were not so lucky, so pray, pray, pray for them.
On another note...I am very aware that I have been quite the sketchy blogger lately. But there is a reason, I promise. My laptop failed me last Thursday night when the screen suddenly stopped working. So, of course, I took it to the trusty Apple store on Saturday to get it fixed. Stupidly, I expected that I would be waiting two or three hours for it to be made brand-new. It seemed like the perfect plan to me--I would just do a little shopping while I waited for baby Mac! But, alas, the man at the Genius bar told me it would be two to three...days. Needless to say, school has been a little harder to get through without it. But it's back in my arms and under my fingers, so my blog posts won't be so far and few between.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Blue Like Jazz

So I am currently in the middle of reading a book that many of you may have heard about, Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller. According to the title, it contains nonreligious thoughts on Christian spirituality. According to me, it's a look into the real-life account of a guy who is trying to find himself spiritually in a world that is seriously lacking in the love department. 
I absolutely recommend this book to anyone who wants to read something real. I also recommend thinking and praying over what you read about, as I have recently become very aware of the importance of not taking on the thoughts and beliefs of others before figuring out what is God's truth (Rob Bell, anyone?). 
That being said, the book is incredible. For me, it has shed a huge beam of light on the subject of love and how very, very important love is. I know... you would have never guessed that by reading my recent blog posts.
I want to share some parts of the book I've dog-eared (the book is not mine, so making notes would be rude and, technically, vandalism of personal property). These are not all related, so they may seem somewhat sporadic, but if you read them as separate thoughts then I think you will discover their impact.
 
1. In the book, there is a girl named Penny--long story short, she was raised in a hippie commune and found Jesus in college. And when Penny was describing how she found Jesus and asked for forgiveness and gave her life to him, the phrase she used to sum up the experience was, "It was pretty simple." Simple. Not complicated and not chaotic and scary and ritualistic. Isn't that how it should be? Giving over your life to Christ is such a natural, simple thing--and we make it so complicated. But it really is so simple. Life-changing and a complete 180 and mind-blowing, yes...but simple.

2. It also talks about how hard it is to love light and how easy it is to love darkness. This is called sin. It makes us "self-addicted...our affections prone to love things that kill [us]." It's shameful that it's true, but it is, and I couldn't let myself disagree with that even if I wanted to. It is Jesus who gives us the ability to love the things we should love, who leads us to love things that are not only not bad for us, but really, really good for us. Why I ever stray away from that, I have no idea...

3. "Believing in God is as much like falling in love as it is like making a decision. Love is both something that happens to you and something you decide upon."
Enough said.

4. Andrew comes into the picture about halfway into the book. He is a political activist, a protester, a liberal. When Miller (the author, whose real life I like to believe this book is about) is asked what he would die for, he can only come up with the gospel and three of his best friends. But Miller knows what Andrew's answer to this question would be. He would say that "dying for something is easy because it is associated with glory. Living for something is the hard thing. Living for something extends beyond fashion, glory, or recognition. We live for what we believe." 
...aaaand my heart just broke a little bit.

5. Here is the part about love that I just can't stop thinking about. Miller is talking to his friend, Paul,  about his doubts about love. Paul's response: "...to be in a relationship with God is to be loved purely and furiously. And a person who thinks himself unlovable cannot be in a relationship with God because he can't accept who God is; a Being that is love. We learn that we are lovable or unlovable from other people. That is why God tells us so many times to love each other."
If I got nothing else from the book, I would be satisfied with this realization. Love everyone--those who hate you, those you love you, and yourself. 

