Thursday, June 24, 2010

A New Dream

Today I started thinking about where I want to live after college. It's something I've thought about before, but have always been overwhelmed by it, so just stopped thinking about it for now. Today I decided to let my mind wander. I'm reading a book set in South Carolina, near the coast. I guess it inspired me to find out more about that area. I've been to SC before, and it's gorgeous there. I have been wanting lately to live near the coast. I love the beach so much. I know I won't be able to afford beach front property, but just living near it would be amazing. I also want to be in a smaller town or just outside town. So I started looking at different coastal towns in SC. Eventually I started looking at houses and my mind went wild with possibilities. So here's what's shaped in my mind so far:

Picture a small house just off a quiet street. It's a pretty pastel color-maybe light blue or yellow-with white trim. There are flower pots and a rocking chair on the front porch. You can smell salt in the air and know you're close to the coast. Inside the colors are soft but bright. Lots of whites, blues, greens, pinks, and purples. The furniture looks like it has been there for fifty years, and while it doesn't all match, it compliments each other. There are accents from all over the world, and pieces I've collected over the years. Porcelain dolls from Austria, a tea pot from England, lace from Romania, sand in a jar from Florida, cowboy boots by the fireplace, black and white photographs of historic places, and pictures of friends and family. It feels comfortable and lived in. Two dogs nap on the couch. A cat wanders through the living room. The back yard is neat and shady with plenty of space to have a cookout. A hammock provides the perfect place to read or catch a nap. The house reflects all the facets of my personality and fits me perfectly.

I have a job that I enjoy doing. It may not seem exciting and full of drama to some people, but I make a difference and enjoy the work. I find a small-ish church that I love and get involved in. I make it down to the beach several times a week to walk the dogs or enjoy a sunset. I try to talk myself into running or going to a gym every once and a while. I take day trips to nearby historical towns to take pictures. In my spare time I'm working on my house or yard, or editing pictures, reading, or learning how to do something.

I envision a quiet kind of life, somewhat secluded until I establish relationships. I never thought I'd be happy living by myself, but it's becoming more and more desirable. I could do what I wanted, when I wanted. I would be free to make some decisions for myself, doing what's best for me at the time. It think it would be a time for me to grow a lot and get a good start in "the real world." Hopefully I would spend time growing in my relationship to God, finding lasting relationships with people, especially older women who could mentor me, and developing my character more.

Now, I know very well that all of this will not happen exactly like I want it to. That's why they call it a dream. But it is something I can work towards. I'm excited to finally have some direction now.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Commentary and Messages

It's been a while since I posted, so I figured it was time. I always have a myriad of things to say, but when I actually sit down to write, it escapes me. There are so many things through the day that I want to say. My mind is like a running commentary on the world around me and how it effects me. Take lunch today for example. I was in Austin working, and decided to go out to lunch instead of bringing my lunch with me. It breaks up the routine and honestly I was ready to get out of the office for a while. I finally found my way out of the sketchy part of town where I work, and went to a deli. I went inside, ordered food, and sat down at a table. Shortly my food came out and I began to eat. I was in just the right spot to watch people as they walked by, getting food and finding tables. So naturally I added commentary in my head.

I also did something I haven't done in a while. I got my plate, picked up my fork, and thought, "I need to say the blessing." I had already taken a bite. But then I thought, "What if I talk to God as I'm eating? Like I would do if I were eating with a friend." Now before you go thinking I got all spiritual and holier than thou during lunch, I'll clear things up for you. It wasn't earth shattering. The heavens didn't open up right there in Jason's Deli and shine down on me. It was more like a text message conversation between me and God. I shot him a few quick messages, and he even responded. Or, more accurately, I read his response. I had been having a craptastic morning (being Monday and all) and after that, my mood lifted a bit. I didn't skip outside, but I at least had enough peace to finish the day at work. I think it's a good start. Tomorrow I'm going to find another way to have a conversation. Perhaps we'll even progress to a phone call. :)

Friday, June 11, 2010

My Favorite Jeans

I'm trying out a new look for my blog. Not sure if I like it yet or not. Seems a little hard to read. Feedback?

I'm back in Mississippi right now. It always feels good to come back here. It's like putting on your favorite pair of jeans. It's comfortable and familiar. They're soft and worn-in, fitting perfectly in every way. I don't always wear my favorite pair of jeans, but I'll never throw them away. I'll pull them out every once and a while and remember all the memories that were made while wearing them.

