Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Importance of Remembrance

Somewhere in my garage is a box of things from my junior year at college. Inside that box is a little shoe box that holds the items I had decorating my desk as well as some notes that I received that year. It also holds a small origami box. The bottom of the box is made of black paper, the top of white. Phillipians 1:6 which reads, "being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion in the day of Jesus Christ" is carefully written on the top. This box is a memorial. I made it at the end of my junior year as a project from my personal counseling.
I had never been to counseling before and was more than a little afraid of it. I didn't want someone else to know my business, and I didn't want other people to think that I was crazy. If I'm being honest I think that I associated crazy with broken, and other people seeing me as helpless is what I was really afraid of. I don't know what finally made me go but I went. I signed up with the new intern and for the entire school year I met with her for an hour a week, and she always gave me homework.
In the last two months of the school year she assigned my last project: create a memorial of the time you've spent working. Something that you can look back on and recall the ways God has grown and changed you through the counseling experience. You may not know this, but I can be pretty stubborn sometimes. I resisted a lot at first because it seemed childish and silly. She said I could make whatever I wanted but I had no idea where to even start. Finally I made something, I brought it in and showed it to her. She approved, but that wasn't the point. The point was that I'd made it and that hopefully I'd use it.
It's two years later and I'm sitting in a little house in North Carolina two months into a masters program. When I first moved here I was freaking out. I knew I wanted to teach but NOTHING was as I expected it. I doubted the choices I had made and I doubted my ability to accomplish what I'd committed to. I also doubted that God had really put me here. Two weeks before I moved I was confident in what I was doing and that it was God's leading. How quickly I had forgotten.
Last week a dear friend texted and asked for prayer because she was going through a hard time and her heart was heavy. I wrote to her and told her of this box, I told her how remembering the Lord's faithfulness is what brought me through the hardest of those days. I know that he has gifted me and prepared me for what I'm undertaking but sometime I have to remind myself of that. Sometimes I have to remind myself of it a lot.
Friend, whatever you are going through, God is there. He has not left you and he has no plans to do so. As you fearfully face what's before you reflect on the work that the Lord has done in you and in your life. Comfort yourself in the confirmation of his presence and his care. The Lord is eternally faithful, it is we that like sheep have gone astray.
1 Corinthians 10:13 is one of my favorite passages. It reads :

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 

The word that's translated temptation can also mean trial, temptations are trial but so are times of doubt and unrest, times of moving and confusion. These try our faith and test us, even then God does not give us more than we are able to bear and he does not leave us to walk through these trials alone. Praise the Lord!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Summer School

I seems like far more than three months ago that I walked across the stage of the Chattanooga Convention Center and got my diploma. This summer has been a whirlwind and a real test of endurance. I've been off school for a week now and finally had a chance to think through a little bit of what I did and learned.

What I did: I moved. A lot. I went from Covenant, to St. Louis, to NC at my Nana's to the dorm, to a house and there were a few trips scattered in there too. I took classes. Four graduate classes in two months which was a challenge but I loved it. If nothing else this summer confirmed that I want to be a teacher. I visited family. Growing up in St. Louis we didn't spend much time with my dad's family here in NC so this summer I've been spending time with those in town and enjoying the chance to be closer to them this year. I wrote letters- lots of letters! I think  I wrote more letters this summer than I did my entire senior year. I needed to talk with people who already knew me as I figured out this new place and it helped.

What I learned:
I need other people, this was a lesson that I started learning my junior year at Covenant but I've continued to see the truth of it as I moved to a new place. I am not enough, I need the love and fellowship of the people of God in order to really thrive. I was blessed to quickly get connected at a local church and I'm so grateful that I'll be here a year and can continue to worship with these people.
I'm prideful. I loved Covenant and I especially loved being an RA at Covenant. When I moved to LR I immediately started judging everything and comparing the school, the people, and life in the dorm to how it "should have been".  Regardless of what LR does or doesn't do I need to have a heart of humility, one that shows love and not condemnation. It is a different school and that's ok. I'm also prideful about my habits and beliefs, I do things a certain way and I'm comfortable with that. I met a lot of people who don't do things, or think about thing the way that I do and I thought less of them. Once again, the Lord had to knock me off my high horse and remind me that we all need the cross. Everyone of us needs it just as much as the other. Going to a Christian school doesn't make me need less Jesus; if anything it should help me see how much more of Him I need.
I have a lot more to learn. Next week I start my student teaching experience which will also be my first time in a public school and in such a racial diverse environment. All things that I want to be a part of but things that I don't really know much about. I have a lot to learn, but the Lord is faithful and he will show me the way.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A Few of My Favorite Things

The summer is almost over and I've been very lacking her on the blog. I've started a second blog to talk about my experiences teaching and particularly how I'm using and learning about technology. But when I get time off from school I like to do one of my favorite things: walk to the library. At Covenant I loved browsing the stacks and here at Lenoir-Rhyne they've got an even bigger library.
My current selections :)
But tonight's visit was to the local library that I've been to twice but never fully explored. I wandered the non-fiction and looked through the sewing and literary criticism sections- I plan to be the most stylish teacher out there :)
Libraries, like other favorite things, remind us of good times. They bring back memories of people we know, and the fun that we had. Libraries take me back to the days when I was young and discovered the joy of Little Women as well as fond memories of studying while drinking way too much coffee. On the way back from the library I was thinking about how clothes can do the same thing. Without even thinking I put together an outfit of a few favorite memories and when I prepped for my walk to the ole lib' I added a few more. The shorts: these boat shorts were part of my matching outfit with "Mander. 
The shoes: A hand me down from SG The yellow bag: This bag is what KJ remembers from our first meeting :) I made it summer 2010
The shirt: a purchase from our SB trip to FL

