The Year I Was 24…

Wow.. 2009 is almost over. What?!.. I cannot believe this year has absolutely FLOWN by! I am pretty sure I say this every New Years, but seriously… Where did the year go?

So, plans for this New Years Eve… Time Square, NYC. It is not really that I have this overwhelming desire to stand in one place for 8+ hours, surrounded by thousands of people who are probably wasted… Or that I especially like the idea of standing in the rain the entire time as a cherry on top… But, I want to say I have done it at least once… And, the people I am going with will ensure it is a BLAST. So.. Off to NYC we go 🙂 I am really excited!

Ok, onto the review. Be prepared for a pretty large array of things to be covered 🙂

I started out the year with almost black hair, and in the course of 2009 I went to orange, blonde, light brown, light brown with dark brown highlights, and red hair.

I have traveled 40,000 miles in my car. Including going to Charlotte, NC 3 times, Washington, DC 4 times, Ft. Jackson, SC once, Louisville, KY once, Atlanta once, Orlando/Ft. Lauderdale once, and Home 3 times. I also flew out to AZ to see one of my other best friends and a couple other friends.

I went to Cincinnati and Myrtle Beach over the summer with my Work.. and while it was tiring.. LOVED it.

I have had visitors from home, my dad, my brother, roomie, best friend, another best friend and his wife, and of course my ENTIRE immediate family, plus a girlfriend for Thanksgiving.

I moved again in the same city… Now I live in a house with two girls and a dog and love it.

I had a stalker, and went to the police 3 times.

I took up dancing and LOVE it. I now can Salsa, Merenge, Cha Cha, Bachata, Cumbia, and Tango (some).

I hiked 3 mountains, including one in the middle of the night.

Ran my first 5k. “The Marine Corps. Mud Run” had a blast, and it introduced my best friend and I to a group of people that I (we) cherish very much now.

I made dozens of friends, and several friends who will be in my life until we are no longer here. 🙂

I gained dozens upon dozens of inside jokes and things that make me laugh or smile just thinking of them.

I made the splash page of Liberty University for their new SnowFlex Complex.. And, all their promotional material. Totally unaware that was what the photo-shoot was for! lol

Began running before work with one of my best friends, but, when it got too cold we switched to after work and got a YMCA membership and now work out 4 days a week.

I have lost 8lbs… which does not seem like a big deal, but since I had been 175 since I was 17… that’s a long time to stay the same weight.

Survived my first year at my job, and began round two… Feeling oh so much more prepared then the first time around 🙂

Went to several weddings, and had to miss several more.

Gained a new uncle and 3 new cousins… but missed the wedding cause of work.

My little brother graduated high school… (whoa!) AND, he got a girlfriend he’s been with all year 🙂

I happily stayed single and did not go on any dates all year.

I read several books, but wished I had time to read more…

Joined the leadership team for my Sunday School class. Planned and executed LOTS of parties for our group.

Then of course there are all the things God and I worked on and did… There is no possible way to name them all, but it is pretty safe to say that I have really learned a lot this year about trust, faith, unconditional love, patience, sacrifice, obedience, vulnerability, submission, support, consistency, prayer, and Truth. It has proven to be an interesting year with LOTS and LOTS of things God wanted me to learn and re-learn. There were months that were so absolutely amazing I began to wonder why, and if it meant really tough times were coming. Other times I felt like I was being crushed under the weight of the things I had to learn. I look back at everything and it was a really great year. Rough, wonderful, full of LOTS of laughter, and even tears…

The thing that excites me the most is I can see growth in all areas of my life. I can see how I am so very different now then I was last Christmas. I can actually see the patience and unconditional love having matured in new ways in my mind and heart. My understanding (while not perfect or completely fulfilled) has definitely grown. My contentment with where God has me is such a wonderful blessing to my heart, especially in the guys arena.

I actually FEEL like a different person then I did last year. Much more settled in who I am, who I was created to be, much more at peace with things I cannot control, and a whole lot more confident in who I am.

