just random thoughts.

–i thank God so much that horrible things happen in the outside world when i’m at school and don’t have to deal with them. i’d so much rather curl up in my bed here and cry, than do the same at my house. it’s so much easier to be happy here.

the only bad thing is being far away from the friends that need me while i’m here.

–i will never get tired of lucky charms or cinnamon toast crunch.

–no one on our hall ever goes to bed later than i do. only once have i ever gone to sleep when there were still voices outside my door.

–one of my complaints when i was applying here was ‘i do NOT want to go to chapel every day’ but really, it’s like going to worship every day when i’m at camp. and just like at camp, it’s most often my favorite part of the day.

–i could play ultimate frisbee all day, any day.

–i have the best RA and the best FLTs ever.(not that we had FLTs at csu, but i’m sure if we did they would have sucked. i know what it is to have sucky RAs though)

–just like i said it would, writing feels like a chore now that i made this; facebook notes i could write anytime i felt like it, here i feel like i have to be constantly writing something, which makes me run out of things to write.

–i have 13 ashleys on my facebook friends. one of which is a guy.

–i am a mess. but a lovable one.

–i love my hall and am fixing to go out in it now. i’m bored here.

testimonies.

[note: this was begun on friday afternoon. first i just put off finishing it, then i forgot about it until now, which is sunday night]

the other night, me and my most wonderful RA were having long conversations about life stories and Jesus and all kinds of everything, and while i was going to sleep that night, i thought about God always being at work, and realized a thing or two about my testimony.

when i was in eighth grade, my sunday school teacher would always ask at the beginning of class if anyone had any testimonies to share. the first time he did this, i asked what this meant. i thought that your testimony was just how you came to become a christian(and for this reason, even before this particular day, i had never liked the idea of ever having to share mine, because at the time i had just said the cookie cutter salvation prayer when i was eight and thought that didn’t qualify as a testimony). he explained to me that a testimony is just a story of how God has worked in your life, either recently or a long time ago, and that sharing them was an important way for christians to encourage each other. over the years i finally grasped that truth, and then i’ve added to it some.

your testimony is never one story. and it never ends as long as God is still at work, which he always is. mine is long. i’ve shared it with a few people(never ever with a big group, i don’t do that and plus it’s a very ADD story and it’s so rarely possible for me to tell the whole thing in one sitting), but i’ve never written it before.

i accepted Christ when i was thirteen. i had spent my life believing that no one loved me, and no one ever would.  i had done what most good little church kids do and said a prayer so i’d be able to get baptized, but i had no clue what it meant, who God really was, or why i needed to be saved. but at camp the summer of 2005, i met elizabeth teal. and a few other people, but that week was about elizabeth. she showed me not only that i was lovable, but what it meant to love God and actually have a relationship with him, not just hear about him every sunday because your parents make you go to church. that thursday night while i was crying myself to sleep(i don’t think anyone understands how hard it was for me to go back home after that), i asked Jesus to come in my life and change me. it had finally clicked. but this was only the start.

again, it’s late and i’m too tired to write. but over the next, long stretch of time, i’ll continue this. i have about seven testimonies in one, so as God brings each to my mind, i’ll post it.
yeah, i definitely like that idea better.

ah, classes.

so school has really started now. and it’s still just as amazing if not more so.

our first days of each class were spent learning anything but what we would normally. first world civ, we glanced over the syllabus, then learned how to organize our lives. first old testament, it took the entire class time to take role, partly because there’s a lot of people, but mostly because dr crutchfield gets into story telling mode worse than even me. first ics, we just watched a video(but it was actually about what we’ll be learning about, so i guess that counts as a real class), it’s my favorite class hands down. it’s like a semester long explore group!(non-camp people: that’s when the kids learn about a missionary.) then ciu 101, which i call ciu LOL, first because it looks like that when i write 101, and second because the class is just pointless. but, like freshman seminar at csu, it’s an easy A and a nap all in one.

it’s late, and i can’t think of anything interesting to say. but it’s been like 3 days…i’ll write something else tomorrow.

God is just amazing.

home.

i’m at my house, sitting in my room, and even though i like the purple walls better than the ugly white ones in my dorm, and i’ve got free laundry, and it’s 80 degrees in here, i’m missing school. i was there only 6 hours ago and i miss it.

csu never felt like home. when i’d come home on weekends, i’d cry myself to sleep the night before thinking about going back. but now, home is ‘my house’ and ciu is ‘home’.

my favorite thing about camp besides the campers, is getting to always be around people that love me. (i hate being alone and i hate not having a constant source of hugs). so when i finished high school, the thing i was most looking forward to about college was of course the people. i figured it would be like camp, only i’d have school at the same time, and i’d get to know everyone even better since we’d have a whole year instead of just a summer. when i didn’t get that, i thought, okay, so college isn’t camp. well crap. after i got accepted to ciu, i’d heard that it was like a big family, but i had heard the same thing about csu(although, not from as many people, and not as much) so i didn’t quite believe it. then i got here.

