Quick weekend recap: Traveled to Maryland early this week and spent two much-needed nights with my grandfather; I would drive up there again myself if I could just to relive the joy on his face when we were there. After Maryland, we headed down the coast to our nation's capital to watch the Military Bowl, but unfortunately, the Pirates faced a devastating defeat. But it was still a lot of fun, especially at the tailgating party beforehand! We decided to spend the night in the city and ended upstrolling around DC afterwards, looking at all the city lights and buildings thatremained decorated for Christmas. (Gosh, I just love the buzz and the people and the window displays in cities like Washington. I am such a city girl!) We woke up this morning for a brisk walk and grabbed breakfast before heading back to North Carolina. And let me just say, the day ended perfectly (that is besides the bumper-to-bumper traffic for three hours). A double-overtime bowl game with an insane finish, and my Heels pulled out a 30-27 win! Born a Pirate, bred a Tar Heel.Anywho, I already posted about some of my memories from this year. I'm so ready for a fresh start, for the new year feels like it turns over a new leaf for me. I know it's just the next day on the calendar, but there's something enlivening and unexpected about what's to come when the ball drops. First night here I come!
Friday, December 31, 2010
"Here's to the bright New Year, and a fond farewell to the old; here's to the things that are yet to come, and to the memories that we hold."
Monday, December 27, 2010
I think the bizarre/horrific parts of the movie have worn off, so I might listen to my Swan Lake soundtrack as I travel this week. I'm heading up north to Maryland and then Washington D.C. for the ECU bowl game, then to Charlotte for the weekend. I'm almost getting used to living out of my duffel.
Sunday, December 26, 2010
What a year.
With the snow falling six inches deep outside, keeping me snuggled inside for the morning with endless cups of coffee and homemade lattes, I have some time to reflect on what the year Two Thousand and Ten has brought.
- Second semester senior year. A trying time for me, I can remember praying for high school to end, I was so ready to get out of there. Those months were filled with both good and bad. I learned to persevere and love my (fr)enemies; I learned the value of true friendships. I fell in love with my newspaper position and knew I would miss it greatly. Loved the laid-back feel in my classes after receiving my acceptance letter, hated being idle. Prom, Charleston, graduation. Looking back, it flew by, despite my feelings at the time that it could never come soon enough.
- A lovely summer. The first of which I mostly stayed home, working at a summer camp and enjoying time off. Stayed away from relationships and got back on my own two feet, becoming genuinely content with being single for the first time in a long time. Visited my grandmother for the final time, met my beautiful new cousins, spent time with my best friends. Entered the blogging world.
- Entire semester at college. Phew. Never would I have guessed college would have been so busy. I got through it, blessed by the formation of new friendships and suitemates who continually demonstrate Christ's love. Love my sorority, love my campus. Struggles came with old friends, but I couldn't bear to lose the lifelong treasure that only they can possess. Began to meddle through my passions, grew a desire to study in Spain for a semester next year. Cocktail parties, finals, my 19th birthday. Tough choices and experiences. Tears, celebration, concentration, and laughter encapsulated these past few months.Who knows what the year Two Thousand and Eleven will bring.
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Friday, December 24, 2010
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
recipe from Maria Vastola
1 3/4 c. flour
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. peanut butter
2 tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 pkg. Hershey's Kisses, unwrapped (any kind, but Maria used Caramel Kisses and Hugs)
Preheat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit. Combine ingredients. Roll into 1" balls, roll balls in sugar. Bake on cookie sheet for about 10-12 minutes. Top with chocolate Kiss immediately upon removal from oven.
Sunday, December 19, 2010
"The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These people have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen."
