Friday, June 25, 2010

The Waiting Room

We've all been there before: The waiting room. We hurry and rush to get to the appointment on time and we hustle inside to sit and wait our turn. With our mind running 100 mph, we sit and fidget and try to still be productive by thieving through as many magazines as we can. Sometimes there are lots of people in the room with you, and little by little you sit there watching other people get called to go. It's there turn, while you just continue to wait. Other times, the room is completely empty. And although you would think you might get called in quickly, you find yourself waiting. At the time we think the waiting room is torture. Here we set aside a portion of our day for this "appointment" and we were on time. Why aren't they? The anticipation seems to kill us and yet I wonder; has it ever occurred to you that maybe the waiting room is necessary? Do we ever take the time to stop? It seems, the only time is when we are forced to wait.

This summer, that's where I am: the waiting room. Lots is going on around me, and yet I feel like I am just waiting my turn. I am about to be a Senior at IWU and (Wow that has gone fast!) and this summer has really had me questioning, now what? Last summer every day I was busy serving and working in the high paced YouthWorks! lifestyle. And now this summer, there is quite the change of pace while I take classes in order to graduate on time. Although I have felt confident that this is what I am supposed to be doing, lots has been going on in my heart. It just feels like God is saying, wait. Wait for me to call you in. Wait and trust me. After all, have we ever seen anyone bust down the door in order to get called out of the waiting room?

A long time ago, I wrote about how every time I went to church, Abraham was the topic. And I just really felt like the messages were directed right to me. So this whole time I have been thinking... ok, so how does this all fit? Well so far, here's what I think: I've decided that Abraham had great promises by God, but God had him wait.... big time. Well I have big dreams, and God knows those dreams. (He did create me) And although it is difficult to trust, I say that my motto is "God's got it" Seems to me that if I am going to claim that as my motto, I better follow through and believe it. Abraham jumped the gun, and took things into his own hands by taking control instead of waiting for God's timing. I guess we could consider that like someone going up and nagging the secretary about how you have been in the waiting room and you NEED to be helped. Let's remember that, the secretaries usually don't forget about you out there. And we can definitely trust that God does not forget about us. Never the less, the waiting room is still hard. Right now, it seems like others around me are having major things happen in their lives and little by little, I'm feeling like I am the only one in the room. I've read EVERY magazine, and all the sudoku puzzles are done. I didn't plan on this taking so long, but I've been there too long and don't want to just pick up and leave! So I keep waiting.... and waiting.

But you know what?!

Little by little, God is teaching me. Today, my Grandma's best friend drove up to visit her at the lake. We ended up going out for brunch, and I was captivated by this 5 foot 80 year-old. Her sense of humor and quick wit got the best of me and I couldn't keep the smile off my face. And even though I have been hating homework, taking these classes has allowed me to connect with so many people I would have never had the chance to talk with had I been working a normal summer job, or been doing YW some where. It is easy to take for granted, but I have remembered how special it is to just sit with family and eat dinner together. Steve and Jodie are a hoot and their hearts for others truly inspire me.

Finally, while I'm in this waiting room, God has reminded me of a simple truth: It is not about me. Of course when we first walk into the waiting room, it is because we have an appointment for ourselves, but what does it mean to stop and forget about the fast paced lifestyle we are so used to? For one of my classes I had to write a paper about a book of the bible. I chose Philippians, and when I was reading, it focused on seeing like God. In order to really get closer with Christ, we have to try and see like He does. Take joy in what He does, and remember to love like He does. So maybe the waiting room isn't that bad. Summer is only 1/2 over for me, and who knows what's going to happen in the waiting room. But one thing is for sure, next time I'm in a real waiting room, I'm going to remember all that God does when we stop and wait for Him.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Get Serious 2010?!

Starting off 2010 sick was not on my list of choice activities but it is a perfect example of how I would describe 2009: Unplanned. Last night when I thought back to January 2009, I was amazed to think that it was only one year ago. In this past year I have experienced so much more than I could have ever thought up on my own.

I specifically remember in January one night after Summit at school, I had to go back to my room and apply for Youthworks! I had NO idea what I was doing, but I was simply trying to follow through with what I felt I needed to do. Well I half expected for things to not work out. I didn't think my parents would be too excited about me leaving for the WHOLE summer, and it all seemed more like a dream rather than a reality.

