Friday, May 31, 2013

Welcome to the Wilderness

Well, we made it! Three weeks ago Drew An and I caravanned with my Dad all the way up to Maine for the summer. It's crazy how fast time flies. Reflecting back on the time we've already had in Maine, it's incredible to see how blessed we have been. We have a great job with wonderful coworkers and a boss who cares for us so well. My family's "might as well be family" has taken us in once again. I'm just so thankful to have been welcomed into town. We're here before all the tourists come for the summer, so we've gotten to know more of the "townies," which has been really cool. My family is trying to rent our camp this summer, so whenever we have renters (or work the day shift) we stay in a cute little apartment that a close family friend is graciously letting us use. We've made a trip to Portland and some of our friends have already been able to visit.

Our time here has already taught me so much about myself. I've realized first and foremost I need to relearn to trust God and His plan for my life. I've forgotten what it means to surrender and to trust that God's plan is greater than mine. I want to see God in creation. He knows me better than I know myself, and is the only one who can equip me to do anything. In the midst of the beauty we're surrounded by, I am learning to love God, not at some far away creator, but a God who loves me and wants to have a personal relationship with me.
Basically, I'm learning to apply all that I've learned this year practically in my life. The process is only beginning, but I'm already feeling the growth and sense of peace that I know only comes from the Spirit. I'm so thankful to have Drew An here this summer to experience all this with me as one of the best friends I could ask for.

YOU Are Beautifully and Wonderfully Made,
Kylie

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Adventuring

Peter, Anna, and I bright and early Sunday morning!
There's not much better than a good adventure. This past week was my spring break. I had been anticipating it for weeks. It could not have come quickly enough. After staying the weekend around here to babysit, Sunday morning finally came! I packed up the car and met two friends to start the first leg of our trip to North Carolina for the week. It's amazing how many connections you make in college. We always had a place to stop and so many families who took care of us. Peter, Anna, and I left early Sunday morning, stopped in Lancaster to pick up Drew An and Hannah, and then hit the road. We made it to my house in VA for a late lunch (stuffed shells! Thanks, Mom and Dad). It was a trip of much singing and laughing and good conversation. We made it to NC that night to meet up with Cora and Ryan, who went down on Friday. It's funny how great a reunion can be even after a few days apart.

Monday, we went slept in, went exploring in the woods, did a little homework (ew) and then went grocery shopping for the week. That night, Drew An and I tackled cooking two rotisserie chickens. We bought them frozen, and didn't think about the time it would take the thaw and cook, but after several phone calls to ask our moms what to do, we were successful! We ended up eating around 10:00 that night, but it was such a great meal. We had chicken, veggie burgers for our vegetarians in the group, mashed potatoes, and sauteed brussel sprouts. It was such a fantastic meal and so worth the wait. We ate so well this week. Oh, and we had milkshakes almost every night for dessert. It was so fun to cook together, sing while we worked, and then clean up afterwards all together. We would pile in the kitchen after meals and just hang out. Peter and Ryan demanded for us to let them do the dishes every night, which was such a nice gesture. We all served and loved each other very well this week.

The whole group at the top of the mountain!
All of us at Hooker Falls.
Tuesday, everyone but Hannah, our resident anti-outdoorsy person, went on a hike. We packed up lunches, piled into our two cars and headed for the mountains outside Asheville. We stopped at Hooker Falls, ate lunch there, and then continued onto a different hike. When we got home, Hannah had prepared a fantastic dinner for us. We began a tradition of singing the Doxology as our prayer. The harmonies that came out of all of us was incredible. I still get chills thinking about it. This was one of my favorite nights. We ended up sharing our stories, praying, and singing worship together. It was such a special time. We really got to know one another this week, and I'm really thankful for that. Spending time with people I love away from the stresses of school was so great. We got to really know each other. It was like the camping trip: part 2.
Wednesday, we spent the day doing homework, which was needed. I know I had neglected a lot of work that needed to be done. Thankfully, though, we found a cute coffee shop in town with wifi and we camped out there for several hours. When we got back, we ate dinner, had milkshakes again, and then went on a night hike. The stars were SO bright. I haven't seen stars like that since this summer in Maine. It was incredible. Wednesday also involved chair dancing. 'Nuf said.