All in all, this day has been filled with good times and I'm thankful for that.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Day 2 of 74 or day 1 of 352

Right now I'm working on my third week of Graduate school in NC. I'm from St. Louis and I recently wrapped up a four year degree in GA so this was a huge transition. I wrote a post the first weekend when I was feeling miserable but never posted it. Today, now that I'm more adjusted and feeling 'withit' I want to share some of those initial insecurities and how they've grown.
Let's start with a (I guess this word works) rant from the Eliza of May 30:  Two weeks ago I graduated from college. Two days ago I moved into a new dorm. Until now I've lived in the same dorm, same floor for four years. This dorm is not that dorm. That dorm is my home, I'm not sure what this dorm is. Today I started my graduate degree and it's going to be a whirlwind. Leaving college I felt ready and excited. Now I just feel doubtful, I don't have confidence in my own abilities and I often don't have confidence in the God that put me here.

I am different from the people I've met so far that's a fact and it's not one that is going to change. I have grown up in small Christian environments with like minded people who helped me to grow and mature but never caused me to question the boundaries. These two months are not going to be that experience, at least I don't think so. Last night I was hanging out with three girls in the OT program and one mentioned that she was going to mass email the group about going to the bar Friday night. What?? I've never been to a bar, let alone with 36 people that I don't know. Fingers crossed I don't get invited and thus have to figure out the least awkward way to say no.
Ok, we'll stop there. If you know me you know I was FREAKING OUT something fierce. I hadn't taken the time to breath and to really think through the judgments I was making and I was acting without patience. I have a few tips to share with you, and also with myself, about making a good transition.

1. Be slow to speak and quick to listen. I think that this applies both to the people that you are meeting but also to your time with the Lord during the transition. Once I picked up my Bible and started listening I was able to have more patience and trust because I knew who had placed me here. As for the people around, the first weekend is not a good way to gauge the rest of the semester. Day 1 of our first full week we were ALL busy. The OT girl more so than me and as a result there has been no partying.

2. Remind yourself what you're here for. I have friends who are good at doing this for me. It doesn't matter who does it but remember the good things that made you choose this place and keep looking for more.

3. Work out! This is huge for me, running helps with my stress. I need to work out consistently to keep my self level headed. If the same is true for you than this is not the time to skip a work out.

I know that I'm feeling much more at home now, I've still got issues I need to work on and issues I want to point out to someone but overall I'm enjoying this again.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Last First Day

I'm two classes in to my last first day of college. Spring semester here at Covenant has begun with a rather mild day and I hope it stays that way. There is snow predicted for tomorrow and I don't want it. At all.
I'm excited about this semester and a fresh crop of classes as well as the prospect of getting accepted to graduate school and figuring out what my first year out of school will look like. Ready for a new year does not even begin to sum up my feelings about starting again. Last year was sad, hard, lonely, and trying in a lot of different ways. I know that those emotions will come up again and some of the same issue even but I also feel more prepared. During my last week of classes a lot happened back home and it was hard to hear about it and not be there but it was also hard to be here and still do school because that didn't feel important to me anymore. As a result I didn't feel like myself and felt completely off my game the last two weeks. In the three weeks that I was home it was determined that my parents are getting divorced. The catalyst for that was all that things happening while I was at school. But now people know, not just any people, but the best people. My boss and his wife as well as his boss and his wife, my wonderful staff, and my sophomores. My core friends knew as soon as I knew but they won't be around and I knew that if I was going to make it I needed to explain what was happening. To me that feels like an early apology or an excuse for something I might say, do, or feel this semester. In reality it's a way to let other people love me, a way in which I can call upon my church family and allow them to minister to me and my family during this time. I don't know if I'll ever be able to stop telling myself that asking for help doesn't make you week but I hope that one day it sinks in.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Nacho Fest 2013

I try and tell non Covenant people about Nacho Fest and I always feel like it comes out weird. Nacho Fest is a building event in which students from around campus come over to get some Nachos. The start in the lobby where they get a bowl of chips and then travel through the six halls to get all their toppings. The whole event has a theme and this years was book series. I love books, this should have been a piece of cake. Not. A week before the event we decide to do the library and had some great ideas about how to parody the Covenant library. Due to some misscommunications I found out Tuesday that we couldn't do that and then we spent the next few days trying to decide what to do and not coming to any agreement. In the meantime I was trying to write a paper and help my little brother with some stuff that was going on at home. 


We ended up doing American Girls. The concept was that it would be meet the dolls day at the store. Different people were dressed as characters and others as store employees, we we even had a broken doll at the hospital. Despite the dysfunction and frustration on my part the whole thing came off really well and we were proud of what we put together. It was a blessing to see my girls come together and do something with very little of my involvement. I was also bless to have a good chat with one of my girls afterwards just catching up on life. I hadn't talked with her much and she was part of my frustration so it was good to be reminded that she's a sweet fun girl and that I didn't need to be frustrated with her :)

 I think my favorite part of the night was going to dinner in the Great Hall with everyone as soon as it was over still in our doll costumes. We had accomplished something great and were just having a good time being with one another.

On a side note, I'm pretty sure I have the most beautiful hall on campus. Fact.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

I Never Do Stuff Like This:Nashville Trip

So, I have this friend EL and she's fabulous. Right now she's currently at Vandy living large and going to nursing school. She's also got a car which means that she's coming down to visit us a few times. KJ and I are carless but we got our act together and rod the MegaBus to Nashville and spent the weekend with her. I had spent fall break with my Nana and Ted about a week before and it was quite relaxing physically but being with these girls for three days and being able to talk about anything or just sit quietly was just what I needed. 

We're on a BUS!
Taking a tour of the Med campus
Getting some delish artisan ice cream and Jenni's