Maybe living for the moment isn’t everything?

As soon as I step out of the building I realize how strange I look.

 

I am on my way to a wedding, and I’ve pretty much mastered the technique of driving without A.C. and still looking mostly put together.

My makeup is done

I have a nice black dress on with some pearls I haven’t worn in a while

Heels in hand, I walk comfortably down the hill in worn brown sandals, my hair braided back in pigtails.

I see one of the camp staffers do a double take, and it takes me a second to realize why: I look like a maniac. Half of me is completely prepared for the wedding, and the other half won’t be put together until the car ride is finished (because who really enjoys riding in heels, or doing your hair only for it to get ruined by open windows?).

As a side note, I really love driving in North Georgia. Scratch that, I love living in North Georgia. I can’t say I don’t miss the beaches, the familiar roads, and all my favorites Florida spots, but after three years of calling Georgia home, I can say without hesitation that it truly is. The curves and hills that once made me nervous are now common, though my car has had an increasingly hard time getting over them. Bird calls echoing in the mountains long before I see the sun, cold rain storms that cling to the trees and leak out across the valleys, secret swimming holes filled with freezing freshwater, and I only have 3 semesters left. Granted, most of my friends only have 2, and my 3rd will be spent abroad, but it seems just as I’ve earned the right to call this beautiful place my home, I’ll be moving on.

So as I’m driving back through the mountains from the wedding, cursing myself for not bringing make-up wipes with me because I only enjoy it for the first 20 minutes or so and after that I’m just focused on remembering not to wipe it off, and I’m wishing I wrote more of it down. The memories, that is.

When I first moved 10 hours away from my family, a wide-eyed, eager 18 year old, I took it all in through experiences. Every moment of that first year was packed full with meeting new people, finding new places: “go, go, go, don’t stop because if you do, it all might disappear. You’ll blink and you’ll be graduating.”

And I’m very grateful for those experiences… I just don’t remember them half as well as I wish I did. I wish I had taken the time, at least once a week, to write it all down. All of the firsts that I no longer remember, like who was the first upperclassmen I met? Or when was the first time I had a boiled peanut? How long did it take before I had timed how long it took to walk to each of my classes? Who was the first college friend that I cried in front of? My friends are really great at filling in the blanks for me, but still… I wish I had written it down.

So now I’m on the edge of my Senior Year, and I’m promising my future self to dive in and take advantage of every moment… and write down as much of it as I can. Because experiences are even better when I can remember the small details that bring me back to the exact moment.

As always, thanks for reading my wandering thoughts!

Happy Friday! ūüôā

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Body Boggle: Yes, it’s a real game

Before we start:

I’ll be honest: I haven’t been keeping up to date with my 500-1000 words per day, but the intent is still there! I’ve had a crazy month, which I think I say every month, but I’ve got a couple ideas that will be posted in the somewhat-near future!

Back to Boggle:

Have you ever had the desire to play Twister and Boggle at the same time? Because I have! Little did I know the solution would be sent to me (courtesy of my Mom, thanks Mom!) for my birthday last week.

The game at first glance looked very promising. I’m a huge fan of embarrassing and original games, and with captions like “Every Body’s Word Game” and “Livens Up Any Get-Together”, I couldn’t resist opening it up. Keojah, a friend and house-mate, was the first to try it out with me. It took a little bit of reading and troubleshooting to figure out the rules, but Body Boggle easily exceeded my expectations. “It’s a great way to learn and exercise,” Keojah admitted, cackling at my request for a quote, “Also, how do you spell schnook?” (It took her about 20 minutes of guessing to figure out how to spell this word when we played for the first time) We ended up folding it up and putting it away, as it takes at least four people to play and we needed to stop procrastinating and get some actual work done.

On Saturday, after watching the new¬†Beauty and the Beast¬†(Which I may actually prefer over the original Disney movie, but that’s another blog for another day), the girls and I came back to the house and Keojah suggested we try and play Body Boggle “for real.” Now, my friend group is incredibly competitive, and we’ve been known to spend hours on games that take a half-hour with normal groups, so it’s always dangerous to play games with them. I decided to sit out and keep score while four of my friends split into two teams (we agreed it might not be fair if the English Major played the first time around, and this game is honestly just as fun to watch as it is to play).