Every time I think about it, It's like the realization hits me anew each time--I'm a senior. This is my last year of being a college student. Wow. I'm sad, excited, and apprehensive all at the same time. I know I'll be ready to move onto the next thing by next year, but for now I'm going to enjoy what's left.

This week was so tiring. I was almost to the point of burnout by the time it had ended. I worked every day but today, and helped at VBS at night. So there were a couple days I left at 7 and didn't get back home til 10 that night. That makes for a terribly long day. I don't when I have been so exhausted. One day at work I fell asleep at the computer! Not good. It didn't help that I kept finding unfriendlies (in the form of scorpions) in my room. Now, not much bothers me or freaks me out. Not snakes, bugs, rats, and even most spiders. But scorpions are a different things altogether. They are creeptastic. Ick. I wasn't so much of a chicken as not to fix the problem when it presented itself, but what I really wanted to do was stand on my chair and yell for my dad to come and kill it for me. I think he wouldn't have like that very much, because it was late at night, so I cowgirl-upped. Didn't have to like it though. So there were several things that made this week long. But I'm finally to the weekend and back in Mississippi.

Sunday starts the beginning of a grand adventure with my awesome friend/roomie! :) I'm so very excited for her to come and visit me in Texas. I plan on showing her some of the flavors of the area we live in and some Texas culture in general. Aside from that, we have girl-talk to catch up on. I've missed her, my sister, my other roomie, and all my amazing friends soooooo much already this summer. I depend on them to be there for me, and they always are. I love y'all so much.

I'd like you to keep someone in your prayers, as he is in mine. A very good friend is spending his summer in Peru, and could use prayers for his health, patience, guidance, and for him to be open for God to use him this summer. Whether he reaches one or one hundred, it will be all for God's glory.

Here's some MSU news for you: my brother will now be joining ranks as an official Bulldog this fall! I'm so happy he's decided to come here. Also, cowbells have been legalized in the stadium again. What an amazing year this is going to be!!!

But for now, let's enjoy what's left of summer. It may have its downs, but when else can you find that deeply warm feeling of the sun on your face, playing in the water wherever you can find it, riding with the windows down blaring the newest summer tune, lazy evenings grilling with the family, and late night talks in the humid air under the stars. All these things are priceless to me.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Redeeming Love

Last night I finished reading "Redeeming Love" by Francine Rivers. If you haven't read this book, you need to. I don't care if you're a guy or a girl, 20 or 80. You need to read it. This is not your normal Christian fiction book. I wouldn't call it a pleasure read either, because as I was reading this book, I was convicted, and I cried. If you don't know anything about the book, I won't give anything away, but I'll tell you it's a story like that of Hosea in the Bible. I identified with Angel more than I would like to admit. I found in her my own weaknesses and vices, fears and doubts. I began to love Michael as she did, and have raised my standards quite a bit because of it. I don't know if there are guys like Michael in existence today, outside of fiction, but I've decided to wait and see. I'll wait forever, if that's what it takes. Unconditional love has been something that I've known about, but never really seen an example that touched me like this book. It's amazing to me that every time we go back to our old, reckless, dirty ways, God comes to get us and waits for us to come back into His arms. I found a way back to God and to the forgiveness he offers freely if we only ask. I don't want to wander from Him again. I probably will, because I'm human, but knowing that He'll always be there with me is a feeling I can't describe. He loves me. Really loves me.

It struck me that there are two kind of loves. There's the love that you think is the real thing. You feel amazing when they are near you. You dismiss their faults, ignoring them when they come up and only looking at the good things. It's a love of convenience. You cling to them like they are the only thing that can give you happiness and worth. You would do anything to be with them, even things that aren't right. But in your mind, it's justified because you "love" them. When they leave, the hurt you feel is indescribable. It feels like your heart is sinking inside your body. You know you shouldn't feel like that but can't help it.

The other love is different. You still feel amazing when they're around. But that person isn't you sole source of happiness and worth. They add to it substantially, but both of you know that only God makes you whole and gives you worth. This is a love that lasts a lifetime, not just for a season. I don't know everything about this love, because I've never experienced it, but it is my goal.