Getting there…

So, first.. my birthday was great πŸ™‚ Got to sleep in like crazy, had a really fun lunch with some great friends, did some shopping, took a nap, went to my Sunday school teachers house to have dinner with them, then do some cooking… then back to Brits for some cards. It was awesome:)

Today, I got a potted Gerber Daisie plant from my best friend back home πŸ™‚

Yesterday I remembered a conversation I had a year ago with an airport terminal check-in guy in South Africa. He saw it was almost my 23rd birthday and proceeded to tell me that it was the worst year of his life and why.. but reassured me by saying that 24 was the best year ever.. haha.. Hmm.. I wasn’t sure how to take it at the time, especially when Feb-April was real rough for a few reasons… But, looking back it was actually a great year. I can’t think of one thing I HATED or would choose to change, even the hard things I learned a lot from!

If that’s the worst.. HECK YEAH!.. I’m not sure that’ll be the case, but even if it isn’t and I still have the worst times ever ahead of me, I know that I’m in the place where even if I go through some more terrible times God will be there.. AND use it later for wonderful things. So, it will all be worth it in the end!

On other notes… a couple obnoxious things happened today (really with in 20 minutes of each other) that threaten to ruin my day/attitude… But, I’m working on that, because at this point I can’t do anything about it.. and making a big deal about it will cause problems and potentially threaten progress that I’ve made elsewhere. *Sigh* So, letting it go is the only real option that would benefit everyone in the long run. Why is it those types of choices feel like nails on a chalk board regardless of the fact that they are the better option?


I turn 24 tomorrow. I’m kinda excited about it.. even though I think it’s the first time I won’t get to celebrate either on my birthday or for the weekend with mi familia. Sadness for sure.

BUT.. I just found out we get our birthday’s off.. so I finally will get to sleep in after more than 3 weeks of not!

Bringing Backswanza to VA has been fun haha πŸ™‚

I don’t feel like I should be turning 24.. Is it normal to not feel like that’s my age? lol

I realize 24 isn’t that old.. especially since most all of my friends down in VA are 26+ (except for Brit I think)

I was informed tomorrow I get to become an adult… HAHA.. Thanks Jason πŸ˜‰

In roughly 3 months God will have created me 25 years ago.. weird πŸ™‚

I can’t hardly believe it’s been a year since my last birthday.. since I just got back from Swaziland 3 days before.. since Ash, Lisa, Irina, and I went to the movies and saw 27 dresses (I can’t remember if anyone else came)..

It’s crazy to think of all the things that have happened, and all the places I’ve been, and people I’ve met, and friends I’ve made, and experiences I’ve had since last January.. Weird.

I love birthdays.. I always have. Not even just my birthday, I love doing fun things for other people on their birthday, for their birthday, or getting them something special.. Birthdays are supposed to be special and be important. My family always makes a deal out of birthdays.. hence Backswanza πŸ™‚

Hurray! πŸ™‚

Not the Prodigal…

Have you ever noticed how some people have AMAZING conversion stories about how God showed up, shook their life, turned it around, and now they are one of the most passionate God seeking and loving people you have ever met…

I am not one of those people.

Have you ever met someone who grew up in an amazing family and loved Jesus as a child, but “became wiser” and realize He was fake when they reached the age of all knowing 16… They have these stories of turmoil and fighting with God until they later realize not only are they stupid but God never left them to begin with. He never stopped caring or loving them. So, they too have these amazing stories about how God worked in them and through them to bring them back to Him…

I am not one of those people either.

I am the other type. I’m the girl who grew up knowing Jesus, knowing what He was all about.. and seeing it lived out daily in my family’s life. Not once have I given up believing in Jesus. How could I? I saw it practically in my parents and the way they lived. The principles made sense.. How could I not believe when I’ve felt and experienced Him in my life? How could I see the Northern lights at 8 years old and not be in awe of my Jesus.

I had no choice but to believe growing up with a Dad who can sometimes aggravatingly make a case with evidence that makes sense and can’t be denied. He could answer just about any question you could possibly think of from the Bible. Not once did I ever hear “Cause I told you to believe…” Nope, my parents were smarter than that, and KNEW that wouldn’t fly with my older brother and I.. So, what did they do?… explained EVERYTHING to us!.. woohoo! haha πŸ™‚ Ok.. at 12 it wasn’t so much “woohoo!” and much closer to “oh man someone got Dad going.. AGAIN!” But, I wasn’t dumb enough to say that haha πŸ™‚

I mean I’ve had natural “Where the heck did God go cause I can’t see or feel Him anymore..” kinda feelings. I’ve gone through depressions where I didn’t even bother to look at Him. I went through times where He lived in a cute little box that I ignored when I was busy. I went through times where I was so mad at Him that I didn’t speak to Him. And, I went through times where I didn’t understand how He could let me or someone else hurt so badly so I just felt abandoned by God… But, never once have I doubted He was there. And, I mean seriously doubted.. I’ve had the “How is it possible?..” or “what if I’m wrong?” But, inevitably the answer comes shortly there after.