Thursday, Abbie left us to go back to Greensboro and Cora, Anna, and Hannah took a trip to the Biltmore, a historic home in Asheville. Drew An, Ryan, Peter, and I hung back at the house to do some more homework and hang out. It was a gorgeous day, so Drew and I went exploring by the river and took some pictures. It was a great day. Once the rest of the group got back, we had dinner and hung out. After Tuesday, we ended each night with worship and singing together. It was great. 
Drew An and me!

Anna, Drew An, and me!
Friday was our last full day in NC. Peter and Cora took a trip to Boone to visit some friends, Drew An, Anna, and I drove to Chimney Rock to hike, and Ryan and Hannah stayed back to do homework. We unfortunately weren't able to hike, because it was $15 a person to get to the top of the mountain (...wut?) so we decided to explore the cute little town of Chimney Rock and just dilly dally on the way back to the house, taking many many pictures on the way. It was a day full of fun and great conversation. We made a pit stop at a fantastic thrift store and Bojangles, which made the trip complete. Once we got back, Cora and Peter's friend Kristen joined us for dinner, which was so fun, and then we spent the rest of the night just hanging out.

We packed up Saturday morning, said our goodbyes to our hosts, stopped at the Trift Store again (80 cents for a sweater) and then hit the road for VA. We had some noobies for Cook-Out, so we had to stop for a milkshake on the way. Can you see a milkshake theme for the week? We made it to my house, had a great meal from my fam, watched the Princess Bride, and crashed. 

Sunday, we slept in, packed up, and headed back to Eastern. Once we got back to campus, though, we weren't ready for our week to end...so we decided to go out to dinner together. To top of the best week, Cora's neighbor happened to be a Chili's at the same time at gave us a $50 gift card to cover our meal. It was incredible. 

I'm so thankful for these people and the time we got to spend together this week. I'm truly blessed to be a part of this community. I love you all.



Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Lent Devotional 2013

Every year, my church puts together a daily devotional book that takes us through the season of Lent. For the past several years, I've been asked to contribute. I hope you enjoy.


Deuteronomy 10:12-22

12 And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?
14 To the Lord your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it. 15 Yet the Lord set his affection on your ancestors and loved them, and he chose you, their descendants, above all the nations—as it is today. 16 Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer. 17 For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. 18 He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. 19 And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt. 20 Fear the Lord your God and serve him. Hold fast to him and take your oaths in his name. 21 He is the one you praise; he is your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes. 22 Your ancestors who went down into Egypt were seventy in all, and now the Lord your God has made you as numerous as the stars in the sky.

I have heard many analogies for sin, but one that resonates most with me is this: ever since sin entered the world, humanity began to dig a hole, one that separated us from God and could not be filled. Nothing that we can do can fill the hole. We are indebted to God. We owe Him more than we can ever pay. In the words of St. Anselm, “Sin is nothing else than not to render to God his due, and the wish of every rational creature should be subject to the will of God.” The will of God is to “fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the LORD’s commands and decrees” (Deut. 10:12-13). The law was created for the good of the Israelites, so that they could find favor in God, but because of sin, it was impossible. Even though this passage is originally addressed to the Israelites, who could not possibly love God the way he required them to under the law, through the grace of God we are now included in God’s chosen through the death and resurrection of his son, the ultimate sacrifice. The writer of Hebrews emphasizes this point by saying, “let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (4:16). Our debt is now paid for in the death and resurrection of Christ. He defeated sin and death so that we may enter into relationship with the Father. He is the fulfillment of the law; the ultimate sacrifice. As my class went through the Bible in my Old Testament class last semester, I was constantly in awe of God’s goodness. Everything He did, no matter how hard it was for us to understand, was for the good of his people. We are chosen by God, and as Christians, we are to love God with our whole beings, and to submit to his will. During this time of Lent, I encourage you to reflect on what that will mean in your life. What parts of your life are you holding on to and not surrendering totally to God?

