the farewell tour.

okay addison, i'm copying some of your creativity today! slipping into another january is always an exciting, unknown moment. and, being my retrospective self, i'd like to pass along a few things that made this year what it was. i have a whole new appreciation for the past twelve months after looking back at this list. =)

  • began my second semester of college with a break-up i thought would surely kill me
  • took my first class in the honors program at obu
  • maintained a 4.0
  • initiated my last year as an official teen in february
  • experienced further heartbreak from my first love
  • attended the memorial service of his precious little cousin on my birthday
  • realized i had the most loving and supportive friends and family [once again] as a result of my darkest hour
  • spent priceless weekends with family who had been on the west coast for far too long :]
  • had a good ole red dirt night at a randy rogers band concert with my best hometown friends
  • initiated into the phi eta sigma national honor society
  • continued serving with switch at lifechurch.tv and discovered amazing ministry opportunities
  • went on a mission trip to eureka springs with my switch kids
  • helped construct a kickin' gravel driveway on said mission trip =)
  • drove to phoenix with my sister, niece, and mom, and watched my sweet cousin marry his soulmate under palm trees
  • got published in the bison
  • played on a few slot machines with my mom and her best friend from college, hehehe
  • experienced a medical scare that tested me financially and spiritually
  • watched my brother successfully run his second full marathon - complete with hand-painted signs and loud cheers at almost every mile marker =)
  • received scholarships that were blissfully unexpected
  • watched a dear friend from back home graduate and accomplish great things
  • craved an apology which i was sure would fix everything
  • served as a team leader for the first time at super summer
  • received the apology i had been craving, and remained unsatisfied
  • lived in edmond for a summer
  • became a member of the lifechurch.tv prayer team
  • saw another close friend marry the sweetest girl in all of texas
  • worked at a new place may through august and met splendid new people
  • began doing on-stage activities at switch
  • witnessed the greatest fireworks show of my life on independence day
  • served as a sponsor for the first time at falls creek
  • went to the mountain view-gotebo free fair and saw many old friends
  • started serving at fuse
  • began my third semester of college
  • caught the domestic bug
  • started teaching conversation classes with the international students at obu
  • became the switch what's next coordinator
  • began a new job at the wellness center
  • went on a retreat with sweet friends and opened up my heart
  • participated in my first race for the cure with my family
  • spent fall break with my mom on a girls' trip to branson
  • published in the bison again
  • voted in my first presidential election
  • learned how to play texas-hold-'em
  • learned my sister is pregnant again!
  • survived my first semester of western civ with an a
  • realized i won't find happiness if i won't let go
  • rekindled an old, dear friendship
  • wrote a blues song =)
  • learned a few french phrases
  • maintained a 4.0 again
  • discovered a love for the food network
  • played the heck out of hungry hungry hippos with my precious nieces


queen-sized love.

my sister's beautiful, gargantuan home in edmond allows me to call a queen sized bed my own for breaks and weekends - and boy, was i relishing it last night, y'all. at 10:45, after soundly slumbering for almost one precious hour, i hear my bedroom door softly open.
"i need to go potty. and i need new panties and pajamas. will you take me to the potty and tuck me back in?"
a slight groan from my cozy spot emerges. "okay, babe."
kaitlyn and i head to her jungle-themed bathroom, take care of business, and retrieve fresh pj's and dora undies from the dresser.
"can bob sleep in my bed tonight too?"
"sure thing."
bob, a soft and oversized easter bunny, joins kaitlyn under the flannel covers and gets tucked in as well. kisses and many requests to play duck-duck-goose in the morning ensue - from kaitlyn, of course. not bob. anyway, with a successful retucking under my belt, i return to a warm doze. and at 10:55, i hear my bedroom door softly open once again.
"i can't sleep. and bob is making it where i can't sleep."
"do you want to snuggle with me tonight?
"climb in, babe."
my own miniature spooning partner makes herself at home in the small of my back, and throughout the night proceeds to slowly push me out of my once seemingly big bed. as the early morning rolls in and sunlight begins to peak through the wooden blinds, my niece begins to wiggle around and demonstrate her awakenness.
"i love you so much, peanut."
and that, my friends, makes an evening of hanging off the side of a bed with a three-year-old ensuring your position there all worth it. :]


on prayer, fear, and love that won't let go.