Just like twister, there’s a playing-mat, only instead of 24 color circles there are 25 squares (there are 26 letters in the alphabet, but in this game the “q” and “u” are in a square together).

Without making this too boring to read, the rules go a little something like this:

  1. You and your partner work together to spell a word
  2. You can get up to 4 points a word depending on the difficulty you choose
  3. One hand/foot per letter in the word
  4. Once the word is completed (spelled correctly without anyone falling down) the team gets a new word
  5. You and your partner spell the new word, moving either a foot or hand to a different letter on the mat without falling or accidentally touching a wrong letter
  6. If you don’t think ahead, your partner might end up having to hold your legs up in the air (It happens more often than I anticipated it would)

And that’s pretty much the game play! If the team spells a word wrong, or falls over, then their turn is over and the other team has a chance to rack up points. One of my friends enjoyed it so much that she asked me where my Mom got it (a thrift store- go Mom!), and then swore she was going to find it somewhere so she could have it for her kids to play. “If I had known this game existing when I was still taking vocab tests, it really would’ve helped my grades.” My curiosity was piqued–the game was fun and all, but had my friends actually retained any of the words they had learned?

Yes!

I couldn’t help myself: after the game, I went back and asked several of my friends if they remembered how to spell different words we had used in the game, and 9/10 times they remembered exactly how to spell it.

This game might not be for everyone, but for an English major it’s like finding the Holy Grail, and the fact that my non-English major friends loved it too is proof that words are awesome!

Thanks for reading!

In A Thousand Words Or Less (Pt.5)

As I walked from one apartment to the next, my thin sorry-excuse-for-sneakers grew heavy. Cold water seeped into the cracks in the soles, and I did my best to protect my backpack from downpour, as it contained my laptop, or as I like to call it, “my literal child.”

The fastest route was still a few minutes of walking, and included long stretches with no cover (and too many stairs to count, though if I’m truly honest I’ve counted them a dozen times). Though cold, the feeling of my shoes, sweatpants, and hoodie clinging to my body closer with each step was comfortable. A familiar chill settled into my limbs, and I was suddenly hit with more memories.

Rainy days were always my favorites. They were the days when my sister and I would dress in our mud-clothes: the central piece to my outfit was a one-size-too-big raincoat in a memorably unpleasant olive color. We would wait until the storm had filled all of the holes in our yard and then beg Mom to let us out and play. Standing under the drain pipes that hung off the roof, we would take turns getting as soaked as possible, and then race through the puddles until our boots were so full we’d have to pull them off and dump them out. Sometimes we would take the empty egg cartons from our kitchen and build boats to race across the biggest puddles, which in our imagination were daunting oceans during a tempest.

Though I have no idea how the game began, my sister and I would always role-play as children who had gotten lost in the storm and stumbled upon the “warm-looking cottage in the woods” (our house) where a “kind woman” (our mother) would welcome us in from our weary travels, and let us dry ourselves in front of the fire while she made us tomato soup and grilled cheese (naturally), which we would finish off with a hot chocolate. Then, pleading Mom to play along, we would ask her if there was “a bed we could stay in for the night”, and she would pull out our cozy Christmas nightgowns (red flannel with white lace trim, I found a similar one and added it just for fun) and tuck us into our beds. 17478714

Days spent inside on a rainy day were just as happy. Tucked into my bed, I would sit with the blinds open and my cheek pressed against the cool glass as I read a book (at that time it would have been A Horse and His Boy ). Every once and awhile I would look up to watch the lightning streak across the sky and feel the vibration of the thunder through the glass before the crash met my ears.

Even now, those happy memories keep me from ever being miserable in the rain, though I can’t help but wonder how many children are out on the street tonight without a “warm-looking cottage” and a “kind woman” to give them refuge.

