Friday, December 25, 2009

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Happy December

So, I have this new idea for my blog. I know that I have not been updating at all. My life is in such a season of change, that I am disapointed in myself for the things I have missed recording on here. What I love most about having a blog is being able to come back to it and read months later, to see how my life, my thoughts, my fears or joys have changed. I have started a new full-time job at the YMCA in Charlotte and work from the morning until the ht. After work I am often spending time with high school kids for Young Life. By the time I get home arond 9:30 or 10 pm, I have very little time to sit on my computer and get on facebook, much less catch up on my blog. o have dull moments at work for a lunch break or some personal time, and it is in those moments hat I wish I could get onto my blog page and update. Unfortunately, we have a pretty sensitive internet filter here at the Y, and no personal blog sites are allowed through. I also don't haev internet at my house, so here is the plan: I am going to start typing up blog posts during my free time at work, emailing them to myself, and posting them when I get to a coffee shop with internet. This means I might post 2 or 3 at a time, but dont get your hopes up. I am reminded day after day that our world is a changeful world. Everything is moving, going, growing, transferring, transitioning, and our lives are full of seasons that also ebb and flow. I am in one of the scariest seasons of my life and am feeling the most fear and anxiety I have ever felt. My roomate Robin reminded me yesterday that 'fear is not of the Lord'...and for that matter neither is anxiety. In Malachi God says, "I the Lord DO NOT change." Now, it isn't in there as capital letters, but I can really picture God yellign that part. I picture him yelling, because we ALWAYS forget this. God proves to us time and time again that he will be our provider, that he will pick up the pieces, that he is gracious and merciful...YET we forget. I always forget. His promises, His character, His provisions, His previous doings do not become null and void when we face a new crisis or when we face the changefulnes of the world. He remains the same, no matter our situation. I am learning not to be so selfish with my time as I begin a full-time job. I don't have the same luxuries to spend hours reading, or mornings sleeping, or afternoons napping, or breakfasts with friends. I have to be more intentional with the time I have during this season of change. I have ten days off during Christmas and I cannot wait. I will make it home on Christmas Eve, and come back here on January 1st. Tyler gets to come home with me and meet the entire family, and for this I am so thankful. Tis' the season.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

weekday update

Okay, so my dad was getting on me about my utterly embarrasing lack of blogging here. I am hardly ever at my computer (which is worlds apart from college when I was able to update this thing almost every day), but I forget sometimes that for the few that read this, I don't get to update you often. So, for my sake of reading this in a few years to look back on what the Lord has done in that time, and for the few of you that's a little update.

I am currently still living in Charlotte with my two roomates and I love it. Charlotte is beautiful. Even when it rains it is not discouraging because you know that there is sun not far behind. It is just wired like that. It is nothing like Cincinnati where one day of rain meant weeks of fog to follow. While I love it, I miss a lot of things. I miss my family the most. I am (scarily) finding myself feeling more detached the older I get. I know this doesn't have as much to do with age as my stage in life, but I am trying to be very conscious about keeping up. The reality is, I am here with my own life, and they their with theirs (funky sentence, huh?). This makes it hard to cross paths at times.

I miss college. Gosh the grass is ALWAYS greener on the other side, huh? I am already feeling the grad school itch, though not yet sure what forth. I go back and forth between counseling, elementary ed., and something in non-profit. Since I am clearly worlds away from a decision this won't be happening for a while. With college I miss my friends. Three of my great girls from leading YL in Cinci are spread out all over...Amy as far away as Texas. I miss them. Again, our different stages of life and different schedules makes it hard to cross internet paths often enough. I miss my old roomie. Molly and I are experiencing things apart from each other for the first time in 4 years. It is weird not to be there to share hilarious stories with each other at the end of the day.

All of this being said. I am not sitting on the fence here in Charlotte. I have both feet in and for that I can thank the Lord. He has given me so much purpose and reassurance about being here. Ministry is seemingly coming along slow, but I have to remember that I am starting out at a new school, with a full time job, in a completely different region of the United States, with high school kids who have very little idea of what Young Life is. Club is becoming less of a stress and I praise God that he is giving me something to believe in. I still think we have more room to be excellent, but it will get there. In the is not easy asking high school kids to come along on this journey with you, so I am really learning a lot of things again. Again I say, the season of refinement!

My devotional yesterday said it all. In Malachi 3 it says the Lord DOES NOT change. Never...not his traits, his mind, his patience, the way he feels about us. None of it. So amidst the changefulness of out world, God remains the same.

I get to do something SO FUN this weekend. Rebecca and I are flying to New York to stay with Uncle David. Tyler is coming down from West Point and we are going to all spend the weekend together. We will do the city, go see WP, and see Uncle David's new show! I can honestly say that all three of us cannot wait. It will be an awesome quick trip. Then 2 weeks later I get to go to Canton...ah, home :). Thanksgiving with my cousins and family. That spells awesome.

Work calls.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


My blog neglect is embarrassing. I have been spending very little time on my computer except to answer emails and flit around on facebook, so I have not had the opportunity to post on here.

My life is quite a whirlwind. So, for my own sake to look back here in 3 months and really see the changes, I am going to divulge the meet of my schedule:
Monday: morning off, 6 hours at the Y, setup for YoungLife club at the Y and get home by 10
Tuesday: Bible study with women from church, lunch at home, 6 hours at the Y, high school sporting event, 830 Bible study with peers
Wednesday: Y from 715-9, lunch home, 5 more hours at the Y, dinner with high school girls, YL Campaingners Bible study, home by 930
Thursday: Y from 715-9, lunch home, back to the Y, FREE night OR JV football game at the high shcool
Friday: Y from 715-9, walking with Judy, lunch at home, back to work at the Y, high school football!

I am moving into some preschool teaching at the Y as a sub for Wed-Fri to get some extra hours. I also throw in workouts while I am down there in the afternoons. When I was in college I never thought I would be busier, I now know that it will only get moreso. I am the epitome of someone who is constantly looking to the future for "easier" times, but am finding so much satisfaction and growth during this stage of the Lord doing SO MUCH pruning. My life is CRAZY TIMES, but I love it.

Tyler came home this past weekend, which was such a needed gift from the Lord. I had been missing him like CRAZY and it was so great to spend time together and attend his cousin's wedding. He continues to teach and encourage me in ways that are so new to me and I am so thankful for that blessing. God is TRULY refining me right now...shaving/burning/cutting off the bad stuff...and it HURTS a lot of the time, but is rewarding all of the time.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

So young, but so old.

Okay. I know that I have been doing terrible business as far as updating my blog. I have found myself doing a lot of journaling rather than posting on the internet since there are a lot of internal things going on with me.

I am quickly learning that life after college is never something that you can be adequately prepared for. There is nothing like working full time. No way to describe it or experience it until you do. And one you are working full time, the responsibility and expectations come as quite a surprise. They are responsibilities and expectations that are previously unprecedented in most people's young adulthood. I had unrealistic expectations that working for a non-profit meant that I wouldn't have the same quantitative expectations placed upon me that people normally experience in the private sector. Silly and wrong. I am in charge of a program that is not filling up quite as quickly as I or my director suspected. After all of the marketing and strategizing, it comes back to where it should always begin - I am praying that the Lord will reveal his hand in this, whether or not it comes out positive in my opinion.

Young Life here in Charlotte is proving to be no walk in the park. Why did I even ever think it might be even for just a second? Ministry will never be "easy" because Satan continues to reign here in the world. I am making an attempt to constantly remind myself that I am privy to the greatest news that anyone could ever hear, and I have been called to carry that News to high school students. The Gospel is such a worthy message. Worthy of my discomfort, worthy if ridicule, worthy of being ignored, and worthy of boldness.

I love the women I live with. There are no greater people to speak truth into my life right now. They are both familiar with Young Life and have experienced or are experiencing similar anxieties, struggles, worries, triumphs and passions. I do not know how long I will be where I am, but I know that God will need to make it GLARINGLY obvious that I need to leave these two. Well, God or Robin who owns the place.

Tyler comes home in two weeks as of tomorrow. I cannot wait to see him. We start young life club the Monday before, and I start my program at the Y the same Monday before, so the weekend after will be welcome hang out tiem with him and friends.

I turn 23 in exactly one month. I am so young. :)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Celebrating the Day of Labor Weekend

Way too long since I last posted. I drove home to WV on Friday after work and arrived around 615. I went over to pick up Shawna (my beautiful friend from high school who is getting married June 4th) and then we jumped in the car with my mom and Becca to head to Morgantown. Many people would be surprised to know that until this weekend, I had never been to a home game at Milan Psukar, home of the WV Mountaineers.
We were lucky enough to get Suite tickets (not to be confused with sweet tickets) via someone my dad knows. This meant free food, which I never pass up. Hanging out in the box was great because we had a little more room to move around, but a CLOUDLESS day. I spent the night at Shawna's the night before the game and when I was getting ready the next morning, Shawna's roomate asked if I wanted a WV tattoo for my face. I am a female, and face tattoo's at sporting events are cute for that one reason, so I obliged.