within an hour i knew it was different. the RAs know our names and care about us. everyone on our hall actually talks to each other instead of just their roommate(who they most likely knew before they came) and a couple other friends. i feel like i live with 20 of my sisters. it really is a lot like camp(only instead of taking care of 12 kids every week, we have to worry about school).

i’m getting more excited about this year every day. God is already working so much and i can’t wait to see what he has planned next!

earlier memories of ciu…

yesterday, i walked in the bookstore and realized that ciu has almost always been a part of my life. and really, if it weren’t for this school, my life would be completely and totally different.

when i was seven, my dad started looking for a new job. we lived in virginia at the time. i’m not sure how he heard about it, but somehow he started applying for some job at ciu. we drove down to look around the school and for him to have his interview(or i think this is how things went). i remember the campus looked so much bigger back then. scott was only 3 and a half, and me and him were skipping on the sidewalk in front of the fitness center singing the wizard of oz and daniel was yelling at us. we got to eat in the cafeteria, and i didn’t like anything they were serving, so all i ate was mashed potatoes(eating them here now makes me laugh). and all this time, walking around and looking at everything, i never imagined i’d go here 11 years later.

eventually dad got the job, and we left the frozen wasteland and moved to my beautiful favorite south carolina. back then if you walked past walker, you’d look in front of you where the apartments are now and you’d see all these trees with a little road in the middle, and it went down this really steep hill to where these separate semi-dorms were. on the other end of campus there was this street with these houses where they let the grads/seminary/married students live, and that’s where we lived in our first month or so. i remember celebrating my eighth birthday in that house and getting a stuffed larry boy.

people knew us around there. we’d go to the student center almost every day and play bumper pool(that isn’t there anymore), or sometimes we’d find some nice college kids(only back then of course we didn’t call them kids, we’d call them grown-ups. i’m not even sure we understood that they were in school) that would play ping pong with us. if we were really good, mom would let us go in the bookstore and get candy. (we thought we were awesome that we got like ten cents off because dad worked there) i always got an airhead and did the whole thing where you shake it for like an hour so it gets real puffy, and one day i taught the girl behind the counter how to do it, and every day after that i’d go see her and ask if she’d tried it yet. i was sad when we found a real house and moved off campus, but it was always a big deal to go visit dad at work. as we got older we stopped caring and didn’t do it as much.

years later, dad quit his job there, got a new job, and made us move to lexington. but then i met lynette, and all the youth group girls would go hang out at her dorm on friday nights now and then. she’d talk about the school some, but i still somehow never pictured myself here.

in, i think it was 2008, dad quit his other job and came back to ciu. that was when i had suddenly decided i wanted to go to college, but i had my heart set on charleston southern and refused to look anywhere else, and ciu was most definitely out of the question. it’s too close to home, i don’t need a bible college when i’m not looking to be a missionary or anything, i’m not going to someplace with a whole ton of rules, and on and on.

but then, i learned. it’s actually the perfect distance from home. i may not necessarily need a bible college, but i love that it’s that way. and really, it’s not pensacola or bob jones, or even north greenville. everything about it is perfect.

now all this whole thought process is while i’m picking up my books and stuff. then while i was walking past wmhk, i realized how this is the reason for so many things in my life. we would never have moved to sc if it weren’t for ciu. which means i would never have known of camp, never met any of the people who influenced my life. there would have been others i know, but never as perfect as it ended up. and plus, the way i would talk would get laughed at a lot less =] it’s amazing how much God used this place in my life even before i got here.

and to think that all it used to mean to me was the place where we got airheads.

vulnerability and accountability.

so i keep thinking, this is as amazing as this place can get, then God proves me wrong.

today was the second to last day of welcome week. this morning during worship, they had a song playing, and all these people walking across the stage holding these big sheets of cardboard with something they had struggled with written on it, then they’d flip it over and it would have the way that God had transformed them. (i was of course one of the many people who cried.)

then tonight we had a candlelight service/commitment time where we talked about areas where we needed to be held accountable. a bunch of the student leaders shared testimonies and gave us things to call them out on from time to time. it’s so amazing to me how honest people are around here. it’s encouraging to see that they’re just as messed up as we are and aren’t pretending to be perfect. it’s easier to come and talk to people like that. then we were given time to pray and think about what our weakness is that we need people to watch out for us on. mine is my quiet times. i’m in a habit of just picking up my bible, reading the few chapters in my guide to get through it in a year, without really thinking about the words i’m reading, then going on with my day as if that counts as legit time with Jesus. i need to be taking more than just ten minutes, reading until i actually get something out of it, and most importantly i really need to get to praying. (ADD people have the worst time with this) i rarely take time to sit still and talk to God, and much less to listen to him. as i go about my day, i say random ten second-ish prayers for people i pass by, but it’s never enough. so if you happen to remember, ask me now and then what i learned in my quiet time, and/or how well i’ve prayed that day.