i have so much to say and so little ability with which to articulate it all. amidst a busy weekend of studying for what just might be the death of me, a welcomed break came in the form of such a familiar routine today: church. [i know, routine is such an awful word to describe the assembly of His body, but don't you agree that at times we allow it to get that way? i'll add that to an ever-growing list of things to erradicate for 2009.] i love my church and have invested alot of time and effort into the goings-on there that i am passionate about. this particular morning evoked such a tidal wave of emotions that i certainly was not expecting, and i fear that if i do not take the time to record it all, it will soon become just another sunday that i pack away into a box. so, here goes.
the worship set was gorgeous-as always-with an unplugged version of some of my favorite christmas songs. i had almost forgotten this was the weekend for child dedications, though, and as the first noel began its first few chords, couples began assembling on the stage with their precious babies and toddlers in tow. the entire concept of dedicating one's life to raising his or her child in the ways of God and making that commitment publically is so radically wonderful. i couldn't stop smiling at the sweet baby girl who looked in kelly and i's direction as her mom bounced her softly, and i almost thought happy tears were going to flow if i didn't swallow that lump in my throat. but then i felt a twinge of sadness, envy even. i stared at all of the beautiful couples and their perfect gifts and wondered if i would ever get to stand in their shoes. this is a fear which plagues me almost daily, in which i picture myself perpetually unwed and, as surely will follow, alone. my joy for my siblings' and friends' families sometimes turns to an embarassing, private jealousy and sorrow for what i fear i may never get to experience.
the message, i then thought, would surely take my mind off of this little fear. we started our second week of a phenomenal series on prayer, and as i began circling the verses we referenced, God peeled back my blinders to new truths i needed to understand. craig told us that our relationships with others have a huge impact on our prayer life. simple, right? but i, presumed to be semi-mature in the realm of spiritual things, never before considered how my grudges effect my communication with God. mark 11:25 says, "but when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too." oh brother. so this means i have to let go of the things he did and said that continue to cause my heart so much hurt? will You empower me to release my bitterness for this heartache and forgive him? my mind raced and was, at the same time, filled with peace. the next part of the message led us to proverbs, where He confronted me with a verse that wasn't even part of our study! proverbs 16:1 spoke directly to the fear i let steal my joy earlier during worship: "we can make our own plans, but the Lord gives the right answer." my plans of marriage and motherhood may or may not be in His framework for my life, and ultimately it is His answer to that prayer that is right. oh brother againnnnn.
next came fuse, the fifth and sixth grade ministry i and my college friends serve with after our own church experience. what was the message in there about? fear. that's right. triple whammy. at the conclusion of the video teaching, brian asked if we would allow our fear to keep us from experiencing the adventures of life that are right before us. no, i thought, no they won't. i still strongly desire to fall in love again and have it last forever, to bring children into a home of faith and love. but i also have to accept that whether or not that falls in line with God's plan for my life, i will be okay.
so, while i may have a few tears in the shower tonight, i will eventually wipe them away and remember that God did not give me a spirit of fear or timidity. i will try my darndest to play with and love on my nieces without pausing to remind myself that i may never have a daughter of my own. i will go to my friends' beautiful weddings and not feel heavy-hearted at the possibility i may never wear that dress. i will remember that i have an amazing circle of family and dear friends who give me constant laughter, and a future that will likely bring me more adventure than i can fathom now. and i will realize that the greatest Love of all has been mine all along.


keeping me alive.

i really want to rip my hair out.
or just rip up my textbooks.
either one.
finals will convene this coming monday, and i am nothing short of terrified and optimistic. nice combo, eh? i do believe western civilization might bring about my before-20th-birthday nervous breakdown, and i still cannot feel anything less than love for the class. it is difficult, it is demanding, and it is passion-evoking at every end. i have learned so much and been challenged more in this course than any other. it is a year-long class which synthesizes history and literature, and is a unique thread of obu, and to pass it by even if i were able would be such a mistake. so, as i cram a semester's worth of the roman empire, paradise lost, and the enlightenment into my brain - along with a little french, art history, and the synoptic Gospels - i will remember to stop and rejoice in the small, lovely things too. would you like to hear of them? i thought so.
after spending a sleepless night listening to the wind howl like a banshee through my semi-broken window, my roommate and i will tonight be the proud occupants of a silent night, thanks to a campus maintenance guy with some mean sealant. our dorm's hot water is up and at 'em again too! rejoice! i have renewed hope now. :]
did i mention my siblings are wildly talented and successful in every way? my sister, who was also ranked as one of the top ten mammographers in the nation for two consecutive years, won a prestigious award at her new company, oklahoma breast care center, last night. after only being their director of patient care for the past year, she has already turned the program around. i'm so proud of her. she did the same thing at her former center in seattle, so anything less than greatness is unknown to her. =) my brother, who is on our governor's security detail, will accompany him to the presidential inaugural ball in january - how amazing is that?! i'm so proud of him as well. here is a photograph of our family, minus dad and my brother-in-law who is behind the camera, at my brother's first marathon last year. ain't we cute? knowing i will always be able to come home to these faces, one way or another, keeps me alive.