Two hours of eating, chatting, tailgating, and two quarters of football later, I was headed to the bathroom to scrub off my tattoo, and still came out of the day with a WV shaped sunburn on my face. Glorious.
I love being back home around my family, and it is also so great to see Shawna. I also got to see John, her fiance, who I had not seen in forever. Seeing the two of them together, now engaged, was so special. There is something so different and amazing about that. It is clear that they are on board for the Lord being able to do immensely more in the coming year before they are married. I am so excited for the chance to be a part of the exciting-ness!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Isn't it Ironic?

Interesting story.

Today I was serving a table of eight and after I brought out the first round of drinks, I spilled a water on a gentlemen. It did not drench him or cause him to have to even leave his seat to clean up, but I did get it on his shirt. I was totally flustered and embarrassed and felt so bad. My manager was there right after it happened and he cleaned up the mess by telling the man that the restaurant would take care of his meal.

I pretty much avoided that man completely the rest of the meal. Definitly did not make eye contact. When it came time to do checks, my boss told me to just not give him a recepit at all. He took care of it.

The irnoy of the situation: The man wasn't outraged or anything, so he left me a ten dollar tip that would have covered his whole meal had he been required to pay. So I made ten dollars off of spilling water on a guest. I am not stupid enough to think that this will always be the case, but man...what luck. :)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

New Job.

So, I start my new job today...well, continue some on site training, but that's a start.

I will be working for the YMCA. Some of you may know that I worked for the Y for two years in college in Cincinnati, so I am excited to continue. The YMCA down here is a whole different story from those up north/midwest. They are very grounded in and focused on Christian principles, and as an employee you are taken such good care of.

I am hoping to move into a full time coordinator position within the next two months because it is expected to open up. I need to do a little work that proves that I am qualified.

We had our first meeting about YL Club planning on Monday. It was our group of Campaigner (Bible study) students who were interested in being an integral part of the club planning process. There were about 18 kids there who expressed interest. I am already starting to feel my first bouts of anxiety about leading at a brand new school. I am worried about girls liking me and worried about giving "enough" time to meeting people, especially in these beginning stages. I need to be reminded all the time that God is bigger than all of my worldly measurements of "enough."

Let's see, other than that life is same ol'. Still waiting tables joyfully and hanging out with my stellar roomates. We tye-dyed with our friend Jenna last night. It was awesome. White v-necks.

Friday, August 21, 2009

A Funny Story From the Restaurant Biz

Okay. So I have been waitressing at a wood grilled steak restaurant for about 2.5 months now. It is called Firebirds and it is 100000 miles short of my dream job. That is all irrelevant to the following story, but I didn't want you people to think that because I am laughing at a story about work, that I like work. haha...

Anyway, about 4 weeks ago I no longer had to be the new girl at work because three new trainees started. One guy was named Clint, my childhood rottweiler's name, and he was...hmmh...overzealous about serving. While training he was often stepping right in front of his trainer to take over tables that were not his. He claimed to me during his 3rd day of training that he was a better server than about 75% of people who had been working there since the restaurant had opened a year ago. Really? Funny he says that because Justin, another guy I worked with, really hit the nail on the head when he described Clint like this: "You know, whenever something goes wrong and a manager is on the rampage, you can pretty much bet your entire earnings for the night on the fact that Clint is responsible." Amen, Justin.

So, Clint is just notorious for being brash, rude to females, and he ruins a good joke by repeating it every time he passes you back in the server alley. Even if it was someone else's joke. I hate it when people do that. When he first started working, a few different people asked him to pick up shifts for them and he very sarcastically, and with a laugh, would tell those people, "Yea, right."

Last week when the schedule came out Clint realized that he had forgotten to ask off for this coming Saturday night. He proceeds to approach me, and ask me if I work on Saturday. After I tell him yes, I think so, I work a double, he proceeds to ask me three more times. "Are you sure? You do? You do?" YES I KNOW MY OWN SCHEDULE. Now, in my defense, I really makea conscious effort to be above reproach at the restaurant. It is such a negative working environment for most that I try to be in a good mood and nice to people. I pray walking in there to exude Christ, but Clint pushes me to the edge.

After I tell him that I cannot work for him because I ALREADY WORK THAT NIGHT, he proceeds to tell me what he portrays as a sob story about having to miss the birthday celebration of his friend who is leaving for Iraq soon. Sorry, Charlie. Can't help you out. It's not like your mom is getting surgery. So, fast forward to today, a day before the Saturday that he is trying to get off. Clint approaches me AGAIN today to ask me if I work Saturday, and can I work for him. I politely (as I can) let him know that yes I am STILL scheduled to work on Saturday night and NO I cannot work for him. He double checks, and I about body check him to the face, politely. He proceeds to tell me that he needs someone to work for him because HIS MOM IS COMING INTO TOWN TO VISIT. Thats weird? I thought...seems Clint forgot that he already asked me to work for him.

I approach my friend Trish from WV who I work with and tell her this private joke, and she mentions that she picked up on it as well. She then waltzes over to Clint and asks him is he is mad that his mom is coming in town causing him to miss the big birthday bash for his friend who is going away to Iraq soon. His spilt second, quick thinking response: Oh, what are you talking about? Birthday...uh well that friend actually broke his leg so no more birthday party. Way to think on your feet chief. Next time you ask me to work for you, be more prepared with your excuse story.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Officially not on drugs

Passed my DRUG TEST. Woohoo. Had lots of nerves heading in there. But what a ridiculous 15 minute experience.

I got word today from the YMCA Human Resources Director that I would need to do my drug test within the next three days or else I would have to postpone my employment for an entire year. Needless to say, I went in this afternoon after work. When I get there a MAN takes me through these wooden, rickety swinging double doors and starts asking me some questions. We get to talking about my job at the YMCA, about Ohio, about my WV driver's license, even about college (since he went to Ohio U. like my parents).

He feels like an uncle at this point and I keep thinking he is going to hand me over to some nursing school student who gets stuck with the crap jobs...someone who is will point me in the direction of the bathroom with a plastic cup, and to whom I will only speak the word, "Here" when finished.

Surprise, the friendly man who has become an uncle to me is the administer-er of the drug test. Neglecting any sort of conversation transition, the man goes straight from talking about Cleveland snow and the hotness of Charlotte into handing me a plastic cup telling me I gotta have at least one ounce, and I can't flush the toilet or wash my hands after I am done. Thankfully he doesn't notice the embarrassment and shock on my face and points to the bathroom telling me that there is a "no running water" rule. I enter, do what needs to be done, and don't flush or wash my hands.

I have to HAND HIM MY PEE in front of this other young guy that works there just standing in the hallway. He sets it on the counter as if we are actually in some sterile professional environment, such as, oh, i don't know, a CLINIC. But, instead we are just standing in a dingy wooden hallway with chipping paint and a stack of plastic cups. He puts on ONE plastic glove, takes MY pee, and starts dipping different pieces of plastic in it while talking to me about the weather, again. This man has no shame. Thank God for that people. He proceeds to tell me that I passed and hopes to see me at the YMCA sometime since he attends the same one I will be working at. I refrain from making a joke about him recognizing me by the color of my pee and turn to leave, just in time to see him enter the bathroom that I had just left and flush my pee down the toilet. Enough said.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Moving on...over.

Welp...I am moving, again. :)

Yes, yes. The word gypsy has never carried so much weight in my life (despite the fact that it is the most ocmmonly used word in the Thomas family vocabulary). Tuesday night I went over to my friend Julia's house (Julia is the new Young Life intern here in Charlotte) to stay the night. Julia lives with one of the most gracious, loving and nurturing women I have met. Robin lives in a three bedroom townhome and Julia moved in there to live just about 3 weeks ago.

Anyway, When I got there on Tuesday night Robin called me into the kitchen and said that we needed to have a pow wow. I stood there confused with my pillow and toothbrush in hand ready to make a joke about how I was just going to leave a toothbrush there so that I wouldn't always have to remember to bring my own. Robin proceeds to tell me that God loves her and because he loves her he gave her a home. She was blessed by many a family when working for Young Life when given a place to live for free in order to do ministry.

She then proceeded to tell me that God was giving her the opportunity to offer her home to me as well. That she and Julia had talked, and wanted me to move in with them. Crazy people. I love crazy people. So...that's that. I moved some of my stuff over there today and will be there temporarily until I get better acclamated with the area around where I am working at the YMCA and the area around Ardrey Kell (AK) where I am leading Young Life.

Can you believe how GOOD God is?

Not to mention I get to wake up to some of the sweetest emails. ;)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

As promised...

Where do I even begin. Well, my computer is on its last leg battery wise, and I am at Caribou with no power cord, so I will do my best to start from the beginning (though this is more of a circle than a line start to finish).

I am currently back living with the Regional Director of Young Life for the Carolina's. He and his wife have been SO GRACIOUS to let me stay at there place at all, much less come back for more since I am still without a full time job or place to live. Each day I feel like I am a little closer to both. There is still some "up in the air" moments regarding housing and working for the YMCA, but some very hopeful prospects. In the meantime I am still working at the restaurant. I like the people I work with and it is becoming more routine once I arrive, but I still dread the hours leading up to going in to work. Working on that...being joyful always.

My personal (relationship) life has taken quite the turn and if you are interested I would be willing to share some more, but it is not exactly public blog material. Let's just say that I am happy, encouraged, challenged and being optimistic.