The application process continued all while softball season was underway indoors. I became really close with girls on the team, and we even made up a "comedy club" called CHART: Featuring Special K. Indoors was filled with so many memories and lots of laughs. In late February we started games and softball started getting tough. Throughout the season, I did not get much playing time, and it caused me to get frustrated. God and I had man conversations and at the time I was as discouraged as ever. It was not until Youthworks that the pieces began to fall together and I started to be okay with softball.

The entire summer was a stretch. It began with me super sick traveling to a hospital in Philly, and I had only been home for about 6 days before I left A-town. I was nervous. I did not know a thing about Youthworks but I was going for it. When we found out where we were going to be "living" I was still a little shell-shocked, but little by little the old Jr. High in Hamlin, WV became home. My job was to be the extroverted excited face that gave announcements and communicated ALL THE TIME. At night I was supposed to dig into my life and find experiences to relate to the high schoolers and share how God worked. I am known to be a story-teller, but at first I questioned how to come up with 5 talks. Well in time I realized this was the place for me to be because four of the talks centered around experiences I had in 2009.

Softball was discouraging for me, but it helped me see that God is more interested in our Character than our Comfort. I learned the true meaning of what it means to put aside temporary treasures like playing time and experience what it is like to play to please one: God. During the frustration of the sport, God gave me friendships that still mean so much more than statistics. We still laugh until we cry, and yet I know that beyond the laughs, we truly care about each other.

Most of all, in 2009 God worked in me. After an exciting summer of growth, and adventure like I had in WV, I was apprehensive to go back to school. For some reason I thought God would take a break a little and I would be able to reflect on what happened over the summer. But no, God was ready to get right back to work. It was time to apply my learning from the summer, and continually give God control. The last part of the year and growth can attributed to my roommate. Going out on a limb to be roomies, and not talking until 3 days before we moved in seems crazy considering how planned I usually like to be, but it could not have been more perfect. After a sophomore year of fun but still a great deal of frustration, Kayla and I were able to start our Junior year with a TON of laughs. This semester has been the most fun by far. God taught me some lessons and I have been stretched in difficult ways, but I have learned to trust that it all works out, it always does.

I do not know what kind of adventures 2010 will bring but I am excited because I know that some how it will all work together. I am sure laughs will be a part of it, and the memories are something I just cannot wait to see.

Now usually my posts have a little humor, so here it is: This holiday season was incredible. I found myself crying from laughing at almost EVERY family gathering. Jodie had her classic dramatic moments like when she got a piano bench and immediately stopped everything to place it by the piano and play some of her beautiful chords. But the best moment came when Christi and I played Catch Phrase with our cousins Hannah and Breanna. It was sisters vs. sisters, and Christi and I started off strong.
For example: "Grandmas favorite fruit!" "CRANBERRIES" "Perfect"

H & B however seemed to struggle a little. The category was: Entertainment. Hannah was describing:
H- "Ok, its the number after 19"
B- "20"
H-"YEAH! Ok, so say it again now"
B- "20"
H- "Ok, 20 now say it again."
B- "20"
H- "Ok, its 20 REPEATED!"
H- "NO!!!"
B- "I don't get it."
H- "Ok, its 20 AGAIN! Say 20 AGAIN!"

At this point Christi and I were doubled over laughing. It did not matter if we won or lost the entire game. It was the cutest/funniest thing ever. The description of the 11 year old was so guiding and yet her brilliant older sophomore sister could not catch up :)

Finally B did make a tentative guess: "20/20?"

Saturday, November 7, 2009

From now on just call me "Abe"

Here is my attempt to stay true to my word and continue writing on this blog. :)

If I had to pick a word to describe my life lately I would say, "Abraham." God has certainly been throwing me for a loop. After an incredible summer in West Virginia, I am still recognizing the life changes God made in my heart. It is easy to say that with time you forget what happens and you return back to your old self, and in some ways this has been true. But at the same time, I know that God is active in my life right now.

Over the summer I learned to seek Him and search for Him in everything. And you know what the cool thing is? I have been able to see Him. For example: I know coincidences happen, but can you explain going to multiple churches, several chapel services, and even in class having the same topic addressed? At home, in South Bend, here in Marion at church and chapel, and in my classes, almost everywhere I go, we talk about one man: Abraham. So for the duration of this semester, I have been slowly given direction by God. I want to go to almost every service I can because each time another piece of the puzzle is put into place. What then does it all mean? Good question. At this point I think the lesson has been pretty simple, "Have faith."

