Wednesday, December 29, 2010

What I Read In 2010

So here's a little list of what I read in 2010 and why you should or should not read them [I give myself too much credit. Really, you're an adult. You can pick what you want to read; these are just reccommendations.]

Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver - I had to read this for a class. I'm not going to lie, I wasn't crazy about this book. It's about a family that moves to Africa to become missionaries. The dad is a major fundamentalist, white-man's-burden-y kind of "Christian." The book is pretty slow and took me forever to get through because I didn't care enough about reading it. I most liked Kingsolver's use of point-of-view. For each chapter she writes from a different sister's point-of-view and writes in the style in which the character would write.


Blubber by Judy Blume - For my Children's Lit class. I read it quickly because it was meant for kids in elementary school, but I did not love it.


Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen - This is one of my all-time favorite books now. It tells about a guy who runs away from his last final exam in college who joins the circus as an animal caregiver. If you can look past the language and other inappropriate elements, it's an excellent read.


Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White - Another for Children's Lit. I honestly don't think I had ever read this book all the way through before this year. I really enjoyed it.


The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman - This one was also for Children's Lit and was my favorite from that class. The book is about a baby who crawls away from his murderer into a graveyard. The ghosts of the graveyard then adopt him as their own. It's actually quite a good book with suspense and good writing.


Enduring Love by Ian McEwan - I keep trying to read Ian McEwan books and enjoy them, but I don't. This book is about a guy who witnesses a death with a few other people and then one of the other witnesses stalks him. It's dull.


Percy Jackson's The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan - I read this because my little brother is reading the series. It was ok but a little simple. In every chapter there's a disastrous circumstance the characters get themselves into and then they miraculously find a way out.


The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins - Buying The Hunger Games was one of the best decisions I have ever made. This book takes place in a futuristic, Farenheit-451-ish society. I can't really explain it to you without ruining the joy that comes from reading it without knowing anything about it. Just do yourself a favor and read this series.

Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper - This book was pretty good. Piper's books have a lot of great truth in them, but I get frustrated when reading them because he continually goes back to the same phrase "God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in Him." Yes, this is true, but if Piper took that phrase and others like it out of his books, they'd be about 20 pages long.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling - This was a re-read. I loved it, duh. I love HP.


Forgotten God by Francis Chan - I really don't remember a whole lot about this book because I was going through a weird time emotionally/spiritually while I was reading it. I remember liking it and I remember it having great truth, but I don't remember specifics. But I do, I do, I do love Francis Chan [as much as Kel loves orange soda.]


The Hole In Our Gospel by Rich Stearns - This book is excellent. I listened to it on audio book while I worked and it is one of the best books on the lack of church involvement out there. He talks about the church, his calling to missions, common issues in missions, and solutions to those issues. Great read.


In a Pit With a Lion On a Snowy Day by Mark Batterson - This book is one of the reasons I am going back to Texas in less than a week. It talks about how we should face our fears head on for the glory of God.


The Magician’s Nephew; The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe; The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis - Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. I love Lewis. I will probably finish Prince Caspian before 2011 too. My prediction: Awesome.

What did you read this year? What should I read next year?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Songs of 2010

Here's a little list of my favorite and least favorite songs of 2010.

Favorite Pop Songs

Grenade/Just The Way You Are - Bruno Mars - I cannot choose between these two songs. They are both super adorable. Basically, I just want to carry Bruno around in my pocket.
OMG/DJ Got Us Falling In Love - Usher - OK, I'll admit it. I love Usher...well, at least pop/dance version of Usher.
Dynamite - Taio Cruz - Have I mentioned that I love dance songs? Because I do.
Animal - Neon Trees - OK, I definitely don't know the lyrics to this whole song but everytime it comes on [Yes, even on commercials] I get excited!
Back To December - Taylor Swift - Taylor Lautner, just take her back already! I love this song. I just, I love it.
Somebody To Love/Baby - Justin Bieber - Judge if you wish; these songs are catchy!
Yeah 3x - Chris Brown - I've only heard this song twice but, oh wow, I love it. It's so happy and fun. [Insert reference to Rihanna irony.]



Favorite 9-year-old-super-cute-I-can't-even-stand-how-cute-but-I-love-it song

Whip My Hair - Willow - Her video is precious. Don't lie, you can't get it out of your head either.



Songs I Wish Were Never Played

The Time (Dirty Bit) - Black Eyed Peas - Talk about songs that never needed to be remixed. I didn't like that song to begin with and this remix definitely didn't help anything.

Personal Music Discoveries

Andrew Belle - Try out songs like "The Ladder" or "Oh My Stars" then cue the swoon.
The Almost - Technically I had listened to The Almost a lot a few years ago but I started listening to the Monster Monster album. "Hand Grenade" and "Hands" are my favorites!
Ben Rector - He's just great. Do yourself a favor and give him a listen.
Lecrae - Thank you, Paul and Sarah. I really wanted to be able to listen to some rap without having to hear about drugs and money. I really like "Used To Do It Too" because, well, I used to do it too.
Mumford & Sons - Indie at it's best. They have beautiful harmonies and interesting subject matter. But if you get the CD, listen to "Timshel" twice and skip "Little Lion Man" (soooo much cursing).
Needtobreathe - NeedISayMore?
The Temper Trap - "Sweet Disposition" over and over and over and over.....also it was in (500) Days of Summer!!!

Songs I Wore Out

Don't Let Me Fall - B.O.B
I'm At Home - Chris and Conrad
Enchanted - Taylor Swift
When I Look At You - Miley Cyrus
Awakening - Chris Tomlin
How He Loves/Oh Happiness - David Crowder Band

What were your favorite and least favorite songs of 2010?

Monday, December 27, 2010

Joseph Gordon-Levitt


Whether or not you know it, you have most likely seen Joseph Gordon-Levitt [Inception, (500) Days of Summer, 10 Things I Hate About You, Third Rock From The Sun, etc etc etc]. Let me just say, I love him. [And I've called eternal dibs. So there.]