The past 3 weeks have been crazy packed with days off of work for visitors and trips. I was able to see Molly, my college roomie, in Hilton Head where I was visiting some other old/new friends. What a great time. Plus I am thinking Hilton Head might be a great new destination vacation for the Thomas/Sliman clans. Though no place will ever be Kiawah (RIP).

I am making friends. New ones. Great ones. And many of them. My friend Julia, who is a new intern for Young Life here, is the greatest. She lives very near to me and we have hung out and had sleepovers and had coffee and dinner and all the great things that great women do. She is 1000% Southern and offers many a good laugh and lesson for me regarding all things appropriate in the South.

God has ben teaching me a lot about His ability to BE. To be all. To be everything, and at the same time to be MORE. HE IS. I just need to keep remembering that anytime I start to worry about me, and myself, and I and Jaclyn....that HE IS. My shortcomings, my mess ups, my overcompensations...they pale in comparison to the mere fact that he lives in me and HE IS. So scratch all that other stuff.

I will start leading Young Life VERY soon. I am nervous and anxious and totally excited. This ministry really had a huge part in keeping me down here and my summer away from it has been my most fruitful time with the Lord yet. He has been preparing me (when I let him, because I am dumb sometimes), and I am ready to lean hard on Him through loving high school girls.

So...that is a lot of brief stuff for now. I will be better at this again. I promise.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Guest Blog: Charles G.

I am not giving you what I promised. I apologize in advance for that, but I am giving you something much better: A guest blog from my best friend from Xavier, Charles Galvin. Some of you might remember Charles' earlier guest spot blogs about his stand up comedy, so sit back and hang on. He never disappoints.

So it feels like forever ago since Jaclyn and I last saw each other, not counting a few attempts at Skype, which generally works better when you are not trying to pirate free Wi-Fi from your neighbors. In an effort to reconnect, Jaclyn reached out to me and begged that I do a guest blog. And by reached out and begged, I mean I was reading her blog one day, noticed that nothing substantive had been written in a while, asked her if I could do a post, and she obliged. For those of you who don’t know me very well, I apologize. You will probably want to go ahead and stop reading now, because not much of it will be about Jaclyn, partly because we’ve been apart for the whole summer, but also because I’m desperate for a moment in the spotlight of “I Rejoice”.

The past summer I took on the job of head coach for the Beckett Ridge Barracudas, a summer swim team that I’ve now coached for 5 years after swimming for 12 years. We achieved what some might consider successful results, winning our league championship for the 15th year in a row. It was a tremendous relief to not let the streak be snapped in my first year on the job, and while I have had many great accomplishments in my career, this summer saw the biggest one yet: convincing a 6 year old to swim a race without taking a breath.

Since the magic ended about a week ago, my life has been the whirlwind of adventures that most professional athletes/coaches experience in the off-season, or at least that’s what I imagine. Probably the best part about my job is that while most of the swimmers know I’m 22, it doesn’t ever seem to sink in. They still see me as though I am in High School, and frankly I love it. My best friends this summer have been RJ ( a fellow Xavier grad turned swim coach) and about a dozen boys ranging in age from 10 to 14. Before you raise your eyebrows and get all Billie-Jean on me, relax. I have been on vacation to visit my girlfriend Natalie in Boston, and can assure you that my relationship with these boys is purely to boost my ego and nothing else. There’s nothing like being able to relive that age, only this time around do everything I wish I’d done so that I’m the coolest kid at the pool.

I have also been on vacation to visit my grandparents in Vermont. These were some of the same grandparents that offered me some wisdom as to what I should do with my life at my graduation party:
Papa: Congratulations on graduating Charles, that’s a big deal. Now what exactly was it you majored in?
Me: English with a Business minor.
Papa: Ah-ha. You know what? Up in Vermont, they’re dying for people to fill out prescriptions and work in drug stores.
Me: You mean pharmacists?
Papa: Yes! Pharmacists! And I hear they make pretty good money too. You should look into that. Does Xavier have a pharmacy program?
Me: No, they don’t. I think it’s about a 6-year program from what I’ve heard from other people who are in one though.
Papa: Well, you’ve probably taken most of the same core classes, so I bet it wouldn’t take as long. Give it some thought.

I’ve always thought of myself as a trendsetter, and this summer has been no exception. My most recent offering to society has been living with my parents at home without actively seeking a full-time job. It has yet to catch on from what I can tell though. Most of the Facebook profiles that I have stalked seem to indicate that my former classmates are either enrolled in graduate classes or working somewhere, while some have even gotten married. I am looking forward the gravity of my decisions eventually sinking in and waking up one morning to realize how much time I’ve wasted. Until then, I join you in eagerly awaiting the far-too-few-and-far-between updates on Jaclyn’s life so that I may vicariously live through her.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Updates coming

I know it has been ages, and today my mom reminded me. I have been neglecting my blog, and though I am notorious for being a quitter (gymnastics, ballet, flute, swimming, guitar), this is not something I am quitting. The past week has been busy and wonderful and unforgettable all in one.

Tonight I head up to a concert a little north of Charlotte with Dad and my sister Danielle. They got into Charlotte today and we are going to see Def Leppard, Cheap Trick and's favorites. After they leave tomorrow I should have a little bit of time to sit, breathe, process and then write...because I gotta write, because life is changing and I want to keep up.

God is good people. Expect updates tomorrow. It is a priority

Saturday, August 1, 2009


So, this weekend promises MANY many fun times, good memories, and just some of the best people. Tonight, there will be four great friends staying the night and I cannot wait. To begin, my sister, Becca, and one of my best friends from Cincinnati, Ally, will be getting to Charlotte in about an hour. I will get a few hours this afternoon to just hang with the girls and for that I am so grateful. We will hopefully make dinner and Tyler, whom I met at the beach 5 years ago, and have since reconnected with, will head down early evening. Tyler and I are going to a Rascal Flatts concert.

After we leave for the concert the 5th and final member of the weekend arrives. He is from Atlanta and goes to UGA. Colton will be here around 6 or 7. Colton was on Work Crew at Saranac when Becca was also on WC and I was on Summer Staff. They were both Roustabouts and haven't seen each other SINCE then...four years. We are very excited for this reunion.

So...what a smorgasborg of fun and friends. I cannot wait for it to begin!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

He is with us in the process

So, I don;t have all that much to say today, but I am going to milk it.

I have been having some pretty exciting, encouraging, and generous meetings as of late. Some of them job related (which I am not going to talk about for a little while longer), but the others just relational. I had the chance to meet two wonderful women yesterday. I had coffee with Jenna who has just finished up nursing school here in Charlotte and is looking to get involved in Young Life. She seems like a woman that I could truly grow to be in great fellowship with and I am excited about getting to know her better.

I had lunch with the committee chair for Ardrey Kell, the school at which I will be leading this coming fall. Judy is AMAZING. She has had such crazy experiences and affirmations from the Lord. What a blessing it was to be encouraged and prayed for by her.

It is almost August people, and I have no idea about where I will be living. August is a big month, and also a scary month for me. I would be lying if I said I was not a little bit nervous. But God is in the process and the details, not just the fruition that we deem successful at the end of the process. He is out on the water with us in the midst of the storm, not just in the moments when he calms things down and brings us back to shore.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Guest Blog: Amy Satt!!

***This is a Guest Blog done by one of my very best friends. I have known Amy for four years and spent many a sleepover late night hanging out and laughing. She just graduated from high school and although I knew her at first as one of my Young Life girls, she quickly became one of my dearest friends. She is the first friend to visit me down in Charlotte since moving and I am so thankful for her. She is heading to Baylor in the fall for college!***

I hate my life. So okay I just thought I deleted this whole post and rewrote a whole new one and then saw that it automatically saves which is super sweet if only I had known that 5 minutes ago. So this is the original. Enjoy?

Okay, so this is semi-awkward for me. I am, in general, pretty awkward so yeah idk this is just like story of my life. I am a horrible writer and sorry, but there probably won't be any squibs (which is a new word I recently added to my vocabulary as I desperately looked it up on my iTouch when I was in need of its definition as it appeared in Harry Potter--but there a squib is a wizard without the ability to use magic, not a witty saying) in here. ANYWAY, please don't judge Jaclyn by this blog. She does have other friends and isn't limited to this dork right here. Okay, it is kind of fun to do this. I actually have my own blog but I have only written on it once so it was a definitely epic fail on my part. Right now I am in Charlotte visiting my long lost friend who ditched the Nati to come to the warmer, prettier, nicer-peopled, less smoggy city of Charlotte. Why would anyone want to do that? Currently, Jaclyn has left me again. She is running off to some important meeting while I love on the two cats she is house sitting for, as they are never tenderly cared for when she is around. I mean, she gets the job done, but with little love--appalling to me, an owner of four cats.

I don't really have any one special thing to write about..I could mention how we just spent like 15 minutes looking for 2 lost cats that weren't actually lost. That was fun. I guess I didn't even really introduce myself. I am Amy. Jaclyn was my leader in Cincy for the past 3 years. She's been my best friend too, which is fine I guess :). I am playing but yeah she has really challenged me with my relationship with Christ and I owe a lot to her. It is also nice to have her around because 1. she makes me laugh and 2. when the four of us get together (Ally, Cece, Jac, and I) we always make fun of each other. Jaclyn is usually the butt of all the jokes but more recently everyone has been making fun of me so I now feel some sort of sympathy for what she went through. I'll be a freshman at Baylor Univ next year so we will be miles and miles away from each other but luckily Skype is our new best friend so it is really not that big of a deal.

