Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It's Off To Portland I Go!

This has been one busy week, but mostly just because I have been scrambling to get ready for this conference! 

A week before my birthday, my mom asked me what I wanted. I told her I wanted to go to a church conference... although I had NO idea which one or how that would even be possible. 

A few days later, a girl I only kind of know from my church text me and told me that she had a group going to Generation Unleashed, and one of the girls going backed out... but the spot was already paid for!!!!

I honestly figured that I would not be able to go. Not only do I have practice, class, and tons of homework to deal with, but I had begun planning a government 
retreat the same weekend of the conference. 

I decided I would see if it worked out. Not force anything, but still try. And... 

I cannot even begin to explain how PERFECTLY everything worked out to go to this conference. There happens to be nothing going on in class the day I will miss. I was able to move the government retreat I was planning (being president has its perks) and everybody actually liked the new date better. My coach was TOTALLY okay with me missing practice 
because he just happens to be out of town for work this week so we are sort of practicing on our own anyway. 

WOW. Happy Birthday to me :) 

So tomorrow I'm leaving at 5 a.m. for three days of worship, 
the Word, friends, and no sleep. 
I'll still have to get my runs/workouts in, so I'll be making use of the hotel treadmill very early in the mornings. 
I'll just survive on coffee and the presence of Jesus!!! 

So that's why this week has been incredibly busy. I have done hours of online homework and spent tons of time in meetings and doing errands and trying to get my life together. But its all worth it!

I'll be back on Monday with details! Hope you all have a lovely weekend!

Monday, January 28, 2013


I have sat down at least four times to write a post this past week.
But I closed my computer halfway through every time. 

I have so many things to say and so many things I could write about: about how wonderful my birthday was. About playing basketball for the first time in ages and realizing how much I miss it. About crazy prayer/worship nights that rocked my socks. About hours of homework and paper writing done in cute little coffee shops while I waited for my car to be fixed. About good 12 by 200 meter workouts with my track team and about terrible runs through the snow and fog. And about how I get to go to an amazing church conference this weekend (for free!) in Portland that I never planned on going to until a friend gave me a spot last minute and my coach said I could miss practice. 

Life has been in full swing lately. It has been full of good (and sometimes bad).
And I'm learning so much. But I'm not exactly sure how to articulate it yet. 

Though I love having fun on this blog and talking about my day to day life, sometimes I want to write something meaningful. 
And my heart is full of things right now, but I haven't figured out how to write them yet. So I haven't done much journaling or blogging lately. 

I have done a lot of reading. And a lot of listening. A lot of filling my mind with things that are lovely, and pure, and true, and right.  

Sometimes when you don't know what to say, the best thing to do is just listen. 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Hello Twenty-One (Almost).

On Tuesday I turn 21 years old.

I remember when I was 6.
When 21 seemed so far away.
When anyone over 16 might as well have been 40.

(I'm in the red. No idea what I was doing)

But now, here I am. Almost 21. And the world is a much different place than it was when I was 6. It has somehow gotten smaller and bigger at the same time. Every new discovery has led to more questions. The more I have traveled and experienced, the bigger the world seems and the less experienced I feel.

I suppose that is what is beautiful about life. 
God breathed life and He is deep and infinite and mysterious.

I have learned a lot over the years.

I have learned how to have a good attitude while sitting on the bench during a basketball game. 

How to speak French and navigate the Paris Metro - and how to pick out the perfect baguette. 

I have learned that I'm most happy when the people around me are happy.

And that simple things, like coffee on a cold winter morning, are the greatest pleasures in life.

I have learned that God is the only constant in life. 
Every one of my experiences have led me to that conclusion. 

I have learned that I don't know everything about myself - But God does. 

I have learned that too much of anything is a bad thing.

I have learned to stress less and be more spontaneous.

I have learned that two hour runs are actually quite fun once you get used to them. 
And that hard work leads to accomplishments.

I have learned that listening to people's stories is the best way to... well, learn.

And I have learned that family is everything - whether that be the family you are born with or the family  you acquire.

I know I have so much more to learn. 

But the most important lesson I have learned is to trust in God.
 So here's to 21. To all of the experiences I have had and to all the experiences I will have in the future. The future is still a mystery to me... my dreams are big but vague and surrounded by a haze that hasn't quite cleared yet.... But I'm so excited about life. So excited to see what's in store. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Friday Night

Anyone else love lazy Friday nights? I feel majorly relaxed right now. After a long and busy week, this is just what the doctor ordered. 

After about three hours of homework at Starbucks, I made my way back home for the weekend. The homework session was a complete success. I always get so much done at Starbucks. Maybe it's the caffeine? Whatever it was, I made it through three papers, an online quiz, and some good old textbook reading. So I'm feeling pretty accomplished. 

