Well hello there blogging world, long time no see. I've just been reading from afar this semester without finding the time or really feeling inspired to blog. It has been a great first semester of college. There were ups and downs of course, but overall, I am very happy with how everything has turned out. I wouldn't change any part of it for the world. It was definitely very difficult to begin with, going to an out of state school, not knowing a soul, but I did it and made some really great friends. It took time, but if there's one thing I learned, it's that in order to make friends and connections, you have to put yourself out there and make and effort. Things won't just happen on there own. Being at a big school was very interesting. Tennessee is run by the athletics and Greek life and if you're not involved in either of them, it's often hard to find your purpose on campus. Personally, I have gotten involved in Young Life. I have found community that I love and that challenges me, but I am still searching for more. I feel like the Lord is calling me to take a chance, that there is more for my life that I can't even imagine. I feel like the Lord is calling me to serve him with my entire life, to go into ministry. I'm just excited to see what the Lord has in plan. I never imagined changing my major and life plans, potentially even the school I am attending. I was so positive. I am just as surprised as the next person. It's blowing my mind. I'm excited and terrified at the same time. I am beginning to relate with Mary, how she must have felt with Gabriel came and told her that she would be carrying Jesus. How willing she was, how she didn't hesitate, but that she trusted the Lord.
I know this band is old news, but I've finally actually sat down and listened to them. I knew I loved Joy Williams already, but their two voices combined is magical. Hope you enjoy and are staying cool on this hot Monday!
So the countdown begins, 6 days (including today) until I leave for school. WOAH. I'm not ready at all and ready at the same time. I wake up every morning and my stomach sinks when I remember that it's just one day closer. I'm a worrier. I let worry consume me and then I break, which has been happening a lot lately.
My dad led the liturgy today in church and he said that he had realized that even though he was spending time with the Lord, he still felt out of it and wasn't feeling God's presence. I could relate. It felt like God was speaking to me through him. My dad said he finally realized that it was himself getting in the way of letting the Holy Spirit in and challenged us to think about what ways we get in the way of our relationship and longing to be with God. Mine is worry. I become consumed in my worries and even though I know I should be giving them over to God and letting him comfort me, I struggle. 1 Peter 5:7- "Cast all your anxieties upon Him because He cares for you," is one of my favorite verses and one I struggle with most. I let my worries get in the way of God's peace.
I'm very nervous about leaving. I have so many "what ifs:" What if we get there and moving in isn't as easy as they say it will be? What if we hit traffic on the way down and are late? I have a meeting that night, what if I miss meeting people in my dorm because of my meeting? What if I don't have enough time with my parents before the meeting?
I know everything will work out in the end, it's just so much change. I don't want to leave my family and friends. It's just weird to think that I only have one week left. I know that it's all in God's hands, but my goal this week is to really commit my worries to prayer. I know I will enjoy this last week so much more if I do.
Anyways, I was going to sing this song today in church, but I knew I wouldn't be able to make it through. It relates my life way to much right now for me to sing it without crying. There is so much truth in this song and a great going away song. I am determined to let my light shine at UT. I'm pretty sure this is gonna turn into my anthem for first semester.
As I've been getting ready for college, I've been putting away pictures that I want in my dorm. So, today I finally printed them. I had 347 pictures. Yep, that's right 347 pictures. I have no idea what I'm going to do with all of them, but each and every one is special to my heart and I want to be able to share those memories with all the new people I meet at UT. (And so I actually have proof that I really am normal and do have friends, haha, but really.) It's a little overwhelming having so many to choose from and even begin to think of where I'm gonna put all of them. My plan as of now is to rotate pictures in and out throughout the school year. I also personally LOVE using pictures as bookmarks. It's like the book is smiling at you every time you pick up where you left off. I've enjoyed looking through all of these pictures so much. It's brought up so many wonderful memories from high school, mostly last year. Homecoming, my trip to Maine with my friend Lauren, Prom, XC season, Choir Shows, graduation, beach trips, apple picking, and so many pictures from this summer's trip to Maine. I have such a huge pile of pictures to deal with right now. There's something special about having a physical picture though, not just a digital version.
This summer has flown by, bringing me closer to exciting and looming college. After I got home from Maine... um, which was less than a week ago, I decided to take a job with Vector Marketing. I'm gonna be selling CUTCO knives, which is super exciting, but it's another thing that I added to my plate. I'm so stressed right now. I'm worried about not being able to see friends before I leave school, potentially losing friends, not being able to spend enough time with my family, and I'm missing Maine, a lot. My heart is there.
I've been going through a devotional recently called My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers. It's both challenging and encouraging and exactly what I need right now.
I only find comfort in the Lord. I've been told that my whole life and know that it's truth, but I've realized even more lately can only truly rely on God, and He's with me. I know He is. I know that God doesn't promise to make things better, but He promises to be there, always. I find so much comfort and peace in that promise. I know He loves me and always will. He gives me my strength.
"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me." Psalm 23:4
"Cast all your anxiety on Him, because he cares for you." 1 Peter 5:7
I love summer, but I hate the heat. Part of me wishes that we had a long vacation in the fall and winter instead of the hot summer, especially this summer. On the other hand, I might not love going up to Maine as much as I do if I went up during a long winter break because it would be snow covered and I wouldn't be able to enjoy THEIR wonderful summer weather. So, I guess I'll stop complaining about the VA heat because I get the opportunity to spend weeks every summer in one of the most beautiful places in the world. Well, it is in my opinion. I hope you agree.