The year I was 24 was a great year, I am so very thankful and excited about 2010! 🙂


I love being home. Everything about it just lends to security. Bad days, good ones, hectic ones.. It does not matter, there is security here. As in all families, there are things that drive me nuts.. little nuances that really are not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but everyone has things that annoys them. Mostly, when you move away and set up your own pattern for life, returning to someone else’s no matter how familiar is an adjustment…

But, here is the thing… Putting every little annoyance aside… I have such a solid, loving, caring family. How did I get so blessed? I have no idea. But, here are some things I am just thinking about being home…

I love the smell of home.. it is a weird mixture of a fire (from the wood burning stove) and something else that probably is the smell of food haha 🙂 I love the sounds.. there is always a familiar sound, someone talking, laughing, doing something, the wood burning stove fans going.. something that is just normal. The normal sounds of my family, such as each person’s distinct walk as they walk across the pergo. Voices.. I love the voices of each of my family members, so distinct and familiar 🙂 I love being able to hear them just going about life.

However, beyond the normalcy that is home.. (I mean lets be honest.. everyone could point to these things and find sentiment in their own way for their own homes.) Today I laughed with my little brother and sister a lot as we just did normal things (for us)… My sister and I watched tv, and snuggled on the couch to keep warm, because my little brother would not make a fire 🙂 Then, my little brother decided he was cold.. and laid on top of us.. which of course added itself to beginning a wrestling, tickling, pinching, punching fight that usually lasts a LONG time, and creates lots of bruises (for me at least lol) and laughter. We cleaned and cooked and just did normal things while our parents were gone. Chatted about who knows what, shared music, youtube videos, and laughed at things that I am fairly confident are only funny to my siblings and I. Dad and I went on a “Daddy Date” … Something I will seriously want my husband someday to do with our kids, and something I want to do with my kids (although mommy instead of daddy obviously). We went to see Avatar in 3D (GREAT movie!), but beforehand, I got coffee (Dad HATES coffee) and we walked around Barnes and Noble and talked about science and the Bible, we talked about truth in my life and various other things I have been thinking… I told Dad this Daddy Date got and A+ 🙂

The thing that I love in all of this, is that we all honestly love and respect each other deeply. We talk about Jesus as though it is normal conversation, like the weather or what we will eat for dinner.. There is such a great understanding of where we have come from, pain we have gone through, and the joy we have all shared. And, as simple as it sounds.. I LOOK like these people, I sound like them, I laugh like them, and I hold the same beliefs that they have. I am understood, accepted, and regardless I do not often have to explain the why behind what I am saying or doing.. It is just understood. Such a refreshing thing. Odd sounding, but refreshing none the less. 🙂

I love the security and protected feelings that come with being home. I am safe. This is the feeling I want people to feel when I am around or they are at my place. I want people to know they are safe and protected, that I can be trusted and relied on. I am excited to someday create a life and a home like this with my own family 🙂 How cool. 🙂

I love the contentment that comes with being home. Peace is here.

Lies as Truth?…

So, I was talking with a friend last night, and we were just processing through things, random things, my things, her things.. whatever. We ultimately settled on one of our issues from the past and we began the process of flushing it out. One of the things that became apparently quickly is how often we believe lies as truth. We will meld two things into truth that do not belong together at all.

A lie meshed with a truth becomes a lie… still.

It was interesting as we walked our way through everything how incredibly painful some things are when we allow Satan to sink his teeth into us for so long. Simply the idea of looking at it becomes almost more than we can handle, and every bit of pain we have ever felt over the issue comes back and threatens to drown us once again. I was struck by the idea that Satan had weaved a web so full of lies that the simple IDEA of finding Truth and separating it from the lies was a terrifying subject and only allowed the view of more pain instead of less.