I've pretty much lazed around for the past couple of hours, and I finally got to finish a movie I started a few days ago about Martin Luther. Wow. That's all I can say. 

Martin Luther is seriously one of the most inspiring people I have ever studied. If you haven't heard of him or read about him or watched the movie, go do it now. Whatever you believe, he was one solid guy. He stood up for his beliefs and impacted the world because of it. 

Tomorrow morning I'm going to get up and run for an hour and a half. But I'm going to be a wimp and do it on the treadmill. I know it's not good for my legs. I know it might be boring. But I cannot muster up the desire to run for ninety minutes in 10 degree weather. I have always been a huge treadmill fan, but especially lately. Luckily, our coach let us run inside twice this week! 
We were grateful. 
The other days we did speed-work outside, but they were good workouts (once our fingers turned numb we didn't really notice the cold). ;) 

This girl is nuts. I would be wearing at least five more layers. 

As I've mentioned before on this blog, decision making is not my strong suit. And this whole figure out what I'm going to do with my life thing is really starting to get to me. I have too many choices, and I have no idea what I want. And believe me, I know how blessed I am to have a choice. But I don't even know what I want for breakfast in the morning, let alone what I want the next step of my life to be. Luckily, I don't have to figure it all out on my own. I just have to remember that and relax. 

So relax I will. Dreaming sounds nice right now. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Stream of Thoughts

I'm supposed to be researching Winston Churchill right now.
And writing a paper.
And reading chapters in my Psych book.
And filling out a scholarship application.

But my brain is fried. It's been a long day. A day filled with activity. Three meetings. Class. Running in 13 degree (Fahrenheit) weather. Finally I have a chance to sit still, and the last thing I want to do is do research.

But the purpose of this point is NOT to complain. I don't really have anything to complain about.

Life is so great, really. I'm so blessed.

I had the most wonderful weekend in Reno with my dad.

We talked for hours on the drive there and back about every subject imaginable: politics, religion, hopes, dreams, science, his past, my future... name it. He is honestly my hero in every way, and I love soaking up information and advice when I'm with him.

The main reason we were in Reno was so my dad could speak at a church. We stayed with a pastor's family, and in the 36 hours we were there, my dad spoke four times. I got to speak too!!!

I know I've said it before, but I absolutely love speaking. I love the chance to inspire. And I especially love speaking about God's love. There are never enough words to say.

It was such a great, whirlwind weekend. And coming back to a crazy busy schedule is a little bit of a downer. It's easy to forget how blessed I am, or how happy I was just twenty four hours ago. Life is funny that way. That's why it is important to purposefully live with a thankful heart.

After a good night's sleep, I think, I'll be ready to go at it all again. So Winston Churchill may have to wait. And I promise I'll post a coherent and organized blog one of these days. Or maybe not. I kind of like letting the thoughts flow :)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Reasons I'm Thankful

I have so much to be thankful for today. 
I feel overwhelmed and blessed. 
And I need to pour my heart out. 
So here goes a long post.  

Things I feel thankful for today: 

1. I made it through an entire running work out (12x 200s) without any pain in my achilles. After a month of cross training, this is such a good feeling. 

2. Thus far, winter term is going SO well. I think I like my classes. I love the girls I live with. I have made so many new friends and am having a blast talking to people. I have gotten into conversations with at least thirty strangers in the last few days. I love it. 

3. I have gotten to start every morning reading the Bible and just chilling in the presence of God. And it's made all the difference. 

4. I have SUCH a good student government team. As president, I have a lot on my shoulders, and I'm honestly not cut out for the job. Though everything is working out, and I definitely filled a position that needed to be filled (someone was needed that could speak well at board meetings and could mend relationships with the Administration, and I like that kind of thing).... But I still get insecure about being in the position. Luckily, I have killer teammates who do hard work and get me by. We just spent a couple hours at Denny's hashing out ways to make our campus better. So great. 

5. I have a great coach. He has been so understanding of my injury. So helpful in helping me gain strength and be the best I can be. And today he pleasantly surprised me because.....

6. I get to go to Reno this weekend with my dad!!! He is going there to preach at a church, and I really wanted to go. But I would have to miss Monday's practice. I asked my coach very nicely, and he said "You NEED to go. You won't get that many opportunities to do something like that with your dad." I was so happy. He knows I would give my right arm for the sport, and the fact that he is relaxed in the off season helps me relax. 

7. I have learned so much this year about life. About balance. About taking care of myself. About what's important. Today, in my workout, I could have been stressed because I'm not speed oriented and therefore don't compare well to some of the other 200 girls... but I let it go. I just did my best. I could have worked out for hours in the weight room after until my body was exhausted. But instead I dead lifted, did some planks, rolled out my muscles, and felt great. I could have come home and gotten too busy to eat more than a protein drink and a banana, but instead I made sure I had that plus tons of other food. I could have spent all day thinking about my workout, but instead I thought about God and I hung out with friends and I focused on government and school and how beautiful life was. Balance. 

