Monday, August 29, 2011

a splash of color

I'm aware that my blog has been pretty black and white lately...and I'm not referring to interpretation. I'm referring to literal color. I haven't had a lot of pictures--mostly because my thoughts have been too large to make room for any. So here's a splash of color! My life in pictures, ladies and gents:
This picture comes a little late...but the last part of my summer was spent at the 2011 PGA Championship at the AAC in Johns Creek. Morgan was the Volunteer Coordinator for the tournament, and it was so exciting to see all of her hard work (and many, many hours) come to fruition. I am still so proud of her.

 Celebrating Grace's 21st last weekend! I love these girls.

Blackberry mint mojitos and cupcakes--it doesn't get any better than this...

Here I am with the birthday girl herself

This past Saturday was Morgan and Trey's engagement party--essentially, the kickoff to the wedding festivities that will consume the next five months of our lives. And I couldn't be more excited--for the showers, the wedding, and the marriage that will follow!

We can't forget this little guy. You see the computer, the Bible (lots of prayers to help me through the semester) and the cup of coffee all joining forces. All of these things will be very close by for the next few months.
...who am I kidding? These will all be near for the rest of my life.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

in limbo

So I'm entering an especially special time in my life. You could say it has me in a limbo, of sorts. As a senior in college, I find myself in this strange place I've never been before. I'm still in school and enjoying every minute of the blessing of a life God has given me; at the same time, my mind is already a year ahead, trying to figure out what I'm supposed to be doing and where God wants me and what my purpose in life is. Mentally, my mind is going in at least five different directions at any given minute. It's exciting, but I find myself getting overwhelmed more easily than I ever have before. I'm also becoming increasingly sentimental--I cried the first time I saw the commercial for the Winnie the Pooh movie. Seriously...who am I?
So when I went home this Sunday afternoon to be with my parents--let's be honest, I needed counsel--my heart lifted when they brought Country Crossroads home for lunch after church (this place has some of the best fried chicken and vegetables you'll ever have). We always used to eat at Crossroads for Sunday lunch when I was in high school, and there was this part of me that felt like I had traveled six years back to a time in my life when my biggest worry was what our banner would look like for the football game that next Friday night. I'm telling you...sentimental.
Of course I ended up spilling a magnified version of what I'm writing about to the two people I admire and love the most, mom and dad. And the longer we talked, the more my eyes were opened. They have a way with words (and back rubs and hugs and kleenex) that always leaves me with a peace I didn't have before coming to them. Isn't that what home should be?
I could write ten blog posts just on our conversation today, but I will leave you with the most important thing I came away with: that is the knowledge that God is in control, He already knows my future and wants me to be and live in the here and now so that He can use me and bless me to the fullest. I am so painfully and sinfully human, and sometimes it takes the two of them to make me remember those very clear things. Thank God for them, literally. This has been a novel of a blog, I know, but I will end with an excerpt from a book that my mom sent me back to Athens with:

"...This is your great task, to get calm in My Presence, not to let one ruffled feeling stay for one moment. Years of blessing may be checked in one moment by that. 
No matter who frets you or what, yours is the task to stop all else until absolute calm comes. Any block means My Power diverted into other channels.
Pour forth--pour forth--pour forth--I cannot bless a life that does not act as a channel. My Spirit brooks no stagnation, not even rest. It's Power must flow on. Pass on everything, every blessing. Abide in Me...Dwell much in My Presence."

Sunday, August 21, 2011

just a thought

Sometimes I have these thoughts, and they don't seem to be quite enough for a blog post. Then again, isn't that exactly what a blog is? More often than not, a compilation of thoughts should not be measured by quantity but quality. So here's a thought--and one that wasn't originally mine but has now become one of them:

"God's answer to the problem of suffering is that he came right down into it. Many Christians try to get God off the hook for suffering; God put himself on the hook, so to speak--on the cross. And therefore the practical conclusion is that if we want to be with God, we have to be with suffering, we have to not avoid the cross, either in thought or in fact. We must go where he is and the cross is one of the places where he is. And when he sends us the sunrises, we thank him for the sunrises; when he sends us sunsets and deaths and sufferings and crosses, we thank him for that."
-The Case for Faith