Whether he's dancing with a cartoon bird:



Or fighting some bad guy in zero gravity while wearing a super fly suit [Not to mention when he's smiling while flipping in the van.]:

This one couldn't be embedded so you'll just have to watch it on your own.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AEbMBSGV-VA&feature=related

Yes, now you remember. You love him too. But remember, I already called eternal dibs.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Half-Marathon Training

I have these friends, Paul and Sarah, and they're basically the best thing since sliced bread. Well, they [along with Paul's sister, Amber, who is also pretty stinkin awesome] are training for a marathon and are excellent at making me wish I was an awesome runner too. So, now I'm going to train for a half-marathon. Once I get back to Texas I will start training [because it's warmer and I can actually breathe while running] using this training schedule because it's the only one I found that looks doable for me.


I am not a great runner, so I will be so excited if I get better! I decided to write about it on here because that way I will be held accountable for my running. So please, please, please ask me how I'm doing and I'll write on here about my progression.

Bonus: Once I run 5 miles consecutively, I will have completed #1 on my 101 in 1001 list!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

On Singleness

Ecclesiastes 3:1 says “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.”

I've come to the point [finally] where I see singleness as a blessing. It has taken me a very long time to let God soften my heart toward this. I thought that if I softened my resolve on wanting to have a relationship or wanting a husband ASAP, that God would take those things away from me. [Sigh.] I am so dumb.

He knows what will make me most satisfied: Himself. By keeping from me the things I thought I wanted, He has shown me Himself, the thing my heart truly desires.

And wait, there's more! [And you didn't think it could get better, right?] By allowing me to be single, God has given me a world of opportunities for His fame and for my joy. If I had been married, I would not have been able to pack up everything and move to Texas to meet the people who would point me to the person of Christ. I would not have so many possibilities for this summer. I mean, if it is His will, I can literally go to the ends of the earth this summer, which would not only be so cool, but would also bring Him glory!

This is not to say that I never want to be married, but I am so thankful to God that He has given me this time to enjoy Him and use my whole self for His work!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

BASIC.Holy Spirit

Francis Chan talks about the power of the Holy Spirit and the way the church does not use the Holy Spirit's supernatural ability. How can we make our church like the Acts church?

[Wow, that is large]



For more information and trailers of the BASIC series, go to http://basicseries.com/

Friday, November 26, 2010

Picture Post

Though you may have seen many of these on facebook, I wanted to post some pictures from the last few weeks. These few weeks have been the busiest since I've been here but I have gotten to know the students so much more and I am so thankful that God has given me this time to spend with them.

Two weeks ago, we had our Bibleville performance which went really well and was super fun. This is Andrew. He and I do "Word of the Day" every day at school.


This is Andy. We do excellent basketball commentary since I am clearly a basketball expert. My key words are: Rally, Zone Defense, Man-On-Man, Set A Screen. He also happens to be the most photogenic person I have ever met.


This is Alma. She's our only senior girl and I just love this picture of her. She played a flapper in the play.


These are the thugs (Josh and Andrew) trying to take the victim's (Benjy) money. He offers them a chicken, of course.


Oh. My. Lanta. This is my favorite part of the play. Evelyn (Rachel) comes to bail Harvey (Nate) out of jail. Then Harvey points the gun at the jail keeper (Memo) and then they have a laugh because it was a fake threat.


Bubba (Tim) watching Detective Doyle (Gabe) use the flavor detector.


We have also had lots of basketball games lately. I looooove going to the games! Esli is the girl with the ball. The girl behind her is Mary.





Our soccer team!


On Wednesday we had a thanksgiving service instead of our usual chapel. Between songs the students got up in front and gave testimonies of the things that God has been doing in their lives, stories of their salvation experiences, and the way God has used struggles to bring change in them and glory to Himself. It was great to hear where they had come from and how God is working in and through them.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

On a lighter note

We love slow days at work and we love Mrs. Lopez's new window!




Friday, November 19, 2010

My Decision and My Reasoning

"All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them." Hebrews 11:13-16

I told my friends that I would make an official decision today (November 19th) about whether I would be coming home for good in December or I would stay in Texas for another semester. I thought it would be best if I wrote everything out so they—and you—can know my heart and know that I have not made this decision lightly. In fact, for about two months, the decision making process had consumed me. And that, my friends, is where the problem began.

‎"We focus our energies on telling God exactly what to do, how to do it, and when to do it. In fact, we repeat ourselves over and over again just to make sure God didn't miss any of the important details. But what if, instead of spending all our energy making plans for God, we spent that energy seeking God?" - Mark Batterson
This was me. Somewhere in my crazy head, I had made myself think that I was deciding on the rest of my life and that if I stayed I would never get to go home again. [That is ridiculous! Committing one year to this ministry does not mean that I can never go home again.] So I pleaded with God constantly that He would let me go home and I kept trying to find reasons that would “influence” his decision—and they are great excuses. I want to start a ministry in town. I want to start a non-profit that would provide aid in Africa, India, somewhere. I want to be a direct influence on my brother's lives. I want to work with the kids in the Heritage youth group. I want to be in community with the College and TwentySomethings again. There are things I've learned here that I want so badly to take back and share with the people at home and model my life after the lives of people at MCA back home in Johnson City.

But I still have more to learn. I can still start a ministry in June. I can still start a non-profit that will provide aid to foreign nations in God's timing. I can influence my brother's lives by staying in Texas because they will see me giving up what I want to do what God wants. I can still work with the kids at Heritage in June, but until then I can love the students here fiercely so they have no doubts that they are loved not only by me, but also by an Almighty God who wants them to love Him. I can still be in community with the College and TwentySomethings in June, but until then I can devote myself to the people God has placed me with now by serving them in every way possible and treating them like Christ would treat them. God will still work in the lives of the people in Johnson City whether or not I am there.

I've also been reading about making an influence on further generations. Telling my kids that I tried out the mission field, missed home, and left would not be the kind of influence I want to have on my future family. I want to be able to tell them that I did all, gave all, for the glory of God and not for myself because I want my future children to remember that and live their lives in the same way.

I am growing spiritually here more than I ever have before. Before I knew a lot about God and about being a Christian and I did love God; but now, now I cherish Christ in a way that I never even knew was possible. I actually love the person of Christ, His characteristics, His sacrifice, and His plan. My heart has been softened to Him and His word. Before I was rarely moved by the Word; now, I am brought to tears by the way He rescued my in my wickedness and gave me the greatest gift of all: Himself.

