Monday, March 16, 2009

Anne OD

I feel so sad right now. It could possibly be a result of watching all three Anne of Green Gables movies this weekend. There's just too much emotion going on because of those movies with all the love: unrequited love, and then a realization of love, before waiting for love and then finally a marriage filled with love, only to have a lost love and alas! in the last five minutes a reunited love at last. It's just plain exhausting. Anne with an e makes me tired because she is so emotional and Gilbert is so perfect it makes me sick. (Actually the thing that really makes me sick is that he's 43 and I find him attractive.) It's just been a weekend of waiting for them to finally be together and now that they are I feel sad because they're not real people and I've spent a weekend of emotions watching them and crying over them. I am pathetic.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Second Guessing My Major

Since my World Politics class of my freshman fall semester, I've been wondering if I made the right decision by declaring International Studies as my major. I love the idea of states as actors on the global stage and how that affects international order and consequently our lives every day. But whenever I'm sitting in one of my major classes, it seems soo incredibly boring. Before my first semester in college ever ended, one of my professors told us that international politics relies heavily on food, coffee, alcohol, and sex. My only thought was, What am I getting myself into? I'm all about some food and coffee but I mean I'm not trying to incorporate sex into my professional life.

Every semester it never fails: the class I struggle to stay awake in and struggle to read for is always my class for international studies. It makes me feel incredibly inadequate for life after college since I have a hard time understanding IR theories in the classroom, let alone applying them to real life situations.

Now I'm in my last class for IS ever - my senior seminar. The entire class revolves around a simulation of the CIA, State Department, and Department of Defense. It's probably going to kick my butt, but hopefully I'll finally learn something practical before I graduate. I'm responsible for knowing everything about terrorism and Political Islam, as it relates to the CIA. Talk about trying to catch up on what's been going on in the world for the past eight years! I am so behind on life right now.

And the real problem is that as I'm trying to read the news and figure out the deal with Gaza and Ahmadinejad and the new interrogation policy of the CIA, I'm getting so distracted by everything else more interesting has to offer like headline "Crumbling economy will make for thinner boxes of Thin Mints" (which is a shame because Thin Mints are my favorite Girl Scout cookies) and a video about former NFL player Ted Johnson (go Patriots!) wanting to donate his brain to science. Either I have ADD or I would rather think about brains and cookies than analyze terrorism and think about trying to get a real job one day.

It's pretty pathetic, since I'm almost done college and the most logical places for me to look for a job would be the CIA or State Department. But I do know that God is sovereign and He will place me where He wants me to be and where I can best glorify Him. I just need to be faithful to where He has me now. In my senior seminar. Reading news stories. All day long.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

See Ya Later, 2008

Because I love new beginnings so much, New Year's Day is one of my favorite days of the year: it is the biggest beginning. Before I start thinking ahead too much about all that 2009 has in store, I thought I should remember all that 2008 held. A lot happened- friendships were formed, some changed, and some were restored; I started working on a third language, Arabic; I read 71 books; I picked up two hobbies, jewelry making and card making; traveled to one new country; spent a lot of time with my family; made more money than I ever had; a couple of boys broke my heart, and maybe I broke a couple too; I went to my first Major League baseball game and had my first experience at a circus--the list goes on. But when I think about 2008, some specific things really stand out to me. And since I love lists, here it goes

1. Mission Trip to Venezuela
It was definitely one of the best trips I've been on. We had such a great group and I enjoyed the different ministries we did with poor children, college students on campus, and also the Student Life ministry through a church. I had the blessing of leading two girls to the Lord, and many other students also accepted Christ in the week we were in Maracaibo. The culture is so much fun with lots of dancing and staying up all night talking, and it was fun to experience South America for the first time.

2. Josh & Heather's Wedding
I love weddings, but when it's two of my closest friends who are marrying each other it's even more fun. Their wedding was also unique, because the entire wedding party was good friends and we had all been close since high school. It was such a fun weekend of spending time all together, something that won't happen very much since we're all moving and doing different things in our lives. Plus watching how the Lord has moved in Josh and Heather's lives to bring them to each other in His perfect timing was an encouragement.

3. Family Vacation
With Bradley heading off to boot camp in July, we were very blessed to be able to spend a week together at the beach with our whole family. We treasure the time we have together, since we know it's always limited with two kids in college and two kids married and living their own lives. We had such a relaxing and fun week, complete with a luau and trips to downtown Charleston. It may be the last vacation all of us have together for a very long time, and I certainly will remember it for forever and laugh at the funny memories we made.