When I first came to school, in regards to my major I knew 3 things: I liked art, people, and Spanish. Combining those seemed to be an awkward combination, but I chose Art Education with an additional major in Spanish. The Spanish major was because I fell in love with the language and people in Mexico when I went on my first missions trip. I chose to pursue it despite the fact that it was basically a triple major.

Fast forward two years, and I am now a Junior. Art classes have been amazing. They have pushed my skills but I have come to recognize just how much it is a passion for me. Spanish on the other hand is difficult. I have not felt like I have made much progress, scheduling is difficult, and I recognize that in order to complete everything it will take another year of school. For the majority of the beginning of the semester I continued to sway back and forth about what to do. Should I just drop the Spanish and graduate on time, or do I jump whole-heartedly into this new direction and pursue graduating with degrees in Art Education AND Spanish Education? Here is where Abraham comes into play.

Basically, He is my role model right now. I do not know what God has in store for me with Spanish. I am not that great at it, but I know it is the direction I am supposed to take. When I was at home, our Pastor talked about faith. Go figure. He said that as you continue in your relationship with God, you will feel prompted to do things. But how do you know if something is from God? It will require faith to be completed. I do not know how to pay for an extra year of school. I do not know why God wants me to do Spanish when I am not particularly gifted at it. But I do know that God is going to be a part of this dream. He is going to make it happen. All I am doing is taking the first step. Espanol it is!

Today is Kayla's (my roomie) first game. I am pumped. We made shirts and are prepared to be the BEST fan club ever! This is showing her GREAT love because lately she has had this knack for hanging out with me and my friends, ditching me and making my friends all HER best friends. It has been pretty hilarious to see how basically I am just her way of networking. :) There is nothing like going up to your friends and having them ask about your roomie before they ask about you. (I'm just being dramatic. She's cool.) Despite this "tension" I am standing strong and still accept her as a roomie. :) It is time for me to pull those last loose ends together and get ready to get my cheer on because game time is coming!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Update: Week 4 is about to Proceed.

Tomorrow I am starting the fourth week of classes here at IWU. WOW! Some big things that have happened since being here are:

1.... I bought a bike! This was super exciting because, although I live in the lodges.... they are a little more remote on campus. Therefore the appeal of having a bike on campus sky rocketed. I have not named the bike yet, but I am open to suggestions. It is a silver blue color.

2.... Softball- We have been having a "Fall Ball" season for softball which is nice because we have been able to enjoy our time outside before the field is covered in snow. We played 3 games all back to back to back and we were supposed to do the same this weekend, but we were rained out. This was nice in some ways because it allowed me to catch up on some homework, sleep, and just be rejuvenated for this up coming week. Although the break was nice, I must admit it has been fun to be back with the team again. In the outfield we have been working hard as well as getting an ab workout from laughing. Coach Stroup always leads our drills and boy do we pick on her. It is fun to laugh out there though, and we are all pushing each other to be better and better. I'm really glad to be a part of it. Like Christi would say... "GET SERIOUS."

3.... Classes- This semester I have 2 night classes, and a completely different schedule from what I am used to. I usually had early classes, started at 7:50 and then tried to be done early. Now, I do not have class until 12 on Thursdays, and 1:30 on Monday and Wednesday. It is quite a change. The neat thing about my schedule is that it has enabled me to wake up, do homework and spend a little extra time with God. In about a week though, I will receive my placement for my practicum. For teaching I am supposed to go out into the schools and observe, help, and even teach a little. This is great so that by the time I am ready to student teach, I am not just thrown into the wolves. PTL. A challenge this semester has been my Spanish class. On the first day the prof. I was supposed to have was not there because he was having emergency surgery. That was a curve ball I was not expecting. But God has been good through all of it. Our interim prof. has been great. She is difficult and speaks fast Spanish 100% of the time but she really has an amazing heart for God. I shared that I was struggling with the class, and she has just been great at helping equip me for the class. We had our first test on Thursday and when I walked in, I knew exactly as much as I needed.

4.... My roommate (roomie) is Kayla. We have had a TON of fun. She plays basketball here at IWU, and so she's been getting up @ 5:30 everyday for conditioning but its her last day! She made it. The coolest thing is that she bought this basketball hoop that we put up in our room so now we can have sweet competitions. She beat me in our first game of PIG but I am not worried. It was only our first game. :)

5.... God has just been really great here @ IWU and especially in my life. We had "summit" which is basically our spiritual emphasis week, and I was just blown away by how God is working in me step by step. The entire summer I felt SO in tune with Him. Every action and step I took I tried to see Him. Why should that change just because I come back to school? That does not mean I have to be some super spiritual fanatic. It just means that the person who I was the first two years at school has a new sense of peace. God is in charge, and I am determined to not let stress get the best of me.