“But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”‘ And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.” – Luke 15:17-24

I am not this son. I am not the one who has turned away, stolen, squandered what was given to me.. I am not the one who gets a party thrown for because I’ve realized my stupidity and returned humbled. Nope, I’m the other son…

“And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours.” -Luke 15:31

At least to a certain degree.. I can’t remember ever being angry at the other people or being upset because a celebration is thrown for their returning.. I’ve always just seen it as my testimony is boring and it’s hard to reach people because of it.. But, the reality is that isn’t the case AT ALL.. especially as I begin to realize what is included in my testimony and how many things I’ve done and the various things that have happen to me regardless.

I’ve begun to understand the idea that just because I am a Christian doesn’t mean life is easier or better.. in a lot of cases it’s harder and has more temporary pain. I can list a whole slew of things that have caused me to become damaged. But, at the same time I can point to Christ as the reason I’ve come out of it the way I have, and He is the reason I can now use it to help others or relate to them in different areas.

You see.. it’s not that my story is boring at all.. it’s just different. I’ve experienced some incredibly painful things that I would never choose to go through again. I’ve allowed things to affect me in ways that I should never have allowed.. and I’ve let people hurt me.. which ultimately has made me stronger, with a few more character scars. But, now I am seeing the beauty that is included with the fact that I have had such a long relationship with Jesus. I can rely on Him easier and quicker than I would have otherwise because of the things we have been through together.

So, while I’m not the prodigal son… I am the one who has been there and gotten benefits and rewards all along the way. I think I’d choose consistency over anything else, cause that means God’s been there with me the same in return… and I’ve LET Him be there for me.

My Jeans…

So, this weekend was.. interesting. I went to The Revolve Tour in Greensboro, NC with 22 of my teen girls and 4 ladies I work with. It was.. interesting. The concerts were entertaining enough.. but, essentially like every other concert I’ve ever been to. The speakers were decent, aimed definitely at teen girls.. But, one was so good.. Chad Eastham. He spoke on “Guys like girls who…” It was interesting and entertaining all at the same time!

He started with:
Guys like girls who… are born. And as he put it “congratulations for accomplishing the hardest task.” …. HAHA! I cracked up at this comment.

Then, Guys like girls. “That’s it period. Guys just like girls.”… haha also cracked up at this one!

All hysterical explanations, he definitely has a way of putting things in an extremely comical manner πŸ™‚ I was impressed at his ability to connect in such a short amount of time. My girls LOVED him and of course had to have pictures and get autographs with him.. I was just thrilled that he was able to connect with them…

But, his one example was, “Guys like girls who are comfortable in their own jeans.” That really got me thinking.. Am I comfortable in my own jeans? You see, he wasn’t talking about the blue cotton-nothing like the perfect fitting- incredibly old- torn jeans I wear every day, he was talking about girls who are comfortable in their own skin. Comfortable with who they are.. LIKE who they are…

His point was that guys like comfort.. they like being comfortable and they like being around people who are comfortable…

He talked about this girl he liked, and how he would go to all these great lengths to just be in the same room with her… He also talked about another girl who everything he is today and things he has done today he can trace back to this one girl in his math class who was simply being herself and reaching out to him when he had first come back from rehab and was trying to figure out who he was without drugs… He said she asked him NORMAL questions.. but the bottom line was she was comfortable, enjoyable, and was genuinely interested in what he had to say. She introduced him to other people, became friends with him, but mostly it was just the fact that she was outgoing and completely comfortable with who she was that made such an impact in his life.

I have always wanted to be that girl, the one who makes a difference simply by being in the room. The girl who makes others feel important because she asked how you are… and then CARED to hear the answer.

So, then the question is, am I comfortable in my own skin? Do I like who I am? Do I like being me? The simple quick answer… Yes. I thought about it over and over all day yesterday, I thought about how I interact with people, my passions, my relationships, my thinking, who I was and the things I’ve struggled with.. And, I like who I am (granted I can see millions of flaws, and my sin, and things I wish I could do better, times I screwed up etc..etc..) but.. I like who I am.