I will stop here, so maybe you will be spurred to read the book if you haven't already done so. 
Also, school is going a little better today. I am actually in the SLC--blogging, mind you--but I really am about to do real work. God answers prayers! (aka desperate requests for motivation)






Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Doll House

I think school is making me crazy. Literally. I can't concentrate long enough to get anything done because it is absolutely beautiful outside and all I want to do is walk to Five Points for yogurt and lay in my front yard. I can't even take time to blog! And I love to blog. But the combination of sun and school is making me want to do everything but sit down for anything. It's bad, really..I checked out of school a loooong time ago. I guess you could say I'm just shacking up at this point.
One good thing about school, though, is that 1. I get an education. A lot of people in the world don't get that, and I take advantage of it on a daily basis (aka as I write this..) and 2. because I still get to be outside to walk to class. I have the best walks everyday going to and from campus, because it gives me a chance to soak in the world and spend some time with Jesus..or daydream.
Today as I was walking to class, I looked up to the sky and noticed for the first time in a while just how very blue the sky was. There was not a cloud in the sky, and it just looked so pure and clean and...blue. And the sun's rays reached out for hundreds of miles, it seemed, and the trees were so vibrantly green that I don't even know if there's anything I can compare their color to. And as I was walking, I struck up a conversation with an older lady who was working outside in her yard and we just couldn't get over what a gorgeous day it was.
I kept walking, and kept looking, and kept thanking Jesus that I live in such a precious, beautiful little place. And then I suddenly pictured our world as God's doll house, except I know He loves us so much more than I ever loved my American Girl Dolls.
Do you notice that this blog is one big rambling of thoughts? This is literally my head right now, full of nonsense. I am praying for discipline and motivation, and I expect God to answer that so I promise I will have something better tomorrow. Until then, enjoy this beautiful weather! (And if you start wishing it weren't so hot, just remember how cold and miserable you were when the blizzards swept through three months ago...yeah.)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Love Affair

So this afternoon was a really, really good one. Let me tell you why.
After lunch I headed to Atlanta to be with Morgan for sister night; we hadn't had one in a while (as in..probably three weeks), so it was much needed. That in itself made the afternoon good, but it gets better.
I got to Atlanta a little early because I didn't want to get caught in 316 traffic--it is literally the worst--so I had some time to spare. And it just so happened that as I was driving into town I saw a sign for a Borders that was going out of business. Y'all know what that means..SALE!
Now, this was a bittersweet moment for me. The fact that the bookstore closest to Morgan's apartment was sad, but everything was 40% off, so I decided I would be okay with having to drive a little farther for a good book and coffee from now on.
I pulled into Borders, parked, and walked in...and I was suddenly in literature heaven. I have a love affair with bookstores, I think. I know that the Kindle and all of those e-books are "hot" right now, if you will. And I'm all about technology, but I stand firmly in my love for the physical, tangible book. The one you can hold and makes notes in and bookmark with dog-eared pages. There is something about the way books smell, especially really old ones, that is delicious. I want to be able to fall asleep on my book and not be afraid of breaking a screen. I want a real book. So I got two. And a journal.
Did I mention that I just went to the Borders in Athens two days ago and got two books then, too? Well I did...I told you I had a love affair with bookstores.
So anyways, my afternoon was really good. Because after I left Borders sister night began! Morgan and I decided to return to one of our favorite places for supper, Seasons 52. It's the freshest, most delicious food you'll ever have; I mean that. I decided to get the Farmers Market Vegetable Plate, which turned out to be one of the best meals I've ever had.
I know, I know...I think I could eat it all over again right now.
Tomorrow holds some wedding dress shopping with Morgan (so excited!) and then going to Spartanburg to watch one of my best friends, Emily Hearn, open for Darius Rucker. Could this weekend get any better??
I love my life...and books.

Monday, April 11, 2011

while I'm at it...

