who comes up with this stuff?

i’m always saying that the difference between dr pepper and mr pibb is that dr pepper went to school for longer, and hence learned more about how to taste good. (i hate the question “is mr pibb okay”, which so many countless waitresses have had to ask me[ps, mr pibb is NEVER okay]. one time i asked for dr pepper, and they said “we have mr pibb” and i said, “oh, i’m sorry for you, i’ll just have water.” [then i felt like one of those nasty customers you see in movies, so i gave them a good tip])
but i took a study break to look up what the 23 flavors were, and i just got so much more respect for my liquid heaven. who would have thought to put all these random things together and actually thought they’d taste good?

1. Amaretto(is that even a word?)
2. Almond
3. Blackberry
4. Black Licorice
5. Carrot(!!!!!!)
6. Clove
7. Cherry
8. Caramel
9. Cola
10. Ginger
11. Juniper(i thought that was a planet…)
12. Lemon(really?)
13. Molasses
14. Nutmeg
15. Orange(it’s like they’re taking from sprite and mountain dew and coke)
16. Prune(i think, whoever made this was really bored in the
17. Plum   grocery store and just took the first 23 things he saw.)
18. Pepper(SERIOUSLY.)
19. Root Beer
20. Rum
21. Raspberry
22. Tomato(not cool. this and pepper [and rum since i don’t know what it tastes like] are the ones i can’t taste no matter how hard i try.)
23. Vanilla

so, like with most things, i started thinking. and i thought, how in the world did they think that these 23 things would taste good together? especially when so many of them aren’t even good by themselves. (tomato, pepper, prune, licorice…)
then i thought of camp. of course.
30 some college girls, all thrown together for a summer. all with different personalities, different passions, different points of view. there’s always one or two that don’t seem like they’ll work out. then the campers come. and when you see everyone working together, you realize that when he mixed all these “flavors”, God knew what he was doing.

just like the guy who made dr pepper.

on south carolina, chick fil a, homeschoolers, the aristocats and youth ministry majors.

1. i love south carolina. i love bipolar weather, piggly wiggly, waffle house, guys that open doors for girls, fried oreos, southern accents and camp la vida. why would anyone live anywhere else?
2. chick fil a lemonade is heaven in liquid form. my record is 3 large refills. and really, no one else has a cow with spelling issues for a mascot, or gives you a free chicken sandwich if you get a large fry and a large drink. or sells you chicken for breakfast. basically it just wins. sorry leighanne. ;]
3. the best compliment i ever get is when someone is shocked to hear that i was homeschooled. and i was, my entire life. but somehow, i’m not as screwed up by it as i thought i was, because i always get good reactions when people find out. i appreciate it.
and actually, one reason i was less than excited about coming here was “i don’t WANT to go to a school with nothing but homeschoolers and mk’s”. but none of the homeschoolers i’ve met here seem like they were. there’s hardly any that i’ve thought, oh, i should have guessed that. it’s good to know there are so many others that turned out okay like me.
4. i was never a disney princess kid. all my favorite disney movies were the ones about animals that talked to each other but the humans have no clue. lady and the tramp is my alltime favorite, but 101 dalmatians is way up there, and last night i found the aristocats on youtube, so i’m watching that right now. it’s so sadly underrated.
5. i love when i get mistaken for a youth ministry major. not that i don’t like being seen as the psychology major type, but i know that it means they think i’m the fun and crazy type, not the quiet and observant(but still cool) type.
but i really do fit the psych type better. i love people and i love to think. i love figuring out how other people think, why they think how they think, and how that makes them act why they act, and helping them understand all the how’s and why’s.
youth min is more like my camp self. loud, fun, crazy, uninhibited, 12 on the inside. which on my best days here, i still am. but for the most part, i don’t know how to be that way in the real world. just at camp. for a while i had thought of double majoring, since this year i’d felt more connected to the older campers than most summers, and especially with everything going on at church, i’d thought maybe God was trying to tell me something. part of me still wonders if that’s what i should be doing, but i think i can do both with just a psych degree anyways, if i do decide that later. and plus, psych is just too much fun to quit.