This summer in Maine was a little different because we got to stay in our own place! My parents have wanted to purchase a "camp" (basically a lake house) for years. This fall they finally found one and bought it! It definitely feels like home. We've been going up to Maine for around 20 years and obviously fell in love with the place. I really think I might live there one day.
Anyways, we were up there for three weeks this year, which was great! The lake is beautiful and it was actually warm enough to swim without absolutely freezing. We tubed behind the boat this year, which was fun! We always try to do a hike, take a trip to the coast, and do some shopping. This year we went to Bar Harbor and then made our way along the coast back up to Greenville. I hadn't been to Bar Harbor in years and it was so beautiful! We had the best coast day this year.
There's something very peaceful about being up there.
Wow, two posts in one day? What craziness. It's a new record for me! I hope you all enjoyed my Father's Day post.
M and I on the hike!
Well, I went on a hike today with my family, minus my brother, S who is having the best week of his life up in New York at Young Life's Lake Saranac! I'm so excited to hear all about his week and how he has grown in his relationship with the Lord. I know my week at camp sophomore year at Lake Champion was one of the most meaningful and life changing weeks of my life.
Anyways, going on the hike with my family made me long to be in Maine. We leave on Friday!!! Ahhh, I can't wait. Anyways, I thought I would share with you all this awesome webcam that shows the exact place I am every summer. Isn't the lake beautiful?! I love it so much and I can't wait to spend extra time there this summer.
Happy Father's Day to the best dad. You and I are so very similar. We've gone on numerous spur of the minute road trips to go see a basketball game or to tour a college campus. Dad, you always support me in all my decisions and have taught me what it means to be committed to something. You challenge me to really think about something before I do it and always push me to reach my highest potential. You and Mom made a point to be at every one of my sporting events (home or away) and every choir show. Whether I was playing a soccer game or running a XC meet, your voice was one of the only ones I heard out of the crowd. You always made me want to push harder. When I asked to use our house for Campaigners, you didn't bat an eye. You two have been so supportive in my walk with Christ. I know that you two will always be there for me. When I wanted to go to UT, you made me look into other schools, but in the end, you supported me in my decision. I love you, Dad! You are the best.
Yay! It's official! I graduated! It's almost been a full week of official summer, which for me, puts me in a serious country music mood. I'm also starting to embrace country music so I'm prepared for when I go to UT, hahaha. My favorite country band, by far, is the Zac Brown Band. They're SO GOOD. Ahhh I love their harmonies. Go ahead and give me chills why don't you. They have a new single out that I highly recommend you listen to. It's amazing.
I hope you all are having a wonderful beginning of summer!
While I was looking through my old study bible today, I came across an old note that I wrote myself on an index card after Young Life Camp at Lake Champion, my sophomore year of high school. Tim Toy explained Christ in a way I'd never heard before, and it changed my life.
Excuse my run on sentences and bad grammar, haha. It goes as follows:
"June 18, 2009
Today I realized that I need to make time for the Lord and also that I need to put Christ first and do everything else through him. He will always love me, no matter what. I need to treat him like my best friend and want to spend time with him everyday, all day. I am making a goal to read the Bible and start every morning off with Christ. I feel empty if I don't."
It's crazy to look back and see how I've come back to that point. I'm two years older and I've learned so much and grown a lot in those past two years, but I've strayed so much this year. I've hardly picked up my Bible out of Small Group or Campaigners. But now I have the desire to read the Bible again. I'm my most happiest when I'm regularly in the Word. I don't want to get comfortable, and that's exactly what I've let myself do over the past several months. I need to grow and challenge myself and I'm ready to start back on the journey. I'm ready to walk beside Christ again, not have him drag me along behind him. I love Jesus and I need to have that shown in my life ALL THE TIME. I'm being made new.
I actually had time to sit down and read a book today, a WHOLE BOOK. Imagine that. I can't tell you the last time I was able to actually read a book for pleasure. The "Easter Bunny" left it in my basket this morning. Holidays are pretty low key at my house. My parents never really encouraged "Santa" or the "Easter Bunny," but have always encouraged us to focus on the real meaning of the holiday. I'm really appreciative of that and plan to do the same for my family, whenever I have a family of my own. Anyways, I woke up this morning to find Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo in my Easter basket. I started it on our 30 minute car ride to church this morning and was finished by 5:30 today. It's a very easy read, but one that makes you think and is very encouraging. Plus, it's a true story, which makes everything more meaningful. I'm not going to ruin the plot, but I would recommend that everyone read this book.
All I know is, this book took away doubts about heaven and increased my desire to join the Father. I can't wait to see family members, and I know that they're up there looking down on me, praying for me still. Jesus does hear EVERY prayer, every desperate call. He loves the children. We are called to have faith like children, like Colton in Heaven is for Real. I'm still mulling over this and I know I'll have more to say about it later.
I sent in my confirmation to the University of Tennessee today! Oh my goodness, I'm going to college, the college I've wanted to go to since my freshman year of high school. It's surreal. I'm confident this is the place God is leading me to be. I'm so excited/nervous/terrified, but mostly excited right now. To honor this momentous occasion, I thought I'd share with you a little Rocky Top. GO BIG ORANGE! Enjoy!
So, this morning, my mom and I (and 70 other runners) dragged ourselves out of bed at 6:30 to run in the Spring Fling 10K organized by my XC coach! It was so much fun. I was skeptical if I could make it the whole 6 miles anymore, but I did, and I beat my mom, haha. You'll fully appreciate the significance of me running this race if you read this post. My dad nominated himself to be the official race photographer, so here are a few of the shots he got. Enjoy!