then we went out to the prayer towers, lit candles like christmas eve, and worshiped. it was just like camp, only i was surrounded by people my own age, instead of little girls that i need to keep quiet.(not that i don’t love outdoor worship at camp, but you get it)

i’m so beyond excited about so much right now. this year is just looking more incredible the closer it gets.

how i got here.

being a transfer/2nd semester freshman is the most annoying thing ever. not that i don’t love living with everyone who’s on my hall, or getting to do all the same orientation stuff as them, i’ve gotten sick of explaining twenty times a day that i’m ‘only kind of a freshman’.
but, it’s a good story. and i’m better at telling it if i write it anyways. so…
i spent my first freshman year at charleston southern university.(how i ended up there is another long story that i won’t put here, right now at least)the short version is, i had been so sure, after hearing about it from a friend at camp, and visiting the school and falling in love with it, that it was God’s plan. and really the more i think about it, i think that was the plan at the time. i think He totally had his hand in everything that went on. i got there and turned inside out. the energetic, loud, happy person that i usually am became polar opposite. i felt invisible, lost, and totally alone in the world. basically just imagine everything that could go wrong, going wrong. but because of all this, i grew closer to God than i’d ever been.(having no other friends kinda makes that happen) but so much was still missing. the next semester got a little better friends-wise, but way worse grades-wise. i was so sick of trying my hardest and still failing, that i pretty much stopped trying. halfway through the semester, my mom brings up the idea of one year at ciu to pick my grades up, and then i could come back to charleston. i was totally against it at the time, i said i’d rather take out loans and stay at csu, or just drop out of school all together, than go there. i can’t even remember why now. but finally once the year was over and i got home and started thinking straight, i realized that i didn’t want to go back to the place, and i may as well apply at ciu even though i still didn’t really want to. again, i have no idea why. so i fill out most of the application except for the essay. three days before camp started, i finally sat down to write it, and God just started kicking sense into my head. i had expected to have to make it up as i went along and somehow make it look like i really did want to go there. but the more i wrote, the more i realized everything i was saying was totally true. it’s like i could feel my heart being changed as i put the words on paper. and you know the rest of the story.
so i’m here, i love it, and the more i think about it, the more i see how God’s perfect plan worked out. i wouldn’t go back and change a thing.
i always thought that camp la vida was where God lived, and i felt like he always stayed behind until i came back the next year, but now i know it’s just a summer house. this is where he is the rest of the year. =]

well…

i’m trying to think of the right word for this, i think it goes something like, OH MY GOSH. this is my new second favorite place in the world.
it took about a semester and a half to make 5 friends at charleston southern. here, in a day and a half, i made about 50. everything just feels different, in the best way possible. i remember how to be myself here. i feel like we’re all this big weird family.
then earlier i started thinking, why the heck did not God not send me here from the start? why waste a year of my life at csu when i could have been here all along? but i thought a little more, and i remembered all i learned from that horrible year. knowing all of that is probably making me appreciate it more here. i have all that to compare it to. and also, there’s something about this specific group of people. i might have had to wait a year for just that reason. i’m thinking God’s got plans, He always seems to. =]
as i’ve said about 16 times already, i totally love it here.

and so the adventure begins…

[note: this was written august 17 around 1 am. i hadn’t made this blog then, but i figure i may as well post it here now. anyways…]

so, i leave in the morning to start over at a whole new school.

it doesn’t feel like,
1. school is starting again. this summer went faster than most, and especially being at camp it doesn’t feel like i get a lot of sitting back and breathing time. (not that i’d rather have that than be at camp, but you know.) getting back into studying, not sleeping, getting up and going to class…not a fan.
2. i have to get used to a new school again. seriously, i almost feel like i’m going back to csu. that’s what i think of when i think ‘school.’ part of me is terrified. i keep thinking about my last first week. actually my whole first year, but mostly the first week. i will NOT have another one of them. and really, the bigger part of me is excited. i get to start over. this time around, i’ll make friends, i’ll like my roommate, i’ll actually study, and i’ll be happy. this will be an amazing year.
scratch the part about being terrified. i feel like a kid on christmas eve!!!!
3. i won’t be super far away anymore.
again, i’m so used to thinking csu when i say ‘i’m going back to school'(by the way, i’m not a fan of the word ‘college’. partly because it makes me feel old, but mostly because i never got to say ‘i’m going to school’, etc etc, being homeschooled and all that), so now i have to keep reminding myself that i’m only 20 minutes away. a year ago i couldn’t stand the idea, now i’ve decided it’s the most perfect distance from home.
other random thoughts.
i kind of hate that i’ll still be a kind of freshman, but i love that i’ll be living on a hall with them, so i’ll be with other new, lost, desperate for friends kind of people.
i’m actually excited about the whole classes/studying/actually having to be responsible, part of everything. i think i’m gonna be better at it here than at the place.
i don’t think i miss the place at all. i’m trying to remember what it was like to want to stay there and put myself through another year.
ok. i need sleep. less than 8 hours until i meet my roommate, and other awesome people =]