Friends at home: I am so thankful for you. My love for you has grown even more by being separated from you. I cannot wait to see you over Christmas break and I do hope that God will give me the opportunity to live in community with you again. Until then, I will pray for you and think of you always in eager anticipation to see you again soon.



“For I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.” - Philippians 4:11

Paul was in prison; I'm just in Texas.



In Christ—who has saved me from death.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

His ministry is his life. His life is his ministry.

I'm going to post another excerpt from this blog. It may have a word that I'm not fond of, but it is very real.

The Gap Year crew spent the evening at Sam's house. We watched a movie, ate dinner, talked about life... Normal, right? Wrong. Sam and his family reside in West Denver which a predominately hispanic/low-income section of the city. From the outside he is a stereotype - even he will attest to that. His appearance molds perfectly to just about every one of our stereotype images of a hispanic gang member. I'm only speaking truth because I mean, if we're truly honest with ourselves - we all have that stereotype image in the back of our heads. But what most would not guess is that he is also a man of brilliance, compassion, committment and strength like that of which I rarely see. That... AND he has one of the sickest low-riders I've ever seen.

Him and his homies had us over for dinner tonight so that we may stand in a community where the unthinkable happens. Where violence is in an inevitable part of their week; a place where cops are constantly oppressing the citizens they swore to protect because to them - just about every hispanic male is a molds to a generalization. This is a place where the people work hard, but have little; where they are surrounded by gang activity; where there is so much need, but I can't do a damn thing about it.

After checking out his low-rider car projects, which he put together, and talked about his new idea for designing and marketing a low-rider BMX bike, we went inside to watch a movie called La Mission. This movie was intended to give us a clearer picture of their community and the life they have proudly chosen to embrace. Sam and his family have immerced themselves in this community. It's where he is from, what he knows best, and where he knows he is supposed to be. I could go on about the life of Sam, the people he loves and all those who love him, the way he spends his days, and the amount of respect we owe to men like him, but for the sake of your time I'll just close with what he taught me tonight.

He ended tonight with very powerful words. He said that (not word-for-word) "you guys are about to leave, and maybe never come back, but we... we're here to stay." We were about to leave and put it all behind us, making everything that had happened nothing but a memory, but he was there, in that community, to give all of who he is to the people and to his family. He gave us an invitation to never forget what we had experienced, but to make those moments a part of who we are. His ministry is not with an organization or not profit, it's just being a member of a community - sharing in their pain and in their weaknesses, taking on their burdens - that's his ministry... and his life. It's a lesson that I must carry with me as I enter into so many different communitites this year. I can not walk away from any place without carrying a little piece of them with me. A piece that my keeps my heart breaking for their pain, and rejoicing in their blessings.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Lately

I thought it might be nice for me to let you all know what has been going on lately.

We at MCA have been super busy lately because the Fine Arts Banquet and Auction [where 500+ parents, sponsors, etc come to eat dinner, watch performances, participate in an auction, and see our awesome play] is coming up on the 19th. On Friday we had our first performance of the play and it went very well.

I've been making promotional videos for the school. The fundraising video is finally done after me almost throwing the computer out the window. Now I'm working on the MCA promo video which I think is going to be pretty awesome. I'm editing the interviews that I took a few weeks ago. Some of the answers are just so good and biblical. I can't wait to show it to you!

In other news, I moved out of the Curling's house and into the Lara's. Mrs. Lara and Mr. Lara both teach at the school and their girls Mariann and Nina are in 9th and 6th grade. I love it here. Iris (Mrs. Lara) totally mommies us and girl talks with us and is always encouraging me in the ways of God.

In one month and one day I will be home for Christmas! I can't wait to see you all! Here are some pictures of the students and stuff!

The girls eating Raspas [like Italian Ice, but the kids here get pickles and chili in theirs. Gross.] Left to Right: Nina, Lynette, Sheila, Esli, Alma




The boys after their game against the adults. L to R Top Row: Gabe, Andy, Tim, Jordan, Fabian, GP, Paul, Andrew, Sanchez, Benjy; Bottom Row: Ruach, Nate


The one and only Gabe, who plays Detective Dick Doyle in "The Mysterious Disappearance of Evelyn Baker"


Harvey Porter is SUCH a dream boat. And how! L to R: Sienna, Courtney, Alma, Nate


I just love this picture. Benjy had no idea.

Friday, October 29, 2010

A Hole In Our Gospel

Hey all. Sorry I haven't written a lot lately. I've had a lot going on internally and just can't find a way to write about it, so I haven't.

In other news, I have been listening to A Hole In Our Gospel: What Does God Expect From Us? by Rich Stearns. It's so good and I would reccommend it to any Christian. Here are some quotes pulled from the text.

“Growth demands a temporary surrender of security” - Gail Sheehy

“The place God calls you to is the place where your deepest gladness and the world's deepest hunger meet.” - Fredrick Buckner

“God does indeed use our most painful seasons to deepen our faith and conform us to His will.” - Rich Stearns
 
So, I guess the fact that each of those quotes are somewhat related tells you a little about what I'm struggling with without me having to put it into my own words.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Give to the one who begs from you

This excerpt was taken from Phillip Gibson's blog. I don't even really know how I stumbled upon his blog but I like what he said.

"You're walking down the street and cross the path of a man. He embodies the word "filthy" - even makes my usual shower habits appear as healthy. Hair in dreads, body untastefully tattooed, clothes not exactly made for Nordstrums Spring Catalogue, and as your pase quickens to pass by him as quickly as possible his mouth speratically utters a few words that shake off a few of the many dirt crums stuck in his unkempt beard. What I usually tend to do is pretend to stare off into space and pretend to have no knowledge of his existence except for maybe that one moment when your gaze meets his and you are forced to awkwardly extend a semi-cordial nod his way while purposefully ignoring the reality that he has something to say to you. Whether or not you can understand him is irrelevent because either way he is unheard. Either way an assumption is made of who he is, what he wants, and especially what he needs. I assume that I know what is necessary for this man to "succeed;" for him to "make something of himself." And thus my pre conceived bias drives me to no longer treat him as a man with value, but someone who is lacking what I THINK might be missing in his life.


Here is the moral of the story: When you listen to this man, when you take the time to connect and try to get on his level for 10 minues, and when you give him the chance to TELL YOU what he needs and what he really wants, you give him back his dignity and respect as a human being who has the ability to decide for himself what he needs. It's those little things that allow one to build a genuine relationship with this man - one from which both him and yourself can grow as equal human beings together."
 