Chad talked about the idea that girls who don’t like themselves become a burden on others because the more you’re around someone like that the more you assimilate those feelings/thoughts.. it just sorta rubs off on you. He said it is natural to feel drawn to the people who like who they are, and are just comfortable with who they are… because that type of person begins to make YOU feel more like that. It’s so funny to me, because I feel like all of these things my mom and dad told me years ago that I just sorta laughed at them and took it flippantly.. (dang it I’m a retard lol) all of those things were so accurate. I can hear all the times Mom and Dad would tell me how I project confidence in myself, and how they could see it affecting other people. I would just sorta laugh cause I was completely blind to my influence on other people, I just thought everyone had that affect, which meant it wasn’t special.

But, the more I push towards God and the more I intentionally get in his face… the more I am starting to see myself through his eyes too.. I am beginning to realize the affect I’m having on people.. and it’s cool.. scary because it also means it can be negative.. but it’s cool because I can look at who I was years ago.. a few months ago.. and I can see growth.. Which is incredibly exciting! I love the fact that today I am more like the people I admired in high school than I thought I would be. I like the fact that I can make people feel important.. I like the fact that friends laugh at me when I call them and ask first how they are doing… Or when I go out of my way to help someone, do something nice, or just check in with them.. I like the reaction I get.. because it’s like looking and seeing the physically reaction to love.. It’s pretty cool πŸ™‚

So, guys like girls who are comfortable in their jeans… hmm.. That statement makes me kinda laugh for a couple reasons.. one because he had a funny story to go along with it.. and two because I’m still single and ok with that.. which is an example of loving my jeans. I mean granted I have moments when all I can think is “what the heck is wrong with me?!” especially when I get that extremely condescending “you just need a special guy…”… Not helpful. But, aside from those moments.. I am content. I like the “freedom” and independence that comes from not having a relationship… Some day I want it, and some day I will have it.. But, today is not that day because I have other things I have to do, other things I have to focus on, and other people to pour my time and energy into.

Now, understand me.. When I say I am happy with who I am, and content and comfortable in my own skin, I am in NO way saying that I feel I’ve “arrived” and have accomplished my goal in who I am.. haha not even close.. I can point to things DAILY.. sometimes hourly that I wish I was better at or different in areas.. But, in general I have begun to realize that I have been made in the image of God.. I am not perfect, but have been given talents, tasks, and abilities that I LIKE, and that He wants me to fulfill… So.. who am I, that I can tell Him “No, you’re stupid and wrong” … So, while I can see all the areas I have to improve, I’ve begun to realize I can’t do it overnight.. it only makes sense that I would be comfortable with who I am, but acknowledge the improvements I need to make as they come.. or at least be comfortable and enjoy my jeans since they fit me perfectly.. great length, perfect waist, comfortable style.. just with some needs for patches where I have worn holes in them from my stupidity and stubbornness..

I think being comfortable will allow me to be more easily moldable because I will stop trying to be everyone else and focus on being me, who I am supposed to be..

So, I smile because I am comfortable and like wearing jeans. πŸ™‚


I’ve been thinking about Love recently. Not the sappy “aww you’re adorable I love you” kind of love. But, true Love. What does that mean to me? How do I feel loved? How do I show love? How does all of that relate to Jesus?…

Well, first the easiest way to go about this is to talk about the 5 Love languages. I’ll explain them first.

Words of Affirmation, these are the words you say to encourage someone “You’re doing a fantastic job with…”
Quality Time, this isn’t just being around someone… but actually connecting and talking with them. Focusing on them and what they are talking about, thinking about, and sometimes just intentionally going out of your way to spend time with them… NOT just simply being in the same room as them.
Receiving Gifts, this is kinda obvious.. but this doesn’t mean huge fancy gifts.. simple small ones can do the trick too.
Acts of Service, this means doing things for them, dishes, cleaning, running errands.. basically anything that would lighten their load, and requires a physical effort on your part. But, it can be specific for each person..
Physical Touch, this one is obvious what it is.. but it’s not just about snuggling or accidental touch. It’s intentional and sometimes playful touch that can mean more than you realize.