Do you guys love how random this blog is? I am the least creative person in the world. Our friend Ally is like so creative, she would have written a novel already. You should read this essay she wrote.. all of her stuff is hilarious. If you need a laugh, call her up. (Woot! This blog just autosaved at 3:42).

I am going to tell you a story. Okay, so my grandparents live in Portland, OR and we always used to fly up there to hang out with them and go skiing and all that jazz. One winter when I was like 10 years old, my brother Timmy, who was 8, (and is now a junior in HS and goes by "Tim" by people who don't know him) and I were taking snowboarding lessons on Mt. Hood. We were separated into mini groups after a big group session on the bunny hill, which was mildly successful for me and completely unsuccessful for him. Anyway, I was riding up on one of the lifts with my instructor who was being nice and friendly. I was feeling pretty important.. considering I had just turned the big 1-0 and had gotten a sweet new winter coat. I was looking like a true snowboarder. Meanwhile, Timmy was wearing a hand-me-down onesie snow suit that was teal and zipped up from the crotch all the way to his neck. It had been my cousins, then my older sisters, and now his. So I was riding up this lift looking at the mountain and my instructor started to laugh and pointed to this kid who was trying to snowboard down the mountain. I looked down and I saw this little teal blob zooming uncontrollably down this huge slope headed for a tree. Luckily, the blob didn't hit the tree, but instead did a complete face plant onto the fresh snow and was just sprawled out like a splat of teal paint, unmoving. I laughed pretty hard and told my instructor that it was my brother. He/She i forget felt really bad but my brother and I are pretty close so this was just hilarious to me. Anway..Timmy is a really good skier now. He hasn't touched a snowboard since. There really was no point to that story but it was the first thing that popped into my head.
MORAL: It is nice to try new things, but you don't necessarily have to stick to every one.
There. Now there was a point.

Anyway, I really want to get back to re-reading Harry Potter 7 and I need to take a shower. So.. wherever you are and whatever you are doing, happy living! It was nice being able to ramble to you all :D

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Losing my bridesmaid virginity.

As far as having friends who I have been friends with all through high school up until now I don't have many...maybe one. BUT as far as females that went to my same high school that I as not GREAT friends with while going there but and WONDERFUL friends with now, I have plenty!

My best friend that went to my same high school is Shawna. She is beautiful and wonderful and such an amazing wonam of the Lord. It has been such a blessing to be walking in my faith alongside of Shawna. SHE IS GETTING MARRIED...and she asked me to be a bridesmaid. WOW YESSSS. She is the greatest. And John, well, he's not too shabby either.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Giving it up

So, I have some pretty exciting things coming up. I have a wonderful visitor coming on Saturday. One of my best friends while in college was Amy. She just graduated from high school and is going to Baylor in the fall. She is wonderful and she is coming to visit for a few nights. Plus she likes cats so she can give the whiney and annoying cats that I am taking care of all the attention they desire.

I also have some job things coming up. I am going to keep these on the down low for now, because there needs to be much prayer surrounding what might actualize in these situations. Please be praying that my heart and my head are on track with the Lord's will. If I am not meant to get a certain job, I just pray that it is clear to me.

My living situation is still pretty up in the air for now. I am looking, but trying also to trust the Lord. I am trying something new that is an idea I am ripping off from The Shack, which I just finished. In the book, Mack, through much questioning, realizes from Papa that he does not just want to be aour number one priority in our lives, but rather the center of everything and in turn a part of it all. At summer fellowship last night we read Luke 14, about the cost of being a disciple. Scripture says:

Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

So, Jesus is asking us to do something that at first glance sounds so out of whack from his message of love. But what we came to discuss was the fact that the way that we love every simple little other thing in our life should PALE in comparison to the sacrifice and love we show to Christ. One translation said that we should be "indifferent" to those other things. But, in bringing in The Shack metaphor, God doesn't want to be at the top of anyone's list of priorities; this would denote that he is a separate entity. Rather, he wants to be at the center of each priority, void of a hierarchical system.

So, all that was said in order to explain that I am really trying to focus on trust and surrender. Our God is faithful, and even more so if we let Him be. So, in living and in working, rather than just in ministry or relationships, I am trying to surrender my desires to God's will.


On a completely unrelated note, I played my first game or Settlers of Catan last night. This game is a mix between Risk and some stock market game with resource cards. It is the number 8 most popular game in the world, and I would liken its players to those that play Pokemon or Dungeons and Dragons. All that aside, it has become pretty popular among my male friends in Young Life and so in turn, piqued my interest. Last night I played for my first time, and will willingly admit that I really enjoyed it. It takes about 15 minutes to set up and after we were about an hour plus into the game the power went out at the Robillards. Amie grabbed some candles and we continued to play much like true settlers, by candlelight. Well, I had begun to get pretty involved in the game and was standing up to see the board better from above. Neil was making fun of how into the game I was, so I went to sit down but in the dark my foot missed the couch and my right ankle gave out, only ot send my hand crashing down on the table, uprooting all pieces, including points, settlements, roads and puzzle pieces. So, once again my clumsiness ruined everyone's fun. All five guys that I was playing with just died laughing, and I am left with a sore ankle today.

I love hurting myself doing embarrassing things.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Proverbs 4:11-12

I guide you in the way of wisdom
and lead you along straight paths.

When you walk, your steps will not be hampered;
when you run, you will not stumble.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Nerve endings

I apologize in advance, knowing that this post could end up being a bit of a downer. Today in church the pastor read from Romans 5:3-5

Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

Since I moved, I feel like patience has been drilled into my head. I have been comforted over and over by God's words telling me that His plans are greater and BETTER than mine, that His timing is the only timing worth abiding by. In the midst of this I have read about men like Paul and Moses, men who waited not days or weeks or months for the ways that God would bless them, but YEARS. On top of that I read a book about Rahab. I prostitute who came to know Jesus in the midst of unbelievers and WAITED for God to come save her.

If you know me at all, you know that patience is not one of my easily definable spiritual gifts. That being said, I have been walking in the direction of patience since I moved to Charlotte. It has been amazing how the Lord has proven to me that through Him, even I can learn to wait. All of that has come to a head now though. I have been waitressing now for 3 weeks, and I am fighting an awful internal struggle with my job. I work at a place where I feel so underappreciated and taken advantage of, and where I feel there is never any offer of grace. When I ask others a question, especially management acts as if Iam doing them a disservice. I feel constantly on the battlefield there, struggling to hold steadfast to my faith and morals, while I am feeling as if my spirit is being constantly driven to bitterness.

Maybe this is what they mean when they talk about carrying the cross of Christ. My honest and immediate response is that I did not sign up for this, but realistically, I know that I did. Proverbs 16:9 says this:

A man's mind plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps and makes them sure.

Waitressing at Firebirds isn't even close to feeling like home to me. It is not a place that I want to spend time settling in to, but do I have the wrong attitude. I went into this job thinking, "Rejoice always," but leave everyday halfheartedly thinking, "Rejoice in my sufferings." God PROMISES to "prosper" and "not to harm," and I have never doubted that promise. So, I pray for patience, understanding and hope HOPE hope for the future that is promised.

At 4 pm tomorrow I have a phone interview for a job that I feel like was made especially for me. It has the appearance of being a job that I would excel and thrive in, while also being challenged. If you could pray for that, I would be so thankful. Lord, please give me the patience to take each day for itself, rather than fixing my eyes on the unknown. Instead let me fix my eyes on your promises.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Quick note from the Outer Banks

Hey All! I have been virtually invisible on the interweb this week because I have been at the beach, and really, who wants to be on the interweb at the beach? So, I am heading back later this afternoon, and will work on updating Saturday or Sunday! Yay, miss you all!

Thursday, July 9, 2009


I did not plan to blog at all today, but of the 31 blogs that I follow, only 2 of them updated today. So, since I have nothing to read, I will drop a line. I am sitting at Caribou Coffee, my home away from home, killing time until I have to go back to work. I am bored. The restaurant that I work at does split shifts. I go in at 1130 to work lunch...get off around 2, and then head back in at 5 to work dinner. Silly, I know. Tonight I am hoping its dead so I can just be cut first and go home, money or no money. I am ready to start beach mode and that requires me to be off work first. As of tonight after work, its beach me all the way.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Neat stuff to come.

I am currently running on 6 days in a row of work. I am pretty wiped and the money I am making is NOT cutting it. So, I am being hopeful and patient. Really am. Relying HEAVILY on the Lord...Read Colossians 3 this morning and received such encouragement and affirmation in my patience.

I applied for a job today as an administrative assistant at the organization that initially drew me to Charlotte, with whom I did not end up getting a job. This would be a great opportunity and seems to fit very well with my skill set. We will see. I worked HARD on the cover letter. How is everyone else?