Matthew 6:42 says "Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you." To me, that says "Give to the one who begs from you." [I'm very literal.] What I mean to say is, God does not call us to judge why someone begs from us. We are not told to withhold from someone because we think we understand their motives. Many times we tend to think that every person who begs is going to use any money given to them for drugs, alcohol, cigarettes; but surely there are also people who beg who actually do need to feed their families. Even more importantly, it seems so much more likely that a person who has their needs met in love will soften their heart toward the person who gives. What a great opportunity to present the Gospel! If they see our love through our giving [and our spending even a little time talking to them], Christ can show Himself through us.
 
I'm interested to hear your thoughts on this.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Finally in Mexico

On Saturday we finally got to go into Mexico to the orphanage! I'm not gonna lie, I was a little nervous [mostly because my mom kept saying "I love you" in every single text like I was about to die]. Really, there was nothing to worry about...at least where we were. Border patrol was easy-peasy and I didn't see any big guns the whole day.

When we got to the orphanage, the kids opened the gates for us. We then went on a tour of the campus and took some pictures. A few of the kids were wearing Heritage t-shirts which was super cool. I just wanted to squeeze them!


Erika and I cleaned out some cabinets so the little boys could move into their room.



Then we went out and saw the pigs. They were totes cute.


We didn't get to hang out with the kiddos as much as I wanted but hopefully we will get to in the future.



Also, I REALLY want to ride on this thing!


It was a good experience and I hope I get to go back soon and spend more time with the kids.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Breehan

I have an awesome bestie, guys. I really do. She checks up on me after I ask her to pray for a difficult conversation I have to have with someone. She encourages me. She even prays for things that I don't realize need to be prayed for until she says them. She truly has a very compassionate heart, which is something that I lack many times. I learn a lot just by seeing her see other's hurts. She tells me about what she's learning in her Bible study and that encourages me to dig deeper in mine. God blesses me so much by having her in my life and by keeping her around even when I am a bad friend [which happens more often than I would like to say]. Also, she's super funny, super beautiful, and a super good catch [fellas!]. Love you, Breehan! Thanks for being awesome.


Tell me about your bestie. Seriously, tell me. I want to know!







Sunday, October 3, 2010

Realization and Repentance

This morning at church [Well, actually this afternoon. Our church starts at 2pm] Brent talked about Habakkuk. Habakkuk asked God why He wasn't doing anything about the nation of Israel's sin. God told Habakkuk that He was. He was going to send the Chaldeans (Babylonians) to wipe out Israel and take them captive. So now Habakkuk was shaking in his boots [or sandals]. He knew that suffering was coming his way, so he waited. But he was not just waiting around doing nothing. Habakkuk was trusting in God to fulfill his purpose. Then, as he waited, he began rejoicing in the Lord.
"Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer's; he makes me tread on my high places." - Habakkuk 3:17-19
Habakkuk--instead of looking at the disparity of his situation--looked to God, his salvation. He did not focus on the suffering to come. He focused on his Savior who was fulfilling His purpose.

How many times do I focus more on my suffering than on my salvation? [Answer: Daily] I must repent of that. After all that Christ went through [I can't even fathom] to pay my ransom, I still focus more on my comfort, my happiness, than on rejoicing in Him and the hope of my salvation.

And even in suffering, even when I so clearly see the way He is working out His purpose in me, why am I still so willing to forget to rejoice in Him? Why do I still focus on my comfort instead of the growth He is providing?

I love you, friends! Thank you for your prayers.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

God isn't safe, but He is good.


Aaron Gillespie Interview from Levi Lusko on Vimeo.

I'm going through a time where God is calling me to make lots of decisions and then follow His lead. And I want to. I know that His will is alway perfect but sometimes it's hard to know what that plan is or how to find it.

Last week the development office girls folded 3000 letters to send out for our monthly mailing. During that time we watch movies or listen to sermons to keep our minds occupied while we do the mundane folding. On Monday, I think, I was watching sermons from Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley. I came upon one by Todd Niswonger, now the head pastor I believe, that talked about how to find God's will. He said something that I know in my head but don't always follow. He said it's not God's will that we should seek. Instead, we should be seeking the face of God and then His will will be evident.

I still have to remind myself constantly to do that. Seek God. Seek the face of Christ. The rest will fall into place.

Prayer Request: Pray that I would remember to seek Christ and pray that when His will is revealed to me that I would follow it instead of going my own way.

Leave a comment and let me know if there is any way that I can pray for you! Also, you can leave a comment and tell me what is going on in your life.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Book Recommendation

I had this big plan to do a Monthaversary blog. But I didn't. Sorry bout it.

It's just been pretty quiet around here. We sleep. We work. We work out. We watch movies. Rinse and repeat.

One thing that is exciting [to me at least] is that I got 2 new books in the mail today!!! I bought The Hunger Games the other day on a whim because Miss Annie Downs [whose blog you should absolutely check out] suggested it.

I consumed [get it? Consumed? Hunger Games?]that thing in 3 days while working full time. Great book. It's kind of Fahrenheit 451 meets Harry Potter, maybe? Hard to explain. But it's only $8 at Walmart so you should just go get it an give it a try. For me?

Maybe next time I'll have something more substantial to say.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Marcel The Shell With Shoes On

This is completely random but I am in love with this video. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.


MARCEL THE SHELL WITH SHOES ON from Dean Fleischer-Camp on Vimeo.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Birthday Kidnapping

Brent's birthday is tomorrow so, of course, we decided to throw a little bohop for him. He had no idea. We snuck over to his trailer and banged on his door. He was so pleased to see us [take note of the sarcasm]. So we threw a pillow case over his head, stuffed him in the car, and went to Texas Roadhouse.

It was super fun and we not only got him a balloon birthday hat, but we also made him ride the birthday saddle. Poor boy.

We brought him back to our house for cake and presents and AMAZING birthday cards, which I'm sure he will display in his home.



Awkward Balloon!


Other majorly awesome points in the day included:

1. Seeing a DOUBLE RAINBOW. About 15 or 20 high school boys came outside to marvel at how the double rainbow went "all the way." What does it mean? There were also plenty of fake tears.