6. i’ve decided that i just kind of float through life on a big red balloon. usually i’m going along in a happy blue sky, but then when i hit a rain cloud, it takes a while for me to find my way out. and i don’t like to let people know that i’m in there, which only makes the cloud worse. but once i get out, i’m back to myself and it’s like i’d never seen the scary dark clouds before. then i end up hitting another one, and that one is even worse because i get mad for not knowing how to avoid the clouds, and i wonder why i can never remember how to get out since i’ve been in them before. then the cycle starts again.
that’s my favorite thing about here. it’s 99% blue sky.

my own little world.

our “no complaining for a week” challenge is over. i pretty much failed at it. it doesn’t matter that i’ve had a miserable week(God probably did that on purpose to see what i would do), i could have turned it around if i’d thought enough.
yesterday my wonderful best friend came and took care of me, and i felt better for like an hour. then when i hit my lowest point all week, i went and cried in lauren’s chair for an hour and a half until i remembered that i hadn’t been supposed to be complaining. i realized that’s all i did all week. so as i do with most things, i got in my bed and thought about it. i was listening to matthew west’s new album while i did all this good thinking, and this line jumped out at me:
  “put your light in my eyes and let me see, that my own little world is not about me.”
now see, i really don’t LIKE to be in my own little world. i’d much rather be out seeing people and being in their worlds. and it hit me: i complain a lot more when i’m thinking about myself. maybe i shouldn’t do that so much? um, yeah.
so i’m setting out on the challenge one more time. and this time it will work. but if you do hear me whining, call me out. i’m not so good at breaking habits on my own.
ok. time to write something happy. next post.

how could they do that?