Point A: You never know how amazing a queen sized bed feels after you've been sleeping on a nasty worn-out twin sized one at college. Especially after you've been told that your room used to be the room of two gross freshman boys.Point B: The only bad part about breaks is being away from the rooms/suitemates. Love y'all.Point C: Why have I not listened to Train until now, besides their overplayed singles that is? They are incred. Parachute is a current favorite.Point D: I'm convinced Kate Middleton is flawless. Not only is she engaged to Prince William, she's freaking gorgeous. And I'm a teensy eensy bit jealous, if you couldn't tell. I want her wardrobe, her sapphire ring, her hair. Ugh some people just have it all.Point E: Flash raves are scary. And so are psychological thrillers involving Swan Lake melodies. Quite horrifying, actually.Point F: I. Am. Going. To. Blog. More. No more finalssss! Take that Chapel Hill education. All A's and 1 B, what up, I think I can handle you. Maybe I'll even apply for the DTH next semester?Point G: I'm 19. What an awkward age. It's sort of like 17, but not as cool because you're in college now, not high school. But holy wow next year I'll be 20, which sounds way more legit.Point I: Have I mentioned how good it is to be home?
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Monday, November 29, 2010
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Monday, November 22, 2010
He trudges on, pedaling arduously. He travels for miles and miles, with nothing but the sound of bicycle tires spinning on the pavement. June’s rays illuminate the road ahead but harshly darken the skin around his Teva-sandaled feet. Carrying merely what his bike can hold, he moves forward to the next destination on the map. Distinct white lines catch the corner of his eye as he looks for a place to rest his head for the night. Sunset falls; he sets up camp and sleeps until dawn. Day breaks; he awakens in search of a nearby diner before embarking again toward the California coast. This morning, bitter black coffee will just have to do. He climbs back on his beloved 1970 Schwinn bicycle in search for something new to behold. Perhaps he’ll meet a friendly face or encounter a mountain range or even take a wrong exit off the highway and find himself terribly lost. Distance and solitude encompass his journey. Time stops, only nature consumes his thoughts. Away from home and away from a schedule, he desires only the necessary and relishes in the peace of endless possibility.
He began his journey in Emerald Isle, mid-spring, with another bicyclist. After his companion grew weary of the tour and regressed home, he traveled solo, biking an average of seventy miles a day. To catch his breath, he stayed with a fine southern family in Georgia who provided absolute luxury in terms of a warm shower and cake for his twenty-fourth :) birthday. He faced challenges as the weeks progressed—backtracking eighteen miles for a forgotten book bag in South Carolina, two broken spokes in Mississippi, a sprinkler accident underneath his tent in Texas, voracious winds in Oklahoma (that made reading Grapes of Wrath during his travels absolutely fitting), and waiting hopelessly for a bike shop to open. Nevertheless, he continued. Although short-lived, he developed friendships with fellow cyclists and even learned the art of bee removal in Albuquerque. Deep conversations marked his contact with the people he encountered, giving him a respite from loneliness. But it was in the quiet moments, under his “speckled sky,” that he found peace. These were the moments he spent watching the desert sunsets, the moments he spent overlooking the immense Pacific Ocean, the moments he spent basking in the glory of the redwood forests. Sheltered by the shimmering stars and nestled between the rolling hills of the coast, he laid down to sleep, reminiscing his cross-country travel. Thinking. Dreaming. Believing.
Who is this he you ask? He is my brother—a brother five years older than I. A brother I never learned to appreciate until I noticed the zest and sparkle that characterized his life. Growing up, he and I were on the complete opposite ends of the spectrum. Always musically and poetically talented, he cared less about grades or society’s standards. Not afraid of change and always requiring very little, he did things for the sake of adventure and discovery, eventually earning money along the way to backpack across Europe. I, on the other hand, was the straight A student and a perfectionist in all sense of the word. I was the girl running back and forth from ballet class, the girl working draining hours after school in the newspaper room, the girl spending her Sunday afternoons scribbling to-do lists all over her planner. I guess that’s what makes us so different. But no matter the difference, he has something in himself that deep down I aspire to share. Do I have the ambition to travel alone across the country without the daily comforts that I am so accustomed to? Probably not. But his voyage emphasized contentment in a slower-paced way of life, serene moments of escape, and a return to a simplicity that I someday wish to experience myself. He saw the world from a different perspective—a perspective shaped by lush surroundings and meaningful individuals who helped him along the way. But most importantly, his perspective was shaped by embarking on a goal and achieving it, on his own, atop two wheels.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Friday, November 12, 2010
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
"Change is the essence of life; be willing to surrender who you are for who you could become."
"Sometimes you just need to distance yourself from people. If they care, they'll notice. If they don't, you know where you stand."