I sat there watching this entire thing play out, and I realized… We all do this. We all allow Satan to speak lies into our lives.. and we cling onto them as though they are truth. We allow him to seep pain, hurting, misunderstanding, and chaos into our lives.. and we have no idea we are allowing him to do that. We cower from the idea of Truth being anything other than what we believe because it would mean this pain could have been avoided.

In the process of all of this… What plagues us?.. “What if?…” I am so incredibly guilty of playing the what if game. I mean it is not even funny how much I say that to myself when I am doubting or hurting. But, it also struck me that it has absolutely NOTHING to do with “What if?…” because the reality is What if does not change anything.. a more accurate thought process is “Ok, what now?”… What do I do now?…

The whole thing has really got me thinking and praying that God reveal to me the things I have allowed Satan to whisper into my life as true.. that simply are not. I want to know I am believing Truth in every aspect of my life.. especially things pertaining to myself, because for some reason I have this warped view of who I am in Christ, and who I am not… I can see Truth and speak that into others, especially girls about themselves and their beauty and the things God has created them for. Or, for guys, I can see all of the areas God has given them strength and I can see what their role is… And yet, in myself I still struggle with insecurities and lies… and I believe them.

I want to know Truth. I want to look in the mirror and see what Jesus has created me to be.. and know without a doubt my strengths, my beauty, my intelligence, my mission, my desires, and I want to find freedom in my Savior in all of the little cracks that are currently whispering doubt into my life.

I want the lies gone, and I want them replaced with Truth.

I Feel…

I feel… I do not know how I feel. I have seriously been struggling the last couple weeks. I hate that. I hate when you struggle and there are no good words that I could use to explain why. I hate when emotions take over and I have no reason to explain them…

I have had to work hard at not exploding or saying things to people who deserve nothing but kindness in return.. Or, in some cases I have just been annoyed to be around people.. people I love dearly and LOVE spending time with… I just feel irritated and frustrated for no reason at all. Tense for no reason, upset, annoyed.. no reason. *sigh* I am not this girl, so what gives? PMS?… haha I wish, that is easy for me to deal with. I am not that girl either, and it is not the same.

If I can put a face to the emotion, I do alright, I can control it, hide it, resolve it.. whatever I need to do in order to deal with it and move on.

The problem is when I cannot figure out the problem. I feel like I am blind, and hurting, and there is nothing to be done but sit and wait. I can point to all kinds of things that have caused stress, things that have taken my attention, things I am worrying about… but none of them are enough to cause me to feel like I am hurting.

The weirdest thing about all of this.. I can STILL see God working. This is not a “God where did you go?” time… This is much more along the lines of “okaayyy.. I see you working and moving.. so why do I feel like this still?” This is not a crisis of faith or even doubting His will or plan. Nothing even resembling that. In fact, I have been praying and spending more time just sitting in His presence… with the simple goal of spending time with Him. Sometimes, I have an agenda, things I feel really heavy on my heart… mostly people and situations I need to pray for. Other times I just show up with no agenda, just a desire to reconnect with my Savior. And yet, still I hurt and feel blind.

Ironically… I kinda knew this was coming. I had a feeling awhile ago that something was coming. I thought maybe it would involve pain, and I just prayed no one would die… (no one has that I know of).

Last Friday, one of my best friends from college called and said they had time to talk cause they were driving home for a wedding… And, we just talked. Talked about what was new, going on, things God is doing. It was a truly awesome time of just catching up. One of my favorite things about our friendship is how solid it is always. We can go months and months and not talk, but as soon as they hear my voice they know how I am doing, if I am ok, what I need.. and since they know me so well, they just get when I am trying to process while I am talking. I love that they get me, they know my past, my history, past issues and problems… and they have this ability to put it all together and it makes sense.

