Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thoughts about where I am

Last night, after days, weeks, possibly one month, I wrote down the thoughts that were bottled up in my little head. It's only kind of stressful contemplating a future decision; this is not just any future decision, it is a decision that must involve a lot of prayer, deep study of the word, and a lot a lot of wisdom from older and wiser people.

I'm at a place of stopping,

of thinking, 
of deep contemplation.

The way? 
The path? 
His will?

and is
so far off, yet there is no way to get far away from him.

Tension and agony fill my heart, not with fear or depression, but ache for not being sure of his will. There are "in-his-will-times", "out-of-his-will-times", and just the in-between-times, and that is where I'm at : stuck in the in-between-times. Walking into the unknown is not hard for me. At times it can seem adventurous. However, sometimes the unknown is an endless hallway, that is when situations become eerie.  When I continue to walk and don't run into that wooden door that is definitively signalling a specific answer, that is what I picture myself doing. Probing doors with one key as the doors continue to unlock is an easy thing to do. But, when that one key does not open the door, and the time lapse of critical thinking ensues before deciding which way to go, or by what means I shall proceed on my journey, that time lapse is where I am. One may describe a situation by reaching a pause and coming to a fork in the road. The term reaching "a fork in the road" just doesn't cut it for me. My fork is not a "follow the yellow brick road to the right for unending joy, and happiness" or "follow the red road to the left for gloom, doom, destruction, and utter despair." Each of my options are far, wide, drastic, and completely life changing, each path provides varied experiences and opportunities. I haven't hit the wall *bam*, my answer revealed, problem solved.

I :
will not,
am in capable,
of ever doing it all
on my own.

"but what could I say?
and what could I do?
but offer this  heart, O God, completely to  you."

I really do know "where" I am, I'm in my room. I'm not psychologically impaired. I'm just sharing my thoughts about my uncertainty about college choices and the rest of my life :)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Acceptance and Thanksgiving

I greet thee with the best of news! I got accepted to my first college :D

My LU letter and t-shirt.

I wasn't attending because I'd already been accepted. I wasn't attending the November third-fifth College for a Weekend because Liberty was my number one school either. I was tagging along with my brother because he was slightly more interested than I was, and our friend told us about the school. My calm, confident angel was battling with my “is-this-the-right-decision?” devil as I tried to sleep on the bus ride up to Lynchburg. As a Christian visiting a Christian college, I suppose I shouldn't have been shocked by the overwhelming friendliness I experienced, but I was surprised. All of my interactions with various Liberty students were all positive. I could actually see people living in a christ-centered, christ-following manner. By the second day of CFAW I was sold on about coming to Liberty. I wanted to become a student because as a high-schooler over a short weekend I was deeply moved by the graciousness of the people! The dress code at Liberty wouldn't be difficult to follow because I already believe that I should dress in a manner that would not cause my brothers in Christ to stumble. Plus, having a curfew would help me to develop better time management skills, such as allotting time for sleep. I'm interested in pursing a Nursing major not for the money, but because I sense that I'm called to be a nurse. How many institutions would appreciate or understand being called by God for a profession? Few and far between. Not many schools, if any that I know of, encourage mission trips to help with tuition, yet Liberty does. I want to attend Liberty University because I was impacted by the champions for Christ that the university is already raising up. I want to be apart of the movement that wants to thrust strong Christians into the world. I sure never thought I would feel this strongly about a school after a taste of what the campus life was like on a random week in November. That is just how God moves though doesn't he? Mysteriously planning events and then surprising me.

 Two days--t w o  d a y s-- after I sent this admissions essay in I got an email from Liberty! And over the thanksgiving holiday they sent me a t-shirt and an official letter.

((I had a change of heart after visiting LU, I was set on *not* going to a Christian college, but we'll see how God provides))

Now to the thanksgiving prep! In our neighborhood, we have traditions such as eating together on major holidays. I absolutely love when we get together. This year I initiated everything, well--because I wanted to make sure it happened! I walked up to houses, knocked on doors, and sold girl scout cookies ; ) I expected 25+ people to attend our feast for friends. Since the meal would be outside I wanted to embellish the outdoors as much as I could. After walking around our little nature preserve outside our house I realized that there were a lot of pine cones. I decided to gather the pine cones that I needed to make a thanksgiving sign! I hot glued letters to the pine cones and hung them on a string. I also took several gangly looking tree branches and stuck them in plaster of Paris in a bucket to make a mini tree. The object of the strange creation was to liven the tree by adding construction paper leaves to it. The guests would write things that he or she is thankful for and tape it to the tree. It was lovely.{hopefully I'll get pictures up soon!}

During the day, Jared and I cooked, however it was mostly Jared making the food, I did help! We were trying to take pictures every couple minutes to make a time lapse video of thanksgiving day. It was a lot of fun taking pictures, I can't wait to see how it turned out! The Thanksgiving festivities began around four o'clock even though I told everyone to be there at three.  We all held hands and prayed over the food, the evening, and then rushed to the food line. Soon after dinner, most of the kids lined up to play knock out. Its a basketball game where constant free throws are shot in the hopes of knocking out the person in front of you. I then sat on the driveway of our neighbors house and we talked for several hours. After a neighbor friend, who was up from Word of Life, left with other friends, his brother came over and we played apples to apples and scategories for two hours. Thanksgiving day couldn't have been more memorable. I was blessed to have a fantastic time.