**As a side note, I didn’t miss my writing for yesterday, I simply applied it to a school assignment instead! Carry on with your night, and stay safe out there!**

A Poem That Surprised Me in the Middle of the Night

“Passion, passion!” Cries the deep

From its mortal fears it weeps

“Passion is, and passion all!”

Echoes down the empty hall.

 

Tries the other to proclaim,

“Hollow life will be your gain!”

But in the silence it will creep

And from the weeping of the deep,

 

Through trial  and toil it may keep,

“Passion, passion!” It strives to leap,

claims the throne though others seek,

Pain and suffering it will reap.

 

“Fleeting, fleeting!” Cries the meek

From its hidden, unkempt peak.

Sees all, knows all, still it waits,

For those seeking past the gates.

 

“Hurry, hurry!” Passion spits

from its greedy, lust-filled pits.

“Slowly, slowly!” Counters Meek,

guiding, warning from the weak,

 

But Passion, still the crown it seeks,

and in the darkness it will keep,

Crawling, snaring, it will sneak:

drips of sweat and pale of cheek.

 

And yet here still stays the meek,

through the murk and mire bleak.

Still it sees and knows and waits

for true seekers of the gate.

 

 

Chim-Chim-Cheree

As I sit, doing some reading for one of my classes, a song gets stuck in my head, and i automatically open up youtube and play the Mary Poppins Soundtrack.

And what, you might ask, prompted this nostalgic trip into my musical-filled childhood? Ironically, it was a poem by William Blake, and for those of you who haven’t heard it, here it is:

______________________

The Chimney Sweeper

A little black thing among the snow

Crying ‘weep, ‘weep, in notes of woe!

Where are thy father & mother? say?

They are both gone up to the church to pray.

 

Because I was happy upon the heath,

And smil’d among the winter’s snow;

They clothed me in the clothes of death,

And taught me to sing the notes of woe.

 

And because I am happy, & dance &sing,

They think they have done me no injury,

And are gone to praise God & his Priest & King,

Who make up a heaven of our misery.

________________________________

As I finished writing my response to the poem, I realized I had finally gotten to “Chim- Chim-Cheree”, and, as I’m sure you can understand, it wasn’t quite the same as I remembered. As I read and began to understand what exactly a chimney-sweep’s life was like, and that they weren’t a well-choreographed group of young men, but mainly orphaned boys small enough to fit inside the chimneys starting at age 5 or 6, I was suddenly hit with a realization.

In the poem, the author commented several times on the passive attitude the church held, embodied by the nonchalant and cold tone the parents had towards the “little black thing” that was their son. When he was in need, they were “both gone up to the church to pray.” Later on in the poem, the boy says he was also ignored when he¬†seemed to be doing well, “because I am happy, & dance & sing… [they have] gone to praise God & his Priest & King…”

Just like the church was “gone” when these young chimney sweeps were stuck in dangerous and unhealthy child labor, so the church is “gone” in many of the issues we are facing today– and not just the well-known issues like the Syrian refugee crisis.

I have to wonder, what are we missing right now, as we allow ourselves to be distracted by trivial things, and instead fall into the practice of easy/pretty church without actually “doing” church?

Of course, there are plenty of other things to be said of the poem, but I think it’s very telling that the most attention that chimney-sweeps have ever gotten has been through Mary Poppins, and it is nowhere¬†near¬†accurate. As a kid, I knew that it was obviously fictional, and of course the chimney sweeps couldn’t just take the chimney like an elevator up to the roof and have a dance party, but I had no idea that the job of a chimney sweep was less-than-favorable, let alone in many cases fatally dangerous.

How much are we missing?

Just a thought.

 

Love>Fear

Originally, I had a different opening to this post, but as I sat in church today, I found the sermon aligning perfectly with the blog I had already written.

“Chatting on social media is not the same as a conversation. Texting is not talking, and being on someone’s Snapchat story does not mean you are actively a part of their story… Technology is masking our relational issues.”

More and more I am becoming disgusted with the way I live my life.