I leave for the beach on Saturday. Thank the Lord for that. Rejoice in that! I cannot wait to play Monopoly, Scattergories and Racko. I cannot wait to leave Monopoly sitting on the table all week, only to come back to it for a few hours each day in order to finish. I cannot wait to do chores with my cousins and design dinner menus. I cannot wait to camel boogie boards, floats, packed lunches, towels, toys and chairs to the beach to relax all day. I cannot wait to read books with Jessica, both on the beach and sunburnt on couches in the evening. I know I will do more laughing this week than I have since last going on vacation with my cousins, and I know we will make more memories that I will cherish long after. No boyfriends, just family. And I cannot wait!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Incidental. (synonym for random)

Nothing much going on here as of late. I got to spend July 3rd boating with a friend and respective family. One thing I am totally coming to appreciate about Charlotte is the generosity of people with lake access. I have reaped that benefit as much as possible. I have been relinquished to getting wet up to the neck for the past couple days because of stitches, so I had to be smart and stay off the tube. You are welcome, Mom.

Last night I had my first night waitressing on my own. It went well. Waitressing is a hard job, but I enjoy meeting so many different people. At times I wish I worked somewhere a little more casual, so that it wouldn't be so frowned upon when I spend lengthier amounts of time greeting tables. Blah, blah management...get off my back. (:

On the flip side, I made it over to REI yesterday to return the laptop sleeve that I bought because it was too small. I got me a new one and picked up a little goodie. I have been looking for some good techwick SLEEVELESS shirts since moving down here. When I run my main deterrant for long distances is the heat down here. IT IS SWELTERING. I did a quick little sweep at REI and found one on sale for 13.99..HOLLER. I love it. So, here's a picture!

Raining here today for the first time in a week. Held off all holiday weekend. Gotta love that.

And just for fun because she took it on my computer a few weeks ago, here is Becca looking FINE.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

I couldn't have made up a better story.

(I take no credit for the movie reference, because Tyler thought of it on his own. It will make sense later).

Okay, have you seen the movie Hitch? Well, there is a part in the movie when Will Smith takes Eva Longoria to Ellis Island on a jet ski for this really moving scene where she sees her ancestors signature from immigrating or something. Irrelevant. is there first date. And a really good idea for one at that. On their way back, Will Smith is getting on the jet ski or something, and he swings his leg over the top of it, clocking Eva Mendes in the head with his foot. Later scenes show her with an ice pack on her face. Now...keep this scene in mind as I tell you the story of one of the funniest and most memorable moments of my life thus far.

Five years ago, at Kiawah, the cousins and I made friends with some boys from Statesville, NC...about an hour north of Charlotte. We stayed in touch with the off and on, but mostly via facebook. Tyler C. is a year younger than me and one of the guys in the group. He is a cadet at West Point, but this summer he spent some time in Hawaii for some military stuff and leaves in a couple days to go to Georgia...same idea. He has been home for a few days in between and he sent me a facebook message wanting to know if I wanted to hang out since he knew that I had moved to Charlotte. If you can't tell yet, I have very few friends in Charlotte, and until I had this waitressing job I had just about nothing to, I welcome any and all plans being made. After some careful planning around all of the time that Tyler's mom deserves with him, he proposed that we go to the US National Whitewater Center. Now I have been DYING to actually go to this palce and experience it firsthand. I had been out there once before to clear trails, but its the one place people keep saying you gotta go for outdoors stuff.

So, Tyler picks me up around 9:40 Wednesday morning, with snacks packed...haha. We met his friend William who works at the whitewater center and he took us flatwater kayaking. Then we went adventure rafting together. While adventure rafting I, being the smart alec that I am, ask the guy if anyone really gets hurt at this place. They make you sit through a 30 minute safety spiel every time you raft. Even if you go 5 times in one day. They tell you one thing that is an absolute MUST on the river: NEVER LET GO OF YOUR T-GRIP. A t-grip is the end of the oar that your hand holds. He tells me some examples of injuries, but I am still not sold. It all feels pretty contained and sealed up real neat there, as opposed to being on a real river. A step up from adventure rafting is Rodeo Rafting, which our guide assures us will make us swim, meaning that we will get knocked out at some point. Tyler and I look at each other and I think I tried to send facial expressions that said, "Come on, come onnnnn...I wanna do it." Silly me, my eyes are always bigger than what my body can usually handle. I am starting to feel like I might be a bit of an adrenaline junkie.

So we eat lunch with William and Tyler looks at me, smiles, and says we should go Rodeo. Yessir, it worked. We get on a trip at 330 that is expected to last 1.5 hours. So we suit up and take our swim test, which consists of us having to float down a rapid and then swim to an eddy where we can safely stand and get out of the "river" (manmade). I pass the test, but ignore the omen that warns me of what is yet to come. As I float the rapid I am holding my paddle parallel to the ground with both hands in front of me, the force of water to my face causes my paddle to make contact with my nose in such a way that I feel like I probably have a nosebleed, but luckily, I exit the water unscathed. We make our first trip down the regular rafting course and it goes smoothly. Our guide informs us that the next trip won't go so smoothly. He assures us that we will swim. Lucky for us...none of us swam. And that was kind of Tyler's fault.

See, there is a whitewater rafting technique called "surfing." This entails going down a rapid then paddling out to an eddy so that you can paddle back upstream into the rapid and "surf." While surfing you are usually getting tons of water in your boat and a bunch of waves in your face. I didn't get waves to my face, but I did get something else to my head. While surfing, my paddle gets pulled under by a wave and the leverage makes it force upward like a teeter totter with all the weight on one end. I quickly grab hold of my t-grip, but not before what I perceive to be it hitting me in the head. At the same time that this is happening, I am starting to fall out of the boat, and PRESUMABLY, Tyler LETS GO OF HIS T-GRIP (see paragraph 3), in order to pull me back in. This plan to be a (careless) chivalrous gentlemen of course backfires because he has broken the cardinal rule of rafting.

I feel something hit my helmet and then settle on my right eyebrow with what feels like a little bit of force. Like maybe only 6 G's. We finally get out of the rapid and I sit up regular smiling and ready to roll, only to turn my head ot look at the faces of my boatmates and see their mouths wide open. I quickly start to feel liquid dripping in my eye, go to wipe it off and at the same time as the girl behind me tells me I am bleeding, I look at my hand covered with blood. I am laughing because I still think I did this to myself and because really, this always happens to me. Our guide rushes us to the bank and makes us walk out of the river and over to the main building ot see the EMT. On our way we pass a big group of kids who all look at me like I stepped out of a coffin, or some Michael Myers movie. Someone asks me if its paint or real blood. Yea buddy, its paint, brought it special for the rafting trip.

I finally walk by a window where I can see my reflection and I look like I belong in a haunted house, like someone threw 15 of those fake blood capsules at my forehead. From my eyebrow down, the whole right side of my face and neck is covered with blood. I kinda laugh, nervously, having no idea how this happened. I mention that I did it to myself and the girl who was in our raft corrects me, saying she thought it was Tyler. Up to this point he has been quiet except to mumble that he is so sorry while I shush him and tell him no big deal. He then proclaims that he too thinks it was his paddle that hit me in the face...i.e. Will Smith kicking Eva Mendes in the head.

Well, after cleaning me up very minimally, the EMT vocalizes what I am dreading...STITCHES. boo, really? You know I always wanted stitches when I was younger...and a cast. This year I got both. When I was growing up going to summer camp at Bluestone we had to play the scar game, where everyone told a story about their favorite scar. I always made stuff up and told people that you couldn't see the scar because it was under my clothes. Even scandalous as a child. Too little too late Stitches. So, the EMT wraps my head like I am some war victim that lost an ear or took some shrapnel to the brain. I feel like McDreamy just did neurosurgery. I walk around the whitewater center aimlessly while Tyler frantically runs back and forth tying up loose ends. One guy walk past me and mumbles, "Purple heart." Thanks for mocking me a-hole.

Tyler and I put on dry clothes and begin the 35 minute drive back to Charlotte to get my insurance card which I have so conveniently left back at my apartment. He then takes me to Urgetn Care to get checked out. In case you didn't know, I just graduated. Which means shortly if not now I am off my parents health insurance. Lucky for me, my mom pulls strings and bends rules. We pass the initial screening and make it back to the patient room, Tyler in tow despite his proclaimed and proven weak stomach for blood. He is a trooper. We get in the room and my nurse is a large black woman who Tyler claims looked at him like a woman-beater. Rightly so my friend, rightly so. All three women who enter our room gush over Tyler and his tomato red thighs, arms and face. Thanks for wrecking my face and stealing my thunder man. Hello ladies, bleedinggggg.

The PA comes in to sew me up but first gives me 15 shots of something numbing. After she contonues to prick me and I am still not numb I tell her to just put me out of my misery and get to work. If she is going to be sticking me anyway we might as well be making progress, numb or not. Initially I was told 1-2 stitches. The first nurse says three. The PA finally tell me four and then pulls a magic trick, making my gash bigger, and says my lucky number is five. How do those people do that...and better yet, why? This isn't clown school Patch Adams. Throughout the whole thing Tyler is a total gentlemen. I ask him to tell a story to distract me and he is gracious in obliging. I get outta there with 5 stitches and a swift punch to the stomach with the promise of a return visit to get the stitches removed in 5 days. Thanks folks. These things don't dissolve? Plus I cannot get them wet. Perfect since its 100 degrees here every day.