[this is branching off of my previous post. it doesn’t have much to do with it, so i’m writing a whole new one.]
in chapel a few weeks ago, the speaker(part of my brain is saying it was dr murray, but the other half is laughing at that, so it was probably someone else) was asking this question about the holocaust. we later discussed it in ics. it was talking about things like racism/stereotyping/thinking we’re better than people, things like that. but this question comes to my mind when i think about kids with rotten families.
i first started really contemplating this my first summer. this girl had taken a particular liking to me. she wasn’t even in my cabin or anything, and i don’t even remember her name(i hate myself for forgetting). she loved everything about camp and reminded me a whole lot of myself. i could go on, but basically she was just a wonderful little person in every way and i’m sure she still rocks at life wherever she is.
but i don’t know where she is, or what’s happened to her since those 5 days in july 2008 that i got to be in her life.
that friday when her name was called, she came to me and said “please don’t make me go home.” she told me that no one loved her, that they didn’t hug her or listen to her, or treat her like she was special. when i asked if they did anything wrong to her(i think that’s how i worded it, i wasn’t sure the best way to find out if anyone was abusing her), she seemed to know what i was getting at, and she said “no, they’ve never ever hurt me, they feed me and give me a bed and everything, but they don’t love me. i just want to stay at camp and see you every day because you love me.”
it broke my heart to have to make her go down and leave with her church. i can’t remember exactly what i said to her, but i know it wasn’t everything i meant to. i know i somehow told her she still had to go home, and that i loved her and would miss her a lot and hoped she’d come back next year. all i remember emphasizing was that i did love her. but i don’t think it was enough. i tried to hug her, but she pulled away and just left with her friends.
she never came back. i have no idea where she is, or how she’s doing. and when i was 16 and stupid, i didn’t want to admit that i wasn’t totally capable of helping everyone, so i didn’t ask anyone if there was anything i could have done.(although, to console myself, knowing what i do now, i don’t think i could have reported anything)
if i had that moment to redo, i would have said so much more to her. i would have told her that even though her family didn’t love her, she still deserves love. that she was wonderful and strong and that God will one day do big things through her and use her life to help someone else in some amazing way. that she was perfect and beautiful exactly as she was, that she had made my summer brighter and i’d never forget her, but mostly, that God adored her even more than i did, and even if she didn’t get to see me and get hugs from me, God would still be with her all year long.
from this mistake, sprouted my traditional end-of-the-week motivational speech. every thursday night, i read the page from “his princess” about true beauty. then i tell them, and i scan the room and make sure i lock eyes with each girl at least once, that they are beautiful, and special, and God loves them more than they can imagine. (if it’s a really phenomenally good week, first i tell them how great they are and how much i’ve loved sharing the week with them and how i’ll miss them, then i tell them God loves them even more than i do, as hard as that is for me to imagine. my best week this summer, i was sobbing so hard by the middle of it[though smiling while i cried], that 5 of them got out of their beds to hug me and tell me they loved me too.) i promised myself that i would never let any of my girls leave without knowing that i care about them, and that Jesus adores them.
but back to the story.
that night after she left, besides feeling like a failure at my job, i screamed in my head at God. not so much at God, more TO Him. how was the world such a sick place that there were people capable of not loving such a precious child? i was so angry that i couldn’t do anything. emotional abuse is so much more painful than the illegal kinds. why do parents not go to jail for not loving their kid? and in a way, i was jealous of them. they got to see her every day. they got to be part her life all year long. they could get those sweet little hugs that never failed to make my day, every day. they got to watch her grow up, see what kind of a wonderful person she’ll become, and they could care less. why?
there are others like her. God has brought several campers into my life that only get to be loved 5 days out of the year. as thankful as i am for this privilege of becoming part of their lives and getting to show them that they do deserve to be loved and cared about, it disturbs me even more to think that there are hundreds of thousands of kids like them who i haven’t even met yet. they’re suffering too.
and so, i’m going to change it. it’ll only be a small fraction, but i’ll take that. i want to get them out of that hell hole of a “home” and find them a place where they’re safe and happy and loved. or if nothing else, talk some sense into their parents and get them to see why they should love their kid.
i want God to take me in his hand and use me to change children’s lives. to show them they are worth something. that they’re special and lovable. going through life without knowing that is like being wide awake in the middle of a nightmare, and no one deserves to live like that.
i hate this sick world. and for the time God is still making us live in it, i want every child in it to be loved.
and i miss camp.
one final thought: when it’s time for my girls to leave, i’m sad for all of them, even the ones with great parents. i love meeting them and telling them how great their kids are, and it makes me smile when they tell me things like “oh yes, we know”.(i even told one mom “thank you so much for sharing her with me” and she laughed and said “don’t worry, you can have her again next year, but i want her back now”. one of the best moments of my whole summer, actually probably even in my “career”). i’m glad they appreciate what a blessing they’ve got on their hands, and that they trust me to take care of it 5 days a year. i always miss them a little less knowing they’re safe for the year before they come back to see me.

inspired.

so i’m sitting here, fighting to stay awake, reading my strengths finder book(which is dead on, by the way. this assessment is legit) for my class in 7 and a half hours. it’s fascinating even at 1 am. of course, i’m one of those people who just loves anything like this, so it shouldn’t be a surprise. i have a little too much fun figuring out why i am the way i am.
i am positive, i’m a developer, i’m strategic, i’m wooing, and i’m empathetic. while i disagree a bit on the order, i’m definitely every one of those five.
the one i zeroed in on was “developer.” that’s like mentoring people, making them feel important, helping them to see what they’re good at. to build on this strength, it mentions making a list of the people who saw something special in you and encouraged you in that. i thought of britnie reid. i remember one day at camp when we were eating lunch between minicamps one wednesday my first summer. i have no idea what we were talking about or what led to this, but at some point she said something like, “you think like a psych major, i think you’re good at understanding people.” the next day God sent my proverbs 31:8-9 revelation my way, and the rest is history.
there are others too, but that was one story i’ve never written before.
i love when people see things in me and i love helping other people see what they’re good at. i’d be really good at what my ADD doctor does, only without prescribing pills. you have to go to school for a long time to do that, you know. but explaining to people who think they’re stupid, that they aren’t, and how they can take their little quirks and put them to use, sounds like fun.
if i’ve learned nothing else from ciu lol, it would be that whatever i end up doing, it has to involve helping people. (i’d still like it to be loving on kids whose parents don’t love them and going to court to talk to the scary lawyers for them, all while showing them Jesus) and i’ll be good at it.
hey, did i just admit to learning something from that class? yep, i guess i did.