2. I took the high school girls to and from volleyball practice. On the way back to the school, they got into a theological discussion. It was really cool to get to talk with them about God stuff! 

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Beach

I haven't had much sleep in the last two nights so I'm not even going to attempt writing anything exciting.

We went to the beach. It was fun.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Treasuring Christ

This morning we had our first service as a church plant. I haven’t said anything about the Curlings starting a church yet because it wasn’t official. Now it is. So, anyway, today was our first day.

In the message, Chago was talking about treasuring Christ [the message was based on 1 Peter 2:1-12 which talks about being a living stone and Christ building us into His church, but I’m going to tell you about the parts that really convicted me]. Throughout the service, different things happened that struck a chord in me. Naomi read The Suffering Servant passage from Isaiah 52:13-53:12 and it brought her to tears. Chago spoke about how the Lord looks on us and is pleased because He sees Christ in our place, and it brought him to tears. I began to ask myself, how have I hardened my heart so much that I am no longer moved by God’s goodness and grace? My heart so rarely melts at His words. I am not treasuring Christ as I should. All day I have been questioning how I can see Christ for who He is and have my heart melt in awe of Him, so I prayed about it.

I sat down to read from Piper’s Don’t Waste Your Life. Immediately God began speaking to my heart through what Piper had to say. He talked about how people ask themselves “Why shouldn’t I do this or that?” instead of “How will this help me treasure Christ more? How will this help me show that I do treasure Christ? How will this help me know Christ or display Christ?” Those are the real questions I need to be asking myself in every moment.

Next Piper began talking about TV and how it diminishes our ability to know Christ and to handle great truths reverently. Funnily enough, I had just been complaining how my internet was too slow to let me load a TV show that I had wanted to watch. [I really do love how God speaks so directly to me.]

I pray that God would help me to realize the triviality in everything that is not Him. I pray that He would become my only treasure. I pray that for you as well, reader.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

This post was written yesterday. Tomorrow I will write about the beach and stuff.

I always want to write these blogs like I’m some super-spiritual person. Truth is, I’m still flawed. I still sin. I still don’t trust God as I should. I still put my hope in things other than Christ and His coming Kingdom.

Reggie was telling me on facebook or on here about how God spends our lifetime teaching us that everything is temporary except for Him. I wish that I longed for the Kingdom like I long for home. I wish that I longed to see Christ’s face like I wish to hold my brothers [Yep, all three of them] in my arms. But I don’t. And that is a problem. God is definitely teaching me what it feels like to long for something and it makes my heart hurt.

But what a great reunion that will be when I finally get to see my family, my Breehan, my Ivan, all of my friends. But even better than that will be the day when we, as the bride of Christ, will be wed to Him forever, and will get to enjoy Him in eternity.

The place I want to be most that is on earth? Right here:

Monday, August 23, 2010

Pray

Today I don't have any stories, just a prayer request. Please pray for the drug violence in Mexico to stop! I really want to be able to go into Mexico to the orphanage but it's scary over there. Pray that whatever God's will is would be worked out in this situation.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

What a difference a week makes

Last Sunday, I was ready to pack it in and go home. I missed my family. I missed my friends. I missed my church. And I'm not going to lie, I still miss them all day every day, but it doesn't weigh on me like it did last week. Last week I was like a balloon [all of my MCA friends will enjoy any balloon reference so I thought this might be a good metaphor], one little poke and I would have exploded [in tears, not literally exploded].

But this week has been so renewing for me. God has really been working on my heart, many times without me realizing it. I continually tell Him that I need Him so desperately and He takes care of the rest! How amazing that God looks on wicked me and sees Jesus in my place and makes me His child. He has given me peace and joy about being here. It's wonderful. He is wonderful.

On Thursday, school started. I was asked to substitute teach a 9th grade English class while their normal teacher, Naomi, is out of town. It was is terrifying [I still have one more day on Monday] and I teach wayyyy to fast, but it's good to know that I'm freeing up whoever would have been teaching it.

I couldn't sign in to the Missionary Evangelism website on Thursday or most of Friday, so I didn't really have a lot on my list that I was able to accomplish, but I still had fun. Plus, I wore this awesome hat. But I think the kids thought I was being serious so that really was just awkward and not super funny.


Thursday night we had a family dinner. I. Love. Family. Dinner. It's so fun to sit around and hang out with everyone. At first we thought it was a somewhat daunting task to get everyone together but, in my opinion, it is totally worth it.

Here's a pic. Aren't we cuuuute? [The correct answer is "yes"]

[Left to right: Me, Erika, Brent, Ilonka, Melinda, Emily. Missing: Naomi]


Yesterday we worked and then had leftovers family dinner and watched "Rat Race." Let me just tell you, any movie with cow comedy, I LOVE. [See also "O Brother Where Art Thou."]

Today we went to Barnes & Noble for awhile and then went over to Chago and Trinette's to watch the kiddos. We watched some movies, played Twister, and cuddled some puppies. I also got to say the infamous words "say 'Yes Ma'am'". It was awesome.

My new friends are beginning to feel like old friends and I'm loving it.

Prayer: Pray that I would get to know the students and be able to show Christ to them!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

So much to tell


Left to Right: Ilonka, Melinda, Naomi, Me, Erika


This has been a spectacular couple of days. Yesterday, we had a pool party and it was so fun. We played some really ridiculous and unsuccessful pool games, had some good food, and played Signs [which is pretty much Brent's favorite game ever].

Today Juan called me and asked me to make an intern application sometime before the afternoon. That was fine until I realized we were getting out of our in-service meeting at noon which was 1pm where Juan was and I hadn't even started. I ended up finishing it on time [Praise the Lord!!!] and then started on editing something for the Curling's website. It was awesome to finally get to do some of the stuff I was hired for!

Later Brent came into the office and asked if I would be a substitute teacher for Naomi's 9th grade english class for Thursday, Friday, and Monday. I wasn't thrilled but I said I would go talk to her. When I went in there she explained everything that I would be doing so I didn't want her to have  to explain it again to someone else. Needless to say, I'm going to be teaching for three days. I'm super-scared but I know that this will be a good experience. God has placed me in this position so I pray that I will glorify Him and say only that which He would have me say. [God wills it! Right Seth/Brett?]