I feel like love has been a frequent topic on my blog lately...so I find it appropriate to take some time to write about things I love.
just to name a few...
I love apples that are really, really crispy.
I love waking up early enough to make coffee and spend some time with Jesus before the day starts.
I also love sleeping in late. really late. too late.
I love my dad's t-shirts. Sometimes I steal one when I'm home, because I swear it never stops smelling like him.
I love the way my head rests in the nook of my mom's neck when I hug her for a long time (yes..I am that much taller than her).
I love working up a good sweat. I don't love being sweaty with no access to a shower in sight.
I love perfume. I have too much of it. I just like to smell pretty--what's wrong with that?
I love to read. love to read.
I love cookies. And I love to pick them apart when I eat them...as I do with basically anything I eat.
I love frozen yogurt. (are you noticing the foot pattern here?)
I love warm weather. God put me in the South for a reason--good move.
I love music with piano, especially classical piano.
I love getting to know the deepest parts of people (preferably over a spiced chai from Jittery Joe's).
I love skiing on Lake Burton--best scenery, hands down. Worst waves, hands down.
I also love letting my time in the lake water suffice as a shower. Who needs soap?
I love dried flowers. I also love fresh ones, which I then dry out.
I love clean sheets. Actually...I love clean anything.
Confession: I love Bethenny Frankel's TV show. And her dog Cookie. And her husband Jason and her daughter Bryn. (I told you it was a confession)

I love...making this list. It reminds me of all the things I love and how thankful I am for all of them and how I'm not sure I could live without 90% of them.
What do you love?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

all you need is love (ba da dadada...)

Love. It's what makes the world go 'round. It's also the reason we're here in the first place, and the reason we can look forward to something better when we leave. And let me tell you, it is in the air.
If you've read my last blog post (which, by the way, was too long ago), you know that my sister/best friend is ENGAGED! And the love she shares with Trey (soon-to-be-husband), is the best kind of love. It is kind, it is patient, and it is unending. 
As for the kind of love in my life right now?...well...it's a little different than the one I just mentioned above. But you better believe it's still here--fully, completely surrounding me. Lately I have learned a lot about this love, the love that you have for your very best friends because your life just wouldn't be the same without them. The kind that you thank God for every day because it can only come by His blessing. 
There is also tough love. The kind that is hard to show sometimes because you love someone so much you don't want to push them away, yet you love them too much not to tell them the hard things. 
One of the most important things I've learned about love, though, is that you can't try to hold on to and take care of the people you love on your own. They are ultimately God's, not ours. So many times we (and by "we" I mean "I") want to hold on to people we love because giving them to God seems scary; being out of control is terrifying. ...we are such control freaks...again, by "we" I mean "I."
But we cannot fully enjoy the relationships God gives us (or has taken away) until we give those people over to Him, trusting that God will take care of them. It's a humbling thing to realize that we don't actually have control...it's also a relief though, isn't it?
So feel free to love, and love hard. Love those who are close to you and are there for you; never assume that they already know you love them, so tell them often. Also love those who have hurt you; it will soften your heart and will ultimately soften theirs if you show them your love. And give all of these people you love (or are trying to love) to God. He can take care of them better than we ever could on our own. 
The Beatles said it best: "all you need is love (ba da dadada...)"

Saturday, April 2, 2011

he put a ring on it!

It. finally. happened! My sister Morgan is ENGAGED!!!
I tend to avoid the excessive use of exclamation marks when I blog, but this time I just can't help it!
For the past three years now (wow, I didn't realize it had been that long!) Moe has been dating Trey, her soon-to-be husband. And for about the past year, I've been waiting for this engagement to happen.
How b-e-a-utiful is this ring??
Selfishly, I'm just ready to help plan a wedding! The venue, the dress (which I'm most looking forward to), the color scheme, flowers, reception, invitations...this could go on for days. Needless to say, the knot.com will be bookmarked and there will be a stack of wedding magazines beside my bed at all times.
But even more than the wedding, I am looking forward to the marriage that Morgan and Trey will share. Morgan and I always talk about how so many times girls get so wrapped up in the excitement of planning a wedding that they seem to forget what they're really planning for--the marriage. The wedding lasts one night; the marriage is (and should be) the rest of your life. I have to say, my sister has done an amazing job of keeping things in perspective. I know that though she is ecstatic about the wedding (as am I!), her eyes are set on the life that will follow. Here is to my sister and future brother-in-law, Trey Wood. I love you and am so happy for you both!