Well, other than a little headache, some mild throbbing, and some ego bruising I'd say the day was a success. Tyler and I made it to Bible study right on time and even got to go out to dinner to celebrate, while he quizzed me for my menu test for waitressing. Even though I got the memory knocked out of me I passed the test and even survived my mock dining. Hooray, I am a full fledged waitress. Can you hear the excitement in my voice? For the record, the correct answer is no. At least I had a good ice breaker at all my tables today because of the piece of gauze taped to my head. And Tyler can tell everyone he knows how ot give a paddle to the face. I don't think he'll be giving any rafting safety demonstrations anytime soon.

Monday, June 29, 2009


doing my first split shift today, so I have 2 hours before I go back in to work.

Work is work. Simply put. I do not love it, but I am constantly being reminded by the Lord that I need to hold on to hope for the future. At Saranac, Mike Kramer (the speaker) said something that I keep coming back to: If there is no hope for the future, there is no power in the present. So, I hope. I have been reading some awesome scriptures lately that are truly affirming this.

1 Thes 5:18:
Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will].

Romans 15:4:
For whatever was thus written in former days was written for our instruction, that by [our steadfast and patient] endurance and the encouragement [drawn] from the Scriptures we might hold fast to and cherish hope.

Anyway. Good stuff. I am hopoing for the future. Praying that waitressing is not the future.

Cool fact about the South: People from here ask me where I am from because they think I talk funny. many people here call their parents "Mommy" and "Daddy." And surprisingly, its not annoying in that baby talk way.

Friday, June 26, 2009


I am currently blogging from the nearby Caribou Coffee. There is not a great internet connection at my studio apartment above the garage and this place is about 2 blocks away. Plus after consulting with Charles yesterday, I have decided to jump on the "I-am-never-paying-for-internet-again" train. It's ridiculous. With places like Caribou and Panera (who have FREE internet - BOO starbucks) you don't need your own. I can come sit here for as many hours as I would like just sucking up their free internet connection while not having to buy anything. Clearly I am cheap.

I am sitting here RIDDEN with anxiety over something in my life that is causing more stress than my 18th Century English Novel class where we had to read 4 books over 800 pages each in one semester. I am here with three more hours to cram for the first of 4 exams in order to be considered done with training for my new job. What sort of job is this where I have hours worth of homework to do you ask? Am I taking the CPA exam? Nope. Am I taking my health and life insurance exam so that I can sell something so important that you gotta have it to die? Niet. What about a test in order to be a physician that saves lives? again, no way jose.

I am studying for the first of four FOOD tests that make me eligible to be a FULL-FLEDGED SERVER at Firebirds. And trust me, I am taking it seriously. Today I gotta be able to rattle off the ingredients and my own little spiel about the 7 appetizers. Wanna know the most popular one? I know you don't, but because I am studying you get to anyway - the Lobster Spinach Queso. Yes its great...but really...can't people read the menu.

In all seriousness I am happy that I am being trained as diligently as I am. I never went through any proper server training at the golf course that I worked at in college and so, never felt comfortable or well-equipped when I had a table who wanted something besides the all-you-can-eat buffett. MOVE OVER Keri Russell in Waitress.

In other news, not much else going on. Michael Jackson died. Please be thinking of my brother as he copes with this news. He spent yesterday in his room alone, and crying after hearing the news of his idol passing on into the afterlife. Does Allah even have an afterlife? Anyway, Robert is taking it pretty hard knowing that he no longer has a sleepover buddy. And its not like they sleep together, "he is on one side and Michael is on the other side of the bed." What's so wrong with that?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A slew of stories from Saranac

So...where do I even begin?

I am so glad this week that the assignment team harped on the fact that we are not above having our lives changed by God while at a young life camp with high school friends. I think at times I have gone into camp with the mindset that my only goal for the week is to serve my girls and where THEY are at with the Lord. This past week I was so blessed to have God screaming my name in a thousand different directions. Calling me to stop trying to be self-sustaining and seeking glory for myself.

I will start by saying that the program rocked, and not in the sense that it was the funniest thing I had ever seen (though it did not lack in humor), but because of the quality. You could tell from the audience that they loved each other. It was evident to our high school friends and also so clear how hard they worked on each and every detail. We got to send like 10 of our Mariemont kids up front to be a part of different aspects of program. That coupled with the placement of leaders into the program throughout the week set us up better than ever before. Whether it was entertainment night, the opera, or role play...we as leaders were really served by the assign team in the ways that they made us a part of the program to open up doors with our high school kids. I pray that the Lord keeps this assign team together because they showed us and our campers so much in how the loved one another.

I had girls in my cabin who were so up for everything. I got to go barefoot skiing, attempt barrel rolls on the tube, whiz through the ropes course in under and hour, and play knockout for about 2 hours every day. They were not the sit in the cabin and sleep type of crowd, although we did spend a FAIR amount of time making friendship bracelets with string and beads. Possibly the greatest blessing of the week was when the girls in my cabin served me beyond their understanding. I hate cabin cleanup, and yes, I know everyone hates cabin cleanup...but it brings out the worst in me. So I was ELATED (sarcasm) to hear that ours would be postponed as it was because the trip leader evaluation meeting was the final morning of camp, at 8 am...right when cabin cleanup should start. So, I made sure the girls had things packed the night before and I relied on Amy and Ally to get things "started" since they had plenty of experience. I expected to come back to find girls still dragging their luggage out of our cabin, step one of the whole process. I ended up being in the trip leader meeting for an hour and walking back to the cabin, slowly asking God for patience and love in the midst of misery. I am dramatic. When I opened the cabin door it sparkled. It was SPOTLESS! Without any of my help, whining, pushing, and nagging they had finished the whole process without me. Are you kidding? Talk about senior leadership. We had an hour to spend hanging out as a cabin at the point, just talking and rehashing the week. Thank you God...thank you, thank you, thank you.

For the first time since I have been leading, we went to camp with other schools from our region. This was great in so many ways. From a leader perspective it was such a blessing to have other people pulling for you, people who REALLY know what you are dealing with because they even know some of your kids. Leader meetings felt like fellowship and I felt so blessed to be part of a much bigger team of warriors. I received constant encouragement and affirmation that only helped to give me energy...and God knows I needed that. From a camper point of view, we had students making friends with tons of peers from their rival high school in Cincinnati, as well as some huge schools in Columbus. They made friends, caught visions, and made so many contacts for college with people who shared the same experience as them. None of us felt like we were fighting the fight alone...and seeing other warriors, high school students and leaders alike, just helped me to feel that much more bold in my faith.

It was such an honor to see friends of mine from Columbus love on their friends. It is such a testament to their relationships with the Lord. I had the opportunity to see Crock and Chilcoat take leadership of their teams and yet still be fighting on the level of everyone else. Awesome, awesome stuff.

It was hard to leave there. It really marks the end of my 4 years in the Buckeye Region in more ways than one. Like I said yesterday, so many emotions of the past 3 years are wrapped up in my perception of Saranac, and I felt Satan pulling me in a lot of directions while I was there. God was so merciful every time I was brought to my knees. The climax of all of this was Cece getting sick. On day three, 5 of us woke up at 6 to go barefoot skiing, one of the most amazing things I have ever done in my life. That evening, Cece started feeling sick during cabin time. I went to be ASAP once we were done and work at 1245 to her puking. Amy was up as well. After about 10 minutes I got the radio from the leader's lounge to get a hold of the EMT. She came over and sat with the two of us for an hour before Cece felt well enough to get some sleep. We all thought we were in the clear until an hour later I can hear her puking again. I call the EMT and she comes back over to our cabin. Anna and I sit with Cece, while Amy lies awake in her bed, until 4 am, just helpless to the pain that she is in.

I feel so bad that Anna is hanging around so I tell her that she is welcome to go, that I can stay up with Cece. She was amazing. She refuses to leave me alone and blesses me so much at a time when I knew I would lose it. Man, wow God. Thats it for now. More to come.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Only a week?

Welp...its been a week, but it feels like I have been absent from the blog world for a month. I am just posting a teaser tonight because there is much to catch you up on. Last week I was so blessed to spend an amazing week at Young Life's Saranac Village with some of my best friends. The Lord did so much to affirm the call to stay involved in this ministry. My heart aches to leave that place in all of its glory because of how full and deep the time was that I spent there 3 summers ago.

There is something so huge about seeing the Lord totally wreck high school students and then pick up the pieces that I just can't put it to words, but I will try and drop some stories this week.

In Charleston, WV for two nights and then Charlotte Tuesday morning. Summer flies when you are having fun. :)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

I showed up.

Tonight my co-leader Nate asked me how I am doing in my time with the Lord since moving to Charlotte. I immediately answered, "amazing...probably the best time I have ever had with the Lord in my 6 years of really being a follower of Christ." Really, this is probably honestly the only time I could have ever given an answer like that and truly meant it. It's not that God has spoken to me more all of a sudden since being down here, or that I get to spend lots of time outside in His creation, but rather...I have showed up. I have been listening and being obedient when He has called me to spend time in prayer or His word.