Tonight we had our first family dinner with all of the interns...Aww. Right? Right. Ilonka cooked an awesome meal and it was fun just hanging out with everyone.

I love that I'm becoming more an more myself with these people. Quiet, Awkward Tori is so blah. Awkward, Fun Tori is so yay!

Prayer: Please pray that I would be able to keep a handle on my classroom tomorrow and not have a panic attack!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Blackberry Saga...or something

Let me tell you a little story about how everything God does is for a purpose, even the small and seemingly insignificant stuff. This is going to seem random to begin with but it will make sense by the end [I hope].

So a few months ago, my parents went to NYC and I watched my younger brothers. Due to a series of unfortunate events, my phone got wet and the track ball didn’t work. I talked to the Verizon guy and he told me to take my battery out and leave it for a while. Random right? [You would think so, but you would also be wrong.]

Today I set my phone on the sink while I showered. During my shower I decided I needed to text something to someone [so specific, right?] but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to send this text for the right reasons. I got out of the shower and thought about how I could “put my fleece out” [like Gideon] but then decided that I would just go ahead and text the person. When I got to my phone, low and behold my track ball didn’t work. So I rebooted the phone and it still wouldn’t work. There was my answer.

So, even though I felt like there was no purpose for my phone not to work while my parents were out of town, it taught me how to fix it in that situation AND decided my texting dilemma.

The end. There you go.

Today was great, by the way. The development office gals skyped with Juan and got our assignments for the semester, so now I actually know what I’m doing here! Tonight we had orientation so I got to meet some of the students. They are presh.

I want to hear about YOU! Please leave me a comment telling me a little about what you’re up to and let me know if you have anything you want me to pray for [Sorry, Emily. “for which to pray”]. I really do want to know, I’m not just being nice!

Monday, August 16, 2010

My first Sunday away

Hello all. Today was my first Sunday away from Heritage. Little did I know how hard it would be. Looking back now, I think I have taken Heritage for granted, at least to some extent. Needless to say, this morning was emotional for me.

Anyway, I had a mental breakdown and called my mom [because that’s what people do when they have mental breakdowns, right?] and then took a much needed nap. When I awoke [classy] I was greeted by 10 sweet texts and face book messages from friends and family telling me that they were praying for me today. This so uplifted me! If you know a missionary personally [not just me, though I would appreciate it too], you should text/facebook them and let them know you’re praying for them and give them some encouragement. It goes a loooooong way!

Tonight we had a group worship time with all the interns and Chago and Trinette. It was great. We got to talk a little about the church as well and I’m feeling much better about it.

Prayer Requests: Pray that if I am supposed to stay at Faith Baptist I would be plugged in where God wants me and where He will receive glory!

Thanks again, sweet friends and family, for all your encouragement!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A post with a picture, what?

Hello beautiful readers! I hope you all are having an amazing day!

Yesterday the newbies gave our testimonies at in-service…and I don’t really remember what work we did. Oops. After work Emily, Erika, and I went running at a park nearby. It was a good run but we were swimming through our sweat on the way home [you’re welcome for that visual].


Today was a hard day. I thought that a day after running I would be super-energized like I normally am. Nope, not today. While we did get A LOT done, I was just so worn out. But I love that God does that. On days when I feel I should be self-sufficient, He reminds me just how much I need Him. And it’s a lot. I cannot even function without His grace and I’m so thankful that He gives it to me.

After work we went to Wal-Mart. I felt like I spent a lot of money but I realized that I bought a bunch of stuff that will last for a while [contact solution, laundry basket, pillow, etc] and that made me feel a lot better about my purchases.

Tonight we went to Chago and Trinette’s house. We ate dinner and watched Matilda [which, surprisingly, I have never seen]. That Ms. Trunchbull is the worst!

Prayer request: I will be going to Faith Baptist Church in the morning. I haven’t been to a new church on a Sunday morning [other than at Carson Newman] in….a long time, so I’m a little nervous.

Friday, August 13, 2010

My second ever missio... just kidding

Today was the BOMB. And I don't use that lightly [Actually I do, but not this time].

This morning was our first day of in-service. We had morning devos, went over our book that we're reading [which I am supposed to be reading right now], and talked about the vision of the school. Sweet.

Later we worked on setting up rooms and decorating bulliten boards.

After work we went to Chuck-e-Cheese! So flipping fun. We took some amazing pictures in the photobooth but they were cleaned up along with our trash so we no longer have those sweet memories. Ha.

When we got back, we got to work painting Melinda's [my roomie who I met about 30 minutes ago] classroom. We listened to some jams and painted for a Very. Long. Time. Then we ran into Melinda and helped her bring her stuff into the house.

Sorry, this was a very event oriented post and is not very meaningful but don't you worry your pretty little head, big things are happening. God is working and it is excellent.

Update on the prayer requests: I feel like we definitely bonded some today. I mean, how can you play ski ball with someone and not be friends?!

Prayer for today: Pray for Melinda as she settles in to our house and the school. Pray that she meshes well with everyone and feels welcome.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

My first ever missionary blog post

I’m here! As I write I’m sitting on my new bed in my big wonderful room in Texas with the book I’m supposed to be reading for in-service tomorrow.

Yesterday was very hard. I kept on a brave face for most of it, mostly because I don’t like to be vulnerable. I realize that vulnerability is beautiful and important for building honest relationships but it’s so hard to show new people everything.

My flights were wonderful. The weather was super gorg. When I got to the Harlingen airport, I met Ilonka, one of the other interns who was here last year, at baggage claim. She went back to the car to get Brent and they helped me take my bags to the car. Trinette, Chago’s wife, was waiting in the car. Let me tell you, I LOVE her! After a quick tour and a little settling, I went to dinner with the rest of the interns and Chago and Trinette. I can’t remember the name of the restaurant but it. Was. Overwhelming. People, smoke, smells, and noise. But the food was good.

We came home and I moved some of my stuff around and went to bed. I had a really hard time sleeping and had my first “Why am I here?” moment. But I made it and I’m still glad I’m here.

Today we went to the grocery store [Secret: My first time grocery shopping extensively by myself]. Later I had a meeting with Chago to discuss what I’ll be doing and, well, I’m still not sure exactly what I’m doing. He did mention the possibility of me teaching a literature class. That. Is. Terrifying. But I know it would be a really great experience. Whatever God wants for me is good. I know that I can do it with Him [But not alone! No no no!]