I saw this on a blog I follow :
things I'm thankful for : a-z

africa, adventures, apple crisp
brothers, babysitting, boggle
church, christ, chris august, chubby baby fingers, catchphrase
dinner as a family
earth, eyes, esty
frogs (especially the little green tree frogs)
goat cheese
ice cream
lemonade, little hands
memories with the best of friends
newness of life in christ
opportunities to learn more about God and his word
popcorn, John Piper's preaching
quiet mornings, quest
singing and smiling
talking, tenth avenue north, tubs
unity among believers  
xenon--the element from the periodic table which means stranger (i'm thankful for all the new strangers that have become friends)
youth group

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Ups and Downs of a Diverse Family

Approximately four and a half years ago, the number of kids in my family doubled overnight. Five years ago my parents decided to do something cross cultural; they adopted three kids from Liberia, Africa. Adoption had been something that was implanted in both my parents minds as kids and young adults. A magazine, “Above Rubies”, highlighted four Liberian orphanages that caught my Mom's attention. Soon after seeing the magazine article, my parents began to consult friends and family about adopting, but most importantly, they were praying that God's will be done in their family's life. After a lot of paperwork was filled out, a home-study completed, and easily a hundred pictures were emailed, we chose the kids we thought would best fit our family. Valentines day 2007, my parents received their travel dates to go get the kids! My parents spent a week in Liberia, and when they returned, neither my two brothers, nor I expected the gravity of the situation.
March sixth 2007, is a day that I will never forget. It was the first day that my new brothers and sister were officially home. Kennedy was six, Mary was five, and Justino was two, everything was new and exciting. The day began with excitement and complications like a small language barrier. Sadly, by the end of the night, everyone ended up crying. Kennedy missed his family back in Africa, Mary knocked her head on the banister, and Justino was crying because Mary was crying! Eventually the three biological kids snapped and began to cry as well. It was an incredibly emotional situation because we finally all realized that we were stuck together. There was no going back, we were a family.
It was a real struggle for me, being the oldest in the family, to cope with the fact that we were different than other families. We would take trips to Wal-mart and get plenty of looks from other shoppers. First of all, a large family in America is typically unheard of, and secondly we were a biracial family. I'm not exactly sure if I don't notice the strange looks that my family may get, or if I just don't care anymore. Through this life-changing experience, though tough at times, I have grown tremendously in responsibility. Whether it's helping kids get dressed for church on Sunday, planning meals, or switching a load of laundry around, a family unit cannot function without everyone.

In this day and age, teenagers are encouraged to deviate away from the family and home life. While, I'm not with my family everyday, all day, I do enjoy spending time with them. A large family allows for a lot of fun! Before my three younger siblings came home, I thought I was familiar what “never a dull moment” meant with two brothers. I had no idea what I was in for with four brothers and one sister! This “bump in the road” has caused tears, heartache, laughter, and many happy memories. And those are the things the stick with me, all the good times. I have done a lot of growing up during these past four and a half years, and at the end of the day I am very thankful, because my new family environment helped develop who I am.
I've learned so much about how to deal with and relate to people in these last couple of years. Many arguments have been resolved, brothers pulled off each other at least a dozen times, and little ones comforted after a bike accident. Having three black children my family has made me aware that a person is still a person at his or her core. Whatever past history, ethnicity, or lifestyle, people long to be nurtured. I've grown in responsibility a lot as the oldest of the family as well. I have to take initiative, and I am the example. I never fully grasped that younger children looked up to me as much as they do. There will always be good times and always be rough times, of this I am sure. All these experiences are bricks that are building my family base. We will all look back and remember stressful days as well as the fantastically memorable days. Because the tough times made my family stronger I, along with the rest of the gang, will distinctly reminisce about the happy times. “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade”, but without sugar that lemonade would be gross. My three younger siblings are the sugar to my lemonade, and I'm so thankful for all the maturity that their arrival developed in me.

Friday, November 11, 2011

My reasoning

      It may never make sense half the time, my reasoning that is, but I do have some convictions. When a 17 year old deletes a social media outlet, most of my friends scream in amazement. I get the questions, funny looks, and even after explanation more quizzical expressions. I would have considered myself well versed in explanations. Literally 10 seconds ago I realized the best way to describe my decision to close out my facebook account. I found the reason in a bridge of Chris August's song :

And I, I wanna be real, and I, I wanna be real 
There's too much at stake and I'm tired of faking

I just wanna be real, I wanna be real.

      So, there is my logic most coherently put. I deleted facebook because it was a huge time waster for me, no sense in me justifying it as anything else. Plus I had beyond done with faux personalities. 

Yes, you may have a facebook.

No, I'm no hatin' on you.

No, I'm not saying you have a faux personaility. 

p.s. sorry for the weird formatting/text highlighting.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Well, I, uhhh...did the unthinkable...

I ran over a squirrel. 

Yes, I added a picture of a baby squirrel to add guilt to the reader ;)

In case you just missed that...

I ran over a squirrel!

The weather couldn't have been more picturesque. My windows were down, the radio was turned up, and the cool air filled the van. I eased off the gas pedal while approaching a traffic light, it was still green so I preceded to drive on. 

and then...

All of the sudden... a little squirrel was running across the street. "oh no," I thought, " keep running little buddy!" This poor squirrel was running across the street to the left, saw my car speedily coming towards him, at the last minute deciding to turn and run to the right, oh wait--"no, back to the left we go," thought the squirrel. On the way back to the left side of the road, I hit the sucker right in the head.


Now, this sounds like it took some time. And, it did. However, it was like 20 seconds maximum! After the chaos had happened I just started laughing! 

{{hahahahhahahhahaha....did I just do that?! hahahahhahahah}}

I was caught between a small amount of pity and a large amount of joy. I felt accomplished, like I had lived. I had actually ran over a squirrel, I was experienced in many ways of life from that point on.

[[ Disclaimer: I'm not an animal hater, nor am I extremely sympathetic c'est la vie (said : say la vee)= such is life]]