How do I show true love and appreciation for my friends? I write a lengthier than usual post on their wall about them, with a picture to match. Hardly a sacrifice, or a true act of love. But it’s easy, and convenient, everyone will see what a great friend I am, and best of all, there’s no risk! It’s a perfectly safe way to show I care without the danger of rejection.

I’m not try to down social media, and of course sweet posts are nice in their own way, but I feel as if I’ve lost something. Maybe the reason why my friendships don’t last is because instead of telling them to their face how much they mean to me, or making memories with them, I have invested in a post that may last for a day (more likely a couple hours) before it is lost in a torrent of bad political posts and cute kitten videos.

Why do I invest in the temporal, instead of something more lasting?

And worst of all… why do I settle on complaining about my relationship issues?

Because it’s easier, and we’re trained to accept it.

It’s easier to talk, spread, and point out the negative, which is why there are more magazines about the failings of our favorite actors, rather than magazines that genuinely care about a person’s well-being. We bond over that which we hate, and thrive off of other people’s failure (not just famous people’s failures, but our loved ones as well).

Lately, instead of talking, complaining, and settling, I’ve been praying. And I’ve been¬†trying.

For some reason, we have cultivated this false idea that these unhealthy habits are the best way to develop relationships, when in reality, it’s the reason that, in a “plugged-in” world, we are more isolated than ever.

We have become vampires who suck the life out of the first person who loves us, and then, after using them up, we become furious and act as if they’ve betrayed us when they have nothing left to give, and ask for some space.

What if, instead of taking, we gave?

Why do we allow fear to reign in our relationships?

What if that really pretty girl that just introduced herself to you isn’t competition, but someone you could have a real friendship with?

What if that guy genuinely wants to know how your day was, and isn’t trying to get your number?

What would it be like to be actually vulnerable, to try in your relationships?

Lately, it’s come to my attention that people believe if a relationship isn’t progressing naturally, or if you have to put in effort, it’s not a healthy relationship.

*This does not include actual abusive/ toxic relationships*

What if I told you that was lie?

What if I told you I know firsthand that the best friendships, the healthiest relationships, will come with struggle, and times of hardship?

Oh, but that wouldn’t fun. And aren’t relationship all about fun, and happiness?

No.

What you see on Instagram is the beautiful, well-captioned, filtered parts of life… not the messy parts that take up more space than we’d care to admit.

Life isn’t all about fun and happiness, and neither are relationships (although there will be plenty of that if you’re willing to stick it out for someone you love).

Why don’t you take the risk and reach out to that person on your hall (pardon my college-speak) that no one wants to talk to, instead of assuming there’s an excusable reason that no one does?

Stop being afraid of relationships, and start loving. There’s no use for that love if you’re stingy with it–in fact, it’s a total waste.

Go out and see that dorky movie your friend wants to see, instead of convincing them to stay in and watch Netflix; take that road trip, and make it about more than just the new profile picture you’ll get out of it.

______________________________________________________

‚ÄúTo love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄēC.S Lewis, The Four Loves

“Friendship takes time and energy if it’s going to work. You can luck into something great, but it doesn’t last if you don’t give it proper appreciation. Friendship can be so comfortable, but nurture it-don’t take it for granted.” ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† -Betty White

“Live-tweeting your bikini wax is not vulnerability. Nor is posting a blow-by-blow of your divorce . That’s an attempt to hot-wire connection. But you can’t cheat real connection. It’s built up slowly. It’s about trust and time.” ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†–Brene Brown

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Choose You.

So, we’ve passed the half-way-there mark for the semester, and I finally have enough time to breathe, which of course means I have enough time to write.

I have to say, even though having this long period of silence (2 entire months!) has been rough, it was necessary.

It shouldn’t surprise me that time is flying by so quickly, but here I am, settled into a job I in no way deserve, surrounded by a group of girls whom I love dearly, and only two months have passed. I know I probably sound like I’m contradicting myself, considering I just commented on how long that is, but in the grand scheme of things it’s just a blip. It has only taken two months (really, less than that) for a group of strangers to become a family unit… and this year I’m on the other end of it. Let me back up a few months.

