Tuesday, December 28, 2010

traditions and travels.

What a blessed Christmas it has been. I am so blessed to have 2 Christmases- one with Jordan's family and one with my family. I would say my top favorite gifts were my cricut and my iPhone (which I am writing this post from - amazing). This Christmas season was full of joy, peace, and remembrance. I was often reminded of childhood memories and traditions, which made me wish I could go back in time. One of the greatest joys this season brought was a little girl into the world.. My niece- Iris Elizabeth who is one precious gal. I haven't met her yet, unless via FaceTime counts? I can't wait to hold her innocent, precious self. As for peace, it wasn't a wild and crazy holiday full of family drama, but instead, a time of resting and family enjoyment. Thank you Lord.

Some of the best memories I have growing up are at my grandparent's house on Lake Murray. Good times. While I was there over the holiday, I ran to the store with my Papa (my dad's dad). As we were on our way, I began having flashbacks of the times we used to spend together. We would always go fishing, get on the boat, or maybe even go to the hunt club. There are some in my family that say Papa would get me out of trouble or get me to stop crying when I was in trouble, as a child. So funny because that's also what my dad would do. Apparently I was a daddy's and a Papa's girl, and very proud of it. I believe I was the only girl in the family that would do outdoor activities with my Papa, so we were best buds. As I've
gotten older, I've always had a special place in my heart for my Papa. He can certainly be ornery sometimes, but truly has a heart of gold. I remember going to him in a store asking him to buy me a treat because I knew he always would. All of this to say that as I was in the car with him, as he talked about his 62nd anniversary that him and my Granny celebrated on Christmas Eve, I almost came to tears. It's amazing how life and growing up take over memories and special time with the ones you love. It's the little moments that mean the most- teaching me how to hold a fishing pole or making me feel so special when no one else sees. He reminds me so much of my dad that I can't imagine anything happening to him. Papas are supposed to last forever right? I sure hope so! He has and will always have a special place in my heart- from a child screaming to walking me down the aisle on my wedding day.

I am currently on a bus full of anxious youth, awaiting the arrival to Chattanooga, TN. We are on the way to Winter Ramp, which was moved from it's usual location of Hamilton, AL because of the thousands that didn't want to miss out on the presence of Jesus and all it's greatness. I am once again praying for a radical experience for each of them. It seems that every trip I take with our awesome youth group attracts a different crowd. Therefore, this crowd is gloriously different from the last group that went in the summer. We are all expecting.

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Location:Carl Sanders Hwy,Appling,United States

Sunday, December 12, 2010

then and now.

As I reflect upon this past semester (or year), that word is all that comes to mind. Wow. There have been rediculously fun times, crazy tired times, edgy exciting times, and some not to exciting. I am pleased to tell you that I am finished with undergrad classes forever. Yes, forever. Next semester will be nothing but student teaching; the elementary classroom, all day-every day.

As I write this post, I also reflect on where the Lord has brought me. In my high school years, I had no intentions of going to college, no one had ever really discussed college with me. Me and Jordan began dating, and soon after it was time for him to go to college. He came home every weekend, which was precious, and soon after that, it was time for me to graduate. Without any college in mind, I just figured I would go where Jordan was. Without straight A's or even A's and B's, I wasn't sure if CSU would accept me. But, I'll never forget the day I found out I was accepted. It was on a Saturday afternoon. The dance team was ministering at a local church and my mom called me right before the service began to tell me I had received an acceptance letter. I remember small tears and a glance up to heaven with a thankful heart.

To some, a college acceptance letter may not have been a big deal or stressor. For me, it was a door for a new beginning in my life, an escape from what I was going through at that time, and something that I wanted to accomplish for myself. As college began, I was determined to complete all four years to earn a degree; and that's what I will do.

Today at church, we had a service to show our appreciation to an influential family in our church. Mrs. Amy is our praise and worship leader and her husband has been given a new job in a church that requires them to move cross-country. They also have two sons, Carson and Luke, who have been a huge part of our youth. A few people got up and spoke about how the Dowell family had influenced their lives and how much they are appreciated and loved. I believe the whole church was in tears. Good to see them have a great opportunity, but very sad to see them leave. At one point, I just couldn't stop crying! Tears just kept coming, and I wasn't sure why. I am close to the Dowell family, and love them very much, but honestly did not think it would be so sad when they left. All of sudden, it hit me. For those of you who know my testimony (which is another post for another day), know what my family situation has been like. I heard Damon Thompson once say that spiritual mothers and fathers are there for you when yours may not be. They are supposed to help lead you and influence you, "fill in the gap". Because I haven't always had parents there to support me, I have watched closely and clinged to Godly women and men of my church. I watch what they do, value my time with them, and learn from their character. I have frequently said that I am close to my church family, but haven't realized until today, how much of an impact particular women, men, and families have had on my life. Therefore, today I was reflecting back on how Mrs. Amy had influenced me as a motherly figure, the love she has always shown towards this heart- even when she didn't think I was listening.

You know, sometimes I just wonder how I've ended up where I am. The world would have probably seen me as a teenager who had nothing, and had no resources to go anywhere. But, the Lord saw me with a broken heart who needed repair, and a vessel ready to be used. That, He has done. I am once again eternally thankful. He is worthy.

My freshman year of college :)

My senior year of college!

PS. Christmas is right around the corner! A festive post is sure to come ;)