Friday, September 17, 2010


Okay, it’s not a car. It’s an SUV. And I bought it. After months of deliberating, researching, talking, pondering, worrying and saving, I was more than tired of talking about it and took the plunge.

But first, let’s take a trip down memory lane to my first car, the Camaro. It was orange. Why? Because I’m not your typical girl, and it wasn’t your typical color car. That car made many trips to Hazard on the weekends in high school and countless trips from Jackson to Richmond and vice-versa for college. The Camaro had seen my entire dorm room packed in it (and then had a flat tire… haha) and countless friends played rock, paper, scissors to see who had to crawl in the back. There was lots of loud music played (probably why one of the speakers stopped working). The Camaro has been known to drive over entire curbs, hit speed bumps way to fast (thank you, Blackwell Court), attempt four-wheeling through Keenland and Cliffview, and once backed all the way down my friend Amanda’s hill in attempts to get out of her driveway (I actually feared for my life a little bit on this one). Thankfully there were no speeding tickets (didn’t mean I didn’t deserve them) but at one point close to $500 worth of parking tickets—thank you, EKU police department. I laughed, cried and probably even screamed a few times in that car. It was—and still is—a good car to me, and hopefully will continue to be to its’ new owner.

So the day after I purchased my new vehicle, it emails me. Yes, you read correctly—my vehicle emailed me, to let me know how many miles I had driven, my tire pressure, oil levels, etc. As I was scrolling down, I was anticipating it to list what I had for lunch in it that day and the decibels of sound that happened when I tried to hit a Whitney Houston high-note. (Neither appeared. I know, I was disappointed too.)

It beeps a lot and I don’t know why just yet. One beep means I’m too close to something. But then there’s another beep that I’ve yet to figure out. It also made me jump when it magically paired up with my phone and when a call came in, turned down the radio (right in the middle of a good Lady Gaga jam) and started ringing loudly. I panicked. I didn’t know what to do or what button to push. Apparently I pushed something correctly because my mom’s voice magically appeared out of nowhere. Not sure how I feel about hands-free talking. Safer? Yes. Popular? Yes. For me? Not sure.

I am extremely thankful for this new gift to myself. A good friend told me that I worked hard and I deserved it—and I am going to try my best to believe that. If you know me at all, you know that a large portion of my life is spent in a vehicle, thus I feel blessed to be able to have something reliable, safe, and enjoyable.

So if you are one of the many who got stuck in the back seat of the Camaro, this blog post entitles you to a ride in the front seat—or more comfortable back seat—of the new SUV. And even if you’re not, I’d be happy to give you a ride anytime!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Hope. Love.

I met Mary five years ago at McGregor Hall at EKU. She had filled out a card saying she might be interested in joining a Bible Study with CRU and it was my job as a new leader to visit with those who indicated interest and invite them. I remember seeing that she was from Whitesburg and thinking that I’d finally have another East Kentucky gal around! (Because as us Colonels know, being from Kentucky is really a minority at Eastern KENTUCKY University. Haha.) From the time Mary opened her dorm room door, I knew that she would be a dear friend. Over the next two years, I had the great privilege of getting to know Mary and about her life, but most importantly, her relationship with Jesus. Mary was one of the first girls that I shared the Gospel with, and I remember being soooo nervous, afraid that I would present something wrong. Mary was quiet and attentive the entire time, and when I asked her what she thought about it, she replied that she loved Jesus and had accepted him years beforehand. I loved getting to know all of the girls in the Bible Study, however, I had the honor of also discipling Mary throughout those two years. I will never forget the times we spent in downstairs/upstairs Powell, laughing, reading, praying, crying and talking about life and the Lord. We prayed through many difficult tests and trials, and from early on, there was always a prayer for Mary’s future husband. I remember the day that Mary told me about the possibility of meeting a guy named John, and we prayed right there for whoever the Lord had planned for her. Little did we know that the Lord had John planned, and what a blessing it was to see how this great guy pursued Mary and fell in love with her wonderful heart for Jesus and others. From the moment she knew he was the one, to the engagement and marriage, we celebrated an answered prayer and a relationship that reflected God’s love and glory.