My mom called last Sunday just to talk. I have an amazing Mom. She said almost right away, “You’ve been on my mind. Are you ok?” … “No.” … We talked for a long time just about everything, how I am feeling, what I see, the things that are incoherent, the illogical and irrational feelings. I rambled like a crazy person because I have no idea what is going on inside of me. All I know is the feeling, and describing it is so ridiculously hard. My mom did such a great job just letting me ramble. 🙂

Then, last night I made it to the gym totally excited and needing to be at the gym working off way more coffee then I should consume in 2 days… I got half way through my work out routine, getting ready to swim for an hour or so when things went south. A friend got a phonecall, we basically had to pray, then she had to go deal with some things. By the time she was leaving I did not have enough time to swim before Bible study… Oh.. and my comp is having problems.. and the newly fixed car had a check engine light come on… Awesome. I arrived at Bible study barely holding it together, but able to fake it enough to get to watching the video. Then, a friend sitting next to me asked if I was ok, and I had a choice to make.. Lie or be honest. I thought seriously about lying, and realized I saw her reading my eyes and lying would do nothing for hiding, and I shook my head and said quietly, “No. I’m not ok.” She froze and then asked if I wanted to talk, I said “No, because I will cry if I begin talking.” She asked if I was sure, and much to my relief let it go until after the video was over and most had left. We decided a starbucks run (why not get more coffee..) was in order. So, we left and went there.. And, once again I began detailing out how I was not ok, and I was frustrated, and I could not explain why. It was good. She has such a loving and truly caring spirit that it was nice to just talk.. we talked about ALL kinds of things, any rabbit trail my mind went down, she so lovingly and gracefully followed me through it all.

Between the several conversations I have explained, and other ones I have not (mainly because this would be the worlds longest blog entry)… One friend summed everything up and said “I think maybe all of this is God’s way of pushing you to a much deeper level of trust in Him and His plan.”

I think she is right. I do not like how I am feeling right now, but I also know God is working. That is enough, even in the midst of these feelings.


I tend to try not to post negative things towards guys, and this one is not different, but I just do not get guys sometimes…

I can spend all this time getting ready, actually TRYING to look nice, put a dress on, high heels, have my nails painted, hair done, makeup all in place… not sleezy, but professional and nice… I will get nothing.. no second glance. Nothing.

THEN… I go to the gym, work out, sweat like crazy, swim a million laps. My makeup has melted off and makes me look like I am gothic, hair’s a mess, I have sweatpants and a t-shirt on… and I get guys second glancing and waving at stoplights and trying to start conversations all over the place… Total and complete strangers…

Or.. my favorite.. I will be dressed up like I explained in the first scenario.. and after a while of hanging out, I will change into sweats, and put my hair up in some 2 second mess of a bun or ponytail, and the guys I am hanging out with will make comments like “aww now you look so nice” and MEAN it… not being sarcastic at all…. WHAT IN THE WORLD?!.. I really do not understand that at all. Especially since all the guys agreed I looked so much better in my sweatpants and t-shirt… Weird.

I guess I cannot really complain, but it really makes no sense to me. I do not understand it. I mean get the idea of comfortable, and how that has an appeal.. but how does it make someone more attractive than when they are “all done up.” Confusing. lol

Just random ramblings from this week…

My Sandpapered Heart…

I have this weird feeling deep inside of me that is really hard to explain. I feel like there are all of these compartments of things God has been working on and speaking to me on.. and suddenly it feels like He’s meshing them together. So… here are a few of the things bouncing around in my head… or heart… I guess both really.

I keep coming back to the fact that no where (that I can find) does God ever ask us to “feel” Him. He simply tells us to obey Him… So, do I obey Him with the total and complete knowledge of His truth… or do I obey Him when I feel like it, or feel Him.. or any other lame thing I can come up with? Will I obey him when I do not like what is going on? What about when I want to do something that will feel good?… Will I obey Him when it hurts? What about when I do not understand and I am scared?

This past Sunday Dr. Wheeler (a Liberty Seminary Prof) spoke about things that we tend to do or believe that really do not line up with what we claim we believe in Jesus… A couple of the things he said that stood out to me…

“Our problem with Honoring God is that we believe we can practice Biblical Faith and actually hold onto our lives at the same time.”