Thursday, August 18, 2011

honeysuckles

The first few of days of classes at the beginning of any given semester will always, always bring UGA bus chaos. I completely understand freshmen not knowing where to go, being confused and hopping on random buses just so they don't have to stand there with a map in front of their faces anymore; sophomores and upperclassmen? That I don't understand. It's like the people have never been on campus before. They're astounded when they realize that East-West and North-South aren't just witty bus names but actual directions. It blows me away.
That being said, I have completely avoided the bus system for the past four days. The unfortunate part is that it's the middle of August, anywhere between 90 and 100 degrees at any given moment, and my classes are all a good 35-40 minute walk from my house. That includes steep hills from time to time. So it's no surprise that by the time I got to my first class today, my shirt was basically see-through because it was soaked with sweat. I walked into class fully aware of the fact that I wasn't making any friends today.
After spoiling in my clothes all afternoon, I figured I'd might as well keep the trend going with a trip to Ramsey (UGA's gym/athletic complex/everything good). I hopped on a machine, headphones in and ready to watch the diving team practice--which, by the way, I am ecstatic to have access to again. Before I knew it, a girl was hopping on the machine next to me. She literally smelled just like a honeysuckle. And for just a second, I wanted to smell like a flower too.
But then I realized that even if I smelled like anything but a flower, there were a lot of other things I had that some people only wish they had. Like two arms and two legs and 10 fingers and toes and a body that is able to exercise. So many times I focus on details--but isn't that just what they are? Details. God has given me everything I need and more, and taking that for granted is failing to acknowledge His grace and mercy in doing so. Be ever thankful for what you have; it will make you appreciate the honeysuckles in life.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

and all is as it should be

As I sit here at Walker's with my cup of coffee and a blank screen waiting to be filled with my words, I can't help but feel as though all is as it should be once again. I love home (home home, as in Habersham) in a way that I could never love anywhere else, but I know that I am back to where I'm supposed to be for now. That's Athens. I'm back in my little house I share with one of my best friends (and a new roommate!) with my favorite quilt on my bed and the dried hydrangeas from Lake Burton and my favorite books lining my shelves. It feels right; it feels like home. 
So I am falling in love with Athens all over again. I swear I do this every time I come back. Maybe it's finally being with all of my best friends again, maybe it's the walk I take to classes everyday through the streets in Five Points, maybe it's the Grit cake (let's be real)--maybe it's all of that and more, but I love every bit of it and can't wait to start a year that I think may very well be the best one I've had yet. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

New York, New York

This time a week ago my plans for the weekend involved Lake Burton and friends and probably a baking adventure of some kind...not NYC. But somehow my friend Kaiti and I ended up there by Friday night to see one of our very best friends Grace! (side note: Grace has the cutest little blog  A Girl Named Grace and you should absolutely stop by on your way out of blogger world) Grace has been interning in the city for Good Housekeeping all summer long, and Kaiti and I just couldn't wait to see her any longer!

So off we traveled to the city that never sleeps...

The weekend was full of conversations that lasted for hours over bottles of wine from this precious little wine shop down the street from Grace's apartment...

...and walks down by the bay at night...

...and brunch at Bubby's in Tribeca (I searched for Bethenny Frankel while I was there but didn't find her, to my severe disappointment)...

...and an afternoon spent in vintage shops in Brooklyn...

...and so much more! We literally crammed in more in one weekend than some people do in one week. But it was a funny thing; even though I was in New York City, I felt like I was at home a little bit. My best friends and I were all scattered this summer--Paris, Nicaragua, NYC, Costa Rica and Panama, Atlanta, Athens--and even though we wouldn't trade our experiences for anything, we also realized that being somewhere great and new isn't the same if you're not surrounded by those that you love. It definitely puts things in perspective as I am making post-graduate plans for my life. 
At the same time, I have definitely gotten the travel bug--it started with Paris and was probably the reason I was so ready to go to NYC. So I'm pretty excited to see where it pushes me in the next couple of years! Who knows where I will be?...although I have to say, there is no place like the South, so I'm not going too far 



Wednesday, August 3, 2011

for real this time

Well this is embarrassing...I come back to my blog and the last post was on July 16th. Seriously?
Yes, seriously. I have been MIA from the blogging world for the past two weeks because I managed, once again, to put off schoolwork until the last possible minute (so uncharacteristic of me, I know). My journals and papers for my study abroad classes were all due at the end of July, so around the time I was writing my last post I realized I should probably be writing about intercultural conflict and human identity as opposed to the tree frog I had spotted that day. But after 42 days worth of journals and two 10-page papers, I am done. DONE. So now I have a little under two weeks until it starts.all.over.again.

All of that aside, I have been eagerly anticipating this fall and absolutely cannot wait for its arrival! For me, fall will bring cooler temperatures (thank the Lord), Georgia football** (this one is a BIGGIE, y'all), bridal showers galore (no, not for me. for my sister), and the beginning of my senior year of college (deep breath). There is enough going on to make my head spin, but it can't come quickly enough. There is something about the fall semester that is just so much better than the spring; in the fall, everyone is excited to be back, the weather is nice almost all semester and--do I have to say it again--FOOTBALL. When springtime comes, so does the fever, the itch to be out of school again; everyone peaces out the minute the last final is said and done.

I also can't wait to wear blue jeans again. It sounds dumb, I know, but I just love a good pair of blue jeans. And God knows I would not be found within a 10 foot radius of a pair of those things right now.
I can't wait to enjoy my first Spiced Chai from Jittery Joe's and not sweat profusely while doing so. I can't wait to enjoy one last Georgia/Florida game as a student. And I think I might be just as excited to be near The Grit again...oh how I miss a good noodle bowl and a slab of lemon poppyseed cake.

Here's to all of the good things to come! And yes, that includes more blog posts. I'm back, for real this time.