I write this with a very sad heart, as yesterday Mary lost her earthly love, John, in a car accident. Two years of marriage seems like too short of a time, but we are thankful that through all of the tears, questions, pain, loss and grief, we still have HOPE… a hope in the one who hears our prayers, sees our sadness and will be the only comfort for Mary and her friends and family. A hope—and promise—that one day we will see John again.

My heart breaks for my sweet, sweet friend. It hurts. It’s sad. I don’t like it one bit. But despite all of the hurt, rejection in life and frustration at times with the human race, it just makes me want to love even more. As cliché as this sounds, and as many times as I’ve heard it, don’t be afraid to love. And I’m not just talking about the romantic kind of love (even though you shouldn’t be afraid of that either), but really LOVING PEOPLE. Take a second and think about what this looks like for you.

(1…2…3… okay, 3 seconds)

Is this hard sometimes? I will be the first one to say yes. However, I think it’s the least we can do—or at least try to do—for the great act of love that Christ showed on the cross. Love looks different to different people—it might be the words itself, or actions, attitudes or prayers.

So I ask that you start your first act of love for my friend Mary, and the journey of hope and love that is going to look very different than she might have thought. I love both Mary and John, and love that the Lord brought them together, if even for a short time.

Never forget to hope.
And love.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Wedding Singer.

Today one of my life-long friends got married and turned me into a wedding singer.
Let's preface this story by stating that I do not sing in public on a regular basis, or any basis for that matter. I sang in church as a small child, and then twice during a Christmas play at church in high school.  I'll be the first to say that I knew I could carry a tune, but did not consider myself capable or more so, desirable, to sing publicly.  As many times as I've been to Todd's Karaoke Bar (a former favorite past-time until he kicked us out for NOT drinking), I have yet to sing a solo.... because I fear that I will be booed off the 2x2 stage. Basically this comes down to fearing failure.

So when this friend proposed me singing in her wedding, I had to laugh because I'm pretty sure she'd only heard me sing to the radio in our cars.  However, trying to be a supportive friend, I agreed, in hopes that this would force me out of my comfort zone... and it did.

This morning-- the day of the wedding-- I woke up and could barely talk.  A day of less talking and about 100 cough drops, I got through the songs and officially became a wedding singer. This may seem like a silly accomplishment, but on my 2010 journey to improvements, this was me facing another fear.... telling a better story.

I also learned that I'm really good at tying bows on chairs.
That's all.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

School = (Not) Cool

I am tired of school.
In 1990, I started Kindergarten.
Now, twenty years later, I am STILL in school.
By my own choosing? Yes. However, I am getting verrrrry weary and often cannot focus on typing on my thesis for thinking about things I'd like to do once I'm not in school. I get tired of talking about school. I'm sure those around me get tired of me talking about school.  It exhausts me to talk and think about it, let alone actually do my work.
I am getting close though... December is a very small light at the end of a 20-year tunnel.
Here are some things I want to do when I'm finally a "Master"...
1. Never ever again use the excuse "I've gotta work on a paper."
2. Teach myself to play the guitar.
3. Start making a quilt.
4. Read books because I want to, and not because I have to write a 15-page review on it.
5. Actually use my degree.
6.... Suggestions?

Okay, I've now diverted from doing homework almost 10 minutes while typing this... yes, I am thankful for education, but today, my friends, school is not cool.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

My Blog…. Round 2

So at the beginning of the year, I was challenged to start a blog.  I did, and it got off to a decent start, but I just wasn’t quite settled with its title or purpose.  So I let it sit, let it die, and then started all over again.  Below I re-posted a few of my previous posts, basically to document the happenings of my life this year.