… Whoa. I do this.

He also said, “What you believe matters, but only as much as it is validated by your actions.”
This makes so much sense to me, and completely explains the “works” idea that so many people bring up.. Works do not get you to Heaven… But, the more you believe and follow Jesus the more you begin to WANT to do these things… aka the more what you believe becomes validated and apparent.

Another thing he mentioned was that “We have fooled ourselves into believing we deserve God’s grace, and that we’re entitled to His favor.”

… As much as I hate to admit it.. I think I have fallen to this trap in my thought process. How horrible is that?!…

He then said something that lines up perfectly with one of my favorite quotes, he said “The greatest victories and personal contentment that we have comes from the hardest trials.” Which is so true, and is one of the things that gives me hope and comfort when I am feeling hopeless and torn down.

My friend and I were talking about this whole concept later and we both agreed that it is like sandpaper to your heart… it does not feel good, but looks so much better.. and feels so much better once it is done and over. And, after it is done and over.. no one ever would choose to go back to what it was like before the sandpaper…

I was talking with another friend on Saturday night, and I was surprised by how open the conversation was. There was no fluff.. Not everything was described or said because neither one of us needed to know the entirety of the situation, but I was amazed at the answers I got. Nothing got built up to be more or less than it was, and our ability to just talk about what was going on without any judgement.. while at the same time just talk about how all of this applies to what is known as truth. I walked away from the conversation knowing and excited to see God move. I knew that all of my prayers would be answered, and God’s story would be absolutely amazing… Yet, I was still hurting because I knew at the very same time, the hurt that has to take place, the brokenness that has to occur, and the serious repentance that first has to take place in order for God to take over and do what He has planned. In the end it will be great, until then it will be hard painful work.

So… This is me, saying “Ok God, take this and catch me.”


So, I had planned on going to Ghana again in January. Returning to the place and the people where God touched and moved me more in 10 days than I can remember at any other time in my life…

And then, Pastor asked us not to come because they were not ready for us. So, my counterpart and I began praying and looking at other places and opportunities we would have around the world. I mean the options are limitless.. we literally could go ANYWHERE!… We began pursuing two options, one to the Sudan, and one to Columbia. Both seemed viable, and would work perfectly with our schedules and budget.

The problem is, both of us feel like God is saying wait.

I hate that answer. We had half our money raised in two weeks! It was going to be an absolutely amazing time, and I was seriously ready to go do something after the longest stint without traveling abroad in more than 3 years… *sigh*

To say that I am not bummed would be the understatement of the year. I really wanted to go, and if not to Ghana.. then somewhere. Somewhere that I could see something new, meet new people, not understand what is being said, encounter a new culture, and see Jesus in the faces of each child’s wonder and amazement at seeing someone clearly foreign. I was getting excited for the sights I would see, and the games I would play, and the pictures I would take.

I was getting excited that I would have the chance to feel like I was dancing again.

I was getting excited to feel beautiful and wonderful before my creator again.

*sigh* So, here I sit.. waiting. Bummed that I was told to wait, but honestly feeling like regardless, I do not have any other option. Faithful, that is what I will be, no matter how difficult it feels inside. Listening to what I am told regardless of what I want. I dislike it, but God does not ask me to like it, He asks me to follow and trust Him…

So, this is me following and trusting my Savior, who knows infinitely more than I do, and understands and can see where He is leading me. It is not exactly like I would have any idea what I was doing on my own anyway… and lets be honest, this is not the only area of my life God has asked me to be patient and wait for Him and His timing. I learned to “go until God says no.” Well, God said no.. so I do not go. That simple.

But, still dang. *big sigh* ok, enough bemoaning. Life moves on, and I will be ok, this will prove to be perfectly played out in the end.

I trust my Savior, even when I do not understand why.