hopes.

i hate when someone says “don’t get your hopes up.” they’re always already up when you tell me that.
do we really have any say in them? can we pick and choose what we get our hopes up for? or what we don’t?

i had hopes. i know i did. i just didn’t realize it until today.

i like to believe that i’m from the school of thought that says everyone will eventually leave, or let you down. but that’s hardly ever the way i act. i tend to let everyone in that asks, and half of them aren’t even really wanting to be there. then there are sometimes, when i’m braced so much for the moment when you’ll walk out of my life, that i act like you’ve already left me.
there is no middle ground with me. i’ll either love you too hard or not at all. this is how it is with everyone who wanders into my life.(everyone wanders. few people purposefully choose to walk into it)
sometimes i can see it coming. i see it, and i promise myself i won’t let them close enough to my heart to screw it up, then i let them through anyways. it’s like i have no control over who i trust. or care about. or get attached to.
and half the time, whoever i do fall for, doesn’t want to catch me. while they’re busy being there for someone else, i get myself hurt again.
then i hide. to see who will look for me. and no one ever does. i always have to come back out on my own.
i forget my point. i did have one. but i think my fever’s coming back, so i should go back to bed.
and i just realized, i’m not supposed to be complaining. let’s imagine that i’m just stating truths, not complaining about them.

a grateful heart.

today in small group, we all decided that for the next seven days, we’ll all try to not complain about anything. like, not one word. and i took it further, and i’m writing down each time i forget.
within two hours, i had whined about five things. one of which was the fact that i wasn’t supposed to be complaining. (ironic, right?)
then, on a walmart run with jamie(where i complained in my head about my phone never getting signal there), i saw why i should never ever complain.
there’s this homeless guy that i’ve seen a few times standing in front of walmart, and he was there again today. like lots of people would, we drove on past, but suddenly God got hold of jamie. we got him some food and turned around to go back to him. now, in my head, i’m freaking out, trying my absolute best to trust that my roommate is trusting God and not trying to get us raped.
after 30 seconds, i knew it was a God thing. it turns out the man is a christian, and he’s taking care of some old people(who are also living on the street) besides just himself. he told us all about what was going on, his honesty caught me off guard a bit, but i needed to hear it.
as we were driving back, i thought about all the things i whine about. the food in the caf. the loud people at midnight. getting up early for class. among other things. really? at least i have food, and i have friends whose craziness i love when i’m not sleeping, and i’m able to be in school. this man here has nothing. and all he’s doing is thanking God that we thought enough to stop and talk to him. plus helping out four other people in his same situation. how can we say that we have problems, or take for granted all that we have?
i think this complaint-less challenge will be a little easier for me now. i have nothing to complain about.

last minute thoughts before bed…

1. my dodgeball team consists of some of the awesomest people i know, you guys are SO much fun. (and winning all the time adds to it a little ;] )
2. if “absolutely most simple things possible” were a love language, it would be mine. if i get three hugs in one day, i’ll be smiling for the rest of the week. i get one compliment in football practice and decide i love this game(this had best last for a while, i like having fun with this). i get five minutes with someone i haven’t seen in weeks, and suddenly i don’t miss them anymore.
ok, so i’m still a fan of touch, but still. my point(which i’ve lost, cuz let’s face it it’s late and i ran nonstop all night) was that being as tired as i am, i’m making myself laugh with how easy it is to make me happy.
3. why do they always put nuts in oatmeal cookies around here?
4. this was a good, good, good good day. 
5. ciu LOL is gonna be a challenge to stay awake in. time for sleep.