When starting Blog #1, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to think of a “catchy” title, or again that no one would read this or have any interest in it.  However, this time the title came quickly and the desire came more genuinely. 

At the beginning of 2010, I faced what I like to think of as a “quarter-of-a-century crisis.”  This would be the year I would be turning 25 and basically I questioned what I had accomplished in these first 25 years, and if it was “enough.”  Unfortunately, I was comparing my life to the world’s view of “enough” instead of God’s view.  And according to the worldly view I had, my accomplishments were very little.  I became discouraged, and quite frankly depressed, about my current life status… where I lived, the job I’m in, having little to no friends locally, being single, not having kids, still working on a master’s degree, etc.  I almost became frantic to figure out what more I could possibly do to jump-start the world’s “next chapter” of my life.

It was recommended by a friend to read the book “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years” by Donald Miller.  I had seen Miller speak at Southland Christian Church just weeks before and while I enjoyed his talk, a book was honestly the LAST thing I thought could jump-start this next expected life chapter.  Apprehensively, I bought the book, started reading and finished in 2 days (and it would’ve been shorter if I didn’t have to work and sleep).  As I clung to each word on each page, it was very apparent that this book was sent from the Lord and that it was indeed the BEST thing to jump-start my next life chapter…. The chapter I decided to start living right then.

More or less, my emotional condition and restlessness in life came down to the fact that I was not pleased with the story I was telling with my life.  I wanted more out of life, and had neglected to realize that instead of just sitting and waiting for the world or life conditions to dictate that the “next chapter” had finally begun, I was in charge of that next chapter right now.   At first, this concept almost seemed faithless to me, in a sense that if I took control of my next chapter now, that I wasn’t trusting the Lord to lead and guide my life.  However, this is not the case at all.  I now believe that the Lord delights in our dreams and efforts to tell a better story with our lives all while trusting Him and giving Him the glory for all of it.  As Miller writes, “I believe there is a writer outside ourselves, plotting a better story for us, interacting with us, even, and whispering a better story into our consciousness” (p.86).

So I realized that I wanted a better story—a great story—and I didn’t have to wait until Mr. Right comes along or until I make a certain amount of money for this story to “really” begin. I needed to make it happen right now.  It all became clear when I found my notes from Miller’s talk at Southland and I had written down a comment he had made:  “May we tell beautiful stories with our lives instead of waiting for stories to happen to us.”  (Read that one more time. Let it soak in. Now continue reading….)  With that statement, it all made sense to me… why I was in such a panic, and quite frankly, why the world is in such a panic.  We all want better stories, but we’re afraid of telling them.

How am I doing at telling a beautiful story? Well, hopefully much better than 5 months ago.  It has been a long, trying start to the year, with many risks, many tears, much pain but much joy.  Miller notes that “great stories go to those who do not give into fear” (p.108)  I was waiting on a story, or the “next chapter” to finally happen to me, and I was scared that it wasn’t going to. And now that I have a new view of my story, I have no choice but to put the fear behind me and tell it the way I want it to be told. 

Are you pleased with the story YOU’RE telling?  There are very few books I would actually recommend to anyone, friend or stranger, and “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years” is one of them.  God used the words of Donald Miller to truly give me my next chapter. READ THIS BOOK!!

So with Blog #2, I want to tell you a beautiful story… a real, honest, vulnerable, human story. “May we tell beautiful stories instead of waiting for stories to happen to us.” 

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Breaking Up with Facebook

(originally posted February 3, 2010)

I'd say it's safe to assume that no one really likes rejection, or break-ups. However, sometimes break-ups are "for the best" and there's a lot of freedom that can be found through the emotions of separation.

Tonight, I broke up with Facebook.  My mind drifts back to the day in college where my roommate and I both created our accounts, not knowing what a networking tool this site would become over the coming years.  I remember when Facebook was uncomplicated-- it had no farms, aquariums, stickers, hugs, hearts, or mafia ninja's hanging around-- it was just a cool way of keeping in touch.  And it still is-- to some degree.