4. Hokie Football
Every fall semester kind of revolves around football at VT. This season seemed like it was more fun, even if the games weren't always our best-played. Plus I actually went to more games and stayed for longer at each of them than I have in the past. We had great seats and a great group, and tailgating before every game with Nicole's Granny's food was an obvious bonus. Also it was my last season of Hokie football since I'll be studying abroad this coming fall. In that way it was bittersweet since it's such a central aspect of being a student at Virginia Tech.

5. Servant Team
A lot of my time both this past semester and spring semester was devoted to my responsibilities with CRU servant team. It was a big commitment and responsibility, but it was also a highlight of my year. I learned so much about ministry and working together and am so thankful. Leading World Team with Bryan was a lot of fun but also challenging, and I know God will use that in the future as I desire to do ministry overseas. Also the friendships I built through the team, especially with the other girls, were so incredible. I have never felt so loved and encouraged, and it was awesome to experience community in that way. One of my favorite parts of Servant Team was working on the Skit for Fall Retreat. We spent a lot of time working on it, yet we knew that it was only through Christ and how He would work in people's hearts would it be effective. It was by His grace and our constant prayer that it went so well. I think it might have impacted us more than those watching even.

6. Bible Study & Discipleship
I love my Bible study girls. That's all there is to it. This year I think we've gotten a lot closer and I'm thankful that the girls seem to be more comfortable sharing with each other. One of my favorite parts of Bible study is when we break into small groups and pray for each other. I love hearing four or five groups praying at the same time, lifting each other before the Lord and loving each other in that way. It's so encouraging. I also discipled Megan this year, and it's been amazing as we've gone and shared the gospel in PY and had conversations about spiritual things with students. Megan is so easy to love and our friendship has deepened in more ways than just in ministry.

7. Girlfriends
God has really been teaching me a lot about investing time and emotion into my girlfriends who can encourage me and help me in my walk with Christ. My roommates have been a lot of fun this semester, and I'm thankful that we all get along! We have good times just hanging out and also good talks about important things. I'm also thankful for the accountability group that I'm in, knowing those girls are there for me and we desire to grow in our walk with Christ together, committing to pray for each other and love each other through it all.

8. Growing in Christ
This past year has been challenging for sure, but God has used it all to teach me so many lessons. I'm especially thankful for the peace and contentment God has given me in being single. I struggled for a long time with discontentment and in the past months God has reassured me of His promises and His love and His perfect plan for my life. While I'm not opposed to the idea of a boyfriend in the near future, I don't need one and I am patient in waiting on the Lord's timing. Also I learned a lot about being dependent on Christ and nothing else in my life for peace and comfort during stressful and emotional times. I have a tendency to look for that in other places, and through God's grace alone I experienced victory and continue to walk dependent on Him alone.

9. The Whole School Thing
I've always worked hard in school, but this past semester I really was able to say that I worked my hardest for the Lord the entire time. Previously I would slack and give up in some classes, but I wanted to devote this fall semester really to the Lord and His glory. I was so busy this past year, but the Lord strengthened me and blessed my efforts, and I was able to achieve my goals and be very pleased with the way I finished my courses.

10. Isabella Claire
Last on my list, but certainly not least, is my new niece Isabella Claire. She was born on December 29, making it in a few days before 2008 ended. The Lord answered so many prayers surrounding her birth, including good health and allowing Bradley to be here for the birth of his daughter. Isabella is doing so well and is seriously the most adorable baby ever. She's already sleeping well and is a very content child. I can't get enough of her and will be so sad when she moves to the other side of the country.

2008 was filled with blessings and great memories. I can't wait to see what the Lord has in store for 2009.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

All In a Day

I have this bad habit, and probably even a sin, where I measure the quality of my day by the number of things that did or did not go the way I expected and/or planned. Then at the end of the day I usually weigh them against each other and evaluate my day. On days that I have a lot of stuff going on, I'm particularly more sensitive to little irritations because they seem amplified because of the stress I'm already experiencing with my schedule and responsibilities. But God is so fun because whenever these silly things happen that drive me crazy but shouldn't bother me, so many other wonderful things I don't deserve happen and remind me that each day is great because of God's grace. Today was one of those todays.