just another reason to love ics.

today i flipped to a random day in our 30 days of prayer for the muslims book, and came to the day where they talk about friday prayer, and all the little things they do to prepare for it. and it says to pray that they’ll come to understand God’s holiness, and how only repentance can give us freedom to stand before God.
then i thought. this doesn’t just apply to muslims. shouldn’t this be our prayer for Christians too?
we may not have “ritual cleansings” before we pray or anything, but sometimes we try to cover up our sin or do more good to make ourselves feel like we’ve made up for something wrong we’ve done. instead of repenting, we try to think of some other way to feel right with God.
so while i prayed for the muslims since it’s assigned for class, i spent more time praying for us than anything else. 
then i realized i had 3 minutes to get to class, and left this post unfinished until 2:40.
ok. anyways.
so i thought a little more. (and then i thought even more, so what i’m fixing to say would come out right) we sometimes have a tendency to be hypocritical and judgmental. maybe we think that in some ways, we’re better than other religions, or i should i say, better than the people who practice them. when really, we’re just as messed up. we try to fix ourselves instead of just asking God to forgive us. my pastor at the church i grew up at liked to say, “saying you’ll wait and turn to God when you fix the sin in your life is like saying you’ll wait and go to the hospital when you aren’t sick anymore.” 
i think i’ve gone into ADD mode now. since i’ve stopped thinking clearly enough to get good words out(i promise this whole concept is awesome in my head, i just can’t seem to do it justice), here’s the gist of it: muslims have this whole ceremony deal that they think makes them more presentable to God, when it really does nothing for their hearts. while we do need to pray that they’ll have a way to hear the truth, we also need to see that we do the same thing in our own Christian-ized way.
and that’s where my thought process crashed.

that’s my everything.

as i’m once again listening to this song on repeat for another hour, i realized i hadn’t written about last week’s chapel which was my favorite all semester.
i’ve been learning about being weak. God keeps forcing me over and over again to realize that i’m helpless and inadequate. but He also is trying to get me to see that it’s ok. the whole 2 corinthians 12:9 deal.
last thursday we had an all worship chapel. no speaker, just singing. but the theme was worshiping by ‘lamenting’. in other words, worshiping when everything is falling apart and we’re ticked at God for bringing all this on us. it was the most perfect thing that happened all week.
we sang this song over and over for, i don’t even know how long. then i went back to my room and listened to it on repeat for 3 hours. and with each word, it’s like God cleared just a little more fog off the windshield of my heart. 
God does not need me. He can do this without me. i’ve been trying too hard to do it on my own. sure, i’m trying for the right reason, but i’m doing the wrong thing for those right reasons. see, God doesn’t want me to work my way up this hill on my own. instead, He wants me to trust Him to carry me. He wants my heart more than my hands. He doesn’t want my attempts to be good. He just wants me.
david crowder gets it.

Lord, i’m tired, so tired of walking, and Lord i’m so alone.
the dark is creeping in, creeping up to swallow me; i think i’ll stop and rest here awhile.
and this is all that i can say right now, and this is all that i can give: that’s my everything.
didn’t you see me crying? oh and did you hear me call your name?
wasn’t it you i gave my heart to? i wish you’d remember where you set it down.
and this is all that i can say right now, i know it’s not much, and this is all that i can give,
that’s my everything.
this is all that i can say right now, this is all that i can give: that’s my everything.

i didn’t notice you were standing here, i didn’t know that was you holding me.
i didn’t notice you were crying too, i didn’t know that that was you washing my feet.
and this is all, this is all that i can say right now, i know it’s not much, and this is all that i can give
yeah that’s my everything.
this is all that i can say right now, i know it’s not much, and this is all that i can give,
that’s my everything.
that’s my everything.
yeah that’s my everything.
everything.