I have threatened to deactivate my account many times, and right when I was about to, a long lost friend would send me a message or post on my wall and then I would bargain with myself the value of keeping my account.  I'll admit that at times, I've been a Facebook addict-- one day, I literally counted that I checked it 26 times (and I wouldn't doubt that there were days that I checked it more.)  (Don't judge-- you know you've possibly done this too.) Every time you get a notification that someone has sent you a message... posted on your wall... commented on the comment that you left... you can't just NOT check it. There were times that the thought of not having Facebook was ridiculous and I could never muster the courage to even look into deactivating. However, today was the day.

Right now, there are a lot of changes going on in my life and I've decided since they're happening and didn't ask my permission to, I might as well throw in a few changes that I actually have control over-- i.e. Facebook.  I just felt like it was time to take a break-- not be so consumed with it for the moment, and consume my life with other things I need to focus on more right now, like Jesus, people, love, life, compassion, etc.  (And did I mention I'm writing a thesis? Facebook + Thesis = Facebook. not a good equation)

By no way am I saying that Facebook is bad--- it's not.  I'm a big fan.  However, for the time being, we're having a little break-up and I'm relieved.  I'm about to wade the waters of life without Facebook and I'm not sure what that looks like.

Will I be back on it at some point? Most likely, yes.  It may be a week from now-- 2 weeks- 2 months-- who knows.  I do enjoy the benefits of keeping up with friends, and hope that I will still be able to now-- and whenever I'm back on.

I literally just thought to myself-- "I should send out a FB message to people letting them know a new blog post is up" -- I promise I just completed that entire thought, and then realized that I can't. Hmmm, maybe this will be harder than I think......

Salute to New Music Tuesday.

(originally posted January 26, 2010)

I have an addiction to iTunes. (or so says my credit card bill)

I have always loved music-- it's been a part of my life since before coming out of the womb.  I'm positive that my mom must've sang to me every day while she was pregnant.  At the age of 4, I declared that I wanted to play the piano and have had a love/hate relationship with it since. (It was a first love... then hate when I was teenager having to play in recitals... and I'm happy to report that it's back to love now.) I have tried my hand at writing songs (not quite like Taylor Swift though, haha).  I took violin lessons both as a child, and a college student. I remember that the greatest gift I got for my 7th birthday was "The Bodyguard Soundtrack" cassette.  My very first CD was Faith Hill, and I played that thing over and over and over.  I know that a lot of people have a passion for music, and I'm proud to be in that group.  I cannot imagine life without the melodies and words that have helped me through life.

With all of this said, when digital music came about, I was PUMPED.  Of course at first I was young and didn't quite understand that there was such a thing as illegally downloading.  However, when iTunes came along, the thought of being able to buy a song (and not an entire album that I only liked one track and hated the other 15) was fantastic.  I was like a kid in a candy store (except the candy is music).  Since that time, I've become an iTunes addict.  (I try to justify this by saying that there are much worse things I could be "addicted" to.) I find great pleasure in previewing new songs, especially by new, "somewhat undiscovered" artists.  I have even been known to predict a few big hits BEFORE they became in big hits. (It all started in 7th grade, when I predicted in Mr. Griffith's technology class that  "Save Tonight" by Eagle Eye Cherry would be big.) (It was-- don't act like you didn't love that song. haha) If you'd like to call me a musical oracle, I'll answer to it. :)

Part of my joy with iTunes is what I like to call "New Music Tuesdays."  As any avid music fan would know, new tunes are released on Tuesdays.  (Takes me back to the Tuesday that I got up extra early so that my mom could take me to Wal-Mart BEFORE school to buy the new Backstreet Boys "Millenium" album.) One of the small joys currently in my life is "New Music Tuesday," BUT especially when I forget what day of the week it is.... such as today.  This afternoon, I came home, checked my email, opened iTunes to listen to some jams (yes, I just called them jams) and then my mind came to a halt---- "What day is today??" ---- (thinking)----- TUESDAY!!!! Believe it or not, this brings a grin to my face and I go on the hunt to preview the latest albums.  Is this crazy? Perhaps.  But then again, I LOVE MUSIC.