Dear Lord,

You are good and you know us better than we know ourselves. I praise you for all that you do in our lives. Thank you for sending your son so that we may live in eternity with you. Forgive us when we try to take control and ignore your will. I pray that we surrender to your will every day and that our hearts become more like yours. Teach us to love like you.

In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Braindead

If there's anything I've learned this year, it's that I'm not a philosopher. I enjoy learning, and I will own up to being a nerd any day, but I my brain does not desire to think deeply about hypothetical questions that don't have any solid basis. It's such a struggle to try and answer a question that doesn't have an answer. My teacher knows going in that I won't have an answer, and I know that I won't be able to argue as well as he wants me to. I know that it's all a part of the learning process. I'm learning to better reason through problems, which I know is a good thing, but it's hard to convince my self of that at the moment. Right now, I'm sitting in a study room with two of my best friends trying to prove that we cannot have a rational account of justice without an account of the human good...so I'm in the process of defining first the human good...and then justice. But here's the catch, I can only use the texts that we've read in class. I'm drowning in Plato. HELP. 

Oh, and I have 3 other papers to do this week on top of my Justice midterm... it's gonna be a late one. The good news is: SPRING BREAK IS SO CLOSE. 3 DAYS AND COUNTING. 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Today was a great day. My Mondays and Wednesday are a different kind of busy than my Tuesday/Thursdays schedule, which are filled with school. I was able to rearrange my schedule so I can spend more time in Malvern. Today, I got to go to the high school, which is great and overwhelming, exciting and scary. Basically, any emotion I could feel, I feel walking into the school. I get there and walk in and realize how much I don't belong. I run into one girl I know and then journey into the abyss of unfamiliar faces. All I want to do is go hide in the bathroom (which I almost did) and wait until all the kids get on the bus...which of course, would defeat the whole purpose of going to the school. I ended up leaving way earlier than I should have, but I'm learning. It's a process. I panicked and got super nervous...so I fled. It's my gut instinct, "Get back to the car; it's safe there." Even still, I'm thankful for being able to go to the school, and failing, realizing that I was trying to go on my own accord...on my own strength. I panicked...I was relying on my own abilities and not allowing the Spirit to work through me.

My Monday schedule is great. I have one class in the morning, then go do homework and leave for GV at 2:00 to catch the bell at 2:30. Then, depending on whether I am hanging out with anyone, I go and do homework in the 'Bucks until Club, which was a great tonight. It was a smaller crowd, but the energy was really high and I feel like everyone was really well loved, which is always the goal.


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Life As I Know It

So here I am, more than a month since my last post. I really need to start being more constant blogging. I'm really great at reading other people's blogs. Now that I've given up Facebook and Twitter for Lent (they had become huge distractions), I've been reading blogs even more consistently  It's a great peek into people's lives. Some of my best friends keep blogs, and it's a great way to keep up with them across states on this campus. I know that it's not a glimpse into their whole lives, but it's good to hear their thoughts...just whatever they feel like sharing.

This semester has been a whirlwind. There have been so many ups and downs. My classes are harder and I have more hours devoted to YL. At the beginning of this semester, I was given some great advice from a lady at my church. She told me to take life one day at a time, one paper at a time, one line at a time and to truly surrender each day to the Lord. Laying my worries down at the foot of the cross is this only way that I can find joy in each day. I will not find joy anywhere else than God. I want to be joyful and I want to flourish. At one of our Honors Forums earlier this semester, one of our speakers said that her goal was not for balance in her life, but rather flourishing. I've adopted that mindset. I know that it's impossible to balance each aspect of my life. There are some things that will take precedent one week and something different the next. I can't devote equal time to everything in my life. My goal is to flourish. I know that there's no way to flourish unless I'm surrendering every aspect of my life to God. And that is way more said that done. I so easily slip into self pity. "I have no time to spend with friends... there's no way I'm going to finish all this homework... my friends have so much more fun than I do... I am so sleep deprived... I need coffee... I don't want to babysit... If only I didn't have so much homework..." There is no room for that in my life. I have chosen some very time consuming things between the THC and YL and that's going to make my free time very scare, BUT I wouldn't change a thing. I honestly couldn't imagine living my college years any other way.