It blows my mind that He never leaves us. Really..all this time that I couldn't honestly say that I was having "mind-blowing" (for lack of a better adjective) time with the Lord...I was giving it up willingly by not giving in to His will for me. This summer is such a gift. It was slow coming for me to get a job...(I have a waitressing job now as of next week when we get back from Saranac) well as slow going making friends (which if you know me is painstakingly hard). But I know that He is here with me in Charlotte, and I know that he is giving me copious amounts of time with Him where I am so encouraged and reassured about the future. And I have no idea what it will shape up to be. So...I'm okay with that.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

two top tens there are some things that I have experienced in the past few weeks of being in North Carolina that seem essential to me learning how to fit in down here.

1. The city center of Charlotte is not referred to as the "downtown" area, but rather, the "Uptown" U.
2. Southern people don't enunciate. My friend Andrew who I know from summers at Kiawah is from Statesville, NC...about an hour north of Charlotte. He told me that NASCAR fans don't particularly like Dale Earnhart, Jr. for one reason...he enunciates. Props to you Mr. Earnhart. You just won my non-southern heart.
3. NASCAR is big. REAL big here.
4. wassup is one word not two.
5. My new BFF Julia prefers that you slur her name to where it sounds something like Jewya.
6. Being a Christian is part of the culture, not necessarily something you choose.
7. Churches are about as abundant as gas stations.
8. Chicken for breakfast is a staple (i.e Bojangles).
9. Everyone really is friendlier in the South.
10. Some of the most generous people I know have treated me since being here. It's crazy how big their hearts are!

Things I miss about living with Molly O:
1. Always being called Jackleen.
2. Random outburts of singing about life's daily activities. (It is a known fact that Molly sings about using the toilet, cooking pizzas, walking down the stairs, and sitting on the couch.)
3. Laughing so hard that I almost cry when Molly does impressions of other people.
4. Random crying outburts followed by either: I am going to miss you so much. I can't believe we are moving...OR...I just love Logan so much, do you think we will be okay when I move for the summer?
5. Sitting on her bed ready to go out for the night, while I watch Molly spend another hour doing her makeup and hair.
6. Having Molly ask my opinion on an outfit and then seeing her end up in the opposite of what I suggested.
7. Always having a constantly growing pile of clothes for Goodwill.
8. Eating out as a simple excuse to just do something with the two of us.
9. Watching movies alone because Molly always fall asleep.
10. Hashing out life's joys and hardships on my blue futon.

How I love good 'ol Molly O!

God is changing my heart

First off, for the 3 of you that actually read this, I apologize for not blogging for so long. It has actually been a pretty busy week.

If I am being honest I have felt overwhelmed lately. It was hard to come here with no expectations at all, and in the midst of being in the craziness of the past few weeks, I have been blindsided again and again with the fact that God has His own timing, and it is so much better than mine. It has been a lonely and slow adventure, but I am praying every day that I come closer to a place where I need no one but the Lord. I am the kind of person who will constantly substitute one-on-one time with the Lord for some fellowship with friends. I have a tendency to never say no when someone invites me to do something, and in doing so I fall back on the comfort and ease that comes with being surrounded by people. When I was on summer staff for a month at a Young Life camp I remember avoiding my quiet times because I did not want to miss out on the conversation that was constantly going on. It was easy for me to make excuses to just be with other people because we were having fruitful conversation...and they were Christians after all.

When it comes down to it, my relationship with Christ STRUGGLES and FALTERS when I choose to not spend alone time with him. If I were to constantly tell my friend Molly that I couldn't hang out with her one-on-one because I would rather hang out with a big group of our other friends, I would miss out on so many things about her. It is unfathomable to me to think of blowing off one-on-one time with Molly, so why is it so easy to do it with the God of the UNIVERSE? (not that Molly isn't up there in the whole universe spectrum). I get lonely, and I am really learning to come to a place where I crave time with my God...just me and HIM (how's that for good english?). Since being here I can tell when I have good days and bad, they are directly coorelated to the time I spend in the word or praying. On bad days I have a nervous feeling all day, like I have made the wrong decision in moving, like I will never get a job, like I won't make friends. This feeling almost immediately turns to peace when I sit down and let myself be reminded by the Lord that he will sustain me. One of the notes in my Bible today said this: "Needing people's approval in an unbalanced way can steal away our destinies" and this "God is working MIGHTILY on my behalf."

So, I am working on only seeking approval and validation from my Lord, I can't please everyone, so sometimes I need to back up, take a breather and consult with my God. That being said, I am spending the next few days consulting with the Lord on a huge decision. I have decided to follow Pauls example and not "confer with the flesh" just yet. I need to rely on the Spirit that is in me (John 14:17) before I start to seek the wise counsel of others.

FYI: I got a job. crazy right. After Young Life camp (June 13-21) I head in for training at Firebirds wood grilled cuisine restaurant. Exciting I know. You can hardly hold it in. A dream job for a colelge graduate and just what I would have thought after coming out of college with an English major.

That enough for this post and the subject matter is going ot change dramatically on the next so hold your pants up Michael...I know you're looking for the "non-scripture" stuff.

Friday, June 5, 2009

'Tis a bummer

I was totally looking forward to seeing a FREE, OUTDOOR performance of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night tonight. It is raining, which is what it did all yesterday (monsoon rains last night) and all morning. There was about 5 hours of great sun this afternoon, and now were back to rain. The dork in me is so NOT embarrassed to express my sadness at the state of the weather right now because its Shakespeare! My favorite and what I think is his funniest.

Anyway, the rain here doesn't really get to me, because like I have said before...its crazy when it rains. There is sun during rain and sun almost right after the clouds here just most faster? Schweird. In and out folks. Like this post. I am so funny.
Well, this week has been a little more occupied with events that have taken up some of my time! I never thought I'd be feeling this much longing for busy-ness. I was lucky to spend some time with Justin (YL metro director in Charlotte) and Amie this week at their house, along with Holly and Neil Gardner (Neil is on staff here too), and some Columbus high school grads that are attending Queens University. It was the first time I have felt at home with a lot of these people. It was so great. We really got ot just sit down over a great meal and chat all together.

I have sorted out my living situation from now until August and will be staying in a condo of a Young Life parent here while she closes on her house in Pennsylvania. I am there until August 9th and after that we are up in the air again.

I had the great opportunity of doing lunch with my friend Andrew, who I met at Kiawah about 6(? wow that long) years ago. Andrew and the four guys that he was at Kiawah with in the summer became fast friends for my sister, cousins and I. It was great to catch up with him and we ate at a great restaurant called Firebirds. Our server was such a nice guy and threw me a bone on the job application thing. He informed me that they were for sure hiring and gave me an optimistic nudge to apply. It was great to see Andrew and nice to know that I know one person down here prior to the 3 weeks of living here. :)

This morning I had such a great opportunity to have coffee with a Young Life committee mom. She is born and raised a Carolinian, but lived in the midwest for 18 years after getting married, only ot head back South. She is so generous and helpful, so it was great to be around her family this afternoon to babysit. I got ot hang out with her two wild and crazy sons. We had a water gun fight and then just sat out in the yard talking and playing. Her daughter heads off to Frontier tomorrow for her first week of young life camp as a high school student. My gosh I was almost at the point of tears remembering what that first year was like. It is something that I will never get back but also memories that I will never forget. There is just something about how special Young Life camp is when you are in high school. As a leader now I can't think of anything greater than experiencing camp through the eyes of someone who has never been. You can't even imagine or describe it. What a blessing this ministry is! I am so thankful God put its roots in Jim Rayburn's heart and that He has lead me to be a part of it.

Tomorrow I head out on my own to the US National Whitewater Center about an hour away. I will be participating in National Trails Day. I signed up at the REI store that I applied to work at, so I am hoping this will be a little bit of an in because many employees are participating. We are cleaning up trails for a few hours, then we get a free lunch and a free t-shirt. Later on I am babysitting for the boys again so it should be a great Saturday. Pray that I am bold in meeting friends and seek validation only in the Lord so that I can just be me!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Weekend of epic proportions

It has been a while, but I can assure you that I had a great weekend. I was lucky enough to head back to Cincinnati to tie up some loose ends, attend some grad parties, say some college goodbyes and see some amazing high school friends graduate from Mariemont.

I did not have to drive the 8+ hours alone because I grabbed Sarah (Mariemont grad '06) on my way north, as she is taking classes at UNC for the month. We stopped to eat lunch in Charleston at my parents house and my favorite thing happened: the dogs got out. First of all, why do we have two dogs again? Second of all it was my fault...I did not tell Sarah to close the door quickly behind her. So, I walk inside and start ot make lunch until I realize no dogs begging by the refrigerator...strange sign in our house. The front door is wide open and no dogs are anywhere in sight. I grab a bone and head down the driveway and see them both staring at me, then proceeding ot run the other way. Rocca is an easy catch because he sees that I have a bone, fat kid that he is, but Brady the asian-dog space-cadet is chasing a butterfly like an idiot. I proceed to chase him into the woods until I can grab his collar and walk him back down the entire driveway as such. i.e. I will not have my own dog until my kids beg me to death. I would just as well let them run away but I would have to deal with the wrath. :)

While in Cincinnati Molly and I tackled the daunting task of winning back our security deposit in a cleaning contest. But really, moving is so miserable, but cleaning is worse. Not to mention we had to pay 60 bucks to get the carpets, that are the consistency of hardwood floor, shampooed. Bush league. But! Molly and I got to do all of this together, including visit Goodwill with a years worth of donated clothes and other stuff. I always have fun doing miserable things with Molly because she has a great sense of humor...she keeps it interesting. I got to hang out with my new BFF Henry who begs me for a ride every night...j/k...but really I am his chauffeur. He surprised me with a great gift as a token of his appreciation, so we're even. Hi Clyde.