Everyone usually has at least a small part of each of these.. but, usually have 2 main ones. For me, my main one is touch, and my second is quality time. It’s no surprise if you know me either haha πŸ™‚ I hug all the time, high-five (for those less comfortable with hugs), or pat someone on the shoulder to encourage them without making them feel awkward. Or.. I’ll sit and cherish the time that I get to have with a friend, I love the meaningful conversation, especially if we connected and more trust was established.

But, obviously just because I feel love a certain way, doesn’t mean everyone does (which is sad haha), so I’ve sorta trained myself to do different things to/for people to see how they respond, so I can learn what their love language is.. Sometimes I can pinpoint exactly what it is right away, and sometimes it’s such a modge podge of things, that I just have a general idea, and continue to do things in that general area. I mean think about it.. How selfish would I be if I insisted on only showing love the way that I liked to?

I’ve had friends laugh at me because of the things I do to show someone I care. But, I truly desire to make those around me feel cared for.. important.. special.. Whatever. I have also realized, it’s important to try very hard to make sure I’m doing it with no string attached because that’s not true Love. Often times, it’s SO easy to show someone in a practical way you care about them.. it doesn’t take much extra effort on your part, maybe a little inconvenience, but nothing so significant that it isn’t worth the rewards…

And… even if it IS inconvenient or requires you to go out of your way.. it’s still worth it. πŸ™‚ I mean, I really enjoy doing things for someone, and having it stun them or amaze them because it was unexpected.. That’s my favorite.

What’s kinda funny about all this is.. I am not always the easiest person to love. I seriously enjoy showing love to others, making them smile and feel important.. but I really struggle letting others do the same for me in return.. which is incredibly important for it to be true Love. And, I don’t mean “I’m a terrible person you shouldn’t love me because I’m a sinner”.. I mean I often stay guarded (although I hide it extremely well), and I will a lot of times thank them, but come up with a million excuses for why it isn’t something they should feel like they have to/should do. I can easily say, it’s the people who insist over and over that they care about me, and the ones that demonstrate that over and over that make the difference. I mean obviously, who wouldn’t feel that way? πŸ™‚ I think the worst is when I accept it outwardly, but inside allow Satan to take my thoughts, and I come up with a whole slew of excuses for why it wasn’t intended or isn’t a big deal. I’m really trying hard in this area to not only Love others, but allow them to Love me.. without reasoning it away.

I guess the reason I’ve been thinking about this is, in order for me to Love Jesus.. and Love people FOR Jesus.. I have to also accept His Love. Obvious right? But, that’s so hard to do in actuality. However, it’s essential, I don’t think I CAN truly Love Him or others for Him without first letting Him Love me. Dang it..

So, my prayer is that He changes my heart so I can Love Him more. Which ultimately will mean I can Love others more.. Which is exciting πŸ™‚

The President and My Thoughts

So, fun lunch today.. Watched “History” as everyone keeps calling it (as though every other one isn’t history as well..). I find a few things interesting, and thought I’d share..

Being in the south with a President who is half black is interesting.. Some of the older ladies commented on their thought process.. which was less than something to be proud of. But, we talked about the differences cause I was beginning to seriously FEEL the difference being from the North has made in my life. So, I said I thought their thought process was weird.. and completely foreign to me. The response? “Well, honey this is the south..” as though that makes it any better… kinda like bless your heart (you stupid retard).

So what do I think?.. He’s a man who is half black. I don’t really care that his middle name is Hussein.. I don’t really care that he looks black. I don’t think he will save us though.. I don’t think McCain, Huckabee, Palin or any one of them could save us… Regardless of the man in the role as president the world will continue to get worse, we will continue to hurt each other, people will continue to die, people will continue to go to Hell. How sad. He will probably do some good things, he will do some terrible things, and he will have to answer for each. Praise Jesus it’s not my choice or job to judge him!

See, I had a friend (who is black) say that he hates it when people say “I don’t even see the color”.. he said that’s stupid because he sees it when he looks in the mirror. It’s not racist to notice someone is WHITE, freckled, tan, black, whatever. That’s not racism. It’s not racist to ask a white girl what challenges she sees or feels by being interested, dating or being married to a black man.. that’s called curiosity. It’s the same thing my parents went through with my mom being German.. she LOOKS white, but she’s not the typical white American I promise. There are cultural differences and challenges regardless of color. Noticing that someone is white, black, asian, hispanic etc..etc.. that’s not racism. Racism is hating them because of it. Thinking less of them because they look like someone else you know who wasn’t good in your eyes. Treating them poorly because they don’t look like you… Those things are all racism. But the reality is you can be racist against people who DO look like you.. hence the issue with the Hutu and the Tutsi in Rwanda.. they LOOK alike for the most part but they were from different tribes and thus hated and killed each other and caused a genocide! Now that is racism. Hitler did it.. heck the Japanese do it to other Japanese in Okinawa, or along the boarders where Japanese married someone who wasn’t Japanese… It happens all over the place and isn’t a problem that for some reason whites and blacks have.