The Lord has provided so much this semester. He has brought such encouraging people into my life; friends who actually care for me. They take the time to ask about YL and how things are going. They truly care about me. It's been truly a blessing. He has provided me with the best roommate. Abbie gives me so much grace when I leave my clothes all over the floor and press my snooze button several times in the morning. Our living styles compliment each other so much. I'm so thankful friends who send me letters of encouragement and pray for me. I'm so thankful for my small group email chain and friends from home who are able to encourage and pray for one another. I'm thankful for my YL team and the friendships that we've developed. The Lord has brought our community in YL leadership closer together and has brought so many great new additions even since I came in the fall. I'm thankful that the Lord has provided a way for me to be able to go to the high school every week. He is so good. I'm thankful for being able to work out and all the doctors that made it possible for me to run pain-free. All glory to Him who created the universe.

Even though I am constantly battling stress and the business of life, this has been a fabulous semester. Our God is faithful through the midst of trials. I'm living for the little victories and praying to see the world through the eyes of Christ. I'm just overflowing with gratitude. I would be nothing without God. His presence is the beauty in my life.


Saturday, January 12, 2013

Another Beginning

It's been a while, you poor, neglected blog. Too much has happened this semester to even begin to write about it. Forgive me for another stream of consciousness. I've realized that I express myself best on here by just letting out my thoughts.

It's been a hard one, a happy one, a sad one; one of much growth. I'm not the same person I was last August. I don't think I've changed much at my core, but I've been thrown into an atmosphere in which I have to think about really hard questions. Questions that I haven't had to sit down and really think about before. And I'm telling you what, I do not have a philosophy brain. I find myself too often relying on my own intellect. Trying to change things myself. My prayer at the beginning of the semester was for the Lord to break me. To form me and shape my heart to be more like Him. It's been a hard process. It's been painful and sad and frustrating and just down right difficult. But if anything, it's a true testament of power of prayer and God's goodness. I'm learning all over again how to rely on God for everything. Making myself nothing. Giving him all the praise and honor. That way, anything good that comes from me, I know is of the Lord. I am learning to examine myself, to search my heart and acknowledge my sin, and lay it at the feet of Christ. To remember over and over again that I am not worthy. I am not worthy of this great love, but God chose me. He loves us all more than we could ever imagine. So much that He sent His son to die for our sins, and defeat death so that we can live with him in eternity. The Gospel flows through all. It seeps into every aspect of my life. I'm learning all over again how to serve. I'm loving deeper. I don't have to do anything but love Jesus and strive to live for him, the rest will come. I'm learning to let go. To live each day as it comes. I struggle with worrying and anxiety. It's no wonder 1 Peter 5:7 is one of my favorite verses. If I think about it too hard, I will be a worrying mess about all the work I'm going to have next semester and how the heck I'm going to lead Young Life and have somewhat of a social life on top of everything else. I have to take it one day at a time, one hour at a time, one line of a paper at a time. Everything will get done. I am learning to be thankful for each day and to find joy in each day. I am so very blessed. I have so much to be thankful for. I have a God who loves me. I am alive. I have a loving family and the opportunity to live and learn with wonderful people at Eastern. When I reflect on it, I see that my worries are futile. Who knows what God has planned for the rest of my life. I can't get too ahead of myself. I can't get ahead of God. I love the devotional, My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers. It got me through my hard year at UT last year, and I've rediscovered it over this break. This line struck me this morning as I was reading: "Jesus doesn't take us aside and explain things to us all the time; He explains things to us as we are able to understand them"..."We have to get rid of the idea that we understand ourselves. That is always the last bit of pride to go. The one One who understands us is God." God works in His time. I'm learning to surrender and praise Him in whatever "season" of life I'm in. I'm trusting the Holy Spirit to guide me, because He is the only one who truly knows me.

I will leave you with what my Western Civ professor always says as we begin class, "Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, it is now and forever shall be: world without end. Amen.