8. Everything I have learned has not only helped me, but I'm able to pour into girls who are younger than me that are struggling with some of the things I have struggled with. 
And I love being a mentor in that way.  

9. I have been given so many wonderful compliments lately, and I don't deserve them. But I definitely appreciate it more than the people who compliment me know. This morning, a very nice girl sent me a very encouraging text, and it made my whole day. 

I could go on and on, but I'll stop there. 

Life is so wonderful, and even though I know that this term will bring difficulties and sorrows along with the victories, I want to always remain thankful. 

Because I really am beyond blessed. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

What Are You Wearing???

In today's society, one of the first things we notice about people is their appearance, and a big part of this is clothing. 

At risk of seeming shallow, I'll be the first person to admit that I'm drawn to people who are stylish. 

Once I get to know someone, of course, I am attracted to them based on their character. Someone who dresses in designer clothes is not necessarily loving and good. Likewise, a homeless man on the street who hasn't bathed in ages may be incredibly kind hearted. 

This is important : It's not that I think that stylish people have more value than anyone else in the world. In fact, I'm not always all that stylish myself, though I like clothes as much as the next girl. 

But I think that everyone would agree that the way that people present themselves is directly related to the way that people view them (at least at the beginning of the relationship). 

The Bible is filled with metaphors that address our spiritual "clothing". 

Ephesians 6:11 - "Put on every piece of God's armor..."

Romans 13:12 - "...So remove your dark deeds like dirty clothes, and put on the shining armor of right living..."

Romans 13:14 - "Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ"

Isaiah 61:10 - "I am overwhelmed with joy in the LORD my God! For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness. I am like a bridegroom in his wedding suit or a bride with her jewels."

This metaphor of clothing makes a lot of sense. As a Christian, it is my responsibility to be clothed with light. With the presence of God. It doesn't matter how much love there is inside of me if my spiritual clothing sends people running for the hills. 

If I have a bad attitude, for example, it's no surprise that people are not excited to talk to me about Jesus. They might not believe I'm a Christian at all. I might as well be wearing skunk-sented perfume and a clown costume. 

But if I clothe myself with His presence... people will be drawn to that. Not for my glory but for His. So he can love them. 

And I must put on spiritual armor, daily. No warrior would ever go to battle wearing a tshirt and jeans. We go to battle daily. There are constantly things being thrown at us. So we need to equip ourselves with the armor of God. We need to fill ourselves with the Word of God and pray. 

Just as I look at my closet every morning and choose what I want to wear, I must do the same thing in my spiritual life. Physical appearance is over-rated, yes, but spiritual appearance is key to living a Godly life. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A Few Thoughts and The Beginning of Winter Term

I'm literally lying in bed as I write this post. 
I was about to turn off my lamp. 
I was about to drift off into sweet repose and dream away the business of the last two days.... But I miss blogging. And I haven't blogged in ages. And I realized that if I don't just squeeze it in, it's not going to happen. So while the thoughts in this post might be scrambled, I got them down nonetheless. 

It's been a good two days, yes. But after a month off of school, my fellow college students and myself seem to have forgotten how to be, well, college students. Now we are scrambling around, trying to get our acts together. Buying overpriced books. Figuring out classes. Spending hours in line at Student Services... (Ok, I like to exaggerate. But that line is long.)

To add to the back to school madness, there was a legitimate blizzard yesterday. In Alaska, they might not call it a blizzard. But for Ontario, it was crazy. You cannot see the ground out there. It's just  pure white snow. That will be fun for running...  

I'm starting track practice again tomorrow! After a month of cross training, my achilles feels much better. I think all the swimming and biking did me good, too. I look really healthy and feel a lot less... well, like a ninety year old woman. I feel like I'm going to have arthritis by the time I'm twenty five. But I have been taking extra measures to take care of myself lately. 

I have loads to catch up with on the student government side of things... Sometimes I can't help but laugh at the fact that I'm president of my school. It doesn't make sense. I'm so under-qualified. But in my weakness, God's strength is made perfect. So even though I don't always feel like I do a good job, I do my best and trust Him. 

I guess I'm getting back into the swing of things, 
and I'm really excited to see what this term has in store.

Before I arrived back into town, however, I got really anxious. It wasn't that I didn't want to go back to school, necessarily. I just always get anxious before the start of new things. I actually like change, so I don't know why this feeling sweeps over me, but it does. 

I kind of wanted it to stay Christmas break forever. That month was better than I could have ever asked for, and I cherish every memory I made. I spent so much wonderful time with my family, and I developed some amazing friendships with some people in my church. 

But all good things must come to an end - so better things can come! 

I have so many things to say and so many thoughts that I want to turn into blog posts, and I will soon. But my eyes are getting heavy now, and sleep is calling my name.