It was early August, and I finally finished moving into my new room. I was buzzing with nerves because it wasn’t Freshman year anymore, it was Sophomore year, and usually that in itself would explain it (because it’s one less year you have to get your life together), but it was more than that. There was that nice, campus-wide silence that you can only get during Winterim (because the silence during summer is a bit scarier and longer and less pleasant), and the Resident Life team was coming together for the first time, three weeks before any of the other students were moving in. There was a sudden rush of, “I can’t use being a Freshman as an excuse for stupid mistakes anymore” combined with, “Oh my gosh, I’m an RA. What if they hate me?” These two thoughts, amidst all the others, resurfaced the most.

Ah, the pre-RA life: the decorating, the long training sessions, the fear. Hours of basic training during the day, and crafty projects that went through the night. It was a mad dash up until the very last night before move in, but looking back, I can say that was a time of rest and restoration. It’s hard to remember why the first day of training was so awkward considering the comradery I now have with the rest of the Res Life team, but I digress.

Having the opportunity to work as a Resident Assistant this year has honestly been life changing. Watching how each of my girls is pursuing Christ and changing has helped me to realize how far I’ve come as well– Freshman year leaves no one unchanged, and I can’t express what a¬†good thing that is.

Day after day I have the privilege of watching my girls choose Christ’s truth over the world’s lies, and fight to become the woman God is calling them to be instead of the woman society demands.

During our Bible Study this week we had a foot washing ceremony as a reminder that, as Christ followers, we have been made completely new, and not only that, but the old has been completely scrubbed out. Our dead flesh that clung to us, that tried to identify us, has been shed, and in it’s place is a completely fresh start–an opportunity to choose our true identity, and our true selves.

As I said earlier, staying quiet and off of my blog for the last few months has been rough, mainly because I have a lot of opinions and I like to talk about them (sorry, not sorry). But, the reason for my silence was that choice I just talked about: I needed to take time and learn how to choose me, and not just choose me, but choose who God is forming me to be.

It takes a lot of consistent silence and patience, and it’s a process that never stops, but the initial habit that I needed to form took months.

Months of crying before my Savior,

months of early mornings and late nights,

months of pushing myself, and wondering why I couldn’t measure up.

And then I realized.

It was time for me to stop trying, and time to let God do it for me.

He does a way better job, of course, but I’m not going to tell HIM that.

Any way, I know that’s a lot to take in, but I’m really only scratching the surface, and I’m so excited to reflect on what the last few months have brought, and what the rest of the semester looks like. I’ll finish with this-

Hebrews 10:11-25 MSG

(I’m using the Message version, because everyone needs a little Message in their life, and yes, it’s long, but please take the time to read it all the way through because it is THAT good)

“Every priest goes to work at the same altar each day, offers the same old sacrifices year in, year out, and never makes a dent in the sin problem. As a priest, Christ made a single sacrifice for sins, and that was it! Then he sat down right beside God and waited for his enemies to cave in. It was a perfect sacrifice by a perfect person to perfect some very imperfect people.¬†By that single offering, he did EVERYTHING that needed to be done for EVERYONE who takes part in the purifying process. The Holy Spirit confirms this:

This new plan I’m making with Israel isn’t going to be on paper,

isn’t going to be chiseled in stone;

This time “I’m writing out the plan IN them,

carving it on the lining of their hearts.”

He concludes, I’ll forever wipe the slate clean of their sins. Once sins are taken care of for good, there’s no longer any need to offer sacrifices for them. [Please, take a second, because here’s the really good part]

So, friends, we can now– without hesitation– walk right up to God, into “the Holy Place.” Jesus has cleared the way by the blood of his sacrifice, acting as our priest before God. The “curtain” [or veil, sound familiar?] into God’s presence is his body.

So let’s do it– full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going.

He always keeps his word.”

And that’s a wrap! Congratulations if you made it this far, and have a blessed week!

“I have hated words and I have loved them,

and I hope I have made them right.” – The Book Thief