Prayer: At the end of these blog posts I think I’ll write prayer requests. Sound good?

- Pray that God would place me doing exactly what He wants me to do and that He would give me the grace to be willing and able.

- Pray that I would bond with the other girls and be able to be vulnerable with them.


Love you guys! Thank you for your prayers and kind words.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Just FYI

I'm getting on a plane and moving to Texas in three weeks.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

This time I haven't been neglecting you

There's just too much to tell. It's overwhelming to even think about writing about all the new changes in my life. My journal is also feeling neglected because I have too much going on to even write about it.

But I love you.

I do.

And I'm very very happy.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

101 in 1001 Update

6. Make a new friend and keep them
Technically we still haven't been friends all that long, but I do have a new friend or two and I plan to keep them.


13. Move out/14. Leave the country/44. Volunteer at an orphanage/91. Get a job
Today I met with a missionary about working with them for the next school year. It's looking very good. All of these will be accomplished if I go. More details to come.

16. Read 50 books (6/50)
Clearly, I am doing terribly on this one. But I'm reading this book and it's really boring and I can't get through it. [Excuses, I know.]
 
19. Drink only water for 30 consecutive days (30/30)
Technically I changed this to coffee and water because I decided that I can't live without coffee for 30 days.

21. Go to a play
My bestie bought me tickets to see Beauty and the Beast in Nashville last week. So fun!

29. Get moleskin journals
I got one for graduation and have been writing in it almost every day since my birthday.

40. My room clean for a month straight (31/31)
Done and done.

43. Graduate with a 3.5 GPA or higher
This one is debatable as to whether or not I accomplished it. I graduated Cum Laude but my GPA actually ended up being a 3.44. Oops.

54. Have a big hair day
Check.

55. Do something completely embarrassing and memorable
See here and here.

64. Start a slow clap in a crowded place
One of the best moments of my life for sure. I was chaperoning a youth conference and there were about 200 people in the room. It. Was. Classic.

67. Pet an intense animal - tiger, elephant, giraffe, rhino, etc
I pet a camel but I don't really know if that counts.

77. Get a puppy
Yep! Love my baby, Ivan.

81. Be picked first for Ultimate Frisbee
My little brother picked me first. But it was my graduation day and I told him to so I don't really know if that counts.

84. Make an awesome mix CD for a random friend
Made one for my friend, Trip

Monday, June 21, 2010

Mexico

Kelly Needham [wife of singer-songwriter Jimmy Needham] recently wrote on her blog about something that she had journaled about. She said "I say that everything is a loss compared to knowing you. But do I really mean that? How often do I suffer losses to know you more?"

So here's the story.

This summer my life has gone from having only a few friends that I rarely hang out with to having all kinds of friends who want to hang out a lot. That is great! It is very new to be busy and I'm really enjoying it. I have been able to counsel a week of camp and have been asked to counsel another. I have a boy that I like and the feeling might be mutual [?]. I have a lot of free time to spend with my friends.

But I'm feeling pretty sure that God is calling me to do a missionary internship with Missionary Evangelism in Mexico where I would be living in an orphanage taking care of the kiddos during the week. [I have to confess, though, that I have not spent a lot of time in prayer about it and I really need to go do that immediately.] Don't get me wrong; this is a good thing. I am very excited about the prospect and I am going to have breakfast with the Curlings in the morning. But, to some extent, this is a loss. I will lose my hang-time with my new friends, my possibility of an apartment in the near(ish) future, my boy.

But Christ gave everything for me. Why should I not give up these few things for a semester/year/lifetime when He gave His life for me? When He has saved me from hell? I must count it all loss compared to the greatness of knowing and serving Him.

I needed this

And you might need it too.

http://denisehildreth.typepad.com/flying_solo/2010/06/monday-musings-1.html

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Dentist McHottie and Me

Ladies and gents, do I have a story for you.

You see, today I went to the dentist to get a cavity filled. [Don't look at me like that. It was my second one ever and it was tiny. My hygenist loves me.] The last time I was at the dentist's office I met the new dentist who is taking over the practice. [Hello, Shonda Rhymes. I just came up with a new show for you to produce.] He is suuuuper fine and young and doesn't wear a wedding ring. I'm just sayin.

So I get there and I get the numbing shot and I talk all cute to him and try to impress him. [Because this is how you start a relationship with your dentist, right?] I EVEN wore my hair down and wore a shirt with sequins. Yep.

After he finishes the filling the tech lady squirts some water in my mouth for me to swish and then sticks the suction tube in my mouth. I thought that the suction tube had gotten all the water out of my mouth so I opened my mouth and water gushes out. All. Over. Me. While Dr. McHottie is watching me.

Now, usually I can play it cool. Not this time. I waited for him to leave the room while my face turned pink and then threw my hands over my face and sat like that until I could leave.

I just ruined our perfect romance that was about to happen.

I leave you, my friends, with this picture of me trying desperately to smile while my mouth is numb.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

You can just punch me right now

Yes, it's been over a month since I've blogged. I always think that the things that happen are too boring to blog about or I'm too tired to be witty but really this has been quite an eventful month. I'll do a short recap and then maybe come back and write about each thing more in depth.

I graduated college. [Goodbye ETSU. Hello unemployment.] And watched my bestie graduate.

I began hanging out with my friend Tina every[ish] Tuesday.

I watched the season finales of Grey's and Private Practice.

I watched the series finale of LOST [and was pleased thankyouverymuch].

I went to the zoooooo!

I started taking Zumba classes. [Goodbye fat. Hello hips that don't lie.]

I went hiking a few times.

I photographed a wedding.

OK, enough about me. What have you been into?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Series

I'm thinking about doing a blog series. Because all the cool kids are doing it, right? [Realistically, the cool kids are 1. Not reading this blog 2. Not blogging but doing cool things instead.]

Before I commit to this idea, I really need to come up with a few more days worth of content. So be patient because I think you and I will both enjoy this.

Well. At least I will.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Because I've Neglected You

I found this randomly on my hard drive.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Major slacking

Sorry about the slacking but it's 25 days until graduation.