Overall, School is great. Classes are tough, but it is refreshing to see my friends and approach everything that comes my way with a peaceful joy. Oh, and life is always better when you have a bike. :)

Monday, September 7, 2009

I'm a Junior?

I just wanted to send a quick update. Yesterday I moved in to the Lodges here at IWU. The campus seems to have a different feel to it this semester. I am now in upper classman housing. WOW. People now think I am old so it seems. :D

I'm rooming with Kayla and we have just had a great time so far. We've laughed a TON and both decided that we "Hate each other." :) It is weird to be here and not have classes. The schedule is SO free. Its like all of us don't know what to do. Fortunately classes start tomorrow. That harsh reality hit me when I spent over $300.00 on books and still didn't buy some for one class. My goodness.

My computer is still on the fritz so I am using one of my friends to update this. Hopefully my mac will return to me. Of course its a holiday weekend. Funny stuff. I am excited to see all that this year has in store for me. Hopefully God blows it out of the water. :)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

"It's Going Off Again"

Recently I walked downstairs to my mother begrudgingly stating.... "I have been up since 5:30." It was in that moment that I realized... "What am I going to do? When I leave for school I am leaving behind most of my comedic material."

Really though, I am sure you are wondering. WHAT HAPPENED. Well, every Wednesday Dad meets with 3 other men and they discuss all the world's problems over breakfast. That is at least what it seems like they do. You know... they talk about things crazy things that happened to them through out the week. Usually Dad comes back sharing some story about raccoons or just random guy things. I love hearing the stories. For those who know my Dad, you know that he is the MASTER of telling stories. He can put me to shame, it is no task for him to keep an entire room captivated one moment and laughing the next. Maybe that is why he's been such a success as a teacher. :) (This is his 32nd year. Wow. Most would say that is a HUGE accomplishment, but he just plays it off and says the accomplishment is in the fact that he can now refer to himself as the old fat bald guy at the end of the hall) Gotta love Daddy-o.

Back to the story. (Tangents are my thing) ANYWAYS... Dad always goes to breakfast BEFORE school on Wednesdays so it ends up being pretty early. He drags himself out of bed and grants himself an extra cup of coffee. This would seem quite normal right. Except for the fact that this lovely day, Dad accidentally forgot to turn the alarm off. Therefore... Mom could not sleep. This was the big no no.

Now most of us have probably experienced a situation similar to this. There is nothing more annoying than someone else's alarm waking you up. But even worse than this, Mom couldn't figure out how to shut it off. Aggravated, she called Dad's cell phone to try and stop the problem. He didn't answer. Mom left a voicemail and was all upset. After a while, it went off again, and Mom called Dad a second time. This time her message was short: "It's going off again!"

Here's where the story really starts to take on some humor. Mom can't sleep and decides she's just going to get up and go downstairs. Plopped right there on the kitchen table was the best possible welcome present. Dad's phone. So as a means of getting her point across, Mom hid his phone in the living room and stashed away the chocolate. :) You can tell its getting serious when the chocolate gets put away.

For me, the humor came in the fact that all day Mom cooled off about the whole situation, Dad came home and was super sorry. He listened to the messages while we were at the kitchen table, and we all smiled as he saved the last message. "It's going off again."

So when my parents read this on my blog I know they will say: "I can't believe you put that on there." There is however, a point to all of this. At first the story can seem like a funny glimpse into our lives, but the phrase is what has been stealing the show in my life.

I have been home for 16 days now. A fantastic break. I have been busy doing quite a bit of shopping with Mom... I've had reunions/good bye get togethers with friends here at home, and of course, I've spent a little time at the lake. This time has also given me a chance to get ready for school. In my last post, I talked about how this summer I learned a lot about relying on God for EVERYTHING. What does it mean to talk with Him all throughout the day and see life through His eyes. Time and time again I find myself saying this phrase: "I hate change." It is the truth. I am a girl who loves getting into the routine. I love adventures, but still, I like to know what is happening.