Today I was super excited to listen to Lady Antebellum's new album (which is fantastic and will have several big hits--- remember that the music oracle predicted this when it actually happens, haha), as well as live sessions with Colbie Caillat.  ANDDDDD, if life wasn't already great with it being Tuesday, one of my ALL-TIME-FAVORITE artists, Dave Barnes, has the most amazing single out today.  Pllleeeeeaaasssssee go check out "God Gave Me You" on iTunes or somewhere.... you won't regret it. As if I didn't love this man before with tunes like "Until You," "Nothing Fancy" and about a million more, this one might be one of his BEST yet. Beautiful voice, music and lyrics.

I could go on and on-- but I'll stop. I love music and I love that I have a love like music.  Happy New Music Tuesday!!

Feast or Famine

(originally posted on January 12, 2010)

It is time that I shared with the world a phenomenon that has been happening to me for many years now.  It's a theory I like to call "Feast or Famine."  If I didn't already have a large portion of research and a literature review completed-- and if my master's degree had anything to do with this topic(which it doesn't)-- I have considered writing my entire thesis on this personal theory.  I could write pages and pages on this, however, for the sake of this blog, and your time, I will give you the shorter version of my theory....

"Feast or Famine" refers to the state of dating relationships (or lack thereof) in my life.  It's as simple as this: there is either no prospects on the horizon (famine), or a plethora of prospects (feast).  It always happens this way... I could be completely single, with no single guys in sight-- a desert land, if you will. Then suddenly, not one, but two, three or even at one time, four, single guys will show up out of nowhere.  At first this may sound like I'm a hot commodity or some kind of relationship guru-- sorry, I'm neither.  It's just my luck, and while it sounds like good luck, not always.  There is never an in-between-- it's feast or famine.  (Or as -aln- sometimes calls it... "fiesta or siesta"... which interpreted, does mean "feast" or "nap.") haha.

A "feast" sounds like a pleasant state to be in, and while it should be, in my case, it usually causes chaos and thus far, it has not quite been the best "menu" for a "feast." (a.k.a. creepers, crazies, etc.)  Not all of them have been this way-- occassionally I stumble across a good one-- however, more times than not, it's been a feast not for my tasting. 

"Change your taste," you may say... and others have said that too.  However, although I'm up for trying new things and try to be as open-minded as possible, there are some things I will not budge on.  I have stuck to my "taste" for this long, and will continue to-- because I know the Lord knows it, and He will provide a guy with this same "taste" in His time. 

If you haven't noticed by now, although I'm comparing this theory to dating, it can apply to many more areas of life.  While a "feast" is sometimes encouraging, if you think about it, so can a famine.  Although the typical thought of the meaning of the word "famine" spurs thoughts of hunger, despair, and no hope.... in a time of famine in life--- whether it be dating, family, friends, job, or any other area of life--- you can choose to be sad, or choose to be excited. BE EXCITED because this moment will not last forever.  You can be excited during a famine time of dating because there is someone even better than all of those you thought were great-- and they may be right aroud the corner! You can be excited during a famine time of satisfaction in your job because there are many other opportunities and someday you may be working at something you like even better (or believe it or not, your current job might get better!). 

Yes, this is all easier said than done, but in times of feast or famine, I try to laugh instead of cry.  Although at the beginning of this post, I said that this only happens to me, I'm guessing that now you may possibly identify with a "feast or famine" time in some area of your life.  Be encouraged-- you are not alone! I am not alone! It happens.  You have the promise that God knows all about it and He's got it covered-- and I can't help but then that when I choose to laugh about it, He does too.  :)