I figure it doesn’t matter, my life hasn’t changed and probably won’t change with having Obama as President. My job, my passion, and my calling is the same, it has no reason to change… I will love and serve my sweet Savior Jesus until it’s time for me to see Him. I will try to show that, express that with every part of who I am and what I say. I will do my best to help others to see that and get that too. So, why would having a “black president who’s middle name is Hussein” change that?

I really hope that if this is exactly what blacks feel they need, they use it to light a fire under themselves. I hope they use this as a reason to stand up to the plate and make a difference… But, with that being said.. I still maintain that some of the most loving people I have ever met are black. I know more wonderful black men and women then I do the stereo typical “lazy ones”.. Especially after going to Africa.. I have never experienced people like those in Africa (and they simply aren’t the same as the “African-Americans”.. they are a very different people). My friend and I joke all the time about all the incredibly attractive black men in our area. And how we wouldn’t mind having a “creamy” (a term used in the movie Australia) child.. and I’m not gonna lie.. some of the cutest little kids are black πŸ™‚ Especially the ones in Africa. So why would I care that we have a black president? And, if this is what blacks need to motivate them.. Good. Use it. But, remember he isn’t our Savior. Jesus is still Savior, He still will return, and the world will still end.

So, to sum up. I don’t care that he’s black. I don’t care that his middle name is Hussein. I just care that people know and LOVE Jesus. Nothing has changed.

Not the Goal…

So, I’ve been learning a WHOLE lot recently about the fact that I’m supposed to be focused on my journey not the end Goal.. I mean that’s important, but equally as important is the journey that gets me there. Which, if you think about it makes sense… if I reach my goal but don’t remember, don’t care to remember or simply view the journey as insignificant… then the goal loses most if not all of its meaning.

Think about it.. when you run a marathon (not that I ever have.. or ever will unless a gun is to my head!) the finish line is nice.. but not AMAZING if I don’t also remember how hard I trained, ran, worked out, the steps I took to prepare make the finish line irreplaceabley (word?) sweet.

I mean, think about it, in every day life, the things you have to work so hard to achieve are the things you are the most proud of.. the things you want to show off.. the things you are consumed with, and then find yourself constantly talking about.

So, why would my walk with God be any different? Why would I want to skip all the things that make it so much sweeter? Doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense…

I love the fact that the things in my past that I HATED and were incredibly difficult while I was going through, the truly rough times, those are the most beneficial in the long run. Like working 4 part time jobs while going to school full time.. or trying to function and go to school and succeed and do well, while also fighting a headache for months and months that the doctors couldn’t cure or figure out.. Those things help my determination, help me to encourage others, remind me that it’s too hard to do alone regardless of what my instinctive reaction is. Those things help me to be so incredibly thankful for where I am now.. I mean seriously virtually daily I am amazed at how… easy life is currently compared to various points in my life (which also has me preparing to go through hard times again).. But, I realize that so much of that time I was trying to do it on my own… and it usually wasn’t until I gave up.. broke down and cried (literally) then cried out to God that it would almost instantly get better.. I’d begin seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

It’s things like that that make me wonder how in the world people do life on their own and choose to ignore God. I don’t know where they find purpose, hope or the ability to bounce back.. All of those things come from God for me.. So, while I know I sound incredibly stupid and sheltered, I can’t help it. I don’t ever remember a time not believing in my savior.. exactly like I don’t ever remember a time where I couldn’t talk (and my earliest memory I was a year in half old!)… In fact, I remember my mom asking me when I was 2 if I wanted to believe in Jesus… I remember I was standing between her legs when she was sitting down, and her knees came almost to my armpits and I was leaning over her leg on my right side… πŸ™‚

That is also why I hate movies with bad endings.. cause regardless of how I die, you die, anyone dies.. as Christians it is built into us that in the end.. we win. The good guys succeed. Good will ultimately prevail over evil. So, when a movie shows something other than that.. it doesn’t resonate with me and it feels wrong.. like the story shouldn’t be over yet..

So, my ending thought is, what are you ignoring in your journey today that you might need tomorrow?