Today I had a final exam, a group presentation to give, and a paper due, so I wasn't exactly excited about the day. But, it was the last day of classes for the semester which is sweet. So I was half excited, half dreading the day and wanted to savor the couple of minutes my snooze button offered me before getting up. I had asked one of my roommates to make sure I was up and she bursts in the room saying "wakey, wakey" in a voice that seemed loud but probably really wasn't. I'm definitely not a morning person and I hate when people wake me up singing or in loud voices, so it wasn't the best start to my day. But, like I said, it's insignificant. So I go into the bathroom and my wonderful roommate had written me an encouraging note with a verse and propped it up in our bathroom for me to see! Notes like that seriously make my day and it meant a lot to me. After my shower I check the weather and it's raining currently and forecasts rain for the rest of the day. Sweet. I had to wear nice clothes for my presentation, so I couldn't wear sweats and my rain boots like I wanted. Plus my rain boots have cupcakes all over them, and I figured that wouldn't be entirely appropriate since our presentation was on diabetes and obesity. Also, because it's raining, I can't wear khakis, so I wear the darkest pair of jeans I own. Those jeans also happen to be my longest jeans, which of course are already wet by the time I get in my car to drive to campus. I get to campus on time, find a decent parking spot, and begin the trek to Architecture Annex. There's this horrible puddle in front of DX, so as I'm concentrating really hard on not stepping in it, I totally step in another one. My entire foot is submerged in water. Mind you, I'm wearing moccasins with no socks. So my foot is soaking wet five minutes into my day and only...eight hours to go. Awesome. After my Arabic final which was super easy, I experienced delayed gratification and the joys of waiting on the Lord's timing and not taking things into my own hands. Definitely worth it. A few hours later I'm getting ready to give my presentation and realize that despite my deliberation over my outfit for the day, I chose poorly. I was wearing a boat-neck shirt, which so clearly showed the red splotchy nervous rash I get on my chest when I'm nervous. Thankfully I had my scarf to throw on before we gave our presentation, I think we did well despite the red bumps taking over my body. As I'm leaving class, I'm on the phone talking to my sister crossing the crosswalk and this bus starts barreling towards me. It scared me so much so I was just standing there frozen in place looking straight into the windshield, and the bus had to slam on its brakes to prevent from hitting me. I felt like it was a scene from the movie, because I easily would have been out of the way if I had not stopped and stared at it like an idiot. My last class of the semester (!) got out an hour early, so I was really excited until I almost got to my car and realized I left my scarf on my seat. So I turned around and went all the way back to retrieve my $2 scarf that was really supposed to be like $20. So it was worth the return trip. Since being at home, this evening has been pretty uneventful, thankfully.

Days like this make me laugh, because I realize how silly I am for caring about dumb stuff like weather and being nervous about a presentation that lasts for a total of 10 minutes. I mean, it's all gonna burn. The joy of the Lord is so much bigger than all of this, and I need to do a better job of focusing on that.

"The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning." Lamentations 3:22-23

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I Caved

So here I am, finally climbing onto the blog bandwagon. Confession: I've actually had this blog for a month but couldn't decide if I really wanted to use it or not. I kept weighing the pros and cons, but I finally realized how relaxing it is for me to write, so here I am.

First, an understanding with anyone who reads this. Much of my writing may tend to fall to the extremes of really depressed or really happy. That does not mean it necessarily reflects how I think all of the time. This is an outlet for my thoughts, thoughts that may exist for only a short time and it just happens to be the time I am writing. Also, my family tells me I tend to exaggerate stories. But seriously, who wants to hear a boring story? So just bear with me.

I've called my blog (for the time being) reflections at gloaming. This is because after my busy day, I usually begin to wind down at twilight. As I try to forget about the busyness and stress of the day, random thoughts begin filling my head. Maybe it's like this for everyone, I don't know. But I mull over these thoughts throughout the evening as I work and get dinner, and by nighttime I'm ready to get them out of my head so I can fully relax and go to sleep. So please, be patient with the randomness and, at times, irrelevant musings. Fontenelle said it well:

"The day doesn't inspire sadness and passion like the night, when everything seems to be at rest. We imagine that the stars move more quietly than the sun; everything is softer than starlight; we can fix our eyes more comfortably on the heavens; our thoughts are freer because we're so foolish as to imagine ourselves the only ones abroad to dream. Besides, in daylight we see nothing but sun and blue sky, but the night gives us all the profusion of stars in a thousand different random designs, stirring as many pleasantly confused thoughts in us."
Bernard le Bovier de Fontenelle