Change is inevitable, especially in college. People can say what they want, telling you you're turning into a completely different person, or that you're not the person that they want you to be. But you know what? Maybe a new environment is making you the person you're supposed to be. Maybe the new faces, the new experiences, your new-found ideas morph you into someone for the better. There's only so much you can do to please these people. Sometimes it's better to leave them be, stand on your own two feet for awhile, and trust your instincts. Change can be scary, but nonetheless necessary.
Friday, October 22, 2010
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
By Rachel Olsen
"Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life. Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God." Romans 8:5-6 (MSG)
There's a moment I dread when going to the doctor for a check-up. It's not putting on that tissue paper rectangle they mistakenly call a "gown." It's not having my finger pricked for blood tests - though I'm really squeamish about that. It's the moment right after the nurse finishes her questions, grabs her clip board, and announces the doctor will be in to see me shortly. Pulling the door closed behind her, she leaves me alone with it.
I already know what it's going to say about me; I've read it before. It's going to say that I don't measure up. That I'm not reaching my potential. That I don't equal my ideal. It's the height/weight chart that declares the perfect weight for my height - and I'm several pounds away.
It extends no mercy. It offers no grace. It makes no allowances for how old I am, how many babies I've birthed, or the fact that my husband can eat three plates of food every night without gaining an ounce. It demands perfection.
A few years ago I heard a verse that seemed to be the scriptural equivalent of the height/weight chart. A single verse to measure my worth against, and feed my expectations for perfection: "But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect." (Matt 5:48, NIV)
I figured this verse justified dressing my family in matching sweaters, in the middle of July, to take the Christmas card photo because I'd just gotten the perfect haircut. I figured it warranted pricey tooth whitening treatments because I drink coffee and tea, and it shows. And I figured it would be my defense when I drove my family nuts about deep-cleaning the entire house because my new friend said she might stop by.
While the verse came in handy when I needed to justify my quest for perfect teeth, perfect photos or a perfectly clean house, it added to my disappointment, guilt and occasional loathing when my life, body or family didn't match the ideal notions in my head. Rather than fostering perfection, it fueled my self-criticism. Surely this is not what Jesus intended!
In the years since hearing that verse, I've embraced a core conviction that goes like this: If God created life, He alone gets to define it. This conviction drove me to find out what exactly Jesus meant by "be perfect."
Matthew wrote this verse. And the word he used in the ancient Greek language means something a little different than Mr. Webster's English definition. The Greek word here is teleos and it means "complete, full grown, developing."
The first two pieces of that definition indicate something already accomplished, while the third indicates an ongoing process. So this perfection Jesus prescribes for us is already complete and yet still developing. Complete in Him; still at work in us. We're allowed to be a work-in-progress!
All parts of this definition, however, refer to maturity of character, rather than a flawless figure, immaculate home, or the faultless execution of a task. Jesus just doesn't care so much if there's dust on our mantle, a stain on our teeth, or a scratch on our car. He isn't interested in how well our bedspread matches our curtains; He's interested in our spiritual maturity. Jesus teaches I will not find my worth in my ability to reach my perfect weight or accomplish my to-do list flawlessly, but in the fact that I am learning to reflect His character. To graciously give and receive love.
That's good news for a recovering perfectionist. Plus, as John writes in 1 John 3:18-19 of The Message: "My dear children, let's not just talk about love; let's practice real love. This is the only way we'll know we're living truly, living in God's reality. It's also the way to shut down debilitating self-criticism, even when there is something to it."
Dear Lord, thank You for grace! Thank You for mercy! Thank You for empowering me to be like You as I submit to Your Word. And thank You for not caring about dust bunnies or stained shirts. Help me to care less about those things as well and focus my heart more on You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Spend time reading through the gospels, noticing what concerned Jesus and what did not.
What surface-level thing(s) have you been worrying over lately?
If it's not about your character, let it go as imperfect and rest in God's grace today.
Phil 3: 8-9, "More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith," (NASB)
- Tuesday night worship
- Alpha retreat in CHARLESTON this weekend
- Mallard Ball
- ECU Homecoming
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Quick bits on a Tuesday night. (I really do apologize for my extreme lack of time to blog. It's no good.)