a rainbow in the cloud.

from today's passage in oswald chambers' my utmost for His highest:
i set My rainbow in the cloud; and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth. // genesis 9:13
it is the will of God that human beings should get into a right-standing relationship with Him, and His covenants are designed for this purpose. why doesn't God save me? He has accomplished and provided for my salvation, but i have not yet entered into a relationship with Him. why doesn't God do everything we ask? He has done it. the point is - will i step into that covenant relationship? all the great blessings of God are finished and complete, but they are not mine until i enter into a relationship with Him on the basis of His covenant.
waiting for God to act is fleshly unbelief. it means that i have no faith in Him. i wait for Him to do something in me so that i may trust in that. but God won't do it, because that is not the basis of the God-and-man relationship. man must go beyond the physical body and feelings in his covenant with God, just as God goes beyond Himself in reaching out with His covenant to man. it is a question of faith in God - a very rare thing. we only have faith in our feelings. i don't believe God until He puts something tangible in my hand, so that i know i have it. then i say, "now i believe." there is no faith exhibited in that. God says, "look to me, and be saved..." [isaiah 45:22]
when i have really transacted business with God on the basis of His covenant, letting everything else go, there is no sense of personal achievement - no human ingredient in it at all. instead, there is a complete overwhelming sense of being brought into union with God, and my life is transformed and radiates peace and joy.


sweet potatoes & sweet surprises.

my goodness - is it honestly already december? despite my great love for this school, it was a smidge difficult to drag myself back to campus after such a splendid break. this thanksgiving brought me...
  • some much needed time spent with my precious family. it feels like years since i have seen my father, though in all actuality it's only been the few months since this semester began. i love that man yet always want to roll my eyes at him at the same time. it was good to hug his neck, though, and a rare compliment even leaked out from him about my cooking - now that is a moment to remember, folks! [here's a free tidbit for you - while discussing his technological illiteracy, dad told us that he still refuses to use a gradebook for his classes on the computer, and instead compells his school's computer teacher to do it for him. naturally, we wondered what sort of compensation he gives her for this kind service to an old man. "i pay her in turnips," he said matter-of-factly. "turnips? really, dad?" laughter then ensued. "well that, and any other fresh vegetable i have." hehehe. and he said it all with a straight face. i love this man. it just goes to show you how simple and sweet small town life can be.] it should also be known that my mama and daddy are the best parents one could ever hope to have. i am extremely, without a doubt, overwhelmingly blessed.
  • texas hold 'em. that's right, i now know how to play a poker game. what a great skill to bring back to my christian college! this newfound pasttime should, by no means, suggest i am at all good at this intense sport. but i am working on my poker face from now on. if i fail to laugh at something insanely funny, be assured that it's only practice.
  • a glorious family announcement. i'm going to be an aunt again!!! my sweet sister is twelve weeks pregnant with her second child, and i am so so happy to have another little one on his or her way to us. kaitlyn, my sisters three year old daughter, shared the happy news as we sat down to our meal with the following prayer: thank you for the food, thank you for our family, and thank you for the baby in my mommy's belly. weeeeeeeeeee! i firmly suspect i will have my first nephew next june. call it a hunch, but i'm pretty good with those! with my three nieces, i have a feeling he will have no shortage of bosses around. :]
  • did i mention i make a mean sweet potato casserole? i too did not know this until thursday, but apparently i have quite a knack for the squash-related dishes. besides my established task of making the pumpkin pies, i decided to try this recipe out. it was quite a hit!

sweet potato casserole

2 pounds sweet potatoes (3 cups mashed)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
4 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 cup chopped pecans
scrub sweet potatoes and cut in half if large. bake in their jackets until tender. cool; slip the peels off and mash well. stir in sugar and salt. whisk together the eggs, milk, vanilla, and 4 tablespoons melted butter. stir into the mashed sweet potato mixture until smooth and well blended. spoon the mixture into a lightly buttered 2-quart baking dish. combine remaining ingredients for the topping; sprinkle over the sweet potato mixture. bake at 350° for 35 to 45 minutes.

how was your thanksgiving? do you have any new or old favorite thanksgiving foods?