Annnnnd, I just found out [read: "I haven't looked at my syllabus in a month or two because I've completely stopped caring about school."] that I have a 15-pager due on Thursday. Yep, today is Tuesday and I have just barely started now. Kill. Me. Now.

One day I will write something meaningful again. Until then, I leave you with this. Me and my new sweet baby, Ivan. [Ok, ok, he's the whole family's dog.]

Monday, April 5, 2010

Vulnerable

I'm not good at being vulnerable. Stasi Eldridge would tell me that vulnerability is one of the most beautiful characteristics in a woman and she's probably right; but I like to cover up in garments of humor, strength, and sarcasm. I keep my heart closed off from everyone. How do I reverse that?

Friday, March 26, 2010

5k

Gotta hit the sack because I will be running in a 5k tomorrow thus completing #23 "Participate in an organized 5k"

Yes, it will be cold.
Yes, it will be early.
Yes, my lungs will catch on fire and burn the whole city down.

Nevertheless, I will feel accomplished.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

My Guilty Pleasures

Because I have a blog tag called "Obsessions", I thought I would tell you about my guilty pleasures.

1. The Jonas Brothers


[Nick in a suit, Joe with a polaroid camera. I just died.]



[Hello! Boys and Girls, who can say no to Blue's Clues, an Operation board, and Pa Grape? Not me, that's for sure.]

Ok, duh, you already knew this. I think I've made my obsession for these boys very clear. Now, their music may not be your favorite, and I can totally respect that, but these boys are so kind, funny, and attractive. Then end.

2. The Duggars


Have you ever watched "19 Kids and Counting"? It is seriously one of my all-time favorite shows. At first it was like watching a train wreck because there were just. so. many. kids. But then as I watched, I grew to love them! Jim Bob [don't make fun] and Michelle are such good parents and they really do everything to the glorification of God. If you haven't watched this show, you need to get on the bandwagon right now.

Also, I can type all of the Duggars names in 42 seconds flat. As in, I have memorized all 22 [including Josh's wife, Anna] names [don't judge me].

3. Teenage Gossip Magazines


Oh, this is an embarrassing one for sure. I have subscriptions to both TWIST magazine and J-14. [What does the 14 stand for? I'd rather not say.] I love to read about all the Disney kids and young Hollywood celebs. Hey, at least I'm not reading Cosmo, right? [Right???]

4. Harry Potter


I loooove Harry Potter. [More specifically Rupert Grint.] I know quite a few of the spells by heart and while I don't go around using them all the time, I do like to make references to them from time to time. Also, I didn't read the books when I was a kid. I started reading them when I was 19. Sorry.

I know, I know. You didn't think I was cool before and this blog post really didn't help anything.

What are your guilty pleasures? Please tell me so I don't feel so alone in my lameness!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Heartsick Queen

I am the queen of being heartsick. Seriously. If there was a Heartsick Queen, I would probably sweep the vote. [I guess, technically, you don’t vote for queens. Whatever, you get the picture.]

I am a serial crusher. [Not a cereal crusher, guys. That would be too messy.] If I like a guy, I'm a total goner. [Is that really how you spell goner? Ew. Dislike.] I fall head-over-heels ridiculously fast and then I walk around like a total moron hanging on his every word. My every thought surrounds him. I listen to sappy/sad songs and watch movies and think "If only that was us." It's dumb.

Because of this problem I have, I really like not having anyone to crush on. I'm a much happier person for the most part because I can listen to fun/catchy music and watch non-romantic comedies. I get more schoolwork done and my conversations are deeper.

So recently, I had a crush on this boy [You're shocked, right?] and did all of the above. But I was thinking about it and I decided that me listening to sappy music, or really even me having certain feelings for this boy, is not going to make him like me. It's just not. If God wants me to have a relationship with someone, He will make it happen whether or not I am crushing on that someone. So I've decided to give up my crushes. God's got a handle on it.

I was talking to my new friend, Stephanie, about all of this and this is what she had to say. [Yes, Stephanie, I'm a total nerd and copied and pasted this part of our conversation for myself because I like what you said so much! It's just because you're so dang cool.]
"It's funny how much we think that our emotions/feelings/etc determine who we end up with. And i think to some extent they do, but i'd rather my faith and the Lord determine it all. And then just let me have the faithfulness to follow through with it."
Yep. She's smart. I like it.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

101 in 1001 Vlog

Yep, my first vlog. I know, I'm a total nerd. Whatevs.



[And what a cute screencap, right? No.]

Monday, March 8, 2010

I was 15 at the wrong time

You would be lying if you said this song wasn't catchy.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Tori's Stories

I thought I would tell you about an embarrassing moment that happened to me recently because, I mean, what's more "real" than telling really embarrassing stories about yourself? [Please let me preface this by saying that embarrassing things happen to me all the time. I'm basically a walking awkward moment. But, whatever, I have to embrace it.]

On Wednesday the paper that I work for was having a meeting to get to know all the newbies [like myself] and talk about story ideas. I had dreaded this meeting all week day because I hate meeting new people and having to come up with small-talk. Basically, I like to have a buffer because then, when I don't know what to say, the buffer sweeps in and saves the day. But it was just me. All alone.

So I got there about 20 minutes early [for those of you who don't really know me, I am perpetually early. Can't help it. I try to be late and it still doesn't happen.] and sat in my car for a while. At about 5 minutes until meeting time, I walked up to the Culp [the student center] because I knew it would take me about 4 minutes to get there. [Guys, I'm a planner. It's a disease.] I did this so I would be right on time but not a minute late.

When I got there, I saw through the glass door that about 8 people were already sitting in there waiting. I exhaled and pushed the door. Didn't budge. Everyone looked up. So I tried pulling. Nope. So I tried the other side. Nothing. My face began to turn red and I made some awkward fake whining comment and knocked on the door. Finally, someone pushed the button from the inside that apparently had to be pushed before the door would open. I walked inside. Said "Yeah, that was awesome." [Not.] And then I quickly took a chair. Blushing all the while.

Now, in reality this sequence probably lasted no more than 15 seconds. But oh man. It. Was. Awkward!

What have I learned from all of this, you ask? Go by the place of meeting the day before and check out the door.

While I'm on this pictures of me as a kid kick, I will show you an awkward picture of me as a kid. Nope, the awkwardness is not a recent development, folks!