The count down is now one week until I head off to school. I am going to be a Junior which sounds CRAZY coming out of my mouth. Now I love school and shoot this is my third year so I know what to expect. So you can imagine... I was quite surprised when one day this week I found myself getting nervous about school. I can understand the nerves when you are going to be a Freshman but I didn't expect that now. I am established at school. But it was through the whole alarm going off story, and that simple phrase that it finally clicked for me. I have just experienced a summer of life change. I feel close with God, and His peace has helped me be more chill and slow down a little.

Why then a sense of worry about returning to school? You would think I would be EXCITED to return and share stories from this summer. Don't get me wrong... I am excited to see everyone. :) I think it is because last time I was at school, I was a different person. Last year I often felt like I was in a race, trying to keep everything organized and under control. I had to give 100% at softball and I had to get A's in each of my classes. HAD TO. But in the midst of all of this I seemed more like a chicken running around with its head cut off. I left the year tired and not satisfied with my accomplishments. This summer was a summer of breaking me down and everyday letting God show me how I could be in the midst of a jam-packed schedule, constantly have questions flying at me, work a 17 hour day with teenagers, and still be calm. WOW.

This time.... I want to go to school and let God lead. That doesn't mean I am going to forget about grades and no longer push myself. It simply means, I am going to take a little of my own medicine and remind myself of my favorite phrase:

"God's God It."

Moral of the story.... BOTH Christi and I have heard before that we should write a book about our family. On days like these, I realize a book would be a great dream, but I am just not so sure it could capture it all. Instead, I'm thinking a reality TV show. Who doesn't want to get the inside scoop w. the Church's. :D Maybe we could call it:
"It's Going Off Again."

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Fish Tank

It has taken me quite some time to figure out what to write as my final post about the summer.

I am now sitting here in my living room in Angola, IN thinking "Wow.... what just happened?" West Virginia almost feels like a dream because I came home and things were pretty much exactly like I left them. I feel like I have just endured a summer of stretching and life changing and I come back wondering "Now what?"

Fortunately, my family has been here and I have been able to just love time to catch up with them. It is great to know that home is always home, no matter what. In the time that I have been home, I realize that SO MUCH has gone on. After living in a routine, following Youth Works schedule to a T... I'm sometimes surprised at the variety that has been going on. :) Dinner doesn't ALWAYS start at 5:30.

Overall, my time home has been wonderful. I have needed the time to start processing all that God did over the summer. Now I know I'm not going to really ever see ALL that He did but at least I have had a little break before running right into my Junior year at Indiana Wesleyan University. This 3 week break is perfect.

Some of the things I am starting to take away from the summer have to deal with worry. This summer God basically obliterated my comfort zone. I was stretched and pushed beyond belief but I think that is the main reason why I can now say that I LOVED everything that happened. God was in charge, and I was forced to trust Him.

I was up in front of 70 people every week talking about God, and yeah... I was a little nervous. I felt unqualified. But I got to witness God transforming youth and pushing and stretching them. WOW! Not only that, but I was able to invest in a community and have a town I had never heard of be my "home" all summer long. The people there were incredible. Raw, and just open about who they were. I loved it.

Now that I am settled at home and once again driving "The White Pony" (For those of you that don't know... that's what we call our big white Astro van.) I have now become aware of how thankful I am that we can pray. My time in Lincoln County, WV is over for now. But the awesome thing is that I can still keep the whole area in my heart and pray that God's work wasn't just happening because Youth Works was there. He can still send people there and He can equip others in the community to just continue spreading His love. PTL.

There have been some funny things that have happened now that I have been home. :)

Mom recently had surgery on her knee and so now that I am home I have become QUITE the chauffeur. On Monday we had to go to Fort Wayne for her follow up appt. so of course... we did a little shopping before. :) Well as we got settled into the packed waiting room, it was obvious that they were a little behind. Mom said that she was the last appointment of the day so I knew we were in for the long hall.

Overall, the weather had been quite temperamental that day.... It'd be raining and then BOOM completely sunny. As we were sitting there, Mom looks down this long hallway outside and says to me, "Look out there! It just looks like it is POURING! Doesn't it look like that?"
So I looked and said, "Yeah, I guess it is."
Mom reiterates, "It is just POURING!"
Then I look again and say... "Mom. We're looking through a fish tank."

So in this crowded waiting room, my Mom and I just start laughing to the point of crying. Finally Mom gains enough composure to say, "Well maybe that's why it looks so wet."

As you can see, I seem to be adjusting well. Mom needs me. :)