Sarah's younger sister Amy is our main YL girl at Mariemont, one of my best friends, and an '09 high school grad. Her mom threw and "Amypalooza" on Saturday with family and close friends, and I was so happy to attend. She has an awesome family and it reminded me so much of my own. Her mom has 2 sisters and they are so close...same tendencies. Everyone got a chance to tell stories about Amy, and it was such a testament to her faith to hear how much she sought the Lord even as a little Amy. I admire her quite a bit. The high schoolers graduated on Sunday night and I was overwhelmingly sad. It was a harsh reality that I know so many of those names and faces, and so many of them do not know the Lord. I am reassured that the Lord has used me, and that they are not lost just because they did not come to know him in high school. My best friends are spreading out over the country and I am far more sad now than I was at my own high school grad 4 years ago. What does that tell ya about relationships? :)

After graduation I went up to Oxford to visit some Miami friends. I don't see these friends much and they are for the most part relatively new friendships. We pulled a 4 am nighter (not to be confused with an all-nighter) that consisted of tears over Kris Allen, a brief bonfire, lots of talking about Fairfield (of course), and a 4 on 1 checkers game where Jordan single-handedly took the cake. Lucky for him I let Travis (whose mind was too busy thinking about Kris Allen) make some bad moves. Not a lot of sleep, but quality time and a great sleepover with Maddie. :) In all of those things I rejoice.

So, today I am back in Charlotte and I continue the job search. I have an interview with Human Resources at the Charlotte Suites Hotel at 1 pm for a job as (I think?) a hotel restaurant hostess. Clearly not ideal, but I rejoice in the fact that it is a lead. I am trying to be patient. I was reading the first chapter of Acts this weekend and God spoke right to my heart. After Jesus was resurrected, he appread to the disciples. He came and spoke with them and then left with the promise that they would see him again. The version that I have says that they prepared to wait "indefinitly." Really, "INDEFINITLY?" That is a scary thought, that God's timing really has no bearing in time at all. But, it was a reassuring thought that Jesus keeps his promises. The commentary said this: "Even when we do not 'see' something or 'feel' that God is working, He is working MIGHTILY in our behalf. We inherit the promises of God through faith and patience." I am trying to really be patient and rely on faith, yet be proactive at the same time in this job search process. Pray that I might be patient...

"For you have need of steadfast patience and endurance, so that you may perform and fully accomplish the will of God, and thus receive and carry away [and enjoy to the full] what is promised." Hebrews 10:36

Thursday, May 28, 2009

"Do not worry about tomorrow" (Matt 6:34)

I am really experiencing what it means to trust in the Lord. Yesterday I spent more time going to about 7 different restaurants applying and then did some more online applications for some non-profit jobs and some other random jobs. I went over to REI (Recreational Equipment Inc.) today to apply there. It is one of the few jobs that I applied for that I would LOVE to get. They are not hiring, just like everyone else, but I submitted an application anyway. Plus I met some cool people and I think that I am going to volunteer to clean some hiking trails with them next Saturday at a special community event. Who knows? I have never been one ot stick to one group of friends. And here I have room, I have room for love.

It is crazy being down different it is. I am truly in the Bible belt. I feel like it is taboo not to be a Christian. That can go a lot of different ways, but so far it has been great to help me be able to just spark conversations with random people that I meet. This happened when I was getting my haircut and while I was doing some pottery at a studio. It is a great way to network too because lots of people here have money and good connections.

Anyway, short post tonight. I have to get up at 545 and be on the road by 6 am to meet Sarah Satt an hour north and drive up to Cincinnati for the weekend. I can't wait to see friends. I am looking forward to the weekend and not the drive, but am excited to be heading with Sarah. She was on the first camp trip I took with Mariemont and will be a senior in college next year. good times.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I love the Library.

Phew. Back to Charlotte from Rockbridge, VA as of yesterday early evening. I had such a great weekend and the time spent in worship and learning was the most quality leader weekend that I have been to yet. Mike C. from Columbus and Matt G. from Virgina did not hold back. I may share some more specifics of this stuff later. Still processing and unloading my thoughts.

I was so lucky to have been blessed with some great time with friends. Two Mariemont seniors came with and it was so neat seeing how our friendships will blossom into something so much more mature and equal in the months/years to come as they go away to college. I am so thankful for the relationship that I have with Laura, my YL leader from high school, that I know I have only better things to look forward to in the future. I also got to see lots of friends from Columbus, Miami and Athens who I have not seen for a while. All in all many many fun things crammed into 4 short days.

I am curently back at the library to use the internet. I have been here for about 2 hours so my time is dwindling quickly. I had the opportunity to go to a Memorial Day cookout last night at the invitation of a couple who leads young life here. I was REALLY nervous on my way there. It is hard being in this situation really not knowing anyone, but moreso being the only new person. That makes it way different from both boarding school and college experiences. I have to enter each new and different situation on my own and it is IMPERATIVE for me to lean on the Lord for that confidence and assurance that is necessary in those situations. I was greeted by about 6 married couples who I believe that I ascertained are all in the same church group together. Interesting. haha. I was able to really connect with two of the women and was excited and so thankful for that time of relaxing together and making connections. I had such a great time and came home pretty early because I was exhausted from Rockbridge.

I am anxious to start making some friends down here who are in the same stage of life as I am. I have found no lack of women who are fully capable of providing great fellowhsip and mentoring, but am also looking forward to meeting some single people my age. Not for the sake of a boyfriend..NOT for the sake of a boyfriend, but just to be able to share with others who are also experiencing a lot of the same things post college graduation. I was able to chat with a friend of mine from Miami who is moving down here in July for Teach for America. We connected at Rockbridge and it will be a welcome relief to me when he moves down here.

Today I got my haircut and went grocery shopping. I rode my bike over to the library and have been facebooking, answering and writing emails and job searching. I found a YMCA, a YWCA, a BBT branch to do banking, a pottery place to make some grad gifts, a church, information about being a substitute teacher, applied for a job with Teach for America and one with the YWCA that I would REALLY like, and found a church to get connected with. PHEW! Still hoping for some nannying leads and will be heading to a nearby restaurant today to see if they are hiring.

I just need prayers now to be reminded that everything does not happen at once. God will bless me in this process but on His own time. I can't expect to settle into a normal and perfect routine within 3 weeks of moving here. I am continually being blessed in the process. Thanks for your prayers and see you soon!

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Okay. It's my first post from Charlotta, a monumental post, and I am all a flutter with things to say. So far I am feeling lots of things: welcomed, BLESSED, nervous, scared, lonely (not in a "feel sorry for me" way), lost (both metaphorically and literally), etc. This is a big city. I am a little fish. I have this great community of Young Life people who have been unbelievable, bending over backwards to get me acclimated, but I am still really trying to sit back and see what the Lord desires for me here.

I was reading Exodus last night - starting with chapter one and just exploring what God did with Moses. It reminded me that God does not change everything all at once. There are steps that He takes to get us to where he ultimately desires. Moses was leaving a place of bondage, and I am trying to figure out where that fits in with me...but I think it has something to do with a personal, internal bondage. Not sure yet... I got a new Bible for graduation from one of my best Cincinnati friends for whom I babysit. It is a translation that is rare and that I love.

Last night when I got here, Steve and Lisa Gardner showed me around their home, and let me play with their two kiddos. They were finishing up packing for their month long assignment. Justin (metro director of YL here in Charlotte) and Amie Robillard came over and brought me dinner, then took me out to get ice cream. Once we got back Steve and I unpacked my car and I am all moved in. I get pretty spotty internet over at Steve's. I have been considering the purchase of a laptop anyway, but this may spur me on even more. We will see. I will not be getting a MAC. I am currently at the library where I have a three month internet pass for free. A guest pass to check out books is $45 for 3 months. DOUBT IT. But I love books, so I might have to figure something out.

Today I played with Steve's kids in "my" apartment while he and Lisa finished getting ready to leave. They are crazy and not shy at all so listening to music and making bracelets was REALLY fun and REALLY wild. I had lunch this afternoon with Justin, Amanda, Neil and Holly. All of them are Ohio transplants to NC and three of them are on staff. All of them are married. It was such a good time and they are being so gracious in helping me to learn as much as I can about the ministry down here. I am still not sure what the Lord has for me in both the ministry or jobs. I have called the TPC golf course here two times today and not heard back. Nannying calls and emails are out, waiting to be returned as well.

Tonight is Campaigners for Myers Park High School. It is held in "my" new apartment so I had planned on making myself invisible, but Justin asked me to stay around since they won't have a girl leader there tonight. So, I will stay around. So much happening in so little time. But I am trying to be conscious of how God is working in all of it. So...ok. Pictures to come soon.

Can't find a bank. Don't know what grocery to go to. Library is my favorite place in Charlotte, coincidentally I have been to two of them already today. So...I am exciting :)